Pasta Shape Up

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Believe it or not, I’m 35 and this was my first attempt at homemade pasta. Because we don’t have a pasta machine, I knew we weren’t going to have a perfect batch, but Travis has adored playing with food and recipes in the kitchen lately, so we cooked up some fun!

First, scoop 2 cups flour into a bowl. We used whole wheat flour, but you can use semolina or regular white flour. Add 1/2 cup warm water, stirring to form a dough – we needed to add a bit more water before our dough was the right consistency.

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To my delight, Travis didn’t hesitate before getting his hands right in there. He loved kneading the dough!

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This was definitely his favorite part of the whole process, carefully working one portion of the dough while I demonstrated kneading techniques for him.

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We set the dough aside to rest for a few minutes (ideally you’ll want about 20 minutes, but that was long for this preschooler), then rolled the dough out as thinly as we could.

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For shaping fun, first we tried bow ties. Cut a 1×2-inch rectangle, and pinch in the center. You can also make tubes by rolling rectangles around a straw.

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More so than shaping, though, Travis just loved playing with the dough. He tried a few raw bites (which he declared yummy!) and pretended he was drinking pasta “juice.” What an imp!

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If you really do intend to eat your pasta, cook it in boiling water for 3 to 4 minutes, and serve with your favorite sauce.

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Phoneme Week 12: Soft G


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Folks, I’ll admit it: this is the last phoneme we’re going to focus on. Travis understands phonemes solidly by now, and we simply don’t have time to concentrate so hard on one letter pair for a week or more. Instead, we’re going to delve into Usborne’s Starting to Read Pack, which will string together the knowledge Travis has gained on our phoneme journey.

So without much ado, here is a brief rundown of what we did for the soft g sound. As with soft c, we focused just on this specific letter sound, not a letter pair.

Words of the Week:

  • Giant: We started off with a read of Jack and the Beanstalk. Although “giant” isn’t in the title, Travis helped read the word every time it appeared in the text. Next we traced ourselves into giants! Phoneme G (1)Lie down flat on a piece of butcher paper or craft paper and trace your outlines. Phoneme G (2)We made one mommy and one Travis. Then we filled in our clothes and expressions – I was so proud of the face Travis drew on by himself. Our giants hung on the wall for the next couple of weeks. Fee fi fo fum!Phoneme G (5)We also made objects look giant with forced perspective photos; played with a giant alphabet mat; made giant Olympic medals; and used our bodies as giant playing pieces in a life-sized board game.Perspective Photo (2)
  • Gentle: Okay, this was a bit of a stretch, but I emphasized the word gentle while we were pulling gently on our moving dollar trick. We then also talked about other times you need to be gentle, and Travis helped make a great list: petting the cat, rubbing someone else’s arm or cheek, etc.Moving Dollar (2)
  • Gem: We made gem-studded felt crowns and then needed something to do with all the leftover gems! For creative upcycling, we saved the caps from gallons of almond milk, then used tacky glue to adhere the sparkly gems and make milk cap rings. Milk Cap Rings (1)Mommy even tried the rings on for size!Milk Cap Rings (6)
  • Geography: Our Usborne encyclopedia offers a great early lesson on geography. Travis loves hearing the names of different countries and continents.Phoneme G (7)
  • Genius: We covered this word in two books. First up: Big Words for Little Geniuses by Susan and James Patterson. Although not in the title, Travis also helped spot the word genius in a book about Albert Einstein.Phoneme G (6)
  • Germs: We recycled a fantastic old game that never grows old, and provides a visual of how quickly germs spread. Simply sprinkle your child’s hand with glitter. Phoneme G (8)Then shake hands and – oh no! – now mommy or daddy has germs too. This game is sure to elicit giggles, as well as teaching a good lesson.Phoneme G (9)
  • Ginger: First, we got out our cookie cutters to trace, placing emphasis on the gingerbread man shape. (This is – by the way – a fantastic, two-ingredient activity for any time: Set out a basket of cookie cutters and let your little one trace them, then decorate with faces or any other way they’d like). Cookie Cutter Trace (1)For our purposes, we focused on Mr. Gingerbread. Travis tried tracing, and I also made an outline for him to fill in. Cookie Cutter Trace (2)Then we had fun with our sense of smell adding ginger to oatmeal for breakfast!Phoneme G (11) We also read Gingerbread Christmas by Jan Brett.
  • Gelatin: We don’t use the real thing in this household of course, but vegan gel desserts were great for games. First we made homemade stickers. Next up: surprise juice cups and fun with homemade marshmallows, both made possible thanks to “gelatin.”Surprise Juice (4)