Sunday, November 29, 2009

Parenting Tip #79

If your child wants to do a school project using walnut shells, just say no.

That is the short version of my story. Here is the long version, so if you have a minute or two, grab a snack and make yourself comfortable.

This is our first year of school projects. Those projects which are assigned several weeks ahead of the due date, require some creativity, a bit of time, and parents realize they are their own worst enemy. (How much help is too much help? How much help is too little help?)

Assignment: Research an early explorer and create a mobile, ship, write a paper, ... to share information about that early explorer.

First, JT said he wanted to make a mobile. OK, that sounds like fun. Then he said, "I want it to be a ship mobile." Again, OK. Let's do some research on mobiles themselves and decide how to construct it.

First mistake.

We found information on walnut boats, guess what he wanted to make his ships out of?

So, I said yes.

Second mistake.

I am now convinced that only two types of people work with walnut shells. Martha Stewart types and those who have never worked with them before.

I am not Martha Stewart, and until this weekend I never attempted to make walnut shell boats. After this weekend, I will never again venture toward any craft requiring walnut shells.

First, where do you find walnuts, still in the shell? That was easy enough, being the holidays and all, every grocery store in town has bags of whole walnuts.

Second, how do you cleanly crack walnut shells in half. Thank you Google, and the many, many blogs out there that do cover such topics. How did anyone accomplish anything in the years before Google? And who spends their days figuring out how to cleanly crack a walnut shell? Not that I'm complaining or anything, I'm very glad you did, but ...?

Instructions on cracking walnuts shells found here: Debbie Thinks Deep.

So, after stabbing my hand with a steak knife (which no longer hurts since slicing my finger tip with a Creative Memories Cutting System Blade, but I digress) and singeing them on the hot walnuts (handling the first 15 weren't that hot, it was the last 15) we obtained enough cleanly split walnuts to get to work.

However, the work did not end there. Though the walnuts were split I still had to dig out the nuts themselves, or the "meat" of the nut. Do nuts go bad, moldy smelly bad, once the shells are open? Just wondering, in cases I didn't completely clean out the shells. ***And if some of you are wondering why my son is not doing all the hard work please reread the paragraph above. Sharp knives were involved, and a bit of stabbing. OK, moving on.

The mobile is completed, hopefully I'll get a picture of it to post. It doesn't look half bad, and maybe the walnuts were worth the trouble.

So the moral of the story, if you have never used walnuts for a craft, and you are not Martha Stewart, then considered yourself warned.

Oh, by the way, does anyone know what to do with roasted walnuts? Please send me recipes.

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