Saturday, April 28, 2012

Here Comes Science Sampler: ROY G BIV

First of all, Dress the Part (naturally).

Then... find something to do!

Read about it.
The Rainbow and You by E.C. Krupp
The Magic Schoolbus Makes a Rainbow by Cole
What Makes a Rainbow: A Magic Ribbon Book by Schwartz
A Rainbow of My Own by Freeman

Take your experiments outside. 
We used:
Exploratopia: More than 400 Kid-Friendly Experiments and Explorations for Curious Minds by Murphy
Barron's Science Wizardry for Kids
Experiments with Colors by Tocci

You can use whatever you have on your shelf, go to the library, or just use your favorite search engine for ideas.



Be amazed.

Play some games.
Start with Rainbow Sudoku

Make a rainbow maze.
(Try using drinking straws and 1-inch graph paper.)

Read some more.
A World of Colors: Seeing Colors in a New Way by National Geographic has us all WOW'd by its' simple and stunning exercises.

Be on the lookout for more related activites!
Have you ever noticed the rainbows on bubbles?
What else do you know about light and colors?
Ever been on a rainbow hunt?
How many creative ways can you play with color mixing?
Where would you hang a prism to make wondrous rainbows every day?
How about rainbow art?
How delicious can a rainbow be?

Just like the rainbow, there is *no end* to the possibilies.  There is, however,
...plenty of gold.

Friday, April 27, 2012

A Mama Moment

Washing, folding, (fingering, smelling, dreaming, lingering on), boxing & mailing tiny clothes to a tiny new love.

The ONLY thing cuter than these, are the tiny little people who fit into them.

Linus then, Linus now. 
(Keep in mind, he's not that big now.)


Remember this guy?
(And he was waaaay too big for those tiny pants at this time.)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Happy Earth Day 2012

We spent our day outside, connecting with Earth.
Okay, yardwork.

(I'm wondering... Does anyone else need a machete to prepare their gardens in the spring? I wish I had taken a 'before' picture.  That way, an 'after' would be impressive to more than just me!)

Pippi Pepper (from the UCD Student Farm) found a new home today.

So did some other lovely veggies & flowers.
Some old favorites, some new ones to try out.  How will you know if you don't give it a try, right?

I have two interested gardeners (heart, heart).  It's okay when a few things get pulled out a little too roughly, maybe stepped on, some seeds get spilled, and when my gardeners wander off to try something else.  There are so many treasures in our backyard - I want us all to be happy enough to want to explore them.

I have a garden of my own, shining with flowers of every hue, I loved it dearly while alone.  But shall love it more with you.  - Thomas Moore

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Our International House House of Pancakes, Day 6: France

We DO have a crepe recipe!
Sela found it later in a sweet little cookbook we have called Mom and Me Cookbook: Have Fun in the Kitchen! by Annabel Karmel.  Indeed!  Although she's always loved to read cookbooks, we don't cook from them nearly enough -- another reason I'm loving this tour.  But, I digress.  Of course.

'my favorite crepe'
1 cup flour
big pinch of salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 cup water
4 Tbsp butter

Sift flour & salt together and make a well in center.
Break eggs into well & whisk together.
Add milk & water to the mix, a little at a time,
whisking to make a smooth batter.
you've got to measure liquid *at eye level*
Melt 2 Tbsp butter & stir into batter.
Melt butter (not all remaining, but a little) in skillet in very hot pan. Reduce heat to medium.
Add 2 Tbsp batter per crepe. Tilt pan to create thinner crepe.
Cook for about 1 minute on each side.
Fill! (We used fresh blackberries, thawed frozen raspberries & whipped cream. Sela experimented with drizzling a little honey over it, too.)

Bonus: without a crepe pan, we made 'crepe critters' in our skillet. 
It just keeps gettin' better, huh?

What do you see?

This is even better than the cloud version because you can eat them after you play! With whipped cream.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Our International House of Pancakes, Day 5: Scotland

Very similar to the pancakes my family is (was!) most familiar with, we went to Scotland for these.
Aaaaaand, we really wanted to play "Blueberry Pancakes" by Frances England over and over (and over and over).  (To take a listen for free, scroll down to Blueberry Pancakes on the third album, "Fascinating Creatures" & click.)  Aaaaand, "Curious George Makes Pancakes" was Sela's favorite when she was two.  Now Linus loves it.  So many good reasons to eat Blue-ber-ry Paaa-aa-aaan-cakes...  Heart, heart, heart.

em's best pancakes
(seriously, the best pancakes I've ever made - these are not your everyday pancakes)
2 cups flour
2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
3 Tbsp melted butter
2 cups butter

Whisk dry ingredients together.
Whisk egg & butter.
Add buttermilk.
Add wet ingredients to dry.
Don't overmix.
Cook on oiled griddle.
Try to eat them using good table manners.  You can try...

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Our International House of Pancakes, Day 4: Mexico

Geography is Delicious.

We use the directions on the package: 2 cups masa, 1 1/4 cups water, 1/4 tsp salt.  Makes 16.
Mix.  Well, squeeze.
Form into 16 balls.  Fun way to work with "halves."  Lay in center of wax paper square - one at a time.
Smash the dough ball under a plate or platter that is completely flat on the bottom until it is very thin.  Slide the non-serrated edge of a knife between the now-stuck-to-the-bottom-of-the-plate tortilla and the plate.  This works much better for us than rolling with a rolling pin.  A tortilla press would really work well...
Put just a little oil on the griddle & get it pretty hot.  Cook each side for 1 minute - at most.  (The one in the middle has been flipped, the others have not.)
I love mine with smashed avocado, Sela likes melted cheese, beans & rice.  Linus just plain.  Daddy, well, he hung back too long...  Sorry, Daddy.

Our International House of... Matzah? Day 3

Okay, matzah is not a pancake.  As it happened, on Day 3 our friends invited us over to make matzah.  We really enjoyed making it with them, experimenting with a creative and extensive array of toppings, and being a part of their special family traditions!

For a recipe & instructions, I'll refer you to this recipe I found online.  It sounds like what was happening at the kitchen counter -- from where I sat on the kitchen floor playing trains with Linus.  I could hear that the fork-poking was a real hit with this crowd & the need to complete the job in 18 minutes made it a kid-pleaser, too.

Try these topping in any combination & see what your favorites are:
Honey, cream cheese, raspberry sauce, kumquat jam, berry jam, butter, nut butters, sliced radishes, cheeses, and (you fill in the blank).

What do you think of it, Sela?

Yeah, me, too.  Thank you, Heather!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Our International House of Pancakes, Day 2: Sweden

Spurred by our success, we set out to make pancakes from another destination.  Sela chose French crepes -- Viva le crepe!  As it turns out though, we didn't have a crepe recipe from a trusted source handy -- but we did have the fillings.  So we went for a pancake we thought was similar enough (and, to be completely transparent, would hold the Nutella and bananas our mouths were watering for!): Swedish pancakes.

6 Tbsp butter
3 eggs
2 cups milk
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp oil

Melt butter in skillet & turn off heat.
Whisk eggs, add 1/2 cup milk & whisk for 2 more minutes.
Add the flour to the egg mixture & use wooden spoon to beat until smooth.
Beat in remaining 1 1/2 cups milk, then add melted butter, salt, cinnamon & beat to mix.
Add oil to skillet & heat until it's very hot.
Drop 1 Tbsp batter into the skillet.  After about 1 minute, the edges will brown lightly.  Turn it and cook for another minute.
Add filling and roll (or fold!).

From Kirsten's Cook Book: A Peek at Dining in the Past with Meals You Can Cook Today

Now, at this point, we are totally into this international pancake idea.  If you think you could be, too -- play along at home!  The Wikipedia entry for 'Pancake' is pretty good travel research material.  It's lengthy, but might be inspirational for your global pancake tour.  Where would you like to go?

After your tummies are full, how about another good book about pancakes?  Love this one.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Our International House of Pancakes, Day 1: Kenya

I read this book many years ago, and I tried and tried to remember the title over the last few years.  I stumbled across it on the library shelf recently.  I love this story.  And it wraps up with a recipe for Kenyan pancakes.  (Book + related recipe = TRUE LOVE.  It's like... getting to eat a book.  Well, eating a book & it being Yummy, that is.)

Mama Panya's pancakes were delicious with raspberry jam, but next time we would cut out most of the oil.  I sort of wonder if there isn't a typo on that.  Sela, who is very... discriminating... loved them!

1 1/4 cups flour
2 cups cold water
1 1/3 vegetable oil (this seemed waaaaay too much - I'm going down to 1/3 cup, at most)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp red chili pepper flakes, crushed

Mix all ingredients with a fork.  Preheat nonstick pan at medium to low setting.
Ladle batter into center of the pan and tilt pan to spread batter to size of grapefruit.
Cook until you see tiny bubbles in the pancake, then gently flip it over.
When the second side begins to pop up from heat, the pancake is ready.
You can fill it with something sweet, like jam, or something savory, like tuna salad.  Just roll & eat!

Chile peppers drying for seeds at UCD Student Farm

Monday, April 9, 2012

Game Spotlight: Yoga Prenzels

Well, okay, it's not technically a game.
And it's actually Yoga Pretzels.  But this is how Linus says it.  And he won't always say it this way.  One day, he'll call it Yoga Pretzels.  And he'll ask for pretzels to eat, too.  Just like everybody else.  So, for now, we all call'em prenzels.

First offering...

No takers.

Sweetened the deal with a fun book...


Yoga mats silently appeared on the scene & look what happened...

Well, these mats are just fun no matter what the activity.  (Or attire.)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter, friends near & far!  I hope your day was joyful, too.

                                                                          Cinnabunnies -
We'll make these again, bunnies are cute any time of the year.  (Pre-made cinnamon rolls, 1 roll for the face, another 1 unrolled & cut in half, then shaped into 2 ears.  Raisins for eyes & nose, sliced almonds for teeth)

Friday, April 6, 2012

Sela & Linus's Egg-sellent Adventure

What to do with eggs?
Here's where we started...

I got Linus set up.
Dry pinto beans & plastic eggs

Jellybean Pouches
And then Sela & I worked on these.  I found this idea from Small Wonders at The Crafty Crow.  We changed the pattern a bit, so we enjoyed creating our own tutorial.

Trace your egg shape. 
We used the inside of a cookie cutter to get the size we wanted.

Cut out three.

For the Bottom ("B"), cut off the top third of an egg.
For the Top ("T"), cut off LESS THAN two-thirds of another egg. 
"T" should overlap "B" when both are stacked and sewn on the whole egg.


Use a whipstitch to sew "B" onto the whole egg.

 Add "T" and continue to whipstitch.

Fill with treats!
This one is for the Easter Bunny. 
Santa gets cookies, she should get something, too.

Linus's adventure evolved this way.
We eventually made our way to our book stack and enjoyed these together:
The Golden Egg Book by Margaret Wise Brown,
Max's Chocolate Chicken by Rosemary Wells &
The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes by Dubose Heyward.