Saturday, February 16, 2013

Kid Led Science with a Balloon

It started with a red balloon. We went out to dinner for Valentine's and the Figlet, being all cute and stuff, received it from the waiter (I think she won him over when he spotted her sampling the Rainbow Roll).

To spite her insistence on holding it herself and the tantrum that ensued when a loop was put in the string, the balloon made it safely home via the train. From a mom perspective that was surprising in itself, but what followed was the truly amazing part. It was nothing short of... Science!

First she tied the balloon string around her bag to see if it would fly. It didn't. Concluding that it must be too heavy, she dumped the contents onto the floor and tried again. Still too heavy. So she proceeded to test:

All the 'people' that were in her bag
(who might want to go to the moon)

A small wooden ornament
Which flew!
Her and I on a chair
(She said I was too heavy)
Her juice
When Daddy came home she demonstrated
by testing his juice
Her toothpaste

Then the wooden ornament again
Because it is so cool when it works!

Friday, February 8, 2013

How to Make a Secret Message Card

 I was going to make these with the school age kids I work with today, but a snow storm got in the way. I was really excited that they were going to be able to use this process for Valentines cards. Unfortunately the next time we meet will be after the holiday. Sigh...
The idea is to use Alphabet Noodles  to create cards that contain secret messages that can be revealed by rubbing over the area with a crayon. The card itself is like any basic hand made card, but the message is spelled out in pasta then hidden under an extra layer of paper. The lighter weight the 'cover' paper the more clearly the message shows when you create the rubbing, so be sure to use 20# (copy paper weight) or lighter.
A test rubbing made with heavier paper


Letter to a Home Town - The Seemingly Endless Journey of Potty Training

Our sleep anywhere girl...
It is never going to end! I am almost sure of it: Potty training is an everlasting process and I am destined to have a key role in keeping that little bottom clean for all of eternity. I know it isn’t true, but gads, it sure does feel that way. We have been actively potty training for more than half of the Figlet’s short life!
The duration is, in many ways, our own fault. The interest was there early, so we jumped at the opportunity. We set the potty up in back corner of the kitchen (the room central to it all). We had a few no pants days. Much to our surprise, it worked. It wasn’t 100% but she started using the potty pretty regularly. It was cause for celebration! We danced. We sang. We composed odes to the long forgotten diapers of yore. But then the weather got cold. Pants became more essential. She had trouble getting them down. More importantly, Figlet got bored and digressed. She wasn’t as ready as we’d hoped.
Sometimes I think that those guys that wear their pants down around their thighs are mocking me. They know how much bare bottom I have seen. Somehow they sense it. They know how happy I would be to never again have to deal with anyone rushing with pants round knees, leaving a dribble trail en route to the potty. They sense my fleeting hope of it ever ending and threaten to drop trou just to rub it in.
When warm weather arrived, her interest began to rekindle. The dusty potty in the kitchen corner saw increasingly regular use. The diaper count dwindled to half what it had once been, remaining essential only for overnights and outings. The potty traveled with us when we went away for a few days but was largely ignored. Using the potty was a home thing, which was progress. But then it wasn’t. It was just a stand still.  
When it comes to potty training, my present self laughs at the self of the recent past. You thought THAT was going to be the last case of diapers you’d buy?! You thought that pull ups would be anything more than poorly fitting diapers that are a pain to get on? You thought that calling training pants ‘fancy pants’ it would be incentive to keep them dry? You thought that you’d be done with this by now? Bwah, ha, ha! You have been through this before! You should have known that the Figlet would dash such dreams into a puddle on the floor - repeatedly!
I do know that potty training won’t last forever. The Figlet is making progress again. At home and on short outings ‘fancy pants’ are the rule. Accidents happen. When they do, I give our washing machine a little hug, the then remind myself the potty training golden rule: It will be over before her college applications are due.
I hope that this letter has found you and yours in good spirits and good health. Until I write again…

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Hummus made from Orange Lentils (That Insist on Being Called Red)

Why are they called Red Lentils? They are obviously Orange!
I got tahini in my Christmas stocking but seeing as Santa didn't bring any chick peas I hadn't made hummus yet. Today I came across a recipe for red lentil hummus on  and decided to try it out. Of course I can't leave any recipe as is, so below is my version. I must say, it came out quite good!

Hummus made from Orange Lentils (That Insist on Being Called Red)
1c Red Lentils
2c Water
2 Cloves Garlic
4T Tahini
4T Olive Oil
1/4c Lemon Juice
Dash Red Pepper Flakes
Salt & Pepper to taste
(I used sea salt and a fresh ground pepper mix)

Bring water and lentils to a boil then reduce to a simmer for about 20 minutes or until lentils can be easily mashed. Drain any excess water that remains (there won’t be much). Allow the lentils to cool a bit. Peal and crush garlic. Add them to lentils along with the tahini, olive oil and lemon juice. Stir vigorously with a fork or a wire whisk until the mixture is creamy. Add red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste. Can be served at room temperature or refrigerated for later use.

Hummus is UGLY But Soooo Yummy!