Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Home Made Sparkling Jello

This post is sponsored by Sparkling ICE but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

Now that Summer is upon us the warmer weather has got me craving cold refreshing drinks. It can be so tempting to grab something sugary like soda, but we all know that isn't the best option, especially not for the kids. The kids drink an awful lot of water, which is great, but sometimes it's nice to be able to give them a sweet treat instead. This is where Sparkling Ice saves the day! All natural fruity flavors, vitamins, antioxidants and no sugar. It's flavored sparkling water at its best! With the new mystery flavor added to the range, it's also fun!

Everything is better when it's fun!

The kids were pretty keen to put their taste buds to the test and work out just what the Sparkling Ice mystery flavor might be. With no color and no clues on the label, the girls were stumped when it came to guessing the flavor, so we moved straight onto the best bit: tasting it.

Well, all three girls had completely different ideas about what they thought the mystery flavor was after tasting it, but there was one thing they all agreed on. It was delicious! Ava decided that it tasted like blue raspberry flavor. Lola said it tastes like "fake cherry, but a really good fake cherry. Not like medicine". Mathilde declared that it tastes like "strawberry mixed up in lemon, but it's too bubbly for me". Ha! To be honest, I feel like I could taste all those flavors when I tried it. The girls are onto something! Make sure to keep reading to the end for your chance to take a guess at the Sparkling Ice mystery flavor and win big.


Now, drinking the mystery flavor was fun and delicious, but eating it just took the fun to a new level. Hold up... eating it? Yep! You read correctly. I thought it would be fun to make a little mystery flavored treat for the girls, so while they were at school I mixed up a little homemade sparkling jello as an after school treat. If you've never made jello from scratch before, it's super easy, and with the addition of Sparkling Ice you get a slightly bubbly take on a classic. Mmm... delicious and better for you than the store bought mixes.

 
Here's a look at how I made the sparkling jello. It's such an easy recipe and so easy to modify it to your favorite flavors that you'll never need to buy the store bought mixes again.

What you'll need:
1 cup Sparkling Ice
2 cups apple juice
2 tablespoons agave syrup or honey
2 sachets (4.5 teaspoons) gelatin
Fruit to top (don't use pineapple as it will break down the gelatin)
Small glasses or jars for serving


Add 1 cup of apple juice to a mixing bowl and add the gelatin. Stir to soften the gelatin.


Pour the remaining cup of apple juice into a saucepan along with the agave syrup. Heat over a medium heat until almost boiling and the syrup has dissolved.


While the apple juice and syrup are heating, add fruit to your serving cups or jars.


When the apple juice and syrup mix is almost boiling, remove from heat and add to the mixing bowl with the cold apple juice. Whisk thoroughly to combine.


Add 1 cup of Sparkling Ice and whisk thoroughly to combine.


Use a ladle to carefully pour the mix into each of the glasses or jars. The fruit will float to the top.


 Refrigerate for 2 - 3 hours, or until set.


Once the jello is set, it's time to eat! See, wasn't that easy? And look at how good it looks!


This home made sparkling jello was a hit with the kids. I can see us making a lot of it in different flavors over the Summer break. You can find the printable recipe here.

Now, back to that giveaway that I mentioned earlier...

Click here to head over to the Sparkling Ice Facebook page and enter their #WhatTheFlavorSweeps giveaway for your chance to win some pretty awesome prizes. Simply take a guess at what you think the mystery flavor might be to enter. No purchase in necessary to enter, but trust me, you're going to want to try the mystery flavor for yourself! The giveaway is open through July 31st 2018 and you can enter daily.

Have you tried the Sparkling Ice mystery flavor for yourself? I'd love to hear what you think the flavor might be.

Monday, 28 May 2018

Batteries to Bluffs Trail

After a grey and quite cool couple of weeks, the weather has really warmed up here in the Bay Area To make the most of the sun and the long weekend (and to celebrate my birthday) we decided to head to the Presidio in San Francisco and go for an afternoon hike.


I'm always a little embarrassed to admit that, despite living here for 6.5 years, we really haven't spent much time in this part of the city at all. This has mostly been due to the fact that we didn't own a car for such a long time, and it takes a long time to get to the Presidio by public transport from Berkeley. Now that we have a car for weekend adventures I'm keen to get out and explore more of this beautiful city as much as possible - especially now that the weather is nice.

Ava and I have been feeling a little under the weather this past week, so while I would've loved to take a long hike along the coast line I figured it was best to take a short hike for now. I checked out the hiking trails in the Presidio and the Batteries to Bluffs Trail jumped out at me straight away. At only 0.7 miles (1.1km) I knew that it would be an easy hike for the kids (they walk further to school each day), and with the beach at the end, there was definitely an incentive to get them moving!


Monday, 21 May 2018

Maker Faire 2018

This past weekend we attended Maker Faire, one of my favorite events of the year.

Have you been to a Maker Faire before? It's such a fun event. This was our 6th year in a row attending Maker Faire and it was just as fun as always. There was so much to see, do and experience with amazing displays, hands on creating and fun rides for big and small.


As always, we didn't manage to see all of Maker Faire in just one day, and while I'd love to spend two full days there to try and experience everything it does get a little overwhelming for the kids after a full day. Maybe once Mathilde is older we'll start going for the whole weekend. Side note - Mathilde has been to every Maker Faire since she was born! This was her 5th Maker Faire and she only just turned four. She wasn't even a month old the first time she attended! I wonder if she's the youngest ever attendee.


While we didn't get to see everything at Maker Faire, what we did see (and do) was a lot of fun. Let's take a look...

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Mathilde's Wild Kratts Birthday Party

I feel like I've been starting every post with this lately, but here I go again...

I've been a little behind here on Little Hiccups, so it's time to play catch up!

Ok, when am I never behind? Between the kids' schedule, travel and writing for other web pages (which you can see here) Little Hiccups tends to get a little neglected. But my goal is to catch up so fingers crossed I can keep it.

Anyway, enough of that. Let's take a look at Mathilde's 4th birthday party from a few weeks back...


Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Making City Adventures Easier with Good2Go

This post is sponsored by Good2Go but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

The kids and I spend quite a bit of time out and about exploring San Francisco. Exploring the city is one of my favorite things to do with the kids. We love finding new (to us) playgrounds and parks throughout the city  

I'm generally pretty prepared for our adventures in the city with bags of snacks, wipes, bandaids, tissues, toys, spare clothes... You know, all that stuff that moms find themselves carrying around. But there's one thing that I can't always be prepared with, and it's a big one. A bathroom! Our adventures in the city find us in a variety of different places, but there's one thing they generally have in common - no public bathrooms. And when there are public bathrooms available, well, let's just say that they're not always up to scratch. Finding a nearby cafe is my usual go to when the kids need a bathroom pit stop, but it's not always so easy, especially if I'm not familiar with the area - which is often the case. How do I know if the bathroom will be clean, or if they'll even have one. 

This is where the new app Good2Go, comes in super handy! 

Good2Go partners with cafes and retail spaces around the city to provide safe, well maintained and clean bathrooms for the community. Each bathroom is all-gender with a baby station and plenty of space for wheelchairs and strollers. The fixtures are all hands free so there's no need to worry about germs when opening the door, flushing the toilet or using the sink. And it's all controlled through your phone! It's a dream come true for parents out and about in the city with kids!

Recently Mathilde and I were hanging out in a (new to us) playground in the Mission District and I knew that she'd be needing a bathroom break soon. Wanting to be prepared, I pulled up the Good2Go app on my phone and found the nearest partner bathroom. What luck; it was just a short walk way in a nearby cafe!
  

Ever the tech savvy preschooler, Mathilde was excited to see how the Good2Go app works and press the buttons for me. The simple to use app brought up our nearest bathroom location and a big yellow button for directions. Mathilde pressed the directions button and our route was marked out for us. 


Mathilde was keen to follow the map right away, so we followed the directions on the map, and sure enough, a few minutes later we found ourselves at the cafe. See the Good2Go logo there on the sandwich board out the front? Mathilde was excited when she spotted it and pointed out that it matched the one on my phone! She can't read yet, but she sure is good at recognizing logos!   


It wasn't quite time for a bathroom break just yet, so we sat down with a delicious cookie and a chai latte. When Mathilde was ready I pressed the "Join Queue" button on the app. Now, if there were other people ahead of us the app would show us that we were in the queue and would alert us when we had reached the front. In this case, there was no one else ahead of us so we headed straight to the bathroom. 


Once you've reached the front of the queue, the app gives you a certain amount of time to make it to the door. If you don't happen to make it in time, the app will give you the option to rejoin the queue in your original place. Once you are within close distance of the door, the app will bring up a QR code "key" which can be used to unlock the door hands free. In our case, we were about 2 feet away from the door when the key popped up.


I placed my phone under the scanner by the bathroom door and the door unlocked and opened for us. The door then locked behind us once we had entered the bathroom. No hands needed! Not only is that good in terms of avoiding germs, but it made access with a stroller so much easier.


The bathroom was roomy with plenty of space for the two of us plus Mathilde's stroller. It was very clean and well stocked.  Everything from the toilet flusher, to the sink and hand dryer was automatic so there was no need to touch anything. Mathilde thought it was all pretty magical.


Even the door was hands free on the way back out again! Mathilde simply waved her hand in front of the sensor and the door opened back up for us. A magic bathroom indeed!


After our cafe and bathroom pit stop we headed back to the playground for a little more fun before hopping on Bart and heading home. 


Using the Good2Go app made finding a clean bathroom nearby super easy for us. We'll definitely be using it for future adventures in the city. As time goes by, more and more new bathrooms around San Francisco are being added to the program. Bathrooms that are coming soon are marked on the app and show up as grey, rather than green. I was pleased to see a lot of new bathrooms coming soon in locations all around the city.

Good2Go is available for both Apple and Android. You can find Good2Go onthe App Store here and Google Play Store here

Hooray for being able to find a clean bathroom when out with the kids. It really is the little things that make a difference to your day, right?

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Earth Day Festival of Colors

This weekend was a super busy one for our family.

If you're following Little Hiccups on Instagram and saw my stories this weekend you would've seen why. We had Cal Day (UC Berkeley's super fun and family friendly open day), a friend's birthday party, and an Earth Day Festival of Colors today at Ava and Lola's school. I'm exhausted just thinking about it all!

I have a lot of photos from the weekend to share, so let's start with the Earth Day Festival of Colors...


This was the third year that our school has held this particular event and it's always a lot of fun. The festival is based on the Indian Spring festival Holi and features yummy Indian food, a pedal powered mango lassi station, henna tattoos, making wildflower seed bombs, lots of fun Bollywood music, and Indian dancers. The highlight of the day is when all the kids, and the adults, get to throw colored powder at each other. It's so much fun!

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Magic Blooming Flowers for Mother's Day

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Parabo Press and contains affiliate links. 

Mother's Day is coming up in just over a month's time. Can you believe it? This year is flying away so fast! 

In preparation for Mother's Day the kids and I have been working on some small, personalized gifts to send to their grandmothers back home in Australia. Because we need to post our gifts half way around the world, we're a little limited in what we can make; for example, painted flower pots and home baked cookies are not an option. Rather than seeing this as a hurdle, I like to take it as a creative challenge and come up with a fun idea for the kids to work on. 


This year, our Mother's Day project actually comes courtesy of my kids. These magic blooming flowers are super simple to make but really make an impact. So what's magic about these flowers? Give them to a loved one with the petals folded in, pop them in some water and they magically bloom revealing a beautiful flower, perhaps with a hidden message inside! Ava and Lola have both made these at school before to celebrate Spring, and Lola often makes them at home. They're really so easy to make, and I've made it even easier for you with a printable template. Hooray for simple DIY projects!


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