13 August 2010

word families

it was one of those things i picked up at a yard sale, thinking "i have an idea for something i could make with this." then, it sat around for months, collecting dust. when cosmo pulled it out tonight, and started making up secret words for us to guess, i decided it was time to implement my plan.

it was designed to be a picture frame, with 3 cubes that spin, with 4 places on each cube for photos. it took me all of 30 minutes to select some letters, print them big on card stock, cut them to size, and slide them in their slots. voila! now, we have the best ever word family toy.

cosmo is familiar with the notion of word families from a song on one of our 1970s sesame street records (yes, we have more than one. yes, they get plenty of air play in our house.) so, with the fridge magnets, for instance, he will spell out P-E-T, W-E-T and J-E-T.

with this contraption, there are limitations (only 4 letters on each cube, only 3 cubes) but there is also a built-in structure (vowels in the center, consonants at the beginning and end), increasing the chances of forming actual words. i made extra letter cards, so we can switch it out from time to time.

it is tons of fun to play with-- cosmo likes to spin the cubes and see what word is randomly generated. sometimes you get a non-word, like DIT, but most of the time, it is a recognizable word. and in either case, it's a chance to talk about what is a known, english word, and what isn't. slang counts, as in the case of BOD.

DIY counts, too. obviously.

09 August 2010

seeing red

i'm drowning in a sea of red over here, people. seriously. i may need an intervention.

even my nikki mclure calendar is mocking me (again).

we've got heirlooms, and canners, and romas and two kinds of cherries.
we have canned whole tomatoes, salsa, ketchup and catsup.

we have dried cherry tomatoes, and made them into sauce, and tomato paste. we have fresh ones every night with dinner, and the vines are still loaded out there.

these are all plants that i started from seed, and planted in that layered, sheet mulched bed i made last fall. my goal was to grow enough of our own tomatoes to can them, rather than buying a box at the farmer's market. next year, i think i will scale it back a bit.