Sunday, July 31, 2011

Fun With Food - Day 5 - Homemade Ice Cream

Making homemade ice cream is one of the activities on our Summer Bucket List.  We followed the same directions we used last summer.

First, we put 2 TBSP sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, and 1 cup of half and half into a quart size plastic storage bag.  Then, we put 1/2 cup Kosher salt into a gallon size plastic storage bag and filled the bag halfway with ice.  Next, we put the quart size sealed bags of ice cream ingredients inside the gallon size bags of ice and salt, sealed them, and began to shake.

Just like last year, C and R began shaking their bags, and that lasted all of thirty seconds or so before they asked me to shake the bags for them.  So, once again, I danced around the kitchen shaking their ice cream bags for about five minutes.

Once the ice cream was similar to soft serve, I opened the bags and let C and R add their mix-ins.  They added broken Twix and Kit Kat candy bars.

Then they mixed it all up a bit and we put the bags in the freezer.

After a little while, we took the bags out, scooped the ice cream into our frozen dessert dishes, added a little whipped cream (only for C, R doesn't like whipped cream) and enjoyed the special treat!

Well, the truth is that they ate some of it and then decided that it isn't as good as the ice cream they usually have! 

If you want to know why you put salt helps make ice cream, here is what I wrote in my post last year:  32 degrees is the melting point of ice, but the ice cream mixture will not freeze unless the temperature gets below 27 degrees.  The salt changes the melting point of the ice. When you add salt to the ice, it lowers the freezing point of the ice, so even more energy has to be absorbed from the environment in order for the ice to melt. This makes the ice colder than it was before and the ice cream freezes.

For more science fun, visit Science Sunday at Adventures in Mommydom.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

A Baby or a Smiley Face?

C drew this recently.  Do you see the blue peanut shape in the middle?  That is supposed to be the baby in my belly! 

He drew it so that when you turn the paper, you see a smiley face instead of a baby!

Do you see the blue eyes and the red smiling mouth? 

Pretty clever!

Fun With Food - Day 4 - Rocket Fuel

C and R both enjoyed these rocket ship quesadillas.  I used my kitchen shears to cut the tortillas to look like rockets (not perfect, but as long as they are recognizable to the kids, I am happy!).  R's quesadilla was filled with black beans, cheese, and chicken.  C's quesadilla was just a super thin layer of mashed black beans (so that he has no idea they are there) and cheese.  Red pepper strips create the rocket flames.  Blackberries and blueberries are the sky.

They both cleaned their plates!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Summer Bucket List - Playground Hopping

ONE day + THREE towns + FIVE playgrounds = TWO tired, sweaty, filthy, happy children!

We began our day by visiting three playgrounds.  At the first playground, the big, twisty slide was the favorite element.

The second playground had these cool spinning seats that made me a bit sick and all I did was watch!

The third playground had the best swings.

After three playgrounds, we returned home for lunch and some playtime with Kelly (our Bernese Mountain Dog).  There was a tiny (ahem) meltdown by one of the children at this point and I almost ended the playground hopping for the day, but everyone (or that one child) calmed down and we decided to head out to

 an ice cream stand that has a little playground in the back (really just a swing and a bouncy thing).

They weren't very excited about this swingset, but after looking beyond the swings, they found the BEST type of playground - trees and a huge rock!  We spent a lot of time there while they climbed and jumped!

After a stop at a roadside market,

we returned home to get Kelly and walk over to our neighborhood playground.

Not bad for one day!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Cookbooks for Kids - Part Seven

We have decided to work our way through some cookbooks for kids.  There are really no rules, except that we will choose cookbooks written with children in mind and make at least one recipe from each cookbook.  This is just for fun, and to give us an excuse to work together in the kitchen.   To read all of our cookbook reviews, click here.

The Science Chef by Joan D'Amico and Karen Eich Drummond was recommended by Almost Unschoolers.  This book has 100 fun food experiments and recipes for kids.  It begins with a section dedicated to discovering the kitchen (tools of the trade, cooking skills, and safety rules) and then features three different experiment/recipe sections.  The first section of the cooking portion of the book is devoted to questions such as "Why Does Popcorn Pop?" and "How Does Bread Rise?".  The second section is called "No More Boxes, Cans, or Jars:  Do It Yourself" and has recipes for salad dressings, pasta sauces, and more.  The third section is called "Science in the Supermarket"  and features experiments such as ripening fruit and making sugar crystals.  There is also information in the back of the book about nutrition and keeping food safe.

This book is a lot of fun!  I really like that each section has a science experiment followed by recipes related to the experiment.  The table of contents, index, and glossary are all very thorough and easy to use.  This cookbook is full of so many fun experiments and recipes that I would have no problem buying it.  It appears to be well worth the money.

So far, we have conducted the popcorn experiment and the banana ripening experiment. 

We also made Baked Peaches (OH MY - SOOOOOOOOO GOOD!!!  We loved these!).

C and R (ages 6 and 5) were able to participate enough that they really enjoyed everything we did.  This book is great for young children with adult help and for older children who can conduct the experiments and prepare the recipes on their own.  I think it would be enjoyed by all ages!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tower of London Craft

T has been in London the past few days, and one of the things he did while there is explore the Tower of London and meet the Yeoman Warders (Beefeaters) who guard the tower and serve as caretakers of the legendary ravens.  Legend has it that if the ravens ever leave the Tower, the Kingdom will fall.

I thought C and R would find this very interesting, so I told them about the legend and had them create their own towers, Beefeaters, and ravens.

They began by looking at photos online of the Tower of London and coloring a Tower of London coloring page from Activity Village.

Once done, they glued the pictures inside of shoe boxes.

Next, they looked at online photos of the "Beefeaters" and colored a Beefeaters coloring page from Activity Village.

Instead of using the entire coloring page, we cut out a Beefeater for each of them to color.  Then, they folded the bottom of the paper Beefeater to make him look 3D and glued that in front of the Tower of London.

For reinforcement, we stuck toothpicks in the bottom of the shoe boxes and then taped the toothpicks to the back of the Beefeaters.

The River Thames was made with construction paper and glued inside the shoe boxes.

C and R made ravens by painting egg carton cups black with acrylic paint.  When the paint was dry, they glued on construction paper beaks and googly eyes.  They also cut up some black craft feathers and glued those on to their ravens.

This is R's Tower of London:

This is C's Tower of London:

C is especially fond of making the ravens fly away and then making the Kingdom (or in this case, his Tower of London diorama) fall!!!  Boys will be boys.

The ravens have left the Tower!

The Kingdom has fallen!

We own a few of the Madeline books, including Madeline in London by Ludwig Bemelmans, so we read that this week.  I love Madeline, but C and R really don't care for any of the books.  I'm not sure what it is that they don't like.  They both spotted the Tower of London on one of the pages though, and that seemed to interest them a little.  They also liked the page with Buckingham Palace. 

We are currently waiting for this book to come in at the library.  From the description, it is about a bear that wants to free the ravens from the Tower of London and he ends up learning a lesson about freedom and belonging.  Hopefully, it arrives soon!

It was a lot of fun to give C and R a taste of what their big brother is experiencing this week!