Monthly Archives: October 2012

Hungry for a snack? How about some popcorn art?

You may have noticed I didn’t do a WWW Wednesdays update yesterday. There’s a simple reason for it. I’m still reading the same book and I feel like the slowest reader on the planet right now. I’ve been going to bed so late every night recently (a terrible habit to start), I just want to turn off the light and go to sleep when I get there.

If you enjoyed my recent post of food art and it left you hungry for more, don’t despair. I have just the right fix for you. Have you ever made popcorn at home? Have you ever looked at those popped kernels before you shoved them down your throat nibbled on them while watching a movie?

Believe it or not, all these corn kernels pop in different ways and if you look at them carefully, you may recognize some familiar shapes in them. If you’ve ever looked for shapes in the clouds the same way I love to, you may enjoy this game a lot the next time you make some popcorn yourself. Just make sure you pick through your own bowl only, not your neighbor’s. I know, it’s tempting when you’re searching for shapes…

Here are a few shapes my kids and I recently spotted while snacking on popcorn. For the visually / spatially / creatively impaired (pick one, you know who you are!), I added some visual clues thanks to Photoshop’s paint brush, so you can see what we saw.

Ready to play the game? Here we go! Scroll down slowly so you can guess. No cheating!

Can you guess what this shape is? I’ll give you a clue. It’s an animal that walks very slowly.

Popcorn art - guessing the shape in the popcorn kernel

Popcorn art – guessing the shape in the popcorn kernel

It’s a turtle! Don’t believe me? See it for yourself.

Popcorn art - a turtle

Popcorn art – a turtle

Don’t despair if you didn’t get it, it takes some practice. Now that you understand how to play the game, let’s continue, shall we? I’m not going to give you a hint for this one because it’s easy to guess, but I’ll tell you a lot of kernels pop this way.

Popcorn art - each kernel pops differently

Popcorn art – each kernel pops differently

Alright, just in case you couldn’t figure out, here’s the answer: it’s an octopus.

Popcorn art - an octopus

Popcorn art – an octopus

The next shape is a little similar to the previous one, at least when it comes to the number of limbs. This is the only clue you’ll get from me.

Popcorn art- seeing animal shapes

Popcorn art- seeing animal shapes

If you said spider, you’re right!

Popcorn art - spider

Popcorn art – spider

Alright, now that you’re warmed up, here is a more difficult one. This animal also “walks” very slowly.

Popcorn art - finding shapes in popcorn

Popcorn art – finding shapes in popcorn

It was a little harder but if you said snail, you’re really good at this game.

Popcorn art - snail

Popcorn art – snail

Here’s the last popcorn kernel for you to guess. It’s often described as a loyal animal.

Popcorn art - seeing animal shapes in popcorn kernels

Popcorn art – seeing animal shapes in popcorn kernels

If you guessed dog, give yourself a cookie!

Popcorn art - dog

Popcorn art – dog

How did you like this game? Will you give it a try next time you have popcorn? It’s fun playing with food, believe me.

By the way, if you want to take photos of your popcorn art and you’re smarter than me, you’ll want to put your kernel shapes on black or colored paper, so they stand out from the background. Just saying…


WordPress weekly photo challenge: Big

It must be in our nature to like “big”. Early on in life, little kids grab the big toys, ask for the bigger piece of cake and the big balloon, and they want to be bigger themselves. It doesn’t seem to get any better as we move into adulthood. We like big TVs, big trucks, big homes, big boobs…When I visited the U.S. for the first time as a teenager, I was shocked to see how much bigger everything was compared to France. Bigger buildings, bigger roads, bigger cars, bigger food portions, bigger people… I admit it was a culture shock. Even today, I can still get surprised.

Here are a few examples of “big” in my life, sorted by size. Do you like bigger or smaller things?

BIG – kid-size Knufflebunny, when we went to see Mo Willems and listen to him read his books. That was a lot of fun.

Wordpress weekly photo challenge: big - big Knufflebunny

WordPress weekly photo challenge: big – big Knufflebunny

BIGGER – this pelican at the San Diego Safari Park. A little spooky… I can only imagine how huge pterodactyls looked.

Wordpress photo challenge: big pelican at the San Diego Safari Park

WordPress photo challenge: big pelican at the San Diego Safari Park

BIGGEST – the Eiffel Tower, of course!

Wordpress photo challenge: big - the Eiffel Tower in Paris

WordPress photo challenge: big – the Eiffel Tower in Paris

WWW Wednesdays – October 10, 2012

WWW Wednesdays

Sorry for the one-day late update. I wanted to finish my book so I could write a review of it after making sure I knew how it would end.

My bookshelf

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore– What I’m currently reading
Tonight I’ll be starting Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore. I could use a funny book right now so I can’t wait. Unfortunately I noticed the font size is again ridiculously small, but I’m ready with my magnifier!

– What I recently finished reading
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. A few of you warned me the beginning of the book was better than the end and you were right. The first half was great and it went downhill from there. I flipped through the last hundred pages because it became too tedious to read every single word. This is quite an amazing story and I’m very glad someone took the time to tell it to the world. This really makes you think about how much science and medicine can progress when given the right human samples, and the ethics involved in the process. The scariest part I read? Apparently it is perfectly legal for any medical institution to do whatever they want with your discarded body parts/tissues, for example after surgery. Unless they plan to make money with them (you’d have to sign a form, and I’m sure this happens ALL the time…), they can use your tissue samples for the advance of science and medicine without your knowledge or consent. The courts see your removed body parts as something you don’t want or need anymore, and they don’t belong to you once they are out. Who knew you’d have to do the same as with mechanics, and ask for your used parts after the procedure?! I found this fact quite shocking, don’t you?

– What I think I’ll read next
The Conflict : How Modern Motherhood Undermines The Status Of Women by Elisabeth Badinter. Carrie at The Write Transition told me I should read it so here I go! I can’t wait to read what a billionaire French compatriot can teach me about motherhood, and how trying to be a great mom undermines my position in society. Yep, if it was only motherhood that undermined women in society…

My kids’ bookshelf

17 kings and 42 elephants by margaret mahyWhat they’re currently reading
I’d like to share three books by Margaret Mahy we’ve been reading:
Down The Back Of The Chair. Dad loses his car keys (ah, men!) so he can’t go to work, which means he can’t get paid. His daughter suggests to look down the back of the chair, where page by page they discover quite a lot of… things. My kids love the effect of surprise every time something else comes out of the chair.
A Busy Day For A Good Grandmother. Mrs Oberon comes to her son’s rescue when he runs out of cock-a-hoop-honey-cake, the only thing that will help her grandson with his teething problems. But she faces quite a few life-threatening obstacles to get there. This book includes a plane ride, a bike ride, a raft ride, and more. I get tired just reading it!
17 kings and 42 elephants. This story doesn’t make much sense but you read it for the ridiculous lines (a delight for anyone appreciating the English language) and the beautiful illustrations, which are silk paintings.

Emily Brown and the thing by Cressida Cowell

Emily Brown and the thing by Cressida Cowell

– What I recently finished reading
Emily Brown And The Thing and That Rabbit Belongs To Emily Brown by Cressida Cowell. We have the French version of Emily Brown And The Thing, a hilarious story about a “thing” who can’t get to sleep and keeps Emily Brown up because he’s worrried about “things”. So we started reading it again after I borrowed That Rabbit Belongs To Emily Brown. In it, the queen keeps asking Emily for Stanley, her stuffed bunny, because he looks loved (read, well used). After Emily refuses her many requests, the queen sends a special team to rabbitnap Stanley at night, which really ticks off Emily. We love the funny, happy ending.

– What I think they’ll read next
I don’t know but I’m sure it will be good stuff. What about you? Any books you or your kids are reading you’d like to share?

If you enjoyed reading this post and would like to receive future postings, please enter your email address and click the Sign Up button at the top right of this page. Thank you for reading!

Impromptu post: and now for something completely different

Well, at least one of you was impressed with the reindeer food art I created with my kids and featured in my recent WordPress Weekly photo challenge on “happy”. When I mentioned to her in the comments section that we often “play” with our food, she wanted to see more. She even gave me a fun opportunity to do it by suggesting me to participate in the Weekly Writing Challenge: And Now For Something Completely Different.

So now you can blame thank Nancy at Spirits Light The Way for this so-silly-it’s-awsome post on… FOOD ART! And this time, I’ll only mention food art I actually meant to create, not the results of my klutziness like this spilled yogurt masterpiece.

Food art: yogurt bunny with spilled yogurt

Food art: yogurt bunny with spilled yogurt

Of course, kids shouldn’t play with their food instead of eating. My kids are good at putting food in their mouths rather than screw around with it. But when we eat out, I find ways to keep them quiet and occupied, especially when they’re done with their meal and I haven’t finished my salad yet. We like to play with words so we often make up jokes, stories, or look for words that rhyme. And sometimes we play with our food.

Grape stems are quite a challenge, because they can contain so many little stems, it’s hard to see shapes in them. But some of them are less cluttered, so it helps. Here are a few examples of what you can do with grape stems. Unfortunately I don’t take enough photos of our food art. There are so many missed opportunities and grape season is almost over!

Food art: reindeer made with grape stems

Food art: reindeer made with grape stems

We’ve made dinosaurs, dogs and other animals with grape stems but unfortunately I don’t have any photos of them. I do have a picture of a giraffe though. It was quite a challenge to find a grape stem that would stand up long enough for me to snap a photo without my four-year old trying to knock it over.

Food art: giraffe made with grape stems

Food art: giraffe made with grape stems

Panda Express seems to be a place where creativity can spur at any moment. When my eldest was five years old, he created this palm tree with celery and a piece of chicken.

Food art: palm tree made with celery and chicken

Food art: palm tree made with celery and chicken

And sometimes you don’t have too do much but pay attention to what’s right in front of your face. I’ve shown you this photo before but for those of you who missed it the first time, I’ve worth its weight in gold. Some people see the face of Jesus on toast. We see pigs! Courtesy of Panda Express, I present you the orange chicken pig, who just appeared on my son’s plate one day. The slogan was right: “Pork, it’s the other white meat!”

Pig made with orange chicken at Panda Express

Pig made with orange chicken at Panda Express

Did you play with your food when you were a kid? Do you do it as a grown-up, alone or with your kids?