Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Halloween Craft: Mummies!

Last week, Nora had the week off school.  I was all excited and planned some activities for us: all kinds of crafts and baking and The Great Mulch Delivery (in our family, that is an activity). We only got to one craft and zero baking, somehow, but no big deal! Here's a fun little Halloween craft I thought I'd share .....


For 3 mummies you need:
3 muslin dolls
1 pkg cheesecloth
fabric glue (we used Fabri-Tac)
black embroidery floss

I found the muslin dolls at a local craft store. I am not sure what they are normally used for, but the second I saw them I thought: Those would make great mummies! They were $2.99 each.
Cut the cheesecloth into 1/2"-or-so strips. Working one section (or limb) at a time, scatter drops of glue across your mummy and then simply wrap the cheesecloth around. You don't need much glue -- the cloth sticks easily and is so thin that glue can stick through a couple layers. When you've covered the whole doll, you can stitch on a little mouth with embroidery floss -- and that's it!

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Friday, January 28, 2011

How to make a giant ice suncatcher

(see instructions below)
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Ice Suncatchers how-to

1) Fill an ice cube tray with water and add food coloring in lots of pretty colors. Stir to mix, and set your tray outside in the cold world until it is well frozen.
2) When your colorful ice cubes are frozen, fill a pan with very cold water. Fill a cup about halfway with water, and set this cup in the pan (I moved mine to almost the halfway point; don't put it as close to the top as it is pictured below.) The water in your pan will freeze around the cup. When you remove the cup, you'll have a hole to put string through for hanging your ice catcher.

The water in your pan must be VERY cold -- set it outside or in your freezer for several minutes. Otherwise, when you add the ice cubes, they'll melt too much.

3) Alright, when the water is cold, pour in your colorful frozen ice cubes.
4) When your pan of water with ice cubes has frozen quite solidly, unmold it. (You might need to set the pan in warm water for a few minutes to make this easier.) Pop out the cup, leaving a hole to thread yarn through for hanging. (Water must have oozed under our cap; we didn't have an actual hole, but the ice was so thin there that just a few taps of a skewer gave us a hole to work with.)

5) Tie yarn or rope through the hole, and hang your suncatcher outside, where your kids can see it from the window. It makes a beautiful and unique ornament!
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Sunday, January 23, 2011

dried apples

Yikes, I'm trying to catch up on some of the stuff we did this summer. I'll file this one in "science" and "cooking" so it might be of use to someone later on....

We'd been studying weather and water; we started talking about air, too. We decided to make our own dried apples.

Slice 4-5 Granny Smith apples into rounds. I sliced them again in half.

Soak in pineapple juice for a day (prevents too much browning).
Put outside in the sun for about 2-3 days, covered with cheesecloth. Turn every few hours.
Then you'll have tasty, sweet, chewy dried apples to snack on!
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Saturday, January 22, 2011

sink or float?

A simple, ongoing science experiment can be to see what items around the house sink or float. Nora loves to make charts about this. Quirky kid.

On this day, we tested a plastic snail, and a Lego man.

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homemade rain gauge

Over the summer, we did a little theme unit on water and weather. One easy project is to make a simple homemade rain gauge. You can use any plastic bottle and write on it with a Sharpie. A 2-liter bottle works well because you can invert the lid and duct tape it on, keeping out bugs and debris.

Whenever it rains, Nora cries, "MOM! We need to put out the rain gauge!" It's exciting for her to see how much rain we got, although she always expects a lot more. I guess one or two inches of rain doesn't really LOOK like much to a 5-year-old!
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bringing snow indoors

Baby, it's cold outside. When the weather's in the single digits, don't make your kids suffer (and possibly lose their OWN digits. ha, ha). Just bring the snow inside!
You can scoop it, bury stuff in it, spray or paint it with food coloring, bring out the kitchen utensils and sand toys...and, of course, you can always just eat it.
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trapped in the ice!

My husband teases me that the kids and I do every possible activity we can involving ice and snow. I can only blame my California childhood and the fact that snow is an exciting novelty for me.

One night, we set out some pans of water with a few toys in them. The kids' mission: to rescue their friends from the ice! It took a considerable amount of work!

We even tried drilling:
The kids sprinkled salt, chipped and dug, and sprayed and poured warm water on the ice, finally freeing each and every toy. (Their motto: "No toy left behind.")
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maple syrup candy

We've been looking up old recipes made with ice and snow. Apparently, folks used to make this simple candy by throwing boiled maple syrup onto fresh snow and letting their kids pick up the candy strands.

It had been a couple of days since the snow fell, so we made this on crushed ice instead. It's easy:

-- Heat a half-cup or so of maple syrup to boiling. Then, pour it over ice or snow. A couple of minutes later, it will have hardened somewhat into chewy strands that taste just like, well, maple syrup. Yes, it looks a bit like boogers on ice, but the kids thought it was fun and tasty.
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how does water freeze?

The other day Nora asked, "Does water freeze from the top down or the bottom up?"

We put a bowl of water outside for an hour and a half to see.

Nora wrote up her hypothesis, and she was right: "From the top, down!" she cheered. We talked about how this allows fish to survive all winter.
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Monday, January 3, 2011

oodles of bubble wrap

My parents traveled to spend Christmas with us this year -- it was fantastic -- and they didn't want to carry much luggage, so they mailed most of their gifts ahead of time. Thus, we ended up with lots of bubble wrap!
We've been painting it....using it to make prints....and cutting it out in shapes to make stamps. Please share if you have any bright ideas for bubble wrap! I'd love to think up all kinds of ideas to re-use Christmas leftovers, but I may have to brainstorm all the way 'til next year if I want to be of any use, 'cause I think most people's wrappings are in the trash or recycling by now!
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