Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Loving my Daughter

Katie and I awoke looking forward to our art class! I wish that the art class continued through the summer like our music class does, but I know we'll find plenty of ways to supplement her art education at home with special projects. When we arrived to class, Katie greeted the teacher and the class mascot, Splat. Katie loves loves loves Splat.

Katie says hello to Splat. Dogs are Katie's favorite animal, and she says that she wants to have lots of them when she grows up. We look at different breeds in magazines, and Katie always assesses how the dog is feeling and what he or she might be thinking. I think she has the beautiful Aunt Jenny animal-empathy gene, especially since doggies seem to like Katie in return. She has a really sensitive heart toward animals and doesn't like pictures of animals that seem sad. We learned early on to watch out for that Sarah McLachlan animal shelter ad on TV, because if Katie sees it, she immediately starts to cry.

Katie enjoys helping during "Circle Time" in her art class. The teacher always demonstrates the project for the students so that they know what to do. She will ask for volunteers to help demo different parts, and Katie is always eager to help. I love that she feels empowered to do this, confident in herself and excited to be part of the lesson.

Katie paints red on Miss Clarissa's demo project.

Here is a picture of Katie working on her own project (we made pizzas today). I try to help her as little as possible, except for verbal direction, unless the skill is too technical for her dexterity (like opening the glue). My philosophy is that her art projects are hers---and that they should reflect her 2-year-old abilities.
When we got home, we started prepping for dinner. We made a simple syrup from fresh strawberries for a "colorful cow." We saw them together in the Martha Stewart magazine, and they are drinks based on the old-school "brown cow." We use the simple syrup, add two scoops of vanilla ice cream, and some selzer water. We're going to try Haagen Dazs "5" tonight: ice cream made with just five pure ingredients and nothing else. Katie is excited, and so am I!
It was also the right time to make Uncle Eric's favorite meal, an old family recipe. We made a homemade mac and cheese and on the side, hotdogs covered with onions, brown sugar, and tomato sauce. It is simple comfort food, totally delicious. I haven't made it too much since his death because it makes me sad a little, but it is right to bring it back and pass it on to Katie. We set up his picture on the counter while we worked. Katie laid the sliced hotdogs out in the pan, and she arranged the sliced onions and poured on the tomato soup and sprinkled the brown sugar. For the macaroni, she buttered it, salted it, added the cheeses, etc. Basically, all I do is use the knife and give verbal directions and she does much of our actual cooking. I also do anything on the stove.
I still need to roast some beets to go on the side. Katie chose beets for this dinner (I love beets)! She rightly observed that the leaves look similar to that of swiss chard. I am not looking forward to cutting the beets, so I have put it off today! But Katie is napping (late today) and I guess I will prep the beets after I finish this entry.
After our dinner prep, we decided to work on an Earth Week project outside.

We used food coloring to make some blue water and green water. Katie used the dropper to drip water all over one of my coffee filters. She LOVED this. Because this was my first time facilitating this lesson, I would definitely make the colors deeper next time.

After we covered the filter with the coloring, we let it dry a bit, then glued it to a black "universe." We used glue to make stars (she wanted white glitter stars and blue glitter stars) and we wrote "Earth Week 2010" in glitter at the bottom. We love the way it turned out, but I also think I would maybe use a different glue next time.
I am still trying to think of additional Earth Week/Day projects for this week. Any ideas?