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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Munchy, Crunchy Pumpkin Seeds!

Easy to roast at home,
and a delicious, nutrient-rich snack

After carving your jack-o'lanterns, separate the seeds from the stringy pulp and get ready to roast 'em!  (save a few to plant in next year's pumpkin patch--see "Seed Harvesting" in the garden section.)

Here's What You Need:
about 1 1/2 cups pumpkin seeds,  separated from the pulp.
sea salt, or any salt
bowl of water
baking pan (line with foil for easy clean-up)
olive oil, (or other oil)
Optional:  garlic power, Mrs. Dash, other seasoning sprinkles. 

Here's What You Do:  
*separate the seeds from the pulp as well as you can--
*put about 2 cups of water in a bowl with about 3 tablespoons of salt.
*Soak overnight, drain, and pat dry.
(alternately, you can skip the overnight soak process and sprinkle salt on the seeds after tossing them with oil.)
*heat oven to 300 degrees.
*toss pumpkin seeds with a bit of olive or other oil and spread on the foil lined baking sheet in a single layer.
*sprinkle with other seasonings, if desired.
*bake for 40-45 minutes, stirring and turning occasionally, until the pumpkin seeds are golden brown.

Pumpkin seeds are packed with vitamins and fun to eat!  You can also toss them into salads.

Five Little Pumpkins Fingerplay

Five little pumpkins sitting on a gate.
The first one said, 
"Oh my it's getting late!"
The second one said, 
"There are witches in the air!"
The third one said, 
"But we don't care."
The fourth one said, 
"Let's run and run and run!"
The fifth one said, 
"I'm having so much fun!"
Then Wooooooooo went the wind
and OUT went the lights (clap hands)
And the five little pumpkins 
rolled out of sight.

Mr. Jack O'Lantern Poem
Mr. Jack O'Lantern, is very round and fat.
He has a yellow candle, 
Lit right beneath his hat.
It makes his face look happy,
and very, very bright.
When he winks and smiles at me,
On spooky Halloween night!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Autumn Leaves

Photo Credits:  Seth Chrisman

     Yesterday, we took a walk in the unseasonably golden sunshine of a Seattle afternoon.  The leaves were blazing with vivid color--we gathered up a bunch and brought them home to preserve them in translucent wax paper.  Remember this childhood classic?

Here's What You Need:

fresh-gathered colorful leaves
2 sheets of wax paper for each picture
an iron
paper towels or thin dishcloth

Here's What You Do:

*Your child chooses favorite leaves and arranges them on a sheet of wax paper.  Be sure to leave an inch between leaves so the wax paper can melt around them and hold them in place.

*When the design is complete, place another sheet of wax paper over the top--like a leaf sandwich.

*An adult turns the iron on low.  Place a paper towel or thin dishcloth over the picture to protect the iron from the wax. An adult gently presses the iron to the picture.  Move it slowly over all of the leaves so the wax melts and seals them in place.  Make sure the edges are melted together, too.

*Trim around the edges to make them neat--(I decided to round the corners) and then tape it to a window and admire your creation!

Here are some fall books to enrich your autumn adventures!

by Lois Ehlert

by Elizabeth Maestro

by Linda Glaser

by Zoe Hall

by Lois Ehlert

Falling Leaves Finger Play

Four little leaves  (hold up 4 fingers)
Sitting on a tree, (Put them on back of other hand)

One fell off  (make 1 tumble down)
Then there were three.

Three little leaves (hold up 3 fingers)
All yellow and brown,

One danced away (make 1 swirl away )
Down to the ground  (touch the floor)

Two little leaves (hold up 2 fingers)
Waving in the breeze. (wave them about)

One flew off (make one "fly" away)
Away from the trees.

One little leaf (hold up last finger)
Left on the tree—

Said “goodbye wind!” (wave goodbye)
And flew down to me. (point to self)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Hoop Gliders--a twist on the paper airplane

Photo credit: Seth Chrisman
A drinking straw and paper combine to make
an easy version of the paper airplane

Here's What You Need:
a straight drinking straw
construction paper

Here's What You Do:
*Cut two strips of paper,  (we used colored construction paper)  One strip is 1" wide and 10" long--one is 1" wide and 5" long.
*Make a hoop with the long strip and tape it to one end of the straw.  Make a hoop with the shorter strip and tape it to the other end of the straw.

To Launch:

Hold the glider in the middle of the straw with the smaller hoop pointing forward.  Gently throw the glider with a slight angle up.  Keep trying!  Sometimes it glides very well and sometimes it crashes too soon.  If you tried to throw the straw alone, it would simply fall to the ground--but the hoops act as wings and when the air moves beneath them, your glider floats in the air!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Walnut Shell Boats, Ahoy!

Photo credit:  Seth Chrisman
Here's What You Need:

whole walnuts
flat-head screwdriver
small bits of clay or home-made play dough (see recipe in the Art Studio section)
collected leaves, or colored paper to make "sails"
a place to float or race your boats!  You can use a bowl or pan of water, birdbath, sink, bathtub, etc.

Here's What You Do:

Photo credit:  Seth Chrisman
 *A nutcracker tends to shatter the shells, instead, use a flat-head screwdriver to produce two halves. (this part is an adult's job)
  *Hold the walnut securely and insert the screwdriver into the large flatter end of the nut. Gently pry the two halves apart (save the walnut meat for baking, salads or snacking). It may take several tries--sometimes one of the halves cracks to pieces.
Photo credit:  Seth Chrisman
  *Thread a leaf onto a toothpick, or alternately, tape a triangle of colored paper to the toothpick to make a sail.
  *Place a small bit of clay or play dough into the bottom of your boat.  Carefully attach the toothpick with the sail into the clay.  You may need to adjust for balance once you launch your walnut shell.
  *Float your boats in a bowl or pan of water, a vessel designed for floating candles, a birdbath, or even a sink or bathtub.

Photo credit:  Seth Chrisman

Michael Row the Boat Ashore, Irish Folk Song
(click on the link above to listen)
Michael row the boat ashore, hallelujah
Michael row the boat ashore, hallelujah

Sister help to trim the sail, hallelujah
Sister help to trim the sail, hallelujah

 Michael row the boat ashore, hallelujah
Michael row the boat ashore, hallelujah

River Jordan is chilly and cold, hallelujah
Chills the body but not the soul, hallelujah

Michael row the boat ashore, hallelujah
Michael row the boat ashore, hallelujah

Jordan river is deep and is wide, hallelujah
I've got a home on the other side, hallelujah

Michael row the boat ashore, hallelujah
Michael row the boat ashore, hallelujah

Michael's Boat is a music boat , hallelujah
Michael's Boat is a music boat , hallelujah

Michael row the boat, the boat ashore, hallelujah
Michael row the boat ashore, hallelujah

Nursery Rhyme, "I Had a Little Nut Tree."

I had a little nut tree,
Nothing would it bear,
But a silver nutmeg,
And a golden pear.

The King of Spain's daughter
Came to visit me,
And all for the sake
Of my little nut tree.

I skipped over water,
I danced over sea,
And all the birds in the air,
Couldn't catch me.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Seed Harvesting

Photo credit:  Seth Chrisman
You can harvest seeds all year round from flowers and vegetables--then save them to plant a new crop.  Make seed packets together to store your cache of seeds.
Photo credit:  Family Fun Magazine
Here's What You Need:
*seeds from mature vegetables or dying flowers.  Put each type in an open container to dry.  Make sure the seeds are dry before putting them in your seed packets.
*template  (download pdf here:Seed packet template )
*brown paper grocery bag, or other paper.
*scissors, glue sticks, colored pencils or markers.
*empty shoebox, to store all of your packets.

Photo credit:  Seth Chrisman

Here's What You Do:
*print and cut out the seed packet template.  We traced the template onto brown paper grocery bags.  Any paper you like will do, but you might as well recycle. Trace and cut out as many as you can use.
Photo credit:  Seth Chrisman

*fold the two side flaps over and use a glue stick to fold the bottom flap up and secure it.
*label and decorate the seed packets--your child can draw a picture of the vegetable or flower seeds that will be enclosed.
*Fill the seed packet and use the glue stick to secure the top flap.  Store your packets in an empty shoebox upright.

Dream of planting season! While you are waiting, you can do a little research on the best ways to plant your particular seeds. You may be able to start some inside now.  (see Tia Tamara's guacamole in the kitchen section for ideas on sprouting avocado pits!  p.s. you won't need a seed packet for an avocado seed--and it doesn't need to dry out, either)

If you don't have seeds in your own garden, you can ask friends and neighbors, and even save seeds from vegetables that you buy from the grocery store.  When you carve a pumpkin for Halloween, save some seeds and plant your own pumpkin patch next year!

Photo credit:  Seth Chrisman

These spaghetti squash were planted with seeds I saved after dinner one night last winter! It was thrilling to see those seedlings pop up. That squash was from the grocery store.  This year, they're from my garden!