Wednesday, January 10, 2007
January is Soup Month!
Are ya ready?
What better way to kick off soup month than by whipping up an excellent homemade soup. The niftiest thing about soup is it doesn't take much to make. If you are super adventurous you can make your own stock but if you aren't or don't have time, keep a few boxes of broth on hand or grab yourself a package of chicken, beef or vegetable cubes next time you are grocery shopping.I used to buy soup cookbooks left and right but found that my favorite soups were the ones where I would simply add whatever I had in the kitchen. Mr. A-Go-Go just made a soup like that last night and it is full of onion & potato goodness! Yum! So, pull out that pot, assess what you have and ask yer kidlets what they would want...have them help make the soup. What better way to get them involved? Starting at two years, your kids can help in the kitchen...or maybe the younger ones can sit at the table but you can have them cute soft produce with plastic utensils and they can wash, rinse & dry veggies also, in fact let them tell you what they want in the soup and cook up some warm savory goodness tonight!
While you're cooking yer fantabulous soup, pull out some fantabulous stories and have a read-around! There are soooo many fun soupy books out there that I made a list here for you to enjoy. Also, why not pull out some alphabet pasta and let the kidlets have a go at creating something personal. You can purchase dry alphabet pasta for less than a buck at most supermarkets. I find mine for .35 cents in the "International" food aisle. How dorky is that? Leave the pasta au natural if you like and the kids can glue away and paint to their hearts' content or you can dye up a batch yourself with the use of a few seal and lock baggies and some paint. Use what you have but if you are interested in the best paint in the world, check out the Liquid Watercolors from Discount School Supply! This paint is more awesome than awesome...and...it is non-toxic! Place 1/4 cup of pasta or rice in a baggie with a squirt of paint, seal. Shake up the bag and release the colored fun onto a cookie sheet prepped with wax paper. Spread to a single layer and let dry. Depending on how wet your paste/rice us this could take up to an hour to dry. Mine took 10 minutes! Young kids will have a blast shaking up their own pasta and you can of course turn this into a lesson of color mixing. Just remember, a little goes a long way, both with the paint AND the pasta. If using perfeclty edible food isn't your thing have the kids create collage art with other materials. You don't need a reason to make art!
Okee doke...yer making soup, yer making art, what next? Well, if your soup comes from a can, which is perfectly okay, why don't you make use of those cans? Wash them, sand that little sharp piece down and set out yer art supplies. Here's a list of ideas in case yer having a brain funk:
glue, glue stick, Yes! paste
construction paper, magazines, origami paper, tissue, fabric
markers, pens, crayons &/or paint
bits and baubles like felt, feathers, beads, pasta...etc.
Put your supplies out on a prepared surface (read, splat mat or newspaper) and let the kidlets go at. You can make pencil tins, art tins, toy containers...they can even turn their cans into creatures if you have all sorts of sizes. Don't limit this activity to soup cans...the possibilities are endless. My all time favorte tin can project was Stilts!
If your kids are older and of the eye rolling age or maybe you want to host a crafty tin can party, you can make beautiful tin can lanterns. For the lanterns you will need:
tin cans (not lined with plastic)
hammer and nails
a drill or two if ya like
pattern if you have one to use & tape
tealights, small votive candles
It is easiest to hammer through the cans if you have them full of ice, so fill em up with water and freeze the night before so they will be ready for the crafting. Use a sharpie to dot a design over the can or find and image/design you like and print to the size of the can, wrap around, and secure with tape. Place nail on top of marked dot and hammer until it pokes through the can. Continue until finished and voila, a pretty lantern. Don't forget to use tealights. You can leave your lantern like it is and place it on the ground or you can hammer two holes at the top, across from each other, thread with a piece of wire and loop the ends to lock into place and hang for a pretty effect. If my instructions are too jumbly, check out the link up there...
And, last but not least, soup goes on sale all the time so why not purchase a dozen cans or so and donate them to your local food bank or shelter. Get the kids involved here also because giving is a cool thing. Not sure what else to do? Make up a batch of homemade soup for an ailing neighbor. Soup freezes well and if you find yourself with too much soup, freeze it for later, you can always find a use for it for you or for others.