Wednesday, August 31, 2011

R's Haircut

So many people have recently commented on how long R's hair was getting that I just had to share these pictures of her new haircut!  I LOVE LOVE LOVE it, but R is worried that it is too short.  I'm sure she will be used to it in a few days.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Fun Kids Pajamas - Review and Giveaway!

I have received many types of products for review, but I think these pajamas are by far my favorite!  Fun Kids Pajamas is a new site that focuses on pajamas for children.  I'm thrilled to be hosting their first blog review and giveaway!

I chose Marvel Heroes pajama pants for C

and a Laura Dare pink flutter sleeve nightgown for R.

So often, pajamas I see in stores are cheap, thin, or run small, but not these!  I am so impressed with the quality of both the pajama pants and the nightgown.  They are super soft and comfortable, and they wash well.  They also run true to size!  I requested the sizes C and R normally wear, instead of requesting a bigger size like I often do with pajamas, mostly so that I could comment on whether the sizing was accurate.  As you can see from the photo, C and R have plenty of room in these pajamas!  They were both thrilled with the pajamas and reported that they slept well in them!

FunKidsPajamas is offering one lucky reader a $25.00 store credit.  The winner can choose any item from the site and all U.S. domestic shipping charges will be covered!!!

To enter the giveaway, visit, and then come back and leave a comment letting me know what item you might choose if you win!  Please be sure to leave your email address in the comment!  This giveaway is open to U.S. residents beginning at the time of posting and ending on Friday, September 9th, 2011 at 9:00 AM eastern time.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Cookbooks for Kids - Part Eight

We have been working our way through some cookbooks for kids.  There really aren't any rules except that we choose cookbooks written with children in mind, and we make at least one recipe from each cookbook.  This is just for fun, and to give us an excuse to work together in the kitchen.   To read all of our cookbook reviews, click here.

I really enjoy watching the Food Network, and Paula Deen is one of my favorite cooks on the network.  She is so much fun to watch and everything she makes looks delicious.  Further, I have had great luck with her recipes.  Needless to say, I was thrilled when I was offered a free copy of Paula Deen's My First Cookbook in exchange for an honest review.

The cookbook begins with a section about kitchen safety, a glossary, measurement information, instructions on how to set a table, and a page of good manners.  This is followed by eight chapters of different types of foods - breakfast foods, lunches, dinner, snacks, birthday treats, cooking for Mom and Dad, holiday treats, and special drinks.  There are plenty of recipes in each chapter.  The final chapter has recipes for play clay, salt dough, and giant bubbles.  I love the way this cookbook is set up; it is user friendly and very thorough.

One of the things I really like about this cookbook is that each recipe has a page of watercolor illustrations showing what you will need for that recipe.  This is a great way for non-readers to help "read" the recipe.  I wish the recipe instructions used similar illustrations to show each step.

There are plenty of recipes that we have bookmarked to try in the near future, but our first recipe from this book was homemade pretzels with salt or cinnamon (we made some of each).  The recipe was easy to follow, C and R LOVED the process of making homemade pretzels, and we thought they were pretty tasty!

As you can see, not all of our pretzels were formed in traditional pretzel shapes!

Overall, we are very happy with this cookbook and look forward to using it often!  If you would like to try the pretzel recipe, look for Paula Deen's My First Cookbook in bookstores or at your local library!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Oobleck - Summer Bucket List

Oobleck is one of the coolest science experiments we have ever tried.  We first made it in March of 2010 in honor of Dr. Seuss (there is a Dr. Seuss book titled Bartholomew and the Oobleck), and this year we added oobleck to our summer bucket list because it is one of those things that is so much fun and yet we often forget to do it.

To make oobleck:

  1. pour one cup of water into a container
  2. add a few drops of food coloring to the water (we used blue this time)
  3. add two cups of corn starch and stir

This year I decided to double the recipe because we had a bigger container and we were experimenting outside (can you believe we did this in the house the first time?).

It feels like a solid when you try to pick it up, but it quickly becomes a liquid and drips through your fingers.  I tried to capture this with my camera:

If you want the scientific explanation, oobleck is a slimy polymer classified as a non-Newtonian fluid.  Non-Newtonian fluids can look and feel like both liquids and solids, but their flow only changes when you change the type of pressure you apply to its surface.  If you want more details, you can google those terms.

WARNING:  This is not for the faint of heart.  This stuff makes a mess.  The more water you add, the more resistant to clean up this stuff becomes.  Believe it or not, oobleck washes off of clothing without a problem.  Phew!  Also, whatever you do, DO NOT put this stuff down the drain or toilet.  If you do, you better call a plumber!  To dispose of the oobleck, just leave it to dry out and then dump it into the trash.  This is what ours looked like after it dried:   

It's definitely worth the mess.  I always enjoy this myself.  It is so cool the way it changes in your hands.  So, relax a little bit, cover all of your surfaces, and have fun!

For more cool science experiments, check out Science Sunday hosted by Adventures in Mommydom.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Birthday Bin

Every once in a while, I wonder what took me so long to put like things together in a place where I can access them easily when needed.  This week, I put together a birthday bin.  Before now, the items in this bin were spread out across different areas of the house and they were often forgotten.  This certainly isn't one of those genius organizing tips, but it made me happy to get it done.

Our birthday bin contains:

- our cake plate (it's by Lenox and when wound, it plays "Happy Birthday") - I forgot to use it for C's birthday and that inspired this bin!,

- a matching Lenox cake server
- a dessert plate with the words, "Happy Birthday to You" on it for the birthday person to use on his or her birthday (I couldn't find this online, but you can see it in one of the above photos.  I think it is from Home Goods)
- a box of birthday cards; I like to have cards on hand
- a Ziploc bag full of birthday candles
- gift bags and gift wrap
- leftover streamers

Instead of leaving our cake plate in the box it came in, I covered it with the styrofoam packaging and bubble wrap.  I cut up the box and used the decorative pieces to make the bin identifiable.

It's funny how happy this little project made me feel!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Big Brother and Big Sister Presents

With each new addition to the family, I have always presented the older sibling(s) with a gift from the new sibling.  I think it makes the older sibling(s) feel special at a time when everyone is focusing their attention on the new baby!

T, C, and R will receive their gifts when they meet their new sister for the first time.  Typing that last sentence got me so excited - I can't believe my due date is only two weeks away!

C (age 7) will receive a Spiderman Color-Fillz kit and a Hallmark dog wearing a shirt that says, "Fun Big Brother".

R (age 5) will receive a Hallmark bunny with a ballet outfit that says, "Sweet Big Sister," and a mini Moby doll carrier.

T will receive an itunes gift card - he's fourteen!

This is such an exciting time for our family!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Ice Cream Ball

C got an ice cream ball (actually called the Play and Freeze Ice Cream Maker) from some friends for his birthday.  We got to try it out recently, and we all agreed that it is a pretty cool way to make ice cream.

The ball has two openings - one that you fill with ice and rock salt, and the other (a metal cylinder) that you fill with your ice cream ingredients.  We used one of the recipes in the instruction booklet to make peanut butter cup ice cream.

Once the ingredients were in the ball and it was sealed, C and R took the ball outside to play for ten minutes.

After ten minutes, I poured out the water that had melted, refilled the ice, added more rock salt, scraped down the sides of the cylinder, and sent them back outside for another five minutes or so.

The end result was ice cream, and it was pretty good!  This is much better than the sealed plastic bag method we have used in the past!  I loved that C and R did almost all of the work, all I did was fill the ball! That is one cool birthday present!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Outdoor "Cooking" by C and R

I recently borrowed the book, Mud Pies and Other Recipes, A Cookbook for Dolls by Marjorie Winslow.

I think the book is absolutely delightful and borrowed it specifically to review for my Cookbooks for Kids series.  The book is full of "recipes" for dolls with all of the ingredients being things found outside.  Any doll would be thrilled with Dandelion Souffle, Wood Chip Dip, or Rainspout Tea.

This really is a sweet book, but I decided not to share it with C and R.  It's ridiculous, but I spent weeks weighing this decision before finally returning the book!  My reason for this is that C and R love (more than anything) to spend time outside creating their own "recipes" and serving them to a pretend rabbit named "Herbie".  While they might enjoy this book, I kind of felt like it would change the way they already play, and that it might take away some of the joy they find in this type of play.  So, I decided to leave well enough alone!

Here is a picture of C and R preparing food for Herbie's birthday party last week:

Monday, August 22, 2011

Creepy Crawly Things

When comparing my three children, C is by far the biggest fan of all things creepy and crawly.  This is his latest find.

He was fascinated by the way it would react when he touched it; the slug would pull itself in as tight as it could, as if it was trying to hide inside of a shell.  It was neat to watch.  I love to capture his love of nature.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Ice Tunnels

After a couple of rainy days, we woke up to one of the most beautiful days of the summer.  It would have been a perfect beach day, but the idea of walking (waddling with a bit of a limp is more like it) the short distance from the parking lot to the beach and sitting in the hot sun just doesn't agree with me three weeks before my due date!  So, I thought C and R would enjoy playing with ice.

First, I mixed a few drops of liquid food coloring with a few tablespoons of table salt in my silicone muffin pan.

I had two containers that I added some water to and stuck in the freezer, and I also had a five pound bag of ice left from C's party.  I added all of that to a bin.

Then, I gave C and R plastic spoons and let them pour the colored salt all over the ice.  It quickly created gorgeous tunnels of color in the ice.

We talked about how salt lowers the freezing temperature of water and when poured on the ice, it creates crevices for the color to fill in.  I'll have to remind them of this when we see the trucks salting the roads during a snow storm!

I was inspired by a post at Art and Creativity and also saw this done by Almost Unschoolers.  For more scientific inspiration, check out Science Sunday at Adventures in Mommydom.