I have to get some laundry in and out of the washer and dryer.
I want to clean up our previous studio mess, so down into the basement we all go.
The boys quickly find a way to occupy their time and satisfy their creative needs.
They gather the huge colorful masking tape dispenser, some scissors, paper, and go to work making what they call, “volcanoes.” They don’t know how to cut the tape with the “teeth” on the dispenser, so they always snag a pair of scissors when using the tape. The way they make the “volcanoes” is to crumple pieces of tape and make a pile on paper. It’s the only way they’ve used the tape so far…preferring the 3D over the 2D possibilities of the tape.
I recently hung some cork board on the concrete wall of the basement to make it easier to display the kids free time work. I give the kids access to the push pins so they can display their work at will. Little J and Friend A hang their volcanoes, but they don’t stop there.
They use the push pins to make more designs on their paper. They use all the push pins.
Then, they add more tape while it’s up on the wall.
Little J has loved to draw on popsicle sticks any chance he gets.
Drawing on pop sticks or on wood or on surfaces other than paper provides children with an opportunity to expand their hand and eye skills. It’s a familiar activity with a fun and simple twist.
I ask the boys to help me with the catapult party favor for Little K’s birthday party. This involves using Sharpie markers on wood. The gesture of decorating the catapults is a chance for the boys to help me out with party chores and a way to give something special to Little K for his birthday.
They make letters, scribbles, zigzag marks and cross hatches on the sticks.
Little K’s birthday party is coming up very soon.
We need to start getting our mini catapult party favors built.
I use clothes pins, jumbo pop sticks, hot glue, milk caps and some of the bigger pieces of wood from our bag of kindling.
Little K will test out the first catapult.
Little J and Friend A will decorate them with Sharpies and paint at rest time.
I will consult with Big K, but I think we’ll have to sand the wood as well.
If you have a great group of family and friends, you don’t have to get it all perfect.
Silly Tilly forgets to remember, well, everything for the Thanksgiving Dinner she’s planning.
She forgets summer is over, she forgets to send out the invites, she forgets to cook the meal, but in the end, all her friends gather, each with a sweet contribution. They have a fantastic and rich meal together, and share the best Thanksgiving ever.
“thank you for the food in front of us
the family around us
and the love between us”
This Thanksgiving, we will be bringing a meal together at Big K’s Mama’s house.
We are all bringing a little bit of something to contribute.
Here’s what this part of the family is bringing to the table.
These are all new recipes for me which is a risk, but I’ll let you know how they come out.
UMass Amherst Apple Pie,
(Big K and I are UMass Amherst Alumni. This recipe was tested and perfected by the Hospitality and Tourism Management majors in the test kitchens on campus. Students experimented using all purpose flour and whole wheat flours, different combinations of fat for the crust, a variety of non-traditional filling ingredients such as apple butter and boiled cider, and experimenting with the right balance between firm or tender, tart of sweet, dry or juicy apples. This is the recipe they came to and the one I will present for dessert after Thanksgiving turkey.)
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup lard
1/2 cup unsalted butter, 1/2 inch dice, cold
1/2 cup plus 1 to 2 tablespoon ice water
2 lbs Cortland apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoon all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, diced
1 tablespoon heavy cream, half and half or milk
1 large egg yolk
Preheat oven to 425F
Mix flour and salt
Cut lard and then the butter into the flour until fats form pieces the size of peas
Add ice water, 2 tablespoons at a time, mixing with a fork as you sprinkle the water into the dough. Stop adding the water when the dough is moist enough to hold together when you squeeze it.
Transfer dough to lightly floured table. Fold the dough over on itself three or four times. Divide in half and shape into 2 disks, 3/4 inch thick. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Toss the sliced apples with lemon juice.
Combine granulated and brown sugars, flour, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg; add to apples and toss.
Roll our one disk of dough and line a 9 inch pie dish. Fill with the apple filling. Dot with the diced butter.
Roll out the second disk and center over the filling; fold overhang under bottom crust and flute the edges of the pie. Cut several 1 inch slits in top crust to allow steam to escape.
Make an egg wash by beating egg yolk with cream. Brush the top of the pie with egg wash using a pastry brush. Sprinkle with coarse sugar.
Bake for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 375F; bake 40-50 minutes longer or until crust is golden and filling is bubbly in center.
pesto crescent rolls
Buy some of your favorite crescent roll dough from the store or use your favorite recipe. I buy mine from Trader Joe’s. Roll out the dough and spread with your favorite pesto. Roll it up like a log. Slice it up and plate in a baking dish like cinnamon rolls.
Thanksgiving Sangria, this is an autumn take on a summer classic, inspired by Nutmeg Annie’s Honeycrisp Apple Sangria, found on Pinterest.
4 Honeycrisp apples
2 bottles of red wine, something on the softer/lighter side. I use a Montepulciano.
1 1/4 cup of Gran Marnier or Cointreau or Triple Sec
1/2 cup honey
2 lemons, quartered
2 limes, quartered
4 cinnamon sticks
slices of fresh ginger
6 whole cloves
Peel, core and chop 2 of the apples.
Combine wine and Gran Marnier and honey.
Add oranges, lemon, lime, cinnamon sticks, the chopped apple, ginger and cloves.
Strain the sangria into a pitcher. Peel, core and finely chop the remaining apple. Peel, section and chop the remaining orange. Mix the apple and orange in a bowl.
Fill glasses with ice. Pour sangria until 3/4 full.
Top with a splash of Prosecco.
Garnish with fresh cut apples and oranges and a sprig of mint.
I will also have a small plate red grapes, salted sesame corn tortilla flat breads with some of my favorite cheeses for an appetizer…all from Trader Joe’s:
New Zealand Organic Cheddar Cheese
What are you bringing to the table this year?
I hope everyone has a very LOVELY Thanksgiving.
Warm Regards, Jena and Family
I would love to make some mint and lavender smudge sticks with our herbs before the cold sets in.
We bring our pestle and mortar outside to grind our herbs and get the smells out.
The boys mash chives and lavender. This takes a very specific hand muscle twisting, and squishing movement that is not often required.
It’s a way for us to strengthen our hands, interact with the garden this time of year and an intro to idea of making a smudge stick.
Smudging is a ritual way to cleanse a place of negative energies.
Lavender will restore balance and create a peaceful atmosphere. It will also draw loving energy and spirits.
Mint is known for it’s attractive aroma and healing powers.
Chives are known for its power to ward off sickness and evil…also good for keeping away bugs.
Last but shirley not least…
We talk about equations while mixing colors. The color equations comes up naturally when the boys discover that mixing yellow and blue make green. With the addition of Friend H, the quality of exploration becomes more focused on color mixing, as opposed to using tools and transferring liquid.
We read Mouse Paint, by Ellen Stoll Walsh.
We’ve been reading this book for a long time, it’s one of our favorites…mischievous mice paint themselves, dance in paint puddles, washing themselves off in the cat’s water bowl, and hide from their feline nemesis.
So this time, we go the studio with the intension of discovering more about what happens when you mix colors together. I record our observations.
red plus clear equals pink
purple from purple plus black equals brown.
pinkish plus light green equals ugly yellow thing
blue plus orange equals dark green
blue plus yellow equals light green
yellow plus red equals light red
yellow plus green plus purple equals black
all colors mixed make dark brown “coffee brown”
There is a holiday tree scavenger hunt in my town’s conservation land and the MOMS Club has been asked to decorate a tree.
We come up with the theme of up-cycled ABC’s, inspired by a pin…from recovering craft hoarder.
We collect old cd’s from MOMS Club members and also use old plastic container can tops. We find old origami and scrap paper to cover each circle.
We use the recipe from diy diva to modge pod the paper and letters, cut by a scrapbook machine doohicky, onto the cds. Big K uses the drill to make holes at the top of each cd. I use a hold punch for the plastic covers. We string them with some old yarn.
A group of MOMS and kids meet on the trail to pick the perfect spot to hang our letters.
Town Conservation Commission presents:
The 2nd Annual Winter Tree Scavenger Hunt
What is this you may ask?
The object of the hunt is to find 10 decorated trees, take your photo with each tree and email all photos to the Conservation Commission between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, folks will be entered into a drawing for the GRAND Prize.
All participants (teams or individuals) will receive a certificate of participation
Experience and value: Priceless and Fun
Free family event that everyone can enjoy at their own pace
People are introduced to Open Space
Something fun and unique to promote in Town
Basically a win-win-win
Friend H loves a box of office supplies I keep in the toy closet. I often find her setting up her own office space in little nooks around the house. She stores supplies like a squirrel hordes nuts. I’ll move a pillow in between two couches and find a little pile of pencils, papers.
To support her play, we take out the office supplies in a more permanent way. I clear a bottom shelf, arrange our supplies there, and set the table with phone, computer key board, and a box of pencils.
This is a list of our “office supplies”:
old blank forms,
glasses with lenses popped out,
On the wall above the table, I hang up special print outs. One print out demonstrates the correct way to hold a pencil and the other shows the proper way to write out letters. I get these templates from my favorite current read, The Write Start by Jennifer Hallissy. Jennifer has a lot of great information and ideas about how to encourage the writer in our child. You can find her writing templates here.
Depending on what the kids want to pretend in their office, they add or subtract office supplies.
Here you see Friend H calling in the firefighters for an emergency at Wells State Park.
The boys have found a way to play along with Friend H’s office interest.
They are the firefighters. When called into an emergency, they have to report to the office first to get directions to the emergency sight.
I have noticed the office set up encourages the boys to sit down and write or draw.
Because, being a fire rescue hero involves paper work.
We have an old pretend kitchen set, the kind I played with when I went to preschool. Solid wood, beautifully worn and loved and resilient, which is key with my kids.
We set this pretend kitchen up in our “real” kitchen as a holiday gift for the boys last year. Since then, it has been filled with all of our pretend food, pots, pans, plates, cups, scales etc etc etc. With this last lap around the sun, the kids and all their friends have had a ball in their mad science lab, I mean pretend kitchen. It’s a mess all the time. Friend H deemed it her chore to clean the kitchen every Wednesday and even takes pictures after she’s done.
Lately, I’ve been feeling like it’s just too full…forest for the trees and all that…So I pack up everything, except for a couple of plates and pans and tools. Minimal.
In the last couple of weeks, the kids and I have been on a mission to find things we can put in the kitchen as pretend food. We “mod podge” tree pods and pork rib bones. The kids enjoy using cork board that on another day they decided to break up into small pieces to use for “pet food” for plastic snakes.
My favorite find was some varnished branch slices buried in the shelves of the basement studio.
I set up a special little area for pancake grilling.
Little K has been playing, “cooker cooker,” lately. He makes pancakes in his grill and when he’s done, he lets us all know that he’s Little K again.
But while he’s “cooker cooker,” he likes to flip pancakes like mad with his mini scapula, handing out plates for everyone, making sure to blow on each one before you can eat it.
And as an extension to this, we make orange play dough with coffee grounds, and I shape it into little pancakes.
The cooker cooker says, EAT UP!
Best pancake book ever!
Pancakes, Pancakes!, by Eric Carle, 1970
Jack wants some pancakes, but first he must gather eggs from the chickens, wheat from the farmer, flour from the miller, milk from the cow. His mother shows him how to cook and flip them, and hungry Jack knows what to do with them next.