What happens when a favorite puzzle goes through six children and fifteen years?
I suppose it's impressive that the box even exists anymore, and that the puzzle pieces are still flat and whole.
But it was time for a new way of storing it.
The puzzle pieces fit nicely in a gallon-sized ziptop bag. I cut out the top of the box so we'd still have the picture of what the puzzle looks like, then inserted it in the bag, too.
As a bonus, it now takes up less space in the puzzle drawer!
OK, OK, I know it's a whole three days after Easter, but this is still fun. We don't have to totally forget about a holiday after we've passed it, right? (The real reason this is delayed is that I spent the last week in a beautiful, very green place with no phone connection, no cell phone signal, and no Internet connection. This was ready to publish, I just couldn't get to the button.) How about something fluffy and NOT sugary? This is a fun craft for kids anytime and has some deeper Easter meaning. It's simple but will keep them occupied for a little while. How about making a whole flock of sheep? He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young. (Isaiah 41:11)
You'll need only
- 1 sheet of newspaper
- Cotton balls
- 4 straws
- White paper
- Black marker
You can find the instructions at http://www.lds.org/friend/2013/03/easter-activities?lang=eng
What about some other animals?
This year the theme for Primary--
the children's organization-- is "I Am A Child of God". Our ward typically gives the children and teachers a small gift each year. We've also recently had a lesson called "Jesus Christ is the Light and the Life of the World" (Dec. 2012, week 3
), and I read a talk by Sister Elaine S. Dalton called "Now is the Time to Arise and Shine
". It also fit with our first Sharing Time lesson of the year, "God is my Heavenly Father. He Knows and Loves Me
." Connecting all these things, this is what we did this year:
I bought a number of chandelier crystals, strung a ribbon through, and attached a poem, which I titled Illumination:
Hang this crystal in your room
Where light is bright and clear.
As light reflects and shines, think of
I am a child of God
His light can shine through me.
If I am clean and pure and serve,
I can help others see.
The poem can be sung to the tune of "I Am A Child of God
"; we sang just the second stanza.
Maybe the poem should have specified to hang it in the window; my children have theirs hanging on the wall, where they are not close enough to a light source to throw rainbows. Hmm. Maybe "In your window this will go/ Where light is bright and clear..."
Something like this poem and chandelier crystal could be used as part of a Family Home Evening lesson, especially along with either of the Sharing Time lessons or Sister Dalton's talk.
I know that I am not the light but I can help share it. The closer I am to the Source of light, my Savior, Jesus Christ, and the more pure of heart and willing to serve His children I am, the more I am able to share His light with others. They will see it in me and hopefully want to shine, too.
_______________________________________________How about the expense? Each one cost just over $1, I ordered some from Amazon, $8.99 for 10 crystals, plus shipping. They didn't have enough for me (we needed about 120), so found more at D. Lawless Hardware, $1 apiece with free shipping (and my favorite crystal of the two kinds). Thin gold ribbon was on sale at Hobby Lobby, a 30-foot roll for $ .79, it took 6 spools to have 14" per crystal.
My 12-year-old science nut convinced me to buy a red cabbage- why?
While walking through the produce section together, I had told him that the vegetable could be used to make a pH indicator. He was excited. You can see how to do this in the one-minute video, below.
Meanwhile, you don't need the whole head of cabbage for such a project, so it got chopped up into a creamy, flavorful, no-mayonnaise coleslaw. The recipe is below this cabbage video.
Isn't that simple? If you don't have a coffee filter, any other absorbent paper will work, including (white) construction paper or paper towels. My favorite is the construction paper. You can read more about why this works here
* * * * * * * * * * * * Coleslaw with Bacon and Buttermilk (or Kefir) Dressing
adapted from America's Test Kitchen
If you are going to eat this coleslaw RIGHT AWAY, you can skip the salting step, which keeps the cabbage from releasing water and diluting the dressing as it sits. However, if you’re not a fan of raw onion, cook it along with the bacon; salting the onion also mellows it.
½ medium head of red or green cabbage, shredded
1 large carrot or apple, grated
½ medium onion, sliced thin
6 slices bacon, chopped, cooked and drained
½ c. buttermilk or kefir
2 Tbsp. oil (I used coconut oil)
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
½ Tbsp. caraway seeds
¼ tsp. mustard (dry or prepared)
2 tsp. sugar or honey
Black pepper to taste
Combine the cabbage, carrot/apple, and onion in a colander; sprinkle with 1 tsp. salt. Let stand over a bowl until the veggies wilt, 1-4 hours. Rinse, drain, and pat dry. Add in the bacon (and onion if you cooked them together.) Stir together the buttermilk/kefir, oil, vinegar, caraway, mustard, and sugar. Pour over the salad, and toss to coat. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Side note: if you have these flowers, too, you have an edible weed in your yard. This is "pepperweed", also called "tall whitetop" - Lepidium latifolium-, a perennial in the mustard family. The seeds are good to eat and taste like... yep, pepper. The leaves and stems are also edible and taste spicy, similar to watercress or arugula. - Just don't eat them if they've been sprayed with herbicide. See other posts on this site for more "free veggies"!
This was a fun project with my preschooler- quick and easy for me, fun for her.
To draw the butterfly outline, first start with a 9" paper plate. You can draw it completely freehand, or try to follow the instructions below. :-) The double dotted line in the center is where you glue the body. I used a twig (and folded the plate backwards along each line so the wings could flap a little), but other options include a craft stick or pipe cleaner -- cut a length double plus 2-3" longer than the body should be, fold in half, twist together, leaving the top 1- 1 1/2" free, for the antennae.
Draw a line horizontally, 3/4" below the center of the plate. This is the line that will separate the top wings from the bottom ones. Make a mark about 1" in from each edge along this line, then draw a curved triangle at each side with the mark at its tip and its base at the plate edge.
Next, draw a faint line from top to bottom, through the center, perpendicular to the first line. Make a mark 3 3/4" from the top, and another one 2 1/2" up from the bottom of the plate. This will be where the wings touch. Draw a curved triangle with its tip at the mark and its base at the plate edge.
Wouldn't these make cute decorations for an outdoor party? Picture them hung with fishing line from trees, perched on tables or shrubs...
I hate playdough. It gets stuck in the carpet, smells funny, dries out, and gets thrown away. My children, however, love playdough.
Here's a way to let them have fun with playdough, have it over and GONE in one session, and not waste anything! Whatever the kids roll out gets baked- as crackers!
Other things you can use as playdough: yeast dough
, homemade Tootsie Rolls
, Peanut Butter Balls
(all recipes are also in my cookbook
1/3 c. water
1/3 c. quick oats (or one envelope instant oatmeal and an extra 1 to 1 1/2 Tbsp. water)
1/2 c. flour
pinch of salt
1 tsp. baking powder, optional
2-6 drops food color, optional
Bring the water to a boil, add oats. Let sit a couple minutes to plump and cool slightly. If adding color, it's easiest to do right before adding the flour. Stir in flour, salt, and baking powder (a pinch of sugar is always popular; omit if using sweetened instant oatmeal). Stir until you've worked in at least half of the flour, then dump everything onto the counter and knead until smooth. Mixing in the flour while dough is warm or hot helps it become more elastic. (So does cooking the oats.)
If you have a toaster oven, it's the perfect size to bake in. Oil or spray a cookie sheet, and bake at 400 degrees until the crackers are crisp. This may be anywhere from 10-25 minutes, depending on how thick they are. (Hint- the thinner, the better they'll be!) Anything thicker than about 1/4 " will never be crisp, just hard. Teething biscuits. Entertaining to chew on.
The baking powder is not necessary, but it helps lighten the crunch of the baked product. This is nice because those little fingers rarely roll out the dough evenly.
This color is from adding about 1 1/2 tsp. dried beet powder when cooking the oats. After this, my daughter said she wanted purple- so I added 3 drops blue food color.
I make beet powder when my garden beets become too big and a little tough to eat normally. To make the powder, slice the beets thinly, dehydrate until completely dry, then put them in a blender or food processor. Grind to a powder. Store in an airtight container, like a jar with a screw-on lid. Best nutrition within one year.
The ideal thickness is about 1/8" thick, but... it's for fun, with a bonus snack at the end! My kids love that they're making actual food.
Well, at least they'll be bored less....
Do you need some ideas of things to do with your kids during Christmas break?
How about:Pipe Cleaner Animals Pipe Cleaner & PomPom creatures
Peel a hardboiled egg the cool way
(my teenagers will love this!- but I'll do my own, thanks) I'd blown eggs before, when they were raw, but had never heard you could use a similar technique when they're cooked!
Have you ever thought about the name "Play dough"? I hadn't, until I bought a book called Kids' Ideas With Frozen Dough
. This book, printed by Rhodes Bread, who makes frozen bake-at-home bread dough, shows how to make butterflies, turtles, alligators, bees, dinosaurs, your name... all from regular bread dough.
As a mom, I detest play dough- it gets everywhere, and is usually abandoned someplace with its lid off, where it dries out. But this- Hey! this is useful. And edible. I give my kids a lump of bread dough to play with, and later we bake and eat their creation. If you want to make your own, see the Making Bread
page. You can even use biscuit dough, though it becomes tougher the more it's handled. Yeast bread dough can take a lot
Now one more for anyone over about age 5: The Two-Second Shirt Fold
See it here
then learn how to do it, here
. You'll be amazed. Then you'll want to go fold all the shirts in your house!
(originally 7/08/10)Here in the Salt Lake Valley, we still have a couple months of the growing season left; it’s not too late to plant some things. Beans, beets, carrots, and turnips are good ones to put in right now. You can even grow cool-season crops like peas, lettuce, spinach, chard, and cabbage, if you wait a couple more weeks for temperatures to drop a bit.Here are a few quick tips for growing tomatoes- *fertilize with 1 Tbsp. nitrogen (34-0-0) at four and eight weeks after transplanting. For me, that’s right about now. Put the fertilizer on the ground, to the side of the plant. Gardeners call this “side dressing”.*Give them 1-2 inches of water per week, water deeply and infrequently. To know how often to water, dig a 4” deep hole, feel the soil at the bottom. If it feels cool and moist, you don’t need water yet. Wait until the top four inches dry out, then water again. Mulch around them to keep moisture in and to reduce weeds. *It will take about 25-35 days for a flower to become a ripe tomato. It seems to speed up ripening if you break off a few little branches. This tells the plant it had better hurry up and produce seeds before something happens to it.for more info on tomatoes, including what causes blossom end rot: http://extension.usu.edu/files/publications/factsheet/HG_2004-05.pdfinfo on planting beans:http://extension.usu.edu/files/publications/factsheet/pub__7948214.htmand information on growing about any fruit, vegetable, or herb: https://extension.usu.edu/yardandgarden/htm/vegetables-fruits-herbs Here are a couple great quotes I ran across recently:"Self-reliance is a product of our work and under-girds all other welfare practices. It is an essential element in our spiritual as well as our temporal well-being. Regarding this principle, President Marion G. Romney has said: “Let us work for what we need. Let us be self-reliant and independent. Salvation can be obtained on no other principle. Salvation is an individual matter, and we must work out our own salvation in temporal as well as in spiritual things.” - (In Welfare Services Meeting Report, 2 Oct. 1976, p. 13.), quoted in “In the Lord’s Own Way” Elder Russell M. Nelson, Ensign, May 1986"There is more salvation and security in wheat than in all the political schemes of the world". - Orson Hyde, Journal of Discourses, 2:207 Or in whatever food you end up storing. Now for the recipes:The two below are almost the same thing: the first is stiff because of the large amount of milk powder and powdered sugar, the second starts with the same ratio of PB and honey, but thickens it up with cereal/oats and just a little milk powder. Just goes to show you can do your own variations if you like. On those days that we’re out of bread and don’t know what to do for lunch, we’ll whip up a batch of these Peanut Butter Fingers (though we usually shape them in balls) and eat those. It’s our peanut-butter-sandwich, fun-sized. If you go by what the PB jar says is a serving (2 Tbsp.), the PB Fingers recipes only feeds 3 people. Edible Playdough - makes about 2 cups’ worth, 1 ¼ lbs.1 cup peanut butter 1 cup dry milk powder 1 cup powdered sugar 1/2 cup honey Mix peanut butter and honey together until smooth. Stir in milk powder, then add powdered sugar. Stir as much as you can, then dump out on counter and knead with your hands until it all sticks together. Peanut Butter Fingers (small batch)Yield: about 20 (2”) "fingers"1/3 cup peanut butter 3 Tbsp. honey 1/2 cup corn flakes 1/2 cup quick-cooking rolled oats 1/4 cup dry milk powder 1/4 cup raisins or dried fruit bits Sesame seed, if you like In a medium mixing bowl stir together the peanut butter and honey until smooth. Put corn flakes in a plastic sandwich bag. Close the open end. With your fist, crush the corn flakes into small pieces. Add corn flakes, oats, milk powder, and raisins to the peanut butter mixture in the bowl. With your hands, mix well. If mixture is too dry to hold together, mix in a few drops of water. Using a well-rounded teaspoonful for each, shape into logs 2 inches long and 1/2 inch wide, or about the size of your finger. Spread the sesame seed (if you're using it) in a pie plate. Roll peanut butter fingers in the sesame seed. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container. If they don’t disappear first.
(originally from 7/29/10)
At the beginning of the year we had the ‘three month challenge’. Where are you now in your home storage program? Which step are you ready for? I know some of you are done with all of them, congratulations! The more self-reliant you are, the more of service you can be. Here’s the four-step program the Church has published.1. Gradually build a small supply of food that is part of your normal, daily diet until it is sufficient for three months.2. Store drinking water.3. Establish a financial reserve by setting aside a little money each week, and gradually increase it to a reasonable amount.4. Once families have achieved the first three objectives, they are counseled to expand their efforts, as circumstances allow, into a supply of long-term basic foods such as grains, legumes, and other staples.Of the new guidelines, Presiding Bishop H. David Burton says, “Our objective was to establish a simple, inexpensive, and achievable program that would help people become self-reliant. We are confident that by introducing these few, simple steps we can, over time, have more success.” I know that following this will bless you and your family temporally, spiritually, and physically. For more information, see “Family Home Storage: a new message”, March 2009 Ensign, or the “All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Home Storage” pamphlet.
* * * * * * *Need something to keep your kids entertained? There’s nothing more fun than watching paint dry…. Well, maybe not actually watching it dry, just looking at the crystals after the paint HAS dried (see Crystal Paint, below.) The following paints were found at http://bluebonnetvillage.com/recipes.htm They have other ‘kid craft’ recipes as well, including several versions of ‘play-dough’ , edible dough, finger paints, poster paints, ….. Monet’s Water Color PaintsIngredients:
1 tablespoon white vinegar
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon glycerine
food coloring Do like the famous impressionist painters did and bring your watercolors outside to paint.
To make your own watercolors, first mix vinegar and baking soda.
Next slowly add cornstarch and glycerine to the mixture. Pour into small paper cups to let dry.
Add food coloring. The color is not as intense when it is dry so remember to add a lot of food coloring.
When dry peel away the paper cups. Shiny, Glossy and Shimmery PaintsMoooo Paint
1 cup condensed milk (or make your own with powdered milk)
Food coloring Mix one cup condensed milk with a few drops of food coloring. This makes a very bright, glossy colored paint, great for fingerpainting.Egg Yolk Paint1 egg yolk
1/4 tsp. water
Food coloring Mix egg yolk with water and lots of food coloring. Use a paint brush to paint on baked cookies. Return cookies to oven until egg has solidified. Non-edible paints:Artist Quality "Oil" Paint
Liquid dish washing soap This paint has a smooth, glossy effect and holds color well. Mix together tempera paint and soap. Store in glass jars. Crystal Paint1/4 cup hot tap water
3 teaspoon epsom salts Sparkle and Shine! Mix hot tap water and epsom salts. Brush the mixture onto a dark colored paper. When dry the salt will form crystals that shine in the light. Photos are at http://unplugyourkids.com/2008/10/05/salt-crystal-paint/