Family Summer Bucket List: Week 3 and 4

I love that I’m able to see exactly what we’ve done this summer and relive those fun moments through these blog posts. So, we crossed off the following bucket list items: Make Gak, Find a New Playground, Have an Adults Only Monster Golf Date and Make Stained Glass with tissue paper.

gak collage

1. I found a bunch of different recipes for Gak (aka goop, slime, silly putty) online; most use Borax but there are also creative versions made without borax too. I decided to go traditional since this is our first time. Surprisingly, even though there are only like 3 ingredients, there’s more than one “right” way to do it – so I had to try 2 different versions (we needed 2 colors anyway). Both recipes are below for you. First we tried making Gak using the recipe from The Magnolia Barn. I used some leftover purple pigment from Glob Natural Paints to color the Gak which also made it smell fruity and amazing . The end result wasn’t as stretchy as I assumed it should be; it tended to break off in nice chunks instead (which was still cool looking), but it took on shapes easily and held them for a while (hand prints or shapes of things left on top of it, for example) and it had a nice feel. O immediately asked for her rolling pin and began making tissue paper-thin sheets of Gak and then started methodically punching out “cookies.”

Next we tried the recipe from Come Together Kids. I was able to get almost 6 half teaspoons into mine (see step 4) but I was trying to get as much Borax as possible to really see the difference in these recipes. We made this batch orange. It looks like the Borax helps make the Gak stretchier. I put a small bit of each Gak version over two outstretched fingers about 12 inches from the top of the table and timed which one would blob down to the table first. The orange recipe (from Come Together Kids) stretched down to the table in about 10 seconds but our purple version (from The Magnolia Barn) was barely starting to feel the pull of gravity. The downside to the orange version though is that shapes formed are quickly gone (hand prints almost immediately flatten out) which might be frustrating to some.

So both recipes are good but each might be better for different ages and/or different personalities. For kids who are tickled by gross things and boogers, for example – I recommend the orange. For kids who like to mold shapes and flatten with rolling pins – the purple might be better.

Gak Comparison colored

2. Our goal to find a new playground was actually fulfilled by accident. I had signed us up to go to an annual ladybug release event sponsored by our local Junior Women’s Club and that meetup just so happened to be right next to a cool new playground. Releasing the ladybugs to help local gardens and doing ladybug-related crafts was fun too though. And yes, I’m playing with photo editing software again (addicted!!).

ladybug collage
ladybug park dance

3. As I mentioned when I made our summer bucket list, we added in a few Adults Only items to ensure that daddy and I made time for our date nights (which always seem to get pushed back for some reason or another). A new Monster Mini Golf place open up near us a while ago and we’d been wanting to go for months – thanks to our bucket list, we finally made it happen. We were hoping we could go back with O, but it was lucky we tried it out alone first – the place was way too scary for a 3-year-old (large animated monsters, loud music, monster paintings on the walls, etc). But it was fun for us (and mommy won by 9 strokes). For the future, clearly we missed the memo and should have worn white shirts.

monster golf collage

4. I’d been waiting to do tissue paper stained glass with my daughter since before she was born – I clearly remember doing it myself when I was little. When the activity came in one of our monthly craft subscription boxes and I didn’t have to do any work to make it happen, I was even more excited. O and I peeled the backing off a piece of contact paper and laid it sticky side up on the table, then we placed the black paper frame over the top to hold the contact paper down (and make it look nice). I cut pieces of colored tissue paper into small squares and O applied them with the concentrated precision of a focused preschooler. It was a quick project but at least our art can stay up in the window for as long as we like.

stained glass collage

Advertisements

How to Bake With A 3-Year-Old

My daughter O loves this Fisher-Price app called the Little People Learning Market. One really cute part asks you what type of treat you would like to bake: an apple pie, cookies or cupcakes, and then has you 1. add items from your shopping list (matching) 2. prepare the treat (drag, tap, tip to pour, etc) and finally 3. put it in the oven to bake. Ever since she started playing this game, she regularly runs into our kitchen, announces it’s “time to bake!”, and grabs the flour and a mixing bowl. It’s adorable and it got me thinking – she’s already doing it in a game, why not in real life?

I decided to turn a simple recipe of ours for banana bread from my hand-written index card into an image-loaded, kid-friendly version. Here’s how:

I went to Google Docs and opened a new Drawing. Google Docs has this handy tool where you can search Google images right from the drawing document page and easily add them. So I just went through my recipe and found a picture of each ingredient. I added large text in a text box for the exact amounts needed of each and put the steps in order. Then, I used the shape option to group the wet and dry ingredients together visually in their own boxes. Last, I just printed it and O was ready to help me bake “all by herself” in less than 5 minutes. Here it is (a downloadable PDF is also at the bottom of this post):

banana bread for kids image

O was so happy to have her own recipe. She took her job of reading me the ingredients very seriously and was pretty good at filling up the cups (using a second cup to fill the first is easiest). Just make sure you’re ready to intercept when your preschooler runs to the fridge and tries to carry out the eggs to you (lesson learned!!).  O can identify numbers but is not getting fractions yet so I’m still trying to think up a way to help her be able to identify and use the correct measuring cup or spoon all on her own. I could just add a picture of the correct measuring device on there next time so then it’ll be more matching. Or maybe color code the measuring cups with a piece of colored tape on the bottom (while still putting the measurement on there so she can see both and still learn it). Let me know if you have any ideas and enjoy!

Banana Bread recipe for kids PDF download

banana bread

So good we couldn’t even wait for the picture to be taken before eating it. We made ours with cinnamon chips.

St. Patrick’s Day Food and Fun

I used to wear green socks for St. Patrick’s Day – and that’s it. But now that I have kids, holidays have become a lot more important: they break up the day to day monotony, give us something to look forward to, give us a reason to be creative and they’re just plain fun. My husband looked at the 3 bags of spinach on my grocery list and warily asked what exactly I was planning. Cue evil laugh.

First up, green clothes. So easy. Until… I realized that O didn’t have a single green shirt! (Not even sure how that’s possible). In all my super planning, the most obvious thing completely slipped my mind until the morning of. Luckily, Daddy saw my panicked face and swooped in with one of his shirts, tied 80’s style into a knot on her side. Classic. Later on I drew shamrocks on our cheeks with my green eyeliner and painted our nails with Piggy Polish in their sub lime color (non-toxic, odor-less, kid-friendly).

st-patricks-clothes-collage
The second part of my awesome St. Patrick’s Day plan was fancy green food and, to up the ante, I forbid myself from using any food coloring. Easy? Me? Never! So, we all started the morning with spinach cheddar chive scones from this recipe by Weelicious (I didn’t tamper with the coffee under penalty of death). Lunch was spinach salads with mandarin orange slices. And for dinner, we had green cheese-filled tortellini with pesto sauce (in green bowls, of course) and a side of peas. O was not pleased with “too much pepper” on her pasta so we had to make it “clean” before she’d touch it. After we washed the tortellini off though (and wasted all that yummy pesto, as Grandma Mimi moaned), she ate it happily. Our Little Frog had some delicious spinach baby food (how does he manage to get it everywhere?! We require an outfit change after every meal; the bib is worthless).

Finally, the Pièce de résistance, a Turkish lemon spinach cake with cream cheese frosting. I know what you’re thinking. As the blog I found the recipe on hilariously wrote: “Congratulations if you are still reading this blog. You saw the words “lemon” and “spinach” in the same title and kept going.” But although it has 8 cups (!) of spinach in it (which makes for a fantastic green color), the cake honestly doesn’t taste like spinach at all. As far as anyone in your family needs to know (so long as they don’t see you preparing it) it’s just a nice, moist lemon cake in a funky color.

stpatricksfoodkids
Oh and we were going to listen to some Irish music (Mimi has Riverdance) until Daddy mentioned we should listen to Green Day. Ha, totally!

I need to start planning now if I’m going to top this next year – we’ll definitely need some crafts.

Hope you had a great St. Patrick’s Day too!

Ainar – Make This Middle Eastern Tea to Celebrate Your New Baby

I found this info and recipe while looking through the Penzeys Spices catalog. I’m copying it here directly – never heard of this and I love it!!

Sasha writes, “Introducing Ainar, the tea brewed especially for baby mamas and the guests who stop in to dote on their pretty newborns. In case you didn’t know, mamas need lots of things after having a baby: rest, love, good, warm food. And this tea. The cool thing about Ainar is the treat at the bottom of the cup. Nuts. After cooking a bunch of warming, fragrant spices like cinnamon, caraway, anise and nutmeg in a large pot of water, the hot tea is splashed over assorted nuts and as much sugar as you can stand. Walnuts, almonds and pine nuts are the most common. This is a Middle Eastern tea to celebrate the birth of a new baby. The spices are believed to help the mother heal as well as bring good luck to the new family.”

  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tb anise seed
  • pinch ground nutmeg (1/4 tsp or so)
  • 6 cups water
  • Garnish (to taste)
  • 1/2 – 1 cup total nuts (pine nuts, walnuts, slivered almonds)
  • 1/4 – 1 cup sugar

In a saucepan, add the spices to the water (use a tea ball or cheesecloth if desired) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. You can also simmer longer for stronger flavor. Pour through a spaghetti strainer if you did not use a tea ball. Serve in teacups over mixed nuts and add sugar to taste.

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 15-30 minutes

Serves 4-6

%d bloggers like this: