Thursday, November 10, 2011

"I'd give up chocolate, but I'm no quitter." -- Unknown

Happy Sesame Street Day!  Today was C-R-A-Z-Y, from getting the new washer installed, and catching up on all the stinky laundry the previous broken washer left, to our last-minute errands for tomorrow's camping trip. We did get a bit of work in, though, but I'm sorry to say that both the snacks we made today were both real duds.  (Hence, the quote at the top of today's post.)  I cannot melt chocolate to save my life.  It's either not yet melted or burned, and though today's recipe called for 'ribbons,' we got clumps.  It will have to do.  You'll see.  Hopefully, you'll have better luck than we did.

In honor of the day, Mags proudly wore her Sesame Street T-shirt!  :)
Just like the Cookie Monster pom-pom we made prior, today, we made one in honor of Elmo, using a large red pom-pom, googly eyes, a small orange pom-pom, a mouth cut out of black felt, and glue.
 Putting him together ...
So cute!
After that, we made the 'Paper Plate Elmo' as seen at  For the same, you'll need a white paper plate, red paint, a paintbrush, orange, black, and white construction paper, scissors, and glue.
 Cut eyes, a nose, and a mouth out of your construction paper to resemble Elmo's, like below.
 Next, paint your paper plate with your paint.
Once dry, glue on his features.
Ta-da!  VERY cute!
In our continuing study of Native American Indians, we made the 'Maple-Nut-Berry Popcorn Balls' recipe out of our Happy Thanksgiving! Things to Make and Do book by Judith Conaway, pages 38-39.  Unfortunately, this recipe gave no quantities for the ingredients, so we had to guess and it turned out horribly wrong.  First, we made our popcorn, starting with 1/2 cup unpopped kernels.  (We took my husband's advice this time and made the popcorn in a stock pot versus a frying pan and avoided the disaster that we had last time we made popcorn!)  (Are you starting to gather that I'm a real whiz in the kitchen?!  Ha!)
Then, we added chopped walnuts and raspberries, as the recipe suggested, along with 1/3 stick of melted butter, but again, the book gave no specific amounts, so it was all guessing.  (I think we added about 1/2 cup of walnuts and a small carton of the raspberries.  Though the raspberries were quite good in it, I think they were too wet, making our popcorn soggy, so I would next time add dried cranberries or cherries instead.)
 Then, the recipe called for maple syrup to well coat the entire mixture.  (Again, no specific amount was given, we just added enough to coat our corn, nuts, and berries.)
 Then, we formed our mixture into (too crumbly) balls and stuck them in the fridge 'until the syrup hardens.'
 WRONG!  The syrup did not harden and we got not balls, but a big, wet, crumbly mess.  A tasty mess, no doubt, but not the sticky, formed popcorn balls we were hoping for.  (Again, I think it was the berries.  Try your recipe with a dried fruit instead.)  (Funny Mags!)  :)
For today's journal entry, I asked her, 'Who is your favorite Sesame Street character and why?'  She answered, 'Elmo, because he's red, my favorite color.'
Later, we set out to make the 'Chocolate-Drizzled Trail Mix' out of Family Fun magazine, October 2010, page 90, to take with us on our camping trip.  The recipe initially called for 3 cups nuts, 1/2 cup sunflower seeds, 1/2 cup coconut flakes, 1 cup raisins, and 1/2 cup dried cranberries or cherries, however, I despise coconut and forgot to pick up sunflower seeds, so we left those out and added an extra half a cup of dried cherries instead.  (We love dried cherries!)  Here is our mixture, a glorified version of plain old 'GORP' ('Good Old-fashioned Raisins and Peanuts').
 Spread your mixture out on a wax paper-covered baking sheet.
Then, the recipe instructs you to melt 1 cup chocolate chips in the microwave.  Sounds easy enough.  WRONG!  I went through two and a half bags of chips before I finally made the chocolate somewhat spreadable (never pourable like the recipe goes on to say), but if you can do it, wonderful.  The instructions read, 'Pour the chocolate over the baking sheet in ribbons.  Stir to coat everything.'  Well, we just passed the 'ribbons' part and coated it the only way we could ... shaking clumps of the stuff off the spoon and smearing.  Ugh.  I know the picture below looks quite unappetizing, but the beauty of it is ... I can close my eyes!  Mixed nuts, raisins, dried cherries, chocolate ... delicious!  Who said I had to look?!  If yours turns out beautifully, the recipe goes on to say, 'Let the chocolate cool, then break the mix into pieces ...'  (Later, ours broke beautifully and tasted scrumptious!)  

In addition to the above, today, we:
Daily (Calendar/Weather):
1.  We completed our calendar activities, putting today's date up on the calendar, and discussing the month, what day of the week it is, what season, and what kind of weather we're having.
Bible Study:
1.  We completed the daily devotion out of out God and Me book for today's date, 'Talking to God.'  Then, we read Psalm 42:8 together.
Sesame Street Day:
1.  We read Sesame Street: Big Bird's Nest by Susan Hood.
2.  We read Sesame Street: Hooper's Store by Susan Hood.
3.  We watched some of our Sesame Street: 40 Years of Sunny Days DVDs.
World Kindness Week:
1.  We completed page 8 of our Character Counts! Respect workbook, 'Following the Golden Rule,' which required her to decide whether or not the children in each picture are following The Golden Rule ('Treat others as you would like them to treat you.').
Camping Trip Prep:
1.  We read Toasting Marshmallows: Camping Poems by Kristine O‘Connell George.
2.  We read Camping by Nancy Hundal.
3.  We read the 'Rob the Raccoon' poem out of our Zany Zoo book by William Wise.
1.  We read Our Country's Holidays: Thanksgiving by Sheri Dean.
2.  We read Thanksgiving Turkeys by Patrick Merrick.
3.  We read Celebrating Thanksgiving by Shelly Nielsen.
4.  We read The Story of Thanksgiving by Robert Merrill Bartlett.
5.  We read The First Thanksgiving by Linda Hayward.
6.  We read The Know-Nothings Talk Turkey by Michele Sobel Spirn.

So, that wraps up our week except for the many activities I have planned while on our camping trip this weekend!  Check us out Monday for pictures of the same!


  1. The biggest trick to melting choc is to make sure the pan is completely dry, as is the thing you choose to stir with. If melting in the microwave make sure the bowl is stone dry and the stiring spoon is too.If a tiny weeny bit of water gets into choc it goes lumpy. Had plenty of that here over the years!

  2. Jessica, thanks for the tip! Wish you had been here Thursday! :) My mom also later suggested melting it in a glass bowl over a pot of boiling water. Maybe next time won't be such a hassle! I am not a cook. :)

  3. My mum told me when i was little, she used to make fancy choc at home.I make truffles at xmas but thats as far as it goes with me and choc, we most definatly do not get on in the kitchen!