Mommy/Toddler Time today was so much fun. First we added some new stale cereal (sorry, last little bit of Sweet Potato Sunshine... we love you but you got pushed to the back of the fridge and forgotten until it was too late) to Zac's Toddler Crunchy Bin and smashed it up with a hammer. I just moved the old cereal to a new container today, after searching for a few weeks for the exact right thing to hold this extremely joyful and vigorous activity. A storage bin is too deep for a toddler's little arms to reach down to the bottom and wield a hammer effectively, but a cookie sheet or casserole dish is way too shallow. A cookie tin is deeper but is too small and unstable. Finally, I figured it out. My grandfather (a child of the Great Depression) saved everything. Everything. This includes plastic hospital bedpans! He used them to start seeds in every Spring and would write notes directly on them with a grease pencil. When we came to live in his house, they were scattered throughout the house and used as caddies for gardening tools, cleaning supplies, etc. I never would have thought of this one on my own, but it's fantastic. Very strong plastic, not too shallow and not too deep... perfect. So I took a bedpan from the gardening things, washed all the gardening soil out of it very thoroughly, transferred the stale cereal collection and the hammer, and voila! Not that Zac will be eating the cereal, but I still wanted to be sure it was clean and ready for a new purpose.
In other stale cereal news, we also threaded a bunch of stale Cheerios onto some kitchen twine and hung them up in the yard on our trees for the birds. I saw a suggestion to do this with pipe cleaners but this method didn't work out for Zac. They were really pretty, though, and I love the heart shape!
A pipe cleaner is almost exactly the same diameter as the hole in the center of a Cheerio and you really have to push. Plus, it's harder to see if you've lined it up correctly. So I got a thick dull-pointed yarn needle from my weaving things and he threaded four Cheerios on very intently. And then he got up and left. I stayed on the sofa and watched him wander around the living room and play. I kept steadily threading Cheerios and he eventually wandered back over a few times, put one on, and walked back off. I think that's fine. In Waldorf kindergarten classrooms, the teacher always has some authentic work (cooking, cleaning, sewing, etc.) which she is doing and the children can engage in free play or help her with her task or some of each, as they choose.
We also played with color today. I froze a tray of ice cubes last night with a drop of food coloring in each (3 yellow, 3 red, 3 green, 3 blue) and I put popsicle sticks in four and left the others without handles. It is a REAL PAIN to try to get the timing just right and to get back over to the freezer and get the sticks in, so I'll use popsicle molds for this next time FOR SURE. We have the Zoku Mini Pop Molds and they're great!
Today after Zac's lunch, I gave him the four handled ice cubes to write on the side of the tub with during his bathtime. He had a great time and he scribbled colorful lines on his tummy too! But he also had fun just holding the ice cubes in the warm water that was running out of the tap and watching them dissolve. I will point out that yellow is basically invisible, so I probably wouldn't use that color again. It is so fun to see the color swirling out of a dissolving cube, and with the yellow the effect barely shows up. Anyway, so he dissolved them and then looked quizzically at the empty sticks. So after the four handled ice cubes were gone, I started giving him one dyed cube at a time in his bath to just watch them dissolve. He liked that a lot and it was fun for him to try to grab them out of the water. They dissolve in a minute or two, so this is a very quick process. With just one drop of food coloring in each one, you won't dye your tub permanently.
Zac liked holding and drawing using the ice cubes with the handles, and he liked to have a free floating colorful ice cube or two in the bath as well and trying to catch them and watching them melt away and disappear. They were different types of activities but both were a hit. I think these are two easy-and-free activities we will do again and again! (On a side note, he LOVED when I gave him handfuls of Cool Whip to play with in the bath as finger paint, but Cool Whip in the fridge was just too tempting for my youngest daughter and she actually snuck/ate all the rest of the carton!!! When I found the empty container in back of the fridge it had nothing in it but a few remaining dollops and clear lines where her fingers had been scooping it up. So unless I'm willing to let her have a personal tub of Cool Whip to play with too, I don't think that idea will work out.)
Today was also Menu and Grocery List Day. We are having Ham Tetrazzini for dinner tonight, which is a nice and quick-to-put-together slow cooker recipe. I love spending 15 minutes making dinner in my pajamas, knowing that when I come in the door at night the food will be ready! With just me and a little one, I don't need to churn out as much food as I do for a family of five, so it's not a long menu. And I focused on using up pantry things that I had on hand, so my actual shopping list is short (yellow onion, red onion, tomato, mushrooms, broccoli, kale, 2 sweet potatoes, tahini, and a lemon).
- Slow-Cooker Pineapple-Orange Glazed Ham
Classic Vegetarian Nut Loaf, mushrooms sauteed w/ butter & thyme
fish sticks, couscous, veg
spaghetti with 10 Minute Tomato Sauce
Black Bean Soup, Sweet Beer Bread
scrambled eggs, refried beans, tomato wedges, shredded cheddar
Sweet Black Cherry Crisp, vanilla ice cream
Now, on to the photos!
I've created a webpage for String, Straight-Edge & Shadow and my notes for teaching with this book, in case you have any questions about what we did for each chapter. Below are Natalie's MLB pages for this block, which she completed last year as her second block of the year. (My favorites? I love her comic book-style page for "The Donkey and the Salt," her gorgeous colored-pencil illustrations for "How High is the Pyramid?" and her darling little pig on his tether, walking around and around the field in a circle. We actually punched a snap right through the paper, since I didn't have a brass paper fastener, and tied the pig to it so that he would twirl around and around.) Click on any picture to enlarge it and scroll through the pages with ease.
Becca also did this block -- this school year -- so I'll photograph her book tomorrow and post those as well for purposes of comparison. As with anything, every time I teach it I feel like I work out a few more of the kinks. If you have any helpful suggestions, please feel free to share them!
I also photographed her sister's MLB pages for this block (next post).