Baking with Kids – It’s Bread-fast Time!

It’s a great time to get back to the basics. And lack of time doesn’t seem to be an excuse for anyone.

Back when I had but one Rugrat I’d make up loaves of fresh baked white bread. The recipe always gave me two loaves and by the time Ken got home, Rugrat#1 and I would have eaten the whole first loaf with nothing but butter. We never even made it to the table. We’d just stand or sit in the kitchen eating away.

With 3 Rugrats the home baking just doesn’t happen as much. It happens just about never. Until today.

Today’s not-homeschooling class included a lesson in baking potions. We took a table of ingredients, mixed them up, and waited to see what happened.

Grab Your Bags

I found a recipe for bread in a bag. I figured this would make the kneading process easier.

We measured out the ingredients at the table. We needed one cup of flour, so we picked out the one cup measuring scoop. Then we talked about how else we could make a cup.

Rugrat #1, who was struggling with fractions before the break, quickly caught on to what I was attempting. He demanded I stop teaching fractions. Rugrat #2 surprised me with his understanding and grasp of fractions. Rugrat #3 randomly selected spoons and cups as the answer.

Rugrat#1 hates stuff on his hands, but he had no problem adding potion ingredients to the bag and kneading the contents while they were sealed safely inside the bag.

 

kneading bread dough in a bag

 

Knead That Dough

After it sat for the ten minutes, we added the rest of the ingredients, kneaded it some more, and then tipped it out onto our table. Rugrat #2 and Rugrat #3 enjoyed this part. We had Rugrat #1 set the timer as he wanted no part of it.

kneading bread dough on a table

Then we put the bread into our pan and waited.

bread dough in the bread pan waiting for baking

Bake It Off

Once enough time had passed, we popped the loaf in the oven and waited for our potion to cook. The kids checked the oven a couple of times, ensuring not to open the door.

freshly baked bread

The recipe I used suggested 2 mini loaves, but said one loaf was fine. I don’t know if it’s my oven, which we are still getting used to after a harrowing Thanksgiving where it spat pieces of molten metal at us, the fact it should have been two mini loaves, or something else entirely, but it was not ready at the suggested time.

I think we baked our loaf for about 40 minutes total.

Eat, Eat, Eat

It’s bread-fast time! exclaimed Rugrat#2

Rugrat#3 insisted on having some left over whipping cream on her bread. Rugrat#1 went with peanut butter, a favourite of his, and Rugrat#2 figured just plain was the way to go.

Despite a few hiccups, this was a success!

whipping cream on freshly baked bread

 

Exploring the College

This whole not homeschooling thing is going okay. Of course it is day two, so time will tell.

We made dice bags this morning. And we used them this afternoon as our Rugrats started their first gaming session in our new campaign.

For those of you who are curious, we are using 5e Dungeons & Dragons to run this campaign.   

Tour the School

We used maps from The Fall of Mith: Mithos Manor as the basis for the school. These maps worked great for our purpose, but you could make your own, or use other ones you already have.

We printed them out and put them on the table so the Rugrats could visualize where they were.

The new students met their teachers (that’s us!) and one of the goblins in the kitchen. This goblin, the most civilized of all goblin residents at the school, asked the students to take care of a little problem upstairs.

Fight the Dire Rats

The trio of new adventures made their way into a series of storage rooms while their teachers waited in the hallway. 
Rugrat #3, a barbarian with a frying pan (we are using a club’s stats and just calling it a frying pan), waded in bravely.

“I’m good at this!” Yelled Rugrat #3 as she hit one with her frying pan. 

The boys followed in close to behind. Rugrat #1 used his shocking grasp cantrip while Rugrat #2 used his sneak attack and rapier. 

Learn, Learn, Learn

Math: recognizing numbers, adding dice together, identifying the values and shapes of the various dice, subtracting hit points 
Reading: locating, reading and recognizing words on the character sheet 
Storytelling and Visualization: picturing what was described, and playing along with the story
Teamwork Skills: finding the best strategies to defeat the swarm of oversized rodents

Incentivize

The Rugrats have learned chores and good behaviour in the real world will earn them inspiration points for the game. For those new to D&D, these can be used for a bonus on rolls.  We are hoping this encourages them to do things around the house with a good attitude. 

One Last Lesson

I’ve heard a lot about the pepper and soap experiment, and I figured this was the perfect thing to start our first potions class off with. It also served as the perfect transition out of the game, and back into the real world.

Potions: The Magical Substance Called Soap

I put the pepper in the bowl of water, then I put dish soap in a small container.

Everyone put their fingers into the pepper and water and watched as the “germs” clung to them.

Then we dipped our fingers in the “magical potion” and watched what happened when we put our fingers in the pepper water again.

I had them guess what the magical potion was, and then we talked about cleanliness, soap, germs, and of course, COVID-19.

Join Us Again Soon

The new students have only just started to explore the school, and more trouble awaits. 

Stay tuned: we’ve  got more adventures to come. 

Sewing with Kids – Dice Bags

Another day of not-homeschooling.

It turns out the Wonderful Pigs of Jillian Jiggs were trickier than I thought, so we took a break and dialed it back.

We have to walk before we run.

Transmogrification Class

Today we turned the bottom part of some pant legs into bags for dice.

I opted to do it this way so I didn’t have to pull out my sewing machine. We have a real love-hate relationship. And I swear it can sense my mood. As my patience wears thin the feeder doesn’t work properly, the spool catches and I end up with a big old mess. 

Cut the fabric to a bag size

I just sort of winged this. Mostly I looked where the rips were in an old pair of toddler jeans I had and cut the line below that. You should do whatever size works for you.

old pants cut down to sew a dice bag

Sew the bottom together

You could swap the order of this and sewing on the button. It doesn’t really matter. 

I ran my thread along a wax block I have to make the thread a bit stronger. Then I got the stitching started for Rugrat #1, who I set to work with a simple stitch.

I did the work for Rugrat #2 and Rugrat #3, and then I went over Rugrat#1’s work. He had done a great job, but I knew if by chance it broke, or a hole was too big, he’d be upset. 

Rugrat#1 stitching the bottom of his dice bag

Sew on a button

I let the kids sort through a few jars and bags of buttons I have. I picked up a big bag of mixed buttons from the dollar store a few years back. They were cheap and varied. I meant to use them for scrapbook, but with three kids I just never had time. I also picked up a bag of pink buttons last week for pig noses. And we have this collection of jars of buttons I inherited from my nana. 

They had a great time going through and picking the right button for them.

I started each of them off, and I secured the button on the bag. Then I set them to work going over what I did to make it more secure, and to get them familiar with how to stitch on a button.

Rugrat#1 stitching a button on his dice bag

Rugrat #1 hated it. He hates buttons. I don’t think he actually owns a single thing with a button on it. 

“What would you do if a button fell off your shirt?”

“I’d never own a shirt with a button,” he said.

“What would you do if you had kids one day and the button fell off their shirt?”

“I’d throw it away,” he said. 

I know people who do just that, but I figure, sewing a button back onto a shirt is far less work than having to hunt down a new shirt at the store. And it’s a great skill to have. So I made him do it anyway.

Rugrat#3 trying to thread a needle while sewing

Rugrat#3 surprised me the most with this part of the project. She has some trouble with her needle coming unthreaded. I offered to help, but she insisted she try threading it herself. She patiently tried over and over. And she did it! 

When Rugrat#2 pulled the needle too hard while working on his project, she even managed to thread his needle!

Add something to secure it with

Rugrat #3 loves rainbows. And sparkly things. So I found a few pieces of embroidery thread and braided them together with her. We secured the braided string around the button. Now when she wants to close it, she just wraps it around the bag, and then the button.

Rugrat #1 and Rugrat #2 both opted for how I originally thought I’d do it, stitching a single piece of embroidery thread around the top of the bag, making a drawstring. The two ends can then be pulled and wrapped around the button. 

Children's dice bags

Finished!

And now the kids have run off to roll their dice and see what the sums add up to.  I’m calling this a win!

 

Finished children's dice bag project