For week two, I thought mixing things in jars and cups would be a good idea. Twelve kids, how could this go wrong?
Nothing went wrong, if you want to be Jane Austen specific about it, but I wouldn't teach/make goo this way again.
What I did:
What I would do next time:
We brought two batches home, one that the girl happily dumped blue food dye in, the other was left over I brought home for the boy. It has only glitter in it.
We held them up to the bathroom light and then I took a picture. You can see the glitter batch glowing in the top right corner. You can't see the blue batch, which had cool streaks that looked bioluminescent phytoplankton (a great book for preK-1 that features phytoplankton is Whale Shines).
The school's MiniMaker Club kicked off with sun prints. I have a mix of 12 first through fifth graders, primarily first graders. The fifth graders are helpful and organized and eager to lead the youngers. Go Vigotsky.
What I had forgotten about working with children is pretty much everything.
So, when there's more than a couple (you know, like the two I have) don't put anything on the table. Also, if you're going to do sun prints,make sure you've got full sun, not late afternoon limpid winter sun that eeks across the edge of the building creating a one-inch sliver not big enough for a full sheet of paper, let alone bleach it out into a print.
But my makers were game and tried putting their carefully layered works in the bit of sun they could find and letting it rest for a bit.
What worked: buttons, screws, structured plants, butterfly cut-outs, poms.
What didn't: fake feathers, whispy things.
I wouldn't leave out those failures, because that's part of the lesson -- what works and what doesn't.
Sun, doo-dads, all of it becomes part of the process and the experiment.
To bridge the sun to rinse time, I had them decorate greeting cards with a photo window. When the prints were dry enough, we trimmed them down to fit so they had something spiffy to take home and show off.
make sure you have sun, leave ALL the goods in one place, let the fifth graders help as much as they want
I don't know how back we will be, as I get TinyMights up and running with my partner, but I need a place to write, you know? (She said, writing into the wind.)
We moved back from New York a year ago and I've been cold a lot since then. Californians, the ones who grow up in the northern half, not our southern cousins and not the transplants, we just don't know what to do about dressing for weather. I spend much of fall and winter slightly underprepared all the time. Puffy coats are overkill, but my down vest isn't enough. I can't bring myself to purchase a proper jacket because it's California, when will I wear it? (Um, now? Maybe not today with its unseasonably global-warming, California is on the brink of disaster mid-70s weather.)
The smalls are thriving. They love their schools and continue to develop new friendships and strengthen old ones.
We have seen our cousins and aunties and uncles and grandmother and nana often, even for a hike!
We can't get enough of the beach in cold weather. We leave, so cold we can't get the sand off, teeth clattering, in search of hot chocolate.
The mosquitoes haven't fully descended so we are making use of he garden as much as possible. Once the biters are here, they are too thick and determined, even with bug spray (Badger spray, you are amazing).
Juniper and Carver have been churning a couple of patches thanks to gardening tools from Aunty Mandy and construction trucks from Grandmother and Grandpa.
Today, Juniper is home sick from school. She's inside, camped out in the comfy stroller, reading library books.
Carver is weeding and looking at bugs. I'm hopeful their interest in bugs and insects and creepy crawlies continues. That was me who took them to the giant spider exhibit at the museum of natural history. I deserve a medal for that effort!
Carver made sure the brachiosaurus had leaves to eat. We don't have any meat handy for the Tyrannosaurus rex. Maybe a roly poly?
Aunty Cake hates seeing food shots. Aunty Cake, this post is not for you!
I can't help it, I fell off the food wagon and have been killing myself to get back on. Planned meals are far easier to work with. I try to have the week set, and when I don't. Oof.
Mid-March, I decided to work with Yotam Ottolenghi's Plenty. Ottolenghi isn't a vegetarian, but he writes the vegetarian column for The Guardian. His was the first book that my cookbook club reviewed. People said the recipes were cumbersome, but if you drink some wine while doing all the chopping, they aren't so bad. Assembly is, generally, quick.
Green pancakes with poached eggs.
This is not from Plenty. This is leftover chicken, quick biscuits, and voila! chicken pot pie, biscuit-style.
Unfortunately, my love affair with The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook burned hot and bright. There are a few keeper recipes, like the mushroom bourguignon. But others, like the sweet potato blintzes were total misses. This says a lot considering he smalls' wide range of likes and total willingness to try anything. Far too much cheese for Mister. I might try again with less or no cheese.
What really bugs me, though, is the layout. Recipes run across multiple pages, and so do the ingredient lists. I find it distracting to follow the recipes, especially the longer ones. Also, ingredients like farmers' cheese aren't readily available, but she offers no alternatives, not even on her blog when people ask (I don't like to recommend something I haven't tried ... fine, but don't make the main ingredient a total oddball, then).
Something to make you laugh:
`This should be an easy loaf of bread to make. Oatmeal molasses bread from Good to the Grain. My loaves either look like this, puffy and deformed (but taste good) or are hard, small, soggy bricks. It has to do with yeast conversion. I don't mind tinkering, but really. Really!
This is what happens when Uncle J and Aunt E come to town. They walk in, squeals, hellos, jumping around, and then books on the couch. None of the them seem to tire of this ritual.
At the Prospect Park Zoo, on a day far colder than we expected. Spinning by the golden monkey tamarin.
Carver took a nap. Juniper hit the Transit Museum. She hasn't had her own day there in a while. Carver and I have had a couple of mornings of our own while she's in school. It's a brilliant visit for adults and children. You get a history of how the tunnels were made, hands-on activities in electricity (how does that Third Rail really work), buses to drive, and lots, and lots of trains from the beginning of the subway system to run through.
I wasn't kidding about reading together.
His hand skills aren't as keen and I'm not sure if he likes art as she does because he gives up a bit. Except there.
He made two of these hearts, a combination of paint and stickers and glitter. He more or less painted one side (the goal), then we folded the paper in half to mirror the splotches.
Glitter. Hearts in positive and negative.
One for papa, one for Juniper and me and whoever he decides to give it to on any given day.
We did a drop in at an art space near home, too. We had a felting day. Carver swished raw fiber in soapy water until he made a, oh, what would you call it? A worm?
There's no much more fun for a toddler than a bucket of soapy water and things to squish.
Oh, unless you put it in a bag to moosh. That's good, too.
Final project, which was a piece of wool stretched out and overlayed with fluff and then washed out. (Want instructions? Check here.)