Saturday, September 12, 2015

5 R's

The best thing about having children who are old enough to bake is that they bring YOU the icing spatula to lick!

Natalie made two dozen cupcakes and she tried frosting them for the first time. She was sparing with the Buttercream Frosting and so we have enough to frost something else. So she's making a pan of All-Bran Brownies!

Becca, for her part, is whipping up something for the cats.

Chicken Cat Treats (makes 5 dozen)

    1 jar (2-1/2 ounces) strained chicken and gravy baby food
    5/8 cup wheat germ
    5/8 cup non-fat milk powder
    1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cookie sheet. Mix baby food, wheat germ, milk powder, and egg in a medium bowl. Drop by 1/2 teaspoonfuls onto prepared baking sheet. Bake 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack. Place baked treats in airtight container. Store in refrigerator or freezer.

Leah and I are working on her Measurement main lesson. She was sick in the early part of the week and wanted to make up the things we didn't get to. During the time she was sick, I had her read Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Reducing Your Waste

Leah is now the biggest possible fan of this book! I can't count the number of pages she read aloud to me. She's a total Bea Johnson fan, who, by the way, has a Facebook page, an Instagram account, a YouTube channel, and Twitter. The woman is working HARD to get her message out there!

Refuse Reduce Reuse Recycle Rot*

*Leah has informed me that Rot means compost.

Natalie and Becca both want to borrow the book next. This book was first recommended to me by a good friend, along with Simplicity Parenting.

Weighing our trash each day on a digital kitchen scale (in grams) and calculating our daily total has been helpful for Leah. She's getting a real sense of a gram.

It's also making our family more conscious of our trash, and I think we were already pretty conscious and working to reduce our environmental impact. But when I ate a piece of candy and had to add my wrapper to the pile of things for Leah to weigh I thought, hmmm. Maybe we should make our own candy.

See, I've gotten over my fear from yesterday! We just evenly placed 1 cup sugar in a heavy saucepan, slowly and evenly poured 1/2 cup water over it, put the pan on medium high heat, set a bowl of cold water and ice nearby, and watched the mixture cook. We ladled a little of the mixture into the cold water every now and again to see how it acted and to see what temperature our mixture was at and what percentage sugar it was. Leah ADORED this. It was so easy and she had so much fun. At firm ball stage, she let the mixture cool in the water and then played and played with it and took pieces around for everyone in the house to feel. At the soft "crack" (which actually makes a "tink" when you drop it in the water), she was so excited; at the hard "crack" (which drops into the water, boils and bubbles and shoots back up towards the surface, and then drops down again to the bottom of the bowl) she was beside herself with delight. Do this with your child. It's worth the hassle.

Anyway, back to the conversation about trash. When we went to throw away the soy milk carton (we get our cow milk from Farm Fresh in glass bottles which we return for the deposit, and the plastic caps are recyclable, but the soy milk that WIC gives us unavoidably comes in cartons) and Leah had to weigh it, I thought yikes. And it got me thinking. We went online to enter our zip code and see what Silk had to say about recycling and found out we can mail these, and other food cartons, through Recycle Cartons by Mail. Hurray!

Even just being aware can make a real difference. I'm revising the beginning of the Measurement unit to hit this a little more strongly, suggesting The Table Where Rich People Sitby Byrd Baylor and The Story of Stuff.

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