In My Kitchen

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Noticing the Rainbow Around Us – Celebrating All the Colors!

Summer hit and we aren’t following a school routine, so it has taken us a couple weeks to make a few rainbow projects happen.  Most of our adventures seem to involve food, art and books!

We made a Rainbow Salad for supper one night; the whole thing was delicious!

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Of course you have lots of other veggie options if you make one for yourself.  We choose the following:

RED – red pepper

ORANGE – shredded carrot

YELLOW – roasted golden beets (milder than red beets, roasting heightens the sweetness and no staining involved!)

GREEN – lots of lettuce underneath it all, but we like seeds in our salad, so pepitas make the green arc

BLUE – it might look white, but if you smelled it you’d know that it is blue cheese for sure

PURPLE – diced “red” cabbage and onion

Rainbow Fruit Kebabs were a fun addition to our Sunday supper snack one evening.

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Again, you have a bunch of options.  We had available:

RED – red delicious apples

ORANGE – peaches (the skin was sort of orange)

YELLOW – pineapple (fresh or canned would work; I had some dried that we used)

GREEN – kiwi

BLUE – blueberries (I forgot to look for fresh ones at the store, so we had to make due with our frozen ones; they were the tiny wild kind and didn’t want to stay on the skewers very well!)

PURPLE – grapes

If you need rainbow craft ideas, check here and here.  Both sites have lots of incredible ideas.  We (I) chose a simple painting project that repurposed the watermelon (rinds) we enjoyed on Father’s Day!  (I trimmed the bite marks off so we could have pretty, even arcs.)  Since I buy paint in large squeeze containers I’m always looking for something to dispense it onto for use in projects.  I cut open a thick paper bag to use this time.

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I really like the finished result.  They make a good replacement for the faded poinsettias that were still over the coat pegs until earlier this week!  We do need different red paint though . . . our new bottle dries pink!

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BOOKS – These are in no particular order and represent a huge variety of ways to explore and enjoy God’s amazing colors.  I find new ones each time I go to the library, so the list has gotten rather long.  Our favorites are starred.

**Red-Yellow-Blue: Colors in Art by Silke Vry  A fascinating history of color in art with interactive projects and puzzles.

**Growing Colors by Bruce McMillan  Vibrant pictures of fruits or vegetables on their own and as they grow.

Color by Ellen Lawrence  Fun, simple experiments for experiencing color.

Light and Color by Malcolm Dixon and  Karen Smith  Explores the science of light and color with short explanations and projects.

A Color of His Own by Leo Lionni  A chameleon explores colors while trying to figure out which one identifies.

Yellow Elephant: A Bright Bestiary by Julie Larios illustrated by Julie Paschkis  Bright illustrations of animals accompany poems about animals in imaginative and realistic colors.

**Kitten Red Yellow Blue by Peter Catalanotto  Mrs. Tuttle keeps track of each kitten by the colored collar it wears.  The colors correspond to the profession of the person to whom the kitten belongs.

Red Green Blue by Alison Jay  Colors are seen and illustrated by common nursery rhymes though the rhymes themselves aren’t printed in the book.

Red Sings from Treetops by Joyce Sidman  A unique exploration of how various colors are experienced throughout the year.

Patrick Paints a Picture by Saviour Pirotta  Patrick learns to what colors to mix together to create other colors while painting a picture with his aunt.

Marcos Colors by Tomie dePaola  Simple board book to introduce names of colors in Spanish.

**Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh  A fun color mixing book.

All the Colors of the Earth by Sheila Hamanaka  Not rainbow colors, but we still celebrate them everyday.

The Deep Blue Sea by Audrey Wood  Each page of the story adds a new color until a rainbow appears at the end.

OTHER IDEAS

My Color Friends – I haven’t gotten to see any of these in person yet, but they look like fun.  A family who travels the world has put together some books that illustrate individual colors with photographs they’ve taken during their travels.  The books are available on Kindle and in print.

Here is a week long unit study based on Margaret Wise Brown’s The Color Kittens from DerivingMommyhood.  I was surprised and disappointed that our library did not have this book.  I like the absorption color wheel idea.  I hope to adventure into color mixing with the little ones in the next couple weeks.


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Noticing the Rainbow Around Us – PURPLE

PURPLE FOOD

We had a few grapes and bought some eggplant.  The kids’ favorite eggplant dish is Moussaka, but this time we made some Ratatouille in the crockpot.   We couldn’t find any purple peppers and no plums are available this time of year.  We did try making Purple Cows – a combination of concord grape juice and milk!

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Andrew decided that the purple mustache was cool, but the drink itself wasn’t that good.  Maybe it would have been more of a hit if I’d made it with ice cream.

PURPLE BOOKS – we didn’t have one purple book on our own shelves!

Purple Little Bird by Greg Foley  A bird discovers that too much of even a favorite color  isn’t quite right.

The Purple Balloon by Chris Raschka  A sad but gentle tale to introduce young ones to the concept of someone facing the prospect of death.  I was really tempted to send this back to the library without reading it to the kids.  I finally decided, though, that it would be easier to read it for the first time without the reality looming directly in front of us personally.

Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes  A fun story that illustrates how difficult it is to humble oneself when wrong and the blessing of repentance and restoration in relationship that follows.

Lunchtime for A Purple Snake by Harriet Ziefert  Grandpa walks his young grand-daughter through the process of creating a painting.

Sally and the Purple Socks by Lisze Bechtold  Creative story about some amazing purple socks with many unusual uses.

PURPLE WALK

Lots of purple flowers to spot this time of year.  How many kinds can you name?

PURPLE ART

My idea for this project was to make “button stamps.”  I’d seen buttons glued onto corks to make stamps and thought we could replicate that.  I didn’t have any corks, but I did have a bunch of bottle caps.  I glued the buttons to the caps and let them dry.

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Unfortunately, white glue does not do a good job of adhering plastic to plastic.  The buttons that weren’t immediately picked off by little fingers quickly succumbed to the suction of the paint on the paper!  Thankfully, it was just as fun to dip the caps themselves into the paint to make circles.

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Grapes by Andrew

Grapes by Andrew


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Noticing the Rainbow Around Us – BLUE {and homemade bubble solution}

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BLUE CLOTHES – These are quite popular around here!  It would be hard to find a day when we aren’t wearing blue clothes.

BLUE FOODS – Not many foods are blue by nature!

Blueberries – eat them plain, make jam or sprinkle some on fruit pizza.

Blue Corn – and therefore blue corn tortilla chips; if you can buy blue corn meal, make some blue corn bread!

Blue Cheese – make some dip for veggies or serve on hamburgers – YUM!

Blue Potatoes – but some would call these purple instead of blue

BLUE CREATURES! – It was fun to consider the number of these God has created; searching for pictures was our treasure hunt for this week.  Here are just a few.

Bluejays

Bluebirds

Blue Herons

Blue-footed Boobys

Blue Whales

Eggs laid by robins (seen above) and other birds

BLUE BOOKS

Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey  The best blue book of all! I remember my mother reading it to me.

Sky Color by Peter H. Reynolds  What would you do if you had no blue?

Ziggy’s Blue Ribbon Day by Claudia Mills  An encouraging story that recognizes everyone is gifted in different ways.

In a Blue Room by Jim Averbeck  What could turn everything in a room blue so a little girl can go to sleep?

Big Blue Whale by Nicola Davies  Non-fiction about the life of a blue whale that flows like a story.

Two Blue Jays by Anne Rockwell  Follow two blue jays through the process of raising a family. 

The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse by Eric Carle  Several of  Carle’s multi-colored animals lead up to a brief explanation of the artist who inspired Carle’s colorful creatures.

DSC_0686 DSC_0682BLUE PROJECT – braided denim bracelets from old blue jeans.  Fairly easy but a little too complicated for the little people.  They had fun watching and wearing.  If I can figure out a neater way to finish them I might do a “how to” post someday.

BLUE ART – I’ve been doing these marble paintings with the kids for years; it is probably my favorite painting project. Remember to don your paint shirts; that marble likes to jump out sometimes!**

Start with any type of disposable pan. (You can reuse the same pan for years; don’t bother to wash it out.)

Cut paper to fit in the bottom of the pan.  Cut lots of pieces before you start; watching the marble roll around and create designs is kind of addicting!  Store any unused papers in the pan for next time.

Drop a marble into paint and then place the marble on the paper that is in the bottom of the pan.  Use a spoon to transport the marble if you don’t want too much paint on fingers.

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Tip the pan gently back and forth to allow the marble to roll.  The marble will leave paint “tracks” as it rolls.DSC_0690

Dip the marble into more paint as necessary until you are happy with your piece.DSC_0688

Allow to dry and display.DSC_0698

**I find that one of the best things to keep on hand during painting projects is a package of wet wipes!  They clean up drips and smears quickly before they dry and can remove a great portion of wet paint off little hands before they hit the bathroom sink . . . or toilet seat . . . or walls!

HOMEMADE BUBBLE SOLUTION – this gets in the blue post because of the main ingredient!  I don’t like the smell, but it really did not work well when I tried another soap.  If you have any suggestions or another recipe, please send a comment.

3 cups water

1 cup original Dawn dishwashing liquid (not antibacterial)

6 tablespoons light corn syrup OR 2 tablespoons glycerine**

Gently mix together in a large container.  Try not to stir up bubbles–good luck!  Allow to rest overnight to strengthen the solution.

**I’ve tried both and am not sure that one is better than another, so use what you have on hand.

Ideas for the older ones:

Blue Ridge Billy by Lois Lenski

Blue Willow by Doris Gates

Which state is the Bluegrass State?  If you can figure that out you’ll know where we live!

Why is bluegrass called that when it’s still green?


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Noticing the Rainbow Around Us – GREEN {with apple dip recipe}

Creative Commons D Sharon Pruitt

Creative Commons – D Sharon Pruitt

Since we are in the middle of spring we are surrounded by wonderful growing greenery of all shades!  When I am asked what my favorite color is I usually settle on green.  It is nice by itself, but it also accentuates all the other colors nicely.

GREEN BOOKS – These seemed to be in short supply both on my own shelf and in the library.  In addition to the few listed below we checked out books on green frogs and green lizards.  Green sea turtles would be another option.

Verdi by Janell Cannon  Fun story of a young python’s growing pains.

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss  A classic of course!  None of my kids are fans of eggs dyed to a green color, but a quiche stuffed with kale or spinach that’s been finely diced in the food processor and sautéed with onion, salt and pepper suits them just fine.

Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger A beautiful book that illustrates numerous shades of green in the world; small cutouts on some pages incorporate a portion of one painting into another.

The Giving Tree  by Shel Silverstein  Has a lovely green cover!

GREEN FOODS are abundant.  I could begin naming them, but the list would quickly get overwhelmingly long.  Since we already eat green foods on a nearly daily basis I decided to make a treat out of this dip to eat with green, i.e. Granny Smith, apples.

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1 cup yogurt cheese**

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

honey to taste, I used 1-2 tablespoons

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Enjoy with apples of your choice.  Amount of honey used would probably vary depending on the sweetness of your apples.

DSC_0660**Greek yogurt will work if you don’t want to make yogurt cheese.  Cream cheese could also be used, but you may need to thin the dip with some milk.  If you do want to make yogurt cheese, line a fine mesh strainer with a coffee filter and place over a bowl.  Fill strainer/filter with about 2 cups plain, unsweetened whole milk yogurt.  Allow to sit for a couple hours until a cup or more of whey has been strained off.  You will need to pour the whey out of the bowl periodically if it is not large enough to keep whey level below strainer.  Use the remaining thick yogurt “cheese” for your dip.  Don’t throw that whey out!  Use it as a base for a smoothie or in place of milk or water in any pancake or bread recipe.  My bread (either sourdough or yeast risen) always turns out best when I use equal portions whey and water for the liquid.

GREEN ART PROJECT

We used various greenery (and a few flowers) collected from the yard to create plant poundings.  The kids loved using the hammers!

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We placed the plant pieces on sheets of corrugated cardboard, placed the fabric squares over the plant pieces and pounded away.  Everyone was happy with their creation regardless of wether the full impression of the leaf came through clearly or their efforts simply resulted in a lot of green circles!

Since Mother’s Day was approaching, we used the results to create cards (that I neglected to take pictures of).

For the older kids:

Aaron and the Green Mountain Boys by Patricia Lee Gauche

Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

What state is known as The Green Mountain State and why?

The Green River What state(s) does it go through?


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Noticing the Rainbow Around Us – YELLOW {with recipes}

The kids found a few yellow accessories to wear.

The kids found a few yellow accessories to model.

We did do a YELLOW TREASURE HUNT  with homemade lemonade as the “prize.”

LEMONADE RECIPE

1 generous cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 medium lemon washed and sliced thinly

2/3 cup organic crystallized cane juice (sugar); you could also use rapadura or maple syrup, but the lemonade won’t be yellow!

4 cups water

Macerate sliced lemon in sugar in the bottom of your pitcher.  Let the kids squish it around really well (a potato masher works great) to release all the juice and start dissolving the sugar.  Add lemon juice and mix well to continue dissolving the sugar. Add water and mix again.  Fish out all the lemon peels and seeds if you wish and serve.

DSC_0541Other YELLOW FOODS included pears, yellow squash and peppers, pineapple and pomelo–if you’ve never tried one, please do; they taste like sweetened grapefruit juice!

Our YELLOW OBSERVATION WALK turned up a few flowers, road signs and school busses.

YELLOW BOOKS

Curious George by H. A. Rey  George may not have come to us without the “big yellow hat”!

The Story About Ping by Marjorie Flack  Classic tale set on the “beautiful yellow waters of the Yangtze River.”

Red and Yellow’s Noisy Night by Josh Selig  Short story about considering others and mutually beneficial compromise.

In My New Yellow Shirt by Eileen Spinelli  A young boy’s imagination lets him experience many “yellow” adventures.

Yellow Umbrella by Jae Soo Liu  An unusual wordless book accompanied by an enjoyable instrumental CD.

Little Blue and Little Yellow by Leo Lionni  The story that started Mr. Lionni’s writing career!

The Little Yellow Leaf by Carin Berger  One leaf joins another to encourage it on it’s new adventure.

One Yellow Lion by Matthew van Fleet  Fun, colorful counting book; good for guessing on the first read through and remembering on subsequent reads.

YELLOW CRAFT

Potato prints and apple prints may be common . . . we made lemon prints.  These were very simple and a lot of fun.

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One thing about kids and art is that if they really like the project they want to make another . . . and another . . . and another . . . and soon we run out of paper!  For some reason I had a stash of small pieces of cardboard saved from the sides of thin cardboard boxes (kleenex, tea, etc.).  These made great, sturdy art boards that took paint well.  I will be sure to keep recycling these treasures in the future!

For the older kids:

Yellow Fever  Yellow Death: A True Story of Medical Sleuthing by Suzanne Jurmain Fascinating reading about the team who worked in Cuba to determine the cause and cure for a mysterious disease.

Goldfinches

The Yangtze River

Old Yeller by Fred Gipson

The Yellow House Mystery (Boxcar Children #3) by Gertrude Chandler Warner

The Yellow Star by Carmen Agra Deedy

An extra YELLOW PROJECT (some say that yellow makes one hungry . . . apparently it made us creative!) was making naturally dyed yellow play-dough.

PLAY-DOUGH RECIPEDSC_0600

1 cup white flour

1/2 cup salt

2 teaspoons cream of tartar*

3/4 teaspoon turmeric**

1 cup water

1 tablespoon oil

Measure first 4 ingredients into medium, thick bottomed pan.  Mix briefly to combine.  Combine water and oil and pour into dry ingredients.  Cook on medium heat, stirring with a whisk to get out all the lumps.  It will thicken as it cooks; you may need to switch to stirring with a wooden spoon.  It is finished cooking when it all stirs together into a lump.  Remove pan from heat and dump play-dough out onto a sheet of wax paper, parchment paper or foil.  Carefully knead the play-dough (it will be very hot–I like to use something under it that is large enough to fold over the top and make it slightly easier to touch) to remove any remaining lumps.  Divide among the kids when cool enough for them to handle.  Recipe will double easily.  Store in an air-tight container or zippered bag.

*Don’t be tempted to skip this unless you want moldy play-dough!  It has a preserving effect and will allow you to store the play-dough for months.

**Turmeric is a ground spice that naturally gives the play-dough a dark yellow color.  I don’t think the turmeric stained anyone’s hands or clothing, but it will leave a yellow stain on your counter if you spill it there.  A couple days’ worth of washing the counters will remove it.  Another natural alternative is to soak a few saffron threads in the water before adding the oil; remove them before adding the oil and mixing with the dry ingredients.

If you want to color your play-dough with ordinary food coloring, add it to the water and oil mixture rather than the dry ingredients.


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Family Book Picks – April

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I thought it would be fun at the end of each month to make a quick list of current favorite books.  Some are treasures unearthed form our own shelves; others are new library finds

Chasitie (age 3) – Lucky Ducklings by Eva Moore. Charming illustrations in a fun, true story about the near demise of a family of ducklings.

Naomi (age 3) – Who Put the Cookies in the Cookie Jar by George Shannon.  Simple text and colorful illustrations show how much work really goes into eating a cookie.

Andrew (almost 6) – Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne.  Even the big boys haven’t been able to stay away when I’ve read these stories of imagination and adventure out loud.

Jonathan (age 9) – Salamandastron by Brian Jacques.  This is the 5th book in the Redwall series–full of beautiful scenery, colorful characters and valor.  Considering there are more than 20 in the series, I’m thankful our local library is well stocked!

Samuel (age 9) – North Or Be Eaten by Andrew Peterson.  This is the 2nd book in the Wingfeather series–intriguing, adventurous and suspenseful; full of honor and integrity.

Abi (Mom) – Tuttle’s Red Barn by Richard Michelson.  Wonderful narrative of the Tuttle family and how they’ve kept their farm in Dover, New Hampshire working through 12 generations.  As a farm girl born in Dover, I was delighted to find  this book.  It’s not just New Hampshire history; it’s American history.  Mary Azarian’s woodcut illustrations complement the story beautifully.

Harrison (Dad) – Since Samuel already picked North Or Be Eaten . . . How To Argue Like Jesus by Joe Carter and John Coleman.  The authors do a good job of explaining  different types of argument and illustrating how Jesus employs these methods to convey truth to His audience.


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Noticing the Rainbow Around Us – ORANGE

The unique thing about orange is that it is a fruit, a flavor and a scent in addition to being a color!  As a color orange is certainly not as prevalent as red, but we still managed to find quite a lot of it around us.

The orange haul!

The orange haul!

A few of the kids did manage to WEAR orange!

READ ORANGE BOOKS – we didn’t have many on our shelves, but the library yielded several

An Orange in January by Dianna Hutts Aston  A neat story that starts with the orange trees blossoming and ends with kids sharing an orange.

Orange Pear Apple Bear by Emily Gravett  A silly board book that Naomi especially liked.

Each Orange Had 8 Slices by Paul Giganti, Jr.  A fairly advanced counting book (more like advanced addition or multiplication).   Definitely created my own text for the little kids. 

A Star in My Orange by Dana Meachen Rau  A unique shape book.

An Orange for Frankie by Patricia Polacco  A christmas story for the big kids that made me cry (as many of this author’s books do)!

The Pumpkin Patch Parable by Liz Curtis Higgs  It may be spring-time, but . . . pumpkins are orange!

Too Many Pumpkins by Linda White  Again, more fitting for fall reading, but probably my favorite pumpkin story of all.

Mop Top by Don Freeman  The only thing orange about this book is the illustrations; great story about a boy who doesn’t want a haircut.

Sam and the Tigers by Julius Lester   A modern re-do of “Little Black Sambo” that my kids love; the tigers, of course, are orange.

The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss  A boy’s patience and diligence are rewarded when he refuses to be discouraged by those around him.

THE ORANGE TREASURE HUNT

We did manage to find a number of orange toys and various objects around the house.  If you have trouble finding much orange around your house, check the garage!  You may not want to cart those things into the house (we left the bike, extension cords and chainsaw there) but it may be good source of orange treasure.

Orange balloons were the prize of the week when everything was returned to its proper place.

THE ORANGE OBSERVATION WALK

Doing this one in the fall may seem like a better idea, but the scarcity of orange objects around made the few discoveries even more exciting.  We also saw a surprising number of orange cars and trucks out on the road this week!

EATING ORANGE FOOD

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Carrots – how many ways can you eat a carrot? Try this slaw recipe if you don’t like the standard shredded carrot, mayo, raisin salad.

Oranges – how many ways can you cut an orange?

Goldfish Crackers

Colby cheese (or orange cheddar)

Dried apricots or mangos

Sweet potatoes

Pumpkin or winter squashes

If its rainy or cold and you want to bake try pumpkin bread or carrot muffins.

MAKING ORANGE ART

The orange crayons, markers and pencils certainly made their appearance, but we kids also made some shape collages.

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PLANTING ORANGE

Plant some carrot seeds (remember that they really do take a long time to sprout!) or pumpkin seeds.  Marigolds or nasturtiums would work if you prefer flowers.

INSPIRING THE OLDER CROWD – the little ones may also enjoy reading about the first two topics

Common Clown Fish

Tigers

Learn why cheese is sometimes orange.  Read this post at thekitchn.com.  (I’ve also found some really yummy recipes there.)

Research the history of Orange County, California.  What other states also boast an Orange County and why?

I enjoyed reading this novel: One Day and One Amazing Morning on Orange Street by Joanne Rocklin.  A mysterious story of camaraderie among neighbors; you may want your kids to be 10 or 12 before handing it to them.