It was really humid outside today - too humid to run around, too humid to play ball and too humid use chalk. It was even too humid to drive to the hardware store and pick up a hose that actually has a nozzle attached so we could use the sprinkler.
So instead, we did some quiet digging in the shade.
There is a spot under the deck that is full of small rocks, almost like the pebbles one might find at the bottom of a really nice fish tank - you know, like in your dentist's office. I have been looking at these rocks for weeks, trying to figure out what we could do with them. And then I realized, we could use them to make aquariums. Not real aquariums - we don't do pets, but make-believe aquariums, which in my opinion, is the best kind.
We drink a lot of seltzer in this house and so we have many many empty seltzer bottles hanging around. We began our aquarium journey by ripping the labels off the outside of some seltzer bottles. Unfortunately, we were left with the sticky residue that attracted a lot of tiny pieces of grass and dirt, but mostly everyone* was okay with it.
Each kid filled his or her seltzer bottle about 1/3 full with the rocks. Then we added water, some blue food coloring and closed the bottles tightly with their caps. Then we shook the bottles until the water was blue (and somewhat dirty from the rocks, but after a few minutes the dirt started to settle to the bottom of the bottle so all was well.)
Then each kid who can draw fish, drew fish on a few scraps of foam sheets leftover from something else. After everyone had their turn to cut out their fish (we're working with one scissor here this summer, and I should mention it's a safety scissor), we dropped (or stuffed, depending on their size) the fish into the bottles of blue water.
Sadly, as foam floats, so did the fish and they all wound up floating to the top. On the bright side, having never had pet fish, my kids did not know that this is what dead fish do.
We did learn, however, that shaking the bottle vigorously forces the fish to sink somewhat, mimicking swimming. Phew!
The kids had a ball playing with their aquariums - shaking them to trigger earthquakes and tornadoes and having their Rescue Heroes (or Barbies, depending on who you are) save the fish and of course, the day.
*The two year old, not so much. She's prim and proper, unlike the rest of my children. She likes to use a fork for pizza. And sometimes for a cookie too.
And once again, we're back.
My blogging hiatus is over.
We're still away, but we've done so many share-worthy things that it's hard for me to keep track. So because I love you, I will drag myself off my deck chair and play some show and tell.
I have to say, I love Pinterest. I pin and I pin and then I pin some more. But rarely do I make anything that I have pinned. I think it's because I am too busy pinning more things. Whatever the reason, I know I am not alone in this obsession of saving ideas for a day when there is time. The
thing is, I am starting to feel like that day is just never going to come. And so today, I dug deep into Pinterest and pulled out Bubble Snakes. Simple, made with stuff that everyone has around* and fun for everyone.
No, really, Josh loved it too.
It's been pinned and repinned many times, but as far as I can tell, this is where the idea originated, but I could be wrong.
Either way, this, my friends, is Pinterest in Action.
We wanted to make four Bubble Snake Makers so we gathered together 4 bottles - I feel like you can use small Gatorade bottles or small (but not mini) water bottles. My kids insisted on everyone having the same bottles, so we went with what we had - small seltzer bottles.
Cut the bottoms off of the bottles.
Cover the bottom with a sock whose twin has run away. We both know that you know you have many of those. Mine are generally scattered on the laundry room floor, next to the bucket labeled "extra socks". The bottle bottoms can also be covered with a piece of an old, thin and tattered dish towel, which is what we did. The point is to cover it with a piece of fabric that is not too thick.
Secure the fabric with a rubber band, packing tape or both or in our case, some ponytail holders from the dollar store.
In a shallow bowl or dish, mix together some dish soap and a little water, just to dilute the soap a little.
If you're looking for some funky bubbles, add a few drops of food coloring to the soap and water and mix gently.
Lightly dip the fabric portion of the bottle into the soap mixture and blow very gently. Blow too hard and the fabric will blow right off.
Watch as your kids are beyond amazed.
Rinse and Repeat.
And if you get enough bubble action going and you don't mind turning on the hose, you can pretty much bathe the kids and cross some things off of your to-do list for the day.
*If you don't have any empty bottles, that just means you haven't been drinking enough this summer, so get to it - you'll feel better and have the beginnings of a crafting closet. What could be better!?
My three year brought this home from school the other day - and it's too cute. And too perfect for my house. We don't have pets. My kids don't like animals that are alive or that can touch them, lick them or look at them. So this little guy was almost too good to be true.
The little artist explained that her class painted milk jugs with orange paint, glued on the various pieces of the chicken's head and then planted the flower with oil.
Yeah, soil, mommy.
Her name's Chicken.
I think I always enjoy the simple projects the best - especially when the kids can do most of it themselves and then feel good about themselves.
A few things we learned about Chicken:
1. She is painted with washable paint so when you leave her to do her chicken thing on the front steps and it rains, she will start to, how do you say, get the runs.
2. Her eyes are stickers and when you touch them too much, they fall off. Also when you put them in your sister's hair, they don't stick back onto Chicken too easily.
Other than that, and the fact that Chicken now lives indoors and suns herself through a window, she is a lovely pet.
I made this before Pesach - and I use the term "made" very loosely, because all
I did was punch holes. Here, I'll show you.
In the hopes of giving Little T something to do while I tried to do a little
cleaning, I took out a package of pipe cleaners and an empty bread
crumb container* - the kind with a plastic lid. An empty cottage cheese
container would work as well.
Using a scissor, I poked/jammed the scissor through the cover and made several
holes, one for each pipe cleaner. I think we used six or seven pipe cleaners.
Then I stuck the pipe cleaners into the holes and handed it to Little T. And she
spent the next 45 minutes putting them in and taking them out. Amazing. And
funny - when the older kids came home from school, they were all jealous. And I
was like, really? Pipe cleaners in a hole? You want one too? And they all said
*Cleaning for Pesach makes that bready crumb container just all kinds of ironic, no?
I saw this Purim project on creativejewishmom, where really, everything is
just very creative.
I'm pretty sure we are hosting Purim at our house this year and so what
would be more helpful than a centerpiece, right?
So we built a replica* of Shushan (the Persian city where the whole Purim
story takes place) out of boxes and things from our recycling closet.
What did we use, you ask? Excellent question.
The base was a medium sized cardboard bin from one of many apple-picking
trips. I turned it over and it made the perfect base for our city.
The houses and palaces were made from a small shoebox, an empty breadcrumb
container, several paper towel rolls and an empty pringle canister.
The rest of the project was made using colored paper, some half-used sheets
of scrapbook paper and several sheets of colored foamie papers. Throw in some
glue, safety scissors and a pencil (oh yeah, and four kids) and you're in for a
First I read all the directions from the original project. We used some of
creativejewishmom's ideas and some of our own, which is how it should be. Art is
not about copying, it's about interpreting - and that is my deep thought for the
We cut, we glued, we colored, we decided it didn't look quite right, we had
to take away the scissors from some people and some of us had to leave the table
until we were ready to behave, listen and share, but the end result is pretty
I really believe that when working on a project like this, that it's all
about the details. An extra flag, gates around the city, a chimney; it's all
about the cuteness factor, and really, anything made in mini is almost
The first thing the kids wanted to do was play with it. I said no, they
said yes. So we compromised, instead of waiting until after Purim to play with
it, they will be allowed to play with it once a picture has been taken of
Shushan city on the table, all set for Purim. Deal. They think they got what
they wanted and I really got what I wanted. Isn't that the definition of good
*When I say replica, I don't really mean that we replicated Shushan in
the strict sense of the word; that would be crazy. I just kind of mean that we
built some houses and palaces and we're making pretend that this is what Shushan
looked like. Really, I think it has more of an Aladdin kinda thing going on. And
One of my boys came home from camp with an adorable project the other day*. I
thought it was so little and cute that I had to take a picture of it. He was
embarrassed and didn't want me to blog about it, so we compromised. I won't tell
you which of my boys made it and he won't be upset when I post a picture of it.
In case you can't tell, it's a caterpillar. There was some momentary confusion, but it was resolved quickly, like this:
Him: Mommy, look, we made a butterfly!
Me: (Silence. And then...) Wow, yeah, a caterpillar!
Him: Yeah, that's what I said!
I really like how the counselors took half an egg carton, the googly
eyes and the pipe cleaners** and made a little animal out of it. Sometimes the
simplest little crafts are the most fun - at least that's what my littlest one
thought. She grabbed it and wouldn't give it back. My three year old liked it
too - she wanted to make one also. The only problem is that we don't buy eggs by
the dozen, we buy them by the five-dozen in BJ's so we don't have any foam egg
cartons lying around. I'll have to add a dozen eggs to my Shoprite list - all in
the name of art.
*My other little boy has yet to bring home one project from camp this
summer - and it's not because he doesn't make any. According to the daily
schedule and according the paint splatters on his clothes every few days, I know
he has arts and crafts in camp. And why does he not bring anything home? The
answer: because he is my baby that would not remember to bring home his
underwear if they were not already under his pants. Seriously, I am pretty sure
that at the end of the summer, I will make a trip to the camp's lost and found
and find five art projects, four towels, three plastic water bottles, two
(really good) water shoes and a pair of sunglasses with our last name printed on
each item. Because that's what I do with him - every single thing that leaves
this house with him must have a name imprinted on it somewhere or we might as
well say farewell to whatever toy/clothes/shoes/baseball cap that is leaving
with him. At the start of the summer I wondered how his backpack stayed with him
- and then once, when I picked him up, I noticed that his counselor put it on
his back for him before sending him to the car. Thank goodness for good
**Do you ever find that you just can't think of a word no matter how
deep you dig? Yeah, that just happened to me - I called my mom and said,
"What the heck are those things called, you know, twist ties, but not,
cause they're furry? And she instantly said, "pipe cleaners". Thanks Ma.
This is why we keep you around :)
Are you a Mom?
Of course you are,
your shirt is dirty :)