Monday, April 18, 2011

double, double toil and trouble

Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the caldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg, and owlet's wing,—
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.

Elizabeth: "Mom, can I have baking powder, cinnamon, cocoa powder, glue, water and a pair of insect wings?"

Me: "I can help you with the first 4 ingredients, the water's in the faucet, and well, you're on your own with the insect wings."

Elizabeth has been in a concoction-making phase lately. Most of the concoctions I don't mind, as long as she doesn't try to appropriate any of my more expensive ingredients. With an admonishment to "not make a mess", I mostly leave her to her own devices although it can be funny to watch, smell and wash the containers of her more elaborate medleys.

I did have to put a stop to the plundering of the kitchen glassware as I kept finding Finn's small glasses laying in mud puddles in the backyard. Her handy solution was a request that we stop by Goodwill for a small glass container of her own. She spent 20 minutes checking out every container available before settling on the one to become her cauldron. A bit of black paint and her cauldron was fit for any manner of potion.

Of course, it's not satisfactory to merely own a cauldron. One needs a good potion book to brew a proper elixir. When I inquired as to the purpose of the potions, she gave me a questioning look.

"What are you trying to accomplish?" I asked. "Are you making a potion for turning pesky little brother sweet or a potion to make a new fascinating book appear?" My questions were impatiently answered with, "Mom! These potions aren't magic! They are just potions to see what happens when you mix certain things."

So there you have it. One part witch's brew, one part scientific inquiry. But always in a cauldron, of course.

She recently remembered the many times in the past that we've made slime. "Mom, may I please have the recipe for slime?" I decided to give her the ingredients but not the recipe. "Just mix them together and see when the slime appears," I shrugged.

She might have added a bit too much borax because instead of slime she had a gelatinous blob that resembled a rubber bouncing ball. But if I had given her the recipe, she wouldn't know what happens when you add a bit more borax than glue.

On a somewhat related note, Elizabeth's class was supposed to bring home a grid showing the amount of screen time they view this week. Elizabeth told me about the paper, then mentioned nonchalantly, "but I left mine at school because we don't really watch things or play video games." I couldn't help but think how glad I am that our family chooses to largely forego screen time because who would make a cauldron and swipe my kitchen ingredients if a screen were blaring in the background.


  1. Exactly. Elizabeth is such a creative little girl. I loved reading about her cauldron and her potions. So cute!

  2. It reminds me of the Axiom of Maria Prophetissa, central to alchemy. "One becomes two, two becomes three, and out of the third comes the one as the fourth." One, Elizabeth's hands-on curiosity becomes two, the witch's brew that becomes three, scientific inquiry that combines all three into alchemy, the fourth as the one. She's looking for the elixir of life, the philosopher's stone, the Mysterium Coniunctionis! She's so cute, our little alchemist!

  3. You are better than me..I am so afraid of what can happen if I let them create all on their own. I hope I will loosen up when I grown some more people up and I can trust they will really take care of it on their own!
    p.s thank you for always saying the sweetest things on my blog..
    p.s sorry about the anonymous sign off..I could not sign in!!

  4. I love making concoctions. :)
    In a cauldron, of course!

  5. Oh Elizabeth, how I have missed your creativeness (as well as you, Joy and your whole family!). Love this post, and a late congrats on your new job title ;)

  6. I missed this yesterday b/c our internet was down. I used to do the SAME thing when I was a girl. (only I was dumb enough to try and drink my concoctions). And Zach does the same, complete with "recipe" book. They should compare notes one day (how many times have I yelled "don't use our organic coco in your potions!") I love that you did not tell her how to do the slime. Wise mama. And yes, let's hear it for next-to-no screen time. Honestly, I don't know when in our day we could fit it in :)

  7. We are guilty of perhaps too much screen time over here...that said, the kids enjoy many hours of crafts over here (of course they don't compare to YOUR crafts!!) I will say, that awesome cauldron takes the cake...I love what you do over there!!


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