Is it a Snat… or a Cake?

sibo-and-her-snat

Ginny was telling me the other day that when she was a kid she loved drawing monsters.

Monsters? I said. Whatever do you mean?

She reckoned she and her friends used to take a couple of pieces of paper and draw imaginary creatures. Scary ones, funny ones, tall ones, thin ones – you name it ones.

Then they would give those crazy critters names and make up stories about them.

Of course, I should add that Ginny grey up in Malawi a million years ago when there was no social media, internet and… it’s really hard to imagine this… but they did not even have a television. Sjoe!

No wonder they had to find stuff to occupy themselves.

But then the other day a friend of mine posted a picture of her cat on Facebook. She was holding the cats’ ears back, so it looked a bit like a snake.

leonies-cat

I started thinking about those monsters and wondered what it would look like if you drew cats’ ears on a snake. Or if you gave a cat a spitty tongue like a snake has. And what would you call your creature… a Snat? Or maybe a Cake?

I reckon that often we’re so busy going about our lives that we don’t use our imagination half as much as we could. And with with all these awesome animated movies it’s also a bit mind boggling and feels like a hard act to follow.

But actually we don’t have to follow anybody – we can do our own thing!

Plus we have cool tools. Apart from good old kokis or crayons and paper, we can also draw monsters on the computer.

You could even write your own little book with monster illustrations too!

So… who wants to accept the monster challenge?

Draw a monster – post it on Sibo’s Facebook page  and we’ll have a lucky draw where somebody can win some Sibo books. We’ll put the pictures on the website too.  If you want to make up a story about your monster – go for it!

You can draw them on paper and take a photo – or get your parental agent to take one. You can also draw one on the computer and post it or email it. There are no rules. You just have to draw a monster!

Have fun and be creative!

Sibo

sibo-thinking

Get off your butt!

Sibo hula hooping

Last week you had to get off your phone – this week you have to get off your butt!

Yip – we’re talking about exercise.

It‘s so important. Like getting enough sleep – remember – we covered that a while ago ago.

Getting enough exercise applies to big people just as much as it does to little ones. Often I ask my friends if they want to come and ride bike with me and they say… nah – I’m having fun watching TV.

Yet there are so many fun things we can do that can be counted as exercise.

Like hula hooping . That’s my favourite. You can either buy one or make your own hula hoop out of irrigation pipe and a hose connector. Then tape it up to look pretty. Moms can do this too – it’s really good exercise, strengthens all your core muscles and gives you nicely toned arms and legs – especially if you learn some tricks. There are loads of how-to-do-tricks videos on the internet.

Another form of great exercise is jumping. Of course if you have a trampoline, or access to one, then it’s really easy to jump – but you can also skip using a skipping rope or play hop scotch. These all count as jumping.

You are wondering why jumping is good for you – aren’t you?

It releases toxins and builds bone mass. Obviously it also increases flexibility too. Bouncing around on a trampoline develops motor skills – because it allows a child’s brain to function bilaterally. That means it gets both sides of your brain and both sides of your body to work together so that you don’t lose your balance and fall over while bouncing! Apparently it also helps improve cellulite – that should get your mom’s attention.

Never forget – when you are outside having exercise, the sunlight encourages the production of Vitamin D – which is responsible for a healthy immune system and brain.

Our brain chemistry is also affected by posture, positioning, as well as specific movements. Try this next time you are stressed and feeling a bit like you cannot cope.

Stand up straight with your feet apart and your hands on your hips for a few minutes. Breathe deeply and imagine you have super powers… let me know if it works please.

All in all exercise makes you feel better – no matter what you do. Plus it’s good for your body too.

Get moving people.

Sibo

Nifty Beads

Sibo beads 2

We made some seriously cool beads last week. They are really easy to make too. Here’s how you make beads out of salt dough…

Making the dough…

2 cups of plain flour
1 cup of table salt
1 cup of water

Put all ingredients into a mixing bowl and gradually add the water, mixing to a soft dough.

Remove the mixture from the bowl, put it on a flat surface and knead it for 10 minutes. (Yes I know your arms gets tired but you need to do this because it helps to create a good smooth textured  dough.)

Let the dough stand for about 20 minutes before you start working with it.

While your dough is having a rest (you can have one too) you need to cover some baking trays with grease proof paper or baking paper.

If you don’t use all of the dough at once – you can wrap it in plastic and store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

Making the beads….

Pinch of small amounts of dough and roll it into a nice round ball in the palm of your hand.  Carefully make a hole in the centre of the bead using a toothpick or something similar. Place it on the baking tray.

Make a hole through the centre. You must make the hole in the centre whilst the dough is still soft – it becomes very hard once it has dried completely.

You can, or course, make the beads any shape or size that you want to.

You can leave them to dry naturally in the air. This is environmentally friendly, but it does take around 48 hours for them to dry. Or you can dry them in a very cool oven ~60 degrees Celcius.  (Don’t be tempted to make the oven any hotter – the beads just crack and then they are useless.) It takes 3-4 hours for the beads to dry.

Once they are dry you can paint them different colours with craft or spray paint.    When the paint has dried, give them a coat of clear varnish or spray paint to make them nice and glossy.

Now you’re ready to thread your beads.  We use fishing nylon – but you can use anything – wool, twine,  leather – whatever you have. We also cut up slices of cork (from wine bottles) in between the big beads.

Go crazy – have fun.

Sibo

Sibo gets organized!

Sibo T-shirt

Feh! After just a few days of school I am missing the holidays already. Mind you – it was really nice to see all my friends again and I do like learning new stuff.

I decided to be more organized this term. Often I used to scatter my school stuff all over the house and then sometimes land up in class without a book I need or I’d forget my sports clothes or something else important.

So I asked my parental agents if I could have a table into my room so that I can do my homework there instead of in the kitchen. Dad found one at a second hand store and sanded it down for me. We painted it a nice bright pink and now it looks really great.

Funny, but I feel more motivated to sit down and work at my new pink desk.

I also keep all my books lined up against the wall.  I pinched two of mum’s smooth round stones from the garden and painted them the same pink as my desk so that I can put them either side of the books and they don’t fall over.

I covered an old tin with a page from a magazine that I liked and I’m keeping all my spare pens, pencils and rulers all neat and tidy in one place, so I can find them. I even have a diary and I write down all the important things that I need to remember and diarize dates.

My next project is to make a notice board that I can put up above my desk, so that I can pin stuff to it. When I finally make it I’ll share details with you all too – in case you want to have a nice tidy, inviting workspace too.

When I get home from school each day I first have a snack. Then I get changed and hang up my school uniform all nice and tidy for the next day.

Instead of procrastinating as much as possible before doing my homework – I am trying to do it straightaway. Then I can reward myself with some TV time or go have fun working in my veggie garden or riding my bike.

So far it’s been working rather well – but then again – we’ve only been back at school for a few days.

We’ll see how long it lasts!

Sibo

Helping the end-of-holiday blues.

Sjoe! It’s unreal how quickly the holidays have whizzed past. Unbelievable!

I considered getting depressed at the idea of going back to school next week but then I thought it would actually be nice to see my friends again. Plus learning new things is always pretty awesome.

Did any of you use the ideas in my previous blog? If so – I’d love to see the results. You can always email pics to me at sibo@sibo.co.za . We could put your pictures on the website so that other people could also be inspired.

A great way to end the holidays is to make something tasty to eat. I’m talking seriously tasty now – like milo balls! You could get a group of friends together and pool your resources to buy the ingredients.

This is what you need:

I x 250g packet of Marie biscuits; 4 x table spoons of Milo, 1 tin of condensed milk, half a cup of coconut plus extra coconut to roll the balls in.

Smoosh up the Marie biscuits until they are all small and crumbly.  If you don’t have a blender or a mixer – you can put them in a zip lock bag and smack them gently with a rolling pin or a wooden spoon for a bit. Be careful not to be too enthusiastic and break the bag though.

Once the biscuits are all nice and crumbly put them into a bowl (if you are not using a blender) and add the Milo, coconut and condensed milk. Blend it well until it is all nicely mixed together.

Using a tea spoon – take a spoonful of mixture and roll it between your palms into a nice round ball. Then drop it into a cup of coconut and swish it around until the ball is coated with coconut. Place it on a baking tray or something similar. Keep rolling until you have used up all the mixture. (It should make approximately 50 – 60 balls – or more if you make them smaller.)

Beware… you will get very sticky hands but you can always lick them clean – after you’ve finished that is!

Place the tray of Milo balls into the fridge for 10 minutes to harden. Then store them in an airtight container.

These really are a delicious treat – and they’re not as sweet as you might imagine. Have fun making them and remember to clean up the kitchen afterwards.

Enjoy!

SiboSibo with Milo Balls

Holiday Fun Again

Recycling

I bet you are all really glad that its school holidays again – especially now that its winter and is cold in the mornings. But after a few days of sleeping in those odd few twinges of boredom start to set in.

I mean we can only watch so much television, play so many computer games and even after a while I even want a break from reading books too.

It’s great if you money is no object – then there are lots of things to do. Like going to the movies, shows, amusement parks, on holiday and other fun stuff. Or one could visit a science centre like Sci-Bono Discovery Centre in Newtown. It’s not so expensive and they have some very cool things going on for the holidays.

But many of us are a tad financially challenged and that’s when we have to make a plan.

Firstly remember that if you’re feeling cold and a bit in the doldrums – get some exercise. Any kind of exercise. Grab a friend or even better – a couple of friends and go for a nice brisk walk. Or a run. Or a bike ride. Or hula hoop.  Do somersaults and handstands in the garden or the park. Go crazy.

Exercise boosts creativity – so when you’ve finished it’s time to get creative.  You can make amazing things with junk. Using fishing line (which does not cost that much and you get an awful lot of it on one reel) you can string up all sorts of things like bottle tops, corks, buttons, old beads and bits of plastic. These days’ plastic bottles come in all sorts of colours too.  You can also paint the stuff you string up. One string might look a bit odd – but if you make lots of strings you could make a hanging doorway for your room or even a secret nook in the garden.

Don’t forget about fabric painting. If a bunch of you each buy one pot of fabric paint and share – then you’ll have lots of colours. You can brighten up old t-shirts or even paint flowers or patterns on your sheets. Make sure you get your parental agent’s permission first though.

If you have access to the website – there is a fabulous site to visit to find things to make Toys from Trash.  Arvind Gupta is a friend of Ginny’s and lives in India.

Happy Holidays.

Sibo

Mothers Day is Special

Sibo and mum

Our Mothers (or the people who act as mothers) are really special people in our lives – right? They love us unconditionally, listen to us, dry our tears, feed us, look after us and be our private taxi service whenever we need to get somewhere.

Often we don’t even remember to thank them for all the things that they do. Shame on us!

Yes – they also can drive us nuts, nag us to keep us on the right track (no matter how old we are) but they only do this because they love us and want the best for us.

They care.

Like I mentioned last week, Sunday 8th of May is Mother’s Day. This is the one day of the year that we can give back to our moms.

Spoil them like crazy. Make them feel loved.

We can buy flowers and fancy presents, but if we don’t have lots of money there are still things we can do.

Here are a few ideas that just cost time – mostly.

Make a lovely Mother’s Day card. Go crazy – decorate it with anything fancy you can find – glitter, dried flowers, bits of fabric, wool – get creative. You love your mom – show her how much time you are willing to spend on her.

If you don’t have money for a gift you could make her vouchers. Little cards or papers that say things like:

“Please would you do the washing up?”
“Please would you make me a cup of tea?”
“Please will you bring in the washing?”
“Please will you pick up the dog poop?” (This only works if you have a dog).
“Please will you wash my car?”
“Please will you bring me my glasses from my room?”

You get what I mean? Anything that you think could be useful for your mom – each family has different needs.

Write the vouchers nicely, decorate the cards or papers and put them all together in an envelope. Or make little holes in the side and bind them together with string or wool.

The cruncher with vouchers is… we have to be prepared to do the job when mom presents it to us.  With no moaning, groaning or whinging! Otherwise they are pointless.

We could also make a meal or a cake – and be sure to do all the washing up afterwards.

Whatever you choose to do – do it with love!

Sibo

Clever Ideas

Me - chuffed with myself!
Me – chuffed with myself!

Sometimes you read about a kid who has invented something useful and you wonder just how on earth they ever came up with such a clever idea that nobody had thought of before. Or maybe they came up with a better way of doing something that had already been done.

A few weeks ago I invented something that was useful and I realised that it is not actually as hard as one would think.

Those pesky ants kept getting into our cat’s bowl.  The poor cat did not fancy eating his pellets when they had wriggly little pepper tasting insects on them. (Ants do taste like pepper you know – pepper gets its flavour from a mild acid and ants produce acid – but I don’t recommend eating one to find out.)

We had to recycle pellets to the birds every single day. Worse – because he has a kidney problem – the pellets that he chomps are rather expensive.

Mum was all for just spraying poison on the walls so that the ants can’t even get to his dish but I thought that was a bit mean.

So I started thinking…

Ants don’t like water.  Well – they like it to drink but they don’t really like swimming in it. Right!

I took a dish and put some water in it and put the cats bowl on top of it.

Turned out the dish was a bit small and the ants made a little bridge of themselves and still got into the food.

So I took a bigger dish.  This did not work so well either because that cat of ours is a messy creature and he knocked half his pellets into the water. They swelled up and also got wasted. Even the birds did not like those squishy suckers.

Eventually I found a dish that was just the right size and ever since then we have hardly squandered a single pellet.

There was a process that I followed.

First I thought about the problem. Then I evaluated the situation to see how I could fix it. Then I tried different solutions to see which worked best.

I felt very chuffed because I had fixed the ant problem.  And it wasn’t even really hard either.

I discovered that they do sell cats bowls with a little moat around it for water – but still – I made a plan and it worked.

Be inventive!

Sibo

Easter Eggy Fun

Easter Eggs

Maybe you remember that last year we had a blog on how good eggs are for you.  Well… now we are going to have fun playing with the egg shells.

Easter is just a few days away and whilst chocolate eggs are seriously delicious, you can easily make your own Easter eggs for decorations.

For the basics you will need: eggs, paints and a sosatie stick.

Instead of cracking your breakfast egg – carefully make a little hole (using a nail or something sharp) at the top and the bottom of the egg.  You might need three hands to do it without breaking the egg shell – so get somebody to help you.

Hold the egg over a bowl and blow through the hole at the top. The egg should slowly slide out the bottom hole. If it’s really hard – you may need to carefully make the hole a bit bigger at the bottom.

One you’ve blown all the egg out into the bowl, give the egg a wash and let it dry. (If you are in a hurry to get started – use a hairdryer to dry it out.)

Now the fun starts.

Carefully slide your hollow egg onto the sosatie stick (if you don’t have one of these any thin stick will do).  Paint your egg with a base coat colour – something not too dark like yellow or light blue or even white.

Stick it in a pot plant to dry. Once it’s dry you can start decorating it some more. You can make stripes, zig-zags and spots. You can even use some glue and stick beads or glitter onto it.

If you want to be really fancy you can cut little strips of fabric or lace and glue those on too.

Your imagination is the limit. You can make your egg as simple or as fancy as you please.

When the egg is dry you could give it a spray with some clear varnish – if you want to. This will make the egg last longer if you plan on keeping it for some time.

A bowl of these decorated eggs looks really pretty on the table. Or you can leave them on their sticks and put them into pot plants. You can also hang them up or make a mobile.

You could even give one to your parental agent as a special Easter present.

Again – use your imagination!

Best of all – have lots of fun making them.

Have a Happy Easter.

Sibo

Cookies

Sibo with a cookie 2

In honour of International Woman’s Day (8th March) – not to be confused with our South African National Women’s Day on the 9th August – I decided to write a blog about cookies.

Yum!

My mum has this incredibly easy recipe that I thought I’d share with you. Just make sure that you get your parental agent to help you out when using the oven please.

This is what you need for the basic sugar dough recipe:

125gm margarine (that’s a quarter of a block)
1 cup sugar (white or brown)
1 egg
2 cups of flour
Pinch of salt
Teaspoon of vanilla essence.

Heat the oven to 180oC.

Melt the margarine in the micro (or leave it out of the fridge for a while until it gets nice and soft). Add the sugar, salt and vanilla essence and mix it all up.

Crack in the egg and stir it well. Lastly you add the flour and mix it all up together.

Using a teaspoon (or you can roll the dough into little balls in your hands if you don’t mind getting a bit sticky) drop small amounts onto a well-greased cookie tray.

Pop into the oven and bake for 20 minutes. (This is the bit where you might need some adult supervision – you do not want to burn yourself on the oven.)  Gently flatten the top of the cookies with a fork. (Sometimes it works better if you put the fork into a cup of hot water first.)  You should get at least 24 cookies out of this mixture.

When they are cooked and you take them out of the oven – let the cookies stand on the tray for a little while before you transfer them onto a wire rack to cool down properly.  If you move them too soon they may break or crumble.

You can also do variations of this recipe – add a cup of coconut, crushed peanuts (just put a handful or two into a small bag and bash them with a rolling pin), two spoonfuls’ of peanut butter or if you want chocolate biscuits – add two tablespoons of cocoa powder to the basic recipe. If your mixture gets a bit dry you can always use 2 eggs instead of 1. If it’s too wet – add a bit more flour.

Once you get good at baking tasty cookies you could always sell them at school markets, or make extra-special ones for birthday presents to give to the people that you love.

Happy baking,

Sibo