Friday, February 5, 2016

Sci Fri: Moon Phases

Chinese festivals follow the Lunar calendar. Chinese New Year is held on the first day of the New Moon in the new year. CNY ends fifteen days (half month) later on the Full Moon which marks the date of the Lantern Festival.

We incorporated some Lunar Science into our CNY celebration week with an activity by 'We Made That' with some minor alterations to Moon construction.


We used a volleyball and wrapped it in foil, as the Moon, giving it a crater-filled appearance.
I asked a few questions about the Moon,
"What shape is the Moon?"
"What do you think the Moon is made of?"
(concentrations of aluminum, maybe! )

We moved ourselves around the Foil Moon to witness the different phases that make up a month

We attempted taking a look with lights off during the daytime, but the best results came in complete darkness. The clearest views from the foil reflection were the Full Moon, New Moon and crescent moons.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

CNY: Sticky Coconut Pudding

 Before (Baking)

Chinese New Year celebrations are not complete without the creation of food!
Though these coconut puddings seem to suit island-life, there is definitely no shortage of glutinous rice in Chinese cooking.
Add some coconut milk and maple syrup and you have yourself a sticky confection!
Even before baked, these were subject to disappearing!


replacing sugar with maple syrup and boiling rice in a plain old pot instead of a rice cooker.

This recipe calls for a HUGE quantity of pudding!
Since it's so yummy warm, half the recipe will fill 12 muffin cups, if you didn't want to commit to the full amount.

Sticky Coconut Rice Cakes
~1 & 1/2c coconut milk (Arroy D brand, no additional ingredients and no preservatives)
~1c maple syrup
~3 & 1/2c water
~4c glutinous rice
Soak the rice 3 hours or more.
Drain and combine with coconut milk, syrup and water.
Boil until liquid is absorbed (stir frequently to avoid burning)
~5T maple syrup
~1/2c water
~2T cornstarch
~2T water
Combine syrup and 1/2c water on stovetop. Mix cornstarch and 2T water before adding to syrup mix to thicken.

Scoop rice mixture into oiled muffin tins. 
Top with glaze and sprinkle with coconut flakes.
Bake at 375, 15-20 mins.


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

CNY: Pretty Paper Lanterns

In honour of Chinese New Year, we worked on two styles of paper lanterns.
O was in charge of the first geometric lantern; folding and slicing the shimmery blue paper
while I worked on tiny tassels

The second style of lantern was a super challenge from the amazing 'Just So Festival' in England!
We've been working on pyramids for a few weeks and so these tricky lanterns were a decent extension from weeks previous.

After we styled the skeleton skewers, we tried out two materials for covering; transparency paper and waxed paper. While I was deciding the best way to cut pieces to cover the sides, O presented me with her completed work!

 Lensless "protective" goggles

She was very eager to use the coveted hot glue gun!

As soon as it was ready, O was off and running to find our tiny book lights and a dark space!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

CNY: Felt Fortune Cookies

You could whip up a batch of fake cookies, 
or make the real deal
Fortune cookies seems to be more of a Western novelty, but they're fun none the less.

Our felt cookies started from simple felt circles ('full moons').
Place your fortune or riddle in the center and fold in half.
Bend backwards and place in a stitch to hold.

We snuck in a little language lesson, with riddles from 'Moonbeams, Dumplings & Dragon Boats'

It looks green but it opens red
What you eat is red, but what you spit out is black.

When you cry, she cries
When you laugh, she laughs
When you ask her who she is
She says, you know.

Red through and though
It has no mouth
But it eats many things
It fears water
But not wind.

They are twin sisters
They work in the kitchen, arm in arm
Whatever is cooked
They always try it first

Hard at work day and night
It counts the numbers over and over
Although it counts all its life
It never gets past twelve.

Baby C was gifted this sweet summary of Chinese New Year celebrations by our friend in Taiwan.
The pictures are brilliantly coloured and both babes want me to read this over and over!

My first encounter with Grace Lin's work was inside the English section of a bookstore in Shanghai.
The Easy Reader selection of books is notoriously the cheapest (buying English books in Asia is crazy expensive!) For 25RMB, I picked up "Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same".
I later discovered that this American-Chinese author has a long list of fantastic books celebrating Chinese folktales and international adoption!
Some of which we already owned! 

Whenever we get the chance to read her work, they become instant favourites and head straight to the growing Wish List!

CNY: Firework Salt Painting

Our 'Fireworks in a Jar' science was followed up by 'Firework Salt Painting'
Glue, salt, eye droppers and food colouring make this a simple project to set up.

Once you have your design painted on with glue and sprinkled with salt, the drops of colour disperse 'magically!'

We then introduced the magic of the 'Scratch Mini', gifted to us by our friends in Korea!
With a bamboo skewer, you can etch pretty designs that appear mysteriously!

CNY: Fireworks in a Jar

 Heavy-hanging Colour Droplets
Science at it's best.
Intense moments of study, experimentation, anticipation, curiosity, discovery and documentation.
Both O & Baby C were fascinated by Fireworks in a Jar

 Documenting the Results
 Mini Explosion!
 Intense Study
 "What happens if we tap the jar?"

Bringing a little science show to the start of our Chinese New Year studies was a big success.
These pictures of O & Baby C fully engrossed, were proof, but also Baby C's explanation of her day's projects when Daddy came home.
"Me did 'speriment, then me make picture."

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Vegan Bites: Sick (Applesauce) Muffins

After making Scat Cookies, we thought it would be okay to follow-up with Sick Muffins;)
These are an excellent choice for upset tummies, with gentle ginger and mild applesauce flavour.
The only sugar is maple syrup. YUM!

Applesauce Muffins
~2c flour
~1t baking soda
~1/2t salt
~1t cinnamon
~1/4t ginger
Combine dry.
~1/2c rice milk
~1T apple cider vinegar
~2T olive oil
~1/3c maple syrup
~1c applesauce
~3/4c raisins
Combine wet.
Mix wet and dry ingredients.
Scoop in muffin tins and bake at 375 for 15-20 mins.
(12-15 minutes for mini muffins.)