Love, crystallized, and growing things….

First, a shameless plug. I have no dignity right now – I’m trying to win a contest for my lady. If you’re on Facebook (and you likely are, or you would probably not be reading this) please click on this picture to vote for us: Kiss & Tail contest

The Kansas City Zoo is hosting an event for Valentine’s Day that features a lively discussion of animals and their love lives, as well as a special viewing of Nikita, the Polar Bear. Lawrence.com is hosting a contest that will give the top ten photos free tickets, and the winner, a limo ride and champagne. My sweetie really deserves something special this winter, so if you could vote for us, it would mean the world to me. You may have to “like” lawrence.com before you can like the picture.

Now, a real blog entry….

Since J.J. is currently in between preschools, and she and I have way too much free time in the mornings, I’ve designated 10:30 as our time for a learning activity. We do projects all the time, but in a very willy-nilly fashion – it’s nice to know that 10:30 in the morning, every morning, we can do something fun and educational.

Yesterday, we got to talking about how candy is made, which sparked the idea to *make* candy. Well, I have very limited stores in my cabinets at present, and didn’t really want to invest the time into finding a recipe suitable for a four-year-old and then making a huge mess – that sort of thing takes some planning. We were flying by the seats of our pants. So I suggested rock candy.

She instantly liked the idea. Not only did she like the idea, she got to learn a little about crystals, too – how there are different kinds of crystals, some we can eat, some we can’t. Ever since we did the project, she’s been noticing crystals everywhere – in the freezer, in the snow, pictures, etc.

Here’s what we did:

We put 1 cup of water on the stove, just under medium heat. To this, we added 1 cup of sugar. As this dissolved, we gradually added the remaining cup of sugar (2 cups total). We watched carefully, stirring constantly to keep the dissolution going and make sure it didn’t boil.

Stirring with a silly face watching intently

Once the sugar was dissolved in the water, I affixed two strings to each of the lids of two pint-sized jars. I had some leftover salsa and olive jars for the job. I slowly poured in the hot syrup, half in each jar, and she added food coloring and stirred each one up. We put the lids on so that the strings were in the syrup, but we did not attach the lids, so the sugar would have air to breathe, and crystallize.

Better than watching grass grow

In about 45 minutes, we came back to look at the progress that was being made, and we could already see a layer of crystals forming on the top!

pink, 45 minutes later purple, 45 minutes later

She’s been watching it ever since. I’ll post more pics later, as new results develop. Right now, a day later, it’s got a nice cloudy appearance to it, where the crystals are forming, and still some liquid running around. We were able to break off a small crystal (about the size of a pencil eraser), which she examined closely before popping into her mouth. “It’s bigger than I imagined it would be,” she announced as she crunched.

I’m itching to get my garden started. I’ve just found out that I am one of two people who will be primarily responsible for our preschool’s community garden. I cannot begin to describe how stoked I am! I also have just found out that, when we move onto “the compound,” as we’re affectionately calling our new digs, the guy who owns the place and is my lady’s new boss, is totally into my idea of a shared garden.

So after two years of twitching from garden withdrawal, I get to have TWO GARDENS!!! It’s January, so I feel like it’s time to order seeds. I guess I should be looking at catalogs. I really like Baker Creek, located in the Ozarks near Silver Dollar City. They’re regional, so I don’t worry about shipping so much, and their selection is AMAZING. I also like Seed Savers, which is an organization that collects seeds of long-forgotten or almost-lost strains, but their prices are a little high sometimes.

What are some other good places to get seeds? There’s a seed exchange coming up in February at the Douglas County Fairgrounds, but I can’t wait that long to get my hands on them! I need seeds now!

-Juana Bee

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About Juana Bee

I'm raising two beautiful and brilliant kiddos who inspire me everyday, with my life partner who likewise challenges and inspires me.
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2 Responses to Love, crystallized, and growing things….

  1. Mandi says:

    Rick’s parents have a green house plus a garden at his grandparents so they have tons of seed catalogs. I will ask them about good places. I know they get some stuff at Planter’s down at city market in Kansas City as well.

  2. Juana Bee says:

    YAY!

    Also, I cannot help but laugh at the first picture of the rock-candy experience. Does she not look like she’s planning dastardly things??

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