June 30, 2011

Sandpaper Art

I recently shared this little project as part of the Summer Staycation series at Moms by Heart.  We loved it because you get the fun effect of sand or glitter art, without the mess!

When I was a little girl, I remember doing an art craft where we colored on sandpaper then ironed it onto a piece of paper to get a copy made up of lots of tiny dots (similar to the pointillism art movement).  I wanted to do the same project with my kids, but unfortunately, our ironed copies didn't turn out as well as I hoped.  However,  when we looked at the pieces of sandpaper with the melted wax, we LOVED it.  It looked just like those sand art pictures you see, but without the mess!  We ended up making several and loved them all.

Here's our project and how we did it:

Here's what you need:
  • sandpaper (we used both 60 grit and 100 grit with slightly different results, both cool.  The coarser grit just had more defined grains of sand on the finished piece)
  • crayons
  • paper ( I used white paper hoping to get that pointillism copy, but newspaper would probably work fine too if you just want your sandpaper piece)
  • iron and press cloth (old rag or thin cloth to use when ironing)

Here's what to do:

1.  Cut your sandpaper to the size you want your finished piece to be.  We planned on making popsicle stick frames for our artwork, so our pieces were about 5.5" squares.

2.  Using crayons, color your picture on the sandpaper.  You'll want to press pretty hard to get a nice layer of color.  You'll also want to have your picture cover the entire piece of sandpaper, so make sure you color the background too.

Coloring away!

Notice how the whole piece is covered and the crayon is on nice and thick.

3.  Next, put your sandpaper with the picture face up, put your paper on top of the picture and your press cloth on top of that.  Using a warm iron, iron over the picture for about 15 seconds.  (If you lift up your cloth and see the melted wax on the paper, it's ready.)

4.  Carefully lift up the paper to reveal your picture.   You can see how ours did make a copy, but it just wasn't quite what we were hoping for and was a little blotchy in spots.

5.  However, if you look at your sandpaper, you'll see that the crayon wax has melted onto the grains of sand in the sandpaper, making it look like you glued on lots of different colors of sand.  The picture doesn't quite pick it up, but some of the crayons were sparkly, so it had the effect of glitter in the finished piece.

6.  Of course, every piece of art looks better in a popsicle stick frame, so we painted some popsicle sticks to match our new masterpieces.

7.  Glue your Sandpaper Art into your new frame ( I used hot glue because it worked better than the Elmers on the sandpaper) and your project is complete.

Pretty cool and there's no messy sand or glitter all over your house!  


June 24, 2011

Handstand Kids Cookbook - Review and GIVEAWAY!!

A few weeks ago, Yvette from Handstand Kids 
contacted me to see if I'd be interested in trying out 
one of her international cookbook kits for kids.  
This opportunity was perfect for us.  

My oldest daughter loves cooking and 
wants to be a chef when she grows up 
~ Well, a chef or a dolphin trainer, but says she'll figure out a way to do both! ;)    
My son loves maps and learning about other countries  
  and my youngest loves to do anything her big sister and brother do!  

Plus, one of the things on our Summer Fun Checklist was to "Try a New Food."

We chose the   Chinese Cookbook Kit because it would be the most different from our regular menu and give us a neat opportunity to learn about another culture.  When it arrived we thought the packaging was so creative ~ the cookbook comes with a set of chopsticks in a box that looks like a big Chinese food takeout container.  The Handstand Kids company also has an  Italian Cookbook kit and a Mexican Cookbook Kit (They would make AWESOME gifts!)

When I looked through the cookbook I was really impressed with both the variety of recipes and the fact that these were real recipes but presented in a kid-friendly way.  There are five Handstand Kids' characters you meet who lead you through the recipes and give interesting little facts and suggestions throughout the cookbook. 

Learning the Chinese terms for the ingredients we'd be using
One other feature that we thought was really cool were the pages that listed all the utensils and ingredients you'd be using.  Each item had a picture and both the English and Chinese word for each item.  The kids got a huge kick out of looking up and saying the Chinese term for each tool or food we picked up to use.

For our dinner, we tried the "Great Wall of Chicken Lettuce Wraps".  Everyone loved them and my husband even said they were as good as similar ones he's had at P.F. Changs.

My oldest (and chef-to-be) got to use a real knife to cut the scallions.

My son chopped the water chestnuts.
This was the first time the kids ever tried water chestnuts 
and they LOVED them.  
Seriously, they were snacking on them right out of the can.

My youngest cut up the mushrooms (easily done with a butter knife)

They liked how the ginger root "looked like a tree branch" 
and smelled "kind of like a spicy lime"

Using the grater was fun and felt a little dangerous! ;)

 After all the ingredients were chopped, grated, mixed and cooked, our dinner was ready!

Looks yummy, doesn't it?

Trying chopsticks was fun!
But fingers and forks got more food to their mouths!

Then for dessert, we made some "Banana-rama Spring Rolls".  Fun to make and totally yummy!

Fun using a pastry brush.

Rolling up the wrapper.

Ready to go in the oven.

A little heavy with the powdered sugar sprinkling! :)
Without a doubt, we'll be making more recipes out of our cookbook soon.  The kids had a blast learning and cooking and we all really enjoyed the food.

Now, if all that talk about cooking and eating has you hungry and wanting to try some recipes with your own family, you're in luck!  You can now purchase these awesome cookbook kits at these Bed, Bath and Beyond locations.  Handstand Kids will also be giving away one of their International Cooking Kits to one of my lucky readers!!

Please leave a separate comment below for each entry and include your email address if it's not on your blogger profile so we can contact the winner.

To enter:

1.  Visit Handstand Kids website, check out the SHOP section, then come back here and leave a comment telling which Cookbook Kit your family would most enjoy.  (one entry)

2.  On the Handstand Kids website, sign up to be a Handstand Kids Member.  Leave another comment telling me that you did so. (one entry)

3.  "Like" Handstand Kids on Facebook, and leave a comment telling me you're a new fan. (one entry)

4.  Share this giveaway post on your own blog or Facebook page, and leave a comment telling me that you did. (one entry)

The Giveaway will end next Friday, July 1st.

June 20, 2011

Five Fun Ideas with Science and Nature

One great thing about Summer break 
is the extra time you have for neat activities and experiments 
that you might not be able to squeeze in during the school year.
While the exact scientific principles 
might sometimes get lost in the fun of the moment, 
the love of discovery and learning 
that you foster in your children lasts forever.

Check out these Five Fun Ideas linked up 

{ Preschool Alphabet }

{ Sun Scholars }

{ The Chocolate Muffin Tree}

{ The Chocolate Muffin Tree }

{ Sun Scholars }

June 18, 2011

Glow-in-the-Dark Drinks

Okay, this is seriously so cool!  
The kids got the biggest kick out of these drinks 
( they got to drink soda AND it glowed!!) and it was so simple.  

Super fun and easy glow in the dark drinks (totally safe)

To celebrate the first night of Summer Vacation, the kids got to go out in the backyard in their pj's to catch lightning bugs.  While they were filling their jar with fireflies, I remembered THIS cool idea for glow cones I'd seen on Pinterest.  I ran inside to see if I had everything I needed.  Luckily, I found a package of glow sticks leftover from Halloween.  I didn't have any shaved ice, so I just used Sprite, but it was still super cool.

This is all you need:  some glowsticks, clear plastic tumbler cups,  larger opaque cups ( I used the red keg cups) and your beverage.

Activate your glow sticks and bend them to fit in the bottom of your larger cup.  ( If your glowsticks have the connector piece to make them into a bracelet, it's helpful to make it into a circle so it stays in place and doesn't push up on the clear cup). Nestle the clear cup inside the larger cup and fill with your drink.  

That's it!  Serve to your amazed kids ( or fill with an adult beverage and serve to some amazed adults!)  

I definitely plan on doing this again throughout the summer.  How cool would it be to have when you're waiting for fireworks on the Fourth of July?

June 17, 2011

Welcome Summer banner

Today was the last day of school for my two oldest 
( my youngest finished up on Tuesday).  
To celebrate the start of summer, 
I made a WELCOME SUMMER paper banner 
to hang on our front steps. 

Notice the cute sign but ignore my overgrown bushes.  I'll get to them someday!

When my "big kids" got off the school bus, 
they were so excited to see the sign.

They posed for a quick picture...

... and then had a blast 
running through the paper banner 
and tearing it to bits!

It was such an easy little project for me, 
but got such a great reaction from the kids!

Thanks to Family Fun for the inspiration for this idea.

Sharing at:

Make-Your-Own Bouncy Balls

How awesome is this?  
Bouncy Balls that the kids made themselves!!

If you have not had a chance to stop by Making Memories with Your Kids to see all the AMAZING projects Erin does, you have to check it out!   She shares the coolest ideas of things to do with your kids and lots of amazing recipes too.  When Erin linked up this post to my Summer Fun party,  it went straight to the top of my "Must Do" list for this Summer.

The Super Balls from Making Memories with Your Kids

The best part is they were SO easy to make.

For each ball, YOU'LL NEED:
  • 1 tbsp. Elmer's white glue
  • food coloring
  • 1/2 tsp. Borax powder (can be found in the laundry detergent aisle of most bigger stores)
  • 3 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 4 tbsp. warm water
Here's what you do:

1.  In one cup, put your warm water, cornstarch and Borax.  In another cup or bowl, put your glue.  

2.  Next, put several drops of food coloring into the white glue and stir well.

3.  Give your water/Borax/cornstarch mixture a good stir to combine all the ingredients (the cornstarch has a tendency to settle on the bottom).  Then pour the water mixture into your colored glue.

4.  Give it a stir and you'll see it immediately start to clump together.  Stir it a bit more until you have one big, slimy glob.

5.  Take the glob out of the liquid and begin rolling it between the palms of your hands to form a ball.  It'll be sticky at first, so keep a paper towel handy to wipe off your hands occasionally, but soon a rubbery ball will form.  (We found that just using our palms seemed to work better than using our whole hands and fingers.)

6.  Once the stickiness is gone and you have a nice smooth ball, that's it!  You can bounce away!!

NOTE:  The balls will flatten out after sitting for awhile.  Erin had the great idea to store them in plastic eggs, but I couldn't find my Easter stuff.  We just used small plastic containers and rolled the balls between our palms again to regain their shape.

June 16, 2011

Summer Fun Checklist

A couple weeks ago, I posted these Five Fun Ideas for Summer Planning from our Summer Fun party.  I finally had a few minutes this week to sit down and make up my own Summer Fun checklist for our family.  (and just in time, the kids' last day of school is tomorrow!)  I just wrote our list on some patterned scrapbook paper and decorated with a few summer-themed stickers.

Inspired by this great idea at eighteen25, I framed my checklist (by spray painting a frame I scored at Goodwill for $3!)  We'll use a dry erase marker to check off the activities as we complete them.  The kids LOVE it and are so excited to start their summer vacation and jump into all these activities.

Easy to check off with a dry erase marker

On our list:

  • Go to the ZOO
  • Swim in the POOL
  • Hike to a WATERFALL
  • Make GAK (recipe here)
  • Play in the SPRINKLER (see it here)
  • Have a SPONGEBALL FIGHT (directions here)
  • Bake COOKIES (easy recipe here)
  • Jump off the DIVING BOARD
  • Mail a LETTER
  • Play with SIDEWALK PAINT (recipe here)
  • Pick FRUIT (here)
  • Go to the LIBRARY
  • Make PLAY DOUGH (recipes here and here)
  • Paddle a KAYAK
  • Go to IKEA
  • Make a CLUBHOUSE
  • Go to a SANDY BEACH
  • Go on a HIKE
  • Try a NEW FOOD
  • Go to THE COW (awesome local italian ice stand)
  • Play with BUBBLES ( see here, here and here)
  • Go to the PLAYGROUND ( here or here)
  • Do a 1,000 PIECE PUZZLE
  • Have a SLEEPOVER
  • Make ICE CREAM
  • Play a BOARD GAME
  • Go to DELAWARE
  • Have a PICNIC
  • Have a PLAYDATE
  • Go see FIREWORKS
  • Make S'MORES

Many of them we'll do more than once, so we decided we can erase the initial checkmark and  write the number of times we've done that activity.  I'm also sure we'll do lots of things not on the list, but since I knew the kids would hold me accountable for every item listed, I wanted to keep the checklist a manageable size and include only the things I was confident we'd be able to do.

Hanging up on the wall, ready to go!

Sharing our checklist at:
Sun Scholars
The Imagination Tree 
Ladybird Ln 
Katie's Nesting Spot 
Tatertots and Jello 
I heart Nap Time 
Skip to My Lou

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