Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Magical Milk

I did this experiment for the first time a few years ago.  It's very similar to the fireworks in a jar activity and just as much fun...perhaps even more fun.


Supplies:
-Milk (Higher fat content works best)
-Bowl
-Q Tip
-Food Coloring
-Dish Soap

Directions:

Pour enough milk to cover the bottom of the bowl.   Put a few drops of each of the colors in the center of the milk.



Dip on end of the Q-Tip into dish soap, then give the kids their "magic wands" and let them dip their wands in the center of the food coloring. It's important to tell the kids to only dip their wands in the milk and NOT stir.


Then sit and watch the colors spread, swirl, and mix!  If the swirling slows down...dip the soapy Q-Tip back in the bowl.


If you want to know more about the science behind this experiment I would recommend reading Steve Spangler's Website.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

PB&J Sushi

My son hates eating the crust off the bread.  Every time I make him a sandwich or toast he makes me cut it off.  I can't blame him...I remember not liking the crust of the bread either as a kid.  So I found this cute and fun way to eat PB&J's without the crust.




Ingredients:
2 tablespoons Peanut Butter
2 tablespoons Strawberry Jelly or Preserves of your choice
2 slices bread

Directions:
-REMOVE crusts from bread. With a rolling pin or large soup can, completely flatten bread.
-SPREAD 1 tablespoon peanut butter and 1 tablespoon fruit spread on each slice of bread
-ROLL each slice into a tight spiral. Cut each spiral into 4 pieces.


The results:  It was a big hit with my son!  He loved it! My daughter hates PB&J sandwiches...so one of these days I might try one of these other combinations...which I found on Birmingham Mommy's blog.


Other fillings you should try:
-PB & Marshmallow Fluff
-PB & J of course!
-Cheese stick(quartered lengthwise) and Sunchips (crunchy, my son’s favorite!)
-Cheese stick(quartered lengthwise) and sunflower seeds
-Cream cheese and blueberries and/or strawberries
-Carrots(matchstick) and cucumbers (with ranch to dip)
-Hot dog(quartered lengthwise) and cheese
-Tuna salad or Chicken salad
The possibilities are really endless! Dig through your pantry and try different combinations and don’t forget to use dipping sauces: ketchup, mustard, ranch, etc. Dipping is part of the fun too!
*Tip: For the older kids, make some “training wheels” chopsticks by placing a rubber band around the upper part of the chopsticks. Then slide a rolled up napkin in between the sticks where the rubber band is. Adjust it so it makes the chopsticks springy.
Our dessert sushi is on the sugary side of course but it is simply too cute for words! It makes a great special occaision treat, especially if you’re planning a party.
Dessert and party sushi:
(photo courtesy of mommyknows.com)
-Fruit roll-ups (the seaweed)
-Rice Krispie mixture (the rice)
-Twizzler and/or gummy worm (the filling)
-Swedish fish candy- optional
*Tip: Add extra marshmallows to the rice krispies treat mixture so it will flatten easily.
Make Rice Krispie treats according to the recipe, but add a couple of extra marshmallows. Flatten it out onto wax sheets and trim the edges. (Then eat the edges, YUM!) Then place your twizzler and/or gummy worm at the end and roll it up. Only do one roll, not overlapping, so it won’t be too thick. Then use a fruit roll up and tightly wrap it around the roll. Then cut and display!
Use leftover Rice Krispie treats and edges to make nigiri style sushi. Pat it into small mounds and place a Swedish fish candy or a piece of a fruit roll up on top. Voila!


Monday, August 29, 2011

Useful Tips

Currently my favorite website is Pinterest.  I can get lost finding great idea after great idea on this site.  Here are a few things that I've found that made me think..."This is awesome! Why didn't I think of that?" :



Cupcake Liner as Drip Catcher
Before serving popsicles, slip the stick through a foil cupcake liner to keep little hands from getting sticky.





Recycle your tall Frappuccino Starbucks Cups into no spill paint holders for the kids.





Markers = Watercolors
Turn old dried up markers into watercolors.





Easy Glitter Clean-up
Lint Roller as Glitter Pick-Up Clean up glitter (and tiny pieces of construction paper) after craft time.




Plastic Eggs = Snack Containers
Save on ziplock bags by using plastic Easter Eggs for small snacks.



Organizing Snacks/Lunches
Create snack stations for the kids, to make it easy for them to choose something healthy.  This is also a great way to organize lunches for the week.




Art Bucket Organizer
This simple bucket and tool belt organizer allows kids to travel around the house with their art supplies.




These are just a sample of the many fun, inspiring ideas I've found on Pinterest.com .  What's your favorite idea that you've found?  

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Swimming Teddy Bears Snack

I saw this cute cake with the little teddy grahams swimming in the pool.  What a cute idea!  We decided to make our own little summer snack with these teddy bears:

Teddy Grahams with Life Saver Gummies swimming in blue Jello.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Organizing School Papers

My son is starting Kindergarten next week, and I am trying to figure out how I am going to organize all the papers and artwork that are going to start flowing into this house.  I fear that if I don't start off the school year with a system, I'll be swimming in it around Thanksgiving.  Here are some ideas that I've found and am considering.  If anyone has a better system, please feel free to share!

Art Scrapbook

k, elementary, kindergarten, organize, school, student work, scrapbook, binders, file boxes, folder book, functional, keepsake box, pizza box, coloring books, crayons,  dish drainer, organizing 








Functional Folder Book



Keepsake Box



Artwork in a Pizza Box




And while I'm on the topic about organizing, look at this great way to organize coloring books and crayons!



Happy Organizing!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Fireworks in a Glass

When I told my 5 year old son we were going to make fireworks in a glass, he just looked at me and asked if this was going to be dangerous.  I told him that it was going to be very safe, but I don't think he actually believed me at first. Needless to say he was beyond amazed at the fireworks we created in a vase.  I found this cool activity on a blog called The Homeschool Den.

Just look at my son's face, he was so amazed!


Supplies:
-Tall glass or vase
-Oil
-Food Coloring
-Water
-A smaller cup/glass
-Fork


Directions:

Fill the tall glass/vase almost to the top with room-temperature water. Warm water is ok, too.  Then pour a little oil into the other glass.


Add a couple of drops of food coloring to the oil. I used one drop of each color (red, yellow, blue and green), but you can use any color combo you wish.  Don't be tempted to add lots of food coloring, your water will turn dark quickly. I am only telling you from experience. =)


Stir, stir, stir



Briefly stir the oil and food coloring mixture with a fork. You want to break up the food coloring drops into smaller drops.


Our stirred food coloring drops.

Pour the oil and coloring mixture into the tall glass.


Slowly pour the oil with food coloring into the water.

Now watch! The food coloring will slowly sink in the glass, with each droplet expanding outward as it falls, resembling fireworks falling into water.


Waiting for the firework show to start....


Ooooooohh....Aaaahhhhhhh


The kids and I did this activity 6 times!  They loved it!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Bubble Snakes

I found this fun, easy, cheap way to have fun with bubbles on a blog called The Muddy Princess.


Supplies:
-Plastic water bottle
-Old wash cloth (that you don't mind cutting up)
-Rubber band
-Dish soap
-Water
-Shallow bowl


Directions:

First, you cut the bottom of the bottle off and attach the washcloth to the bottom with a rubber band.  Second, you fill your bowl with a good squirt of dish soap and some water.

I first had my 5 year old son practice blowing (not inhaling) into the bottle.  Making sure he knew that if he inhaled that the bubbles will come into his mouth. (which wouldn't be pleasant)

Next dip the bottom of the bottle into the soapy water and blow into the top of the bottle. If you blow slowly the result will be a huge snake bubble.  It was fun seeing just how long we could make our snakes.

Unfortunately my 2 year old is a little too young to understand that she shouldn't breathe in when trying to do this activity...but she had fun playing with the bubbles her brother made.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Oooooooh Oobleck!


It's a liquid.....it's a solid.....it's Oobleck!!


Supplies:
-Bowl
-Cornstarch
-Water
-Food coloring (optional)


Directions:
To make oobleck, add 2 cups of cornstarch and 1 cup of water in a bowl. If you want to color your oobleck like we did, add a few drops of food coloring.  It will definitely take some effort to mix the water and cornstarch.  I would recommend adding the water to your bowl first...and slowly add the cornstarch as you stir.


Oobleck is a non-Newtonian fluid, which basically means that if you push or squeeze it, it will act like a solid object. But when you let it stand still, it will act like a liquid and flow smoothly.  So hit it hard and it will feel like you are punching a wall, but put your hand in the mixture gently and it will flow around your hand like water!



Please note that Oobleck will clog sinks so don’t pour it down the drain! Once it dries, you can vacuum or sweep it up easily. You can save your Oobleck by covering it with plastic wrap and putting it in the refrigerator.


Just as a follow up to my earlier post, my girlfriend sent me this hilarious video of oobleck on the Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Kid Approved - Creamy Beef Taquitos

My son is a very picky eater and his main staple of food has been chicken nuggets. So I am constantly in search of new recipes to try, hoping that he will love and enjoy a different meal for once.  Don't get me wrong...he has "other favorite dishes" now, but it's been a challenging process.

I actually found this blog, Meal Planning 101 from another recipe that I had pinned on Pinterest.com (i love that site!)....which led me to this fabulous dish...fabulous because my "picky eater" actually approved and ate his dinner! What caught my eye was the blogger's results below her recipe, which stated "Loved by the kids and the adults in our family"!   Sounds good to me!



Ingredients:

1 lb lean ground beef
2 tbsp taco seasoning
1/3 cup light cream cheese
1/4 cup salsa
1 tbsp lime juice
3 tbsp cilantro, chopped
2 tbsp green onions, chopped
1 cup grated cheese (cheddar, mozzarella or pepperjack)12 small flour tortillas (can also use corn tortillas)



Directions:
Heat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.

In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef and break it up into crumbles as it cooks. Add the taco seasoning and cook the beef about 8 minutes until cooked through.  (It didn't say this in her directions....but I drained some of the extra grease before adding the taco seasoning).

Heat cream cheese in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds so it's soft and easy to stir. Add salsa, lime juice, cilantro and green onions and stir to combine. Once the beef is browned, add the beef and cheese to the cream cheese mixture and combine well. You can prepare up to this step ahead of time. Just keep the mixture in the fridge.

Place 2-3 tbsp of beef mixture on the lower third of a tortilla, keeping it about 1/2 inch from the edges. Roll it up as tight as you can. If your tortillas are cracking or breaking, you can microwave them for 10-20 seconds with a damp paper towel over top.

Once rolled, place seam side down on the baking sheet. Lay all of the taquitos on the baking sheet and make sure they are not touching each other. Spray the tops lightly with cooking spray or brush with a bit of oil and sprinkle some kosher salt on top. Place pan in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until crisp and the ends start to get golden brown.

Dip taquitos in salsa, sour cream, or guacamole.

This recipe is by Meal Planning 101

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Muffin Tin Crayons


My kids decided they wanted to make new crayons with all of their broken crayons. 

Supplies:
-Muffin tin pan
-Broken crayons
-Vegetable oil


Directions:

-Peel the paper off all broken crayons.
-Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.  
-Spray your muffin tin pan with some vegetable oil (for easy removal of the crayons).
-Let your children help you sort the colors in each tray.


-Place muffin tin pan in the oven for about 8-10 minutes (or until all crayons are completely melted).

-Turn oven light on so the kids can watch the crayons melt.
-Remove from the oven and let them cool. (you can place them in the freezer for 20-30 minutes)

-Once the crayons reach room temperature, take the crayons out of the tray.  They should slip right out.  If you feel the urge to turn the tray over to remove them...please make sure it's not on a hard surface...otherwise the crayons will crack in half.


Friday, August 19, 2011

Dancing Raisins

My son did this fun experiment at Kindergarten camp last week.  It was simple, yet very entertaining...and my two year old LOVED it!




Supplies:
-7-Up (Sprite and other clear, carbonated beverages will work as well)
-Tall, clear drinking glass
-Several fresh raisins



Directions:
Fill your drinking glass with your clear carbonated beverage.  Drop a few raisins in, and observe.  Your raisins will start dancing (going up and down) once the carbonated bubbles attach themselves to the raisins.


We had a lot of fun with this experiment...and my daughter played with this for quite a while.  Every now and then she will still ask to do this again, but unfortunately we don't really drink soda in our house and don't keep it stocked up.



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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Glow Stick Lanterns

What a fun project to make with your kids in the evening.  I got the idea from this blog, lil boo blue.  All you need is a jar and some glow sticks.  Cut off the ends of the glow sticks, and empty the contents inside the jar.  I would recommend that the parents do this for young children.

The "glow" inside the jars didn't last as long as the sticks normally do...so perhaps next time I might try getting some Crayola Glow Explosion Paint.



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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ice Cream in a Bag



Ingredients:
-1/2 cup milk (it doesn't matter what kind, whole, 2%, chocolate, etc.)
-1 Tablespoon sugar
-1/4 teaspoon vanilla



First add the milk, sugar and vanilla in a pint size zip lock freezer bag.  I put the zip lock bag in a cup so that it would be easier for the kids to add the ingredients.  Zip the bag shut.



Place the pint size bag into a quart or larger size zip lock bag.  And add enough ice to fill the bag half way and add 6 tablespoons of salt.  Zip that bag shut and start shaking/mixing the bag.  It will take about 5-10 minutes to get really cold ice cream.


Shake, shake, shake



Keep on shaking....




Before opening the bag with the ice cream....make sure you dry it off with a towel and open it carefully so that you won't get any salt water into the ice cream.  Put it in a bowl, add a few sprinkles, and bon appetit!



Yummy!



  


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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Spin Art

I took out the salad spinner today to have some fun with paint.   Both of my kids loved this craft so much, it ended up being a good lesson on patience as they both eagerly waited for it to be their turn again and again.


Supplies:
-Salad Spinner
-Acrylic Paint - in various colors
-Thick Paper - such as construction paper
-Pencil/Pen
-Scissors 
-Jelly Roll Pan or any baking sheet


Directions:


Step 1:  Place the salad spinner basket on a sheet of paper and trace around the bottom of it.  Stack multiple papers together and cut them out at the same time.


Step 2:  Place your salad spinner on top of a baking sheet to contain the paint.  Then place one of the circles that you cut out inside the salad spinner.



These are the acrylic paints we used.



Step 3:  Grab the paint and start letting your kids squirt away.



My 2-year old needed to be shown how to dab small drops of paint onto the paper.  Initially she squirted huge globs of paint...but she quickly learned how to spread it out.



Step 4:  Put the lid on and spin.



Samples of our fun creations!





Mess contained = Easy clean-up = Happy mom!