Saturday, December 3, 2011

New Maths program

I was excited to find a new (to me) maths curriculum called Math Mammoth.

It is a downloadable PDF curriculum for all grades. I love that you can use the PDFs as a print out or enter the answers directly onto the PDF on the computer.

I was also excited to see that the money units are available in Australian currency and the measurement units in metric. Open-mouthed smile Hard stuff to find when most good curriculums are American.

The best part is that a years worth of curriculum comes in under $40. I like that Winking smile

I haven’t bought any of the units yet as I’m still undecided on what levels to buy, but I thought I’d share them here in case anyone else might like them

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Steamed Buns


Our Geography topic this week was China. Our whole family loves Asian food, so it stands to reason that our favourite way to experience Chinese culture is cooking.


I have made steamed buns a few times before and we just love them. It a really easy delicious snack or side dish. I have even been told by a Chinese friend that they are as good as her mother makes. That is high praise Open-mouthed smile



Chinese Steamed Buns
(as found on this blog years ago)

16 squares parchment paper, each 7cm by 7cm in area
350mL warm water
3 tablespoons white sugar
dash salt
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1.5 tablespoons oil
600g plain/all-purpose flour, sifted
1. In a small bowl, mix the sugar and salt in the water, and then mix in the yeast. Let it rest for about 15 mins, or till the surface is covered in frothy yeast.
2. Add the oil to the mixture and stir it in to combine
3. In a large bowl, add the flour and make a hole in the centre. Add the liquid to the hole and gradually incorporate the flour till you have a sticky mass.
4. Oil your bench top with a little olive or vegetable oil, them knead the dough on the oiled surface until it forms into an elastic and smooth ball, which takes about 15 minutes. The dough should be elastic and slightly tacky but not so that it sticks to your hands.
5. Roll out the dough into a tube that’s about 5cm in diameter.
6. Slice the tube into 16 loafs. Lay each of the loafs on its cylindrical edge, not the face, on top of a square of parchment paper, and leave for about 20-30mins to rise (or till the surface has become slightly puffy)
7. Shape your buns - if at this time you wish to make filled buns, roll them into a circle, add the filling to the middle then pinch the sides together and give it a slight twist so it doesn’t come undone as it steams. Leave to rest for another 30 minutes.
8. Arrange the loafs in a steamer (which is already madly steaming away). They will expand quite a fair bit so try and leave about 3-5cm around each bun. Cover the steamer and steam over high heat for 15 minutes.
9. Immediately remove from the steamer and place on a plate to cool enough so they can be handled - but they do taste best when they’re still warm from the steamer!
Cross sections - the red bean filled buns were made like dumplings, while the spring onion ones were rolled out into a strip, covered in spring onion, then tightly rolled up

Cooking Notes:
1. Though these buns taste best fresh from the steamer, if you’ve steamed too many and a few get stale, you can re-steam them for a few minutes, or give them a quick zap in the microwave to bring back their softness. They won’t be quite as good as they are when fresh, but they’ll still be quite edible 
2. Treated like a dumpling, you can fill these with any number of savoury fillings - vegetarian buns, char siu bao, the world is your oyster!
3. They can also be filled with almost any sweet filling - common ones include sweetened red bean paste, chestnut paste, sweetened lotus seed paste and black sesame paste . I’ve once even had these with a nutella-like filling!
4. If all the buns will not be devoured in one sitting, the remaining uncooked buns at the end of step 7 can be tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen for a few weeks. However, they must be thawed in the refrigerator prior to steaming.


This batch came out lumpier than usual I think because I didn’t kneed the dough enough at the beginning.

If I’m adding a filling I usually only divide the dough into 10-12 pieces. Our favourite filling is banana or strawberry with Nutella.Open-mouthed smile But they are just as good plain, so good in fact that I’ve eaten two while typing this post. Embarrassed smile

IMG_3132IMG_3133They are just THAT good. Thanks China Red heart

Little Wonders' Days

Expedition Earth–South Korea


We added South Korea to our note books, beginning with an introduction to Asia and adding a map of Asia.


Colouring a map and flag and writing in important facts of South Korea


We looked up our names on Google Translate and added them to the notebook page as well as the flash card for hello in Korean and a flip book of South Korean animals.  We printed a South Korea mini-book and wrote about old kings of Korea wore detailed metal work crowns set with gems. This craft and information we got from the book Global Art.


I cut the crown shapes from some gold card an gave the girls a collection of craft gems, ribbons and stickers to decorate it.




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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Muffin Maths

Learning maths is always more fun if you can apply it to real life situations. I think the easiest way to do this is with cooking. It is definitely Evie and Georgie’s favourite way to practice maths… not that they realise that’s what we’re doing Winking smile.

Reading the recipe directions and measurements, measuring the ingredients, combining them in the right order, and then measuring the batter into the muffin tray. Setting the temperature on the oven, and the timer to the right measurement. All math based activities.


IMG_3053 IMG_3052

And what’s more fun than eating your maths work when your all done? Open-mouthed smile

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Expedition Earth–Week 1 Introduction


As I mentioned in my Curriculum Choices post we are using Expedition Earth for Geography.

The first week of lesson plan is an introduction to Geography, the World, and maps. We started a notebook for the program, I chose to use large A3 size art books so we could stick in all the worksheets maps and other activities we will do.


We started with making a title page, and then a map of our house.


We coloured and labelled the continents and added a world map. Evie liked picking out all the countries she already knew.

Our craft project was to make a paper mache Earth. I found a great glue recipe but I can’t find the blog where I got it from.

Paper Mache Paste Recipe:

Combine ½ cup flour and 2 cups cold water in a bowl.
Boil 2 cups of water in a sauce pan and add the flour and cold water mixture.
Bring to a boil again.
Remove from heat and add 3 tablespoons of sugar.
Let cool. The paste will thicken as it cools.


We spent about 15 minutes just tearing up newspaper while the glue cooled. We covered the balloons in a thick layer of paper and glue and left it over night to dry before doing a second layer. The Earths were quite hard by this point so we painted them, first with the green islands, then blue for the oceans, and white for the north and south pole.


When they were all finished and dry we hung them in the girls bedroom. It was fun making these I haven’t done paper mache since primary school Winking smile


I think they turned our great.


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Friday, November 4, 2011

Marbling with shaving cream


I’ve seen this craft all over blog-space an I have wanted to try it for the longest time!

We happened to find a can of shaving cream in the cupboard and I figured we’ could give it a go.

I worried it would be messy, but we did it next to the sink and clean up was really easy.

All you need is shaving cream (the foaming kind), food colouring, and paper.


Spread the shaving cream our on a tray, add some (or lots) of drips of food colouring and swirl them around with a skewer. Place a piece of paper over the top and pat down very lightly, peal it off then scrape off the shaving cream.


Tada. you have a pretty picture! The colours were much more vivid in real life, closer to the picture in the shaving cream. The girls really had fun doing this, Pulling he paper off was such a surprise. When we do this again I’ll make sure we have loads of shaving cream.


a Hannah   d


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