Thursday, 29 May 2014

What Sprout Asked For on the Shopping

A common remark in response to the radical unschooling idea of children not having their choices restricted in the things that they eat, is something on the lines of, "Oh they'll just eat sweets all the time." A close relative of ours is convinced that children will choose food based on the sugar content. If they choose yoghurt, it's because there's sugar in it. Sweets? Sugar. Chocolate? Sugar. Cereal? Sugar. Fruit? Sugar. 
Anyway. I know a number of things from watching the food choices my children do make over time.
1. They absolutely do listen to their bodies.
2. They might have long periods of time where they want one particular thing or type of thing, but this does change and as such is based on themselves and not some type of control by whichever foodstuff it is.
3. If there are always sweets available, there will always be sweets available. And by that I mean children will leave sweets uneaten. *gasp*
4. Food boogeymen have no power. You can read all over the place that any number of food ingredients are so completely terrible and addictive that children aren't physically capable of not eating them if they're available, but... *coughbullcrapcough*

So, in the spirit of documenting that if children get actual choice in the things (and amounts of things) that they eat they will indeed choose things that aren't Doritos or McDonalds or Skittles (although all those things are good too!), I'm going to start doing an occasional brief post with what Sprout has asked for on the grocery shopping order. (Squidge and Moppet currently are mostly happy with whatever we get in, including the usual sort of things they eat plus the odd thing they ask for. Sprout is now more specific about the things he thinks about and asks for, so his asks are more relevant for this type of post at the moment.)

So this week on Sprout's shopping list we have:

Plain cod fillets
Strawberry and banana smoothies

Nom nom :)

International Sweets/Candy Mission: Majorca

Ok ok I know it's a province and not a country, but beggars can't be choosers :)

The kids' grandparents came back from Majorca this weekend and brought this addition to their around the world sweets mission...

And inside we have these little guys...

Of the three of them only Moppet would try them, the boys said no because they had legs :s

Did you like it?
Wasn't it tasty?
What did you think of it?

So there you go, Moppet's verdict on the Trolli Octopus of Majorca :)

International Sweets/Candy Mission: Cyprus

Our previous Icelandic chocolate benefactor brought us some Cypriot Turkish Delight!

Unfortunately the kids' previous encounter with the Turkish version seems to have put them off...

Sprout: "I'll smell it but I'm not eating it."

Squidge: "Noooo. You eat it."

Moppet: "No. Hewwo! HEWWO!" (Not up for eating it but always friendly!)

So I did my sweet-testing duty ;) It wasn't bad actually, and I don't like Turkish delight! The vanilla flavour was a definite improvement :)

Up on the map it goes...

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Mr Men Cookbook: Week 16 Mr Strong's Egg Flip

This week in Squidge's mission to cook every recipe from the Mr Men Cookbook, we made Mr Strong's Egg Flip. We altered the method slightly so that the eggs were heated through, so here goes...

To a small saucepan we added about 60ml of milk, an egg, a splash of vanilla essence, and a couple of teaspoons of sugar. 

Squidge whisked it all up with a fork, then we heated it slowly, stirring all the time.
While that was heating through, we poured about half a small glass of cold milk. Once the mixture in the pan was hot enough for the eggs to be safe, we poured it through a sieve into the cup of cold milk, and stirred it all together before refrigerating it for an hour or so.
Squidge's verdict? Tastes good with a Haribo Joystixx apparently :)

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Funny Faces and Far Away Places

Squidge has been playing a game that I've had sitting around for a while, it's called Brain Box. This version is a geography one where each card has some pictures of some aspects of a country (animals, lakes, the flag, bordering seas etc) and you try and remember them and answer the questions. He really likes the unusual names of things :)

We downloaded an app called Morfo, and can I just say: Terrifying. That is all. Sprout pointed out that it made them look like Sims, but you can then make the resulting avatar talk and/or dance in an amusing/spine chilling manner O.O

Squidge played for a bit with the Animal Face app too :)

On the way out one day Sprout found a yellow poppy growing in front of our step, and investigated it for a while. He was fascinated that when he pushed all the petals together it looked orange, then when you released them it looked yellow again.

We spent a really nice couple of hours at the park with friends, where there was much squealing and laughing throughout a game of hide and seek :) Moppet declared herself captain of this ship...

...they flew aeroplanes...

...and Sprout climbed up high to see if he could get his to go further.

Back at home we planted some more of our veg seedlings out and put canes in for the peas.

After an afternoon at a friend's house one day, Gruff and the kids built Squidge's castle in his room...

...and Moppet came grocery shopping with me, which meant car rides too :)

Oh, and ice cream :)

Our consistent provision of peanuts finally tempted our little squirrel to the window, to much excitement (the kids) and annoyed tail flicking through the window (the cat). They've had such a good look at him that Sprout's been able to see his claws in detail and suggest that his long fingers developed for climbing trees, and there's been a certain amount of discussion on the lil guy's gender (male, we're pretty sure).

Sprout has made a start on the Lego Movie game, and we've played a bit of it together. It seems much harder to get the 'Special' achievement on it than it did to get the equivalent 'True Believer' on the Lego Marvel Superheroes game!

Moppet, Squidge and I went to the Wacky Warehouse for a couple of hours while Sprout played some Lego Batman on the PS3...

...and once the younger two were asleep later Sprout and I watched some Walking with Dinosaurs: Sea Monsters. He remarked how cool it would be to travel back in time and actually see them, but was glad there are no Megalodons about today as he reckons there would be nothing else left in the sea :)

We went on a trip to Blithfield Reservoir with friends, where we crossed the dam...

...walked over the overflow (*erk, deep!*)...

...and fed the rainbow trout. It got Sprout thinking some more on the way home about fish and the food chain, and was wondering about what small tropical fish on reefs eat, and whether they are all herbivores or whether some small fish are carnivorous too. This led to comparisons with small land-dwelling herbivores, and a conversation about seaweed, then sushi. 

Back at home Moppet slept off her big walk while the boys teamed up on Lego Batman again, and very sweetly made me a coffee. 

Their friend came round to play later and they all played Little Big Planet 2 together, including multiple rounds of Mortal Kombat Gummi Bears :) They moved back onto Lego Batman later and we were looking up codes to unlock different features like super villain vehicles and bat suits.

When we were bowling last week Squidge saw a big sharing platter advertised and wanted to cook one himself, so Gruff gave him a hand and this is what they came up with:

We had a bit of a dabble with molecular gastronomy, attempting to use methyl cellulose to make hot ice cream, and sodium alginate and calcium lactate to make chocolate spheres. Neither worked this first time so we're going to check what we can tweak and try again :)

Sprout wanted to make his own pizza so instead of making dough I suggested using muffins, so he made this himself. Funny face all his too :)

Gruff and Squidge had a really nice chilled evening together playing games and watching films.

Sprout had said after Lucy Hawking's talk, that he'd like some black paper and chalks to design 'some future stuff', so I got him some black paper and pastels and he designed this 'future skyscraper'...

...and this, which is 'just a little guy with a future symbol on his top' :)

I went with him to his Kids Can Do It class instead of Gruff for a change, and he wanted his photo taking 'in the jungle' :)

He made another wheelbarrow planter, and went and bought some plants for them both as we hadn't got round to planting in the other either yet.
On the way home we went for a drink and looked at his new Focus magazine and read about a really unpleasant looking permanent meal substitute, gut bacteria, the bones of the ear, and electron microscopy. He was also telling me about his idea for a videogame involving different bacteria, and also about the currency system he's implemented on his server and how much each item is worth. 
When we got home we started planting his new herbs and flowers and some more veg seedlings, but got surprised by a sudden downpour so we took a break and he looked into the next Amnesia game that he wants to get, then we went out and finished off and he planted a flower at his guinea pig's grave too.

He also decoded a message off his happy meal...

...and asked me for some paper and a pen to work out some details of his currency system, as one emerald was worth two thousand in money and he needed to know how much money different numbers of emeralds would be worth. The maths requirements of real life  that prove it doesn't need to be separated out and taught as a discrete and abstract entity :)

He and I also had a film night once everyone else was asleep, we made popcorn and watched Tron Legacy...

...and he's been playing some more Blocksworld too.

We also did a bit of face painting, baking, dancing, singing, chatting, gaming, cuddling, tv and video watching, mud stomping, painting, and sleeping :) It's been a good week.