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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Cinnamon Whoopie Pies


During school vacation week, Hazel and I took a cooking class with her best friend from school and his mother at a place called Play Makers. It is a local place that is run by mothers and offers play times, cooking classes as well as art classes. Her friend's birthday party was at this location in January which was our first exposure to it.

When we got there, we found out we were making whoopie pies. Now Hazel has similar chocolate tastes to me. We love chocolate but do not like chocolate cakes including brownies or even Oreos. While each child was mixing their whoopie pie, the other mother and I were talking about this and she suggested we put in extra vanilla and no cocoa powder. I asked the instructor if this was all right with her and she suggested we add some cinnamon. A new treat was born. I have to admit Hazel was the only child to eat both of her completed whoopie pies during the class (most took at least one of them home). Needless to say it was very tasty. Hazel also informed me that we would have to make them at home. So this week we did. At the class each child got to decorate a copy of the recipe to bring home.
We made two batches, one chocolate and one cinnamon since Steve loves chocolate and chocolate whoopie pies happen to be my father's favorite as well and he was here since he was taking my mother into the hospital for her surgery (all prayers are welcome for her). 
Cinnamon Whoopie Pies

Our recipe:
1/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 eggs lightly beaten
3/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour 
2 teaspoons cinnamon (we used 1/4 cup this time and it was too much--the original recipe called for 1/4 cup dark chocolate cocoa powder)

Cream Filling:
4 ounces cream cheese
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 pint whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt

1) Preaheat oven to 350 degrees.
2) Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
3) In large bowl mix oil and brown sugar until smooth.
4) Whisk in eggs, milk, vanilla, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
5) Fold in flour and cinnamon. Then drop by the tablespoon into twelve mounds evenly spaced onto each baking sheet. (Ok, with Hazel helping scoop ours were not evenly spaced.) Bake until springy to the touch, about 10 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.

6) Meanwhile, using an electric mixer, beat the filling ingredients until fluffy.
7) Spread the flat side of 12 cakes with the cream cheese filling. Top each with another cake.
8) Optional: Dust with confectioner's sugar. Enjoy!

Chocolate Whoopie Pies
My father tried both kinds and liked them both! Enjoy!!


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Green Eggs and Ham Activities

Since Saturday is Dr. Seuss' Birthday and Saturday is Sharing Saturday here at Crafty Moms Share, I thought I would share our activities and crafts to go with Green Eggs and Ham. Now this is Steve's favorite Dr. Seuss book. We actually have it on DVD and watched it with Hazel as we were kicking off this month for the Virtual Book Club for Kids. (We normally try not to let her watch television unless one of us is sick or a special occasion.) I was going to wait until tomorrow to share this, but if you want to do our activity you need a good two days for it to work, so I'll share it today.

For those who do not know, the Virtual Book Club for Kids is a group of amazing bloggers who focus on an author each month and post about one of that's author's books with an activity, craft, snack, etc. to go with it and then host a blog hop. February's author is Dr. Seuss and this is our third book and activity this month. We did Bartholomew and the Oobleck and One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish.

First I will share the Green Eggs and Ham sheets we found at Seussville.

Hazel and Steve enjoyed playing Tic-Tac-Toe with green eggs and ham pieces. Steve also got the colored page since it is his favorite book and hung it in his office.
Felt Green Eggs and Ham

Next I cut some white wool felt and needle felted some green for the yolks and needle felted a small egg shape. I also cut some green felt to be a piece of ham. I decided to be lazy and glued it instead of sewing it. Hazel decided she would be Sam and I would be the other character who Sam harasses to try the green eggs and ham.
Green Egg Outside and Inside
Then we did the Naked Egg Experiment shared by We Made That at Sharing Saturday and also shared by Science Sparks and others the past year. Since we had three eggs that were going bad, I figured we would try it and we took it one step further. Two of the eggs we put in a container with vinegar and green food coloring. Here are our results.

When we bounced them in the sink, the membranes broke. That is what the green is in the last one. The inside of the egg came out normally and washed down the drain. Hazel has not let me "crack" the last one yet, though so she could play with it a bit more.

Now it is time for the blog hop. Please share your Dr. Seuss ideas here. And a very Happy Birthday to the late Dr. Seuss!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Easter Flower Fairy Peg Dolls

So last week I shared with you a few of my animal peg dolls for Hazel's Easter basket. Today I'm going to share a few more. I made her a daffodil fairy and a tulip fairy.
I painted the two bodies green and then cut green leaf wings. For the tulip I cut two pieces of petal strips and glued them on as a crown after giving her a face and hair.
For the daffodil, I did her face and yellow hair and then cut out the petals and the inner strip. On the inner strip I added a little pink since I did not have orange paint marker. 



Now I want to do a sheep peg doll and a Jesus peg doll and I then I'll sew some felt animals for her as well.



Monday, February 25, 2013

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish Blue Fish


Another favorite Dr. Seuss book at our house is One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish Blue Fish. Since Dr. Seuss is the February author (and his birthday is this Saturday), it seems only fitting to do something with this book.



In church the church school has just finished studying the story of Jesus Feeds 5000. Part of the three to five-year-old classroom was passing bread at prayer time. The Christian Ed Director had bought a package of Goldfish bread which of course seemed perfect since it was both a loaf and a fish. Since they did not use them all and Hazel loved them, the Christian Ed Director had me bring them home for her. We used them for our activity with this.


We used food coloring and milk to make the red and blue. Then to make the black I added green to the red dyed milk. Hazel loved this activity. She did not try the painted bread, but loved painting them with eye droppers.

We also did a few of the sheets from Seussville. We did a matching opposites. I had to help Hazel of course since she could not read them, but she liked connecting them. And we did a color page.

Last week we shared our activity and sheets on Bartholomew and the Oobleck. And of course this is a blog hop, so please add your Dr. Seuss posts to our list!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Fairy Tales in Different Cultures: Sukey and the Mermaid


This week we will be looking at an American version of Cinderella. Sukey and the Mermaid by Robert San Souci is a different version of Cinderella taking place in South Carolina. In the author's note he comments that it is a brief fragment of Elsie Clew Parson's Folk-Lore of the Sea Islands, South Carolina published in 1923. He also states that it is one of the authenticated African-American folktales involving mermaids. He also searched for more complete narratives. In Caribbean folklore "Pretty Jo" or "Mama Jo" is derived from "Mama Dio" or water mother, a term for mermaid. Since he did not find the root tale in the Caribbean, he looked at African tales and believes this is a West African tale. Now again, this is a very different version of Cinderella and is not your typical story involving a prince, etc.


Flag of South Carolina
Source
South Carolina is a southern state. It was the eighth state to ratify the U.S. Constitution in 1788. It was the first state to secede from the Union for the start of the Civil War and rejoined the Union in 1868. It is the 40th most extensive and the 24th most populous of the 50 states. The state capital is Columbia.



Map of the United States with South Carolina highlighted
Source

King Charles II of England gave eight aristocrats a charter to settle Carolina, which means Charles Land in Latin. It was so named for King Charles' father. Carolina did not develop as planned and split into two colonies due to political reasons.

Some interesting more recent history of South Carolina is it was one of several states to reject the 19th Amendment (the right for women to vote). It later ratified it in 1969. South Carolina is one of three states that refuses to use competitive international math and language standards. South Carolina has the highest rate of strokes in the United States. South Carolina is the only state to own and operate its own fleet of school buses. (Source)

Now onto our book. This story is about a young girl named Sukey. She lives in a run down cabin with her mother and stepfather, Mr. Jones. Mr. Jones does not work and forces her to work. He yells at her to work more and not to take breaks. Sukey spends her days hoeing the vegetable garden. One day when Mr. Jones is not looking, Sukey sneaks off and runs to the coast where there is a white sand beach. It is her secret spot. She sings a song she heard somewhere which calls for Mama Jo. Mama Jo, a mermaid appears. Sukey has heard tales of mermaids being mean and trying to pull you into the water with them, so she is very weary of Mama Jo. Mama Jo is patient with her and they spend the day together. At the end of the day Mama Jo gives Sukey a gold coin to take home so her parents will not be angry with her. When her stepfather sees the gold coin he sends her back to the water every day to look for more. 

Sukey loves spending time with Mama Jo and every day Mama Jo gives her one gold coin. She invites Sukey to come live with her, but Sukey refuses. One day Sukey's mother follows Sukey and witnesses Mama Jo giving her the coin. That night Sukey's mother tells Mr. Jones. Early the next morning they go out and try to catch Mama Jo. After that Mama Jo will not appear for Sukey. Mr. Jones forces her to hoe the garden again until Sukey becomes very sick. While sick in bed, she dreams of Mama Jo and Mama Jo says she will appear to Sukey once more if she wants to come live with her. Sukey drags herself to the water and sings the new song Mama Jo told her in her dream. Then Mama Jo uses her magic hair to take Sukey to her underground cave. They live there happily together for a long time until Sukey begins to miss the sun and birds singing. She begs Mama Jo to take her back to the land. They finally agree to take her back and Mama Jo gives her a bag filled with gold coins and jewels for her dowry. She also tells her to only marry a man named Dembo. If she marries any other man the treasure will disappear. 

Sukey returns home. Her mother has been grieving her loss and Mr. Jones has grown even meaner until he sees the dowry bag. Young men come courting when they hear about the treasure. Sukey refuses them all until Dembo comes. They fall in love and her mother and neighbors plan a grand wedding for them. While Sukey and her mother are out the night before the wedding, Mr. Jones kills Dembo and steals the dowry, hiding it under his mattress. Sukey is devastated when she sees Dembo dead. She runs to the water's edge and calls for Mama Jo. Mama Jo tells her this is the last time she will come to her, but gives her something to bring Dembo back to life. When Dembo comes back to life he tells everyone that Mr. Jones is the one who hurt him. Mr. Jones grabs the treasure and hops into his canoe. The crowd watches as a storm cloud appears over him and the ocean swallows him--canoe and all. Dembo and Sukey are sad to have lost the treasure but are glad to still have each other. They get married and afterwards go to Sukey's favorite spot and she digs her feet deep into the white sand and feels something. They dig up the dowry treasure bag. She sees green and gold in the distance sparkling in the sun and Sukey blows a kiss to Mama Jo.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Easter Decorations and Easter Books

As we are having the third weekend in a row with snow predicted, I am really longing for spring. I pulled out our Easter decorations. I know we will make some new ones this year as well, but at least for now it feels like spring in our house. I also made two garlands which I will share with you at the bottom. This past week was school vacation week, so Hazel and I headed to Cape Cod to visit my parents. There I went to one of my favorite stores, The Priory, and bought some new books for Easter and Lent. I will share them here as well.
Here is a quick picture of our mantle. I made an Alleluia garland. I got the idea at Catholic Icing, however I wanted to make my letters more Easter related. I found the beautiful flowered cross in My Memories and made the garland. I will share it at the end. Then I also found three beautiful printables for Easter this year. I used frames I had and/or bought on clearance at Michaels post-Christmas sale. The printable in the pink frame came from Day Spring. The scripture in the cross shape came from Agape Love Designs and she has other colors as well. The subway art came from A Night Owl and she offers it in different color schemes as well.
Close Up of Mantle Items

Some of the other things on the mantle are from last year. We have our Lent tree which we got at church last year and the picture of Hazel with the Easter Bunny last year. Then there are our tissue paper eggs dioramas. Hazel wants to make some more of those. Then we decorated many plastic eggs and baskets with flowers or as chicks and bunnies.  We also made egg carton chicks.


Decorations Elsewhere in Our House
I hung our string eggs on our chandelier. I am thinking we should add some crosses to the other arms. I felt funny about welcoming spring this early, so I did not hang our spring sign out yet, but I did hang up our Easter egg wreath. We have many more of our flower decorated eggs and baskets and buckets as well as our bunnies and chicks around. We also have a beautiful basket my mother knitted for me filled with fabric covered Easter eggs. We attempted our own (see the green basket on the bottom) and gave a tutorial here. The pink bucket/basket holds Hazel's Resurrection Eggs. She will be making another set of these in Sunday School this year.

Here are some of the books we shared last year for Easter. This year I bought Hazel a couple of books for Easter and one that has a nice religious message. God Gave Us Easter by Lisa Tawn Bergern will be in her Easter basket.

Then some books I am currently reading or will be reading for preparation of Easter and my own interest. My church is doing a Lenten Book Group reading Dinner with a Perfect Stranger by David Gregory. I am continuing my interest is Mary and found Lent and Easter with Mary and Mary as the Early Christians Knew Her. I cannot wait to get to reading these. The Lent one is a daily short reading. I just need to catch up since I just got it.

Many more Easter ideas to come, but this is how we are getting into the spirit. Oh, and I have given up chocolate for Lent. We will see if I can make it through my chocolate cravings, but so far I'm doing well.


Now for the free printables!! 
For the smaller garland you need two pages.
Small Garland page 1
Small Garland page 2

For the larger garland you need eight pages.
Large Garland page 1
Large Garland page 2
Large Garland page 3
Large Garland page 4
Large Garland page 5
Large Garland page 6
Large Garland page 7
Large Garland page 8     

Friday, February 22, 2013

Sharing Saturday 13-8

Wow, we have been enjoying school vacation week up in New England. This week we went to visit my parents for a few days. I caught up with my visiting last week's shared posts and once again the creativity of all of you is amazing! If you have not had a chance to visit all 85 of the shared posts, you should. I am so inspired. In fact I used a recipe shared for dinner tonight (see my Facebook page for more information).

This week there is no most clicked. When I last checked it was a four way tie. So neither Michelle nor I will be featuring a most clicked. But make sure you go check out Michelle's features since hers are different than mine. Just visit Having Fun at Chelle's House. Now onto my features. Here are a few of my favorites from last week.


1) From Happy Hooligans: Homemade Cardboard Construction Set -- I love this and want to make one for Hazel! How fun and such a great way to recycle!
2) From Living Montessori Now!: Montessori Inspired Study of Africa -- This is a wonderful round-up of some hands-on activities to study Africa. It seems like a great topic to study during Black History Month.
3) From Zing Zing Tree: Pebble Art  -- Ok, it may be the Waldorf education choice, but I love the creativity with nature here.
4) From ArtClubBlog: Paper Circle Crafts -- Oh, so much fun and creativity, plus getting to play with a new craft toy. Enough said!
5) From Buggy and Buddy: The Very Hungry Caterpillar Necklace Craft -- Oh adorable is this. I love it!
6) From Mums make lists: My Mum's Maths Manifesto -- Ok, I know this one is because I'm a former math teacher, but I love her Mum's reasoning and explanations! I want to find some time to explore some of her other math posts.


Thank you to everyone who shared last week!! If you were one of the ones picked as a feature here, please feel free to grab a featured button to display proudly on your blog.
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My Week in Review:
This week I shared a Caribbean Cinderella, our first book for this month for the Virtual Book Club for Kids--Bartholomew and the Oobleck, my first Easter Peg Dolls, Royal Clothespin Dolls and two children's books--one is an update of my Christmas in Kenya post, and the other is a new favorite for winter.
 
 

Now for This Week's Party 
 
A Few Simple Guidelines:
1)  Please follow Crafty Moms Share and Having Fun at Chelle's House via GFC (or one of the other ways that work for you).  

2)  Link any kid-friendly, child-centered post. Please no etsy shops or giveaways, etc.  Remember to link to your actual post. 

3) Post the newly updated button on your sidebar or somewhere on your blog to help spread the word.
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4) I would love it if you would follow me on Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest as well as Having Fun at Chelle's House at Facebook and Pinterest
Disclaimer: By sharing here, you are giving Crafty Moms Share and Having Fun at Chelle's House permission to use your photos for features and to pin your craft at Pinterest

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Christmas in Kenya in February


You may remember I participated in Christmas Around the World and I shared about Christmas traditions in Kenya. Well after my post was published my friend, Andrea, from Ziezo - Crafting and Living in Kenya  and her Esty store, Ziezo, sent me a book one of her friends wrote. Now Andrea was a huge help in my previous post since there is not much available in the United States or on line about Christmas in Kenya. Her friend's book, A Kenyan Christmas by Aunty Kiko however is a wonderful resource, so I want to share it with you even though it is February and not near Christmas.
This is a wonderful story about a Kenyan girl named Akinyi. She cannot wait for Christmas (like all Christian children). It tells how she and her family prepare for Christmas. She is waiting for the short rains to end. She has helped her mother plant the garden with sweet potatoes and sukuma (kale) and is wondering about the plants as she listens to the rain fall on the tin roofs. When the sun finally comes out she notices jacaranda trees are bare and the hornbills have flown away.
File:Jacarandatree.jpg
Source

Her family goes out shopping for Christmas gifts for family and friends. There are many Christmas fairs to shop at and the schools are closed and decorations fill the shopping centres. She also wonders abut Christmas Mama, Baba and Toto. I would guess they are the Kenyan equivalent to the American Santa Claus and they are pictured on the cover of the book.
Hornbill (Source)
Akinyi wonders what her family will do for Christmas. They may travel to the village to visit her grandfolks like so many Nariobians or go the beach for the New Year or go on a safari. She knows no matter what they decide it will be a special family time which will include new clothes and new shoes for the new year.
Boerenkool.jpg
Kale (Source)

In the mean time, her family decorates a tree and then goes swimming and has long cool drinks. Nairobi begins to slow down as people leave to go visit their families in their villages. The buses leaving Nairobi do not have empty seats.
Our Mandazi

Finally it is Christmas. Every kitchen is full with happiness. The cupboards store juices and goodies. On Christmas morning her family has mandazi and sweet chai (see my original post for a recipe and our experience making mandazi). They sing a few songs and tell stories about Christmas and of course open their zawadi (gifts). Then they wait for their visitors whom they will feed.

Doesn't that sound like a lovely Christmas? Now, A Kenyan Christmas is available for sale, however I have had trouble finding an on-line site that sells it. Creative Parenting is the site to purchase it, but is in the middle of re-organizing. If you are interested in purchasing see the comment below from Aunty Kiko (the author).

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Getting Ready for Easter with Peg Dolls

I like to give some non-candy items to Hazel in her Easter basket. Her grandmother (my mother-in-law) tends to give her a lot of candy and the truth is Steve and I end up eating most of it since Hazel eats healthy and is usually full after a bite or two of the candy. This year we are planning on getting her a book about Easter and I am making her some peg dolls. I made her a duck, bunny and chick for her basket.
Since her favorite toy is Ducky, we always seem to gravitate to ducks. This is my little duck that I made her.
An Easter basket is not complete without a bunny, so here is her pink and white bunny with a sparkly pom pom tail.
And of course we need a chick for her basket. Next maybe I'll make a lamb. I'm also going to maker her some spring flower fairies. I'll share those a different day though since they are not done.

What do you do for your child's Easter basket?