Homemade toys: The Mix and Match Game

The mix and match game 1 - The yellow side

This game is so full of possibilities! I  made it as well during the nesting period and The Older One really likes it. He learnt the colours and shades, and the names of the different objects and shapes, and he learnt how to open and close pegs with it.

The mix and match game 2 - The yellow sideI like the fact that we can add new objects with different colours when we want.

The mix and match game 3 - The yellow sideAnd that we can talk about the patterns…

The mix and match game 4 - The yellow side…and the different textures!

Cultural differences

Cultural differences

Having lived in 4 different countries (including Portugal where I was born and grew up), and being married to a German, I am aware of some cultural differences between countries. But I  think of these as “my perceived cultural differences”, and often end up wondering weather there is some real truth in them (meaning backed up by nice scientific data) or not.

In this website you can compare certain aspects of different countries: Power distance (“the extent to which the less powerful members of institutions and organisations within a country expect and accept that power is distributed unequally”), Individualism (“the degree of interdependence a society maintains among its members”), Masculinity (“what motivates people, wanting to be the best (Masculine) or liking what you do (Feminine)“), Uncertainty avoidance (“The extent to which the members of a culture feel threatened by ambiguous or unknown situations and have created beliefs and institutions that try to avoid these”), Long term orientation (“how every society has to maintain some links with its own past while dealing with the challenges of the present and future” ) and Indulgence (“the extent to which people try to control their desires and impulses”).

I had to try comparing Portugal and Germany. Some results were really interesting (the power distance results were the ones that I was the most surprised about…).

I loved doing it and reading the differences and explanations.

I took it all with a grain of salt as this information is the result of questionnaires of a sample of 60 000 people (in each country) with, at least, high school level. And I am not sure how they distributed the questionnaires within the countries (I am sure they would be massive differences if the 60 000 people questioned in Portugal would be living around big cities or rural areas, and I guess it is the same for Germany. Or if they are in their 70s or in their 30s).

Still. Always love some food for thought.

 

How long do you need to be happy?

How long do you need - The Yellow Side

Are you happy?

How many of these habits of unhappy people do you have?

According to this 69 year old monk, we should train to be happy like someone trains for a marathon. He, like many other people, practice daily meditation.

Have you heard of this app? Just in case you have never done meditation and you don’t know how to start (first month is for free, and you only need 10 minutes a day!). (I used it on the way to work for a while and really enjoyed it)

 

Which colour is today?

The other day everything was grey. The sky, the buildings, the rain, the trees, people’s faces.

I got a grey thick sheet and asked The Older One: “Which colours do you think this day has today?”

Painting the day 1 - The Yellow Side

To my surprise he chose white, and green, and red. A bit like Christmas.

Painting the day 2 - The Yellow Side

Maybe he just thought the day needed a bit of brightening up.

Painting the day 3 - The Yellow Side

And although I would have chosen different colours, I felt the result, with the red and the green mixed up with the white, was very fit for that grey day.

Painting the day 4 - The Yellow Side

 

These days

These days 6 17th Feb

Some of these parenting tips are hilarious. Others are very serious. My absolute favourite is “Always put yourself first”, because it is SO important and SO hard to do!

Have you heard of this app that helps women finding female friendships? I think it is such a great idea! I often see (in internet forums) women asking for advice on very private and intimate matters from complete strangers. It makes me think maybe they don’t have any friends they can talk to about certain things. Now what about an app like that for men?

[photo credit: João Monteiro]

Lemon cookies for a rainy Sunday afternoon

I have been on a lemon baking wave recently.

Last week I baked a lemon cake, this week we did little lemon cookies.

Lemon cookies 1 - The yellow side

These are super simple and lemony-tasty 🙂

Here is my recipe (adapted and re-adapted from an old recipe book), if you’d like to try:

Ingredients:

100 g butter
100 g caster sugar
1 egg
240 g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
Zest of one lemon
Juice of one lemon
Demerara sugar

Lemon cookies 2 - The yellow side

Method:
Melt the butter and the caster sugar over a low heat, stirring continuously, until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat, slowly add the egg, always stirring, then stir in the flour with the baking powder, and finally the lemon zest and juice.
Cover and chill for 30 to 40 minutes.
Shape the dough into little balls (I like making mini balls with the help of spoons, as the dough is a tiny bit sticky), arrange them on a baking sheet, press flat with the palm of your hand and then with a fork. Sprinkle with demerara sugar. Bake for around 15 to 20 minutes on a pre-heated oven at 180°C.

Lemon cookies 3 - The yellow side

The Older One didn’t care to join me on the process this time, as he was busy in his own (play) kitchen baking his own cookies. Then he left them cooling down close to mine as you can see in this picture.

Bleeding crepe paper

I have seen so many of bleeding crepe paper projects on pinterest that I had to try it with The Older One. It was very interesting to witness once more how all that matters to him at this stage is the process, and that he couldn’t care less about the final result.

When we paint together I find it challenging because I care about the final result. I am slowly learning to just enjoy and play but it is hard, with my adult-framed mind. This project was fantastic because no matter what/how you do it, the result is so pretty!

This time I got these colours out (here is the inspiration, this blog is superb!):

Bleeding crepe paper 1 - The yellow side

We started by ripping apart the crepe paper and placing it on the white paper. Then we got to paint it with water.

Bleeding crepe paper 2 - The yellow side

That is when things started getting interesting:

Bleeding crepe paper 3 - The yellow side

He started squeezing the crepe paper and soaking it into the water, changing the colour of the water and experimenting with it.

He also used the soaked crepe paper as a brush to paint the white paper.

Bleeding crepe paper 4 - The yellow side

And finally used the red water to paint the white paper with his brush.

The Older One and his little friend were very concentrated playing and experimenting. The mothers, we did our bit too, much more “result-focused”, and look at how pretty our collaborative paintings turned out:

Bleeding crepe paper 5 - The yellow side

Bleeding crepe paper 7 - The yellow side

Bleeding crepe paper 6 - The yellow side

Such an enjoyable activity to do together! Have you ever tried this technique?