A much shorter post today.
We made pickles. And pickled carrots.
Rather, I should say, we started the pickling process.
We'll see how they turn out in about a week. Several children have already checked the fridge two or three times. Patience does not live in our house.
You, too, can pickles vegetables. All you need is a fun jar with a cover (which we happened to have in the house and which I did not buy just so could pickle things), vinegar, sugar, water and vegetables.
Start by piling all the vegetables into the jar. I think our jar might have been too big because the recipe said to stand them up in the jar but we couldn't figure that part out. Next add in equal parts sugar and vinegar, some salt and fill the jar with water. The recipe said purified water, but I don't know what that is, so we used tap water.
The last step is to get someone who is infinitely stronger than me to shake the jar until the sugar and salt have dissolved.
It's probably a good idea to do this part over the sink, you know, just in case maybe we really didn't seal the jar all that well.
Now we wait a week and see what happens. Worse comes to worse, we have a jar of pickles from a real store waiting in the pantry.
We also went to Lowe's to purchase moving boxes. Because we're moving. Oh, did I forget to mention that we're moving? I'm sorry. We're moving. So we bought boxes, and everyone got to ride on the flat shopping cart-that-is-not-an-actual-cart thing. So Josh got to go to Lowes and look at all the things and the kids got to go for a ride on the whatever it's called, so really, our mini-outing was fun for all, even me, because I had a $10 off $50 Lowes coupon :)
Until next time :)
It's been a few days, so we'll do this mostly with pictures instead of full stories.
Except I'm lying, there are lots of words here.
Feel free to just look at the pictures.
We'll start with a birthday, Josh's, last week.
We didn't want to turn on the oven because it's so hot, so we all agreed on an ice cream cake. And because we've been watching lots of YouTube videos lately, we decided on that ice cream sandwich cake that's been making the rounds.
It tastes exactly like what it is - ice cream sandwiches and cool whip, with m&ms and crushed cookies on top. If you've been sitting around, wondering how you might score yourself at instant headache, then this is your answer. The chemicals in the cool whip combine with the red dye in the m&ms in just the right way to bring on a migraine. If you don't believe me and my migraine, just ask Josh. A birthday headache is always lovely.
It looks so pretty and easy to make on the video.
It's not. It's messy and somewhat of a pain.
So if you've been thinking about making this, maybe don't.
You can live vicariously through us.
This is what it looks like inside.
Also, see that package of knock-off oreos? Yeah, don't ever buy them. They're beyond awful, to the point where we considered taking them back to the store, not to get our money back but to ask them to please take them off the shelves so that other unsuspecting people might save themselves. But we're lazy. We threw them in the garbage.
Despite all that, Josh swears he had a nice birthday.
Another day last week, we pretended to go camping. But because we're us and we don't like to be outside when it's hot and when bugs, frogs and/or cats might end up in our tent, we camped indoors.
We borrowed a real (and huge) tent from our friends and set it up in the playroom. We had great fun, we read stories and played board games and set up sleeping bags in the tent. Some of us even napped. We spent all afternoon in the tent, just hanging out. I mean, don't get me wrong, we kvetched and fought with each other too, but it's kind of fun when kids are not that little anymore; they become good at just hanging out and chatting. Love it.
We had planned on making smores that day too, by building a solar oven. Sadly, it was too cloudy so we saved our smores making for another day, a bright and sunny day. Except that because it's Jacksonville and it rains every single day in the summer, our bright and sunny smores day turned black, cloudy and stormy. Here, I'll show you.
One minute, it was sunny and our solar oven was sitting in the sun, feeling good and all hot and melty.
And the next minute, this. Pouring.
An hour before the rain, we made the solar oven using a shoebox, some foil, saran wrap, just like everyone else on Pinterest. Add in a box of graham crackers, mini Hershey bars and mini marshmallows and we had ourselves a party.
When the rains came, we ran to save the box of smores, hence the last picture above. We microwaved those smores and happily ate them indoors. We put the solar oven away for another sunny day. We also had to put away the 6-year-old's observation sheet for another day. She checked on those smores every ten minutes, which is a whole activity unto itself, with all the clock watching and everything.
Today we baked, because if you've been following along, you'll know that today is Baking Monday. This time, we made muffins, specifically, apple-cinnamon muffins and zucchini-chocolate muffins.
These recipes were exciting for us because we learned to dice apples with knives and to use the mini food chopper for the zucchini. Here's the 5-year-old chopping apples. Check out that chopping action. She could so be on the Food Network.
The little one was not enamored with the chocolate muffins so she wrote me a note.
And finally, to end this very long post, a look back at Sunday, Father's Day.
We made a group gift, a coupon book.
We used those freebie paint chips from Home Depot and some large address labels.
That would be a game of chess, if case you were wondering.
We're not sure how to play Jess :)
Is anyone still here? That was way longer than I thought it'd be. Thanks for sticking with me.
'Till next time.
The day began on a boring note with some administrative tasks, like laundry and dishes, plus an eye doctor appointment (but we don't need glasses so it was totally worth it.) Oh, and a fire ant bite, but an ice pack and an episode of Arthur took care of that.
We didn't get to the fun stuff until after lunch, but when we did, even Josh had fun.
The other day, I froze water in shallow Tupperware containers and threw in a few toys from our container of crap. You, too, have a container of crap, right? You might not know that that is what it's called - but look around your house and you'll see it. It's the empty Costco sized pretzel container that is stuffed to the brim with all those little cheapo plastic toys kids pick up at birthday parties, Chuck E. Cheese outings and those awful prize buckets in school (hi teachers!). No one ever plays with those toys but the clutter-clearing-mommy better beware the wrath of the kid who finds his bestest favorite most beloved mini styrofoam airplane in the garbage can.
So yeah, those are the mini toys I froze in the water.
This afternoon, each kid got a frozen Tupperware, a spoon, some salt, a cup of water and a few drops of food coloring. Their mission? To melt, scrape and break up the ice and rescue their faithful toys that they never ever play with. By the time they were done, they were soaking wet, covered in caked on salt and stained with food coloring. A conscientious mother might have sent her children straight into a bath. I told mine to wipe their hands on their shorts and move along.
After the toy rescue mission was complete, we just played with some ice because why not?
The obvious choice of post-activity snack time was ices. Iced are such mess. I don't care how old you are, there really is no way to gracefully eat an ice pop. So again, just wipe your hands on your shorts and keep moving.
Post-ices, we hammered.
Finishing up yesterday's painted board project, we leaned the proper way to hold a hammer, position nails and how to not bang the hammer on your own fingers or those of the person holding the nail. We're like a construction crew. We channeled Bob the Builder, and even a little bit of Wendy. We should make YouTube videos.
Once the hammers were put away and safety had been restored, we turned our wood pieces into string art. We used some yarn we found on the clearance rack to wind around the nails, ending where you started, and tying a tiny knot to edge it off. The wood art ended up being pretty cute but my favorite part is that we learned to safely hammer nails. It's a skill, and now we have it. Maybe we can build our own playhouse in the backyard next?
The last project of the day was mine. I've been looking around online at the never ending variations of "bored jars". And then I made my own from a washed out can of peaches and Popsicle sticks. I wrote one solo activity on each Popsicle stick, stuck them in the jar and slapped some stickers on the outside of the can. Perfect. Or as close to prefect as we're getting here today.
The little can now lives on the counter. I'm can't wait until the next little person comes up to me with big sad eyes and says I'm bored, because I will show them the can. Can meet kid, kid meet can.
And we're back for week two. Phew. I wasn't so sure we'd make it through week one.
Today was kind of a lazyish day - it's been hovering around 100 degrees for a few days now and it doesn't look like it's going to break anytime soon. We're hot. Even inside the house, with the air conditioning. It's just plain hot. But we turned on the oven today anyway because it's Monday. Baking Monday.
We made two delicious cakes today, but one was much tastier than the other. Also, I forgot to take pictures of them but let it be known that one was also a much prettier cake than the other. Not blaming the little bakers, just saying.
I'm really not sure why that coffee-jam cake turned out like that; the recipe came from the Spice and Spirit cookbook which usually turns out winners. Oh well. Josh remedied the situation by cutting himself a big piece of the second cake, the marble pound cake and adding a piece of the very wet coffee-jam cake on top, to balance the flavors, he said. I'm willing to bet the cool whip on top didn't hurt either.
Once the kitchen cooled down, we painted wood boards in preparation of learning how to (carefully) use a hammer and nails to create the outline for some string art.
This project turned out to be way more involved than I realized - we made it as far as painting the boards today before we needed a snack. And a drink. And maybe some quiet time on the couch watching a rerun of the Kids Baking Championship on the Food Network. I love hour-long shows.
After lunch we played Yahtzee. But not like normal people. We make huge yahtzee cubes and used the laundry basket as the dice holder-roller thing.
The basic idea came from Momtastic, another blog that allows me to do fun things without having to actually think of those fun things myself. The main difference in our Yahtzee game was that we did not make ours from wood blocks and a woodburning tool because, oh my, wood blocks with pointy edges! And holy heck, a woodburning tool! Seriously, it was just way too hot for a visit to the ER today. We used square cardboard gift boxes and those little circle stickers one might use to tag items at a yard sale and presto, big dice.
The game started off well but deteriorated quickly when some children insisted on shaking the laundry basket like crazy people, while hurling the dice at other people. Those crazies were sent off to color at the table and the game continued with the more well-mannered children.
Okay now, it's late, the kiddies are all in bed and should be sleeping. Except for the one who is standing behind me. He thinks I don't know he's there, but really, we're all mouth-breathers. I must go escort him back to bed.
Stay cool (like the opposite of hot).
It's super later and I'm super tired, so super quickly - we made it through day four of summer vacation. Go team!
We started off with two free games of bowling each (gotta love Kids Bowl Free!) and ended our outing by pouring every coin in my wallet into the bowling alley's candy machine. It was more than a small miracle that I had a whole five dollars in change floating around in my bag so we might purchase snacks. We had to. We wouldn't anyone to pass out from hunger on the three minute car ride home. Two minutes, if we make the green light.
We also made challah. We're still working on the whole four braid thing but we're making progress.
And finally, we worked together on a group Father's Day gift. But I can't really post a picture of that yet. Okay, maybe one picture. We used these freebies as the base of our gift.
I just realized tomorrow is Friday and I have not defrosted anything for shabbos. I don't know how moms who homeschool get anything done, ever. There is so much laundry piled up and we have been eating grilled cheese for lunch all week. What crucial time-management piece am I missing here?
Seriously, anyone? Anyone?
Welcome to Science Day at camp mommy. And it was good that Abba was home because mommy ain't a science girl at heart. I can pull it off when I have to but I would so prefer not to.
We started the day with a little vinegar and baking soda experiment. Did you know that if you pour some vinegar into a bottle and some baking soda into the balloon and then mix it all up, the balloon will inflate itself? Me neither. Until I read about it here and immediately felt the need to run it by Josh, because vinegar? Baking soda? Empty water bottles? I have ALL of those things, right here, right in my house. I never have all the things I need to try an experiment or do a project. I was like a girl scout today, always prepared.
To piggyback on the monster art project we made the other day, we used Sharpies to draw silly monsters on the balloons - and those made all the difference it upping the fun level of this project. I, however, cannot take credit for the fun idea of drawing on the balloons, or the brilliant idea of temporariliy closing the balloons with pipe cleaners. That was all borrowed from the artsymomma blog.
We also tried another science-y experiment: making bouncy balls. My kids' Aunt Jessica is making her almost 7-year-old a science themed birthday party this coming week and because we live so far away and cannot attend the party, we became the designated America's Test Kitchen of science activities. Today's birthday related merriment was these bouncy balls.
They were really easy to mix together - some water, glue, cornstarch and borax in a super specific order that I cannot recall right this minute. (Also, I wonder what girl scout badge I'd get for having borax in the house?)
The stuff looked great, like gak and was so fun to play with.
Until we tried bouncing it and it slammed into the floor. And then this happened.
Jess, we think you might need a new idea for the party :(
Are you a Mom?
Of course you are,
your shirt is dirty :)