29 March 2011

Making Rock Candy

I'm secretly attempting to build up a little stash of treats for the girls' Easter baskets, shh! So we're making some yummies, and each time a few of them mysteriously disappear... so far unnoticed. Kaia had yet to make rock candy, and hasn't everyone got to make rock candy at least once? So we started there. We poured 3 cups of sugar and 1 cup of water into a pan.
Over high heat, Kaia stirred it until all the sugar dissolved.
While we waited for the water to boil, Kaia prepared food colouring and flavouring in jars.
We used lime juice in the green, lemon juice in the yellow, spearmint in blue, and orange oil in the orange. (Okay, it ended up being pretty red... Kaia got a little overzealous with the red food colouring.) They smelled sooo delicious, Kaia couldn't stop sniffing each jar over and over while we waited. I had to convince her that they wouldn't taste very good to drink.
When the sugar water mixture came to boil we removed it from the stove and poured it into the jars. We gave them a stir and set them in the fridge to cool. While they were cooling, we prepared some cotton kitchen twine by tying it to sticks, dipping the strings into the sugar water mixture, and taping them to the counter to dry. 
 When the mixture seemed a bit cooler than room temperature, we took the jars out and hung the strings in them so that they didn't touch the bottom or sides. The following picture was taken the next day, and we knew something was wrong. Most of the sugar was separated from the water.
We waited anyway, and a week and a half later we had these pretty funky looking rock candies. Not the prettiest rock candy I've ever seen, something is definitely amiss, but tasty none the less!
We are now the proud owners of an actual candy thermometer, so I think we shall be trying this project again with a bit more precision.

27 March 2011

Felt Barrettes

While Kaia's Haircut touch-up went pretty well, she's still got a pretty good patch on the one side of her head that really needs to come in. While I was getting the felt out for the ring of gnomes, I found a package of barrette backings and I thought that would be just the thing... you know, for when we're out and I don't want anyone asking if my kid's got mange.

 I had the felt and hot glue gun out, so I got to work cutting, sewing, and gluing.

  We threw in some lose beads, shiny things, and tulle.

 We dissembled a fake flower and used some bits of that here and there, too. I made what Kaia wanted me to make, and I hope that will also mean she wants to wear them.

 I drew some inspiration from our Earth gnome, whom, I will admit, I've always been particularly pleased with the outcome of.

They keep the hair nicely over the spot she really hacked up. Now I will just have to see if they will stay in.

26 March 2011

Little Ring of Gnomes

I made this little ring of gnomes for our seasonal table following the tutorial by Rhythm of the Home, aren't they sweet? I gave them a little garden full of sprouts to circle, and made them in the tones of the earth.

They are being watched over by one of the elemental gnomes I made for Kaia some time back. Earth gnome is a little worse for the wear, but all in all, I think he's come through 2 1/2 years of hard play pretty well.

We'll be adding more to the table as the season sets in, but they're a nice start.

22 March 2011

Welcoming the Birds Home

It's so nice to hear the birds singing in the morning again! It's certainly not warm, but hearing their chirps and songs at least makes it sound like Spring, even if it doesn't feel like Spring yet. We had some bread go stale, so we thought it would be nice to welcome the birds back home with a snack - birdseed cakes.

We used:
  • Stale Bread (Of course, it doesn't have to be stale)
  • Peanut Butter
  • Song Bird Seed Mix (That's just the type of bird seed we had)
  • Twine (Or yarn, or other sturdy string)
  • Scissors
  • Cookie Cutters (Or you could just leave the bread in slices)
  • Something To Poke With (Paint Brush, Pencil, Stick, Etc...)  
  • Spreading Knife

We mostly cut the bread into flowers, although there was a moon and heart in there as well. Some of the pieces were especially tough and I dribbled a little water on them and popped them in the microwave for a handful of seconds to soften them up.

  Kaia gave each piece a good coat of peanut butter.

Then she sprinkled seeds over them and pressed them into place.

 Once the cakes were all done, Kaia used the stick end of a paintbrush to push a hole through each one. Then she cut lengths of twine to hang them with. She ran the twine through the holes, and tied them tight.

Some came out prettier than others, but I don't think the birds will complain. ;)

It is freezing and drizzling outside today, Kaia put on her raincoat and boots to hang up the cakes for our birds.

They look lovely hanging all over the naked tree in our front yard. We also tore up all the scrap pieces of bread that were left over after we cut out the shapes and scattered them on the ground under the tree. Strewn throughout the crumbs are the little locks of Kaia's hair that she cut off to help them in their nest building. Kaia is waiting to see the birds come find their special treat. I told her I didn't think they would come in the rain, but she is not to be dissuaded.

21 March 2011

Bringing in the Spring (Make a Spring Rain Book)

Spring started with a haircut. Papa cut his hair the other morning.
That afternoon, so did Kaia.

I left her washing her hands to put Miss Katalin down in bed for her nap, and when I came back.. all her little curls, all over the counter. :( This was the first time scissors touched her hair. I cried, and she got confused. Well.. luckily she left enough to work with, she really got the sides, though. Serious mulletude.

So, through the thunderstorm of the first day of Spring, we drove to a hair shop to finish the cut. Papa and I are the only ones sad about it, Kaia is very excited.

Okay, I'll admit, I think her haircut is really cute, though I wouldn't have chosen to do it yet. She is thrilled with her short hair, so I am trying to be happy, too. :)

When we got home, we shook off the rain and started making a book about how rain helps things grow. I cut the pictures out of construction paper ahead of time, and everything was ready for her to start gluing. We talked about the stages of seed to flower as we glued. First, she "planted" the seed in the dirt, set the sun in the sky, then, on the next page, she made it rain for the seed.
The seed cracks open, and out comes a shoot. The shoot grows into a sprout, then a flower.

 She was so excited to make her own book!

Kaia decorated the cover with rain and grass.

 We reviewed the sign for Spring, which I was amazed to find out she remembered from last year.

Kaia also received a new notebook, she fills them up fast! She happily drew away, using my favourite pen which just so happens to be her favourite pen as well, and I filled in words on the pages of our book. I also added in the roots and rays of sun, which she wanted in the book but didn't want to draw herself. *shrug*

 Our completed book:

It's a very simple little book. Kaia loves it, and the next day she is still reading it over and over again.