August 2013 archive

Miso Soup

| Cooking

Miso Soup

Miso Soup

Miso Soup – After a summer of gluttonous fun it’s time to get back to healthier living.  I often think that when the school year starts it’s almost like New Year’s, when people make resolutions to get fit and healthier… well, that’s the way it always seems to work for me anyway.  So, back to it!

One way I force myself to eat better is by packing my lunch everyday for work. I know many people go out for lunch but if you can pack your own lunch, you’re more able to control the food you consume. I have a variety of foods that I take for lunch but one of my favourites is soup, especially chicken noodle (I have the best recipe which I’ll share in an upcoming post). Recently I tried a new soup that I think is great and my husband loves.  It’s a very light and healthy Miso soup and takes about 20 minutes to make.  You may have to shop around to find a few of the ingredients but its worth it.  I found all of my ingredients in a local Japanese specialty store but I know there are local grocery stores that carry these ingredients too.

The original recipe is here but I modified it based on all the reviews I read for the recipe.

 Ingredients:

  • 5 cups water
  • 2 tsp dashi granules (3 tsp if you like a saltier, stronger fish flavour)
  • 3 tbsp miso paste
  • 1 package of medium firm tofu, diced
  • 4 green onions sliced into pieces
  • 2 tsp wakame seaweed (feel free to omit if you’re not into seaweed – you’ll notice there isn’t any in my photo – my husband loves it but me, not so much)

Directions:

  1. In a large saucepan heat water and dashi granules on high until it comes to a boil, then turn down to medium heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  2. Put the miso paste into a cup or small mixing bowl and add a few spoon fulls of the hot broth from the saucepan and mix in with the miso paste until it becomes almost liquid in nature.  Add this mixture to the saucepan and whisk in.
  3. Add the diced tofu, green onions, and wakame seaweed.  Simmer for about 5 more minutes.
  4. Serve into a bowl and enjoy!
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Sisal Rope Bird Feeder

| Crafts & DIY, Kids Fun

Quick and easy sisal rope bird feeder.

A quick and easy bird feeder made from a tin can and sisal rope.

Sisal Rope Bird Feeder – Our time at the beach this summer finally came to an end this past weekend.  Sadly we packed up and went back home but not before I had a chance to make this cute little bird feeder.  Over the past number of weeks I’ve seen an incredible array of wildlife and lots of beautiful birds including hummingbirds, sandpipers, hawks, owls, grey herons and the most awe-inspiring bald eagles (see below for some of the bird photos I took this summer). One day we even witnessed an eagle scream down from the sky, dive into the water after a seagull that was floating in the ocean, grasp the seagull in his talons and fly away with the it – this was only about 75 feet away from us.  The size and power of these birds is something you really have to see to believe.

Obviously this sweet little bird feeder isn’t meant for the eagles but there really is a huge variety of birds that live near the beach that would love this feeder.  This is a simple project that kids could easily help make. It only took about 20 minutes to make the entire thing.

Materials:

  • Clean tin can – keep the lid (I used a large tomato can)
  • Sisal rope
  • Piece of metal for post (sorry, I don’t even know what I used, it was just a scrap I found in the garage)
  • Glue gun and glue

Instructions:

  1. Take the tin can lid and bend it in half. 
  2. Take the metal for the post and glue it down so that there is enough room for the birds to perch while they eat.
  3. Insert your can lid so that it fits nicely over the metal piece you just glued in and is just inside the opening of the can and glue into place making sure there are no openings for the seed to fall through.
  4. Find the top middle of the can and glue a long piece of sisal rope (about 2.5 ft) from top to bottom of the can so that you have 1 ft on either side of the can hanging off (you’ll tie this together at the end) – this will be the part that hangs from the hook or tree.
  5. Now, starting at the top of the can, slowly glue down the sisal rope from one end to the other by going around the can in a circular motion until you reach the bottom of the can. Cut the rope and glue in ends.
  6. Cut a piece of rope the exact size of the front of the can and glue on around the top/front edge to help give a nicer finished look to the feeder.
  7. Tie the two 1 foot piece ends that are still hanging to the sides together in a knot.
  8. Fill with bird seed and hang from a hook or tree.
Birds on southern Vancouver Island.

Birds on southern Vancouver Island – photos by Jamey Ekins.

 

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Jellyfish Friendship Bracelets – Free Printable Template

| Crafts & DIY, Kids Fun, Printables

Jelleyfish bracelet tutorial with printable template.

Jelleyfish bracelet tutorial with free printable template.

A while back, I tried to teach Noelle how to make friendship bracelets.  I used to spend hours making these when I was a kid.  It didn’t go overly well with Noelle. I’m not sure if she was still a bit too young or she just wasn’t interested. Determined to find something easier for her to make, I found some Pinterest posts on how to make woven bracelets (I wanted to give credit to one great post in particular but it’s a broken link now).  I got out an old cereal box and some embroidery thread and sat down to test it out – it worked! Inspired by this super easy friendship bracelet idea, I created a simple template that you can print out, glue onto some light cardboard (cereal boxes or pasta boxes work well), cut out and you’re ready to go.

Oh, and I have no idea what the real name is for these sorts of bracelets but Noelle and I named them Jellyfish Bracelets because as you’re making them, they look like jellyfish (see photos below).

Materials:

  • Light cardboard box that you can cut up (cereal, oatmeal or pasta boxes for example)
  • Download Template
  • Paper
  • Embroidery floss – Up to 7 colours
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Any jewellery findings if you want to make it removable, otherwise just tie the bracelet right on your wrist
Printable Jellyfish Bracelet Template

Click to download – Printable Jellyfish Bracelet Template

Instructions:

  1. Download the printable template and print onto a piece of paper
  2. Cut out one of the circles from the paper and glue onto a piece of your cardboard (make sure to get the edges of the circle covered really well with glue).  Let the glue dry completely. (If you aren’t patient enough to do the whole glue thing, you could just copy the template design directly onto the cardboard with a pen).
  3. Now cut the cardboard with the paper glued onto it around the edge of the circle to where the tips of the arrow heads are. Cut a slit in each line that has the arrow head, about the same distance as the line itself. Use the sharp end of your scissors to poke a hole in the middle, approximately the size of the circle.
  4. Now grab your embroidery floss and cut either 7 or 14 pieces (2 of each colour) all 18″ long  for adults or about 14″ for smaller kids. I find that doubling up the floss (using 14 pieces) is thicker and goes a bit faster.
  5. Knot together all the embroidery thread at one end so that there is still a little tail of ends.
  6. Careful thread the ends of all the thread through the hole so that the knot is on the back side of your template/cardboard.  Put one piece of each thread (2 pieces per slit if you’re using 14 pieces of floss) into each slit so that it’s snug into place – see Photo A.
  7. Now, turn the template so that the empty space is pointing to your chest.  Count 3 slit spaces to the left from there (approx. the 10:00 pm position if it were a clock).  Take that piece(s) out of the slit and place into the empty space that is facing your chest – see Photos B and C.
  8. Turn the template counterclockwise so that the empty space is again pointing to your chest and repeat step 7.
  9. Keep your thumb gently over the hole in the middle to make sure that the bracelet remains in position while you’re moving the threads around. You’ll also want to run your fingers through the threads underneath the template from time to time to prevent the threads from getting tangled.
  10. Eventually you’ll start seeing the bracelet appear underneath once you get going – see Photo D. Keep going until you’ve reached your desired length. Tie off the end and finish off as you please (I added some clasps so my daughter’s bracelets so she could take hers on and off but you can keep things simple and just tie the two ends of your bracelet together).

Looking for more great kids stuff:  10-minute superhero costumeprintable robot colouring page DIY I spy gamegood karma cardsfamily movie night tickets, blank faces coloring pages, indoor fairy garden

Thanks for reading!

~ Jamey

Follow this tutorial to create your own jellyfish bracelet.

Follow this tutorial to create your own jellyfish bracelet.

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10 Minute Superhero Costume

| Crafts & DIY, Kids Fun, Printables

10 minute superhero costume.

10 minute superhero costume with printable mask template.

The other night during dinner Noelle decided to let me know that it was superhero day at camp the following day.  My first thought was “are you kidding – you’re just telling me this now”  but after thinking it through for a moment I felt up for the challenge of creating a superhero costume before bed time.  I gathered the supplies which included felt, ribbon, elastic and a pillow case.  I looked up a few mask designs online and then decided to create my own based on a few that I liked.  After some measuring, cutting and sewing I created a cute little costume in mere minutes and it was something that Noelle adored.  I’m still a novice at sewing so I kept this simple –  as long as you can sew a straight line you can manage this.

Materials:

  • Printable mask template – download here
  • Felt (one or two colours)
  • Ribbon
  • Pillow case
  • Elastic
  • Scissors
  • Pen
  • Sewing machine and thread
Printable template - 3 mask designs.

Printable template – 3 mask designs.

Instructions:

  1. Measure your ribbon to the desired length, cut and pin into place on the edge of the pillow case (I used a large stitch length so that I could easily remove the ribbon from the pillow case when we were done with the costume). Sew the ribbon onto pillowcase and secure each end by sewing back and forward to keep the stitches from unraveling.
  2. Download and print out the mask designs. Cut out the mask you prefer and then trace the template on the felt. Cut out the mask from the felt. If you’re using 2 colours, cut along the light grey line from the interior of the mask, trace onto the second colour of felt and then cut out. At this point you can pin or glue the 2 mask cut outs together and then sew around the edge of both the inner and outer mask (if you  just want to use glue you don’t really need to do this step, I just thought it looked nicer with the stitching).
  3. Measure the mask and elastic on your child’s head to make sure you get the correct size – you want it snug but not too tight.  Cut and sew the elastic band on either side of mask (if you don’t want to sew you could cut a slit in either side and tie on some ribbon).
  4. Have your child try on their new costume and say hello to the newest superhero!

Looking for more great kids stuff: Jellyfish Friendship Bracelets, blank faces coloring pageprintable robot colouring page DIY I spy gamegood karma cardsfamily movie night tickets

Subscribe to Dabbles and Babbles to receive the latest crafts, activities for kids, recipes, printables, tutorials and more – subscribe in the right sidebar. 

Thanks for reading!

~ Jamey

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