Mamma's School

Home Education Adventure

Pytti Panna

Outdoor cooking hot meal pytti panna is a Swedish dish and can be made up with variations on a theme.  The main theme is chunks of onion, ham (or sausage), and potato, fried for 5 minutes in the pan.  So, today for our snowy hike, I decided this warm comforting meal would be a good idea at our half way point for everyone to refuel.




What you need is:

Some Pytti Panna mix.  This does come ready made here in Sweden to keep in the freezer, but you can also just chop the ingredients up very easily and pop them in a box.

Some butter to fry it in.

A wooden spoon.

A saucepan (and a glove as the handle gets hot on the fire).


All you need to do, is melt the butter in the pan, and then put the mix in to cook through (doesn’t take long when it is chopped so small).  Then sit back, enjoy the warmth of the fire still burning, whilst sitting your bottom on a snowy bench to eat it 🙂




Vabruari – The Month of Sickness.

The lurgy has hit us!  It is a week off school so I’d expect nothing less really, and the little lady has been suffering with a high temperature and general aching, cough, and a cold 🙂  February is usually so bad for children being poorly here in Sweden, that they have a special name for it – Vabruari.  VAB is the name of the benefit you claim if you need to be off work to look after a sick child.  It is so common here in February, that the month has been named after the benefit!  We had nearly made it through to the end of the month as well, but we have fallen at the last hurdle.  Dadda, the boys, and I had medium to severe sniffles last week, but our little lady has really been laid low for the last three days, only doing anything when the Nurofen kicks in.  She has perked up this evening, and we have learnt another little fact about Sweden’s culture – VAB and vabruari 🙂

I hope this week you have been enjoying our craft and science posts.  We had planned an adventure to 2 islands a little drive away, but we have had to postpone these due to the illness.  Hence there being no hikes for us this week, but living life slower, tucked up (unusually for us) indoors making and creating.  We are rather relieved that she has turned the corner and picked up now, as in less than 24 hours we welcome our second lot of house guests in the form of my brother-in-law’s family and our children’s cousins who they are desperate to see and have fun with.  We are all looking forward to showing them our new home and around our lovely island 🙂

Water and Ice Science Afternoon.

For this week’s science topic, I asked the children what they would like to look at.  They chose water, and more specifically ice.  This topic of water and ice science never fails to fascinate them.  It has some good criteria making it a fun science topic.  It can be messy, the experiments generally work (always a crowd pleaser!), and pipettes are involved.  So, without further ado, here is what we have been up to.

Ice Melt Experiment:
The first water and ice science experiment involved a little prior planning and preparation.  But it needn’t have to, as you can use just ordinary ice cubes. My trio decided they’d like little characters in theirs.  My little lady laid a character into each hole of an ice cube tray, and then we filled it up with water and left it in the freezer to freeze.  The idea was to have a few different solutions and see which one melted the ice first.  We had hot water, cold water, vinegar, and salt water.  We all discussed our thoughts first, and then gently pipetted various solutions onto individual ice cubes to see what would happen.



Size and Shape Ice Melt:

Our second water and ice science experiment involved seeing if ice melted at the same rate regardless of shape and size.  Out little lady filled three tin foil moulds each with the same amount of water.  This ensured the original volume was the same, but size, shape, and thickness differed.  They were then put into the freezer to freeze.  On removing them we had a discussion as to which one they thought would melt first…..and then we dropped one!  It smashed everywhere.  So on we plodded with 2 samples instead 🙂  The children accurately predicted what would happen, and its reason (no spoiler alert here!), so I was really happy for them.

Paper Flowers and Water Absorption:

This next water and ice science task involved cutting four (you can have more or less) flower shapes (identical, so use a template).  We had to use four different types of paper.  Our supplies were tissue paper, lightweight paper, heavier weight paper, and card.  Each flower’s petals were then folded into the middle and the flower placed in a bowl of water.  The idea was to see which flower would open first (unfortunately mini man no.2 dropped the tissue flower in petals down in his enthusiasm, so that one was then out of the experiment!).  This experiment worked really well and was very visual for them.  It is replicating the fact that real flowers only open their petals when plants move water into them.

Paint Rainbows:

The children were given 2 sheets of kitchen towel for our fourth water and ice science experiment.  One dry and one damp.  They then gently pipetted different colours of paint onto their towels.  The idea was to notice how the colour spreads.  They were looking as well for any difference in absorption between the damp and dry towels.  This was making them think about plants’ roots absorbing things from soil, and whether it would be more effective if the soil (the paper towel) was damp or dry.  It did progress to investigative messy play at the end with hands and fingers being involved for a more sensory experience 🙂

Exploring Surface Tension:

This is one of my trio’s favourite experiments (and mine as it is relatively clean!!).  They use a pipette (you can see they enjoy this little item a lot!) and see how many drops of water they can fit onto a penny (or a krona in our case).  They watch it grow in size into a bubble until the droplets can attract each other no more and it gives way.  They will sit and repeat this many times trying to beat their highest score, being totally fascinated by it.

Sweetie Colour Run:

This wasn’t really in our topic but we wanted to do it anyway, as it tastes good 🙂  Lay some sweets like skittles or smarties on some paper towel.  Then slowly pipette water onto them and watch the colours run into the paper and breakdown into the colours they are constituted from!  A very effective experiment.

Water and Ice science experiments


Craft – An Unstructured Play Day

Today is the first day of what is called sportlov (the Swedish for ‘sport’s break’, due to people generally taking off for a week’s skiing). We are staying put, and I have deliberately taken a break from our nature curriculum this week to slow things right down.  Today (apart from the weekly food shop, which is never a joy with all three in tow!), it was a craft day.  A day where a lot (not all!!) of the craft supplies were plonked on the table, and they were left to just imagine and create.

I have often gone on about the benefits of unstructured play for children on the blog (and there is another post coming in the near future).  By this I mean totally child led.  No interference from adults, no ideas or direction from adults, just pure child pursued activity and busyness.  My trio love craft, but very often we have a theme, or a certain supply/skill we are using.  Today I wanted them to be able to indulge in whatever took their fancy.  We had out a LOT of craft supplies, but not all!!  I put out sponge painting resources,  scissors (very good for development and they will spend many hours happily chopping!), glue, sellotape, chalk pastels, paint palettes, and pen stamps.  They have a craft box too which we put out that contains essentials – googly eyes, lolly sticks, sequins, pipe cleaners, pom poms, feathers, old birthday cards etc etc.  I got everything out and then let them just get on with it for the afternoon.

Fans, animals, paintings, drums, books, birds, solar systems, and many other things were made.  There was even team work present.  I was caught up doing something and twin 1 wanted to make a paper fan but hadn’t got the skill of being able to fold it.  In stepped twin 2 with all his knowledge (unasked) and showed him in a very grown up manner….I was really happy to see them work like this.

Perhaps my most favourite creation of the day though was a little bird by twin 1.  This is real progress for him.  Both twins have only recently started drawing stick men (complete with massive heads) and have seemed to come on quite quickly since (toes and fingers were started to be added to the drawings last week!!).  Twin 1 made his bird by drawing wings, a body, and a tail feather part (which you can’t see now due to the feathers, but it even has zigzagging bottom edge detail).  He then chopped these all out as separate parts and glued them on, complete with smiley face!!  As you can see he was as equally chuffed with his creation. But for a mamma working hard with him everyday, it showed me that he could think up an idea, plan it out, and then actually produce something that was recognisable.  Little steps everyday, but we are certainly moving forwards 🙂

Craft-An Unstructured Play day Art and Craft


Nature Curriculum – Week 22 Evergreens

Evergreens nature journaling story poem week’s Nature Curriculum topic is evergreens.  This is a much better topic for us to study in the snow than earthworms!  In other posts I have discussed how we have done extension activities on the theme of evergreens.  We went for a snowy hike to collect supplies, we have been crafting, and we have done experiments.  This week, due to being out and about in the snow so much, we have just stuck with our workbooks for our maths and English 🙂



For our nature journal, we sketched three types of evergreen samples that we had collected.  The weather is still far too cold for us to do our sketching out on our walks, so we are bringing the samples home to draw.  After we’d drawn the different types that we’d collected, we tried to classify them and write that in.  We also wrote some key evergreen facts into our journals along side the drawings.  Something else that we added was an ivy leaf rubbing.  Ivy is also evergreen, and leaf rubbing is an easy, popular, and very effective activity with the trio.

Our recommended fiction read for the week was something I seem to have got in a muddle about, and I found a book in the draw differing from the suggested book.  So we read “Night Tree” by Eve Bunting.  We really enjoyed this story and it has given us a great idea to do next Christmas.  It’s about a family that goes on an adventure into the woods just before Christmas.  They take with them, home made bird seed balls, satsumas, apples, and popcorn string.  There they find “their tree” and decorate it under the moonlight with the food.  After a warm drink they then return home, leaving the tree goodies as a Christmas feast for the forest animals.  There is ample opportunity for us to that here, so I am going to try and remember about it.  The suggested poem for the evergreen topic was “The Fir-Tree” by Josephine Preston Peabody, and the piece of art, “Fir Trees At Sunset” by Arnold Böcklin.

It has been a really lovely topic for us to study, especially because of where we are living and what surrounds us 🙂


The Nature Curriculum we use is, “Exploring Nature with Children. A complete, year-long curriculum”. It is a beautifully written framework, written by Raising Little Shoots, and can be found over at It suggests a topic for the week, and then provides some background information and suggestions for nature journaling and outdoor exploring. It also provides a comprehensive suggested reading list (fiction and non-fiction) for each week, plus a poem and a piece of art to study. There are extensions activity ideas too. We use the topic as the theme for our week, and follow the ideas for our journaling, and one fiction book. What we have been doing from the curriculum can be found on our curriculum overview post. The craft, science, maths, and English ideas we have researched ourselves to fit in with the theme 🙂 This makes a learning a lot more nature based.

Evergreen Science Fun

Science using evergreens exploring nature nature based learning are our nature curriculum theme for the week.  We have used them to study, sketch, do craft, and now we have done some evergreen science.  We hope you like our ideas and fancy trying some at home 🙂





The first evergreen science experiment involved examining them thoroughly before we destroyed our supplies in other experiments!  We used magnifying glasses to get a better view.  Twin 2 here was fascinated by moving the cone around and it becoming larger and smaller.  We did the same with the branches we had.  We looked at the various differing structures of the evergreens close up, pointing out how they all differed.  We also smelt all of our samples.  This is a very fragrant topic!!


The next experiment we did with the evergreens was to dissect them a little and take them apart.  Here Twin 1 is attempting to use tweezers with snow gloves on, to remove some seeds to examine.  I had to give him full marks for perseverance as he eventually managed!  They also took apart some other cones (this one was too lovely to destroy!).  They enjoyed chopping and using the tweezers to take them apart and look more closely at it.


The third evergreens experiment we did was revisiting a previous one from a few weeks ago.  It is a firm favourite as it is very effective visually and my trio don’t get fed up of watching this happen.  I am not going to spoil the results in case you want to try this at home.  What you need to do is place one in cold water, one in warm water, and one in air.  Then you should have a good comparison.  There are a lot more variations you can do, and as you can see, we had one half in and half out….let the child lead, they always have the best ideas!!  We also set ours up using a variety of different types to see if there was any difference between tree species too.

The last evergreen science experiment we did was also revisiting a previous concept.  The children love this idea though, and there is nothing wrong with repetition, although I did add a twist to it.  It is the concept of non-Newtonian fluids – a fluid that is not a fluid.  We mix cornflour and water.  Then play with it.  You can feel it being a solid in the bowl, and then as soon as you pick it up, it turns into a liquid.  I had a tray on the table full of evergreen supplies.  They enjoyed adding these into the mixture and playing with everything combined.  They were amused with a bowl each for an hour, and it was only the fact it was suppertime that made a clock watching mamma call it to a halt.  This was really good play based learning.  A lot of mess but a lot of fun too 🙂

Getting Crafty With Evergreens

crafts with evergreens exploring nature nature based learning week’s nature curriculum topic is evergreens.  There is a lot of fun that can be had doing craft with this theme.  All our ideas can be taken outdoors, but not for us this week.  With knee deep snow on the ground and minus temperatures, it would have made it rather awkward!  Here are the ideas we chose to do.



With our evergreens we made nature paintbrushes.  Usually you’d get a stick, and attach what you are making as a brush with something like string or an elastic band.  We had ready made handles though, as our evergreen supplies came complete with sticks already.  However, as we were going about making nature brushes, we decided to add some variety to what we were doing, and made brushes from moss and lichen too.  These we did attach to twigs with elastic bands.  The children enjoyed the patterns the paint made using these nature paintbrushes.

Pine cones are good for making characters from.  My trio made some conventional ones ( a horse and an owl), and some unconventional ones (long legged aliens).  I had just left the craft supply box of things such as googly eyes, feathers, lolly sticks, pipe cleaners etc.  and let their imagination and their creativity get on with it:-)



The third craft we opted for was sparkly cone mobiles.  Anything involving glitter is always a winner in this house!  You decorate your pine cones from your evergreen tree, making sure it is covered in an ample amount of glitter.  At the same time making sure you are wearing said glitter everywhere, and the house now has a sparkly sheen to it.  Once the cones are decorated, loop string around the cones, hanging them vertically.

Although, we had these three main ideas, there are a lot of other things that can be done with evergreens.  I left all the supplies out for a few hours, and a lot of other creativity took place as well.  We had animals made from moss and lichen, collages were created, and a random pom pom caterpillar was made 🙂

Thimble and Twig

Outdoor Cooking Treat – Fruity Chocolate Melt

Outdoor cooking fruity chocolate melt outdoor fire week’s outdoor cooking inspiration is called fruity chocolate melt 🙂  This week’s hike was somewhere without a fire pit, so I needed to be able to cook our treat on the fire, in the Kelly Kettle base.  This outdoor cooking treat was the perfect solution as was very simple, and only required a small pan to do it with.



What is required for this outdoor cooking treat is:

One bar of your favourite chocolate.

Mixed fruit (we took a carton of bluberries, raspberries, and chopped up bananas).  In the right seasons, you can use what is around you, and also you can use what you fancy.

A pan and a spoon.

We heated our water up first in the kettle part to make our hot drinks.  Once those were done, I restocked the fire in the base, and we melted the chocolate in a pan.  The fruit was by now dished up in separate bowls and we just had to pour the chocolate on the top 🙂   All that is then left to do is enjoy it!!

Romantic Sunset Picnic….With Three Children!!

Our little lady goes to Sjöscoutkåren on a Tuesday, out on an island with an amazing view.  Dadda attends the free government run Swedish lessons in the evenings, so the mini men have to tag along in their PJ’s starting their night’s sleep in the car.  So with sunset now occurring an hour before Sjöscoutkåren, what better way to celebrate Alla Hjärtans Dag (Valentine’s Day) than with a sunset picnic.  We lit a fire in the fire pit to keep us warm, we watched the sky change through a rainbow of colours, we listened to the bird song as they started to roost at dusk, we got to see a few murmurations, and we got to see the stars come out and spot a few constellations.  It was only -2°C, there was no wind, and this sunset picnic was a perfect end to the day 🙂

For our sunset picnic I had made heart shaped sandwiches, served with a side order of jam croissants, and heart shaped Swedish biscuits (pepparkakor).  I had also taken a table runner and a nice candle (that would stay lit outdoors!) to make it a really special sunset picnic. I wouldn’t normally be quite so extravagant outdoors, especially as I usually have to lug it up some hill!  I completely forgot their fruit (bad mummy moment!!) but I did totally remember the marshmallows 🙂  I had taken flasks of hot squash and hot chocolate with us as well.

With the fire lit, we needed to put it to good use toasting some yummy marshmallows.  Always a favourite.  The stars were starting to come out by now and Venus was shining brightly.  The children were trying to get snowballs to reach the sea, and we were treated to huge murmurations of birds.  Eventually it was time to dampen the embers and head off to Sjöscoutkåren, but everyone was very chilled and happy having had their sunset picnic outdoors, listening to and watching a natural spectacle or two 🙂

sunset picnic valentines day outdoor cooking


Country Kids

Snowy Hike Searching for Supplies & Tracking

This week we are studying evergreens, and we NEED supplies.  Plus an evergreen or two would be a bonus to look at!  So this week’s hike had an ulterior motive behind it.  There is a lovely hike at the southern point of the island.  It takes you through rocky open terrain, scattered with a variety of evergreen trees.  Then you meander through a pine forest, eventually coming out into the open on a peninsula jutting out into the sea.

We came across many different shapes and sizes of animal tracks on the hike.  The only one I could identify with any certainty were the deer tracks.  The tracks seemed to be going our way too, so I wondered if we may get lucky with a sighting.  However, as usual, we had the raised voices of childhood accompanying us, as well as the odd scream as someone stepped forward only to suddenly sink up to their knees in snow!  So, I am guessing the deer heard us coming and retreated back to safety, having had plenty of warning.  It was lovely though being able to see such great tracks everywhere due to such deep snow.  That makes them easier to see.  It also allowed plenty of discussion about what had caused them.  Which then led onto discussions about animals’ feet size and shape.

We successfully collected a variety of evergreen samples and cones for our week’s theme, as well as some moss and lichen for other things we will be doing.  No hike of ours would be complete without some sort of outdoor cooking, so we sat and enjoyed the (very cold) winter sun, gobbling a tasty snack.  That treat will be in another post 😉 Finally, after we had packed up, it was time to return back home.  The hike was hard going as the snow was so deep, but I’d chosen a much shorter route today to take account of this.  Plus it was so nice to be out in the sunshine, something we have not seen for a month now (apart from one appearance of a couple of hours a few weeks ago!).

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