Friday, February 21, 2014

Cecilia's Drawings

Just posting a few of Cecilia's drawings she has done over the last several months... she just turned six at the end of January.  I shared some she did before about a year ago.

She said this is Chris and me.  She drew this today, 2/21/14.  She drew me wearing one of my favorite skirts.

An angel and God in heaven

Mary visits Elizabeth... with a dove

an outdoor scene

a lady cooking

My Version of Brad's Raw Leafy Kale Chips

I bought some of these really good Brad's Raw Leafy Kale Chips on sale at Kroger... the Vampire Killer (aka garlic) is really good, but so, so expensive for the tiny little box you get.  So after looking at the ingredients, I decided to just try out my own recipe for them.  And I figured it out!  Good thing, since they are so addictive that we'd soon be in trouble financially if I kept buying them ($7.00 for 2 oz?  Yeah, a daily $7 snack is not the best way to spend money!).

photo taken in the morning light in my driveway before I ate them all... neighbors glancing out their windows likely thought I was crazy for taking photos of a tupperware in my pajamas on my driveway... if they don't already think I am the crazy backyard chicken lady already, that is...

So here is what I did...

1/4 - 1/3 cup cashews (I used soaked and dried nuts, recipe found here)
2 cloves garlic, peeled
salt to taste (I used Himalayan pink salt)
chunk of red bell pepper, about 2x2 or 3 inches
1 T dry hummus mix (I find this in bins at our local health food store)
1 bunch organic kale

Tear the kale into chip-size pieces.  Keep them all close to the same size.  Discard stems.  Make sure kale is dry before moving to the next step.

Line 2 or 3 baking sheets with parchment paper - just regular thin cookie sheets, not those thick air bake style because they don't get them as crisp. 

Put cashews and garlic cloves into food processor and run it until they are ground up to a pretty fine consistency.  You can add more garlic if you'd like or depending on the size of the cloves... I usually use pretty large ones.  Add salt.  Add bell pepper chunk - this will add some moisture to it, and the mixture may even form a doughy ball. 

Put kale into a large bowl with the seasoning mix from the food processor and use your fingers to smear it onto each piece.  This is a little time consuming, but you want it to stick.  It clings to the curly parts of the kale leaves pretty well.  If the kale is damp at all, it won't stick as well.  While you are doing this, the oven can be preheating to 200 degrees F.

Lay each piece on the parchment lined baking sheets - a single layer.  I need 3 baking sheets to do this.  They will not get as crispy if they are overlapping.

Bake for about a half hour... once they have shrunken and are nice and crispy, they are done!  The fact that you don't use oil makes them get crispier, and they stay crisp a few days stored in a covered container on the counter.

They are so good, so easy - except that it takes awhile to get the topping on them all - and so much cheaper than pre-made.  I hope this saves someone out there some money!!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Our Nature Notebooks

I have been following along with the posts at Wildflowers and Marbles, where the book The Living Page is being discussed.  It is all about keeping notebooks, a subject near and dear to my heart!  Those who knew me as a child might recall that I had various notebooks, diaries, and scrapbooks in which I recorded things.  I am hoping to jump into the book once it arrives in the mail!  For now, as nature notebooks are being discussed, I thought I would share some of our nature notebook entries and some brief notes on our nature study as part of our learning at home.

For more on how we do nature study, see this post in which I muse on whether our approach to science in the elementary years is really "enough."

First some images from my 3rd grader's notebook (click on any of these images to see them larger):

ladybugs - she tried to note their actual size versus the enlarged size at which she drew them (makes me think of the phrase "enlarged to show texture," ha)

squirrels - here she has tied in a character named Happy Jack from one of our favorite nature story series, The Burgess Animal Book for Children

salamander and "the biggest slug ever found" making their appearances in December... that is what happens when you live in Georgia, ha.  We have no true winter!  Her enthusiasm is clearly shown in her "Go Bugs" pennant... random...


birds... always a favorite subject with us

This was the result when I asked her to try to draw a bird she saw larger than usual to really focus on the details of the pattern and colors

Some pages from my Kindergartener's notebook... some are from last year too, when she was 4-5 years old:

bradford pear tree in fall

a squirrel

This one was also pictured in the post I linked to above, but I love it so much because of how realistic the baby mockingbird looks, and the attempted preschool spelling is adorable!

a marigold bloom from our garden

maple leaf in the fall

these are some blooms and petals from a bouquet of flowers received after a dance recital... she spent probably a half hour on this page!

chipping sparrow on the feeder outside our window

We are also working on keeping a lifetime nature list in a small binder... we have a calendar list of firsts which we can add to each year where we record things like the first snowfall of the season, the first daffodil bud spotted, the first ripe fig...

Also in this binder are lists of birds, mammals, trees, flowers, etc.  We can write down any new species we see and any details about it:

I can see these being things that each child might want her own copy of one day... hmm...

So that is a peek at our nature notebooks lately.  I am not sure where this will take us in the future, but I love the way it has started out and seeing how it blossoms!

Linking up!
Wildflowers and Marbles

If you use any kind of nature notebooks to record observations, I would love to hear how in the comments! :)