In My Kitchen

Food, Faith and all things Family

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Noticing the Rainbow Around Us – PURPLE


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.


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


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.



Grapes by Andrew

Grapes by Andrew

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


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.



Blue Herons

Blue-footed Boobys

Blue Whales

Eggs laid by robins (seen above) and other birds


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.


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.

Dip for ApplesDSC_0664

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.


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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The Waiting Chain – A Birthday Countdown


This is Andrew.  He’s 5.  Andrew’s been waiting for his birthday since the beginning of the year.  Four other people in our immediate family have already had birthdays since January 1st.  Each one has been a mixture of celebration and angst.  Andrew knows the date of his birth and where to find it on his calendar.  He regularly counts the squares to determine how many more days he has to wait for the big day–still more than a month away.   Yesterday I finally remembered an idea I’ve seen in a couple different places for counting down the days–a paper chain.

Andrew was ready to get to work right away.  I told him I’d get him colorful construction paper if he could just wait until after breakfast, but Andrew waits for no man or mom or breakfast.  He is a go-getter who takes the bull by the horns.  Mom’s pretty ideas of brightly colored paper carefully measured and cut with a paper cutter meant nothing to him.  He knew where to find paper and he knew where to find scissors, and the job was begun.



After breakfast (since I told him I’d help him finish the chain after he’d eaten!), I started to number and date* the strips of paper.  I made #1 the date of his birthday, so we’re counting backwards.  Once I started, he wanted to do most of the numbering**, so I just added the date.


We stapled (apparently I moved the tape so the kids wouldn’t use it up and can’t remember where I put it!) the strips to form a chain.  We hung the birthday end from the curtain rod in his bedroom and looped the other end over his clothes hook.

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*Adding the date to a counting chain is certainly not necessary.  Andrew likes to mark each day off on his calendar, so that lets him connect the two concepts.

**If I had asked him to number the strips, he probably would have fallen apart.  None of my boys have ever enjoyed the prospect of a large (any) writing project.  Seeing me start it though,  made him want to get in on the fun!

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Easy Homemade Marble Game

Are you familiar with the little games that involve rolling small round objects around a board in an attempt to lodge them in shallow divots?  Here’s a make-your-own version that my nearly six year old son, Andrew, loved.  With only three steps (the third one being to play the game!) it can’t be beat for simplicity.



  • a cardboard box or tray (we happened to have a shallow tray, but even a shoe box would work)
  • scissors
  • markers
  • marbles

Step 1:  Design the Gameboard

If your box has a flip-top cover, cut that off.  Use markers to create any fun picture or design on the floor of the box.  Be creative.  Pick an animal, a geometric design, a landscape–anything that suits you.

Andrew’s first choice was a lizard, but he didn’t want to draw it.  Thankfully he agreed to a snake which was easier for me!  I was happy to draw the snake for him, but I did want it to be his project so encouraged him to color or decorate it.  He didn’t know what to do, so I added a stripe to the snake.  That was cool, so he wanted to do the rest of the stripes.  Each time I suggested something he’d say, “What’s it look like?”  I’d make a sample and he would add his own versions.  Eventually he took over, adding grass and decorating the edges and the bottom of the box too.


Step 2:  Make the Divots

Decide how many holes you want and where in the design you will place them.  Use a pair of pointed scissors to poke a hole.  Wiggle and twist the scissors to make the hole bigger and round.

Test one of your marbles to see if it sits in the hole comfortably.  You don’t want the marble to fall through the hole, but you do want to be able to manipulate the box and have one or more marbles stay put while you try to lodge the remaining ones.

If you trust your child to poke the holes himself, go for it.  I was more comfortable doing this myself.  I also trimmed the excess cardboard off the edges of the holes on the bottom of the box–not necessary, but it made me happy.

Step 3:  Play the Game!

Put your marbles in the box and see how you do!  Use a marble for each hole or add an extra.  Keep track of which color gets left out each time.  Use fewer marbles than the number of holes and try to make the marbles land in different holes each time.

Have fun.