Don’t let the intriguing title of this post fool you. There’s nothing thrilling about the content. Just a craft idea and a recipe for some delicious guacamole.
If you’re a somewhat regular reader of my blog, you’ve probably gathered that I am not nearly as artsy as
virtually every other mom a lot of moms out there. (And clearly, my photography skills are lacking. My husband bought this fancy schmancy camera, but I haven’t quite figured it out yet. Bear with me, please.)
It’s not only my artistic inability that causes me to balk at complicated art projects, but the fact that we’re living in a tight townhouse. There is no craft room. There is no dining room or basement. Our school room/creative space/dining area is a small breakfast nook, which, regrettably, is placed over carpet. We do have a single garage, but it is currently overflowing with boxes, garbage bags of stuff, and bikes, so there’s no longer any room to splatter paint there.
However, I don’t want to let our carpeted art “studio” or my lack of artsy genes to keep us from using our hands to create. Children are tactile. They long to touch and feel and make their hands busy. It’s my job to find safe, nurturing creative outlets that allow them to use their hands. So I’m always trying to come up with simple crafts like these birds. They’re not actually supposed to be chickens (I’m not that bad at making art!). I’m just a big dork and liked the “spring chicken” name.
The genesis for these little guys came from a craft kit for creating paper birds from a craft kit in an old Oriental Trading catalog. I drew one bird pattern and then let my five-year-old (whose top two favorite pastimes include doing art projects like these and avoiding sleep at all costs) trace and cut more out. She also cut out wings of various shapes and colors. My two-year-old, who recently cut her long, lovely locks sending me into despair (oh, how I loved braiding her silky strands!), has been banned from using scissors indefinitely (probably more like two days or so). Thus, we cut the shapes for her and then let her glue them together. The birds’ legs were ribbons with buttons on the end.
If you’re interested in making these easy, simple “spring chickens,” here’s the supply list:
- Scrapbook paper or construction paper
- Googly eyes
- Gemstones, stickers, etc. to use as embellishments for the birdies
- Yarn (or extra ribbon) to use to hang the birds
Now arts and crafts may not be my thing, but I’m in my element in the kitchen. Since marrying I’ve grown to love experimenting with recipes, reading cookbooks, and inviting my children to create perennially delicious dishes alongside of me. Just recently I gave up trying to keep my older girls occupied with an educational DVD in an effort to avoid mealtime mayhem and have instead started to asking my sous chefs to make dinner with me. I invite you to do the same. Things won’t be perfect (they never are), but you and your kids will have fun, and they really do take pride in preparing meals and are more apt to eat what they’ve helped to make.
In addition, I find that our children are more capable than we realize. Even my two-year-old can be kept busy with tasks like washing veggies (do be careful your toddler doesn’t try to imitate older siblings; dear Rae suffered a minor burn yesterday after trying to toss some spinach into a dish with hot oil and garlic). Madeline, who’s five, cuts with plastic knives. She can crack eggs and stir and season dishes. And both girls are great taste-testers. :-)
In honor of Cinco de Mayo tomorrow, we’ll be making a family favorite: Our signature guacamole. This is one of those recipes that has a little of this and a little of that, so I don’t have an exact recipe. I’ve shared a rough draft of what we do, but any recipe for guacamole is great for kids because you basically just pile the ingredients together and then mash and mix it.
Here’s what we put in our guac:
Juice of one lime (traditional, Mexican guacamole uses lemons, but my taste testers prefer lime juice in their guac)
One garlic clove, crushed
About 2 tablespoons of Greek yogurt (This makes the guac creamy and adds a subtle tanginess)
Soy sauce to taste
Cumin powder to taste
Crushed red pepper flakes (Be careful: this really adds a kick to the guac. My girls don’t mind food a bit on the hot side, but leave this out if you have picky eaters in your midst.)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 a tomato, chopped
I’d love to add a little cilantro, but my husband can’t stand the stuff. If I make the guac just for adults, I will add some chopped serrano or jalapeño peppers.
Mix all the ingredients together (the girls use a potato masher like this one), but be sure that it doesn’t turn into soup. Guacamole should be chunky, not all mushy. Yummy!
Okay, this ranks as one of the most random posts I’ve ever written. Can you tell I’m living in the La La Land of colds and congestion? Perhaps some more cerebral thoughts later this week, but don’t count on it.