Monday, March 31, 2014

Daily Doodle: Trial Run

Red Handed

A month back, I met with a designer here in Shanghai.
My intention was to pick his brain for idea's regarding my business card, but instead he gave me an Artist Pep Talk that left me feeling eager to get back to the brushes.

One tip he said he follows daily, is taking 30 minutes to draw.
I cannot remember the last time I took 30 minutes to draw and I couldn't think of how I would prioritize that nowadays when sometimes I don't delegate time to pee!

So, why not include the kiddies on that 30 minutes?
Other bloggers and homeschoolers out there are doing daily journaling, so we could certainly make a journal out of art.
We're opting to call it the Daily Doodle, since doodling doesn't seem as intimidating as 'drawing'.
Even Baby C makes doodles with her drool!

O started by colouring her hands. 
This is pretty standard for her. 
When mediums arrive, she uses her body to express herself!

I started drawing with markers on giant butcher paper.
Eventually, she came over and started dictating what I should add to my work.
It was an interesting collaboration that she ended up taking over.

Daily Doodle: Day One

O: "Mama, who is that baby?"
M: "Whomever you want it to be."
O: "Okay. It's me. Where are my arms?"
M: "Behind your back." (I don't like drawing arms/hands!)
O: "I'll draw them." (she proceeded to draw very long, purple arm on herself!)
O: "I want a necklace." (the red circle around her head)
O: "You draw Grandma & Grandpa." (Mama & Daddy were already on the other side of her, not pictured.) 
O: "Grandma has glasses. What is that, a bib? Draw her t-shirt longer. Give Grandpa a long t-shirt and red leotards. (she then wrote their names alongside their bodies.)

Maybe not a full 30 minutes, but a good start for Day One!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Vegan Bites: Black Fungus Salad

 Black Fungus

Black fungus is also known as Wood Ear and fairly popular in Chinese cuisine.
At least in the wet markets and local grocery's. 
It has a meaty, chewy texture and many health benefits, for those who promote fungus-eating!
We buy ours dried and re-hydrate it in boiling water.

During our vacation in Hangzhou, the hotel served an amazing wood ear salad. 
Far too spicy for the kiddies, but very yummy for mommy!
I searched online for a similar recipe and came up with this concoction that fit the bill.

Spicy Wood Ear Salad
~3-5 cups rehydrated black fungus
~2-5 T olive oil (or spicy sesame oil)
~3 cloves garlic, finely minced
~handful of cilantro, finely chopped
~7-10 sprigs spring onion
~2-3 fresh red chili's
~salt to taste

Mix together, finely chopped veg, salt and oil.
Re-hydrate black fungus in double amount of boiling water.
Toss and cool in refrigerator.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Yayoi Kusama: Art in the Park

Popcorn-eating Art Go-ers

People's Park is one of the most popular in Shanghai.
It is in the heart of the city and houses an art gallery in the center.
Friends of ours invited us to this months exhibit by a Japanese artist, Yayoi Kusama, "A Dream I Dreamed."

Shanghai is pretty kid-friendly and this art exhibit was no exception.
The pieces were giant-sized, making us feel like little mushrooms in a big forest.
Plus the gallery was covered in polka-dots!

Learn more about Yayoi Kusama here!

Century Park: First Boat Ride

 Ahoy Mate's

It's Spring in Shanghai and we are not wasting the blue skies!
Sunday was C's first boat ride. 
Initiation took place at Century Park, Pudong.

First Mate

O is a regular rider who loves being on the water!

 Dock Kissing


It was crammed quarters, meant for two people, but squishily seating all of us!

The entrance of the parks in Shanghai, take a while to get through. Vendors of all kinds push their products from unique treats to heaps of plastic toys.

 Candy Art

One thing I have only seen in Shanghai, are the Candy Artists, who bicycle around with their candy canvas!
A marble-like slab, one-burner element that houses a pot of melting sugar confection, a few wooden skewers and some carving tools. Right before your eyes, they will create your choice of animal from the Chinese Zodiac.
They usually charge around 10rmb, which equates to about $1.50.

 Tiger Baby

Last weekend, our sugar of choice was the Sugarcane Juice.
The vendor brings a tote of peeled and hacked cane, then puts it through a press.
Tastes very sweet with a hint of corn!

 Sugarcane Juice Press

In the good weather months, you can count on plastic tubs of pets being sold; rabbits, turtles & gerbils.
We have been told these are not the healthiest of pets to purchase, but O cannot bypass looking at them.

 Gerbils & Turtles

 Balloons & Kites

Candy-Floss & Candy Crab Apples

Acquiring the Alphabet


O caught wind of some alphabet stickers that had been stashed and she was immediately interested.
She went about some serious and busy work 'writing words'.
I stayed out of her serious work and didn't offer help until asked. 

It is interesting to observe how she makes sense of letters. She can recognize and write an O, since that is such an important letter and she is aware it starts her name. She believes "M" must begin the name of our friend Emy. She believes that a capital "I" is actually a dog bone;)

Eventually, she asked if I would spell her name in stickers. 
So I did, but I still didn't say anything. 
I was interested in paying attention to what she was getting out of this child's play (work).

Then she quickly got back to her spelling efforts and insisted that her letters should "look like a straight line" so she could read them better;)

John Holt 'Serious Adult Work'. In the work of John Holt, he insists that children learn without directed teaching. He also writes about how children love to do useful work and copy what they see adults doing. He suggests adults involve their children in day-to-day work, for example, of finances (math), cooking (reading, math, science)...since everything is an opportunity to learn and even more so, to be involved in the serious work of adults. 
O see's me on the computer typing daily. 
She often takes folders/books and insists they are her computer, and madly 'types' away.
Yesterday, she asked if she could use the real computer to write a message. I never thought to ask her if she was interested in using our family computer. Great idea!
I set her up on Microsoft Word and let her be. I only arranged the settings so the font would be extra large and pop up on the screen so she could really get a feel for producing a message.

She played for an hour, typing madly and randomly clicking the mouse, as she see's us do. 
She dictated aloud as she wrote her own messages to the people she love's.
She pretended to buy things (as she also see's us do!) like new clothes, but clicking the mouse so window's pop up.

Letter Access: Scrabble

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Child's Eye View

It's a good habit to see the world through your child's eyes.
We get to (quite literally!) when O takes pictures on her camera.
I've included the most flattering of the bunch!
Most (not pictured) were taken unawares!

Monday, March 17, 2014

St. Patty's Pretzels

Snacks for Wee Leprechauns!

Although more like St.Patty's Day Bread sticks, this simple 'pretzel' recipe we use time and again. 
Grandma has been in the habit of making them for O when we come to town and she has even brought them on the plane to Shanghai!
For a St. Patty's day twist, we added some coins to the dough.
To prevent a quick trip to the dentist or fishing through the toilet bowl for coins, we put them all in the center of the bread stick, so everyone was clear exactly where not to bite!

Hubby is a Scotsman, so we say "Kiss Me, I'm Canadian!"

Making Rainbows. Add a little science to March 17th with Rainbow-Making!
Our's was a complete coincidental accident.
As we were baking, the sun was shining in through our water bottle and made a rainbow on the ground!

O then decided she would put a towel on him to "keep him warm"...and the rainbow ended up on her body!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Bed Head's: The Co-Sleepers

Bed Head's

Let the morning begin!

Sleepy Eyes

On the rare mornings in Shanghai, where the sun is shining bright, I am a sucker for warm light.

Fast forward a few years and these two will be in deep conversation about how their parents are driving them crazy;)
(not to say sisters do that!)

Spring Cleaning: Toy Washing

 Wash Station

We've completed a week's worth of runny noses, so I thought it best to send some toys through the wash.
On second thought...

  Little People

While Baby C was busy with Ice Play, we set up a Wash Station for O to bathe the finger puppets.
Another frugal and (lazy mom) activity that results in an hour's playtime!

 Line 'Em Up

O and her imagination, quickly had a whole scenario set up; puppets were getting their hair washed, though they were non-too-thrilled and drying in the sunshine.