Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Making A Calendar

We were inspired at math club to make a yearly calendar. 

Fold a sheet of paper in half vertically, then horizontally & repeat twice more.  You will end up with an 8 x 8 grid.

Trace over the folds and write in the days of the week.  This is the template, to be photocopied 12 times onto cardstock.

Stack the 12 blanks, punch 2 holes at the top (for binder rings) and one hole at the bottom (for hanging).  Connect with binder rings.

 Add the year, months, and dates. 

This is a very fun book to use for this project.

Create your artwork!  You could draw right onto the calendar if you like, but we photocopy the art onto it at the copyshop because then the calendar lays flat no matter the medium you use.

The sky's the limit!  Sela has done collage, freehand, and guided projects from a great art education site called Art Projects for Kids.

August's picture was a fun tribute to two of her favorite teachers -- Janice (drawing & painting) and Heidi (clay & Art Scout leader).  Divide a sheet of watercolor paper into thirds and mark with very light (erasable) pencil lines.  One person starts the drawing in one-third of the paper.  The next person continues in the second third.  Another in the third and final section.  Then paint!

We spread this project out over the year.  And I think Sela enjoyed having me join in this month.  Linus painted alongside us, and I'm pretty sure it won't be long until he gets in on the action, too.  Our calendar hangs in the kitchen, near the table.  It's a great conversation piece -- it's where Sela writes down the things she's looking forward to.  Countdowns and packing lists and plan-making.  It's very sweet.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

What's for Dinner Tonight?

I love this dish - easy, fast, light.  Make the sauce while the pasta boils.

Spaghetti Limone Parmeggiano
(from My Father's Daughter by Gwyneth Paltrow)

3/4 lb (3/4 box) spaghetti
coarse salt
1 lemon
1 1/2 cups finely grated fresh parmesan cheese (about 3 1/4 oz), plus extra for serving
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3-5 Tbsp pasta water, to thin
Handful of fresh basil leaves (from 4 leafy stems)

Boil the spaghetti in salted boiling water, according to package directions.
While the pasta cooks, grate zest of lemon into large mixing bowl. Cut lemon in half and squeeze juice into bowl.  Add cheese, pepper, pinch of salt.  Mix in olive oil to form wet paste.
When spaghetti is cooked add 2 or 3 Tbsp of pasta water to lemon and cheese mixture. Add spaghetti to bowl and toss thoroughly, adding another 1-2 Tbsp of pasta water, if necessary.  Rough tear basil leaves and toss in.
Serve each bowl with a sprinkle of coarse salt, a fresh grind of pepper, and a few gratings of parmesan cheese.

Friday, August 12, 2011

3 Crafts, No Instructions Needed

We spent last weekend at the HSC conference.  We're lucky that it's a 5-minute drive from our house -- this means we can be there when it starts each day (well, close to when it starts...), and we can stay late for the singing and the dancing and the storytelling.  We don't like to miss much. 

- sewing various mixed-up parts together.
Use simple whipstitch. Fluffy fabrics &
stuffing hide everything! 
 To be honest, I drug my feet a little about going  this year; it's expensive.  But, Sela LOVES it.  And, walking into the hotel on Friday morning and into our first session (fantastic storytelling by Jim Weiss), I got it.  There is a palpable energy at an event like this.  You can feel that the space has been prepared with care, made ready for you to  use it.  It's a special way to spend time together. 

I attended just one parent workshop -- just the one I needed.  The highlights of Bev Bos's talk were about play, gaining wisdom, and belonging.  Which is one of the things Sela really enjoys about the conference, I think -- a sense of belonging.  I heard this a lot, "Mama, can I go ahead of you?!"

Sea Glass Jewelry
- wrap wire around it, add jump ring & cord.
Variations: add beads to wire
or make earrings

It's a truly family-friendly event, with a wide range of activities.  We made things that exploded and shot through the air (which I wouldn't think to do on my own, but will try to remember to do -- maybe I'll remember to post them, too.  I guess people like to shoot & explode things??  Who knew?!)  We made crafts, crafts, crafts.  We had time together trying new things and doing favorite things.  We were tired tired by Sunday night, but in a good way.

Playing with rocks is a "favorite thing"
(That's our lunch box underneath)

Flower Fairies
- disassembled silk flowers, pipe cleaners &
wooden beads.  Simple, easy &  fun.
We play with them outside, inside, in the car, in restaurants...

Linus loves them.  Notice the baby
tucked into his jacket?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Sew Cute!

Sela sewed this very sweet skirt almost all by herself!  The simple pattern & instructions came from a great book called "Sewing School" via my very-excellent-book-finding friend; the look came from Sela!  (To make with 1 1/2 yards of fabric: cut 2 tall trapezoids - front & back of skirt, sew 2 side seams, sew casing for 1/2 inch elastic, and sew hem.)  I am looking forward to many more sewing projects together.  So fun to see her work on, complete, and WEAR her project.  (And, a pretty fun way to do some math, too.)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Now THIS is Summer

Family Fun Magazine awarded this their "Most Active Recipe."  I'd also add: fun, fast, easy, silly, exciting, very little clean-up, and YUMMY.

Combine 2 Tbsp sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla and 1 cup half and half in pint-size ziplock bag and seal it tightly.
Place 1/2 cup coarse salt (table salt worked fine) in a gallon-size ziplock, then fill it halfway with ice cubes. 
Place smaller bag inside as well, and seal.
Shake the bags until the ice cream mixture hardens, about 5 minutes.

Did it work?!
Because I have my spoon, and I'm ready.

Check out the science behind it
We saved ourselves the trouble of washing dishes and ate right out of the bags.  We're doing it again tomorrow. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Good for Everyone

I drew this on our kitchen chalkboard, and Sela was inspired to try it.  She came up with a system for checking off the colors she had eaten so far that day -  the white lines through the colors.  It's a tasty project for all of us!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Backyard Camp Out!

Have you ever tried camping in your own backyard?  I mean literally?  It's not the same as packing up the car and heading out -- and then again, it's not the same as packing up the car and heading out (and planning the menu, and rummaging through the garage for all the supplies that have migrated from the spot where they "should be," and shopping, and...).  No reservations, no planning whatsoever.  And do you see how happy it can make people?!

We pitched a tent and laid out our cozy sleeping bags... done!  Camp set-up complete.  As a bonus, we cooked a dessert on the grill from this fun cookbook.  Who doesn't love eating out of a foil pouch???  Next time we're thinking we'll pop popcorn in a foil pouch and use another of their recipes.  But, maybe we won't because maybe we won't plan ahead and make sure that we have popcorn in the pantry.  And that's okay!  The idea is "easy," and we will have -something- we can work with!

This is the second year in a row we've tried to participate in the Great American Backyard Campout. We missed it again, but took a page from their book anyhow. We'll keep trying, but won't lose any sleep over the lack of date coordination.

Linus had fun jumping off the "high daddy" -- we've spent a lot of time at the pool this summer : )  Playing in tents is just plain fun, right?

We brought friends along with us, too.

Daddy delivered breakfast in bed