Thursday, July 29, 2010

Geode Necklaces

I let both of the kids get a geode the other day while we were at the Children’s Museum.  I know what you are thinking.  Wasn’t I just trying to come up with ideas to use all of the rocks the kids have collected?   Well, I had a plan for these ~ geode necklaces!

geode neckace

What You’ll Need:

  • Geode
  • Hammer 
  • Safety glasses
  • Floral wire or colored wire (we used 22-gauge)
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Cord
  • Scissors
  • Pencil

What We Did:

The kids put on safety glasses and broke open their geodes. I let them pick which piece they wanted to use for the necklace.


We placed the geode on floral wire and wrapped the wire around it numerous times to secure it.  I twisted the ends together, and made a loop around a pencil for the cord to go through.  I used pliers to close the loop and cut off the excess wire.

geode necklace   geode necklace

We put a cord through the pendant, tied it, put it on ~ and the kids modeled for the camera!

 geode necklace  geode necklace  geode necklace geode necklace

Educational, because we talked about how geodes are formed, and fun!


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Rock Art

The kids have been collecting LOTS of rocks.  What do you do with them?  Get out some paint, maybe a glue gun and have fun!  Here are some of the kids masterpieces.

Emily painted a snapping turtle.

IMG_3085  Rock Art 

Aiden decided to keep things simple and keep his rock ~ pretty blue!

  IMG_3086 IMG_3099

Aiden and I made some silly faces with one of our wood blocks and river rocks.


A big moment for Emily ~ I let her use the glue gun for the first time.  She is SO my daughter!  IMG_3062

Her creation ~ a rock man.

Rock Art

We still have LOTS of rocks ~ guess I need to come up with some more ideas!


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Science Sunday: Rocks and Gems


The kids decided they wanted to learn about rocks when they found a Smithsonian Rock and Gem Dig kit at Michaels.  We purchased the kit, took it home and got our materials ready.


The kids geared up

 IMG_2857 IMG_2856

and started digging for rocks and gems.

IMG_2858 IMG_2861

They had fun digging but the rocks and gems were a disappointment because they were teeny tiny. We found a total of 11 gems and rock.  We tried to identify all of them ~ which we did not succeed in doing.  They were so tiny it was hard to see the different colors, etc. in the stones.


We ended by reading Let’s Go Rock Collecting and talking about the different kinds of rocks.

Next Sunday I will post about the experiments we did to demonstrate how sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic rocks are formed.

For more fun with science, check out Science Sunday at Adventures in Mommydom.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Travel Kits: A Simple Way To Bless Others {Review}

imageThe e-book Travels Kits: A Simple Way to Bless Others is  written by Donna Rees and published by the The Old Schoolhouse.  

Wondering what travel kits are? 

Travel kits are items you put together in advance to keep passengers, young and old, entertained and happy while you are traveling, be it car, van, plane or train!  They can be simple or elaborate ~ it’s up to you.  Travel kits aren’t just for long trips, they can be used anytime you need your kids to sit for an extended period of time.

What does this e-book include?

  • The basics you need to know about travel kits ~ who, what, when, where, how, and why.
  • Ideas for putting kits together for little or big vehicles.
  • Creative ideas for all budgets.
  • Gift ideas for boys, girls, moms and dads.
  • Wrapping and container suggestions ~ large and small.
  • Suggestions for snacks, crafts, books, music, cheap toys, puzzles, games and much, much more! 
  • Web links to everything from games to tourism websites for each state.

My Thoughts

I wish I had this e-book when I was putting travel kits together for our trip to the beach.  I was able to find some ideas searching the internet but nothing compared to what this 93 page e-book contains.  It is packed FULL of fun ideas, themes, ways to wrap and distribute the gifts, and helpful websites.  I am a very visual person and the wonderful images in this e-book gave me lots of great ideas before I even started reading it.

Not going on a long trip?  Travel kits are great for anytime you want the kids to sit patiently.  I plan on making some small kits to use when we go on day trips or anytime we are out and I need to keep the kids entertained ~ such as doctor appointments. 

Sneak Peek

Want to see a sample before purchasing?  You can check out the Table of Contents and some of the pages here.


You can purchase the e-book Travel Kits: A Way To Bless Others here for only $12.45.  While you are there check out some of the other e-books by Donna Rees.

                image image
To see what other TOS Crew Members think of this product visit:
This product was given to me for review purposes, and I do not have to return the product to the vendor. I was not paid for this post. All opinions expressed in this post are mine.


Monday, July 12, 2010


Making pretzels with the kids is so much fun!  Emily loves to  measure, mix, and knead. 

cooking with kidscooking with kids
Aiden loves to punch the dough ~ his version of kneading. 
cooking with kids

This is the first time we have made this pretzel recipe and I will never make another!  They were so YUMMY! 

What You’ll Need:

  • 4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 4 cups hot water
  • Optional: 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • Optional:  melted butter and cinnamon and sugar
What You’ll Do:
  1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and salt. Make a well in the center; add the oil and yeast mixture. Mix and form into a dough. If the mixture is dry, add one or two tablespoons of water. Knead the dough until smooth, about 7 to 8 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). In a large bowl, dissolve baking soda in hot water.
  4. When risen, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope and twist into a pretzel shape.  We made most of ours into pretzel sticks.                                        
  5. Once you have shaped all the dough, dip each pretzel into the baking soda solution and place on a greased baking sheet.  Optional: Sprinkle with kosher salt.       pretzels
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 8 minutes, until browned.
  7. Optional:  melt butter and dip pretzels in butter then in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar.

The best part ~ taste testing!



Sunday, July 11, 2010

Science Sunday: Sea Monkeys

I bought some Sea Monkeys for the kids at Christmas and they sat on the shelf, forgotten, until the kids found them and asked me what they were.  That was about 8 weeks ago and I am proud to report that our Sea Monkeys are still alive and reproducing!

We started by getting our water ready and letting it sit for 24 hours~ this was extremely hard for the kids because they wanted to dump the packet of Sea Monkey eggs in right away. 

Sea Monkey PacketThe next day we opened our package of Sea Monkey eggs and took a closer look. The kids could not believe that this powder could possible contain something living.   

How can they live with out water and survive in this little packet?  Sea Monkeys produce a substance called trehalose, which protects the eggs from extreme temperatures and lack of water.  Once the eggs are coated they are called cysts and they can live for many years like this. 

Sea MonkeysI added the water and the kids watched and waited.  We soon saw little particles moving in the water ~ baby Sea Monkeys.

I found some really great websites that have information about Sea Monkeys.  My favorite was Sea Monkey Worship ~ lots of great information!  Discover This had an interesting fact page and some  coloring sheets.

Some interesting facts we have learned about Sea Monkeys:

  • Sea Monkeys are really brine shrimp.
  • They breathe through their feet.
  • They are attracted to light so you can teach them tricks with a flashlight.
  • Sea Monkeys don’t have brains; they have groupings of nerves called ganglia.
  • You can tell if you Sea Monkey is eating by looking at the line that runs down the Sea Monkey’s body; this is the digestive tract. If they are full, the line will be black.  If not ~ feed them!

Here is a sheet I created for Emily to write down some information about the Sea Monkeys and draw them as she observed them.


Click the document above to download.

Our Sea Monkeys at 8 weeks. Sea Monkeys

We have enjoyed watching the Sea Monkeys and they have been easy to take care of.  You don’t need to clean the tank and they only have to be feed once every 5 days.

For more fun with science, check out Science Sunday at Adventures in Mommydom.


Thursday, July 8, 2010

My Attempt At Making Tree Blocks

I was very excited when I saw the idea for making Tree Blocks on the blog Childhood Magic!  Free and easy to make ~ or so I thought! 

Yesterday I headed out into my mom’s backyard, searching for sticks and logs for my project.  Let me add that it was 100° outside ~ what was I thinking?  After about an hour I came in soaking wet, but I did find a wonderful pile of sticks and the perfect log.

I headed home, excited to get started cutting the wood ~ how hard could this be anyway?  My husband had his band saw all set up, ready to go.  I started or should I say attempted to cut my first piece of wood, which I immediately got stuck.  I managed to free it, with all my fingers intact, and tried again.  My second cut and the belt that turns the saw blade slipped off.  Feeling rather defeated I decided to wait for my husband to get home.  My dear sweet husband fixed the belt and showed me the proper way to use the saw.  He watch me make a cut ~ success!  My next cut and the blade broke.  Cost for a new blade $40.00.

Day two, hubby decided I should use the table saw.  He set it up for me and I finished cutting.    The kids were so excited to see what I had been working on and they LOVED the blocks.

tree blocks    tree blocks  tree blocks

The blocks didn’t turn out to be completely free ($40.o0 for a new blade) or that easy (2 days to complete this easy project), but it was still worth it!


Friday, July 2, 2010

Zucchini Pizza Bites

We made some Zucchini Pizza Bites today using our first zucchini from the garden. 

    Zucchini Pizza Bites

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 medium zucchini
  • pizza sauce
  • fresh oregano (or dried)
  • shredded mozzarella cheese
  • shredded parmesan cheese
  • pepperoni
  • onions (optional)

What You’ll Do:

  1. Preheat broiler; set rack in the middle.
  2. Trim ends on zucchini and cut into diagonal slices.
  3. Spread a teaspoon of sauce over each zucchini slice and sprinkle on some fresh chopped oregano.   Top each zucchini slice with cheeses.  Add pepperoni and onions, if desired.
  4. Broil about 3 minutes or until cheese is melted.

My kids tolerate zucchini, it’s definitely not their favorite.  I on the other hand LOVE zucchini, so guess who planted lots of it in the garden this year? 

The verdict ~ add some sauce, cheese and pepperoni and the kids have decided that they like zucchini after all.  Do you have a favorite zucchini recipe?


Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine ~ Amazing 4th of July Sale

The Old Schoolhouse is having an amazing four day sale on new or renewed subscriptions to The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine starting today!

image1776 was a spectacular year, and it's a smashing, save-more-money price! Grab your subscription to The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine during their four-day Fourth of July sale, and check out the craziest price on July 1 only!

ONLY ON JULY 1st ~ receive a 2-year subscription, free Homeschooling with Heart tote bag, and five FREE E-Books for just $17.76!  While supplies last. U.S. and Canadian residents.

July 2 through July 4 the unprecedented savings continue. The sparks are flying at TOS Magazine . . . join in the celebration and savings! Get the details here.


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