In My Kitchen

Food, Faith and all things Family


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Family Book Picks – July

July was full of exploring new parks, picking berries, making jam and playing in the water.  We did still manage to read lots of books, though.  Here are some highlights.

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Chasitie (age 3) – Chasitie had a new favorite almost each week this month!  They were:

The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss  A simple story about one little boy’s faith that seeds will do what they are designed to do.

May We Sleep Here Tonight by Tan Koide  This mystery was a hit for a week, got “too scary” for a couple days and then reappeared in the frequent requests!

Yankee Doodle illustrated by Steven Kellogg  Not exactly a preschool level story line, but the song has catchy words, the pictures are full of detail and she liked to talk about what the young boy was doing on each page.

Naomi (age 3) – Comet’s Nine Lives by Jan Brett  The fun (mis)adventures of a cat as he searches for a comfortable home.

Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle  A very pink wordless book about friendship.

Andrew (age 6) – Thimbleberry Stories by Cynthia Rylant  Four stories about the neighborly antics of the colorful characters that live on Thimbleberry Lane.

Jonathan (age 9) – The Bellmaker by Brian Jacques Books in the Redwall series continue to be favorites.

Samuel (age 9) – Martin the Warrior by Brian Jacques  Again . . . books in the Redwall series continue to be favorites.

Abi (mom) – Owls in the Family by Farley Mowat  A hilarious tale about the author’s boyhood pets.  I will certainly share it with the boys and check the library for more of his books.

Harrison (dad) – The House You Build by Duo Dickinson  This was lent to us by an architecture loving friend.  It has many good suggestions for determining how much house a family really needs to build and making the best use of the space you can afford to build.

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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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Family Book Picks – May

Here are few of the books we enjoyed this month.

Chasitie (age 3)The Bear Went Over the Mountain as told and illustrated by Iza Trapani  The traditional rhyme has been expanded to encompass all the senses; lots of fun!

Naomi (age 3)If You Give a Pig a Pancake by Laura Numeroff  Follows the adventures of a little girl and the pig with whom she shares her breakfast.

Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert   Another favorite with both girls this month; colorfully illustrates fruits and vegetables for each letter of the alphabet.

Andrew (age 6)Flight by Robert Burleigh  The exciting story of Charles Lindbergh’s trans-Atlantic flight in 1927.

Jonathan (age 9) – Young Marines Basic Guidebook  Says he didn’t read anything else interesting this month!  Young Marines is a program for youth ages 8-18; their core values are leadership, discipline and teamwork.

Samuel (age 9)The Dangerous Canoe Race by Lee Roddy  A humorous mystery about “what’s in the box and “are we going to win?”” (Samuel’s words)

Abi (mom)What It Is Is Beautiful by Sarah Dunning Park  A small book of “honest poems for mothers of small children.”  I tried to pick a favorite but couldn’t decide; they all make me cry ’cause they express the reality so well.

Harrison (dad) – He didn’t have time to read this month–he was too busy working on the Dragon Legends exhibit for Answeris in Genesis!  Scroll down near the bottom of this article and you’ll find him adding lights to the banners.

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Jonathan has some poison ivy here, but it looks about 50 times better than it did earlier this week!


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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.