DIY Play Kitchen Set

DIY Play Kitchen Set - Mud Hut Mama

My parents came to visit us in Malawi a couple of years ago and my mom brought a page she had ripped out of a Family Fun magazine with directions for a DIY play kitchen set made out of cardboard boxes. She also brought all the supplies (duct tape, bottle lids, etc) and had planned to make the kitchen for the girls while she was visiting, but we never found boxes the right size. She left all the supplies and directions and I always meant to make the kitchen but I never got around to it and so I packed that little bag of supplies and directions and brought it with us when we moved back to Zambia. It was in storage for months until […] Read more »

Active Storytelling: 100 Days of Play

Active Storytelling-Mud Hut Mama

When I signed up for the 100 Days of Play Blog Hop, I knew exactly what I wanted to write about. Storytelling has always been a part of our family play but recently it has gotten much more active. My husband started it all by telling the girls made up stories about themselves. They always begin with “Once upon a time in the magical land of Majete there were two princesses.” When the girls were younger they would bring us empty notebooks and ask for a story, knowing that if the book had no writing the story would definitely feature them, but as they grew older they started participating in the stories and acting them out. “No Dada I want the one where I ride […] Read more »

Gruffalo Playdough Birthday Party Favors for Kids

Gruffalo Birthday Party Favors - Mud Hut Mama

You may have read about the food at our Gruffalo party, or the DIY piñata or the scavenger hunt, but of course we also needed something fun for all the Littles to take home so the last Gruffalo party post is a peek inside the goodie bags. I love playdough birthday party favors for kids and between this Gruffalo and the playdough dung we sent home at last year’s safari party I think I’ve made more than my fair share of brown playdough. At least this year my mom brought us some brown food coloring from the States which made making the playdough a little easier. I used my favorite playdough recipe from Musings From a Stay at Home Mom. This post contains affiliate links. […] Read more »

Gruffalo Birthday Scavenger Hunt

Gruffalo Scavenger Hunt - Mud Hut Mama

We were so lucky to be able to rent a house with beautiful gardens on a tea estate right next to Mount Mulanje for our Gruffalo party. It was a great place to spend time with both sets of the girls’ grandparents and the gardens were a beautiful setting for one of the party games – a birthday scavenger hunt with a Gruffalo theme. I printed the Gruffalo sequence cards from Primary Treasure Chest and pasted them on card stock with the clues on the back. The clues all had quotes from the story and my Dad, who organizes a scavenger hunt for all the grandkids every Christmas, found places to hide each clue. See below for our clues and hiding places:   Will you […] Read more »

Welcome to the first annual Backyard Barbecue Bloghop!

Backyard Barbecue Button

A place to link up all your summertime recipes, activities, games and crafts! Hotdogs and hamburgers on the grill with fresh tomatoes and corn on the cob were summer staples when I was growing up and they bring back memories of playing running bases in the backyard and then catching fireflies after dark. While my family and friends in the States are gearing up for these summer traditions right now, in Malawi we are moving into winter – but luckily our winters are nothing like the Pennsylvania winters I grew up with and they most certainly won’t keep us indoors! In fact cold evenings are perfect for sitting around a fire after a southern African braai and gazing at the stars in our enormous sky. […] Read more »

Gruffalo Party Food Ideas

Gruffalo Party Food - Mud Hut Mama

This blog has been quiet as we’ve enjoyed my parents’ visit and celebrated the girls’ birthdays. I thought I’d post some photos of the food we had at our Gruffalo themed party. It was such a fun theme to develop a party around and I especially enjoyed coming up with the menu. Here are our Gruffalo party food ideas: For lunch we had roasted fox (a ham with some braaied/barbecued sausages and chicken pieces) and scrambled snake (a pasta and cheese bake or fancy mac and cheese). We used spiral pasta for the snakes and added some olives for snake eyes and chopped tomato for blood and guts – yum! I made some signs to describe the food with Gruffalo character printouts from Primary Treasure […] Read more »

Our DIY Gruffalo Birthday Pinata

DIY Gruffalo Pinata - Mud Hut Mama

Making a birthday pinata has become our new April tradition. We made a frog prince pinata last year for Boo’s birthday and then a leopard pinata in June for Kooks’s birthday. This year we are having a combined Gruffalo party for both girls and so of course we needed a Gruffalo birthday pinata. I was a little intimidated by this until I found some great free printables at the Gruffalo website. Once we downloaded them it was a very simple project.  This post contains affiliate links. We are having the party at the same tea estate cottage that we rented last year and this year two sets of grandparents (one from America and one from Botswana) will be in attendance. One of the guests to last year’s […] Read more »

Making Homemade Books for International Book Giving Day

International Book Giving Day - Mud Hut Mama

We really enjoyed celebrating International Book Giving Day, which happens to be the same day as Valentine’s Day. We started out by selecting a pile a gently used books from our shelf to donate to a school for orphans here in Malawi that is doing amazing things. One of their students recently flew to England to be honored by the Queen for his essay that won the 2012 Royal Commonwealth Essay Competition. He wrote a touching essay entitled, “The Day I Wore My Best Clothes.” In my original post about International Book Giving Day, I wrote about the scarcity of books here and the fact that reading for pleasure is a luxury that the majority of Malawians cannot afford so I was very excited to find out that the school […] Read more »

International Book Giving Day – February 14

International Book Giving Day - Mud Hut Mama

I LOVE this holiday! When I taught at a primary school in rural Zambia from 1998 to 2000 books were hard to come by. Often there was one textbook per subject per grade – about 40 kids per book. The teacher held onto this copy and would write the entire lesson on the chalkboard before class. Class often consisted of the students copying the lesson into their notebooks and by the time they were finished writing there was little time left for any real discussion or teaching. Books for pleasure were almost unheard of, there were a few worn copies of donated Watch Tower magazines floating around but that was about it. I haven’t spent a lot of time in Malawian schools but I hear […] Read more »

Christmas in Botswana

Christmas in Botswana - Mud Hut Mama

We spent three weeks in Botswana over Christmas and New Year and had a great time catching up with family but unfortunately I was pretty sick for most of the trip. Between that and our week of flu at the lake I’m beginning to think I should give up traveling and just stay at home. I’m finally starting to feel like myself again but I really wish I’d been in better health and able to enjoy all the fun things that are accessible in Botswana. There were so many highlights for the girls and seeing them so happy made it wonderful for me too. They got to meet Santa – despite the looks on their faces they loved this and kept begging to go back and […] Read more »