Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Monster Mouths

Ah shucks, guys - thanks for all of the compliments. However, in my effort to strive for the "Mom of the Year" award with my kids, I admit I've really neglected reading and commenting to many of my blog-friends. I'll catch up, I promise!

Hollie, funny that you should mention the "Monster Mouths" as a classroom "food-craft". Last week, I offered to Brayden's teacher to do something Halloween-related, food-related - as a math time activity. (I'm really not sure what I was thinking-). So, last night, while I lay in bed, (still amped up), I decided to try the Monster Mouth activity with them - and discuss fractions (how to divide up the apples), measuring (how many ounces in a cup, etc.), and even the difference between an acute and obtuse angle in terms of how to place the apple slices to create the "monster lips". I had about a half hour, and while I won't say it was the most controlled lesson in the world, Brayden said I didn't embarass him at all which is always a plus. The benefit of Brayden having a teacher that is not quite a veteran at the school is that she is willing to let others step in, and seemed quite happy to let me be creative and get a little bit of that teaching urge out of my system. (And, as a sidenote, I can really tell that she's been seeking out ideas and trying hard as she's implemented some new classroom management techniques and the whole atmosphere in the room is much more positive).

Hollie, for your benefit - here's what I did-

I used one of those 8 slice chopper/corer tools to split 4 Gala apples into 8 pieces each - and then split each slice again (with a knife)- so each apple netted 16 slices. I brought all of the apples to school in a "bath" of water and some lemon juice so they didn't brown.

While I was at the school (as I didn't think they'd let me prepare the food ahead of time) - I combined one 8oz container of softened cream cheese, and one 7 oz jar of marshmallow cream with a hand mixer. I then added enough red food coloring to make the mixture pinkish-red. Another parent dispersed the mixture into cups (Dixie cups would work best, you only need about a teaspoon), and eventually each student was given a napkin, plastic knife (to spread), 2 apple slices, a toothpick, and the pink stuff in a cup. Finally, each child was given 5 marshmallows to use as teeth. The kids struggled a bit in figuring out how to position the apples with the toothpick, you just kind of have to look at the picture and figure it out (at least that's what I did). It works best if you position the apples first with the toothpick, and then add the pink stuff.

Outside of the greed for more marshmallows and sugar rush - it did all work out. Fortunately, they only had ten minutes left of school by the time we were done.

If there aren't any food allergy issues, peanut butter can be used instead (although, the color would be different) - and I've seen candy corn and slivered almonds also used as the teeth. I think marshmallows are the easiest and looked "friendliest" when the kids and I were playing around with the idea this last weekend.

So, there you go, certainly not my own creative idea, but I will take credit for using the cream cheese/marshmallow cream as filling and turning it red. (The recipe for the dip originally came from Jodi's mom....).

I'm not going to give Martha Stewart any run for her money, but my kids were impressed enough, and for sure, that's all that counts to me.

(P.S. - Let it be known, with all of these efforts towards festivity, the responsibility factor in this mom has WAY digressed. The guilt of being the "bad mom" was felt big-time when the orthodontist called a couple of minutes after our scheduled appointment time today wondering if Brayden was going to make it.... Oh, good one. And, regarding the kids' homework.... well, it's a good thing they are done as of 11:30 tomorrow with school for the rest of the week, because Mom's efforts at contributing to the education - not so hot either!)


Anonymous said...

We are such perfectionists....we drive ourselves so hard to get everything 'right' and then: (a) apologize when we do a great job so others won't resent us, or (b) flog ourselves when we slip up and use the mistakes to deduct points from our achievements. You may not think so, but in this post I saw a woman offsetting every positive comment with a critical one and I wished she would just gush about herself with total abandon for once!

Steph, you're a great mom and Proverbs 31 woman. I really look up to you: your strength, your honesty, your enthusiasm for life, your loyalty to those you care about, your commitment to your marriage, and much more. I think you should take a few minutes to be "especially fond" of yourself (a la The Shack). Have that cup of Russian Tea and just love on yourself.

Just felt like I should say that.

And you're beautiful too. I must admit I am often envious of your highlights which is not very Christian of me. :)


Anonymous said...

Your kids will never remember the homework or the orthodontist but will always remember the time you took to be with them! You deserve the mom of the year award!!

And I agree with Heather - you are beautiful and talented and you should definitely take some time to appreciate and love on yourself!!

StephieAnne said...

Heather, thank you so much for the kind words. It is hard when you are authoring a blog to not err too much in either direction. I want to highlight the great times God has blessed us with - and record the fun memories as close-to-truth as I can, but on the other hand, I don't ever want it to come across as "Hey, look at us and our perfectly awesome life!".

Truth be told, John and I were both very proud of the Halloween party achievements - it was a lot of work, but the responses by the kids showed us it was very worth it. However, it did really mess with me in terms of skewing my "big-picture" perspective - I forgot the appointment, skipped Bible Study in favor of a nap, and ignored the kids the day after. It's all a big balancing game!

Thank you for all of the amazing compliments - they really mean a lot to me. I have been thinking a lot about you too - and intend to respond soon.

Bonnie - thank you as well - what a huge blessing these "blog friendships" are to me....