Sunday, August 20, 2017

Solar Eclipse Fun

 I always forget how exhausting the first week of school is.  Our bodies are just not used to getting up and going all day compared to the relaxing days of summer.  Anyone else out there celebrating that they survived the first week?  I'm pooped.

Anywho, on Friday, I posted a tutorial in my instagram story on how to make an eclipse viewer for Monday.  The whole plan was to make these with Ethan's class and go out and watch it through a viewer thingy that my friend's dad has.  It was going to be this super fun 2 class activity with the third graders.  Everyone was so excited. . . until after school on Friday, when we discovered our district was putting kids on lock down during the eclipse hours.  Super sad face here because it was going to be so much fun and what better way to get kids excited about space.  Now, we are just taking our kids out of school so they can watch it with the viewer, special glasses, and make their own pin hole viewer. 

Ethan is super into science this year and is so excited about the eclipse.  It's kind of a fun, out of the ordinary, day that we plan on having fun with. 

Here's the super easy pin hole viewer tutorial.  If you don't want to cover it with wax paper, you can skip the last step and have them stand backwards with the cup over their head, pinhole facing the sun.  Have them stand facing a garage or fence and they will see the image on the surface they are facing. You can also use card stock, if you aren't using a cup and wax paper.  There are tons of options. 

For this particular viewer, you will need:

1 paper cup
wax paper
rubber band

 To start, turn the cup upside down so the bottom is facing you.  Stick the pin into the cup and poke it through. . . try to keep it somewhere around the center.

 Then, without crinkling your wax paper, lay it over the mouth of the cup and slip the rubber band around it.  This part is completely optional.  The image of the sun will be inverted through the pin and onto the wax paper.  So, you won't be looking at the sun, but at the wax paper.  If you are concerned about your child's eyes with even that, just omit the wax paper step or use a piece of cardstock, stick a hole in it, and hold it up above their heads with the pinhole facing the sun and their bodies facing the opposite direction.  Then see it on the garage door or fence or driveway.  It's pretty cool! 
This is just an easy way to help make the eclipse viewing fun for your family. 

If you are curious about whether or not it really is safe for your kids to view the eclipse, I recommend this post.

There are some really cool facts about the solar eclipse on this website

Check your local news stations for when the eclipse is happening in your town.  We are a little over 700 miles from the total eclipse line, so we only get the partial.  It will still be super cool!

Also. . . what ever you do, don't try to take a picture with your phone or camera of the eclipse. . . leave that for the professionals. . . it will hurt your camera. 

Have fun! 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Back to School Time

My kids went back to school this week and I am pooped!  No more staying up super late and sleeping in <insert super sad mommy face here>.   I don't know about you, but first week of school is exhausting for everybody.  I'm finally getting my cup of coffee in at 4pm as I type this.   Readjusting to our school schedule is hard on everyone.  Weston fell asleep yesterday after school. . . it's effecting even my early riser (it was the sweetest thing)!

Whether or not you've started school or are still on summer vacation mode, I thought I would put together a post of some of my favorite back to school posts about things that have helped us keep our sanity and have fun with the school year.

Helpful Tips from last year:
I wrote this post last year and still love everything about it.  These were last year's Before School Lists and although I made new ones for this year, they are pretty much the same.  This helps so much with making them responsible for getting ready in the mornings.  It's not always perfect, they still have their slow moving mornings every now and then, but this keeps us going and helps us get out the door.  It also helps me be able to get myself ready. . . that is big (I am NOT a morning person!).

There are also tips about homework on this post which are kind of fun!  Go check it out here.

Spoil your child's teacher (They love it!)
Here's the link to this free printable and the directions on how to make it look like you took a bite out of a cookie.  SO much fun and the teachers feel so loved!  We do this every year and it's always a hit!

I also have a post here that explains why I do the whole cookie thing.
Lunchtime Inspiration
Making sure your kids eat a healthy, balanced lunch is a bit intimidating.  Here's a post I wrote about how we pack lunches and some ideas to get you started.

There is also another post here.

 Getting back into a routine once school starts is welcome adjustment.  We love our lazy, adventurous days of summer.  But, it was time to go back to school.  This year, I have a third grader and a first grader and I am thinking that it is going to be my busiest year yet.  I'm excited.  

I hope you all have a wonderful start back to school and let me know if you are exhausted, too.  I'd like to know I'm not the only one (ha ha!)

Thursday, August 10, 2017

A Pinterest Summer: Rocks

 I don't know about you, but you can't go far on social media without hearing about the crazy rock craze happening now.  But, seriously, it is sooo much fun!  It has been on our bucket list this summer and we just got started last week!  A sweet friend of mine invited the kids and I over for some rock painting and let's just say that we are hooked!  This is definitely going to be an activity that continues through the school year. . . even my husband got involved! 

 This activity is super simple.  Paint some rocks, let them dry (of course!), and then go hide them and post them to your local Facebook page.  Then, check your Facebook page for any others that you can go hunting for.  Once, you find some new ones, rehide and post and keep on going.  Just be prepared to want to paint all the time!  I can't seem to stop!  

 Here are some helpful tips that we have learned so far:
:: Put your FB group on the bottom of the rock, so the finder can post that it was found and if they re-hide it.

:: Use a sealer like modge podge, a spray like this one, or clear finger nail polish. This just helps protect your hard work and your kids masterpieces from the elements.

:: Kids Tattoos are super fun to rub on after paint has dried and before you seal it.  If using temporary tattoos, you definitely want to seal it.

:: Have friends over and paint!  My friend and I were talking about how much fun it would be to get together with some of our mom friends and paint rocks and drink wine.  This activity is not just for the kiddos!

:: Involve the whole family.  We all had fun doing this as an activity last weekend and my husband really had fun painting.

:: We used acrylic paint.  My favorite is the Martha Stewart Brand or the Hand Made Modern (Target).  But, you can find other brands at that are less than a dollar at Michael's and Walmart!

:: There are so many different ideas on Pinterest. . . You should search them and have fun!  I want to try one with nail polish!

:: You can find rocks in your back yard or buy some at Lowes or Home Depot for about $12.

:: Don't hide them in the National Parks. . . they don't like it.  They will be considered litter and thrown away.  Also, don't take rocks from National Parks. . . probably not a great idea. . .and I think it's illegal.

 The whole point of painting these rocks and hiding them is to have some fun and spread kindness.  The other night, when the weather was not squelching, we walked to the kids' school and hid some rocks around the front area.  Some friends of ours found one of them and posted it, while a couple of the others were found my a new student, that wasn't sure about the transition to a new school and a new state.  After their tour, he found the rocks and it just made his day!  That story just warmed my heart and made me want to make more!  The boys have so much fun hiding them and finding them! 

If you are local to the Central Valley. . there are rock groups of Facebook for Fresno Rocks, Clovis Rocks, and 559 Rocks.   I think there are a lot of them out there with the name of your town and the word ROCKS.  Check it out!

Have fun! 

Saturday, August 05, 2017

A Pinterst Summer: T-shirt Bags

Confession:  I have the hardest time blogging in the summer errr . . . anytime the kids are home.

It's true.  I also am not accomplishing anything on MY summer to-do list.  That probably sounds so selfish of me.  But, it's true.  I had big plans to finish some things, catch up on some things, and start a few things.  Oh, at the beginning of the summer, my hopes were high.

Obviously, that didn't happen.  And, you know what? It's not really a bad thing.  I have spent some wonderful time with my boys, gone on an amazing adventure, swam, made Popsicles,  read some books, and consumed crazy amounts of coffee.  I wouldn't trade any of it for a thing.  I am actually kind of sad that the summer will be ending soon.  I really enjoy the slower pace that summer brings (minus triple digit temps, summer is wonderful!).

In one week, these boys head back to school as third and first graders.  Soccer will start and our life will soon become busier.  So, I have embraced our summer.  I may only be blogging our Pinterest Summer Challenge this summer, but it has inspired us in so many ways!  I can't wait to share what else we have done as the summer continues (just because the kids are back in school, doesn't mean the posts will end. . . I plan on posting through the end of the month!).

So, today, I have hidden myself in my messy office that has been taken over by summer fun, and school supplies and am sitting here drinking my coffee and writing about a new Pinterst Challenge Activity.  This one, has been on our list for awhile.  I have been hoarding some old t-shirts of Jon's and the kids thought it was way cool to take scissors to daddy's shirts!

This week's Summer Pinterest Challenge is T-shirt bags.  You can find so many tutorials on the world wide web for this activity. There are even videos that come across your Facebook feed every now and then for t-shirt bags!  This was a fun activity, but we learned a few things as went.  So, here's our experience.
We followed the directions and trimmed our shirts by cutting off the sleeves, neck, and hem line on the bottom.  Then, we flipped it inside out and cut slits a few inches up on the bottom.  Easy Peasy.
From there, we started to tie the slits in knots.  We started this project in the afternoon one day, and within 5 minutes of knotting, both boys were done.  I realized that this project would be better in the morning when these early birds are at their best.  So, we stopped for the day and tried again the next morning.  Much better!
We looked at several different blog post tutorials to find out the best method, and most were the same.  But, we went with the ones that had us do two rows of knots.  We liked the extra security that came with the more knots.  

Ethan did a great job with this one but Weston, who hasn't quite mastered the art of tying his shoes had a really hard time doing the knots, so I ended up doing his for him.  So, this project is probably better for your older kids. . . not the littlest ones. 
Ta-da.  T-shirt bags!  Aren't they the coolest! 

 Weston loves his Batman bag!  We thought that these would be great library book bags, but when I put books in them, they hung funny and heavy.  They were also awkward to carry with a bunch of picture books inside.

We didn't want them to go to waste, so we experimented on ways we could use these bags and found they were perfect for summer gear!  They look great with a beach towel, sun screen, beach toys, etc.  I definitely think these will be used for water fun days for the rest of the summer!

This was a really fun activity that doesn't take a lot of supplies and a great way to recycle an old shirt.  It was definitely more suited for your older kids. . . I would say 8 and up.  Weston loves his bag, but I basically did it all, he sat and watched.  

What are you working on this week?

Also, have you made a bag or done your own Pinterest challenge?  Post to instagram and use the hashtag. . .

Friday, July 28, 2017

Connection Time!

It's that time of the month to take some time and catch up, sit down, drink a cup of coffee, and connect.  We've been so busy this summer and yet in so many ways, our summer has been so quiet.  I am savoring this time to slow down with the boys during the day.  There hasn't been as much rushing around in the monring and on most days, we just stay home.  It's really quite wonderful!  I've even ordered a lot of our snacky foods from Amazon pantry, I haven't done a ton of grocery shopping.  We've played games, built lego creations, made art, read books, and went on adventures.

Pretty much everything that I had on my summer project list hasn't been touched.  There just hasn't been time!  And I am okay with that.  Spending time with the boys has been wonderful.  As these kids get older, they are going to need less from me and right now, if they need me to play a game of Clue or Uno with them, I am going to jump right in.  The time they are kids is flying by and so I have just been savoring.

We only have two weeks left of summer.  Super sad face over here.  We've got several more Summer Pinterest Challenges planned (we are just having too much fun doing them!), so be on the lookout for those!  Also, have you done anything inspired by Pinterest?  I would love to hear about it.  Post a picture on my facebook page or on instagram and use the #ootrbsummerpinchallenge so we can encourage each other in this little community over here.

So. . . July has been amazing! We had a wonderful time with family swimming and doing fireworks.  This year, we bought a ton of glow sticks for the kids and they were a big hit!  I love our time with family and watching my sons play with their cousins.  Then, it was time to get ready for our vacation.  Jon took two weeks off and we headed out to Chicago for our biggest adventure yet!  The kids walked and walked and we saw soooo many things.  It was really wonderful!  I will probably do a blog post about Chicago and Kids because it is a great place for a family vacation!

I've also been meeting up with some sweet friends and studying Romans with She Reads Truth.  We just finished it and I am so sad that it will be ending.  We are celebrating this week with an Italian Feast.   I can't wait!
We even managed to get to the library for their science morning!  The boys had such a great time learning about matter and making flubber, blubbles, and making balloons explode! 

Now, time for our little exercise. Each month, I post the same starter questions and I go through the list and answer each ones.  Then, you, pick a few (or all) and head to the bottom of the post and comment on the blog with yours or head to Facebook or Instagram and comment there.  Here we go:

Outside my window. . . the sun is shining.  A lot.  It's really hot and we are hiding inside.

I am thinking
that I should get started on planning Ethan's birthday.  We finally picked a theme and it is going to be EPIC!

From the kitchen
not much is happening.  It's just too hot to cook, I'm out of chocolate chips, and ants.  We have ants hanging out in our kitchen sink.  I've cleaned and sprayed and cleaned and they keep finding new spots.  They will go away eventually.  Anyways, I am not even cooking dinner tonight!  Yay for take out!

I am wearing
yoga pants and a t-shirt.  I actually got dressed earlier to take the kids to swim lessons, but I mopped the floor and cleaned up ants to we are totally comfortable over here!

I am creating
absolutely nothing right now.  Maybe that will change this weekend.  We will see. 

I am going
on back to school dates with each of my boys this weekend.  It's our anual tradition where they I get some one on one time with each kiddo before school starts.  We raid Target and stock up on school supplies and go eat at a restaurant of their choice.  They are so excited!

I am reading
The Turquoise Table by Kristin Schell and it is sooo good!  If you are looking for tangible ways to build community in your neighborhood, this is a great idea! 

I am hoping
to find a new blow drying brush.  Mine broke this morning and it's only like 2 months old.  I loved the sweet thing and it was wonderful.  Now I don't know what to do because I need one to last more than a couple of months.   Recommendations anyone?  I don't like the ones that have the big thick bristle with a ball at the end.  Super sad face over here.

I am hearing not much today.  The air conditioner is going because it's hot.  Bleh.  My brain is telling me that there is hope though. . . school starts soon which means it's almost pumpkin spice latte time! 

Around the House
we are cleaning and playing and honestly, it's been really hard to find a good balance this summer because there is constantly something being taken out or being built. 

One of my favorite things
has been sleeping in.  Man. . . I am really going to miss summer!  How many days until Thanksgiving break? 

A few plans for the week
I have sweet dates with both of my boys this weekend.  We have a few more Pinterest challenge pins to take on before summer is over, so there's that.  And, I think that I am going to Binge watch the last season of NCIS. 

What I am listening to
honestly, we've been playing the Beauty and the Beast soundtrack and Moana soundtrack non stop.  Really, that's our summer.  Confession: not really tired of it yet.  I'm okay with that.  Oh, and we've been on a Descendents 2 kick. . . so the kids have created their own soundtrack to that (I haven't told them the soundtrack actually exists. . . ha ha). 

  Now, it's your turn!  Grab your coffee and let's connect! You don't have to do them all! I can't wait to hear from you! You can even private message me if you don't want to make it public. 

Outside my window
I am thinking
From the kitchen
I am wearing
I am creating
I am going
I am reading
I am hoping
I am hearing
Around the House
One of my favorite things
A few plans for the week
What I am listening to

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

A Pinterest Summer: Solar S'mores

I am finding it hard to believe that summer vacation is almost over.  We went on vacation and came home and BAM! It feels like it's time to start the process of preparing for school.  Target is screaming for me to buy school supplies, the summer sales are begging for kids school clothes to be updated (this is kind of a must because we still have several more months of summer weather and so all those fall clothes that are starting to make an appearance to us are no good for several more months!).  Anyways, I am doing my best to continue on with our summer and checking things off our Pinterest bucket list. 

I had planned to post this one so it showed up on your feed while I was on vacation.  But getting everything ready to put all 4 of us on a plane and over halfway across the country ended up keeping me busy.  So, now I am home and trying very hard to keep on summering. 

This one was really fun for me because it brought back memories of making solar ovens in my 6th grade science class.  It also worked out great because we had just had an amazon delivery, so we had a box.  Perfect timing!  I was inspired by this pin and this pin.

We lined our box with aluminum foil and then placed some grahams with chocolate and a marshmallow on top and headed out to the backyard to do some solar baking.  I was going to wrap it with plastic wrap, but I was having problems getting the new package started, so I gave up and then got distracted.  We were also having triple digit temps when I did this, so it was really hot outside!

We did it in the early afternoon, when the sun is at it's peak.  It took a little bit longer than it would if your were roasting them over an open fire, but we aren't going to get that close to the sun. . . ha ha!  (that would be me trying to be funny. . . it's after 11:00 and I am pooped!).  I think we kept them on about 30 minutes to an hour.  The kids had fun going out every now and then to check on them. 
When the chocolate was melted and the marshmallow was pretty soft (it get's a bit wrinkly on the outside, but it super soft and melty on the inside!), we brought them in and topped them with another graham cracker and ate them.  They were approved by all!  Ethan gave a thumbs up and Weston. . . well does that chocolate grin tell you everything? 

This was a fun experiment. We attempted to cook some hotdogs right after, and they cooked a bit, but then the sun moved past our house and we had too much shade.  I definitely want to try this again with the hot dogs, but start earlier. 

For those wondering what we used that was Weston friendly in regards to Food Allergies. . . we used Annies Graham crackers, Thor dark chocolate, and Kraft Marshmallows.

Are you joining us on our Summer Pinterest Challenge?  Don't forget to post to instagram and use the hashtag #oftrbsummerpinchallenge. 

This is the 4th in our challenge.  Check out the other cool things to try!  
Directed Drawing
Pool Noodles

Saturday, July 08, 2017

A Pinterest Summer: Slime!!!!

Apparently this year's trends among elementary school students consisted of dabbing, bottle flipping, fidget spinning, and slime.   The dabbing and bottle flipping. . . my son is fully into those things.  The fidget spinners. . . I just can't.  Then the slime?  I noticed that there were lots of slime demos this spring at Michael's and Office Max  and then Ethan's teacher sent him home with a recipe.  We had made it before when the kids were much smaller.  But, because it was popular this year and a new recipe had emerged, we decided to empty some of our glue bottles (because they are going to be super cheap soon!) and make some slime.  We chose two different recipes and they both had wonderful results.  We all loved them!
The day we did this was our first quiet day at home in several days.  It was a much needed day.  In fact, I'm pretty sure Weston stayed half naked all day and Ethan lounged around in sweat pants and a t-shirt (forgetting that it is summer and triple digits!).  It was the perfect day to try out some slime recipes.   I was a little nervous about this recipe because it used contact solution.  I've also had some friends post to Facebook that their attempts hadn't worked.  But, we gave it a shot! 
We gathered our supplies and pulled out the Elmer's Glue recipe for colored slime.  The kids did most of the work and it came out perfect!  We put a bunch of different glitters in ours, too. . . just to make it a bit more fun! 
The second batch we made used Borax, glue, and shaving cream and it came out so fluffy and fun!  Both were huge hits.  The kids even took turns playing with the different slimes.   We used this recipe here.

I thought I might mention a little bit about Borax.  For some reason, people are afraid of it.  Unless you are eating it, the stuff is completely harmless.   I use it in my laundry soap since I make my own.   Don't be too afraid of this recipe.  It is so much fun!  But, in case you are wondering, if you substitute contact solution for the borax, water mixture, it should be fine.  Both of those ingredients are considered the "activator" and should still do the same chemical reaction as it changes it's state.   (there's some science for you!). 

Are you joining us on our Summer Pinterest Challenge?  Don't forget to post to instagram and use the hashtag #oftrbsummerpinchallenge. 

This is the third week of our series.  So far we've done:
Directed Drawing 
Pool Noodle Activities

Do you have any ideas for our next project?  Post in the comments! 
Easy Slime Recipe
From Elmers

1/2 TBS baking soda
1 TBS contact lens solution
4 oz bottle of glue (full).
food coloring
glitter (optional)

 Find a mixing bowl to make your slime in.   Pour all your glue into the bowl and add baking soda.  Stir.  Add food coloring.  Stir some more. Add some glitter if you want*.  Add contact lens solution and continue stirring until the slime forms and it becomes hard to stir with a spoon.  Take it out of the bowl and continue mixing it with your hands.  If it is still sticky, add a drop of solution and continue mixing it with your hands.  Then just play with it!  Store in a ziplock bag or a plastic container with a lid. 

* we used fine glitter and regular sized glitter of all different colors.  


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