Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Family, Fun, Food, and... Fonics

Okay so I am pushing it with the title but I'm a sucker for alliteration, even at the expense of proper spelling. I posted a project idea a while back in which I am going through the letters of the alphabet with Aedan. We basically look for things around the house that begins with the given letter and slap it on a piece of paper in the shape of the letter it represents. Well, here is a progress report:

Here we have almonds, beans, Cheerios/cereal, duct tape, Easter eggs (double e double points!), feathers, grass, hand prints (we have too many of these in the house), and ink (stamped on). I have found that the food items are a little more fun because we snack and craft at the same time. He loves making these crafts and they are very quick which is just right for his attention span. I have some tricky letters on the horizon though so we will keep you posted... I will move these to his room to make a border on the wall near the ceiling until they either fall apart or gross me out.

Here are some more recent efforts to fill his cranium:

I just purchased a Melissa and Doug Magnetic Chalkboard/Dry Erase Board at a local bookstore and it comes complete with some wooden alphabet and number magnets. I'm not sure who is more excited about this, him or me. I've wanted a little board to be able to do some story telling pieces with so this should be fun. I might actually wait to give it to him on his birthday so, shh, don't tell him!

I was inspired by a suggestion found in the December Family Fun magazine however I'm sure I'm not the first to do this. We had alphabet pancakes today with, you guessed it, mangoes and strawberry fruit "confetti". Even though Neal wasn't there to partake, we felt we should make one for him too because we miss him.

I am a pancake person and Neal is a waffle person. Aedan prefers not to take sides on the issue. My mother-in-law makes a fabulous whole wheat blender pancake/waffle but seeing as I am currently blenderless I turn to The Pancake Handbook for inspiration. I thought these turned out rather well and yummy AND healthy to boot (but with lots of butter...). This is also among my many attempts to use wheat in my cooking (gotta love those big buckets of wheat that we so ambitiously snagged for our food storage) so I might as well share the recipe if you are in the same boat.

Oatmeal Pancakes
(originally oatmeal-raisin but we don't do raisins in pancake)
from The Pancake Handbook, Specialties from Bette's Oceanview Diner, Second Edition
about 16 (4-inch) pancakes or at least the entire alphabet plus some random numbers
serves 4

1 1/2 cups all-purpose or whole-wheat flour (can do a mixture)
1/2 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup chopped walnuts* (optional but highly recommended)

In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients (except nuts). In a separate bowl, lightly beat the eggs, milk, and butter. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients all at once, stirring just to blend. Fold in the walnuts. The batter should be slightly lumpy. Let the batter rest for 5 to 10 minutes.

Heat a lightly oiled griddle or heavy skillet over medium high heat. Portion 1/4-cup measures of batter onto the hot griddle, spacing them apart - if doing letters, use a spoon to "write" the letters with batter on the skillet. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until bubbles cover the surface of the pancakes, and their undersides are lightly browned. Gently turn them over and cook for about 2 minutes more, until the other sides are browned.

Serve with real maple syrup, apple butter, or fruit spread. Garnish with small pieces of mango and strawberries (opt.)

*A tip with the nuts, if your kid is picky and wouldn't go for big chunks of nuts, I recommend chopping them a bit finer in a food processor. That way you still get the lovely taste the nuts lend but without the extra crunch. I, for one, am in favor of the crunch.

Thanks to Kristy, I now have this picture curtesy of an Einstein chalkboard generator


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