Showing posts with label fruit. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fruit. Show all posts

Ultimate Food Atlas -- Explore the World through Food with This Book


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

When Hazel was younger, we loved exploring the world and participated in a blog group celebrating food from around the world. We did the series Around the World in 12 Dishes. I miss it sometimes because it got us exploring different dishes. Some we loved and others not so much. Today I get to share a book that lets you explore the world through food so basically our series in one book sort of. The book is Ultimate Food Atlas: Maps, Games, and Recipes for Hours of Delicious Fun by Nancy Castaldo and Christy Mihaly. It is from National Geographic Kids and is recommended for ages 8 to 12 but could work with younger kids with adult help.

Spring Means Gardening--Fruits, Vegetables & Cooking Farm Fresh!


Disclosure: I was sent copies of these books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Spring is in the air!! Up in New England the weather is slowly getting warmer--or at least more consistent. We have been having a roller coaster of temperatures this year. As spring starts up people start thinking about about gardening and fresh fruits and vegetables. Today I am sharing three picture books that focus on just that--gardening, fruits, vegetables and cooking with fresh garden harvests. All three books have an age range of 4 to 9. And all three books are being released today!! The first is I Love Strawberries! by Shannon Anderson and illustrated by Jaclyn Sinquett. 

Peaceable Kingdom Valentines from Mindware

Disclosure: I was sent these products in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Can you believe Valentine's Day is next week? It is coming fast. Are you ready? Hazel always wants Valentines with little gifts but the school asks for non-candy Valentines. Do you have this issue? Well I turned to Mindware this year for some fun Valentines. We picked out three different ones to review and share with you from their new ones this year. Hazel loved the Scented Eraser Valentines and thought they would be perfect for her classmates. 

Fabric Fun! Natural Dye and Tie Die -- Crafty Weekends Fun and Link Party

This week we have been having fun with fabric and dye. Back in 2012, we experimented with sun dyeing wool yarn with various natural items. However Hazel really does not remember any of it and she inherited my wool allergy, so we never did anything with the yarn. I thought it would be fun to dye some cotton fabric and let her try it again. I also bought a tye die kit earlier this summer and have been wanting to let her try it. So this week we did natural sun dyeing and tie dyeing. 

Christmas Coloring & Crafting & Creative Play -- a Crafty Weekends Review & Link Party

Disclosure: I was sent these products free of charge. All opinions in my review are my own and I did not receive any other compensation. As always I am providing links to the book for your convenience.

I have not been posting as much the past week or so between the holiday, spending time with family and fighting the horrible cold. As a result I am going to share two books with you today. One is for adults and the other is for kids (and is definitely going to be on my great gifts of the year list!!). We will start with the first book which I was planning on reviewing for Relaxing Friday, however it didn't happen. The book is Johanna's Christmas by Johanna Basford. Her coloring books are among the top ones. Over the summer I had the pleasure of sharing her Magical Jungle with you. 

Summertime Fun Ideas from Oriental Trading

Disclosure: I was sent these items to review free of charge from Oriental Trading. All opinions in this post are my own. I did not receive any other compensation for this review. I am including links to the products for your convenience but do not receive anything if you buy from them.

So one of the things that got me going on our Summertime Fun Series is this amazing review for Oriental Trading. We picked out a variety of things to review to bring different summertime activities to you. Hope you will try some of them out.

Wampanoag's Cranberry Day -- Native American Heritage Series & Giveaway

I have a confession to make. Until recently, I did not understand why the Native American mascots were so offensive. I went to a high school where our mascot was a warrior and being a child of the 80's the song, The Warrior, was very popular at our school. Our cross town rival's mascot was a chieftan. I saw these as a way to honor Native Americans and not to insult or hurt them. This fall I have read several articles on-line (Huffington Post and The Guardian) that made me understand why they are hurtful. For some people these are the only images they have of Native Americans. This had not occurred to me since I have always had a fascination with Native American lifestyles, stories and such. I also understand why many Native Americans consider Thanksgiving the National Day of Mourning (see Huffington Post for more on this). Although Native Americans have always held days to honor and be thankful for the harvest, it is hard to watch the country celebrate and reenact a day that lead to so many of their own people's death and the loss of their land. I have written about the Wampanoag, a bit on Squanto and this year we explored Metacomet (King Philip) and I wrote even more about Squanto over at All Done Monkey. To honor the Wampanoag and to learn more about them as part of our Thanksgiving I thought we would explore one of their harvest holidays. I should also refer you to our post on cranberries since the holiday is Cranberry Day.  Our first discovery of this holiday was the book Cranberry Day by Jannette Vanderhoop. 

Doll Valentine Play Date

 Disclosure: I was sent these craft lots to review free of charge from Oriental Trading. All opinions in this post are my own. I did not receive any other compensation for this review. I added links to the particular products for your convenience, but not for any compensation. 

Every year Hazel's school usually has the Friday around Valentine's off for a teacher's development day and it is right before February vacation. The past couple of years we have invited some friends over for a Valentine's Day playdate. This year we invited friends and their dolls. Two girls were able to come and the three girls had so much fun!! When they first arrived they picked out a mailbox for their doll and decorated it. I picked up small mailboxes at Target in The Spot section for $1 each. 

Friday Fruit Exploration -- Persimmon

For this week's fruit exploration we looked at persimmons. Now I will admit I only heard of persimmons a few years ago. My parents' neighbor actually grows them and gives them to my parents (or tells them to pick them when he is not at Cape Cod since he rents his house out). When we celebrated Thanksgiving, my parents brought the last couple of the season with them. The one we ate while they were here they said was among the best they ever tried.

Hazel confuses them with tomatoes however she claims to like persimmons (she does not like tomatoes). However she usually only has a few bites and then says she will eat it later and does not. There are different types of persimmons. Asian persimmons or Japanese persimmons are native to China. This is the most widely cultivated species of persimmons. They spread throughout Asia and then into Europe, California and Brazil. The fruit is edible in the firm stage but taste best when allowed to rest after harvest. They are sweet and tangy when soft. The date-plum species is native to southwest Asia and southeast Europe. It was known by the ancient Greeks as the fruit of the gods or nature's candy. Its taste is similar to a date or a plum and thus the name. The American persimmon is native to Eastern United States (and is probably the species we tried, but I am not sure). It has higher levels of vitamin C, calcium, iron, and potassium than the Japanese persimmon. It is also a food that gets the white-tailed deer through the long winter months. The black persimmon is native to Mexico. It has green skin and white flesh which turns black when ripe. The Mabolo or velvet-apple is native to the Philippines and China. It is also known as the Korean mango. The Indian persimmon is a slower growing and less flavorful species. It is known more for folk medicine. The Texas persimmon is native to Texas and Oklahoma as well as Mexico. The fruits are black on the outside unlike the Mexico persimmon which is only black on the inside. 

In general persimmons are seen as two types: astringent and non-astringent. A version of the Japanese persimmon known as the Hachiya species is the most astringent type due to the high tannin levels. The tannin levels reduce as the fruit ripens. The Hachiya must be fully ripened prior to eating. Persimmons are eaten raw, cooked, or dried. When eaten fresh they can be eaten whole like an apple or cut into slices. Some varieties are more pleasant with the thin skin peeled off first. Very ripe persimmons can have the texture of pudding inside and can be eaten with a spoon once opened. Compared to apples, persimmons have higher levels of dietary fiber, sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron and manganese. They have lower levels of copper and zinc. They also contain vitamin C and vitamin A--beta carotene. (Source)
We did our normal exploration. Hazel used her magnifying glass to check them out and drew pictures in her journal. Then she told me what to write about them.
We also found a couple of books at the library and I found some more on Amazon.

Many of these have one of two stories in them, The Monkey and the Crab (including in Japanese Children's Favorite Stories) or The Rabbit's Tail which is also called The Tiger and the Dried Persimmon. Hazel loved reading this story since the tiger was afraid of a dried persimmon. He thought it was some sort of monster. She laughed so hard that a tiger was afraid of a dried fruit. I love how a fruit exploration turns into a cultural exploration as well.

For more fruit explorations check out:

Friday Fruit Exploration: Pears

Today we are sharing our pear exploration. All week we have had different kinds of pears--Barlett, D'Anjou, Comice, and Asian. I only took pictures of the D'Anjou and Asian. Sorry!! Hazel loves pears and we have had them on our waffles or in our oatmeal for breakfast!

Pears are an excellent source of fiber and vitamin C and are sodium, fat and cholesterol free. One medium pear is about 100 calories. (Source) The skins of pears contain three to four times more phenolic phytonutrients as the flesh (inside). These phenolic phytonutrients are antioxidant, anti-inflammatory flavonoids, and potentially anti-cancer phytonutrients like cinnamic acids and the skin contains half of the pear's dietary fiber. A new study has shown that eating a combination of apples and pears will reduce risk of type 2 diabetes in women. Pears are often described as hypo-allergic. They tend to be a low allergy food. All good reasons to enjoy a pear! (Source)

Friday Fruit Explorations: Pumpkins

Today we are sharing our pumpkin exploration! Now Hazel loves pumpkins. She loves pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin pancakes, and so much more! She insisted on growing pumpkins in our garden. We planted sugar pumpkins only this year. Last year the white pumpkins took over the garden and since we had used seeds from a white pumpkin the previous year they were orange on our vines. (Many of the new fruits and vegetables only grow that way for the first year.) We picked our first pumpkin and wanted to make pumpkin bread with it.

Friday Fruit Exploration: Apples!

Well it has been awhile since we posted a fruit exploration, but this past month we had fun exploring one of Hazel's favorite fruits--apples! Now we have done many apple crafts over the last few years, but this time we pulled out the magnifying glass and fruit journal.

Apple Page in Journal
Our adventure began with a school field trip to go apple picking! I got to be a parent driver/chaperone. First the farmer took us on a hayride to the apple orchard. He saw me and another mom lifting our girls up, so he brought the girls an apple picker. Here is Hazel with it and an apple she picked with it.

Exploring Cherries and Japan

Today I am going to share our exploration of cherries and the end of our exploration of Japan. At Hazel's request we have been exploring different fruit. She pulls out her magnifying glass and fruit journal and colored pencils for our exploration. We look at the outside of the fruit and record our observations and then I cut them open and we look at the inside and record our observations. Then of course we taste the fruit. We did this with the cherry.

Fruit Exploration: Watermelon with a Quilt

Watermelon always makes me think of summer time. It is so fun to eat a slice in the hot weather. Hazel loves watermelon just like her namesake! My grandmother use to eat watermelon every day and Hazel would love to as well. Needless to say she was excited to explore one. She pulled out her magnifying glass and checked out the rind.
Then we flipped it over so she could explore the inside. She touched both and recorded it all in her fruit journal.

Then of course we enjoyed some sweet watermelon!!
Citrullus lanatus5SHSU.jpg
"Citrullus lanatus5SHSU" by Shu Suehiro - Own work.

Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Did you know that watermelon originally came from the southern part of Africa? Or that it is a berry? It is a berry with an extra thick rind according to Wikipedia. It is loosely considered a melon. It has a smooth exterior usually green and a juicy interior that is usually pink but can be yellow, orange, or white. It contains 91% water and 6% sugar by weight and is high in vitamin C. The rinds are also edible, but most people do not eat them. Although pickled rinds are popular in several places.  (Source) Next to tomatoes watermelon has a high level of lycopene which is important for cardiovascular and bone health. It also contains citrulline which scientists are discovering  new things about how it helps your health. They have also discovered that all parts of the watermelon, not just the pink flesh, are packed with these nutrients. (Source)

We have been enjoying books about watermelons or at least that mention watermelons. Both Watermelon Wishes by Lisa Moser and Icy Watermelon by Sandra Fria have wonderful Latino appeal. Icy Watermelon is in both English and Spanish on each page. Fruits of India by Jill Hartley adds more multicultural appeal. It is a very simple board book. The Pinkalicious book and Ned's New Home only briefly mention watermelons.

For a craft we decided to make a watermelon doll quilt. I found this pattern in one of the children's quilt books I had out from the library, but forgot to write down which one it was before I returned it. Sorry!! I still need to add the seeds to the slices and layer, quilt and bind it, but for now Hazel is enjoying it as a summer cover for her dolls. I am going to use black buttons as seeds. The instructions said black buttons or draw them on with a permanent marker. I loved this square since it was simple and showed an easy method to do half square triangles. The book gave the measurements to cut in three different sizes for the square. We did the small one since she wanted to do multiple squares. Of course when it came time to sew she wanted to play and not sew, so I pieced it on my machine.

We could not decide which fabric to use for the inside flesh, so we used two. The black and white plaid with cats represents a tablecloth. It is truly a perfect summer quilt. I added the watermelon fabric (which I think Hazel may have picked out at some point) to sash and border the squares. 

For more ideas on watermelons check out:

Fruit Explorations: Limes: Making Raspberry Lime Rickeys!

Have you entered my current giveaway yet?

Since limes were on sale this week, I picked a few up and thought it would be fun to explore them since our last exploration was on lemons. Hazel also found a fun treat drink at a coffee/ice cream shop near my parents which is a raspberry sorbet lime rickey. She loves them, so I thought raspberry lime rickeys would be fun to make.

Hazel explored the limes first on the outside. She described them as green a slightly bumpy.

 Then I cut it in half for her and she explored the inside. Green and smooth and bumpy is her description. Then she liked a piece of it and I wish I could have gotten a picture of her face. She said it was too sour. 

Then I started zesting some limes for our recipe and Hazel was in charge of getting the juice.

Hazel discovered that it is harder to juice limes than lemons. After she got tired of juicing, I gave her some zest to investigate.

Finally we had enough zest and juice to make our Raspberry Lime Rickey Recipe. We started with the recipe at Mel's Kitchen Cafe: Raspberry Lime Rickey. Here is what we did.

10 oz. bag of frozen unsweetened raspberries
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup lime juice (3-4 limes)
zest from 3 limes
chilled club soda

To begin, mix the raspberries, sugar and water in a pan over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Then using a potato masher, mash the raspberries the best you can.

Put pan back on stove and mix in lime juice and zest. Bring mixture to a boil for a couple of minutes. Remember to stir often so it doesn't burn. Remove syrup and push it through a fine mesh strainer with a bowl underneath to remove raspberry seeds and any solids. 

Refrigerate the syrup to cool.

To make a raspberry lime rickey, mix 3/4 cup of club soda with 3 tablespoons of the syrup in a glass with ice.

I loved them. Steve said they were all right, but didn't drink his and Hazel liked the ones with the sorbet better. So the next day I bought some raspberry sorbet. I put the entire pint in the blender with just over two cups of club soda and around 1/2 cup of the syrup (and then I added more after my first taste). I blended it all together and poured it into three travel cups since Hazel was at her grandmother's house. Hazel liked this one much better!

That is our lime exploration! I hope you will join us for our next fruit exploration!

If you would like to see more of our posts about fruit check out:

Fruit Explorations-- Lemon

Have you entered my current giveaway

Ok, we did this exploration on Friday, but I did not get the post written, so you get it today. Hazel has been asking for more fruit explorations, and I thought about lemons and making lemonade. Summer officially started today and what is better on a hot day than a cool glass of fresh-squeezed lemonade? So Thursday Hazel and I went to the store and bought some lemons in two sizes--regular or jumbo.

She could not wait to get started, so we did our exploration in our pajamas. She used a new magnifying glass to examine the outside and then I cut one in half for her.

After examining the inside as a half she asked me to cut the half in half so she could see the center better. 

She had fun examining it. She tasted a lick of one piece, but did not like it. Then she started squeezing them for the juice.

When I researched lemon crafts I discovered this neat one at Teach Preschool: Lemon drop painting.The idea is to dissolve lemon drops in a little bit of warm water to make a paint. Since we did not have lemon drops, we tried lemon lifesavers and had no success. Then we found some lemon hard candies and added them, but again no luck. We decided to add some lemon peel, so I made some zest. Hazel of course asked to have some to examine as well.
After our failure with non-lemon drop painting, we pulled out the yellow paint and got creative. Hazel made lemon prints with the half rinds.

Hazel even managed to find one that had a bit of the inside structure left and got some interesting prints. Then she wanted to paint the lemon, so she had fun painting as well.

Now we stopped painting to make the syrup and the rest of the lemonade. She had squeezed about one cup of lemon juice, so we mixed one cup of water with one cup of sugar in a saucepan and Hazel stirred it until the sugar dissolved. Then we heated it to a boil to keep the sugar dissolved.

Then we let it cool for a bit. Finally we mixed the lemon juice, syrup and about three and a half cups of water in a pitcher.

We put it in the refrigerator for at least thirty minutes. We did a little more since we went back to painting. I pulled out a small square colored canvas and started painting a lemon on it. Hazel was suppose to paint the inside of it, but got upset since she thought my lemon looked better than hers. She started over and told me to paint the lemon's inside. 

Since my lemon did not fill the canvas enough, I made a lemon print and painted the inside of the lemon. then I added some strawberries to fill the canvas better. I started painting the strawberry seeds white, but was informed they are yellow. While finishing my painting we enjoyed the lemonade. Then while I cleaned up, Hazel drew in her fruit journal.

Since I had not planned ahead enough, I did not get any books on lemons yet, but will share some with you sometime soon. I also have the song Lemon Drops and Gum Drops in my head from searching the library database for lemon. Hazel learned the song and sang it at school in two concerts. I was singing it all Friday morning.  Hazel has also asked to explore all the fruits again. Stay tuned!!

For more fruit ideas check out: