Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Community Service Projects from Home

There's an awful lot of giving involved in being a mother to young children. While that giving is definitely character-building and worthwhile, I sometimes wish there were more opportunities to broaden the horizon of the people I serve during these years. I believe being a mother is a very important job, but sometimes it feels very inward-focused as I constantly look to the needs of my own family.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Alphabet Pancakes

We took our ketchup bottle pancake squirter from the other days' snowflake pancakes and made alphabet pancakes. I'm not sure why, but the girls were actually more excited about these than the snowflakes. (Maybe they're reading nerds like their parents??)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Snowy Evening Watercolor Resist

For our homeschool co-op the other day we read Robert Frost's classic poem, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.  For our activity we did these watercolor resist paintings using masking tape.  I found the tutorial on Art Projects for Kids' site and added a cardinal (scanned from the book).  The kids painted him red and glued him in one of the trees.
It was a pretty involved painting for preschoolers (probably better suited to older children), but the results are really striking.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Simple Valentines Day Hat

We made these super easy heart hats for a Valentines Day get-together on Tuesday. I cut the hearts out of scrapbook paper (a little sturdier than construction paper) and the girls decorated.

If you cut them the right size and your paper is sturdy, they will fit very well, but I didn't have all the kids in front of me to check head sizes; so some slipped down and became necklaces :-)

 Thanks, Kathy for the directions on this!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Carrot Hearts

The girls helped me peel the carrots (more fun when you buy the kind with the greens on)
and we followed the directions over at Sophistimom for making little heart-shaped snacks!
Mine didn't turn out as well as hers, but they were still fun to eat!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Pasta Magnets

 When we were at the Asian grocery store the other day I spotted this fun bag of floral  pasta that I just had to buy because I knew it would be good for something or other.
Today I remembered that I also had some alphabet noodles I had picked up on clearance at HEB. Since we were having a neighbor girl over to play this afternoon, it seemed the perfect time to plan a project.

To dye the pasta, I squeezed a healthy amount of food coloring into containers with the pasta and then added a few splashes of rubbing alcohol.  I stirred, and then let them soak for about 10 minutes and then poured onto a paper towel to dry (took about 20 minutes to dry completely)
The easiest way to make the magnets was to peel the backing off of adhesive-backed magnet sheets and arrange the pieces of pasta on the stickiness (it held them just fine).

But for those who wanted a white background, I let them use a small amount of Elmer's clear glue (administered with a toothpick)
I really liked the rows of colorful flowers- would have been a good project for teaching patterns as well!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A Visit to the Asian Supermarket

I've always been fascinated with ethnic grocery stores.  The interesting sights, smells, and sounds make me feel like I'm Alice in Wonderland.  The other day, I took M and G on their first ethnic food adventure- an Asian grocery store in North Austin.  
To see some pictures of our time there, and 10 suggestions for fun things to do with kids at an Asian grocery store, see my guest post at Free Fun in Austin.
I let each girl choose a new food to try from the snack aisle.  G's choice cracked me up- dried squid.  hmmmm, I have to say, I'm definitely not used to such a fishy smell in my snacks.  It didn't become one of our favorites, but I was proud of both girls for giving it a try!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Rose Boba Milk

Here's a fun way to make drinking milk more appealing to your kids- add Boba, that is, pearl tapioca.  Boba tea (a sweet drink with tapioca balls at the bottom) is a popular drink in many Asian countries.  I made my boba with rosewater for a unique taste and red food dye to make it even prettier.

To make the Boba:

1.  Use a ratio of 8 to 1, water to tapioca pearls.  Add a generous splashing of rose water and food dye (depending on taste)
2.  Boil water
3.  Add tapioca, and boil for 15 minutes with cover on the pot.
4.  Turn the heat off and soak for another 15 minutes
5.  Rinse the pearls and drain off the water
6.  Store in sugar syrup until ready to use.

I added some silk flowers I happened to have around to the stem of a pretty cup to make it seem extra special.  You might want to warn your kids ahead of time though that the Boba are not going to be as sweet as they might be hoping.  I think mine were a little disappointed to find out they weren't candy!