Thursday, December 22, 2016

Baby's First Ornament

 "This is to remind you 
When I have grown so tall, 
That once I was quite little 
And my hands were very small.”

Mr.A even got his hands in our ornament festivities this month, contributing his cute baby imprint, courtesy of our homemade clay recipe

Homemade Clay Ornaments

Using flour for art dough has never proven successful for me, so I was on the hunt for a clean, easy dough to make ornaments, without the need for flour.
'Better than salt dough' popped up.

It's a soft, pliable, stark white mixture that fit the bill perfectly, calling only for baking soda and cornstarch with a little water. We opted to speed the drying process with some low oven temperatures, but it claims itself an air-drying clay as well.

Both Ms. O and C can spend a good chunk of time experimenting with both edible and non-edible doughs.
They were even more thrilled to sit down to real acrylic paints to complete their work!


Monday, December 19, 2016

Vegan Bites: Chocolate Coconut Snowballs

Chocolate and coconut.
'Nough said.

Llama Ornaments

I llove llama's.
They remind me of South America, mountains and warm woolly sweaters!
We read the latest  Steve Antony creation, "I'll Wait, Mr. Panda"
before adding wool and blankets to adorn our Llama ornaments.

We even made llama's and panda's for lunch!

Ms. C's Top Picks. She has been addicted to Antony's simpler pieces since she found, 'Please Mr, Panda' at two. Also, Betty!

Daddy Did It: Suet Feeder

"TSC Stores, We never care."
~Ms. C

Daddy's idea of one-stop-shopping is TSC.
When we chanced upon a 'simple' suet feeder, Daddy hurried home to DIY his own. 
He enlisted our Elf Offspring for the final details and it now hangs happily in our front yard.

Sci Fri: Red Sled Construction

More engineering than science, we laid out several full and half popsicle sticks for sled creating, following the two lovely sled stories, 'Red Sled' by Gita Judge and 'Little Rabbit's Christmas' by Harry Horse.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Tee Peek

Bear's Winter Party

Vegan Bites: Raw Fudge Brownie Bar

Fat and sugar!
Hellooo Holidays!

This slab of fudge went into the freezer liquefied and came out in a solid mass etched with these gorgeous patterns resembling cloud formations or a view from above the poles!
Geography, science and healthy fats!!

We only altered it slightly, subbing carob for cocoa, honey for agave and cashews for walnuts.

This is the second recipe I've ever made requiring buckwheat groats ("kasha" is the toasted version, which is slightly stronger). 
I am no fan of buckwheat, unless it's in the form of Japanese noodles, however it adds an amazing crunch to the crust!
Totally impressed.

Buckwheat is not a wheat and remains safe for gluten sensitivities.
It's a seed relative of rhubarb and sorrel.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Math Monday: Geometric Sewing Cards

While Ms. O was busy with tetrahedron's, Ms. C was sewing geometric cards.

When I handed her the tray, I half suspected she would use the yarn to thread interesting patterns.
Instead, she looped all shapes into one hole and walked around all day wearing her new necklace!

Math Monday: Tetrahedron Tree

 "Say 'Tree's'"

Math Monday's theme was introduced with a Tri Triangle Tree.

Then I gave Ms. O four triangles, exactly the same size and asked her how many ways she could arrange them.

"The Letter C"
"A Boat"

Then, we looked at how four triangles can become a large triangle and that triangle can be folded into a pyramid!

Yes Day!

M: "I think we should declare today a 'Yes Day'."
O: (whoops and cheers!...explains the concept to Ms.C 
who wants in on the cheering.)
M: "So, what will it be today?
O: "Picnic in the park!...with a lollipop from my birthday basket!"
C: "Chickpea's!"
M: "Afternoon nap!"

Yes Day only has three basic and official rules:
1) nothing too difficult
2) too unhealthy
3) too illegal
I absolutely love hearing the first requests of the day and learning that it really is the simple things in life that make us happy.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Sly Fox Ornaments

Silly me.
I was worried that this project was too crafty, not enough artsy.
You know, a cookie cutter formula for a desired product?
Think kindergarteners assembling teacher-cut materials, rather than providing supplies, food for thought and anticipating innovation as the outcome.

As I was cutting the pieces for these sweet felt fox ornaments, I worried that this project was far too cookie cutter; more work for me and less creativity for the wee.

Of course, they proved me wrong.
Ms.C was all over finding the perfect eyes, nose and mouth with buttons.
She decided the crafted "cheeks" would be feet.
For our Danish hearts weaving, she had to practice an over-under pattern.
Today she was working diligently on returning the needle from the side it just appeared and aiming it through button holes.

O turned hers into a pocket, which currently houses handmade money she is laundering!

Storytelling. This story was a great hit, about using beads to represent steps to decision-making. 

Hello, Red Fox. This book is at the top of my Wish List. Very well done. 

Vegan Bites: Seseame Snaps

Remember those Sesame Snaps, four stuck sweetly together in clear wrapping?
Making your own is so "easy peasy lemon squeezy", as Ms. O would say!
We even used the cast iron pan to toast the seeds for extra goodness!!
Thank you Kinfolk writers and photographers!
My eyes are in love with your work!!

Sesame Snaps
~1c sesame seeds, toasted
~1-2T honey
Toast seeds in skillet. Pour in bowl and mix in honey.
Pat into pan. Toast in 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.
Cool and cut.

Oh, I love Kinfolk!!!

Vegan Bites: Cranberry Blueberry Crumble

Cranberry Blueberry Crumble
~1c fresh cranberries
~2c frozen blueberries
~sprinkle xylitol/sugar
~1/2c flour
~1c oats
~7T fat (vegan marg, coco oil)
~1/4c maple syrup
Place berries and sprinkle of xylitol in pie plate.
Mix oats, flour and cinnamon. Add fat and syrup and combine until crumbly.
Bake at 375 for 25-30 mins.

Birch & Cranberry Garlands


We've been working on handmade ornaments to adorn the tree, so it was fitting to include beautiful birch and rosy cranberries! 
Ms. O taped birch bark into chainlinks while Ms. C threaded fresh cranberries with needle and thread.

Paper birch
White birch
Canoe birch too.
Tree to view.
Smooth white birch bark
Grows where it’s cold
Paper birrrrrrrch
A sight to behold
~Douglas Florian

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Math Monday: Danish Hearts

A seemingly simple woven ornament, popular for children in Danish kindergartens, famous at IKEA around the holiday season, proved to be a serious challenge for Monday Math!
The first attempt, was a simple paper weave practice.
Not too tricky. Ms. C could manage with help, chanting a pattern of "over...under...over...under"

The pocket weave requires two tone 3x9" fabric rectangles with rounded ends.
Fold in half lengthwise and make several lengthwise snips on the fold.
Think hands without thumbs.
The pattern of weaving now changes from "over...under" to "inside...outside"
Ms. O and I both needed help!

By the third attempt, we learned it actually makes a pocket (when done correctly)!
Brilliant design!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Wreaths & Storytelling

Tracing Circles

There was an old man, who was feeling so sad.
As the Christmas season was through.
All of the light had turned to gray 
and he didn't know what he would do.

To lift his spirits he searched his home
Some twigs and twine he found
He took a little walk outside
and collected some boughs from the ground.

He wove a circle to hang on his door
Not fancy at all to see
He stoked the fire, readied for bed
and poured a cup of tea.

In the dark and snowy nighttime
a polar bear on all fours,
had a terrible itch he couldn't reach on his back
so stood to scratch at the old mans door.

And the silly old bear scratched just so
the wreath landed right round his head.
The old man heard some fumbling about
but was already cozied in bed.

The bear walked through the pine tree's
hoping to set himself free,
instead he collected more boughs
from un-cut Christmas tree's.

Then he proceeded to stumble and 
roll on the forest floor
adding some leaves, moss and berries
and a few adornments more.

That bear decided the time had come
to jump into the frigid sea
he wriggled and dove and he even wept,
but still was not set free.

In all of his frustration with that wreath 
still stuck round his head,
he circled back to the old mans door
and rubbed the empty hook instead.

Wouldn't you know, the wreath came free
the polar bear happy again,
and a glistening gift he left behind 
for a beaming old man friend.
~adapted from Tell Me A Story 'Polar Bear & A Wreath'

Wreath Watercolour
Mini Eucalyptus

After making some freehand and traced circles, we painted some watercolour wreaths, with the inspiration of eucalyptus boughs.  
Then we worked on mini wreath-making, while listening to the story of 'The Polar Bear & The Wreath'. We adapted it into a poem, as it has become an instant favourite!