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Junior Blog: Monday 14th December 2020

Welcome to the 22nd edition of the Katie Jayne Tutor’s Junior Blog.

I could not resist but share with you one of my favourite biscuits, I call them Sameretti. If you love almond, you will love these little nuggets of yumminess, and they look like snowballs – what is not to like? If you have been doing any Christmas baking please send me some photographs. You know how much we at the Katie Jayne office love our food and love to see what you have been up to.

We thought that it might be quite nice for you, our readers, to take some of the things you learnt over the summer when many of you were helping in the garden and utilise those skills during the winter months by growing some herbs indoors. We use so many herbs in our cooking, mostly parsley, mint, basil and thyme, but you can grow the herbs that you love the most and the great thing is that you then have a fresh supply all winter long. Take a look at our ‘How to Grow Parsley’ article below from Happy DIY Home to help you. Good luck!

Christmas Jumper day went off with a bang in our office. Everyone arriving with their colourful Christmas jumpers on Friday. I am sure that you all got involved as part of your school fundraising efforts. In our write up below you can see where all of your raised funds go and what Save the Children do with all the money.

Many of you will be breaking up at the end of this week ready for the Christmas holidays, so much to look forward to and so much to do. Have a great last week at school and we shall see you in a few weeks.


Christmas Jumper day


Christmas is amazing because you can stop being such a grown-up and see the world like kids do. So many of us long to be that child again, without any responsibilities.

Magic is there all the time! When you look out for it you can see it everywhere. Save the Children have pointed out that they see miracles like: simple medicine saving lives, food helping children to grow up strong and smart and books helping children to see a whole new world.

The £2 donation might look like just £2. But it could warm some tummies, save some lives, and change the future. That’s big.

Here’s some amazing examples of what Save the Children can do:

£2 could pay for hand sanitiser to help fight coronavirus in one of Save the Children’s medical clinics

£6 could buy a face shield for a superhero health worker in Yemen

£10 could buy antibiotics to help five children beat malnutrition

£20 could buy a back-to-school kit for a child in Indonesia

£60 could buy toys and books to support children from struggling families in the UK

£100 could buy a first aid kit for a health worker in Somalia


Katie Jayne’s Book Club

Ages 5-6 

‘What’s in the woods?’ by Karra Mcfarlane. The green words in this book are slightly easier and the red words are a little more difficult. Try reading this book to your parents or siblings, see how you get on.

Ages 6-7 

‘The frog prince and other tales‘ Read with Oxford. Read the title of the story first and talk with your family about what the story could be about. As you read the book to your family talk about the pictures and if you get stuck on a word try to remember your phonetics. Sound out the word and blend it all together until you get the word right.

Ages 7-9

‘Cool Clive’ by Michaela Morgan. Read the book blurb and then talk about how Clive will earn enough money to buy his trainers. Make up a quiz to do with your family.

Ages 9-11

‘So you want to build a castle?’ by Alex Woolf.  This book has everything you need to know to design your own medieval castle!



How to Grow Parsley Plant

We were contacted by our friends over at Happy DIY Home to see if our young readers would like to learn more about growing their own herbs. We know how much you all like to get involved and try something new, plus we know that many of you were trying out gardening and taking care of a vegetable patch this year during lockdown. So we thought you may like to learn how to grow and harvest your own herbs. There are some great tips from Happy DIY Home and we have part of their article here, but to see the full article just follow the link.

Parsley is easy to grow from seed either indoors or outdoors.

Growing from Seed Indoors

Getting a head start on your parsley by starting seeds indoors is a good idea, since plants grow best in the cool weather of spring.

Seeds can be slow to germinate and often have spotty germination, so plant more seeds than you need to be sure you get enough plants. Start seed indoors 8-10 weeks before your last average frost date.

To improve germination rates, soak parsley seeds overnight or for up to 24 hours in warm water. You can do this by getting a paper towel wet with warm water and wrapping your seeds up in it. Place the towel with the seeds in a plastic bag and seal it so that the moisture stays in.

When your seeds are done soaking, fill up seed starting trays or cell packs with a soilless seed mix. Sow one seed per cell at a depth of about ¼ inch. Water seeds well and cover trays with plastic domes if you have them.

Your parsley seeds will start to germinate sporadically after 14-21 days. Be patient and make sure the soil stays moist but not soggy while you wait.

Once seedlings emerge, remove the plastic covers and place your trays under grow lights or by a sunny window. Using fluorescent lights for 14-16 hours a day will give you the best results. Just keep the lights a few inches above your seedlings, moving them up as they grow.

Harden off your plants about a week before planting them outside by taking them out during the day and bringing them back in at night.

Katie Jayne’s Interesting Facts

Did you know that the 21st December is winter solstice. This means it is the shortest day of the year, so the good news is that after that our days start to get longer gradually into the Spring and then again longer still into the summer.

Thought For The Week

Find out if you have an elderly neighbour living nearby. They may be lonely or perhaps live a long way from their own family, if your parents know somebody that could do with a helping hand why not knock on the door next time you and your family go shopping and ask if there is anything that they need. Even if they do not need anything from the shop they will be pleased to see a friendly face.


Regular items...

Cook’s Corner

At this time of year there are many recipes that shout out Christmas!!!

Christmas Cake

Mince Pies

Chocolate Yule Log

One easy recipe that we love is our Chocolate Christmas Tree


Pre made flaky pastry

Chocolate spread


Lay your pasty out flat. Cut the shape of a tree to the size of your pastry, then horizontally cut one inch strips all the way down the tree leaving a centre trunk. Take each strip and twist it, then bake your pastry in the oven for the specified time, usually about 15 mins at 170 (keep an eye on it while it is in the oven and once slightly browning remove). Once cooled on a wire rack take your chocolate spread and spread over your tree, sprinkle with some icing sugar…mmmmm ready to eat.

Outdoor Delights

Cooking on a campfire (you will definitely need an adult to help you for this one!)


Campfire cooking requires a clean-burning, hot fire. This is only achieved with dry, seasoned wood. Stripping trees of green wood is fruitless – your fire will be smoky, will burn poorly and create unnecessary pollution. If dry wood is not available, you could pick up a bag of coal or firewood at your local petrol station.

Fire Location

Pay close attention to the ground before preparing any fire. In circumstances where building your fire on a rock is not possible, one should ensure that the base of the fire is on bare mineral soil. A fire that is burning all evening has lots of time to burn through the organic layer of the soil and will not be put out with a simple bucket of water. Use previously established fire pits if available, to avoid scarring the area with more fire pit burns.


Any medium to strong wind is hazardous. The danger of sparks getting away can ignite a fire. Also, the coals will reduce more quickly and provide much less cooking time. If substantial wind shelter is unavailable, any outdoor fire might be best put off until a less windy night comes along.

How to Build a Campfire for Cooking

The object is to have all the wood turn into coals at the same time. This gives an even fire with no flames reaching up to burn your food or blacken your cookware. It also yields the longest cooking time from the coals. Make sure you use some old cookware, so as not to spoil the best family saucepans…

If cooking on a campfire is too tricky because you do not have the right space, how about lighting the fire pit and gently warming, toast, sausages, marshmallows over the flames…hot buttered toast smothered in strawberry jam and a hot chocolate by the fire … mmm

Now go ahead and get cooking.

Educational Activities

This week we thought we would make our educational activities a little more game like. Try these activities below.

Make up a code for the alphabet, you could use drawings or symbols instead of letters – then write a message to someone using your code. See if they can decipher your message. You will feel like a detective from the movies…

Brain Teasers – Think about something that teases your brain. For example, if I were to say to you ‘I am not alive, but I grow; I don’t have lungs, but I need air; I don’t have a mouth, but water kills me. What am I?’ – the answer is fire of course, so easy when you know the answer! Make up some of your own ‘What Am I Brainteasers?’

Writing A Letter – Sit down and write a letter to a member of your family. Perhaps you could write to your grandparents or your auntie or uncle. Pop it in an envelope and put a stamp on it and take a walk to the nearest post box, you will make someone’s day.

Find the Location- Give a member of your family a location to where they can find something located in your house, send them off and give them instructions to see if they can find the item you were thinking of. You could get them to do the same for you. It is pretty good fun and always ends up in fits of giggles in our house…