Weeks 5-6 Mexico

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Marie
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Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2004 2:30 pm

Weeks 5-6 Mexico

Unread post by Marie » Wed Jul 21, 2004 8:24 pm

Weeks 5-6
Mexico

kellybell
Posts: 475
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 2:40 pm

Mexican Fleece Poncho

Unread post by kellybell » Wed Jul 21, 2004 8:38 pm

Yesterday, there was a little bit of a breeze as we were heading out to fireworks. The three bigger kids all grabbed their ponchos that we made for our Mexico unit. Here's what we did. For each child, buy a little over a yard of polar fleece material. We got ours from WalMart. I got a bright (yellow, fucshia, and green) print for the girls and a hunter green for my son.

Have your child stand with his arms straight out to the sides and measure from fingertip to fingertip. Cut a square of material with this distance being the diagonal distance. Fold the square into a triangle and then a triangle again to find the center and cut a small arc out of the middle to make the head hole. It's really easy to make this hole too big, so start small and trim it bigger if needed.

The fun part is next. Make a square of masking tape on the poncho, about 2 inches (or more or less...) from the edge. It will act as a guide for the fringe Have your child use somewhat sharp scissors to fringe the poncho from the edge to the tape. We made our fringes about 1/2 inch apart. Remove the tape, and you have a useful, no-sew poncho.

Kelly
_________________
Kelly, wife to Jim since 1988, mom to Jamie (a girl, 1994), Mary (1996), Brian (1998) and Stephanie (2001).

mamax3
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Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 7:25 pm

PARTY

Unread post by mamax3 » Sat Jul 31, 2004 9:49 am

Our party was great. We had 5 fathers, 5 mothers and 12 children attend including us. There was great Mexican food. One of the girls read us a story about Mexico. We broke the pinata. We listened to Mexican music. The parents had a great time discussing our homeschooling lives as the kids had a great time playing.

I added the pictures to the photo album if you would like to take a look. http://www.picturetrail.com/mamax3

Sybil
Sybil, mother of CJ (11) and Damian (8) using CTG, and Brendan (4) using MFW K
Homeschooling photo albums- www.picturetrail.com/mamax3
CJ's websites- www.k-9kids.org www.freewebs.com/cjstudentambassador
Usborne Books- www.ubah.com/Z1131

Julie in MN
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Mexico -- settling into a pattern!

Unread post by Julie in MN » Sun Dec 12, 2004 4:12 pm

Mexico felt like such a welcome respite after *mom* trying to do too much in the world overview & the USA. Here are my contributions about our experiences in Mexico:

1. Marie's "starred" Mexico picture books really sparked ds's book basket interest.

2. Someone on these boards suggested the video series "Mexico For Children" by Schlessinger Media. Ds loved these enough to do them in his free time -- The Geography of Mexico, The Culture of Mexico, & The History of Mexico.

3. I know extras are NOT needed in ECC, but the 2 Mexico pages looked lonely in our geography notebook after the fat USA section! So for Mexico we added a page from edHelper.com (vocab matching Mexico words & definitions) & a "map review" from EnchantedLearning.com (they accept small donations if you don't use them enough to want to join).

4. We did the same thing for Panama (or it is in the ECC book, Another Trip Around the World). And for Belize we used these sites: flagspot.net/misc/bz-l.gif & encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com ("coat of arms of Belize" for flag).

NOTE: In hindsight, I would probably just have ds make a page about "Everything I've Learned About Mexico!" rather than adding a worksheet, for better retention.


5. BOOKS
Families of the World, Family Life at the Close of the 20th Century: The Americas & the Caribbean,
by Helene Tremblay
We read a few chapters from this book. The author describes a day in the life of very different families across the Americas, with great detail about when they get up in the morning & so on. (Note: the very first chapter is on a primitive tribe in South America, with immodest photos and info that you'll want to pre-read, but it seems to be the only one)

A Walk in the Desert, by Rebecca L. Johnson, 2001, Biomes of North America series from Carolrhoda Books of Mpls. Goes thru the surprising amount of plants and animals you will find in the dry desert.

6. GEOGRAPHY GAME: To remember the central america country names, we listened to Geography Songs. But to actually "find" them on the map, there are alternative lyrics for the Geography Song -- which are *in the order on the map* at http://www.redshift.com/~bonajo/geography.htm (under central america)
Last edited by Julie in MN on Thu May 17, 2012 12:17 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
(http://www.CaringBridge.org/visit/ShaneHansell)
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs

helen
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Jun 18, 2006 12:02 am
Location: Illinois

Fiesta & Cooking techniques

Unread post by helen » Sun Oct 15, 2006 12:32 pm

We just had our fiesta and it was great! I'm unsure if the other experiences will be as good as this one, but it was great to study a country that we may go to for missionary work.

I also found a great site that explains how the food is cooked: http://huichol-art.com/chavies/index.html

TrainingHearts
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Aug 09, 2006 1:16 pm

Our candy filled globe!

Unread post by TrainingHearts » Sun Oct 29, 2006 12:54 am

I just posted on my blog about our project from Global Art.

Thought it might help future people with Mexico :)

Training Hearts Blog on pinata

We are ending our stay in Mexico with My Father's World ECC. As prepare to leave Mexico, we will have a little fiesta.

The girls worked really hard all weekend to complete their pinata for our Mexican Fiesta. I am having one of those mommy moments :) I am so proud that they managed to work together and without bickering. They each took turns and occupied themselves helping each other. Overall, we officially have a completed candy filled globe with lop-sided continents.

Our project started with a punching balloon. We blew it up and knotted it. Then we layered pieces of newspaper dipped in starch evenly all over the balloon. We did this over several days and approximately 4 layers.

The next stage was a little more difficult.......outlining the continents with a black marker. The fun began as the girls learned to twist a small square on the end of pencil and dip it in glue and place it on our balloon. Thankfully this although very tedious, kept the girls busy. I think the reality hit tonight when they realized that they will have to destroy it to get the candy. It's hard to destroy a project, that took so much time, effort, and team work to complete.
~Tamara
Heart Training our 4 daughters - Ages 14, 12, 9 and 2
http://homeschoolblogger.com/TrainingHearts/

homeschoolaquiverfull
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Joined: Thu May 04, 2006 11:18 am

Field trips for Mexico

Unread post by homeschoolaquiverfull » Sat Jan 27, 2007 7:39 pm

On Thursday we went on a couple of field trips to finish up our Mexico study.

We have a book by Linda Morley, that is written with field trip ideas for the DFW area. This is where we found out and planned our activities.

First we went to a restaurant. We picked out several pieces of pan dulce (sweet bread) and bought a couple packages of fresh flour tortillas and fresh tamales! Yum!

Then, we headed to another place that was to have a large selection of pinatas. It was also a grocery store and restaurant. We decided to sit in the restaurant and have a snack. We had a great time. I went through and read things in the menu in Spanish and had the kids try to figure out what I was saying. They did great! We had a great discussion of how many words in Spanish and English were similar.

I was able to find a molinillo. This is what the Hispanics use to mix up chocolate and make it bubbly. It was $2.69, so I purchased it. I don't know if we will use it for chocolate, but it was fun to have. It looks similar to an upside down totem pole.

Then, we were having our Mexican Fiesta on Friday. We had invited over some friends from church. They homeschool as well. We had a great time! We had Mexican stack-up, my best girlfriend's recipe. We picked up ingredients for my salsa at the local Mexican grocery store. We had some Mexican soda's that were yummy - I liked the Guava one the best! We busted the pinata. Our friends had brought the goodies to fill it. In our studying, we found that Hispanics use more fruit than candy to fill the pinatas. So, they brought apples, oranges, candy, etc. The kids had a great time just playing with friends and busting the pinata.

We are excited to start our study on Canada on Monday!! We are on full board with My Father's World now!!!

Amy in NC
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Joined: Fri Aug 19, 2005 10:51 pm

Unread post by Amy in NC » Mon Jan 28, 2008 4:09 pm

Posted: Fri Sep 14, 2007 12:59 pm

We are currently in Mexico & I discovered while reading a book basket book to my girls, that Sunday, Sept 16 is Mexican Independence Day. So we are going to celebrate on Sunday in some way.

I got the info from a book called Mexico ABCs. It is not on the ECC library list, but it is similar to Mexico from A to Z, which my library did not have (my library did have The United States from A to Z, but not the Mexico one). I looked up Mexico on the online card catalog and discovered this one. It is actually listed as an easy reader, so it is more for the younger set (the ... A to Z series is on a higher reading level, but still not difficult).

Oh, BTW, the info was on the C page for Cinco de Mayo. At the bottom of the page it stated "another important holiday is..."

Lainie
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Fiesta

Unread post by Lainie » Mon Jan 28, 2008 4:13 pm

Posted: Sat Sep 15, 2007 1:51 am

A friend who started earlier just finished Mexico and had us over tonight for her Fiesta. We had a blast and even got to roll out our own tortillas and cook them before we filled and ate. Soooo FUN!! I'm very excited to host my own Fiesta now ;)

Note: In early May is the Cinco de Mayo celebration
[good review if you've already studied Mexico]

ajebner
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Sep 18, 2006 6:56 pm

Mexican Jumping Beans

Unread post by ajebner » Sun Feb 03, 2008 8:11 pm

Check out my blog that includes info on what we did with Jumping Beans and how to order (and picture of the beans, cacoon, and moth). One just emerged as a moth this weekend. The girls were thrilled since we've been awaiting this transformation since our study of Mexico back in October.

http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/Ebners/473438/

You can order them and find out more from http://www.JumpingBeansRUs.com

Julie - Staff
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THE MEXICAN FEAST... OR FIESTA

Unread post by Julie - Staff » Mon Feb 18, 2008 2:40 pm

Posted: Wed Jan 17, 2007 6:06 pm
Author: tkbbrl6


It is listed for the second Fri that you are in Mexico, along with a recipi. The first week there was mention in the Art section of making a pinata if you so desired and keeping it for the fiesta as well as anything else that could be used for decorations. I think there were also some suggestions in the Trip Around the World book.

We opted to go out to a Mexican restaurant as a family instead.

Posted: Wed Jan 17, 2007 6:58 pm
Author: kellybell


My (unsolicited!) advice when it comes to fiestas, parties, and feasts is to include some really fun stuff (the pinata, a game, etc.) and then don't worry so much about being authentic with the rest of the details, especially while the kids are young.

For the Mexican party, go get some frozen taquitos at Sam's Club, put up some colorful balloons, try to find some flamenco (is that Mexican???) music at the library. Invite another fun homeschooling family or two and have fun.

If you have made a pinata, use it at the party, if not it's fine to buy one at the party store. Otherwise, decorate a brown grocery bag and fill it with candy and staple it shut. There's your pinata. Just use a Nerf bat because a real one will break it immediately. The idea is to have fun and wrap up a fun study!

Do what you are comfortable with, but don't sweat it if you don't want to make egg rolls or whatever. Just study it and then celebrate!

Enjoy your fiesta.

Posted: Fri Jan 19, 2007 9:56 am
Author: Renai

Flamenco is from Spain, lol. But, there's always Mariachi (very popular and very easy to find), Ranchero, salsa, and Nortena (pretend there's a squiggly over the second 'n').

These are all great ideas :).
Renai

Julie - Staff
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Mexican Paper Flowers

Unread post by Julie - Staff » Sat Mar 08, 2008 12:06 am

Posted: Fri Oct 19, 2007 5:18 am
Author: cbollin


With six sheets per flower, the flower will be bigger and fluffier and have more layers. But - you are using 6 half sheets per flower.

My oldest makes tissue paper flowers from time to time and usually uses several sheets per flowers to have a fuller look. Many of the flowers she makes are just beautiful. Multiple layers and color variations. She typically uses "pipe cleaners" ---chenille things for the twist tie. So her recommendation on it is to use more than 1 sheet and to use colors that blend well together. She doesn't use a full sheet of paper for each layer. And she said something about it's ok to have them all one color, but it is fun to experiment with different shades of the same color on the same flower.

Just have fun with it. I never imagined that my oldest would end up making lots of flowers over the years. But she does enjoy bringing them to me on rough teaching days. I have a vase for them.
-crystal

Posted: Fri Oct 19, 2007 8:05 am
Author: TurnOurHearts


I stayed up last night & made a 6-sheeter. It turned out beautifully! However, as I was trying to separate the sheets, it tore in several places. I was being ultra careful, but the paper was just a bit difficult to deal with.

SO, I decided to simplify, being that I'm dealing with ages 8, 6 & 5 (my sister & her kiddos are coming). I went ahead & cut out several 2-sheeters so they could make the flowers pretty easily themselves. If anyone wants to try it with more sheets they can, but the simple ones will be ready to go. It's going to be a busy little fiesta!

Posted Wed Oct 01, 2008 8:47 am by cbollin

My daughter (oldest) did them in several ways. Suggestions in case no one can get some pics to you, you might consider doing a search on the terms "Making paper flowers." There are several youtube links that are helpful. There was one done by GoodHousekeeping on there.

-crystal

Posted Wed Oct 01, 2008 9:08 am by mamanamadee

Looking at the directions, I think they are saying to use the full sheets, because it says to fold it accordion style, then cut it in half. That would make a larger flower--about 9" across if your tissue is 18" square. The drawing in the book shows flowers that are a pretty good size.

I remember making these in school and it seems like back then, we used squares of about 6"X6". That makes pretty little flowers. I think either way would work.

As far as "pulling upwards and downwards" . . . I would explain it like this: after you have tied the twist tie around the center of one of the "fan" folded halves so that it looks like the bow tie shaped illustration in the book, lay the "bow tie" flat on a table. Pull the edges of the "bow tie" together so that it no longer looks like a bow, but like a circle--the ruffled circle illustration to the right of the bow-tie illustration.

Then you would peel back the top layer of paper until it stands straight up in the center near the twist tie. Do this on both sides of the twist tie. Then proceed to peel up the next layer on each side of the twist tie. Do this for 5 layers. The sixth one can remain flat.

HTH! ~Naomi

Posted Wed Oct 01, 2008 10:37 am by TriciaMR

We just made 3 flowers. Two using very large sheets, and one using a smaller (maybe 8 x 8). The larger were definitely easier to make. If you use smaller sheets, you have to make your fold lengths smaller (like 3/4 inch). If you use the larger sheets, you can make your fold lengths about 1.5 inches. much easier to manipulate.

-Trish

cbollin

Recipe

Unread post by cbollin » Sat Jul 19, 2008 12:26 am

Posted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 4:07 pm

My oldest wanted to share one of her favorite simple lunches that she makes. She tells me that she learned this recipe way back when we did Mexico in ECC [the first time]. I've wondered from time to time where she got the idea for this recipe, now I know! (see the things they remember??)

***
1 can condensed tomato soup mixed according to the directions
add in some corn (we use frozen)
break up some angel hair pasta in small pieces and put them in too
heat until pasta is ready and corn is warm.

Serve with Warmed tortillas cut into triangles

--crystal and Oldest DD

cbollin

Desert Theme Decorations

Unread post by cbollin » Thu Aug 28, 2008 12:20 pm

I just bought some inexpensive wall decorations from Factory Card Outlet. They have a Fiesta theme aisle that had these neat wall decorations. One of them was a large desert scene.

nice temp addition to the living room and we also got other fun fiesta decorations for the end of the unit.

No wonder ECC is a fun year

-crystal

TriciaMR
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Book about deserts

Unread post by TriciaMR » Wed Sep 17, 2008 12:31 pm

I found this gem in our library:

About Habitats: Deserts by Cathryn Sill. Each two page spread has a short description/information on the left, and then a beautiful illustration on the right. In the back, there is a more detailed information on each illustration for older children. My boys loved looking at this book.

-Trish
Trish - Wife to Phil, Mom to Toni(18), Charlie(14), and Trent(14)
2014-2015 - AHL, CTG
2015-2016 - WHL, RTR
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2017-2018 - DE, 1850MOD
2018-2019 - College, AHL
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faithmom
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Joined: Sun Mar 23, 2008 1:24 pm

Fiesta Fun

Unread post by faithmom » Fri Sep 26, 2008 4:11 pm

I am just about to pop!!! I'm not sure if the kids are more excited about our Mexican Fiesta or I am. I just filled the pinata. We have friends coming over with some Mexican missionary pictures and we'll have Sangria with our tacos. The house is filled with paper flowers and the kids each made a poncho. The'll be blowing up some balloons soon. My house even got pretty clean for the occasion - and I didn't have to do it - the kids did. Somehow I doubt they will forget Mexico anytime soon.
Irene
Married 20 years
ds-13, dd-11, dd-9, ds-7, dd-3, ds-1
Used ECC, CTG, K, 1st
2010-11 Using RTR and 1st

Andrea
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Fiesta

Unread post by Andrea » Sat Sep 27, 2008 10:54 am

Very fun! We had our fiesta a week ago and we all had so much fun! The paper flowers were hanging all over our kitchen curtains. We had a CD of Mexican dance music, enchiladas and Arroz con leche (rice with milk) for dessert. Our 5 year old got all dressed up for the occasion -- complete with a silk scarf rebozo! It's true that the little ones are listening and learning along with the older ones. A very memorable time together!
Andrea
wife to Dave (1994)
Jacob (10)
Grace (7)
Kayla (5)
using K and RTR this year
http://crownedwithkindness.blogspot.com/

TriciaMR
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Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2007 11:43 am

The pinata

Unread post by TriciaMR » Tue Sep 30, 2008 9:02 am

One word of warning... we are on week 2 of Mexico, if you make the pinata, make it in week 1 of Mexico. I'm hoping ours will be dry enough to paint by tomorrow (Thursday will be our Friday of this week).


But, we are having a good time in Mexico, and enjoying the picture books and stories about Mexico.

-Trish
Trish - Wife to Phil, Mom to Toni(18), Charlie(14), and Trent(14)
2014-2015 - AHL, CTG
2015-2016 - WHL, RTR
2016-2017 - EXP1850, US1877
2017-2018 - DE, 1850MOD
2018-2019 - College, AHL
My blog

TracyLee01026
Posts: 23
Joined: Fri Jun 02, 2006 9:22 pm

Fiesta

Unread post by TracyLee01026 » Fri Oct 10, 2008 10:04 pm

Our Fiesta went well today. The pinata looked great, but when filled with candy was quite heavy and the string would cut through the papier mache, so my husband had to reinforce with duct tape. We invited a homeschool friend over to enjoy the event. When pinata time came, we drove our friend home just in time for her younger brother to get off the bus so he could enjoy it with us.

We made Panamanian empanatas, they were delicious. We ate them with sour cream and salsa. We also had tortilla chips. We made the Mexican flowers and decorated goodie bags with a Mexican theme.

I took lots of pictures and the kids had a wonderful time! We won't forget Mexico. Now, on to Canada!
Tracy

hsmomof5
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Quick and Easy Pinanta

Unread post by hsmomof5 » Fri Jan 02, 2009 9:30 am

We had our fiesta and it was so much fun. We found a simple and very inexpensive way to make our pinata. You can check it out on my blog here-
http://www.lovesschool.com/2009/01/weekly-report.html
~Kysha
ds 19 (college freshman), ds 12, ds 12, and ds 10 (ECC '08) (CTG '09), dd 3 (Preschool)

doubleportion
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Re: Weeks 5-6 Mexico - books

Unread post by doubleportion » Thu Jul 23, 2009 10:15 pm

Good books for Mexico. We found these at our local library. One is copyright 2008.

Looking at Mexico by Kathleen Pohl (Gareth Stevens Publishing 2008) Looking at Countries series. Really nice overview of Mexico contents include: Where is Mexico, The Landscape, Weather & Seasons, Mexican People, School & family, Country Life, City Life, Mexican Houses, Mexican Food, At Work, Having Fun, & Mexico: The Facts.


The Young Chef's Mexican Cookbook by Karen Ward (McRae Books 2001) Includes great recipes designed for kids to make with adult assistance or supervision. Interesting info about the dishes are included and color pictures and step by step instructions. Dish names are included in both spanish and english and any spanish phrases are translated. Great intro into authentic Mexican food. Nice addition to the recipe already recommended in A Trip Around the World. Highly recommend!!!

;)
Edie

doubleportion
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Mexico weeks 5-6 recipe

Unread post by doubleportion » Thu Aug 06, 2009 9:51 am

We just made Dulce de Leche yesterday and it was incredibly easy. This maybe more than some are willing to do, but the finished product was yuuuuuuuummy. (I wanted to sit down and lick the inside of the pot before washing it!)

1 quart of whole milk
1 1/2 cups of sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
dash of vanilla extract (add at the very end after done cooking)

Combine milk & sugar in a sauce pan. Stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. And in baking soda and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to lowest setting on your stove. It will not even be boiling but barely simmer (or even less on mine). Cooking until the mixture is a caramel light brown coloring. Stir occasionally. (about every 20-30 minutes or so). Takes 3-4 hours or more ( the lower the heat and the slower it goes but the less likely to burn). You do need to be sure you will be home the whole time you are doing this, but other than an occasional stir the active involvement is nil. When the mixture is done cooking, remove from heat and stir in your vanilla. Pour into a glass jar and let cool. Seal jar and refrigerate. (you can strain the mixture if you want it completely smooth before pouring into jar) Note- pour it into your container while still warm because it will thicken as it cools and be harder to remove from your pot. Kept in a sealed container will keep up to a month in your refrigerator.

We are going to make some Churritos from the Young Chef's Mexican Cookbook to go with the Dulce de Leche and some vanilla ice cream. Mmmmmm can't wait for our fiesta!

:)
Edie

Follow-up
I had left over milk from our weekly fresh supply, so that was part of why I made it. I read somewhere that is part of how Dulce de Leche came to be. They cooked it in an effort to use milk that was starting to turn. We get two gallons or so of raw milk a week so using an extra quart was no biggie for us.Don't know if that is truly historical fact but rather interesting antidote.

One of the yummiest uses we found for our Dulce de Leche was as a fruit dip.

705emily
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Re: Mexico weeks 5-6 recipe

Unread post by 705emily » Thu Aug 06, 2009 11:07 am

YUMM!! When I was growing up--my dad made this for us--but he used a can of sweetened condensed milk, boiling it for a couple of hours in water. When you opened the can--it was all thick and brown and caramelized! Delicious!! We would spread it on bread or crackers! :-)
Irmi Gaut
MFW K, MFW 1, Adventures, ECC this year!

'And my God shall supply ALL your needs according to his riches in Glory!'

BHelf
Posts: 119
Joined: Wed Apr 16, 2008 8:58 pm

SO excited!! Fiesta

Unread post by BHelf » Wed Sep 02, 2009 10:23 am

Due to my DH's crazy new job and work schedule we are having our Mexican fiesta for ECC a little before we're done with the unit but we wanted him to be a part of it. We will be making tortillas to eat with tacos, I'm making Dulce de Leche now (thanks for the recipe from this board) and I bought "authentic" Mexican cheese dip, salsa, and flan. We have our clay sun faces, pinanta and I found AWESOME little decorations at our yard sale that someone donated for our fundraiser this weekend that are actually from Mexico!! :) We can't wait!!

Loving ECC!!!

Postby BHelf » Wed Sep 02, 2009 5:53 pm
WOW--can I just say that Dulce de Leche is possibly one of the BEST tasting things I've ever put in my mouth!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That would've been more than enough to make our fiesta yummy!!
If you're thinking about whether or not to make that, MAKE IT! It's worth every minute you spend on it and then some!

I also enjoyed the tortillas out of the Trip Around the World book. They were very good and my DD really enjoyed the responsibility of making them.

oKay, time to go bust open the unfinished pinata!! just had to take a fiesta break long enough to express how my tastebuds were feeling!!
Wife to DH for almost 13 years
Mommy to Eileen-9, Merrick-6, Adalynn-5 and Karis--19 months
http://www.asimplewalk.wordpress.com

Amy C.
Posts: 202
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Re: Weeks 5-6 Mexico

Unread post by Amy C. » Tue Sep 22, 2009 8:44 pm

We will be finishing up Mexico at the end of this week. We are planning our Fiesta. We are turning it into a birthday party for my brother. His birthday was actually a month ago, but life has been so busy that we have not officially celebrated his birthday. Our Fiesta seemed like a good time to do it.

A couple of things I wanted to share:

Pinata prep: I looked for what I thought would be a stronger than usual balloon. I could not find any affordabe so I just took my chances on regular party balloons (12in./30.4 cm) from Wal Mart. It did not pop while preparing. I blew it up for a nice size pinata but not so much it was too taunt. We tied a piece of yarn around the tied end of the balloon and then tied the other end of the piece of yarn to our breakfast room chandelier so that it was hanging. (Our yarn is not touching a light bulb.) We had a plastic table cloth with an old sheet on top of that on our table. Our table served as our work area. I noticed that our liquid starched newspaper pieces kept sliding depending on the direction the balloon was leaning. I wondered if we were doing something wrong, but we kept rotating the balloon and adding newspaper pieces. I guess we finally placed enough layers on because we finally got it all covered. To help it dry quicker we placed three small adjustable table top fans around the hanging pinata. These blew on the pinata for about 6 hours. We left it hanging overnight (with no fans on), and by the next morning it was all dry except the very bottom. By that afternoon it was ready to paint/decorate. We had just left it hanging all day and while we painted and decorated it. It is still hanging and will be until we are ready to fill and finish. The first night, while our table was tied up with a dripping pinata and blowing fans, we had a picnic in the living room which is a rare treat since we don't typically eat/drink in our living room. Tonight we ate around the hanging pinata. My husband and I leaned to the side to see each other. :) Granted, we are not completely finished with the pinata. We have not popped the balloon and filled it yet. Nor have we tried to hang it full of goodies, but I wanted to share what has worked for us up to this point.

I also wanted to share a recipe that I friend of mine gave me several years ago. She said it was her dad's recipe.

Mexican Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup Crisco (shortening)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking soda dissolved into 3 Tbsp hot water
3 cups All-purpose plain flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 large pack of chocolate chips (semi-sweet)

Cream shortening and both sugars together. Add eggs one at a time. Stirring after each egg. Add vanilla and soda dissolved in water. Stir. Sift flour, salt, dry soda, and cinnamon together and add to the creamed mixture. Stir until a dough is formed. Stir in chocolate chips. Place dough on cookie sheet in balls (size depends on how small or big you like your cookies). Bake 12-15 minutes @ 350 degrees. This makes many cookies (not sure of the exact amount), but we LOVE them and are glad it yields so many. It would be plenty if you are planning to invite others to your Fiesta (or any time for that matter). We have made them as goodies for Awana leaders, Sunday school teachers, etc. They are very yummy !!

Amy C.

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