So says Sarah…

Lemon egg prints

Posted in Art Activities for Kids by Sarah Lipoff on 03/23/2013

lemon eggs art

We haven’t really gotten into the whole Easter thing. Our little one isn’t begging for candy-filled baskets or mentioned the Easter bunny yet, so we’re kind of going with it. But I did have a bit of inspiration for an egg-ish art activity using my daughter’s new favorite thing — lemons. After making those tuna cakes, she’s been begging for slices of lemon to nibble on.

This is a simple project that introduces kids to pastels and ovals while creating lemon egg shapes, perfect for decorating during the Easter season. Instead of cutting the lemon in half through the middle, cut lengthwise and then trim to create an oval shape.

lemon eggs

Fold a sheet of paper towel in half, and then in half again, and select a few bright colors of tempera paint with your child for the activity. Squeeze a few big dabs of each color on the paper towel along with a big blob of white paint. Older kids can use a paintbrush to coat the lemon sides with paint while younger tots can simple press the lemon into the paint. While your child is painting, you can chat about all the different things that are oval, like eggs, lemons, footballs…

lemon eggs2

Now your child can press the lemon egg on her paper and see what it looks like. For the next coat, encourage your child to paint or press the lemon with white paint to see how it changes its color.

lemon egg4

Keep painting and printing until you’ve got a paper full of pastel colored egg shapes. Once dry, find the perfect spot to display the finished creation.

lemon egg5

And we couldn’t resist a few slices of fresh (unpainted) lemon slices once we were all done with our artwork.
lemon egg6

 

Mango lemon marmalade

Posted in About Food by Sarah Lipoff on 06/07/2011

© Sarah Lipoff 2011

The other day we went out for breakfast and the child just about devoured an itty-bitty jelly container of lemon marmalade. I sat watching in amazement as she licked the little plastic thing clean. I mean, I know she likes lemons. It started awhile ago when we did some lemon prints and she spent more time sucking on the lemon than stamping with it.

So when we arrived home I figured we should make some marmalade, but we only had a couple of those yellow things hanging about. I did, on the other hand, have a ton of mangos! I had picked some up because they were super on sale at the store thinking the wee tot was going to LOVE them – and she didn’t.

Why not combine the lemon with the mango for our own marmalade combination?

I also couldn’t stop singing Lady Marmalade. I know you want to, too. Go ahead, take a time out and watch…

When I went searching for marmalade recipes, I came across stuff with lots of steps. I really didn’t feel like putting that much effort into it – I just wanted to use those mangos and also make something the wee tot would like. So, I created my own combination and cooking method that worked out just fine for me, and passed the food tyrant test! This mango lemon marmalade hasn’t touched the floor!

Ingredients

2 lemons sliced thin and pitted

4 cups diced mango (about 5-6 mangos)

2 cups sugar

3 cups water

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon salt

Dash of cinnamon

What to do

I made the process super simple by slicing the lemons thin, removing any seeds, and then cutting them into triangles. Then I cut up the mangos and added them to the pot, too.

Once everyone’s in the pot, I added the rest of the ingredients and then started the pot-a-simmering. I’m not so big on sweet stuff in the morning, so I used less sugar than some might suggest. But, the mango adds a nice sweetness, and the lemon offers that perfect tang and bitterness to the party.

Now, some might tell you to boil until things get to 220 degrees Fahrenheit, but, if you don’t have a candy thermometer, you won’t know when you’ve gotten there. So, here’s the deal, simmer the stuff for about an hour, giving the mixture a stir every once in a while.

After about an hour, take a closer look at your pot. The mangos will have broken up and the lemons should be transparent and falling apart, too. I got out my potato masher and helped break up some of the big chunks hanging about.

I let my marmalade simmer for another 20-minutes or so because I wanted it to be really thick, but you can take it off the heat whenever you are ready.

Now carefully ladle the stuff into sealable jars and cap. Let them come to room temperature before keeping in the fridge. These are safe to keep in the fridge for 4-5 months or so, but you’ll probably eat it all before then!

I ran out of jars while making this batch, so put some in small cups and containers, perfect for a morning serving on an english muffin!

© Sarah Lipoff 2011

 

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Lemon printmaking for kids

Posted in About Food, Art Activities for Kids, Life with Child by Sarah Lipoff on 07/01/2010

© Sarah Lipoff 2010

While baking some lemon muffins for a play date, my daughter wasn’t excited about not being the center of attention. She was clinging to my skirt, making moving about while baking my muffins almost impossible. I tried prying her away with the enticement of food, but she wasn’t having it. I needed to think of a different way to distract her.

I strapped her into the high chair and taped a paper onto the tray. Because I was using lemons for the muffins, I figured she could use one, too. With the help of a small amount of yellow watercolor paint, she could create a fun lemon printmaking artwork, which would keep her busy and also taste good!

I cut one in half and painted the exposed lemon with a small amount of yellow watercolor paint. Before handing over the lemon, I tapped it a couple of times on her paper showing how prints could be made from the flat side of the lemon. She was intrigued and continued tapping the lemon on her paper. After a bit, I wasn’t hearing a steady tap, tap, tap. Sure enough, my daughter had decided to take a time-out to taste test her new art material. Her face was a bit twisted up at the tartness, but she didn’t seem to mind. She spent even amounts of time sucking at the lemon and then slamming it onto her paper.

Before handing a lemon over to your wee tot to enjoy making lemon prints, remove as many seeds within sight of the cut lemon. This is supposed to be a fun art activity, not an opportunity to do the Heimlich maneuver. Re-apply yellow watercolor paint as often as you like to the cut lemon. Watercolor paints aren’t going to hurt your little one, and using something tasty as their art-making medium (the lemon) is a fun way for young kids to explore making art.

Don’t have any lemons in the house?  Half an apple, orange, or lime work great, also! The finished prints can be used for cutting practice, glued to the front of a recipe card for a recipe using lemons (like lemon muffins!), or simply enjoyed taped to the family fridge.

Summer outdoor art activities

Posted in Art Activities for Kids by Sarah Lipoff on 05/20/2011

© Sarah Lipoff 2011

With the weather finally seeming like spring (what was up with that rain last week?!), summer is right around the corner. I am dedicating myself to spending more time outdoors and using the grill this summer. You see, the wonderful grill was out on our newly renovated spa deck, which was great and all, until it was time to grill. The deck is right off our bedroom located down the stairs and around the corner from our upstairs kitchen. Who wants to trek raw meat through the house? Not I! So, last summer that grill sat in the corner of the spa deck collecting wasps.

Really.

After we re-did the deck, the grill ended up in a much better location, and I was ready to entertain again! When having guests over, I like to keep things light, simple, and super easy. This way I can keep one hand free for eating and the other for helping out the wee tot if she needs assistance. I found some fantastic ideas for eating nice and light from my friends over at Ladies’ Home Journal, which enticed my taste buds (and made me suck in my gut), sending me in the kitchen to marinade, get out the shish-kabobs, and heat up that grill.

But, what to do with all the kiddos when the adults are ready to kick back and maybe add something stronger than sparkling water in their fresh fruit drinks?

Outside art!

I figured I could have a couple of great go-to activities ready for when the kids got bored with shuffling about from adult to adult. They could enjoy some basic and engaging art activities that didn’t require lots of attention!

Herb painting

Head over to the herb garden and harvest some of that extra tall rosemary or basil that’s flowered. They can quickly be turned into fun and wonderfully scented paintbrushes that can be dipped and swirled in paint and then tapped, tapped, tapped on white paper! Older kids can take things a bit further with the help of paintbrushes and create prints. Encourage kids to paint over the herbs with brushes, press onto paper, and then lift revealing a cool print! Use washable paint to ensure if things get a bit out of hand, no one goes home grumbling about stained clothing…

Colorful bubbles

Turn individual bubble containers into exciting art implements!  It’s as simple as adding a few drops of food coloring to bubble containers, giving them a quick shake to disperse the color, and then marking the outside of the containers with a marker to show the kiddies which color of bubbles they are using. Tape large sheets of easel paper to a fence or the side of the house and let kids blow colored bubbles and watch what happens when they pop on the paper. This is a fun project everyone will totally enjoy – even the adults!

Fruit and veggie prints

Slicing and dicing for fruit salad or kabobs? Save a few for a surprising art project! Slice apples, lemons, oranges, zucchini, or mushrooms in half and place on paper plates. Cover a picnic table with a large sheets of easel paper and place the fruits and veggies on the table alongside a few paper plates with a squeeze or two of washable paint and invite the kids to gently press the items (cut side down) in the paint and then onto the paper. They can experiment with making patterns and seeing which fruit or vegetable makes the most interesting shape!

Have fun!