Thursday, August 29, 2013

Pickles, Pesto and Jam

Pickles made from my Taproot Pickle pack
It's really late and I am still up.  I am fretting.  I've just lost all my amazing photos from my recent trip to chicago.  I can't even begin to tell you how depressed I am by that.  It's not just the incredible pictures I took while I was in Michelle Aspinal's classroom but my time at the Chicago Art Institute.   Melanie and I spent a few hours there and I got to experience Monet and Georgia O'Keafe's clouds up close.  I photographed it to show the children and it is gone...I want to throw up.

It was all good until I decided to photograph the pickles, basil and jam and then up load it on my computer.  It was that one tiny time when I tried to be technical myself instead of asking the powers that be upstairs to come help me.  It is a well learned lesson.  I hope that when I call apple tomorrow there will be a miracle.  Somehow I doubt it.
Taproot Farm Organic Basil
 So up until I had this little blip with my freaking phone, I was going to tell you about all the preserving i've done this summer.  There are wild blueberries in the freezer for muffin making, three kinds of homemade jam.  Black currant, Strawberry and Raspberry.  All the fruit is organic.  It was all completely unplanned also.  One saturday morning I happened upon the Kidston Organic farm lady at the market and she had quail eggs.  I was beside myself.  I was buying them and blowing them out and you know, saving the eggs for the classroom.  Except that quail eggs are really tough and impossible to poke a hole in without busting the shell.  So we ate a dozen quail eggs in my house on toast and it was extravagant and tasty.  The kidston lady also had black currants.  So I made some currant jam for the first time.  It was easy and I didn't need pectin because currants are really high in pectin. All my jam set up perfectly.  Then I thought, I should make strawberry jam.  So I did.  I made enough for my family and both Maple Tree campuses this year. There will only be home made jam this year!! There is no secret recipe although I do add lemon zest to my strawberry jam.

Tonight I made dill pickles.  19 litres to be exact.  yup, that's a lot of pickles and I got my complete pickle pack from Taproot Farms.  It was an add on option to my regular veggie order this week along with 2lbs of organic Basil waiting to be made into Pesto.  I've posted a recipe I did a couple of years ago for garlic scape pesto.  You can change it up with basil for sure and omit the nuts and parmesan if you want.  The version I make for the school will just be olive oil, basil and garlic.  to many allergies to complicate it and really it is just as tasty.  The pickles were very easy and my seven year old peeled garlic and stuffed jars with cukes.  I know she is dreaming of pickles.  After all we do call her pickle potomus! So now that I am perserving I may have enough material for another cookbook Maple Tree Volume 2 perhaps!  ~m
Oh the jam

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Sea Life

This week we had the luxury of having mr. J's mom in to teach us about sea life. She works at the BIO. The children had the opportunity to learn about the size of some animals, why some animals are endangered,  and examine deep sea fish preserved in jars. The children also had the chance to touch and hold real live starfish, tunicates, and crabs.  All the children had an amazing afternoon and learned some really interesting facts about sea life.

Green Crab


To explore more about sea life we took the children to the Natural History Museum today. We first explored the live animals on the first floor which they all loved, but when we entered the marine life section the children started connecting their information they learned from J's mom to what they were seeing. From the pictures you can see some of their comments about what they saw. It was really nice to see them excited because they knew about the marine life and what some of the animals were called. It was an amazing field trip for children and teachers. ~Ms. Stephanie

What kind of 8 legged animal is that? ~Etta
It is a sunfish. ~Teacher

That's what whales eat! ~Jillian 

That is shark teeth. ~Thea

There is bumble gum coral and popcorn coral. ~Lots of children

Friday, August 9, 2013

Making a Mural

 We are finishing up our first week of  our Under the Sea theme and the last of our summer sessions.  The summer sessions have been a lot of fun and the children have really enjoyed the creative outlet.  In this picture one of our older returning students is arranging a fishing line from the hand of the fisherman that the children drew.  I love how the line extends down into the water looking to catch a fish.  The children also worked together to make a sail for the boat.  All of this was from their perspective.  The teachers just set out the material and let the children decide on how it would all look.  It really is stunning to look at when you walk into our classroom!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

So many Jelly Fish

 Yesterday we started transforming our classroom.  Our last summer theme is, Under the Sea.  We made some really cool Jelly Fish over our rice paper lights in the classroom.  All I did was lay tissue paper over the lights and attach tentacles.  We made the tentacles by cutting up some plastic table cloths and pulling in the edges to make the ruffle effect.  I used a stapler to attach them to the bottom of the tissue paper.  They are fun and the children really loved helping to put them together!

Friday, August 2, 2013

This Moment

~this moment~
A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Giraffes Can Dance

We were really inspired by the book, Giraffes Can't Dance on this latest project.  It was a big project and I know it was ambitious for the teachers.   They really are an awesome group of women and I feel very lucky they work at Maple Tree.

 There was a ton of gluing by teachers with the glue gun.  We were trilled that the older children stepped up and took on so much folding to make the legs!  We have watched as the children danced and played with their giraffes today!

See, Giraffes really can Dance!