I just sent Mikey to bed after finishing the second to last project of the school year. He has one more book report + project and the year of project-based learning is over! Don’t get me wrong–this was an incredible year of growth for Mikey and the kids in his class. They’re a competitive bunch as it is, but the changes I have seen in them since the beginning of the year is amazing. I see kids 1st through 7th in the library, and the 4th grade class is easily the best behaved and most well read. They think on a different level than even the older kids. I already appreciate everything Mikey’s teacher has done this year, but I think I will appreciate it twice as much next year when we don’t have as many projects. This year was like childbirth.
May was the month of The Cooking Project. The kids had to cook a meal for the family using a recipe and doing no less than 90% of the work. The family filled out review cards and assigned stars to the meal. Then, Mikey had to double and triple the recipe, but only on paper. Part of the goal of this project was to work with fractions. It was interesting watching Mikey figure out what to do when he needed 1/8 of a teaspoon of paprika when he only had a 1/4 teaspoon measure.
Mikey made his favorite Cozy Cheesy Potato Casserole from Jessica’s Not Your Mother’s Make Ahead and Freeze Cookbook. Are you tired of me talking about that cookbook yet? Too bad. I really do love its simplicity and solid recipes. This is easily my favorite cookbook, and I have two shelves to choose from.
I don’t have permission from the publisher to share the recipe, but I can share a link to the cream of celery soup Mikey had to make in order to put together the rest of the casserole. If I could describe the casserole, I would say it’s a lot like Funeral Potatoes or Church Potatoes or a Hash Brown Casserole, but not so soupy/cheesy/greasy. It’s a clean version of the standby, I guess.
Nico and I: not fans of casseroles. Nico also despises cheese unless it’s on pizza, so I had a backup dinner in mind. He knew he had to try it, though, so he asked me for the smallest portion possible. Then he girded his loins and approached his plate like a soldier walking into battle. Turns out, he loved it and had seconds. He gave it 5 stars and wrote: “It was so good I cood cry!” I also liked it, believe it or not.
Mikey was so happy, so proud. It made the agony of staying quiet while he fumbled around the kitchen well worth the extra gray hairs, though I still say that watching him grate cheese should be adopted by the government as a torture device.