This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission on qualifying purchases - at zero cost to you. When I ...

'Emma Ren: Robot Engineer' Book Review

 


This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission on qualifying purchases - at zero cost to you.

When I saw this book on Kickstarter, my first thoughts were "Ooh! I'll have to add this book to my list when I do my women and girls in science post next February!" It also gave me the idea to do a series of female-focused Story-Based STEAM activities leading up to International Women and Girls in Science Day 2022. But I was getting way ahead of myself because the book is not even available for purchase yet and February 2022 is a long way away!


What I was able to do in the meantime was get in touch with the author, Jenny Lu, and she was gracious enough to share her storyboard with me so I could read the story with a few of my Cardboard Kids. 


"Emma Ren: Robot Engineer" is a story about Emma, a young girl who loves building things and tinkering with her father. One day, her teacher announces that they will be building robots in teams and battling them at the end of the week. Emma is really excited about this until her teacher pairs her with a boy who thinks girls can't build robots. Emma shows a lot of poise and restraint and remains calm and kind while showing the boy that girls can, in fact, be robot engineers.

I love the pictures! - Ani, 3


Initially, I wasn't crazy about the boy in Emma's class who insisted that girls didn't know anything about robots. I try to avoid negative talk like that and just focus on showing my children who they can be. However, after I thought about it, I feel like it is beneficial to have a book like this mixed in with all the rest because it encourages dialogue about what girls - and boys - can or can't do. After reading it with my children, we talked about how even though in reality there is no limit to what you can or can't do, some people have old-fashioned and outdated notions of what are appropriate roles for girls and boys. The story also showed us a great way respond if we do ever come across anyone who says we can't do something. Emma didn't let anger take over and she kept calm and respectful, while standing up for herself.

I liked how Emma proved the boy wrong! I also loved the robot competition, I couldn't wait to see what happened! - Emma, 6

 

I asked my daughter how she would respond if someone told her that girls don't play Minecraft and this is the response I got:

I'd say, have you seen me play?!?! Girls can do anything! - Lil C, 9

 


Squidgy didn't have much to say about the story, but he did grab his tablet and start playing CATS: Crash Arena Turbo Stars before I even finished reading the story. The kids have the game on their Amazon Fire Tablets (we have the Amazon Kids+ subscription so they have access to TONS of games and books). Basically, you build vehicles that you can customize with various wheels and attachments like drills, scoops, claws, and saws and then you battle another vehicle and see who is left standing at the end. So I think Squidgy enjoyed the battle bot part of the story. All the children expressed interest in building robots, especially battle bots, in the future so I do envision this book to be a great one to pair with a variety of robot STEAM activities! I can't wait to try out all my ideas and share them!


If you're interested in supporting Jenny's Kickstarter Campaign or in learning more about the project, please visit her Kickstarter Page, Emma Ren: Robot Engineer - Promoting STEM Education.


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  This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission on qualifying purchases - at zero cost to you.  When w...

How to Make a Cardboard Igloo - Arctic Unit Study

 

This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission on qualifying purchases - at zero cost to you. 


When we began our Arctic Unit Study, I just knew I wanted to build a cardboard igloo. But I also knew I needed to improve on my building skills and use what I learned from my failures with the Haunted House Box Fort


The first thing I made sure to do was to use two boxes that were the exact same size for the octagon shape of the igloo. That in itself made my life much easier because I didn't have to cut anything or try to accommodate for taller or wider panels. 



The second - and possibly best - improvement I made was to toss the tape and use Makedo SCRUs for cardboard construction instead. The kids got them for Christmas and they are SUCH a game changer. They got the Makedo Toolkit and Connector 40 pack. Between the two sets they have 68 SCRUs in two sizes, a SCRU-DRIVER, a SAFE-SAW, and a MINI-TOOL.


The SCRUs hold the cardboard together much more securely than tape, they're easy to readjust, and there's no yards and yards of tape ending up in the garbage! One thing I will mention, though, is that the end of the SCRU-Driver is hard plastic that ends up digging into your palm so I would recommend wearing a glove if you're going to be building something that involves a lot of SCRUs.



Step 1: Open up two boxes of the same size, stand them up and arrange into an octagon shape. Secure the edges with SCRUs or tape. 



Step 2: Cut a curved opening for the entrance. Another improvement off the last box fort? I made sure to make the opening wide enough that I could crawl through...



Step 3: Here's where I ran into a bit of a snafu. My original plan was to cut down in between the side panels and begin folding the domed roof just above the doorway. However, the boxes I used were double-ply which meant the only way I was going to be able to fold them was to score the boxes where I wanted to fold them. In hindsight, that probably wouldn't have been too much work, but at the time it seemed like too much effort. So Plan B went into effect and the dome began higher, where the top flaps of the box were. 


Full disclosure: I did not measure anything. I simply picked a flap to start with, pushed it forward to what looked like a good angle, scored and folded the flap that would go behind, and secured them with a SCRU. I repeated all the way around until all the flaps were angled in and secured together. 



Step 4: Using scrap pieces of cardboard from a single-ply box, I shaped an arch entryway and secured it to the main part of the igloo. 



Step 5: Complete the dome. I got 8 pieces of cardboard (of the same size) that were about the same width as the walls of the igloo - each piece was the side panel of a box plus a flap on top. One at a time, I secured them to the angled flaps and used the same score and fold method to attach the pieces. 



Step 6: Fold the top flaps down, cut to shape, and secure. Because I didn't measure back in Step 3, then flaps didn't line up perfectly because all the panels were not folded at exactly the same angle. But this wasn't a huge problem. I was able to cut and fold the pieces so they all closed up pretty nicely with a little skylight left in the middle. 



Step 7: Cut small windows all around to let some extra light in. Furnish with pillows and blankets to make it nice and cozy inside so you can read a book about the Arctic!

The igloo may not have ended up EXACTLY as I had envisioned it, but all in all, I think it turned out really well and was definitely an improvement on my first box fort!



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  This month we are celebrating the earth and the amazing plants and creatures out there! First up, birds! Once spring comes, there are bird...

'Birds Make Nests' - Read and Rise April 2021

 


This month we are celebrating the earth and the amazing plants and creatures out there! First up, birds! Once spring comes, there are birds in our yard tweeting and chirping and singing almost all day. We love watching them, identifying ones we're unfamiliar with, and trying to figure out which bird makes which call. Lil C especially loves it once the summer rolls around and we can see all the kid birds around the yard. Last year there were a bunch of kid robins and 3 kid cardinals that we'd always see together.

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We've been talking about birds all week, and observing the many birds in our yard. We collected a variety of nesting materials and left ...

Build a Nest STEM Activity with 'The Perfect Nest'


We've been talking about birds all week, and observing the many birds in our yard. We collected a variety of nesting materials and left it outside for the birds, but unfortunately no one seemed to want anything from our pile! To see what we collected for the birds, check out my "Birds Make Nests" post.

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I wanted to learn a little more about Passover so reached out to Alva Sachs, author of  "Dancing Dreidels,"  to find out about her...

Passover Interview with Alva Sachs and a Bonus Passover Recipe

I wanted to learn a little more about Passover so reached out to Alva Sachs, author of "Dancing Dreidels," to find out about her favorite Passover traditions and memories.


So many memories over all the years of celebrating Passover with my family and friends. I learned everything I know from my mother, whose recipes I still use to this day. For me, memories are vibrant from cooking special foods with my mother, eating matzah with jelly, and making fried matzah for breakfast. I learned to make my mother's chicken soup with noodles and matzo balls, which everyone loves. I make a special Passover sponge cake, and mandel bread, kind of like a biscotti. We also make matzah pizza with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese and bake it in the oven. Yes, it is all about the food, sharing the history, and gathering with family and friends. Most families all have their traditions but they are all similar in nature. If you walk into someone else's house at Passover regardless of how they celebrate, you feel at home immediately. - Alva Sachs


 Alva explained a little more about the tradition of hiding the Afikoman:


There are traditionally three pieces of matzah at the middle of the Seder table; the middle one is called the afikomen and it's usually the part of Passover that kids most look forward to. Relatively early in the Seder, the afikomen is broken in two pieces; the bigger piece is wrapped in a napkin and hidden somewhere in the house. Some Jews see this as symbolic of the ultimate redemption from suffering, which comes at the end of the Seder; some see it as a reference to the Passover sacrifice that used to be offered at the ancient temple in Jerusalem; and some see it as a reminder that the poor must always set something aside for the next meal, or a reminder that there's always more to discover in life than what we know. For any kids at the table, though, it's a game: after the meal, they're sent running to hunt for the hidden afikomen. It's sort of like hide-and-seek, but with religious significance. The kids bring it back to the table and everyone shares a bite - sometimes after giving the child who found it a small reward, like a piece of candy or money.


Finally, Alva was kind enough to share her recipe for Matzah Candy with me!  


Matzo Candy

Ingredients:

- 1/2 lb matzo

- 1 cup brown sugar

- 1 cup butter

- 12oz bag chocolate chips

- 1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

- 1 cup toffee candy pieces

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. 

2. Line a 15x10 inch jelly roll pan (or a large cookie sheet) with aluminum foil. Fill matzos in a single layer, covering the entire pan (some may be left over).

3. In a small pan over medium heat, melt butter and brown sugar. Boil until mixture coats a spoon, about 3-5 minutes. Pour mixture over matzo layer. Bake 4 minutes.

4. Remove pan from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips on top. Bake 12 minutes more. Remove from oven and gently spread melted chocolate to cover as completely as possible. Sprinkle with chopped nuts or candy as desired.

5. Cool completely in refrigerator. Break into pieces and store in the refrigerator. 


If you're looking for a good Passover book for kids, check out "Meet the Matzah" by Alan Silberberg.

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  We met Alan Silberberg and his family of latkes back in December and he's back again with a brand new story for Passover. This story ...

'Meet the Matzah: A Passover Story' Book Review

 


We met Alan Silberberg and his family of latkes back in December and he's back again with a brand new story for Passover. This story is about Alfie Koman, a Matzah who likes to hide. When it's Alfie's turn to tell his class about his holiday, Loaf takes over the story! You'll have to read the book for yourself to find out if Alfie's story gets ruined or if he stands up to Loaf like Moses did to the pharaoh so long ago!

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  I hadn't heard about Holi until a couple of years ago, but once I knew a little about the Festival of Colors, I wanted to know more! T...

A Colorful Collection of Holi Activities

 


I hadn't heard about Holi until a couple of years ago, but once I knew a little about the Festival of Colors, I wanted to know more! This year, I had the pleasure of speaking with author Sandhya Acharya and learned a lot more about the colorful holiday.


Holi is a popular spring festival celebrated in India during the Hindu calendar month of Phalguna. There are many stories that accompany the origin of this ancient festival. One popular version is that of Prahlad, a devout young boy. Prahlad survives various attempts of his evil Uncle Hiranyakashipu to silence him, including an attempt by Holikia, Hiranyakashipu's sister, to burn him. Ultimately, Hiranyakashipu is destroyed. A bonfire is lit the night before Holi to celebrate this victory of good over evil. In another version, Holi is the commemoration of the divine love of Radha to the God Krishna. Another legend is that Kama disturbs the God Shiva in his penance at the behest of Parvati, Shiva's consort. When Shiva destroys him, Parvati and Rati, Kama's consort, pray for Kama to be forgiven. Holi is the celebration of Lord Kama being restored to life. Regardless of the version, ultimately the festival symbolizes the triumph of good over evil. People celebrate it by donning white clothes and then throwing or splashing colors on each other (friends, family, and sometimes strangers too!) accompanied by music, dance, food, and laughter. They draw colorful rangolis and cook delicious foods and sweets that they exchange with family, friends, and neighbors. Entire neighborhoods are drenched in bright colors and happiness during this festival. It is rightly called the Festival of Colors.


To help everyone learn about and celebrate this festival, I have compiled a list of resources including stories, colorful activities, dance, and food.


Books (video read aloud links)

Culture Groove Kids - Story of Holi

Festival of Colors - Kabir Seghal

Holi - Uma Krishnaswami


Colorful Activities

Sand rangoli

Natural rangoli

Eco-friendly colored powders (made from dried flowers, leaves, spices...)

Homemade colored powders (using flour and food coloring)

Splatter painting 

Marble painting (for a less messy option!)

Homemade face paint


We made the face paint today, but we used conditioner instead of lotion because that's what was readily available. The paints came out a little gloopy, didn't spread very smoothly, and flaked off pretty easily after they dried, but Lil C and Squidgy were really excited to be able to paint my face!





Dance:

Dance with Miss Priya - Miss Priya has a couple dance videos just for Holi along with a bunch more Indian dance tutorials


Food:

I highly recommend getting some takeout from a local Indian restaurant - it's the best way to try Indian food if you've never had any before and the best way to eat it without having to spend all day in the kitchen! But here are a few things you can make at home.

Gulab Jamun (check my post about the book, "10 Gulab Jamuns"!)

Semi-Homemade Ricotta Rasmalai

Mango Lassi (I doubled the recipe and used 2 cups frozen mango)


I hope this post helped you all understand a little bit more about the festival of Holi and gave you some fun ideas to use when you are learning about it with your family!

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  I love Indian rasmalai and so I was really excited when I came across a rasmalai recipe using ricotta as the cheese base (if you want to s...

Semi-Homemade Ricotta Rasmalai Recipe

 


I love Indian rasmalai and so I was really excited when I came across a rasmalai recipe using ricotta as the cheese base (if you want to see how the cheese for rasmalai is traditionally made, check out this recipe at Cook with Manali). Using ricotta made the process so much simpler and I knew I had to give it a try! I adapted the original recipe to use what I had on hand (cardamom pods rather than powder and no saffron threads) and to make a larger amount.


Semi-Homemade Ricotta Rasmalai

(adapted from Vidhya's Home Cooking)


Ingredients (for 12 rasmalai)

- 14oz whole milk ricotta

- 1/3 cup sugar

- 12oz evaporated milk

- 8oz whole milk

- 3 tablespoons hot water

- 2 cardamom pods

- 6 tablespoons sugar

- a tiny piece of a cinnamon stick

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a regular size muffin tin (makes 12) or use silicone liners.

2. Combine ricotta with 1/3 cup sugar in a bowl. Scoop about 2 tablespoons ricotta mixture into each muffin cup. Bake 35-45 minutes or until a pick inserted in the center of the cheese round comes out clean.

3. While the cheese bakes, add the cardamom pods to the 3 tablespoons of hot water and let it soak. 

4. Pour regular and evaporated milk into a saucepan and heat over medium until small bubbles start to form. 

5. Add the cardamom pods and their soaking water, 6 tablespoons sugar, and the piece of cinnamon stick. Stir everything together and let simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

6. When the cheese rounds finish baking, let them cool 5-10 minutes. Then remove them from the muffin tin and place in a large shallow baking dish (I used a 13x9inch pan). Carefully pour the milk mixture over the cheese rounds, cover the dish and refrigerate at least half an hour. 


7. To serve, place one or two cheese rounds in a bowl and scoop over a good amount of the milk mixture. We topped our rasmalai with chopped pistachios.

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  "10 Gulab Jamuns" by Sandhya Acharya was a great addition to the other books we read for Holi. It is a sweet story about two lit...

'10 Gulab Jamuns' Book Review


 

"10 Gulab Jamuns" by Sandhya Acharya was a great addition to the other books we read for Holi. It is a sweet story about two little boys who sneak some gulab jamuns that their mother had made for a dinner party! I think every child can sympathize with the little boys who just want a taste of the special sweet treat! My Squidgy is famous for asking, "Can I just taste test one?" 

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  We've come to the end of National Nutrition Month and I thought I'd finish it off with a story about moving! Good nutrition is onl...

'Get Up and Go' - Read and Rise March 2021

 


We've come to the end of National Nutrition Month and I thought I'd finish it off with a story about moving! Good nutrition is only half of the equation - the other part is moving and exercising your body to keep it strong and healthy!

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Today I have two books and two STEAM activities that are both related to water, specifically speaking - drinking water. We all need water to...

Story Based STEAM - 'The Water Princess' and 'Nya's Long Walk'


Today I have two books and two STEAM activities that are both related to water, specifically speaking - drinking water. We all need water to survive - lots of water! In case you missed it, here's my Read and Rise post featuring "A Cool Drink of Water" and the importance of hydration. Despite our great need for clean water, about 1 in 3 people do not have access to clean water! (source: WHO). 

We explored the topic of access to clean water during our unit study on the African Savannah using "The Water Princess" by Susan Verde and "Nya's Long Walk: A Step at a Time" by Linda Sue Park. Let's start with "The Water Princess." 

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  Today's story and activity focuses on knowing where your food comes from. Ideally, I'd like for us to only eat foods with a short ...

'Tyler Makes Pancakes' - Read and Rise March 2021

 


Today's story and activity focuses on knowing where your food comes from. Ideally, I'd like for us to only eat foods with a short list of ingredients that we can all identify. The reality is, we're not there yet. Sometimes we still rely on cereal for quick morning breakfasts and prepackaged snacks make food prep so much easier when we're going to be out for a while at playdates or classes or things like that. Things like sausages and frozen fries or pierogis make dinner prep time much faster, but we try to look for brands that aren't chock full of mystery ingredients. So while we're not perfect, I feel like we're at least on the right path.

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  As we finished up our tour of Hong Kong, we drew dragons like the one Brandon thought he saw in " Brandon Goes to Hong Kong ." W...

Hong Kong Mini Unit Study Day 5

 


As we finished up our tour of Hong Kong, we drew dragons like the one Brandon thought he saw in "Brandon Goes to Hong Kong." We'll have to finish coloring them in tomorrow!


We also did a little research on Chinese poetry and were inspired by Lu Shi and Gu Ti poems. In a nutshell, both Lu Shi and Gu Ti are based on couplets, but there is no required amount or upper limit of couplets. Gu Ti is more free verse while Lu Shi is more rigid in structure and rhyme and both are narrative poems. We decided to write our own dragon poem, leaning a little more toward the free verse style, but rhyming the last word of each line in the couplet. Lil C's ideas were more elaborate than I expected so we didn't finish writing the entire poem, but here's a snippet!

Once upon a time, I was taking a walk and came across a flowery field.
In the middle was a dragon - I held up my shield!
Her scales were green from her head to her tail
With flowery purple spots and a tail that resembled kale.
As she stared at me with gentle emerald green eyes,
My fear vanished, because she seemed to kind and wise.  


We also made flying dragons. They're very simple to make! Cover a toilet paper roll with colored paper of your choice then glue or tape on a head, wings, and tail. To make it fly, tie or wrap a long string to a doorknob or railing, leaving two long pieces of string on either side. Slip both ends of the string through the cardboard tube and gently pull them apart to make your dragon "fly" to the top of the string!


Our final destination on this Hong Kong vacation was Kowloon. We took the Star Ferry across Victoria Harbor, bought some more snacks at the markets, and rode the Central--Mid-Levels Escalator! I'm glad it was a virtual experience because escalators are not my favorite thing - I get paranoid I'm going to trip or fall every time!

Tomorrow we will officially conclude our Hong Kong vacation with dim sum! We picked up a bunch of different dumplings and buns that we are going to cook up and I'm so excited to eat them all! I hope you enjoyed coming on this little trip with us and I can't wait to bring you along on another one!

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  We're still reading " Brandon Goes to Hong Kong " and today we "visited" Disneyland Hong Kong and explored dragons...

Hong Kong Mini Unit Study Day 4

 


We're still reading "Brandon Goes to Hong Kong" and today we "visited" Disneyland Hong Kong and explored dragons some more. I think Lil C's dragon lunch was my favorite part of today! I cut a spinach crepe into squiggly and spiky pieces so she could make a dragon shape and she chose the toppings she wanted to make scales and a face. 



Lil C also made her own paper dragon, inspired by the one Brandon's cousin Kelsey makes in the book. She made the whole thing completely on her own with 0% input or help from me. It makes me a little sad that she's growing up but also excited because I can't wait to see everything that will come out of that amazing creative brain of hers!

Our afternoon was all about Disneyland Hong Kong. We collected as many Disney figures as we could find and began creating a mini Disneyland.

There was a Vampirina stage show...


...a carousel near a river with some bridges...



...a superhero-villian meet and greet area...



...and my personal favorite, the tea cup ride! Lil C and Squidgy worked together to decorate the ride and make a pathway.




Here's a close-up of the ride. The whole platform spins as well as each individual "cup." I may have to brainstorm to see how we can make a larger version that minifigures can sit in and that ideally look a little more like teacups...



No amusement park trip would be complete without purchasing some sort of snacks or treats so I pulled out the snacks my husband picked up at our local Asian market, set prices for each item and gave the kids $5 each to spend on snacks.



They figured out how to split their purchases so both of them could try a little bit of everything. There were ice cream cone wafers, shrimp chips, mini koala cookies, and mochi. 



Speaking of mochi, I know mochi is Japanese and not Chinese, but we watched the Rice episode of the new Netflix series, "Waffles and Mochi" today. The show is super cute and if you have Netflix I highly recommend you check it out with your kids!

That's all for today! We'll be back tomorrow with the conclusion of our mini unit study and more dragons!



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  My original plan was to start the morning with some rice porridge, congee, like Brandon and his family had in "Brandon Goes to Hong K...

Hong Kong Mini Unit Study Day 3 - with Rice Porridge Recipes

 


My original plan was to start the morning with some rice porridge, congee, like Brandon and his family had in "Brandon Goes to Hong Kong." However, after talking about congee with my friend, who is Filipina, she told me about the Filipino version of rice porridge that they have for breakfast called champorado. Now, champorado involved chocolate and once I had chocolate on the brain, I had to have it! So, it may not be the same thing Brandon and his family had for breakfast, but our breakfast was definitely inspired by it! We added some bacon on the side so we could have a little salty with our sweet (the bacon looks like hair in the bowl, I feel like we should have made a face in the champorado!).

If you'd like to try it for yourself, here is the recipe I used:

Instant Pot Champorado

And if you'd like a non-chocolate version, here is the congee recipe I was going to use:

Instant Pot Congee


For the rest of the morning, we pretended to visit Ocean Park and took a ride on the submarine train. Then our focus was mostly on pandas. We read "The Panda Problem" by Deborah Underwood which was really funny. It doesn't teach you much about pandas, besides that they eat bamboo, but it is a great book to launch a conversation about fiction book structure. For the most part, fiction stories have a main character, a problem, and a solution. And that's the focus of this book: who is the main character, what is the problem, and how can they solve the problem. You could do a writing extension by having your child come up with an additional problem for the story and draw and write about it. We might do that tomorrow, but we had a short lesson day because Lil C had virtual dance class after lunch and we had to clean up the playroom before lunch so it would be ready for her to dance in. 


This adorable video gets you up close and personal with some teenage pandas as well as a newborn one!



We also watched a few Wild Kratts videos about pandas:

Wild Kratts Panda Power Up

Wild Kratts Explore China, Part 1

Wild Kratts Explore China, Part 2


That was it for today, tomorrow we may touch on pandas some more before focusing on the best part of the story: dragons!


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  We're back with day 2 of our Hong Kong mini unit! As you can probably tell from our happy little Buddha, today was all about the Big B...

Hong Kong Mini Unit Study Day 2

 



We're back with day 2 of our Hong Kong mini unit! As you can probably tell from our happy little Buddha, today was all about the Big Buddha and Buddhism. First, we took a trip on the glass bottom cable car, the Ngong Ping 360, up to Ngong Ping on Lantau Island. From there, we could see the Big Buddha statue! It is 268 steps up to the Big Buddha statue and we calculated that we had to go up our staircase 21 times (for a total of 273 steps) to go about the same distance.

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  This recipe is perfect for a little extra green on St. Patrick's Day, for Christmas if you add some bright red tomatoes or strawberrie...

Naturally Green Spinach Crepes

 


This recipe is perfect for a little extra green on St. Patrick's Day, for Christmas if you add some bright red tomatoes or strawberries on the side, or any day when you want a little punch of color. I love recipes like this that use fruits and vegetables to add a little vitamin boost to every day foods without really changing the flavor - especially when you have children that are a little particular about what they choose to eat! My policy is, a little bit of a good food is better than none so if your child doesn't like green smoothies, spinach salads, or creamed spinach, this is a great place to start adding a little of that super spinach goodness into your child's diet.


Spinach Crepes

Ingredients:

- 2 cups spinach (or a spinach blend like spinach, kale, and chard)

- 1 cup milk

- 1 large egg

- 1 cup flour (I usually do all whole wheat or half whole wheat and half white - for the photos I used all white to get the best green color I could)

- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

- pinch of salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Place all ingredients into the jar of a blender and blend until smooth (you may have to pause and scrape down the sides with a spatula). 


2. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high. Once heated, coat pan with butter or oil. Pour some batter into the center of the skillet and then swirl the pan, spreading the batter around. It may not be a perfect circle and that's ok!


3. Cook a couple minutes until the top looks dry. Flip the crepe over and cook just one minute more. Remove and repeat until you've used all the batter. 

4. Fill however you like! I filled mine with cheesy eggs, but I think cottage cheese with avocadoes and tomatoes would be delicious too!

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This week we are celebrating Eugenia Chu's book, "Brandon Goes to Hong Kong." Eugenia is Chinese-American and when her son wa...

Hong Kong Mini Unit Study - Day 1 (with Teriyaki Pineapple Chicken and Broccoli Recipe)


This week we are celebrating Eugenia Chu's book, "Brandon Goes to Hong Kong." Eugenia is Chinese-American and when her son was very young, she searched for books that touched on Chinese culture or included Chinese (Mandarin) vocabulary to read with him. Unfortunately, she didn't really find any! So she began writing her own! I think it is so admirable that she decided to take it upon herself to create the books she wanted to read her son. I suppose maybe it's not so different from me creating unit studies for my kids so I can teach them in the way that works best for all of us.


And so I decided to take inspiration from Eugenia and use her new book (which she graciously sent me a digital version of so I could check it out and review it) as the basis of a week long mini unit study on Hong Kong!


We started the morning by finding Hong Kong on our world map and guessing what the weather might be like there. Since Hong Kong was along the same line of latitude as the Caribbean, we thought it would be much warmer than here in New Jersey! And we were right! We checked the weather forecast for the week at home and it's supposed to be in the 40s with a bunch of rain. Hong Kong's forecast is in the high 70s all week! So we did a little pretend packing and the kids packed a warm weather outfit along with a couple toys and a snack for the "flight."


We had to pick up some library books and drop off a birthday gift, so we got on the "plane" (aka our minivan) and settled in for a pretend flight. We talked about how long a real flight to Hong Kong was - 16 hours! So if we left here at 7am today (Monday), we figured out that we would arrive at 11pm, which with the time difference would actually be 11am Tuesday in Hong Kong! 


When we arrived back home, we were in Hong Kong! We were hungry so we took the tram up to Victoria Peak (it was a very short trip from the airport - actually, I'm pretty sure we have a teleporter :-D) and had lunch at Victoria Peak Gardens.


For lunch, we had rice with teriyaki chicken, pineapple, and broccoli (the recipe is very simple, you can find it at the end of this post). 


After lunch, we headed to build gardens out of Lego while I read a few more chapters of "Brandon Goes to Hong Kong." I'll be completely honest and say that palm tree is as close as we got to gardens. After that it evolved into Minecraft building. And that's ok! My philosophy for unit studies is exposure to various topics in science, social studies, and geography. I don't force activities. If they don't want to do it, they're not going to enjoy it and they're not going to learn from it, so I let it go. Sometimes I try to circle back and see if they're interested at another time and other times I just keep moving forward. 


Tomorrow we'll be heading to see the Big Buddha! Come back and join us!


Teriyaki Pineapple Chicken and Broccoli
(there wasn't much measuring going on in this recipe so I'll try to estimate!)

1. Preheat oven to 400०F. Line 2 sheet pans with foil.
2. Cut 2 chicken breasts (about 1.5lbs) into 1/2" chunks. Put in a large bowl and toss with teriyaki sauce (store-bought or homemade) until evenly coated. I probably used about a half cup of sauce. Spread chicken pieces out onto one of the sheet pans. Toss cubed pineapple pieces (about 1 cup) over the chicken. 
3. Chop enough broccoli to fill the other pan into bite size pieces. Season broccoli with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  
4. Place both pans in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and broccoli is tender and browned.
5. Serve over rice (we made jasmine rice in the Instant Pot). Garnish with extra teriyaki sauce, sweet red chili sauce, sesame seeds, and/or scrambled eggs. 

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  This week we're focusing on hydration! It seems so simple but it's so easy to forget to drink as you run around doing a million th...

'A Cool Drink of Water' - Read and Rise March 2021

 


This week we're focusing on hydration! It seems so simple but it's so easy to forget to drink as you run around doing a million things during the day! Let's start off with a story of drinking water around the world.


Featured story: "A Cool Drink of Water" by Barbara Kerley


Activity: This week I'm challenging all of you to track your water to make sure you're hydrating properly! It's recommended that children drink the number of 8oz cups equal to their age until age 8, after which everyone should drink 8 cups a day (Source: CHOC). Simply Being Mommy has a simple water tracker everyone can use this week.

To make hydrating a little more interesting, you can experiment with infused waters. I came across this Food Hero Monthly from last March that is all about water and gives you several recipes for infused waters. We tried the strawberry kiwi the other day and it was delicious! The bonus? Lil C got to practice her cutting skills as she sliced the strawberries and kiwis and added them to our pitcher. I have a couple oranges hanging out in the fridge so I think I'll make some orange water for tomorrow...happy hydrating!




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