Around the House with the Silk Cats
Making a Homemade Sledge!
Hello there, little holly berry! It’s a little chilly, isn’t it? I’ve been keeping warm this winter with all sorts of crafting and making! Did you hear it’s going to snow next week? I’m super excited, as sledging is one of my favourite things to do in the winter. In fact, I’m about to make my very own sledge from things I’ve found around the house, so how would you like to lend a paw?
Follow me on through to my workshop and we can get started! Now, here are the things I’ve found to make my very own sledge. As you can see, I have a thick cardboard box - the thicker the better for this! I also have a very large, thick plastic bag which will help the sledge slip and slide along the snow. And for the final touches, here is some very strong cloth tape and a pair of scissors.
First things first, we need to open up the bottom of the box and cut off the short cardboard flaps so that we can squash it down nice and flat. *squish squish squish!* Remember to make sure the sides are folded inwards rather than outwards.
Next, choose which side will be the front then fold up the top flap and tape it down, nice and sturdily. Now we can stick down the bottom flap too, at a 45o angle. That’s it! It needs to be all secure so that the sled glides over the snow, whoosh! I always put some extra tape around the sides to make sure it keeps it shape.
Finally, let’s cut open this plastic bag and wrap up the sledge like a Christmas present! It might not look very pretty but this will help it slip and slide down those hills. Use plenty of tape to make sure it’s tough enough!
Isn’t it wonderful to step back and admire something you’ve made with your own two paws? I can’t wait to try it out – now we just need to snow to hurry up and come fluttering down!
Mother Chocolate’s Recipes
Hello there, my little mince pie! Christmas is just around the corner so it’s time to start planning all the festive activities! It’s getting quite chilly outside, so why don’t you warm yourself up by helping me make this year’s Christmas pudding? These cakes are extra special and you can make them a week or so before Christmas, but I think they taste even better if you let all the delicious flavours soak together for a few days beforehand.
Before we can start baking, we need to make sure we have all the right ingredients. This what we’ll need today:
· 180g Mixed dried fruits – I love sour cherries, raisins and cranberries but you can choose anything!
· 60g Dates – stoned and chopped
· 60g Glace cherries – chopped
· 60g Dried apricots – chopped
· 90g Plain flour
· 90g Fresh white breadcrumbs
· 60g Dark soft brown sugar
· 60g Vegetarian spread
· 60g Carrot – grated
· 60g Cooking apple – grated
· 30g Walnuts – finely chopped
· 1 Egg
· 1tbs Black treacle
· 1tsp Mixed spice
· Grated rind and juice of a lemon
First things first, we need a large mixing bowl and wooden spoon for mixing everything up in, and a 1.2 litre pudding basin for the cooking. Make sure you grease the sides of the pudding basin before putting in the cake mix or it’ll get horribly stuck! Then we just need some string and tin foil – did you know you can make a wish while you’re making a Christmas pudding? So keep your eyes tight shut and think of your very bestest wish!
Now we have everything we need, it’s time to start baking. The first step is easy peasy lemon squeezy! Just pop all of your ingredients into the bowl and mix together until it’s nicely soft and smooth. It needs to be just right, so to check, scoop up some mixture on the spoon and turn it upside down. If it stays stuck to the spoon, it’s a bit too thick and you need to add a tiny bit of milk.
Next, pour your pudding mixture into the greased pudding basin. There are so many yummy ingredients in the pudding it can get quite heavy, so it’s best to ask an adult for some help with this. Now cover the basin with tin foil and tie it on with some string. This has got to stay on while it cooks, so make sure it’s done up good and tight!
The best way to cook a Christmas pudding is to steam it, so make sure you have a grown up helper for this bit - we don’t want any burned paws. Get your grown up helper to place a steamer over a pan of boiling water, then pop in the pudding before placing a lid on top. Now you just need to wait until it’s done! This bit requires some patience so why don’t you go exploring and find some holly leaves to decorate the pudding? They aren’t for eating but they look rather lovely.
After the pudding has steamed for 5 hours, it will be ready to eat! Here at the Chocolate household we love to eat it with hazelnut ice cream but it tastes wonderful with cream or custard!
Around the House with the Silk Cats
Christmas Sledge Decoration
Hello lovelies, what a delight to see you here today! I’m just showing the little ones how to make an adorable Christmas decoration – a teeny tiny sledge, perfect for hanging on your Christmas tree, sticking on to presents or as a little Christmas ornament. Now, get yourselves comfortable and I’ll tell you exactly how to make your own.
All you need to make the miniature sledge is the following:
· Lollipop sticks (2 regular sized and 5 small per sledge)
· Strong glue
· Decorations and paint, it’s up to you what you use!
Now we’ve got everything ready, we can get crafting!
1. First things first, we need to make the seat of the sled. This is done by placing the four small lollipop sticks down flat, lining them up side by side, moving the two middle ones up about half a centimeter and gluing them together. It’s probably best to do this over an old newspaper to avoid making a mess!
2. Next, we need to glue the long lollipop sticks at a right angle to the seat, to make the runners. You may need to give it a helping paw by holding it in place until the glue dries. They should be on either side of the seat, just like a real sledge.
3. Now, turn your sled right way up and glue the last small lollipop stick flat across the front of the sledge. This will be the front bar of the sledge and helps you to attach it to the Christmas tree.
4. Now, where has that ball of string gone? Oh, there it is! Time for the finishing touches. Carefully cut the string and glue to either end of the front bar, so that you can pull it along. If you like you can finish here, just make sure you leave it to dry properly before popping it on the Christmas tree or mantlepiece.
5. If you would like to add a little more Christmas magic to your decoration, I just love to use little jingle bells and a sprig of pine. Just a tiny dab of glue should do it. You can also paint your sled, but I recommend doing this before you glue on any decorations.
For Sale: The Log Cabin
Brrr! The weather is certainly getting chilly, isn’t it my dear? Summer seems like a distant dream! Well don’t you worry your little nose about it, I have the cosiest cabin in all of Sylvania for sale for a very special price. Come on, let’s have a look around shall we?
This place is the height of luxury with the authentic pine walls and lovely wooden interiors. There’s even a small balcony, where you can sip a cup of acorn tea whilst listening to the nature around you – it has the bestest views of the surrounding woodlands!
You’re not an early bird you say? Then you can enjoy a lie-in on one of two hammocks inside. They’re so comfortable, you’ll be asleep in no time… zzzz. It really is the perfect spot for an autumnal weekend away, right in the midst of nature.
If you still need a little convincing, here’s a secret I don’t tell every Sylvanian about this sweet cabin: the front steps can be transformed into a hot tub! It’s a rather special feature and will certainly be a hit with your friends! Don’t forget to bring a towel out with you, as it’s a rather chilly dash back to the cabin otherwise!
Well, I think that’s it for the tour. Are you keen? Yes? Absolutely wonderful! I’m sure you’ll have some wonderful holidays here.
Learning with Patrick Petite
Hello chestnuts, you’re all looking rather smart today! I’m excited to announce the beginning of rehearsals for the annual Sylvanian Village Christmas concert. It may be early but there’s an awful lot to do - we’ll be practicing every week until Christmas, so that we can play the most beautiful tunes for everyone to enjoy.
First things first, who would like to play the piano? Freya! You look rather keen, have you played before? Wonderful, you can have a tinkle on the keys while we decide on the rest of the instruments. Now we need someone who likes making a lot of noise to play the drum. Joanna, you’re a little chatterbox, do you think you could manage it? Jolly good, just remember to keep a steady beat as we’ll all be looking to you to keep us in time!
Next we need a talented little Sylvanian to play the xylophone. How about you, Toby? Excellent, why don’t you ask Freya to start teaching you some of the keys? *tinkle tinkle* And finally, we need a violinist, a trumpeter and a flautist to complete our little band. Piers, Tiffany and Felix, I think you can get your paws into the tunes! Everyone else grab a bell, a shaker or a triangle and we can start!
Now, let’s learn an easy song first - happy birthday. Did you know it’s Veronica Cakebread’s birthday next week? It would be extra lovely to play this for her to say thank you for all the delicious cakes she makes us, don’t you think?
On the count of three, we’ll try the first verse. One, two, three!
“Happy *screech* birthday *whine* to *plink-plonk* youuuuu!”
Oh dear, I need we need a bit more practice! Wonderful start though children, I’m already looking forward to the next music lesson. Your only homework this week is to practice your instruments, as after all, practice makes perfect!
Gelato with Georgina Maple
Making Strawberries and Cream Gelato
Hello there and a very warm welcome to my Creamy Gelato Shop! I’m going to share one of my very favourite recipes with you today. Are you ready to lend a paw?
Before we start, you’ll need to gather up all your ingredients:
450g of fresh strawberries
175ml of milk
2tbsp of fresh lemon juice
120ml heavy whipping cream
You’ll also need a large spoon, a bowl, a whisk and a blender.
First things first, you need to wash your strawberries. Once they have been rinsed in cold water, remove all the stems and leaves. Using a straw is the easiest way for little paws to do this!
When the strawberries are ready, get out your blender and pop in the strawberries, sugar and lemon juice. Whizz it all up until it’s liquid and then it’s time to add the milk. Pour it in and whizz, whizz, whizz until you have a smooth mixture.
Now for the fun bit - whipping the cream! Get your paws on a whisk and mix up the cream until it’s thick and creamy. Then gently stir the cream into the strawberry liquid, until it’s all a pretty shade of pink.
Your gelato is now ready to pop into the freezer! Now, the trick to avoid lumps of ice in your gelato is to stir it every 30-45 minutes. Sometimes I have a little taste when I stir it, just to make sure it’s extra, extra creamy!
When your gelato is ready, use a large spoon or ice cream scoop to serve it. I love adding fresh strawberries and other berries as a topping for this flavour but you could add sprinkles, chocolate buttons or a sauce to. You could even serve it as a fancy dessert in a sundae glass. That’s if you can resist eating it all straight away!
In the Playground
Planting a Flower Patch
Hello there blossoms, I’m so glad you joined us today. It’s lunchtime and I’ve got a wonderful activity planned for you all – we’re going to create our own little flower patch in the playground! If we plant them now, by spring time you’ll see some colourful little shoots popping open.
First things first, can you tell me what flowers need to grow? That’s right; sunshine, a cosy bed and lots of water. Who would like to be in charge of the watering can? Millie? Wonderful, I’m sure you’ll look after them very well.
Now we need to make the perfect little bed area for our flowers. Who has the spade? Ralph, you start digging and once you’re done, we’ll plant the seeds. We have sweet peas, cornflowers, daffodils and primroses. Won’t the playground be so pretty and colourful when they all grow? All done, Ralph? Now, make a little hole in the soil, gently place your seed inside and then cover it back up with the soil. All we need now is a sprinkle of water to get them on their way and a little bit of patience.
Ok little ones, it looks like all of our flowers are planted and there’s still some time left! Shall we count all the different coloured leaves in the playground before we go back inside? I can see red, orange and yellow already! If we collect up some of our favourite leaves, we can spend the afternoon making some pretty collages out of them.
Oh I would love to stay out here with all of you children, but it’s time to go back inside now. Don’t worry though, we’ll be out tending to the flower seeds tomorrow lunch time, and in no time we’ll have the prettiest playground in all of Sylvania. We can also rake up the twigs and leaves ready for a bonfire! Who wants to bring chestnuts for toasting?
Day Out With The Walnuts
Trip to Town
Oh, hello dear! How lovely to see you. Have you popped by to hear about our day trip to Town? It was rather exciting! Have you been yet? No? Oh you really must go! I’ll tell you all about it.
We caught the tram into Town bright and early, as we didn’t want to waste a moment of our day. Theodore Maple is the new tram driver and he’s such a lovely fellow. He gave us some helpful tips on where to visit and he knows all the fastest routes, so we arrived to Town quick as a flash.
Our first stop was the Grand Department Store and it was just wonderful! It has everything you could possibly dream of – pretty dresses, delicious chocolates, sparkly jewellery, pretty make up and much, much more. Saffron found the sweetest yellow dress and as it’s nearly her birthday, we treated her to it as an early present. She hasn’t stopped twirling in it since!
I took a peek in the Chocolate Lounge and everything looked so tasty, it made my tummy rumble. I tried a nibble of a hazelnut truffle and decided to treat Cedric and the children to a little bag each. They were so surprised and gobbled the lot!
There was a little incident when we were about to leave, as little Ambrose had disappeared! We searched and searched for him everywhere until we eventually found him in the lift, going up and down, up and down. The naughty thing was giggling away so it was hard to stay cross at him for long, but I was awfully worried.
Next, we popped into the Designer Studio to say hello to Stella. She’s a very talented designer and she even showed us some of the original drawings she’d made of Saffron’s new dress. Saffron wants to become a designer now when she grows up, so Stella gave her some pencils and told her to “keep practising!” Wasn’t that kind of her?
Ralph’s tummy was starting to rumble so off we went to get some food at the Delicious Restaurant. For starters, we had the yummiest butternut squash soup. The little ones spilled it all down their fronts but Cedric and I were too busy enjoying our own to notice. For mains, we all had fresh fish from Sea Breeze Cape with roasted acorns and spring greens, apart from the little ones who had chestnut puree. We didn’t even have room for desert, which was a shame as they had a cake nearly as big as Ambrose!
After lunch, we went for a wander around the Town. It’s so pretty, especially now all the flowers are blooming and the birds are singing in the trees. We bumped into Millie and Jasper Maple outside the Creamy Gelato Shop, so Saffron and Ralph had a quick game of tag with them while I got us all some gelato to cool down. Georgina really is the best gelato maker in all of Sylvania!
There was still so much to see in Town but the little ones were starting to get tired, so off we went back to the Tram. Theodore’s driving was so gentle, everyone fell asleep almost straight away! We had such a wonderful day and can’t wait until our next visit!
Our Summer Plans
Oh it’s so exciting, summer is just around the corner and I have so many plans! Stella knows how much I love to draw so has said that I can help out designing some new dresses with her. As it’s the summer holidays soon, I’m going to go and visit her Designer Studio to see what it’s like working as a designer. If I work very hard, maybe one of my dresses will even be sold in the Grand Department Store – just imagine that!
That’s not all I’ve got planned either, Grandma. Mum and Dad have planned a trip away for us on the Seaside Cruiser Houseboat in Sea Breeze Cape! I can’t wait to splash in the sea, do some fishing and go exploring in the row boat, then at night we can count all the twinkly stars in the sky.
Coco and Breeze are coming too – it will be their first summer holiday at Sea Breeze Cape and Breeze is so excited to visit where she was named after! I’m going to take them on the Splash and Play Whale first, as they love to build sandcastles.
Do you think you and Grandpa will visit us soon? I know! Why don’t you come on holiday with us? There’s still room in the car if we all squeeze up nice and snug, and the Ice Cream Shop has Grandpa’s favourite flavor, hazelnut and raisin! You can take mine and Coco’s room and we’ll use our Seaside Camping Set. I’ve been wanting to try it out for ages, and what could be better then sleeping under the stars?
I must dash now, Ralph’s waiting for me to go rock pooling!
Well hello there, poppet, what can I do for you today? You’d like to spend all day long beside the sea, taking in the fresh air? That sounds like the most perfect day and I’ve got just thing for you! Let me show you around the Seaside Restaurant – I’m sure you won’t be disappointed!
You can go right inside if you like, after you. As you can see in the corner, the restaurant has its own fully-fitted indoor barbecue which means it’s easy to rustle up something quick and delicious for guests. Just peer outside to spot the jetty; customers love to nip out here after they’ve eaten, to feel the sea breeze after dinner. Isn’t the view just dreamy?
The Seaside Restaurant attracts a lot of friends and families so I’m sure it’s right up your street; the little ones love going outside and playing on the Splash & Play Whale while you’re making them something scrumptious. It’s the loveliest place to dine in the evening – don’t worry, the light works perfectly so the dining area will be as bright as a star. Take a stroll down the beach after dinner if you like, it’s rather lovely and peaceful at that time.
You like the sound of it, do you? Well that’s just delightful to hear. It’s all yours!