Friday, June 28, 2013

Russian Food Ideas?

Next week is "Russia Week", and it's been hot. I don't want to bake or make soups. What to feed my children that is Russian....

I am planning to make blinis with cream cheese and smoked salmon atop. (Knowing my children, I won't even waste money on caviar!) I've got apricot jam and pickled vegetable jars to crack open, although I know my children won't be too interested in the beets. I know they'll eat eggs, cucumbers, bread, cheese, tomatoes, potatoes, and pirogi, so I guess that's what we'll be eating for most of the next week. I hope I can find some berries on sale somewhere. For herbs, time to use up the cilantro in the fridge and find some dill weed instead. And for drinks, vodka is totally out, but I bet my children will enjoy some sweetened, iced herbal tea.

Any suggestions from readers as to what to eat that is typically Russian on a hot summer's day? (In a house with no AC running?)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

China Week

Last week our topic of study was China. While it's impossible to cover such a large country fully in just a week, our children are pretty young, so we think the following activities gave them a decent overview of China:
  • Numerous library books and DVDs about China (both fiction and nonfiction)
  • Netflix resources: Wild China, Kung Fu Panda sequels, Jackie Chan Adventures (the last was set in the US, but still contains much related to Chinese culture)
  • Find all animals at our local zoo that live in China (there turned out to be only a few)
  • Food: Eat with chopsticks; shop at an Asian market (live fish!); cook dimsum, egg rolls, and noodles; and drink milk substitutes (almond, rice, and coconut milks)
  • Culture: Host two Chinese women for a day (one was a specialist in ancient Chinese calligraphy and taught our children a lot about Chinese characters)
  • Craft: Make a Chinese gong, make paper, and make (and try to fly) kites
  • Religion: Learn about Tibetan Buddhism from a family friend, who led us in a short guided meditation and helped me cook "Buddha's Delight"
  • Computer: Chinese fables on
We had a great time and ate well. I have a lot of leftover Chinese food this week, but since we're studying the Philippines, which has a large Chinese population, it won't go to waste!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Ecuador Week

In case you were wondering about the two most recent posts, we were just learning about Ecuador last week. Llamas hail from the Andes, part of which runs through Ecuador, and Panama hats are from Ecuador, despite the misleading name.

Here's a summary of what we did during our Ecuador Week:
  • Read/watch library books and DVDs about Ecuador
  • Find a llama (surprisingly easy to locate in Colorado nowadays)
  • Culture: Invite an Ecuadorian-American couple over for dinner (I made seco de pollo and cured my own red onions in salt and lime juice for the salad!)
  • Food: Cook empanadas de pina, arroz colorado, and arroz con leche (this website is a great resource for Ecuadorean cooking)
  • Craft: Braiding hair, learn about Panama hats, make little figures out of migajon clay (white bread and glue) and paint them
  • Sport: Soccer with cousins
  • Music: Sing anthems of Ecuador and Guayaquil, make and play an antara flute
  • Religion: Tour the interior of a Catholic church
  • Netflix: Man vs. Wild (2.05), Voices of the Andes

Thursday, June 13, 2013


I saw this handsome fellow today.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Canada Week

This summer we're doing little formal schoolwork. What we're doing instead is learning all about a different country or U.S. state each week. Last week we learned about Canada. Here is a list of what we did to learn about Canada:

  • Read/watch miscellaneous library books and DVDs about Canada
  • Read aloud of an easy adaptation of Anne of Green Gables
  • Go to the zoo and identify animals that live in Canada
  • Color the Canadian flag and a map of Canada (easy to find these on the internet)
  • Food: maple syrup, butter tarts, apple juice, currants, poutine 
  • Culture: Invite a Canadian-American friend over and have her share a little about Canada with us
  • Watch some shows that take place in Canada (Dudley Do Right, Red Green Show)
  • "Reverse curling" on the garage floor (freeze disk of ice with a pipe cleaner handle in it, and use chalk to draw the skip)
  • Go camping in the U.S. Rockies (they are fairly similar to Canadian Rockies as to vegetation, appearance, and wildlife)
  • Craft: Make cheese curds for poutine (I ended up doing this one alone, my kids having shown no interest in it)
  • Computer: free time to play on websites Poisson Rouge and UpToTen since they are bilingual French/English sites
  • Listen to Inuit music, Canadian folk music, and Great Big Sea (a Canadian folk-rock band know for sea shanties) (Grooveshark was a good resource for finding much of this music)

Sunday, June 2, 2013


Earlier today: "Mom, we need more white paper. There's none left in the drawer. Or in the printer tray."

Tonight from the three-year-old as I try to sort paper and throw away (after photographing!) my children's creations and recycle their used paper with blank sides into the printer tray: "Mommy, don't throw any of my artwork away!"

How did people raise children before the invention of inexpensive paper?

And why did the three-year-old take a nap? It's past ten o'clock and she insists she's not tired yet. I am.