Crafting with kids: DIY Memory Game

This DIY is a double whammy. It’s a relatively mess-free way to get creative with kids, and it’s a challenging, quiet game that will keep them occupied for hours (or at least minutes) when it’s done.

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I came up with the concept when I was brainstorming portable crafts to do with my  11-year old “little sister”. I volunteer with Big Sisters every week at a local school and it can be challenging to find projects we can complete in the hour we have together without making a huge mess. This one was a big hit.

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I’m sure you’ve seen memory games before. You take turns flipping two cards until you find a matching pair. This DIY version can be adapted for different ages by using more or fewer cards.

You’ll need:

  • cardstock
  • coloured cardstock
  • a paper cutter or scissors and a ruler
  • a glue stick
  • markers/pens/pencil crayons

The amount of cardstock you need will depend on how many cards you’re making. We used a variety of colours for the top layer to add an extra element of challenge to the game but you can stick with just two colours if you want. Make sure the bottom layers are all the same colour because they’ll be facing up when you play the game!

Cut your cardstock into equally sized rectangles using a paper cutter or a ruler and scissors. The bottom layer (in our case the cream cardstock) should be about 1cm (1/2″) both wider and longer than the top layer. You want the finished cards to be about the size of a playing card but you can make them bigger if you want so they’re easier for small hands to grab.

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When you have all of your top and bottom layers cut out (we made 36 of each), it’s time to glue. This is a job your little helpers can do. Glue the top layer onto the bottom layer, making sure to get all the corners. Placing them under a heavy book for a while can help to flatten them out.

Now brainstorm a list of pictures you’re going to draw on the cards. Since we made 36, we had to come up with 18 unique items we could draw. My “little sister” and I split the list in half and each drew 9 sets of 2. We decided to draw our sets on differently coloured top layers to make the memory game even more challenging. When your brain is trying to remember a colour, an item  and the location of a card it’s even harder to keep it straight.

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There you have it. Good luck making and matching!

 

 

 

 

 

Meatless Monday: Butternut squash polenta

I love a good hamburger as much as the next girl but there are so many reasons to eat less meat. Producing meat is pretty hard on the environment and as food prices increase (especially up here in Canada), it’s becoming less affordable.

I’m not suggesting you go full-on veg, but devoting even one night a  week to eating meat-free can make a difference. This butternut squash polenta is a great example of how meatless meals can be filling without the usual culprits like tofu and beans.

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If you’ve never tried it, you’ll be amazed by how easy it is to make polenta. It’s very versatile and forgiving. And when you’re not having a “Meatless Monday” it’s the perfect vessel for a hearty beef ragout.

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For now, let’s stick with the butternut squash version. This recipe serves 4.

You’ll need:

  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 1.5 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 pinch cumin
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 cups chopped kale
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 2 cups stock (vegetable, or chicken if you feel like cheating)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 tsbp butter
  • 1/4 cup cream (or more milk if you’re keeping it light)
  • 1/3 cup goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 º F. Peel your squash and cut it into 1cm (1/2″) cubes. Toss the cubes in 1 tbsp of the cooking oil of your choice, cumin, salt and pepper. Roast them until brown and tender, about 25 minutes.
  2. When there are about 10 minutes left on the squash, combine your stock and milk and bring them to a gentle simmer in a large pot. Whisk in the polenta. Stir until it begins to thicken- this will come together quickly. Turn down the heat and allow the polenta to cook for about 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat your remaining oil in a skillet on medium and toss in the chopped kale. The pieces should be bite-sized. Turn the heat to low, season with salt and pepper and toss occasionally.
  4. Once your polenta has cooked for a few minutes, add the butter and cream and season to your liking with salt. If the polenta is too thick, you can loosen it by whisking in a bit of warm water.
  5. Ladle a large scoop of polenta onto a plate or shallow bowl and create a hollow in the centre using the back of the ladle. Spoon on 1/4 of the kale and squash. Top with 1tbsp of crumbled goat cheese, 1 tbsp of pepitas and 1tbsp of dried cranberries.

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Do you have a favourite meat-free meal? Share yours in the comments below!

Jumping back in

After taking a break from blogging, I’m ready to jump back in!

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Here at HomeMaiden, you’ll find recipes, DIY projects, home renos, wedding ideas and lifestyle tips. Read more here.

This blog is a work in progress so your feedback is always welcome. Thanks for visiting. I hope you’ll be back soon!

First post: quick pickled onions

I’m starting things off with one of my favourite tried and true recipes: quick pickled onions.

If you’ve never quick pickled anything before, pay close attention. It’s a super easy way to up your sandwich and salad game. I add these bad boys to anything that needs an extra punch: fish tacos, asian rice bowls, eggs on toast…

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Continue reading “First post: quick pickled onions”