Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Family Friendly Chilli Con Carne Recipe

I threw this recipe together yesterday afternoon, and it was so easy and delicious I thought I would share it here.  Its also fantastic value, it made 3 meals for our family from 500g mince!  I have used Herbies Mexican Spice Blend, as it has no msg, chemicals or other nasties.

Family Friendly Chilli Con Carne

1 large onion, diced
500g beef mince
1 - 2 T Herbies Mexican Spice Blend
1 red capsicum, de-seeded and diced
800g tin diced tomatoes
400g tin red kidney beans, drained
400g tin corn kernals, drained
Approx 1/4 c tomato paste
Approx 1 cup vegetable stock

In a large deep saucepan, heat a dash of olive oil and fry the onions for a minute or so.  Add the mince and Mexican Spice Blend and cook until mince starts to brown.  Add capsicum, tomatoes, beans, corn, tomato paste and stock.  Give a good stir and simmer without a lid for about 3 hours (add some water if it starts to cook too dry).

Divide into 3 (One for dinner, one for dinner the next night, and freeze one lot for another night).  Serve with brown rice, as a filling for baked potatoes, or with crusty bread. 

Some of my other recipes you might like to try:
Zucchini Slice
Easy Bacon & Broccoli Pasta
Slow Cooker Casserole

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Why doesn't an Igloo Melt Inside?

Welcome to the October Teach/Learn Blogging Carnival.

The Teach/Learn Blogging Carnival hosted by Science@home is for anyone, because we are all teachers and learners all the time. This month our theme is "Studies of Society and the Environment" which covers all the humanities, from history to finance, geography, politics and of course the environment. Check out the links at the bottom to find some other great posts on SOSE.


I found the theme for this month's Teach/Learn Blogging Carnival to be interesting and a bit of a challenge.  Studies of Society and the Environment has such a broad range, and the topic that ended up coming to mind (with Christmas coming up/Santa/North Pole/snow.... get my drift?) was Eskimo's and Igloo's, and in particular the fascinating question of why don't houses made of ice melt when a fire is lit inside them?  So, my kids and I did some reading about this topic, and we also found some cute crafts and colouring along the way (links of our favorites below).

Igloo's are built from blocks of ice laid in circles upon circles, each layer shaved down so they make a narrowing spiral.  The man making it works from the inside.  Then finally at the top a block with edges wider than below is dropped in to the last space left.  Finally all the cracks are filled in with soft snow.  Next comes the important bit.  An Eskimo takes a very hot lamp inside, then closes the igloo with a block of ice to make everything airtight.  When the ice starts to melt, instead of all dripping down to the ground, the water runs with the curve of the igloo and soaks gradually into the ice bricks so that they are nearly wet through.  When the blocks are all wet, the door is removed, and when the cold air rushes in the house is transformed to a incredibly strong dome of ice!  It's so strong a polar bear can crawl over the roof without breaking it!  However, igloo's only last for the winter as once spring arrives and the temperature rises the igloo does melt and cave in.

Igloo's are a fascinating topic for those living in a warm part of Australia, and it has been fun exploring and thinking about these little ice houses.

To expand on this theme these are the activities I chose for us to work on further:

Igloo Colouring Page (with practice writing on it as well)
Read the book 'Diego's Arctic Adventure' by Emily Sollinger
And if you are looking for a group activity save up your milk bottles and build a milk jug igloo!


Visit Science@home to find out more about the Teach/Learn Blogging Carnival. Teach/Learn

Please take the time to visit the other participants and check out their posts on "Studies of Society and the Environment."

  • The Planning Queen has pulled together some of the many great sources that you can use to keep kids up to date with world news.
  • SMMART Ideas is writing about how your 2 year old isn't too young to learn the names and locations of the state she lives in and those around her...or even countries of the world!
  • For Adventures with Kids, photos can provide a great starting point for telling or discovering history, from family history to world history. Find out some questions to ask about the photos to get you started and where you can find historical images.
  • Narelle at A Bunch of Keys has been having lots of fun learning all about volcanoes and how they work.
  • Monique at Your Cheeky Monkey knows that kids are fascinated with igloos - how they are built and why they don't melt. We investigate why!
  • Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now has a fun treat to celebrate the end of a geography unit on land and water forms.
  • At Homeage, almost every day they get another piece of the world delivered to their door, helping them learn about where and how other people live.
  • Deb's girls at Science@home have been building their family tree and talking about all their relationships.

Thanks for visiting our carnival, have fun reading all the posts.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Special New Baby Gifts

When I had my sons I was given lots of gift packs and nappy cakes that, while they were gorgeous to look at, contained cheap products that you buy in the $2 shops, or they were (obviously) expensive bouquets which had a lot of extraneous materials and a couple of pairs of baby socks and a singlet (or similar).  Which was SO disappointing!  If you have had babies, I'm sure you know what I am talking about.

This is actually a topic I am now quite passionate about, especially after starting Your Cheeky Monkey, and hearing feedback about how useful the new Mums found all the items in our packs (and being quite surprised about it).

My newest gift pack for a new baby contains the most divine products for a new Bub, and is called "Welcome to the World Little One" and contains Australian products like a Babyjo Bamboo Beanie, Baby Billie Goats Milk Soap Wash, one of our very popular Burp Cloths, a Bonds Singlet and more.  There is absolutely no wasteful packaging either as it comes in a handy re-usable zippered case for Mum!!

So, if you need to purchase a special new baby gift, head over to Your Cheeky Monkey and let me create a gift for you that the new Mum will just love (and not have to throw most of it away!).

You might also like to read the amazing write-up Babyology did on our New Mum and Baby Bag a while ago!

New Mum Bag
Cuski Baby Comforters