Thursday, August 22, 2013

Our Camping Staycation

Growing up I read books and watched shows where the families go camping together.  Usually the kids complain that they didn't want to be stuck in a tent with their parents or whatever, but for some reason that never dissuaded me.  I always desperately wanted to go.  We just weren't the outdoorsy type so it never happened.  

Now that I have kids of my own, I thought "I simply must take my kids camping one day.  It'll be so much fun!"  

At least I was smart enough to have trial runs.

We started by practicing sleeping in a tent.  We tried in the sun room, in the family, wherever it just didn't work.  My kids decided they wanted to sleep in the tent outside last year.  You guessed it another fail.  We lasted until about 10:00...then still awake we ended up back inside AGAIN.

This year we decided to try again.  I was weary, but you know the definition of insanity...try the same thing expecting different results...  Yeah, I'm insane.  But the results were actually DIFFERENT.  We slept the whole night in the tent.  And I learned a few lessons from it:

  • The kids sleep better if you let them play in the tent while setting it up, but then don't actually get in it until bed time.  (We went inside and watched Rugrats Go Wild til bedtime.  How Wilderness Chick of me right?)
  • Get EVERYTHING you need into the tent before you all get into it.  This way you can stick together. The second you get out to get something else the kids will freak out and you will be sleeping in your bed again.  (This includes sheets, sleeping bags, extra blankets, hoodies, socks, books, water, and any snuggies that are also sleeping in the tent.)
  • Reading camping books in the tent is super fun. We read Curious George Goes Camping, Fred and Ted Go Camping, and Amelia Bedelia Goes Camping
  • Bring a flashlight for reading.  Unless you are 10 feet from your house using up your cell phone battery because you used the flashlight app to read the books is probably not a good idea.
  • Scenes from the Walking Dead video game may flash through your mind.  Try to ignore them because zombies can do nothing to a bad@ss supermom like you.
  • This is NOTHING like camping outside.  What in the world do people eat for breakfast in a tent?  I thought we could use the grill like a campfire in the morning and throw eggs and peppers in tin foil and on the "campfire."  (I saw that on a camping website somewhere.) Um where exactly do we keep these eggs until the morning?  Okay so we scratched that.  My daughter and I made homemade whole wheat raisin bread last week.  We figured  perfect we can keep that in a cooler or something overnight so we brought that out.  But in the morning we realized the butter was in the house in the refrigerator.  ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO KEEP A FRIDGE IN THE TENT OR SOMETHING??? I DON'T GET IT!
What tips or tricks do you have for me?  Please comment!  I need all the help I can get!   :)

Friday, August 16, 2013

Papier Mache Volcano

The kids and I love making papier mache volcanoes.  They are simple and can be made with things found around the house. No two volcanoes ever need to be made exactly the same way. Here are a couple:

This was the first one we ever made.  We took three days - the first to construct and let dry, the second to paint and let dry, the third day the volcano ERUPTED!

Our most recent volcano took two days, we made it one day, then painted and erupted it the next day.  

Here’s what we used:
A piece of cardboard
This served as the base of the volcano
A cookie sheet
This was just to contain the mess from papier mache-ing and the "lava" when the volcano erupts.  We didn't need this for the first volcano because we actually used a the bottom half of a box.

An empty water bottle 
I know that I need to stop buying them, but I haven’t quite yet been able to kick the bottled water habit.
Pink Duct Tape (masking tape works quite well too)
A newspaper
 My dad still gets the newspaper daily (old school lol) so I'm generally able to get my hands on some old newspapers pretty easily.
1 cup of flour
1 cup of water
1 cup vinegar
4 drops of red food coloring (fun but optional)
4 tablespoons (or something like that) baking soda
A magazine insert (used at the end in lieu of a funnel)

We created the basic shape of the volcano using the water bottle, duct tape, and cardboard.  First we stood the water bottle in the middle and use the tape to hold it in place and also to create the bones of the structure around which to papier mache. Precision is not required.  (Thank goodness!)


Then we mixed 1 cup flour with 1 cup water in a bowl, cut the newpaper into strips and papier mache-ed!  
We left our wonderfully messy volcano to dry for the night.  The little lady was a little upset we didn't cover the top of the water bottle this time, but still looks good to me!

The next morning, little lady painted it with my directions to keep the paint thin so it wouldn't take so long to dry.  I wanted to erupt it the same day.  It became a two day project this time instead of 3.

To erupt the volcano we poured a cup of vinegar into the center of the volcano.  This is where the optional food coloring can be used.  Then as I got out the baking soda, I realized I didn’t have a way to get it in the little hole of the water bottle all at one time to make the big eruption.  That’s where the magazine subscription insert came in to play.  I rolled it into a cone shape and we put the baking soda in it.  Then we put the cone into the top of the water bottle and opened it into a cylinder.  The baking soda fell in and the volcano erupted.

 Then as I got out the baking soda, I realized I didn’t have a way to get it in the little hole of the water bottle all at one time to make the big eruption.  That’s where the magazine subscription insert came in to play.  I rolled it into a cone shape and we put the baking soda in it.  Then we put the cone into the top of the water bottle and opened it into a cylinder.  The baking soda fell in and the volcano erupted.
This was so much fun for both of the kids (even though my BMOC refused to be a part of the papier mache-ing process cause he can't stand having yucky hands.)  

I think we are going to do some science experiments examining the chemical reactions created when using different amounts of vinegar and baking soda another day.

I love having fun with things around the house!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Liebster Award

So I was nominated for a Liebster Award by Life of a Full Time Mom, which is an award for ((new)) bloggers with less than 200 followers.  It is really cool and I'm totally honored.  I can't believe it took me so long to accept it. 

In order to accept this award, I must answer questions and then list 11 random facts about myself.  So here goes:

1. What is your favorite childhood memory?

I used to love riding my bike around our cul-de-sac.  I like that I live in a neighborhood that is not heavily trafficked so that my kids can play outside as well.  (My memory ends with me attempted to stop and running into the garage door, falling, and skinning my knee, but I still have to go with it as my favorite.)

2. Where did you go on your first vacation?

I can't remember what my FIRST vacation was, but when I was young my grandparents had a cottage in Coboconk.  We used to go there every summer and climb on the rocks, see the chipmunks, feed the ducks, and swim in the lake.  This probably was my first vacation.  It's the first I can remember.

3. If you can only eat one type of food for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

I have to say broccoli and cheese.  I usually put it on baked potatoes, but I can live without the baked potato as long as I have my broccoli and cheese...yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

4. What's your favorite comedy movie?

I don't know what my favorite is, but on a recent rainy day, my children and I went to see Despicable Me 2.  It was cute.

5. If you're given a chance to go to outer space for a few months, will you take it?

This is actually a hard question.  Like any good undercover nerdy chick I love space - fiction and non fiction.  I love following what the Mars Rover is doing (making its way to the base of Mount Sharp) checking out the new names for Pluto's moons - Styx and Kerberos.  Plus I just love any new exploration so I want to say yes, but only if my kids can come too!  Hey, it would be a good learning opportunity for them too....ummm right?

6. What do you think is your best skill/asset?

I think my best skill that I'm currently working on is learning to compartmentalize.  I know some people look at this as not so good, but I can be Me-The-Mom when I'm with my kids or blogging (or cleaning or cooking....) and Me-The-Worker when I need to focus and switch gears.  I've learned to be able to put aside the pain from the things my parents say to me in order to still be happy doing whatever it is that I need to do at the time.

7.Straight or curly hair?

I love curly hair.  I have straight hair, but my mother and my kids have tons of curls.  While it is definitely easy to comb through my straight hair their curls are to die for.

8.  Fall, Winter, Spring, or Summer?

FALL!!! Love the clothes, the food, the produce, the pumpkin rides, the Halloween costumes, the mosquitos leaving, the cool weather....I could go on for days.

9.What was your favorite toy when you were a kid?

Is it strange that I cannot remember???

10.  Is there something you want to change about yourself?

My confidence.  I have insecurities that hold me back from doing a lot.

11. Red or nude lipstick?

Lip gloss!

11 Random Facts
1. I am a Resident Alien.
2. I love cutting my kids sandwiches with cookie cutters and making them into cute shapes.
3. I have said the exact quote "I wish life was more like a spreadsheet then everything would have it's own special little cell and be completely organized."  I love organization.
4. Reading charts excites me.
5.  I'm going back to school for a post grad certificate of accountancy. (As a single mom, my belt just keeps tightening but it never feels like I can tighten it enough.)
6. There are certain TV shows I cannot live without:  Walking Dead, Orphan Black, and Doctor Who for starters.
7. My undergrad degree is in Therapeutic Recreation.  Even though I have not worked in the field for years, I try to use as much as I learned in school about creating activities that will fulfill physical, emotional, and cognitive needs and apply them to the things I do with my children.
8. I have been asked if I am my children's nanny 3 times in the past month or so.  I'm trying to take it as a compliment.  I guess I just look that young and skinny!  HAHA So just kidding.
9. I hate that young girls today look up to people like the Kardashians and try to encourage my daughter to take interest in people like Marie Curie, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Blackwell, Amelia Earhart, or other women that can be applauded for their brains, bravery, and willingness to go above and beyond.
10. When my kids wake up in the middle of the night and try to sneak into my bed, I let them.  I know I shouldn't, but I love my babies and I like to snuggle.  Plus it gets lonely in my bed sometimes. :)
11.  Instead of music, I listen to the podcasts Stuff You Missed In History Class, Stuff You Should Know, and RadioLab while I'm running.

Blogs I'm Nominating for Liebster Award

Rules for Nominees
- Link back to your nominating blog
- Answer the questions they have provided
- Share 11 random facts about yourself
- Nominate blogs with less than 20 followers
- Create 11 questions to be answered by your nominees
- Contact your nominees and let them know

Questions for Nominees
1. Tea or Coffee?
2.  What is your favorite children's book?  (Either from your childhood or that you read to your children)
3. What is your favorite date night idea?
4. What is the last thing you ate?
5. Who were you named after?
6. What are you listening to right now?
7. What is your go-to pick-me-up when you are feeling down?
8. What is your dream vacation?
9. Dog or cat?
10. Strength training or cardio?
11. What;s your favorite recipe to cook?

Thanks again for this award!  Looking forward to seeing other people's answers.