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Attention all of our fabulous wordpress users!

We’ve changed domain servers…and so, essentially, we’ve moved!
Be sure to catch our new look and all of our latest posts at

SUMMER OF FUNNER
http://www.summeroffunner.com

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All the best,

Roseanne

Summer of Funner : The Lunchbox Season : In Defense of Burning
sofprettyheader funlbs Screen Shot 2013-09-18 at 2.12.22 PM

Thanks for a Fabulous Summer! Stay Tuned for The Lunchbox Season!

Summeroffunner2013

The Summer is Over! But, Have No Fear!
The Lunchbox Season will be up and running in early September!

Summer of Funner would like to THANK YOU for a FABULOUS SUMMER! If you have a look at our original 2013 Summer Bucket List, to the right, you’ll noticed we ticked off most of Summer Must-Haves! And we managed to write posts for most of them, too!:   Play Ping-PongPaint with Home-made Ice Paints, Play Candy Math, Discover Toronto’s NeighbourhoodsReadTales of Mystery & ImaginationMake Pink Lemonade Jelly and AMAZING PINK LEMONADE CREAM BARSDecorate & Draw in our Yesterday BooksVisit Family in Boston, Take Long Naps, Have Paper Airplane RacesTry Homemade Greek Yogurt PopsiclesInvent a Dystopia & Write its Hero StoryBake from thePeaches CookbookMake PicklesRead & Write “Villain” Poems,“Map” Gulliver’s Travels, Learn About Weather ScienceHave a Backyard Camp-Out!Imagine Like Bradbury!, Water Games, Learn New Piano MusicBake Strawberry  Donuts  [Cognac] Buttermilk Cake, Read Asterix! Tin-Tin in FrenchAct-Out a few lines from Shakespeare on the PorchIllustrate a Scene from the Faerie QueeneTry “Face” Painting, Make a Mess in the Bathtub, Create Cardboard Cities  Targets for Party Games, Have our annual Summer of Funner Film Festival!Rewrite BeowulfTell Ghost Stories.

And we’re still looking forward to trying the remainder of our ideas in the fall on our sister site, The Lunchbox SeasonMake Newspaper Boats,  Go Bird-Watching, Make and Use Tin-Can Telephones, Kids Make Dinner for Mama & Papa, Create & Play Outdoor Scrabble, Design and Fly Paper Kites, Try Homemade Limeade, Make Marionettes. In fact, we’ll be creating a whole new “Bucket List” for Fall 2013 with these and several more activities!!! 

Also, we have a bit of good news!  We have grown by leaps and bounds! So much so, that over the next few days, we’ll be transitioning Summer of Funner [www.summeroffunner.com], The Lunchbox Season [www.thelunchboxseason.com] and In Defense of Burning [www.roseannecarrara.com] to a self-hosted platform. No worries!  We’ll still have the same web addresses! And if you’re one of our lucky subscribers, we have it on good authority that your subscriptions will remain in tact!   Self-hosting, however, will give us the flexibility to manage what you see and don’t see on the site, to make our pages even more beautiful, and to amp up our involvement in the online community. We have some more good news regarding a specific new family-friendly partnership for Summer of Funner and The Lunchbox Season, but we’ll be keeping that mum until things become a bit more official this fall.

Best to you all!
And we hope to see you over at The Lunchbox Season in just a few days!!!

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Summer of Funner Film Festival 2013: Dystopian and Urban Films

summeroffunnerfilmfestival2013
Last year, we had quite a formal Summer Film festival. We made tickets and produced a “Film Review” worksheet for the kids.  This year, our Film Festival was fairly casual, but we still managed to produce quite a dialogue about each movie. There was a nice mix between new, popular releases and older classics. Many of the movies tied in with our Summer Books theme, which was loosely “Dystopian” and with our desire to explore the city and others like it, ergo the “Urban.”

Summer of Funner Film Festival 2013

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, 2010, dir Wright

Now You See Me, 2013, dir Leterrier

Monty Python and the Holy Grail, 1973, dir Gilliam & Jones

Macbeth
BBC Animated Shakespeare Macbeth
1978, Starring Ian Mckellen and Judi Dench: A Performance of Macbeth
Macbeth
, 1948, dir Welles
Macbeth, 1971, dir Polanski
[See also, Summer Books: Comparing Performances of Macbeth]

Star Trek:
Star Trek, 2009, dir Abrams
Star Trek Into Darkness, 2013, dir Abrams

Pacific Rim, 2013, dir del Toro

Logan’s Run, 1976, dir Anderson

Gulliver’s Travels:
Gulliver’s Travels 1996, dir Sturrige, starring Ted Danson
Max Fleischer’s Gulliver’s Travels 1939, dir Fleischer
[See also, Summer Books: Mapping Gulliver’s Travels]

Much Ado About Nothing, 2013, dir Whedon

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Summer Books: Imagine Like Bradbury, Story Sketches and Dystopian Novel “Teasers”

Summer Books Imagine Like Bradbury Story Sketches and Dystopian Novel Teasers

Today, I got the kids hooked on Ray Bradbury. I read the kids two of my favourite short stories, “A Sound of Thunder” and “Dark They Were, And Golden Eyed.” In the first story, Eckels signs up for a “Time Safari” and heads off into the past to shoot a dinosaur. He steps off of the prescribed pathyway, however, and what happens there effects a palpable transformation of his home on his return. In the second tale, a family immigrates to Mars, only to be slowly transformed from human to martian. The kids liked the father of the family’s heightened consciousness and his longer-held resistance to the transformation.

The kids sketched in their Yesterday Books as I read the story. Then, we did something similar to our Re-telling Beowulf project from the beginning of the summer. First, I had the kids sit down for 15 minutes and think of a dystopian setting as well as a heroic character living in that dystopia. I gave them examples from the story to consider, as well as popular faves like The Hunger Games and Divergent. I had them sketch out or pre-write the details of that dystopia as well as its main character in their books. Finally, I had them improvise a “teaser” for the start of the novel by speaking it aloud, and I typed it out for all of you readers. I am hoping that this little exercise will be the basis for a larger project of inventing a dystopia and writing a hero story over the course of the fall, for our sister site The Lunchbox Season.

Below, you’ll find pics of the kids’ sketches of Bradbury’s stories, followed by their own improvised “Dystopian Novel ‘Teasers'”

Bradbury Story Sketches:
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IMG_7393 IMG_7404IMG_7405 IMG_7406 IMG_7407 IMG_7394 IMG_7395 IMG_7396 IMG_7397 IMG_7398 IMG_7399 IMG_7409 IMG_7410 IMG_7411 IMG_7412 IMG_7413 IMG_7414

Dystopian Novel ‘Teasers’:

T’s work in progress: Nugget

Once there was a boy named Airside, and he had a dog named Nugget. His planet’s name was Aerounsies. They didn’t like their home planet because everybody has to die when they turn 18. One day, they decided that they would go to Mars. But, the people of Mars didn’t want let them land because they didn’t like the Aerounsie people. So they had to force their way to Mars with taser guns. Suddenly, Aerounsies blew up. They were stranded on Mars for the rest of their lives. The aliens on Mars originally looked weird to Airside and Nugget. They had they had three horns, their bodies were made of grass, and no eyes. But, they strangely turned into humans like the ones on Aerounsies as time went on. This made Airside and Nugget nervous, because the human-martians were going to want to kill them when they turned 18, just like on Aeronsies. So, Airside and Nugget decided they wanted to leave Mars. But when they started to leave Mars, time froze. Everything went silent. And nothing moved again except for Airside and Nugget. What will Airside and Nugget do next?

Bea’s work in Progress: Io, the World of War [Possible Sequel title: Io, the World Beyond the Gates]

Years ago, Diana’s father Rupert and her mother Anastatsia escaped from Earth when there was a terrible plague. The civilization went to Io, one of the moons of Saturn [yes, I know that’s different from us, it’s jupiter’s moon, here on real Earth]. Years ago, Io had volcanoes. But now they were just mountains in the distance. Nobody really knew if the mountains were still in action or not, but they assumed they were safe. Now they lived in three towns supposedly named after people who stayed on earth and died courageously to get the people safely to Io and out of the plague. Each town was confined to a certain living based on the peoples’ personality. Agworth the brave, Cecile the farmer, and Tom the Truthful. [It was all I could come up with in 5 minutes]. Each year, if you were 12 years old, you would fight for your tribe so they would have food. [Sound familiar?] When it came time for Diana to fight for Agworth, she didn’t’ want to fight, but she didn’t’ want to let down her tribe either. She stole some food from Cecile. That got her in big trouble with the government of all tribes. She was banished from all cities with her friend Emily, from Cecile, who supposedly helped her steal from her OWN tribe. What will Diana and Emily find outside of civilization?

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“Face” Painting

Summer of Funner Introduces FACE Painting

On Friday, the kids had a friend over, and, already outfitted for the water,  we did a little “face” painting before we hit the splash pad.

What’s “face” painting?

Painting with your hands at your sides…using your nose, cheeks, forehead, what have you. Here are the artists at work:
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The kids were surprisingly tidy with this project. Half of the group restricted their “paint brush” to their noses alone. Bea got into it a bit more with her cheeks.  I was expecting results similar to our action paintings from Bea’s birthday pARTy a few years ago. Instead, we had very lovely, almost minimalist abstracts!  What a nice surprise!

Here are some of our results, followed by a brief DIY:
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Summer of Funner Introduces FACE Painting
Face” Painting DIY

Supplies
Blank Paper
Small Plates
Washable Tempera Paints in various colours
Swim goggles or sunglasses [optional]
Hair ties or headbands [optional]
Baby Wipes [optional]

Method
If the kids aren’t old or wise enough to keep their eyes clear of the paint, put them in swim goggles or sunglasses [optional].
Secure long hair with ties or headbands [optional].
Pour small puddles of paints on plates.
Keeping your hands behind your back, use your face to pick up paint and paint a picture.
Use the baby wipes to clean noses, or hose them down, or take them to a splash pad….
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Summer Books: Mapping Gulliver’s Travels

Mapping Gulliver's Travels
This week, we read portions of Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, and we watched two film versions: a somewhat-faithful 3-hour television movie from 1996 starring Ted Danson; and the first non-Disney animated movie from the late 1930s.  The kids had certain favourite moments from the tale. They absolutely loved the final two sections of the travels, particularly the Houyhnhnms of book four [the talking horses who point out the brutality of the human race] and, from book three, the philosophers from the flying island of Laputa [those fellows who require a good swatting in order to regain consciousness]. Their favour of the latter books, of course, proves how important it is to introduce kids to ALL of the books in Swift’s Gulliver, not simply the wee Lilliputians and the Brobdingnagian giants of the first two, which tend to receive the most treatment in film and media.

Here’s our media list and a suggested book for smaller fry or early readers:
Gulliver’s Travels [1726] Jonathan Swift
Gulliver’s Travels [1996], dir Charles Sturrige, starring Ted Danson
Max Fleischer’s Gulliver’s Travels [1939], dir Max Fleischer
A kiddie version for younger readers: Stepping Stones: Gulliver’s Travels adapted by Nick Eliopulos

Over the weekend, Blaise showed the kids a selection of “maps” of imagined places in the front matter of various works of fiction. [We decided to show them alternative models as opposed to the maps that sometimes accompany the Gulliver book so as not to get in the way of their own imagining.] Then, with large pieces of paper and the full complement of art supplies [pens, pencils, oil pastels, sharpies, you name it], the kids drew their own versions of a “map” of Gulliver’s travels.
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Here are the final results:
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IMG_7324 IMG_7325
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Pickle Day 2013: Make It Spicy!

Pickle Day 2013 Make it Spicy

The first man I saw… had been eight years upon a project for extracting sunbeams out of cucumbers, which were to be put in phials hermetically sealed, and let out to warm the air in raw inclement summers. He told me, he did not doubt, that, in eight years more, he should be able to supply the governor’s gardens with sunshine, at a reasonable rate.  Gulliver’s Travels, Part 3, Chapter 5.

We’ve been reading Gulliver’s Travels this week, and, when we got to the part where the scientists at the academy in Lagado were trying to extract sunlight from cucumbers, the kids reminded me that we hadn’t yet put up any of our famous Bread & Butter Pickles! Needless to say, we went right out and picked up some baskets of summer-fresh pickling cucumbers….far too many cukes, actually…almost double the amount we trucked home last year!

So, in addition to our classic Bread & Butter Pickles and Sweet & Tangy Pickle Relish, we decided to “put the heat” right back into those cucumbers….And, we came up with three new Spicy! recipes:  Gochujang Pickle Sticks, Summer-Hot Cucumber Pickle Sticks, and, finally, Spicy, Sweet, & Tangy Pickle Relish.

Gochujang Pickle Sticks
Gochujang Pickle Sticks

Makes approximately 6 pints


IMG_7218IMG_7217Since our trip to Boston, I have become OBSESSYESYESYESYESSED with Gochujang [Korean Red Pepper Paste] and I’ve been adding it to all of my hot lunches!  You can pick it up at Asian markets, some major grocery stores and select health food stores. And I’ll pass on the tip I was given: when shopping for Gochujang, look for a minimum amount of ingredients in the paste – ie red peppers, water, rice vinegar, and sugar – and avoid MSG.  This recipe makes for a mild spiced pickle, but you can amp up the heat by adding the optional pepper flakes and hot sauce below.

9 c quartered pickles [small pickles, about 4 in long]
2 c sliced vidalia onions
2 c sliced green hungarian peppers
1 c sliced red pepper
5-6 cloves garlic
.25 c pickling salt
4 c cider vinegar
4 c sugar [we used 2 brown, 2 white]
2 tbs somewhat recklessly diced ginger
5 tbs gochujang [Korean red pepper paste]
3 tbs fish sauce
3 tbs sriracha or other hot sauce [optional – but highly recommended]
1-3 tsp red chili flakes [optional]
1 small dried red chill for the bottom of each jar [optional]
See Method Below! 

Summer-hot cucumber pickle sticks

Summer-Hot Cucumber Pickle Sticks
Makes about 6 pints
9 c quartered pickles [small pickles, about 4 in long]
2 c sliced vidalia onions
2 c sliced green hungarian peppers
1 c sliced red pepper
4-6 sliced jalapeno peppers
5-6 cloves garlic
.25 c pickling salt
4 c cider vinegar
1 c white vinegar
1 c water
3 c sugar [1 brown, 2 white]
2 tbs dill seeds
2 tbs mustard seeds
1 tbs turmeric
1 tbs celery seed
1 tbs ground mustard
1 tbs red flakes
2 tbs black peppercorns
a few splashes of your favourite hot sauce [optional]Gochujang and Summer-Hot Pickle Sticks: Method

IMG_7209Slice and Crisp your Veggies:
Crank up the music or turn on your favourite movies and slice all of your veggies.
In a large bowl or stock pot, mix the veggies, garlic, and pickling salt.
Place a thick layer of crushed ice over the top of the veggies.
Cover the pot and refrigerate it for at least 4 hours, but no more than about 12.

Sterilize your Jars:
Fill your canning pot with water and bring the water to a boil.
Place 6-12 pint-sized mason jars [or the equivalent] on a canning rack set inside the pot to sterilize and warm.
Meanwhile, warm the canning lids [but not the screw tops – we stack ours aside on a meat cleaver] in a small pot of water set upon your smallest burner.
Remove hot jars from the boiling water with tongs or the like and set upside-down to dry.
Keep that canning pot of water boiling.

Spicy! Pickle:
Drain the veggie mixture in a colander (rinse if you’d like) and set aside.
In a large stock pot, combine sugar, vinegar, seeds and spices.
Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, just until sugar dissolves.
Add the veggie mixture to the pot, careful not to splatter.
Bring the mixture back to a boil and then remove the pot from the heat.

Can it!:
For the Gochujang pickles, drop a dry red chili in the bottom of each jar. [Optional]
Using a ladle and a canning funnel, fill your hot pint jars with the hot veggies and liquid, leaving .5-in headspace at the top of the jar [ie fill the jar with veg and hot vinegar to .5 in below the very top of the glass jar].
Place warm lids on jars and attach the screw tops so that they are closed but not ridiculously lock-tight.
Place the filled jars in a rack in the boiling water of your canning pot.
Cover the canner and bring the water back to a boil.
When you have returned to a full boil, process [leave] in the boiling water for 10 minutes.
Remove the jars and set aside to cool on wire racks or a surface that isn’t heat sensitive.
Make sure that all of the lids have made that “popping” noise and are depressed/concave.
IMG_7242 IMG_7243
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Spicy Sweet and Tangy Pickle Relish
Spicy, Sweet and Tangy Pickle Relish 

makes approximately 6 half pints

4 c finely chopped pickling or fresh cucumbers
2 c finely chopped onion
2 c finely chopped red, orange, and/or yellow sweet peppers
2-3 finely chopped jalapeños [we removed the pith and seeds]
.25 c pickling salt
2.5 c sugar [we used 2 brown, 1 white]
2.5 c cider vinegar
2 tbs mustard seeds
1 tbs celery seeds
2-3 tsp tumeric
3-4 tbs your favourite hot sauce
1 heaping tsp cinnamon
1 heaping tsp ground mustard
.5-1 tsp red pepper flakes
.25 tsp ground clovesMethodSlice and Crisp your Veggies:
Finely chop your cucumbers, onions, and peppers. You may want to use a food processor to get a nice dice, but be careful not to overprocess your veg into mush.
In a large glass, ceramic or melamine bowl, combine chopped veggies with pickling salt just to coat.
Add cold water to the mixture by the .5 cup just to cover.
Cover and set aside on a counter for about 2 hours – just long enough for a movie.

Sterilize your Jars:
Fill your canning pot with water and bring the water to a boil.
Place 6 250ml [half-pint] jars [or the equivalent] on a canning rack set inside the pot to sterilize and warm.
Meanwhile, warm the canning lids [but not the screw tops – we stack ours aside on a meat cleaver] in a small pot of water set upon your smallest burner.
Remove hot jars from the boiling water with tongs or the like and set upside-down to dry.
Keep that canning pot of water boiling.

Spicy! Pickle your Relish:
Drain the veggies in a colander.
Rinse with cold water and allow to drain again.
In a large stainless or enamel pot, combine sugar, vinegar, seeds, spices, and hot sauce.
Boil and stir occasionally until the sugar dissolves.
Add the veggie mix to the pot, being careful not to splatter.
Reurn the mixture to a boil.
Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes.
At this point, most of the “excess” liquid will have evaporated and your relish will look like relish.
If you think it looks too watery, use a slotted spoon to fill your jars.

Can it!
Use a ladle [or a slotted spoon – see above] and a canning funnel to fill your hot jars with the hot relish.
Leave .5-in headspace at the top of the jar [i.e. fill the jar with relish to .5 in below the very top of the glass jar].
Place warm lids on jars and attach the screw tops so that they are closed but not ridiculously lock-tight.
Place the filled jars in a rack in the boiling water of your canning pot.
Cover the canner and bring the water back to a boil.
Process in the boiling water for 10 minutes.
Remove the jars and set them aside to cool.
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