Friday, September 12, 2008

Crazy Sock Puppets

Old socks, bits and pieces, and scrap paper. Show me your creations.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

It's fall! Leaf rubbings

Pictures first.

Did you do this when you were in school?

First, you go for a walk to gather fallen leaves. Try not to pick the really cool shaped leaves that haven't fallen yet off the trees; they'll give you something new to look at in a few weeks. Pick some leaves that aren't too crunchy. Lay them out out on a sheet of paper. Put another thin sheet of paper on top, and using the side of an unwrapped crayon (block crayons are perfect for this), you rub till the design shows up. Even a toddler can do this and will be very proud of the results. Then you can paste the design to a folded piece of construction paper and send Grandma a "Happy Fall!" card.

The last of the pigs (for now).

Piggie Toes

You'll need:
Pink paint
Paint Brush
A few wet rags for clean-up

No shoes or socks for this project.

First you paint the toes.

Then you put the toes on the paper and make toe prints.

Then you decorate the toe prints to look like pigs by giving them ears, tails and faces. (or draw a pig around them?)

Either way, it's fun (and really funny when mom paints your toes. "What!"), and mom has a sweet reminder of little toes.

More pigs!

Once upon a time there were three little pigs. And Mommy Pig, who was getting rather squished in her little pig pen, said "You are all grown up now, my little piggies, and not as little as you used to be. It is time to go out into the world and build your own homes. But, be sure to call every night, and I expect you at six o'clock sharp for Sunday dinner." So the little pigs went out into the big world to make their fortune.

The first little pig was very lucky, and he met a girl with straw (spaghetti) and he said, "I bet that would make a lovely house." So the little girl made him a house, and it was cozy as can be.

The second little pig met a girl with (popsicle) sticks. He told the girl of his problems, and being a sweet, kind-hearted girl, she decided to build him a house. And, in he went, cozy as can be.

The third little pig met a girl with bricks. "What shall I do with these bricks?" she wondered.

"Hmmm... I just can't think of anything," answered the pig, "but, I sure wish I had some straw or sticks for a house."

"Well, this is a crazy idea," mused the girl, "but maybe, like I said wild idea, maybe I could build a house out of bricks."

They both agreed the idea was so crazy that it just might work. So, the girl got out her washable glue and her shoe box (although a tissue box or milk carton or even egg carton would have been just fine) and she built a house out of bricks.

It was the best house ever. The little pig moved in and was cozy as can be.

But silly piggies, they forgot about the big bad wolf.

Now that the three little pigs were snug in their homes and cozy as can be, Mommy Pig and the (not so) Big (not really) Bad Wolf went to the movies. He even brought her a flower.

And every one lived happily (and cozily)ever after.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Farm Studies 2: Pigs, part 1.

Arielle loves pigs, so we devoted three days to pigs. This is day one.

Arielle especially enjoys the story of the Three Little Pigs. We've read several version and made up our own. There's a free audio version at Storynory, and another at Candlelight Stories. My children love listening to audio stories while working on their art projects.

So, to start we made MaMa Pig and Three Little Pigs. Here are the basic shapes and supplies.

Use pink construction paper to make a big oval for the body, two triangles for the ears, four small rectangles for legs, and a small oval for a nose. Don't worry about perfection.
You will also need two googley eyes, a small section of pipe cleaner, a black crayon, a glue stick and scraps of pink tissue paper to decorate (optional).

The final result!

On Day Two, we will make houses for the pigs :-)

Pumpkin Muffins

The leaves outside are just starting to change, and the stores are full of Halloween. It's time for pumpkin muffins. Mmmm.....

Ours are vegan.

You will need.
1/4 and 1/2 cup size measuring cups
1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon.
1 small bowl
2 larger bowls
muffin cups (makes 12 muffins with a bit left over)
Something to mix with

1/2 cup raisins
Hot water
3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup raw sugar (brown or white sugar will work fine)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves (I like a little less, the cloves are strong)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (I like a little more, cinnamon is yummy!)
9.5 oz of pumpkin puree (that's a little over 3/4 of a can - but often, I just dump the whole thing)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/2 cup cranberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (175 C). Grease your muffin pan. An assistant can do a great job of greasing using a butter wrapper or oiled paper towel. My silicon muffin cups don't need greasing.

Have your helper measure 1/2 a cup of raisins and put them in the small bowl. Poor in the hot water.

In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients - flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. I use just the 1/4 cup measuring cup and count 1.. 2.. 3.. quarter cups. Or, 1.. 2.. 3.. 4.. quarter cups makes one cup. My helpers count along or scoop and dump.

In another large bowl, mix the pumpkin, applesauce and vanilla.

Add wet to dry.

Mix well. Then stir in the raisins (drained) and cranberries. If you like nuts, you can add them too (about 1/3 of a cup). Spoon the batter into muffin tins.

And bake for 30-35 minutes.

Let cool. And enjoy!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Farm Studies 1: The Little Red Hen

In anticipation of our big annual trip to the petting farm, we are organizing our home "pre-school" around farm themes. Today's theme was "The Little Red Hen".

In the story, the Little Red Hen finds a bit of wheat and asks the other animals on the farm to help plant it. No animal is willing to help. The wheat grows and the Little Red Hen asks for help with the harvest, the threshing, the milling, and finally the baking of the flour into bread. The animals always say "No" (Oh, how Linnea loves this part! She yells "No!" right along with the story.) Like our teenagers, they are always much too busy to help. Finally she asks who will help her eat the bread. All the the animals yell out "Me! Me! Me!", but the Little Red Hen says "No, thank you" and eats it with her chicks, leaving none for others.

We started with the book, The Little Red Hen ($5.95 at Amazon). Starfall has a computer version of the story and Arielle loves computer stories. In their version, the Little red Hen makes corn muffins, much quicker than bread and a totally doable project with kids.

Here's the recipe:

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 stick softened butter
1 cup milk, divided half and half

In a mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Add eggs, butter and 1/2 cup of milk; beat for 1 minute. Add remaining milk; beat just until blended. Fill paper-lined muffin cups three-quarters full. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until the muffins smell good and test done with a toothpick.

The recipe makes very sweet and very tender corn muffins. A great afternoon snack with a few slices of cheddar cheese.

Arielle did the measuring and we counted how many scoops (instead of 1 1/2 cups, I do three 1/2 cups to make the counting easier). Linnea did some sloppy mixing. I forgot that the muffin pan was being borrowed, so we made a corn cake instead. Then we all helped clean up.

While the muffins were cooking, we practiced writing "Ch". "Ch" is for chicken. Arielle is sounding out words well, but hates writing. To write, she needs a reward. Today's reward was making a chicken. I cut out chicken bodies (these can be as simple as a half circle), triangle beaks, wings, feet, tails and bumpy chicken-combs. I gave each girl a glue stick and two googley eyes.

Since Arielle is almost grown-up, she wanted some feathers as well. When the chickens were done, we hung them in the play room.

Then it was time for Mama Hen and her little chicks to wash hands and eat corn cake. I printed out a few coloring sheets for later.

But, unlike the Red Hen in the story, we shared with the not so helpful teenagers.