Total Pageviews

Sunday, September 25, 2011

"Stained Glass" Beauty

Photo credit:  Seth Chrisman

Here's What You Need:
Wax paper
liquid starch (in the laundry section of the grocery store)
tissue paper, cut or torn into 2-3 inch pieces
sponge-tip or other brushes, a clean sponge will work as well

Leah and Oliver use geometric tissue paper fragments to create a stained glass effect.
Photo credit:  Seth Chrisman

Here's What You Do:

Give each artist a piece of waxed paper, of desired size.  Tape it down to the work surface.  

Pour 1/2 cup liquid starch into a cup for each person.  The artist uses a brush or sponge to apply the liquid starch to the wax paper.  Have plenty of pre-cut colored tissue paper nearby.  

The artists place the tissue paper in any design they wish--pieces may overlap--and then add another layer of liquid starch on top.

When the design is complete, allow it to dry thoroughly and then hang the creation in a window--the light shining through heightens the design.  You can make a cardboard or paper frame if you wish, or even cut it into shapes.

We used some glittery tissue paper!

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Sometimes neighbors with gardens leave mounds of zucchini on the porch, ring the doorbell, and run!  If this happens to you--here are two recipes--one for a kid-pleasing side dish and one for the best zucchini bread recipe I know--and you'll still have plenty left over to stir-fry!

Baked Zucchini Sticks
Perfect for little hands to dip with marinara sauce or ranch dressing!

A healthy side-dish to make together, an adult cuts the zucchini into sticks and the young chef can have fun shaking the veggies in a zip-lock bag to coat before baking.

Canola or olive oil cooking spray
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 tablespoons corn meal
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
3 medium zucchini cut into 1/2" by 3" strips
2 egg whites, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.  Coat baking sheet with cooking spray.
Combine flours, corn meal, salt and pepper in a large zip lock bag.
Dip zucchini sticks in egg white, put in the bag and shake!
Place coated sticks on a cookie sheet, not touching and spray with cooking spray.
Bake for 10 minutes, turn zucchini and spray any floury spots.  Bake until just tender for about 8-10 more minutes.

Serve with marinara sauce, ranch dressing, or your favorite dipping sauce.

Zucchini Bread
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
2 cups grated zucchini
3 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon each:  baking soda, cinnamon  and allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease two loaf pans.  In a large bowl combine sugar, oil, eggs, zucchini and vanilla.  In a separate bowl sift together dry ingredients. Add to zucchini mixture and stir in chopped nuts.  Pour batter into the loaf pans and bake for 50-60 minutes.  Test bread for readiness by pricking with a fork or toothpick--it should come out clean.  Let cool for ten minutes before removing from pans.

The Zucchini Song
You can listen to this clever song by Dan Crow for free!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Parachute Play

Leah launches her parachute from the porch 
Photo credits:  Seth Chrisman
An adult will need to help with assembly of the parachute--but no help needed for all of the fun afterwards! Let your child do as much as he or she can with your guidance.

What You Need:

Plastic grocery bag
string or ribbon
small action figure, metal washer, or other object to float
Oliver completes construction of his parachute
 Here's What You Do:
 (an adult guides this part)
*Cut the plastic bag down the side and across the bottom to lie flat.
*Measure a 10" X 10" square and cut out.
*Poke a hole with a pencil or hole punch near each corner of the square.
*Cut 4 24" lengths of string ribbon or yarn and thread one through each hole.
*Use tape to attach string and reinforce hole.
*Keeping all four strings as even as possible, attach the other ends to a small     object or action figure toy as the "parachuter."

Your child can stand on a chair, table, porch, or launch the parachute from a deck or hill outside.  If you make more than one, you can experiment with racing, or trying different parachuters of different weights.  What will happen if the object is heavier?  What happens if it is windy outside? 

To Infinity and Beyond!!!!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Shadow Dance Painting

CJ traces Sofie's shadow with sidewalk chalk--they'll fill in the details with sidewalk paint.
Photo credits:  Seth Chrisman

Explore the movement of the sun as you create one-of-a-kind shadow dance paintings. The model holds a dance pose while the tracer uses chalk to outline the dancer.  On the day we tried this, the sun was peeking in and out of the clouds--so we had to act fast--or the shadows disappeared!

Here's What You Need:

A sunny day
At least one model and one tracer, to trace each other's shadows
Side-walk chalk
Ingredients for sidewalk paint:  (washes off with the next rain, or a hose)
For each color:
3/4 cup warm water
1 cup powdered milk
1/4 teaspoon food coloring
small jar with lid
containers for each color of paint
sponge-tipped paint brushes
CJ mixes ingredients for sidewalk paint
Here's What You Do:
*Put the warm water, powdered milk and food coloring in a jar.  Shake well to mix. Make several colors and pour into open containers.  We used sponge-tipped paint brushes, but any kind will work.
*Find a nice open spot with concrete, like a driveway.
*One dancer poses and another traces the shadow--then switch roles.
*When the outlines are complete, use the sidewalk paint to fill in clothing details, add hair, facial features, etc.
Sofie paints her shadow dance pose

Friday, September 2, 2011

Bubble magic

Oliver and Pearl use the solution they concocted to blow amazing bubbles! photo credits:  Seth Chrisman

Have a little chemistry experiment by mixing up your own bubble solution:

Here's What You Need:

1 gallon water
2/3 cup hand dishwashing liquid, such as Joy or Dawn
2 to 3 tablespoons of glycerin (look in the laxative section of a drug store)

Here's What You Do:

Mix together in a large bowl or bucket.  Use pipe-cleaners twisted into shapes as your bubble wand, and try other implements such as cookie cutters, or yogurt lids with the center cut out. Show your child how to blow very gently, or waft the wand through the air to release the bubbles. The solution tends to become stronger by the next day, so try the bubbles two days in a row and see if they are easier to create the second time.

Leah Stevenson gazes at the perfect bubble she created--in the palm of her hand!

Bubble solution II:
1 cup dawn dishwashing liquid
3 cups water
a little less than 1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 gallon container with a tight-fitting lid
Mix the above ingredients in a container with a lid.  Shake and let settle for four hours.  

Basic Science Vocabulary Words:

Matter:  anything that has weight and takes up space.  Air is matter, even though we can't see it--the bubbles float in the air.
Liquid:  a substance that flows, like water  (molecules are moving freely about)
Mix:  combining substances together.
Solution:  the end product when more than one substance is mixed together, such as the bubble solution.
Float: to rest or move on the liquid or the air--the bubbles will float in the air.