Paladini Potpie

Adventures within The Crust!


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Dice and Cards and Count to Ten

Now the fun really begins! My grandkids move into the stage of learning to read, and count, and recognize numbers. They’re beginning to understand how to reason and strategize. Babies are sweet and cute, but this is the golden age of Grandeehood!

Candyland has given way to tic-tac-toe and checkers, and lately we’ve been having the most fun with some dice and a couple of decks of cards…

Dice and cards! Is Grandee teaching the kiddos to gamble? Not at all. It’s more like a GAMBOL. They love it! The first thing they say when they burst through the door is, “Can we play with cards?” They run to get them from the shelf, and the fun is on!

The first game I taught them was “Dice and Cards”.

Here’s how you play:

Remove all the cards out of the deck except A-6. These 24 cards are the ones you will play with.

Deal 6 cards to each player. The player will place them FACE UP on the table.

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Take turns rolling a die and when you roll a number that is showing on one of your cards you get to turn that card upside down.

The first person to turn over all of their cards is the winner.IMG_4125

I have a jar of brightly colored dice so everyone chooses their favorite color. The kids quickly learned to recognize number patterns on the dice, and this game helps reinforce what the numerals look like. I did have to explain that we’re using an ace for number one. Even 3-year-old Caleb can play this game with very little help.

The other game is “Count to Ten”.  Our older kids learned it pretty quickly, but it’s challenging enough that adults can enjoy it too. I used to play for hours with my mom and her friends at her senior living place.

Here’s how to play.

Deal out 10 cards to each player. FACE DOWN. Do not look at the cards. Place the cards in two rows. The top row will be for cards from 1-5 and the lower row will be 6-10.

IMG_4134After we have placed our cards in two rows we usually count to 10, touching each card as we go, starting at the top row left and finishing at the bottom right.

The remaining cards are put in a stack in the middle of the table with a “discard” facing up.

The object of the game is to have 10 cards placed in numerical order from 1 to 10. The player who counts to 10 with his cards first is the winner.IMG_4171

The game begins with the player to the left of the dealer drawing a card from the center pile or from the discard stack. If it is a number card, he can put it in the corresponding number place in front of him, replacing the upside down card.IMG_3964

Then he looks at the card which had been upside down, which he just replaced. If it is a number card, he can put it in its proper place in his rows. His turn continues until he picks up a card he can’t use. He then discards it and the next player draws.

Queens and Jacks have no value. Kings are “wild” when adults play, but I have not yet introduced the “wild” concept to the kids.

So you can imagine how aggravating it is to draw a face card, or a card that has already been turned over in your hand. And how really aggravating it is when you are forced to discard the exact card the next player needs.

The person who has all of his cards turned face up, counting to 10 is the winner.

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David is on his second hand with only 9 cards in front of him.

That is as far as I’ve gone with our grandkids – one game at a time. But when we play with adults it gets a little more complicated. The game I have described would only be the first hand. In the second hand, that winner is dealt only 9 cards. And if he wins, he would only get 8 cards in the next hand. And so on.  Each time a person “goes out” or turns all of his cards over he is dealt one fewer in the next hand. Until one person is only dealt 1 card and is able to turn it over to be an ace or a 1. Recently the kids played it with their parents and played the longer version with the diminishing number of cards.

It has taken me much longer to describe these games than it would have taken to play them. I’m looking forward to hours of card games this summer. It’s good on so many levels – sharpening math skills and thinking skills and especially the practice of good sportsmanship.

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Ice Cream Cone Tacos

putting-olives-on-your-fingers-1024x819Like most kids, my grandkids love all things olive. They have olive-tipped fingers every time they get the opportunity. They even love my olive tapenade, which has strong Kalamata olives and stuffed green olives. And that’s how this idea was born.

deliciousLast week they wanted some tapenade with lunch and I didn’t have any chips or crackers to go with it. The only crunchy thing I could find in the cabinet was a half-empty box of stale ice cream cones. Well, why not? I coated the insides of a couple of cones with tapenade and the kids were thrilled. They finished the rest of the box.

As I watched them chow down, I was thinking of how strange it was to put something that savory into an ice cream cone. Then it struck me – how fun it would be to fill ice cream cones with taco fixings!

The plan for the following week’s Famiglia Paladini Dinner was in place! The kiddos come over every Wednesday to hang out in Grandeeland, and their parents join us for family dinner.

So when they came over yesterday morning we discussed what we needed for our ice cream tacos, and we all made grocery lists. (How I love these early years of learning to write! Cute crooked little letters, formed with such solemn care.)

img_3184Our list included ice cream cones, and I was informed that we needed to get a lot of them. Olives, taco meat, refried beans, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, sour cream, and salsa.

Caleb directed operations from the grocery cart as we walked around the store. Audrey carried the shopping bag, and Nathan painstakingly weighed and baggedimg_3206 the tomatoes.

And we all weighed in on which kind of olives to get. Audrey said “Let’s get the red ones.” She picked up two red cans. Nathan said, “Those are BLACK.” Audrey looked at her brother like he had lost his mind. “They’re RED.” It was funny – Audrey was choosing the label color and Nathan was  looking at the picture on the label.  Perception and communication.

Back at Grandeeland I cooked the taco meat while the kids cut up all the vegetables with dull butter knives. There was lots of tasting along the way.

It took about two hours and we made a huge mess; but we also made wonderful memories!

img_3192Audrey said, “Mommy is going to be sad that she has to go to a meeting tonight and she won’t get any ice cream tacos. But Daddy is going to love them.”img_3201

And he did! In fact, we all did.

It’s a good thing we got that box of 112 ice cream cones.

 


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Jello Rainbows

Why do I keep a box of food coloring in our bathroom medicine cabinet? My grandkids, (and their parents before them) love it when I plop a couple of drops into their bathtub and they get to swirl the colors around.

The simple pleasures!

img_0814So a few months ago my grandkids and I took this water coloring a step further. I got three glasses of water and let them drop colors in, and stir. img_0820We made a glass of red, a glass of blue and a glass of yellow. Then I let them pour certain colors together into other glasses to make green, purple and orange.

They seriously thought it was magic!

14670806_1450516938297813_1984779776334946488_nAnd then last week we made a “rainbow” on a plate. We placed Skittles all around the edge of a flat white plate and poured enough water to just touch the candy – then we watched the colors mingle and cover the plate. Again they were delighted!

So just thinking of how much fun we’ve been having with colors I thought about making a jello rainbow. It took several hours, but it was fun for all of us.5

This is how we did it:

3 three-ounce boxes of Jello. Red, yellow and blue.

3 ziplock bags

3 clear containers, straight-sided to make and serve the rainbow in.

3 big measuring cups to mix the Jello.

7 glasses to mix the rainbow colors of liquid jello.

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I put the Jello powder into ziplock bags so I could cut off the corner and the kids could pour slowly and carefully, with less mess.

Caleb, our youngest grandson, is two. I jokingly call him “Me Too” because that is his current favourite phrase. He wants to be in on everything his big brother and sister are doing.  2It was a little nerve-racking to have a two-year-old stirring jello into boiling water. That’s why I chose a four-cup measuring cup for the one cup of hot water. Less chance of splashing.

1Caleb poured yellow Jello from the cut corner of his ziplock bag, and stirred it with a plastic chop stick. Nathan chose red and Audrey chose blue.

So we had three big measuring cups, each with one cup of liquid jello.

After the jello was dissolved they each added a cup of cold water.

So we ended up with 6 cups of liquid Jello in three containers. Primary colors – red, yellow and blue.

I reminded them of how we had mixed the colored water a couple of weeks ago to make new colors. And then we looked at a book about rainbows to see how many colors there are, and what order they are in.

The seven are, of course, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.

3We got seven drinking glasses and mixed and stirred, and stirred and mixed a quarter cup at a time. We had quite a discussion about the difference between indigo and violet. Purple was easy: blue mixed with red. Finally we decided that indigo is bluish purple and violet is reddish purple. Not very scientific, but it worked for the under-six crowd. And it worked for Grandee.

I had found three heavy glass containers at the dollar store. (Don’t you love the dollar store!?) I think they are actually candle holders, but they worked great for our purpose. They hold about 2 cups each, and are heavy enough that they probably wouldn’t break if little hands dropped them. What I liked best is that the sides are straight up, so the colors would be evenly distributed.

First came red. I used the quarter cup measure and let each of the kids pour it into the bottom of their glass container. Then we put them into the fridge for half an hour to set. We left the remaining six glasses of liquid jello on the counter so they would stay liquid.

2I set a timer and we went about our day. Each time the timer rang, we came into the kitchen to add the next color to the rainbows. We added about ¼ cup of new color each time, in rainbow order.

At room temperature the added jello didn’t melt the jello that had already set in the dishes. It just made a nice flat layer. As the day went on the refrigerated jello set up more quickly, so the progress went faster. By the time we got to the purples, the new layer was setting in 15 minutes.

3The kids were so excited to show their parents, and then to take them home for dessert.

Golden memories at the end of the rainbow!4