June 28, 2012

Ice Cream in a Bag

     I saw this idea last summer in the Disney Family Fun magazine, wrote it on a little notecard, an finally pulled it out!  It has been soooo hot here, and the girls love ice cream, so I figured it would be fun to make our own.


1 C 1/2 and 1/2
 2 T sugar
1/2 t vanilla

1/4 C salt (we used rock salt, but I think other types may work)

First mix your 1/2 and 1/2, sugar, and vanilla in a small ziploc bag.

Fill a gallon size ziploc 1/2 full of ice and add salt and small ziploc bag.

Seal and shake for 5 minutes.  This was the hardest part because the bag gets really cold and little girls get tired of shaking.  So we wrapped the bags in towels and jumped up and down.  They probably only shook them for a minute and a half, and I shook them for a little while. They still worked even with inconsistent shaking.

             Eat and enjoy!

June 26, 2012

Pop Rocks Science: Capturing Carbon Dioxide

     We were at Pizza Hut when Bria started staring at the bubbles in my cup.  I tried to explain to her that pop has bubbles because it has a gas (carbon dioxide) in it. I don't know that she really understood, but it did give me an idea.

     We had some Pop Rocks here, and they, like pop, are made with carbon dioxide (Pop Rocks FAQ).  I know Bria has had Pop Rocks before, but she didn't seem to remember them. First I let her and Nadia each eat some (of course).

     Then I had them put some in a dish of water to see what would happen.  They could see that as the Pop Rocks dissolved in the water gas was released in the form of bubbles. They could also hear the crackling of the gas breaking out of the candy.

     Next to actually show them the gas I decided to combine Pop Rocks and Pepsi to blow up a balloon.  I did one with baking soda and vinegar as well for comparison.  I started by putting baking soda in one balloon and Pop Rocks in another.  I added vinegar to one bottle and Pepsi to another.  I didn't use any exact amounts, but you definitely don't need much vinegar and baking soda!  Here is a site with more exact amounts for your vinegar and baking soda (Balloon Blow Up).

     I put each balloon on the top of their respective bottle and had each girl hold the end of a balloon. When we were ready I had them both hold the balloon up straight to dump the contents into the bottle.


 Both balloons inflated although you can see the Pop Rocks balloon didn't get nearly as big as the baking soda balloon.


June 22, 2012

Pretzel Rolls

     These rolls are awesome!  I came across these a while back on pinterest and have made them a couple times since.  The original blog post is from Une Bonne Vie, but they are so yummy I had to a share!  The first time I made them I am pretty sure I had at least 3 at dinner because they are quite addicting.  Nathan has decided they are better then soft pretzels and should be eaten with cheese sauce; the girls wanted butter on theirs. Eli and I were happy with them just as they were.

     Before I get into the recipe let me just say I do not claim to be a baker, but I always end up needing more flour. Maybe my kitchen is too warm or maybe I just don't know what I am doing, but they are still really tasty. I can only imagine how great they would be if made by someone who knows what they are doing.  



6-7 1/2 C all-purpose flour
1 t salt
3 T canola oil
2 t active dry yeast
2 1/2 C milk, slightly warn
1 C water, slightly warm
Sea salt for sprinkling


7 C water
1 T salt
4 T baking soda

Start by mixing the yeast and warm milk (I had mine between 110 and 115). Set that aside for 10 minutes to rest.

Whisk 5 3/4 C flour and salt in a large bowl.

Add canola oil and warm water to yeast mixture. Pour into bowl with flour and salt. Knead in bowl until the dough is mostly soft. Only add enough flour so dough is easily handled. Dough will be somewhat stiff.  Cover and allow to rise 1 hour.

Punch down and knead 1 minute. Cut in 15 pieces (or however many it takes to get the size rolls you want) and form into balls.  Place on greased surface and let rise 15 minutes. In the meantime prepare bath by bringing water, salt, and baking soda to a rolling boil and preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place 3 rolls in the bath and poach for 1 minute. Place on well greased baking sheet and cut 2-3 lines across the top of poached rolls. Sprinkle with sea salt and bake for 20-25 minutes.


These are best the day they are made (but still very tasty the day after)! Enjoy!

June 20, 2012

It's Raining, It's Pouring

 You can tell it has been dry here when the girls are amazed by rain. Last Saturday while driving home we hit a storm, and the girls were just in awe of all the rain!  So I decided we should do some storm experiments this week.  We actually ended up doing 3 because they were all fairly short and easy to do.

 The first one (Storm in a Jar) we did was to make a "cloud" of shaving cream rain into a jar.  You need a jar filled with water, shaving cream, colored water, and eye droppers.

 Make your cloud on top of your water with the shaving cream.  Our shaving cream was about empty, so ours was a bit more watery then I would have liked. Using the eye dropper put squirts of colored water on top of your cloud. 

Once the cloud is saturated enough the color will begin to "rain" into the jar. It didn't take long for us since  we had watery shaving cream.

     Continue making it rain and add colors!  The girls had a terrible looking storm going!

     Actually by the end of it they had dark gray water and an overflowing jar!

  The second experiment (Rain in a Jar) we did was to actually make it rain through condensation.  All you need for this is hot water, a jar, a plate, and some ice.

 Pour a couple inches of hot water in the jar and cover with the plate. Let sit. After a couple minutes place ice on the plate.  The steam trapped  in the air in the jar will condensate on the plate and roll down the sides of the jar.  Similar to how rain comes down when hot and cold air mix.  To be honest, the girls were not impressed by this.  Too slow for their liking; maybe when they get older we will try again.

 Just for fun while we were letting our hot water sit we tried a third experiment (Tornado in a Jar). All you need for this is a jar with a lid, water, and dish soap. Fill your jar with water, add a squirt of dish soap, and screw on the lid.  Then you just have to swirl or shake the jar. 

 Look for a little tornado inside.  I added more soap to try and get more obvious tornado, but the extra soap didn't really make it any more obvious.

The white part in the center is the tornado. 
 I also found an awesome site with lots of weather experiments (this is where the rain in a jar came from): Weather Wiz Kids. I am sure we will be doing more in the future.

June 19, 2012

Current Favorite iPad Apps (from a 4, 3, and almost 1 year old)

     We are pretty new to the iPad scene, but it didn't take any time at all for the girls to figure out how to use it.  Of course I was leery of them using it a lot at first because of the no screen under the age of 2 recommendation, but then I found this initial information: What Happens When a Toddler Zones Out With an iPad. Very interesting. So now I don't worry as much, but I still don't let them use it non-stop! They do love it, and actually They (and Eli) actually have more apps then I do.  So much for it being my iPad!  It really is amazing the variety of apps available to children of all ages.  I just wanted to list the current top ten used by my kids.

1) Bob Books Reading Magic (sets 1 and 2)- $1.99 each- I had looked into these books when I started working on reading with the girls. Glad I found the apps instead! The girls love the interactive aspect!

2) Little Writer - the tracing app for kids- free- There are other good writing apps out there; actually I purchased one before finding this free one. The girls prefer the free one, and it includes numbers too!

3) Timmy's Kindergarten Adventure- currently on sale for $1.99 (not sure how long that will last)- You make your own player for each person, and the game customizes the content for each players skill level.  The girls really enjoy earning coins for completing levels.

4) Rocket Speller- free- This is really geared for a little older kid (one that needs to know how to spell), but the girls love building the rockets! I suppose it is never to early to learn spelling.

5) Motion Math: Hungry Fish- free- The hungry fish eats specific numbers, so you have to add numbers together to get the one the fish eats.  It has subtraction as well for a small price.  Right now we don't do too great after the number 4, so that will be in the future.

6) Read Me Stories- free- You can get 1 free book in several collections for free, and if you like it you can buy the whole collection for $1.99 (per collection).  The girls like it because it will read to them, and some of the books have interactive aspects where you click on characters.

7) Alpha Baby- free- This app is similar to BabySmash on the computer. You hit the screen and it brings up letters and says the letter name.  But it also can do numbers, shapes, and colors. Eli loves it! If you pay for the upgrade ($.99) you can add your own voice and pictures too!

8) Sound Brush- $1.99- Here you draw whatever you want  in up to 4 instruments and then play it!  It is fun to see what a drawing of a cat sounds like!

9) Lego 4+- free- Build a lego vehicle and collect coins to earn more pieces! Even with all the pieces unlocked the girls love it!

10) Talking Tom- free- Talk to Tom and he repeats anything you say.  The girls are a little nervous about talking to him, but love to give him milk and hit him in the face. Eli thinks he is hilarious and laughs at him, which he repeats, so Eli laughs more.

      These are just the current favorites, and as I find more apps I am sure they will change. Actually one of the girls favorite apps is a pony making app that you apparently can no longer get. It has completely
disappeared from the app store!

June 14, 2012

Baby Bird Craft

     I came across this cute little nestling bird craft and thought it would be perfect considering our recent bird adventure (Crackle the Grackle).

     To start with you need paper lunch sacks, 2 sizes of pom poms (ours were about 2 and 1.5 inch diameter), nest filling, egg shells (washed and dried), orange felt, black puffy paint, and some sort of glue (we used hot glue).

     Start by rolling down the paper bag to make a nest shape.  Add the nest filling. This can be whatever you want. We used some sparkly trim pieces and colorful feathers, but paper grass, real grass, twigs, ribbons, anything would work.

     Set your eggshell inside.

     Glue the small pom pom to the larger one. Glue on a small, orange, felt triangle.for a beak and add 2 dots of black puffy paint for eyes.

     Set your little, nestling bird in its egg shell, and you're finished!

     The girls also decided to make nests for the tiny dinosaurs they got out of these fizzy bath eggs.

     Really a pretty simple, cute craft, and now they can decorate our table.