Saturday, March 19, 2011

30 days of books - cloudy with a chance of meatballs... play with your food and build a stale-bread lifeboat!

Happy Saturday everyone! 
i'm so excited today to be a part of the Read-Along 

hosted by the lovely Polly from Helping Little Hands. Hi to all of you who are stopping by today. Welcome to the hullabaloo!

Today's book is Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, by Judi Barrett.

This was, hands down, my FAVORITE book as a young child. 

The illustrations are enchantingly line-drawn and detailed, 

and the story is imaginative and whimsical, a frame-story told in a wonderfully deadpan tone. 

... and it all but begs every red-blooded kid to dig in, and... 
Play with your food!!

and so, naturally, we did. 
over a period of four days, we ate a quantity of GIGANTIC food (inviting some of our favorite toys to join in the fun), and undertook one intriguing, boat-building craft. (apologies if this post is somewhat long... i had planned to divide it into four parts, but with so many great books to look at this month, we just had to pack it all in!)

take a look!
we started the week off with a 
Giant Pancake Breakfast.

our first attempts were... less than perfectly successful.

but we caught on quickly enough (use two spatulas to flip!), and soon the skillet-sized cakes were ready and the table was set, with a special friend sitting at each spot. 

maple syrup, powdered sugar and some homemade strawberry syrup (water, sugar and strawberry preserves boiled together for about 10 minutes) are some of our favorite toppings. 

The stack.

Before the feasting commenced, everyone set up their guys that the full effect of the enormous pancakes might be felt.

dig in!

the aftermath. 

these were a total hit.

and so, after the success of the giant breakfast, a giant dinner was planned.

SuperSized Pizza

we used a homemade pizza crust recipe which can be found HERE, and added a bunch of yummy toppings. 

we rolled out the dough so that what would have been enough for a whole pizza, was shaped into one giant slice. (which looked even bigger when sprinkled with mini pepperoni!)

everyone loaded on their favorite toppings...

and all were sufficiently astounded at the gargantuan results. 

Big, remarkable, and delicious. What could be better?

how about.... 
A Giant Donut 
for dessert!!

For this, we used a special, secret recipe of my grandmother's (which i will share with you at the bottom of the post :)
and baked it all in a formspring pan.

when it was finished, we cut out the center and shaped the rest into a more donut-like form. it didn't take long for that donut hole to disappear. 

We warmed some basic chocolate frosting in a pan, and poured it over the cake. (we might have gone a little overboard on the glaze... but only a little.) A smattering of colorful sprinkles were the final touch. 

and with a giant, donut-cake sitting around, it wasn't long before the lego guys made an appearance... 
running in terror from a delicious chocolaty doom. 

...and if the boys get to play, you can be sure annika can't be far behind. 
Strawberry Shortcake looks out her window at the elephantine confection, with surprise and delight. 

this cake is AMAZING. but aside from being large enough to crush an entire (miniature) village, it is also SUPER rich. Consume at your own risk. 


With the food digested, and out of the way, a craft project was in order! We decided to build escape-boats out of stale bread, just like they did in the book. 

We rounded up some bread that had been sitting out for a few hours, and some other supplies,

and set to work.

Mortaring the slices together with peanut butter,

adding masts made of carrots or green beans, cheese-slice sails, and some trisket details.

Here's owen's lifeboat. 

And annika's. It has a happy rudder. 

Max's was apparently irresistible. 

The Fleet

and because we can't do much in this house without it turning into a science experiment...
we decided they must be tested for efficacy in an actual flotation experience... i.e.: let's put 'em in the bathtub and see if they float!

They did not. 
Not even a little. 

So, the hypothesis was formed that perhaps they would float better if we were to substitute toasted bread for the mere 'slightly stale' bread that we had used before. 

New boats were fashioned.

And with high hopes, the toasted fleet was launched.


Even with the masts removed for the sake of balance, these floated for approximately four seconds before succumbing to the deep. 

Moral of the story (of a most beloved and superbly crafted story)... don't build a lifeboat out of stale bread. 

(although, I heard owen and max later, discussing how they could waterproof the bread boats... there may be more boat-building in our future.) 


and in case these activities weren't enough, and you've a hankering for more 'Meatballs' fun, check out these other great ideas!

Whatever you do, be sure to hop over to Helping Little Hands and see what everyone else has been reading.
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and finally, 
As promised, 
The divine triple chocolate semi-homemade chocolate cake recipe

1 Devil's Food Cake mix
1 3oz package chocolate instant pudding mix
4 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil.
1 1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup strong coffee
1 cup (or more!) semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Combine all ingredients, 
Pour into well-greased pan,
Bake for 55 minutes to one hour. 


linking up to:

We Play

Shibley Smiles

play academy


Polly @ Helping Little Hands said...

This looks like so much fun! It's nice to give kids a chance to play with their food once in a while!

quiverfull said...

i'm usually a sticker for table manners... but there's always room for fun! and it's great to find activities that ALL the kids (even the teenagers!) can sink their teeth into.

Melissa @ The Chocolate Muffin Tree said...

WOW! You look like you have Great fun with your kids!
Thanks for the compliments about our recycled tube collage---we have it proudly hanging in he living room now!

phasejumper said...

I LOVE this!! Food art is fun!

Crystal said...

Mmmmm. I'm loving the look of that giant donut right now! Fun!!!

Tricia at Mom is the Only Girl said...

I absolutely love your creativity with this idea! Awesome!

Raising a Happy Child said...

It's fantastic how many good ideas can be had from one book! Thanks for joining WMCIR!

Brimful Curiosities said...

Ha, Ha...I look forward to seeing if you can get one of those bread boats to float!

JDaniel4's Mom said...

All the cooking and science activities look wonderful! Curious George looks so cute in his hat.

Thanks for linking to Read.Explore.Learn.

Kelly said...

Looks like some yummy times at your house!

Stopping by from Read.Explore.Learn.

Briana said...

awesome, it looks like you had as much fun doing this as I had reading about it! great job. Come visit us at sometime.