I made the girls some pretty, pink, cranberry tinted finger paint this morning, using our usual recipe of 1/2 cup cornstarch, 2 cups water, and 4 tablespoons of sugar cooked and stirred constantly over medium heat, until it begins to thicken.
Except, for the water I used cranberry tinted water (made just like for the cranberry play dough from last year, by steeping 1/4 to 1/2 cup of fresh cranberries in boiling water until cooled, then microwaving it 5 minutes, and allowing it to sit overnight, before straining the cranberries out).
I also added a teaspoon of vanilla to the paint mix, just to make it smell good. And yes, of course we had to taste it - it was very near to a cranberry pudding. So, while the cranberries do nothing to enhance the scent, they do add a very strong cranberry flavor to mix. However, we only took one little taste, because cranberries are quite sour, and that is a lot of cornstarch, and ultimately weren't after a snack, but rather an art project to go along with a reading of Ellin Greene's The Legend of the Cranberry, a Paleo-Indian Tale.
The story is a retelling of a legend from the Delaware Indian tribe, and explains the origins of the cranberry, and the disappearance of the mastodon from the Native perspective. It also serves to highlight the extreme difference of spiritual beliefs between the Pilgrims (who appear at the end of Greene's story), and the Native Americans who introduced them to the sour berries.
In general I don't care for legends as a genre, but this one is well written, beautifully illustrated, and ties mastodons into the Thanksgiving story - how much fun is that?
C (age 5), enjoyed painting pictures of the beasts on a piece of packing paper cut to resemble the skins the women painted on in the story (they used cranberry paint, too).
Then, she moved on to decorating our tepee. In the book the paleo ancestors of the people are depicted as living in wigwamish tepees covered in mastodon (or yahquawhee) hides, so our tepee seemed less out of place today.
As for the paint, it went on light pink, but dried darker into a perfect - cranberry shade.
It's great to be a homeschooler.