Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Grade 4, Week 9, Day 3 ~ Robots, Cooking, and Art

I'm still not feeling 100%; actually, today it is more like 50%. On top of that I am reworking some of what we are doing. This week simply isn't going to be about workboxes and main lessons.

I decided that it is a great week for practice work (multiplication tables and typing) and lots of Lego Mindstorms fun. The boys have a new book, LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT One Kit Wonders: Ten Inventions to Spark Your Imagination. I had them choose a project and they are building the robot model and programming it. Mindstorms is something that the boys always wish we had more time for; it isn't the kind of thing that is easily done in small increments.

Our project this week will be making J-Baby's mummy costume; luckily T-Guy chose to be Star Trek's James T. Kirk and we were able to get a costume for $16 (Papa, Star Trek fan that he is, already had a phaser). But I am not quite up to costume making just yet, so today we did a variety of easy things.

One thing the boys did was paint. They enjoy the freedom of painting without it relating to a particular story and without me requiring that it be wet-on-wet. It's windy today, so they painted inside and used pan watercolors.

We did more art late in the afternoon; J-Baby painted with the watercolors again while T-Guy and I used Lyra Aquacolor/Aquarelle Crayons and then went over the drawings with wet paint brushes. Mine turned out well so J-Baby decided he wanted to do one too.

After dinner we sent Papa off to his train club meeting and I decided we'd make dessert. Last night at Trader Joe's I picked up a package of instant vanilla pudding. I remember instant pudding from my childhood but when I went to buy some for J-Baby to make it had artificial flavors and colors, so I had to pass. But now TJs has chocolate and vanilla instant pudding mixes without the artificial colors and flavors. J-Baby was able to read the directions and make the pudding all by himself and he felt very proud. He also loved the pudding, and he really isn't much of a pudding fan.

T-Guy's project was baking a batch of break-and-bake cookies leftover from our trip. Not something we usually have on hand, but an easy project and he was very careful when moving the cookies to the cooling rack.

These are both the kinds of cooking/baking projects I remember from my own childhood ~ the kind you could do all by yourself without an adult in the kitchen. We didn't have break-and-bake cookies and my dad didn't care for the kind you sliced, but he did like the Betty Crocker Big Batch Cookie Mix (check out the ad here, complete with the "flavor packets" pictured). By the time I hit junior high I could mix and bake a batch of Tollhouse Cookies.

I must admit that I don't involve my boys in the kitchen as much as I probably should, at least not on a regular basis. J-Baby can grate cheese and make his own quesadilla and can also make a grilled cheese sandwich on GF bread. T-Guy makes his own cold sandwiches, and he will rinse carrots and fruit for snacks. Off and on they have cut fruits and veggies; helped measure and mix muffins, brownies, cakes, and cookies; churned butter; and many other things, but not often enough to become proficient on their own.

We're about to light a fire and play a few hands of Hello Kitty Uno. Papa isn't home to read A History of Us but we'll have fun anyway.

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