Sunday, December 20, 2009

Earthgirl's Almost Annual Homeschool Girls Christmas Craft Party

Note:  This is not a Sm'Arties class post, but another arts and crafts endeavor.

A visit from possibly the most laid-back poodle ever.

Mitten ornament-painted wood, with cloth "patch" (we love Mod Podge), Sharpie "stitches"

Reindeer ornament, waiting for the backs to dry.  We finished them with red and gold, glitter spray, and sealer. (The summer I was 15, Mama and I took a decorative/Tole painting class.  The instructor advised us to make the backs of projects "finished," too.  It really makes a difference, especially on ornaments, which are liable to spin around with their backside showing.)

Making lunch - pigs in blankets

Painting plaster ornaments (sprayed with glitter, sealer).

Yarn angels

Christmas Freeze Dance
-dancing to Celtic Women-

 General silliness and fun

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Here's What's Cookin'!

Mini-Co-op Christmas Party!

We had a short IEW lesson. I continue to be impressed with the IEW curriculum, and with Keisuzi's gentle teaching style.   (If we finish our 3 paragraphs this week, Earthgirl and I will be done with IEW until January.)

Science Geek and the children did a yeast experiment.  She said it would make a good Science Fair demonstration.  Hmmm-we might just do that. 

 Then it was time for Culinary Art, and some hands-on yeast fun!
We made pizza dough using my favorite Easiest Ever Pizza Dough.  I have put this dough together using every combination of whole wheat, half-whole wheat (I cannot figure out how to say that quickly, half whole-wheat and half regular, that is to say not whole-wheat), 7-grain, toss in oatmeal, all-white, bread flour - whatever I throw at it always seems to work.   It makes up a fluffy, thick crust.  I usually add a teaspoon or 2 of vital wheat gluten, otherwise, I just go with it.  It's great just made up as cheesy bread, with extra garlic and Italian seasoning added in or sprinkled on top. 

I have made pizza with 2 or 3 children at a time, but this was 7 children, and a lot of flour, so we worked in batches of 3-4 children at a time. Of course, when I dipped out a little pile of flour for each, they immediately started playing in it, drawing pictures.  But no flour fights broke out.  Yay!  Every child got to either measure or stir.  Then they had 30 minutes to watch a movie or play while the dough rose.  We taped the Pixar Shorts when they were broadcast on ABC Family a few days ago - perfect!  Whatever show is on, it will be over in just a minute, so we can call the children back when we need them.

I cut off a little section for each to knead.   They loved kneading the dough.  I had to stop them - "Yours is OK.  You're done.  No more kneading.  I SAID NO MORE KNEADING."

Next they rolled out their own pizzas.  Rolling takes more finesse than I had known before.  Maybe that explains why I don't do well at cookie cutter cookies.  No finesse.
I just realized that in all these pictures nobody is smiling.  We were serious about our food!  In spite of appearances, we laughed often.
(Back when I was single, about 27 years ago, I picked up that brown Rubbermaid mixing bowl at K-Mart so I could make brownies.  It is still my go-to bowl. Pretty good investment, huh?)

I mixed up a batch of white pizza for our moms' pie (doesn't it sound Chicago-ish when I call it a pie?  "Dear, whatdya want on your pie?")  I use this recipe - thanks Crispy! Of course, I don't measure; I just toss it together, and having no fresh basil and not wanting to bother with fresh garlic, I sprinkled in Italian seasoning, and garlic salt.  A couple of children who prefer cheese to sauce got a white pizza, too.  Earthgirl's was white, lots of cheese, with one single pepperoni.
Not having 7 little pizza pans, I lined up the little pies on 2 big baking sheets and one cookie sheet. This, of course, meant baking in  2 batches, too.    We moms got a round pizza. 

One might think that cookie-decorating would be Art, but Monday, cookie-decorating was P.E.! 

Peg premade the cookies, mixed up some confectionary sugar icing, and let the children loose with the sprinkles!  (I'm still sweeping up sprinkles.  Of course, part of that is a result of Daddy dropping a sprinkle-laden cookie upside down.)


Finger-lickin' good!

We will be on break for a few weeks, but I look forward to occasional posts when something is too good not to share.