Thursday, May 31, 2012

Summer Diary: Day 6: Beachy Fun

 We headed to the Bridgeport State Recreation Area for some beachy sandcastle fun today with some friends. The grownups built the big sandcastle. We are rather proud of that ugly thing. It has a moat, a bridge AND a drawbridge. Plus, windows & doors that make it look like it has a face (not on purpose), complete with hat (not on purpose), & an odd little flag made with loops of grass tied to a branch.

The kids hopped around building their own structures & burying each other in the sand.
 Below is one of the kids' sand creations, complete with wood sculpture. They dug a hole & buried that large charred piece of wood into the sand. They said it's the "flag" of their castle.

 It was a very relaxing day. And, surprisingly, nobody else was on the beach. We drank our cool drinks, munched on beef jerky, wasabi almonds, sugary chex-mix, & salty sunflower seeds, in between building sandy awesome things & snapping photos.

 P.S. Thanks to my friend, Randy, for giving the muskrat a proper burial.

You can check out the rest of our pictures in my 2012 Summer Diary album on Flickr, by clicking HERE.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Summer Diary: Day 5: Water Games

Tonight was the finale of our Wednesday night church services before summer break. We had a big "Family Fun Night" with hot dogs, chips & ice cream sundaes. The younger kids performed skits they've been working on, AND I planned a bunch of games for everyone to play.
I decided to theme all the games around water. Unfortunately our warmer weather earlier in the day turned breezy & a bit chilly by evening, so the water wasn't so much refreshing as it was shocking. But still, the games must go on...

(First I divided everyone into 4 teams.)

Wet Sponge Relay
We played this game by forming 2 teams. (Team #1 & Team #2 formed ONE team, while Team #3 & Team #4 formed the SECOND team.) Each team stands in their own line, facing one direction. The person in the front holds a sponge. He/she dips the sponge into a big bucket of water, which is directly in front of them. They pass this sponge over their head to the person behind them. And it goes like this on down the line. The last person wrings the wet sponge into a pitcher (which is directly behind them) & then they run up to the front of the line (with the sponge) & begin all over again. The team to fill the pitcher first, wins.

Fish For Marbles
I had each of the 4 teams choose one member to play this game. 
Basically, a small kiddie-sized plastic pool is filled with water AND ice AND marbles. The 4 contestants have to stand in the freezing cold water &, with their toes, fish out the marbles & drop them in a pitcher designated for their team. Whoever collects the most marbles in their container in 2 minutes, wins! We played again where 2 people from each team participated & they had only ONE minute to get their marbles.

Soap Game
One member from each team started this game. I handed each contestant a bar of soap. The goal of the game is to rub the soap in your hands & get it down to as small of a size as you can in an alloted time. The water was SOOOO cold (the same water used for the "Fish for Marbles" game) so we had the players tag-team & pass the soap off to the next person in line when their hands got too cold or too tired. I set a time limit of 5 minutes. 

 The Great T-Shirt Escape
This was my favorite game, so I saved it for last.
Earlier in the day I froze 4 shirts in four Gallon-sized ziploc bags. It wasn't as frozen as I had hoped. I should have frozen them the night before.

When it was game-time, I handed one bag to each team & on "GO!" the teams had to break through the ice. The first team to melt the ice from the shirt & have one member of their team put the shirt on, was the winner!

It was a great night, & a super kick-off to all the fun we have planned for the youth & kids this summer!
If you're local, check out the Connections Youth Group facebook page! Keep updated with all the events we have schemed for June & July!!!!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Summer Diary: Day 4: Glow Bath

 I gave the girls three options of what we could do today & they both jumped on THIS idea I found via Pinterest. 
I purchased a BUNCH of glow sticks at the dollar store a long time ago---before Independence Day they sell a lot of 'em. (Which would be right about now.) I found 15 glow sticks in a tube---for only a buck. I love sweet deals. Tonight we used up the last of them for our space age tub experience. The girls thought to add bubbles to the bath too.
Because bubbles make everything better.

(Pazely & I stood on the edge of the bathtub to get this shot. I love how she's curling her toes. haha!)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Summer Diary: Day 3: Lego Rings

I found this idea on Pinterest. Please visit Chez Deeper Bebe where Holly will show you how to make adorable Lego necklaces as well! (And she shares a great link for purchasing random Lego pieces online too.)
Optional supplies: rubbing alcohol, cotton pads, & a sharp tool.

Apply adhesive to your ring blanks (I purchase my ring blanks from Etsy. Click HERE for a "search", listing ring blanks of all shapes & sizes.)
Optional: before applying the glue to the ring blanks, I like to scratch away or "score" the pad on the ring blank. An adult should do this. I use a sharp crafty knife. After it's scored, wipe surface with a cotton pad dipped in rubbing alcohol. This also cleans away any greasy fingerprints. Not necessary, but I do this when I make rings.

 This was SUCH a super fun project! The hardest part was having to wait for the adhesive to dry so we could slip the rings on our fingers & get to playin'!

 As you can see, we made a few "double" rings. To make these, just center two ring blanks, side-by-side, on the middle of your Lego piece.

We are so giddy to share our new Lego ring creations with you. 

But mostly we just want to show off our manicures.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Week in Review: May 21-27

Last week...
...Zoey's little salamander tadpole died.
...I worked out at the gym with the Mr. for the first time ever.
...I sent my sister a birthday prezzie.
...the Mr. & I spent 7 hours in the sun watching the girls for their elementary Track & Field day. 
...I got sunburned after spending said 7 hours in the sun.
...I borrowed Zoey's cupcake lunch box.
...I helped chaperone Pazely & her 2nd grade class on their field trip.
...the Mr. finalized a mini-mini 4-day-vacay for the fam to Lincoln in a week & a half!!
...I had brekkie at the diner with the Mr. & my friend Pedro. It was his birthday, so I brought a candle, lit it & stuck it in his burrito.
...finally shot off two of THESE bad boys. (To celebrate the last day of school.)
...I watched "Lady & the Tramp" with the girls.
...someone surprised the fam & I with homemade cabbage burgers. YUM!
...I attended a baptism at the lakes for one of the young adults in our church. A happy day!
...I ate a Neapolitan ice cream sandwich.
...I began the 2012 Summer Diary series!!
...I rode a school bus.
...I bought yellow fingernail polish.

Click HERE for a photo play-by-play.

If I were a bird, I would starve.

Just sayin'.

Summer Diary: Day 2: Marshmallow Shooter

I have seen this idea around Pinterest & thought I'd give it a go today with the girls. It was the perfect weather today for some outdoor gamey fun. And we had little friends over to play with too!
For this project, cut off the bottom of a cup, knot the end of a balloon, & then snip off about 1/2" from the rounded part of the balloon. Then, slip the balloon over the bottom of the cup.

From here on, this project was pretty much a dud for us.
Our problem was that the balloons kept repeatedly slipping off the cups. (The plastic cups seemed to slip worse than the styrofoam ones.) It wasn't until AFTER our launchers were made that I discovered the site "Come Together Kids" where Laura suggests attaching the balloon around the lip of the cup. 
(That makes TOTAL sense now.) So, go see Laura's blog, she knows what she's doing.

The site also suggests using mini pom-poms as well as mini marshmallows. (The mini pom-poms would have been SO MUCH more fun to use than having to cut up big marshmallows into smaller sizes due to the fact that I didn't have any mini marshmallows.)

We did get to launch a few marshmallows. And, boy! They shoot pretty far!
•See who can shoot it the farthest. 
•Or who can launch more at (or into) a specified target. 
•Play "catch" with a partner.
•Launch a marshmallow straight up in the air & see how many times in a row you can catch it.

Eventually the girls ended up decorating their feet with the discarded balloons.
They called it "recycling".

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Polka Daisy Giveaway!

Check out the super cool gift I got my mom for Mother's Day from Polka Daisy.
I love hand stamped jewelry. And I loved that I could personally design this necklace for my mom.
The saying "God gave me you" is used a lot for brides & grooms in the wedding/marriage scene.
But I was adopted & feel like that statement perfectly describes how I feel about my mom.

Michelle, the owner & stamper at Polka Daisy, has been kind enough to let me host a giveaway of one of her amazing creations! The winner will receive the Two Tags Necklace. You can customize it any way you want: names, dates, inspiring words, etc. 

To enter, leave a comment on this post & I'll pick a winner in one week: on Sunday, June 3rd.
(Please make sure to leave your email address in your comment, so I have a way to contact you.)

Be sure to browse Polka Daisy for other personalized necklaces, keychains & bracelets.
*Disclosure: This review was written in return for product compensation from Polka Daisy. The opinions expressed are my own.

I once almost saw a ghost.

When gearing up to do our first project for the 2012 Summer Diary series, I realized that I didn't have any film canisters from the supply list. Not one single canister in my house. So, I texted friends. And then someone suggested I go to the local newspaper to see if they had any. GREAT idea! I work at the newspaper & there are photos & cameras all over that place. There would, hopefully, also be a canister or two. There's even a darkroom in the building that was once used ages ago.

Pazely, my almost-8-year-old, accompanied me. We pulled up to my place of employment, after only a 42 second drive from home. (I love my commute!) I pulled out my key & unlocked the door to the News-Blade, established in 1900. Nobody else was there, so we were alone to rummage through things.

Well, after searching shelf after shelf & nook after nook, we couldn't find anything there either!!! 
Except that, all of a sudden, I remembered that darkroom. I tried explaining to Pazely what a darkroom was. I couldn't show her what it was because the room, was, well...dark. The doorway was blocked by black tarps too. I am not sure when the last time was that somebody even walked into that room. I've worked there 2 1/2 years & have never seen anybody go in there. We searched & searched for a flashlight & couldn't find one of those either. And then I had a brilliant idea. There were cameras EVERYWHERE. So, I picked one up, flipped on the flash, pulled back the tarp doorway & started flashing into the room to see if I could spot anything worth our hunt. Except that, it started reminding me of a horror movie. I could only register the objects in the room for a split second at a time, with not enough light to invade the whole room & get a good idea of what the heck in the world was in there. I got too spooked after several flashes & put the camera down. I was certain some insane guy with a clown mask was about to jump in front of the camera, & I just couldn't have that. 
Oh, & to top it all off, I suddenly remembered that someone told me a relative of theirs once saw a ghost in this building. 

Finally, my sweet, lovely little child-person found a flashlight! It was high on a shelf & I stretched to reach it. It was a green flashlight shaped like an "L". I think it was a military flashlight. Anyway, I turned it on & ventured back into the darkroom. Ah! I could see! But I held my free hand up above my head & in front of my face in case any spiders or webs were to get in the way. You know, so I could quickly karate chop them to pieces if need be. There was a thick layer of dust everywhere, & really cool old equipment, & everything was vintage with a capital V. Pazely clutched my arm, frightened, & kept asking things like, "Did someone die in here?" (No, but I'm sure there's a creepy clown in that corner over there.) 

And then I spotted it! A box full of empty film canisters. Jackpot. I grabbed the three ziploc bags full & got out of there lickety-split. And then I went back & got Pazely.

After we made it into daylight I realized I didn't NEED all three bags of canisters. So, we had to go back in that room & return two of the bags. Pazely bravely piped up, "I'll do it! Give me the bags & the flashlight, mom!" Wow, she was being so brave. But as she grabbed the bags, she also grabbed my arm & tugged me along.

The next few things happened so quickly...
•We walked into the room.
•Pazely screamed.
•So I screamed.
•We dropped the bags. 
•And ran.

I laughed so hard I couldn't stop.
And Pazely thought it was the best adventure ever.

So, that's just a fun little backstory to yesterday's Alka-Seltzer Rocket project.
I love me a good backstory.

(*The photo up top was NOT taken by me, but directs to THIS link.)

Summer Diary: Day 1: Alka-Seltzer Rockets

 If you'd like, decorate your canisters with permanent markers. (The designs will scratch off, so it's only a temporary happy.) The girls & I also hot glued sequins & gems onto our rockets, & wrapped glittery papers around them.
To make the pointy rocket top (or a "Chinese hat" as Pazely calls it) just cut out a 2" circle. I used my punch. Cut a slit halfway through, to the center. Then twist the paper so it forms the point. Glue to hold in place & then glue your "hat" to the bottom of the film canister.

Zoey says you should put a much smaller piece of the Alka-Seltzer tablet in the lid of your rocket than I did.
 The next step goes kind of fast. After you put your little piece of Alka-Seltzer in the lid, put about 1/4 inch  of water in the bottom part. Snap it together quick, shake it, set it down, & get back!

 Depending on how much water vs. Alka-Seltzer you have, your rocket will eventually POP, flying into the air. (Remember to set it down with the lid on the bottom.)
 You can experiment with different levels of water & amounts of Alka-Seltzer. 
We even tried this experiment with those plastic capsules you get from the gumball machines. It worked for the little one, but the large one just kept foaming because the seal wasn't as tight.
We also found that the Fuji film canister worked better than the Kodak ones. (Again, tighter seal.)

It's all scientific, you know. 
Once the Alka-Seltzer hits the water, carbon dioxide is released. The gases build up in that tiny space & the pressure becomes too great, so eventually the container BURSTS open!
There's lots of information on the web with proper terminology & explanations. 
So feel free to Google.

We definitely plan on making these rockets again to amaze all our friends.

(Don't forget to grab a 2012 Summer Diary blog button on the sidebar & follow along!)

P.S. Click HERE to read a narrative about how I acquired the film canisters.