February 28, 2012

Pepperoni Pizza Roll Ups

My kids love crescent rolls and they love pizza.  So when I saw this recipe for Pepperoni Pizza Crescent Rolls at Making Memories with your Kids, I figured it would be a hit.  Well, I was right!  We've made it a few times now and the kids love helping with it and we all love eating them.  Plus, the fact that we only need 3 ingredients (4 if you count the optional marinara dipping sauce) makes it even better for a quick dinner or appetizer.

Here's what you need:

  • Package of crescent rolls
  • String Cheese
  • Pepperoni
  • Marinara Sauce for dipping 

Here's what to do:

1.  Cut your string cheese into pieces (I found that thirds were a good size).

2.  On each crescent roll triangle, put a few pieces of pepperoni (we used three) and a piece of string cheese.

3.  Roll them up and bake according the directions on the crescent roll package.  I folded up the ends just slightly before baking so the cheese wouldn't ooze out too much.

That's it!  Super easy and a nice alternative to the pigs in a blanket with hot dogs.

Sharing our fun pizza roll ups at:
Tip Junkie handmade projects

February 22, 2012

Super Science Birthday Party

For my son's 8th Birthday, I hosted a Super Science Party here at the house.  We had a few cousins and a few friends, making 13 kids all together (ranging in age from 2 to almost 10).  While it got quite loud at times and a bit crazy, everyone seemed to have a blast!  Plus, even though I had a decent amount of prep work getting everything set up, it only cost  around $150 for everything (including food for 24 people). Here's a summary of the day's events...

Setting up our "lab"...

 A small welcome sign instructing guests to pick up
safety goggles, a magnifying glass, science notebook and lab coat.

 I ordered the safety goggles from HERE on Amazon
and they helped the kids feel like "real" scientists!

I also made a science notebook for each kid with all of the experiments
we would be doing at the party (and a few more they could take home).
I included a list of supplies, the directions, a spot for note taking
and the science behind each experiment.
I just made copies of everything 
and put them in an inexpensive three-pronged folder.

It's HERE as a printable if you want to see or use it yourself.
{I had some problems with my initial printable site, but I think I fixed it.
If you still have problems or if I don't have the settings right,
just email me at cometogetherkids@hotmail.com}

Thanks to some connections at a health care facility,
I was able to get the disposable lab coats for free!
(Here are some Disaposable Lab Coats on Amazon that look really similar to ours)
I just wrote each child's name on them with a Sharpie.
The big scientist wall decoration was borrowed from a generous
teacher at the school where I work part time.

The Experiments...

This was the real focus of the party and a ton of fun.  As much as possible, I separated and prepped all the supplies ahead of time.  We separated the kids into two groups to make the size more manageable and my mom and sister ran one experiment downstairs while I ran another one upstairs.  All the other adults also stepped in to help measure and pour when needed.  It was still a bit hectic at times (as it will always be with a bunch of kids), but overall, everything went off without a hitch.

Here are the experiments we did with links to more detailed posts here on the blog or back to my original source if I didn't do a whole post on it myself.

1.  Walking Water ( idea from HERE at Play Based Learning)

The water will "walk" from one cup to the other through the paper towel.

(NOTE: When I tested this experiment before the party, I used a cheap paper towel from a paper towel dispenser and the water took a few hours to move from cup to cup.
However, for the party I picked up a roll of Bounty paper towels thinking it would work even better.
I was wrong!  The good paper towels were so absorbent the water was trapped in the towel.
I had to sneak and pour some water into the second cup
when no little scientists were looking.
So if you're going to do this experiment, go with the less absorbent, cheap paper towels!)

2.  Swirling Colors Milk (full post HERE)

3.  Make-Your-Own Lava Lamps (full post HERE)
NOTE: The full post was from last summer when we first made these.  At the party we did the same thing, but in smaller bottles.

4.  Exploding Sandwich Bags (full post HERE)

5.  Elephant Toothpaste (full post HERE)

6.  Marshmallow Masher (idea from HERE at Steve Spangler Science)

NOTE: I don't have any pictures of this one.  Even though the experiment worked, the results weren't quite as dramatic as I'd hoped.

 7. Floating m's (idea from HERE at CandyExperiments.com)

NOTE:  This experiment worked and was pretty cool, but for some reason, I didn't get any pictures at the party.  (Maybe it had something to do with 13 noisy, experimenting kids running around my house! ;)  )  I'm sure we'll do it again and I'll do a full post then!)

For the children to take home, I gave them the supplies to do the following experiments...

8.  Ivory Soap Explosion (full post HERE)

 9.  Bending Water (idea from HERE at Science Bob)

NOTE:  We tested this out at home, really cool!

10. Spinning Penny (idea from HERE at Steve Spangler Science)

NOTE:  We've also tested this one out and the kids love it. 

Finally, the FOOD...

Because I knew I'd have my hands full with all the experiments and all the kids, I kept the food simple.  Pizza is my son's favorite food anyway, so I ordered several pizzas as our main dish. Then I added a few bowls of chips and a few sides 

Colorful Chemistry Concoctions  ( Ice Cream Jello ~ 
full post HERE)

 Make-your-Own Molecules (blueberries, grapes, raspberries and marshmallows with small straws)

Birthday Cupcakes

I didn't have the time (or the decorating skills) to make a fancy cake, however I thought this was just as cute.  I just made regular chocolate and vanilla cupcakes and added little cupcake toppers I designed on Picnik.  Then, I made my own little cupcake stand, just like I did HERE.

Oh, and to make serving the ice cream easier, I scooped it all out the morning of the party and put the individual scoops in a muffin tin.  When it came time to serve, we just handed each kid their own scoop of ice cream in a cupcake wrapper.

Phew, and that's it!  I know this was a super long post, but I hope it gave you some fun ideas if you're thinking of having your own Science Party.   

Ice Cream Jello

For my daughters' birthday party in the Fall, I made these cute individual Jello Aquariums.  They were a big hit, so I wanted to do something similar for my son's recent Super Science Party.  I came across this recipe for Ice Cream Jello at the Food Librarian and thought that it would be fun to make in single serving containers.  While mine didn't form layers quite as nicely as the inspiration recipe, I thought they still looked really cute in my pretend beakers. 

I made a few different flavors and they were all delicious, creamier versions of jello.  They were really easy to make too!

Here's what you need for each batch:
  • 6 oz box of Jello, any flavor (or two of the smaller 3 oz boxes)
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 2 cups vanilla ice cream
(NOTE:  The original recipe also used Knox plain gelatin so the jello could be cut into squares and served as finger food.  Because I was going to be serving mine in cups, I did not want mine that "solid", so I eliminated that ingredient)

Here's what to do:

1.  Add your two cups of boiling water to the jello powder and stir until dissolved.

2.  Add 2 cups of vanilla ice cream and stir until all the ice cream has melted into the jello mixture.

3.  Pour into individual cups (or any kind of larger mold) and refrigerate.  A creamier layer will rise to the top as it settles and cools.

For my mock beakers, I just used a Sharpie to draw lines and numbered markings on a plain, clear plastic cup.  (Obviously, these aren't to scale at all and the numbers have nothing to do with actually measuring the Jello!)  However, I think they looked fairly realistic once filled.

At our Science party, I set them out on a tray with a little sign.  They looked cute and the kids really enjoyed them.

I'm so glad I came across this recipe for Ice Cream Jello.  It was a hit for our party, but easy enough that I definitely plan on making them again just for snacks.

Sharing our recipe at:
Tip Junkie handmade projects Tatertots and Jello 
I heart Naptime

February 21, 2012

Swirling Colors Milk (science experiment)

Who would have thought you could do such a colorful science experiment with milk?  We had fun at our Super Science Party adding a "secret substance" that would turn a tray full of milk and food coloring into a swirling symphony of colors!

Here's what you need:
  • milk (whole or half and half ~ skim won't work)
  • tray or shallow bowl
  • food coloring
  • cotton swabs
  • liquid dish soap (Dawn works well)
Here's what to do:

  1. Pour some milk into your tray.  You'll want it at least 1/4" deep.
  2. Add several drops of food coloring near the center of the tray.
  3. Dip a cotton swab into the color (don't stir it, just dip!).  Nothing really happens.
  4. Now, dip your cotton swab into your liquid dish soap and then dip back into your milk.  (again, don't stir, just dip it in and hold it in place for a few seconds!).  Watch how the colors "jump" away from the soap, and then begin swirling around on their own!

 Look at all the fun we had at the party.

Here's the science behind the swirling colors.  (From Steve Spangler Science)

"Milk is mostly water but it also contains vitamins, minerals, proteins, and tiny droplets of fat suspended in solution. Fats and proteins are sensitive to changes in the surrounding solution (the milk).

The secret of the bursting colors is the chemistry of that tiny drop of soap. Dish soap, because of its bipolar characteristics (nonpolar on one end and polar on the other), weakens the chemical bonds that hold the proteins and fats in solution. The soap's polar, or hydrophilic (water-loving), end dissolves in water, and its hydrophobic (water-fearing) end attaches to a fat globule in the milk. This is when the fun begins.

The molecules of fat bend, roll, twist, and contort in all directions as the soap molecules race around to join up with the fat molecules. During all of this fat molecule gymnastics, the food coloring molecules are bumped and shoved everywhere, providing an easy way to observe all the invisible activity. As the soap becomes evenly mixed with the milk, the action slows down and eventually stops.

Try adding another drop of soap to see if there's any more movement. If so, you discovered there are still more fat molecules that haven't found a partner at the big color dance. Add another drop of soap to start the process again."

Sharing this swirling good time at:

Exploding Sandwich Bag experiment

This simple, yet exciting, experiment was the favorite of many of the kids at our Super Science Party.  It's a fun twist on the classic vinegar and baking soda reaction that I found HERE at Steve Spangler science!

Here's what you need:
  • sandwich-sized ziploc bag (I used a generic brand and it worked fine!)
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. baking soda
  • toilet paper

Here's what to do:  (It's helpful to have two people working together on this)

  1. Tear off a square or two of toilet paper and put a tablespoon of baking soda in the middle.  Twist or fold the toilet paper around the pile of baking soda making a small packet.
  2. Next, open your sandwich bag and pour in 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup warm water. Zip the bag closed, but not all the way.  You'll want a small opening just large enough to drop in the packet of baking soda.
  3. Move the experiment to the sink or outside!  Put the baking soda packet into the bag and then quickly zip it all the way closed.  (I found it helpful to carefully put the packet in, then hold it towards the top away from the liquid so I could zip the bag all the way closed, then let it drop in)

      4.  Once the bag is sealed, give it a quick, gentle shake so the packet drops into the liquid and set it down.  The reaction will occur almost immediately and the bag will start to fill with carbon dioxide.  It'll get bigger and bigger until it finally POPS!

And because a picture of an air filled bag doesn't capture the fun, here's a quick little video from our Science Party.  (excuse the kid's voice in the background saying it sounds like a fart, 8 and 9-year olds have their own sense of humor!)

Here's the science behind this cool explosion (from Steve Spangler Science

 When you mix vinegar and baking soda, a chemical reaction takes place producing a gas called carbon dioxide (CO2). If you really want to impress your friends, use the chemical names for each of the ingredients. Acetic acid (that’s vinegar) plus sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) produces carbon dioxide gas and water. The bag puffs up because the carbon dioxide gas takes up lots of space, eventually filling the bag. If there’s more gas than the bag can hold… KABOOM!  Wrapping the baking soda in tissue paper or separating the substances in bags is a clever way of slowing down the reaction.

Sharing our explosion at:

"Elephant Toothpaste" Foaming Science Experiment

We did this awesome Foaming Science Experiment (from Science Bob) at my son's Super Science Birthday Party and it was a HUGE hit!  Mix together a few ingredients and you get an amazing eruption of thick, bubbly foam!  It does require a trip to a beauty supply store to pick up some extra strong hydrogen peroxide (or you can order it HERE on Amazon ) , but it's absolutely worth it.

It almost looks like toothpaste for an elephant, doesn't it?

Here's what you'll need:

  • 1/2 cup 6% hydrogen peroxide (sold in beauty supply stores or online as 20 Volume Clear Developer )
  • 2 tsp. yeast (1 packet)
  • 3 tbsp. warm water
  • dish detergent
  • food coloring (optional)
  • empty 16oz plastic bottle 
  • funnel
  • safety goggles
  • tray or container to catch the foaming fun

Here's what to do:

  1. Pour 1/2 cup of the peroxide into the empty water bottle (Hydrogen peroxide can irritate skin and eyes, so make sure you protect your eyes and skin and let a grown up do the pouring.)
  2. Add about 8 drops of food coloring to the bottle (optional)
  3. Add about 1 tbsp. of liquid dish soap into the bottle and swish it just a bit to mix it.
  4. In a separate cup, combine yeast and warm water.  Mix for about 30 seconds until most lumps are gone.
  5. Now the fun begins!!  Pour the yeast mixture into the bottle ( using a funnel) and watch the foaminess begin.
  6. The foam is just water, soap and oxygen so it's safe to touch, but it will be warm because of the reaction!
Check out the fun the kids had with this at the Super Science Party!

And here it is on video so you can see the fun foaming fountain in action!!


Here's the science behind this experiment (from ScienceBob.com

Foam is awesome! The foam you made is special because each tiny foam bubble is filled with oxygen. The yeast acted as a catalyst (a helper) to remove the oxygen from the hydrogen peroxide. Since it did this very fast, it created lots and lots of bubbles. Did you notice the bottle got warm. Your experiment created a reaction called an Exothermic Reaction - that means it not only created foam, it created heat! The foam produced is just water, soap, and oxygen so you can clean it up with a sponge and pour any extra liquid left in the bottle down the drain. 

This experiment is sometimes called "Elephant's Toothpaste" because it looks like toothpaste coming out of a tube, but don't get the foam in your mouth!

Sharing this awesome experiment at:

Super Science Party sneak peek

This past weekend, I hosted a really fun Super Science party for my son's 8th birthday.  Over the next few days, I'll be sharing some of the kids' favorite science experiments from the party, as well as some of the simple foods and extras I did to make the party special.

In the meantime, here's a little sneak peek at some of the day's excitement.

No more waiting, here's the whole party with all the fun experiments!

February 16, 2012

No-Bake Chocolate Cookies

I was first given this recipe when I was babysitting for a family in college. It's so easy and really, really yummy. (Granted, they may not look super appealing, but believe me, the yumminess definitely makes up for what they lack in appearance.) The other day, my youngest and I had some free time, so we whipped up a quick batch. There were none left by the next morning. 

Here's what you need:
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk 
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder (Note: not hot chocolate powder, but the unsweetened cocoa powder)
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups quick-cooking oats
Here's what to do:

1.  Put butter, sugar, milk and cocoa powder in a large sauce pan.  Bring ingredients to a rolling boil while stirring continuously.  Boil for one minute and remove from heat.

 When my daughter saw the whole stick of butter and 2 cups of sugar
being added in this step she commented, "This isn't really a healthy recipe is it, Mom?"
(No, sweetheart, but sometimes mommies 
like a yummy chocolate-y treat to make it through a rough day!)

2.  Stir in peanut butter and vanilla and mix until blended.  Add quick oats and stir until combined.

3. Line a baking sheet with wax paper.  Drop mixture by tablespoon-full onto the waxed paper.  The cookies will harden as they cool.  (I often pop them into the fridge for a bit to speed up this process)

We used a 1/4 cup measure instead of tablespoon for big cookies!

 That's it!  These are almost too easy, especially considering how deliciously, fudge-y they turn out.  Just try to ignore my 6 year-olds comments on the how all that butter and sugar aren't healthy.  They're a yummy special treat (and that oatmeal is good for your fiber intake, right?)

Sharing these easy, yummy treats at:
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