Wednesday, October 20, 2010


The children have been making Ikebana (Japanese flower arrangements) again this week. They have been using small glass dishes with kenzans inside (frogs) for holding the flowers. The children have been making the arrangements with forsythia greenery and purple pompoms and maroon daises. In Japanese flower arranging, the two main branches represent heaven, the longer upright branch and earth, the shorter, lower branch. Shin or heaven stands for vision or aspiration, sense of direction or where we would like to be going. Hikae or earth represents solidity and practicality. The human element, Soe represented by the flowers, points to how human beings can join the ideas of heaven and earth together.

The children seem to really enjoy making these arrangements and have definite ideas about how their arrangements should look. They like to talk about how things grow. Someone mentioned that we need water in the dishes so that the greens can grow. This was followed by mention of how big trees also need water. A young lady of four then mentioned that she had seen a raccoon by a big tree the evening before. The children express delight at the beautiful flowers and choose the colors of the flowers carefully. They often mention that they want their Moms and Dads to see their arrangements. Please take a look at the children’s floral efforts the next time you drop off or pick up your child.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Cape Breton Oatcakes

I find myself baking a crazy amount tonight. Tomorrow we will have home made roasted squash soup with warm rolls and ginger cookies for dessert. The children love their dessert and it is such a great way to get them to eat their lunch. I feel like Monty Hall many days when some one asks me if I am ready to make a deal. I am sure you are all familiar with the phrase, "how many bites do I need to take I can have a cookie"? Ms. D is the softie on the dessert and when I don't have the energy I let her serve up the dessert. In addition to the soup and cookies I've made a batch of oat cakes for afternoon snack. typically I would make these in the classroom with the children but I am trying to free myself up to do other fun stuff and so my kitchen smells amazing. The poor boys in my house have been warned not to touch. Often we get asked by the children for the recipe for many things that we make. Once a little girl asked for our recipe for cinnamon toast as she was having her second or third helping. I can remember feeling so happy that we made something someone loved. Of course we explained that it was really just toast , butter (lots of it) and cinnamon sugar. It was a very sweet moment. Another recipe we get asked a lot for is the Oat cakes and so here it is:
2 c Flour
2 c Oatmeal
1 c Brown sugar packed
2 tsp Baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp all spice
small grating of nutmeg
1 c Shortening or Lard (I used shortening)
1/2 c or more ice cold water
Bake at 350 15 minutes or until lightly browned
Sift all the dry ingredients together and add in the shortening with your hands until the mixture is crumbly. Next add the ice water in small amounts until it all comes together in a ball. Flatten into a rectangle about 1 inch or 1/2 inch thick. I always cut mine into triangles. I think I have a thing about triangles because a triangle is always the first metal inset I choose to present to a child. Enjoy the oatcakes and make sure to make them with your child.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Thankfulness Tree

Ok so How I wish I could say this was my idea but it wasn't. I happened upon it in my search for some fall art activities. But I really love the idea and I knew we could use it as another teaching moment in the classroom. What does it mean to be Thankful? Have you ever asked your child what they are thankful or grateful for? We have talked a lot about it this past week as we approach Thanksgiving. Ms. W and I thought it would be a great idea to have our own Thankfulness Tree. The idea being we would sit with each child and talk about what it means to be thankful and and encourage them to write that down on a leaf and share it. The older children were encouraged to cut out their own leaf and do their own writing and we did the writing for the younger children. We will send the leaves home in the art files next week after Thanksgiving. If you have a moment at drop off or pick up please check out some of the responses they are so sweet and delightful. Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! m

How does an Apple Grow?

This week has just been off the rails busy! Maybe I am trying to get too much done with the children, I'm not sure. I wanted to post this much earlier but I haven't found any time at my computer this week. For the last two weeks we have been talking about everything apple related. We've been cooking with our student teacher Miss "J". We made apple Crisp for snack one afternoon last week and there has been an endless amount of talk about picking apples and spending time with our families.

I took this opportunity to make up some new work for the older children on the life cycle of an apple. Many children were encouraged to make an apple book of their own and take it home to read to their parents or siblings. What was lovely about this work is that it brought out great conversations about family time and life itself and how things grow. I really enjoyed my time at this table with your children. hmmmm....maybe I will have to set up something pumpkin related next!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Felt Fun

This past Friday I was having a fun day with my little girl and we ended up at the fabric store. It is funny to me that she can be so happy in and content looking at fabric and notions with me. For me it was about my next project which has actually grown into four more projects by the time I was ready to go home. I started off wanting fabric to make pjs for the monkeys in my house for Christmas and well lets just say I spent my weekend sewing and cutting.

It is funny to me how much joy I get out of creating something new for the classroom and so I was up at 6 am Saturday morning cutting felt and playing with my latest creation for mt. A felt board is an easy thing to make and use as a teaching tool. A very good friend made one for the teachers at mt last year for Christmas and some stories as well. We have all enjoyed using them and I was thinking that a small version might be nice for the shelf with seasonal and timely with some of the new work that is evolving at the school.

If you want to make a felt board all you have to do is buy a painters canvas and cover the top with tacky glue and hot glue the sides down. I kept mine face down on my dining room table for the night until it was dry and you need to pull the felt tight so your board doesn't have nay wrinkles. Then you are free to create anything or story you want for it. We will use it for apple counting and I've made a pumpkin vine and life cycle, jack-o-lantern, and I couldn't resist the tree. Feel free to check it out when you come. I am sure it will be our new popular piece of work over the next little while. Oh and if you were wondering....I did make two because my girl HAD to have her own and after all she did hang with me for a long time at the fabric store. Happy Felting!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Soups On

So this week I made a pot of soup that we ran out of at lunch! I had so many children saying how good it was and then I had parents asking me for the recipe. So here it is and yes it is green!

Zucchini Vichyssoise

A good splash of Olive oil in your stock pot
1 or 2 cooking onions chopped
A bunch of leeks trimmed (white and pale green parts only)and washed
6 potatoes peeled and chopped
5 or 6 zucchinis washed and chopped (leave the peel on)
Lots of chicken or vegetable stock (I never measure fill 3/4 of pot)
salt and pepper

Saute onions and leeks,until soft and starting to brown and salt and pepper.
Add zucchini and potatoes, stir to coat the vegetables.
Add stock and simmer until vegetables are soft.
Use your hand blender to process soup. It will never taste like mine because I am always adding things like this week I used some Kale and fresh green onions. It really depends on what needs to be used up in the fridge. I hate to waste anything.

Happy Cooking, m