Thursday, July 25, 2013

Rain painting

We had a rainy day and I wanted to try some rain painting.  While I was on Pinterest searching for summer activities, I came across 7 ways to do rain painting but for some reason I didn't pin it.   URG!  Now I can't find it again.  I did find several ways.

The first one we tried was to crush watercolors.  That did NOT do anything.  I had bought dollar store water colors and they were so gummy.  All we could do was cut it up into small pieces.  We stuck it in the rain and nothing happened.  Waste of time.  They make powdered water colors so maybe you need to buy those to get this to work?

The second one we tried was with drops of food coloring.  This worked really well!  I let Natalie put a couple drops on a piece of paper and then stick it in the rain.  You need a gentle rain!  The rain spread the drops out very nicely.

Before much rain:
After more rain:
So pretty!  Now when you bring it it and let it dry because the pan is wet and the paper is wet, the colors just mix together even more and become very muddled.  I'm not sure how to dry it like what it looks above.

I may try letting them paint and then sticking it out in the rain next time to see what happens.  This was not the most successful activity nor did it take much time.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


To stay cool during the weekend while Brian was gone, I froze some toys in a big tub so that N2 could hammer the ice.  We didn't do this until Brian was home since we had so many other projects to do.  I froze colored ice cubes and put them in the tub before freezing the tub but I guess my ice cubes weren't frozen enough.  I had hoped to have small areas with color but it ended up just being all one color.  Oh well!

I let them use their hammers to hammer the ice apart.  We learned that you can't hammer directly on the toys because it shatters the toys.  OOPS!  But at least the things that broke were spider rings that they didn't care about.

We also tried to figure out how else we could melt the ice.  We discovered that salt helps ice melt but sugar does not.  I think we used up the rest of our salt container :)
We also learned that pouring hot water would melt the ice but also spraying the ice with the hose would melt it.

Things we learned regarding this project:
-make sure your tub is freezer safe (mine was not and completely cracked, so now I have no bin)
-don't hammer directly on toys-they will shatter
-freeze ice cubes solidly before adding to the tub (maybe even freeze the tub slightly so the water in there is fairly cool)
-perhaps wear safety goggles while hammering, especially when using the claw side of the hammer

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Jewelry by Noah

While Brian was gone for the weekend, we did lots of projects so when we were having a a quieter morning, N2 decided they needed to create their own projects.  They decided they wanted to make their own necklaces (or neck-a-lace as Noah calls them-he makes it into a 3 syllable word).  They each made their own jewelry using pony beads and lanyards.  After Noah finished his, I noticed how symmetrical they were!  He made sure his necklaces had a pattern.  Impressive!

Anyone want to purchase a Noah original?  It might be worth money one day!  Here he is modeling one of his other necklaces that uses the tricornered beads.

Natalie wanted to show off her necklaces too.  She likes lots of beads on her necklaces!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Ice Chalk

I made this while Brian was gone for the weekend but we didn't do it until another day.  I thought ice chalk was really cool but Noah thought it was too hot outside so he didn't really want a part in this activity!  I found the idea at Reading Confetti.  She has quite a few ways to make ice chalk but I went with ice cube trays because that is what I had!

Ice Chalk:
food coloring
dish soap

Mix equal amounts of cornstarch and water together (I think I did half a cup of each).  Add some dish soap (just a squirt or two).  Mix.  Pour into ice cube trays and add food coloring.  Mix the color into the mixture.  Freeze.

I used the gel food coloring.  I'm not sure if the drops would make vibrant colors.  My hands did get slightly colored but not too bad.  The lady on Reading Confetti said that their hands got really stained and so she was going to try washable paint next.  The washable paint does not come off the driveway easily but the food coloring does.  So it's your choice!

When you color on the driveway, the chalk will appear wet and not colorful but as it dries, the color shows up.  Take a look.

They got tired of drawing with chalk and so then we dumped out the chalk and watched them melt and mix together.  That was really pretty!

I shook out the ice cube tray and it splatter painted the driveway!

Then we put the ice cubes in a row to see how they melted.  Clearly my driveway must slope to the left.  These ice cubes were in a straight line!

My driveway was so pretty!
I asked Noah why he didn't want to participate and he said it was too hot.  So maybe I'll try this in the afternoon when my driveway is more shady and when the temperature isn't hot.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


I found an idea on Growing a Jeweled Rose for having a watermelon day and doing all sorts of things with a watermelon.  We had a watermelon that we hadn't cut into yet so we decided we would have some fun.  It took some convincing to get Noah to participate because he wanted to do his own crafts but after a while, he decided he would have some fun.

The first thing we did was paint with a watermelon.  I took a big piece of butcher paper and laid it on the driveway.  We have a problem that our driveway is on an angle so it's hard to roll things.  I decided it was better to go sideways rather than down and up the driveway.  N2 picked 2 colors each and I squirted it on the paper.  They took turns rolling the watermelon back and forth to smudge the paint around the paper.  They couldn't just push it, they had to walk next to it to roll the watermelon to the other person.  There was a learning curve.

Here's our paper at the end.
We had to wash off the watermelon and I didn't have a big bin so we used a bucket.   That was difficult because the watermelon just barely fit in so it was hard to turn it.

We decided to do a watermelon craft.  I wanted to use the iron beads to make a slice of watermelon.  We didn't have a round mold so we used the inside of a flower.

This was NOT easy for them.  The beads are a little too small and they move so easily on the mold when you touch them.  I had to make most of this for them because they couldn't place a bead without knocking others over.  Maybe they aren't old enough yet.  I had to remake the one watermelon at least 3 times because my iron didn't heat them enough following the directions.  It said to put the iron on the beads for 10-20 seconds.  I needed a minute.  I wanted to hang these so I have to figure out how to make a hole.
After that we enjoyed a watermelon smoothie.  I used cubed watermelon, ice, sugar and some cool whip.  I think I added some liquid but I can't remember what.  We made these another day and added orange juice and that is a yummy addition!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Exploding Paint Bags

After naps we did another activity because I really wanted to try it!  This activity was fun to watch but lasted no time at all!  I found this activity at Growing a Jeweled Rose.  She said after the bags exploded her kids played with the "chalk" that remained.  My driveway slants too much so all the liquid just ran down to the street.  I also didn't have a lot of corn starch left so maybe it wasn't as thick as hers?  Here's how you make the exploding paint bags.

In a zip lock sandwich bag mix vinegar, warm water and cornstarch to fill up about a 1/3 of the bag.  You want more vinegar than other ingredients.  Add food coloring.  Cut a paper towel in fourths.  Put a tablespoon or two on the paper towel and found in the sides to make a packet.

Outside open up the sandwich bag (just at the corner), drop in the packet of baking soda and close the zip lock.  Put the bag down and watch what happens.  It really is fun to watch!
Natalie liked to go over and dump the contents out of the bag.  But like I said before there wasn't anything left to play with because it all ran down the driveway.
We did get out more vinegar and poured it on the remains of the baking soda and watched it fizz.  We found out later that it was taking off the black top from the driveway.  Oops!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Cotton Ball Smashing

Another activity that I wanted to try was cotton ball smashing.  Who doesn't like playing with a hammer?

I found this idea at Time for Play.  I also prepared this the day before and the cotton balls softened overnight.  Here's how you make this.  Mix an equal amount of flour and water.  The recipe at Time for Play says 1 cup flour and 1 cup water.  I did 1.5 cups of water and 1.5 cups of flour.  I wanted to have more cotton balls for both of them to smash.  While we were making it, I second guessed making more but when they were smashing, I'm glad I had more!

Once the flour and water is well mixed together, divide the mixture into smaller bowls and add food coloring.  I had Natalie help me mix and then they got to each pick 2 colors.  Then I handed them cotton balls for them to cover with the mixture.  I covered my pans with aluminum foil and they dumped their covered cotton balls on the pan.  I needed to use 2 pans (and they were pretty jammed packed) with the amount of mix I made.  Bake for 45 minutes at 300 degrees.  They stick to the pan when they first come out, so let them cool a bit before taking them off.  I still had aluminum foil come off with the cotton ball but I didn't care.

The next day we tried to smash them and they just smooshed.  I figured the balls weren't hard enough (they weren't hard enough when they came out of the oven the previous day) so I threw them back in the oven for another 10 minutes or so and they were perfect!  So either I needed to bake them longer the first day or they need to be rebaked.  Maybe it was also too humid?

Then we set about smashing them.  N2 each have their own hammer.  We sat out on the deck and the sat far apart.  They each had a pile of cotton balls and they went to town hammering them.  The mixture on the cotton balls crack open after you hit them with a hammer.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Ice Paint

Brian was gone last weekend so I decided that we needed to have some fun activities planned as we had no playdate scheduled nor did I want to take them to a play place on a weekend.  I scoured Pinterest for some good ideas.  The first thing we did was do some painting with ice paint.  The day before we prepped this activity.

I got my idea from Outlaw Mom.  It's really easy to do!  Just squirt paint in the bottom of an ice cube tray.  I used regular washable Crayola paints.  I did mix colors together with white to make various shades of a color or to make new colors.  Make sure to mix the colors together really well before adding water.  Then add water and stir.  I let my kids stir.  Put the tray in the freezer.  Before it gets too frozen, add popsicle sticks to make them like popsicles.  Make sure to do this early enough!  I had to crack through the top layer to get the popsicle stick in and the splashed paint on other colors.

The following day we took the tray and paper outside.  Here's what the paints look like.

At first they were hard to paint with.  You would only get a very narrow paint strip.  Here's Natalie's first painting that was done before the ice started to melt.  Noah figured out that it was easy to paint with the sides of the ice cubes rather than the bottoms and that would get more paint on the paper.

Here's Noah's first picture.
Once the ice started to melt you could really get lots of paint on your paper.  I had made a painting of various shades of blue and green to try to make waves.  Natalie decided to copy my painting.
Once the ice starts to really melt, you end up having to paint with your hands because the ice breaks apart and the popsicle stick falls out.
This is a messy activity but very fun!  I had a bucket of water on the driveway so the kids could wash their hands off if they got too messy.  They got some paint on their clothes but it's washable paint so that shouldn't be a problem.  We had to wash off their legs and arms before coming inside.  Maybe this activity should be done right before bath time!  I would definitely do this activity again!

Monday, July 8, 2013


I forgot to post this picture during our Page trip so I figured I could post it alone.  N2 loved climbing in and out of the car when we had downtime at the campsite.  One day they climbed into the driver's seat and passenger's seat and buckled themselves in.  They got out the map so they could figure out where to go.  Then they proceeded to "drive" the car.  It was quite cute!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The end of the trip

We stayed in Tulsa the night we left Albuquerque and on the way there we stopped in Oklahoma City because Brian wanted to see the memorial.  It was quite a moving memorial-especially the small chairs nestled around the bigger chairs.  N2 were solemn enough for the location.

The next day we went to the Tulsa Zoo before heading to St. Louis.  I was so surprised by the Tulsa Zoo.  It's really nice!  They have a good variety of animals and it looks like they are putting a lot of money into the zoo and making really nice spaces for the animals.  They have really nice buildings that feature different habitats.  It's definitely a zoo I would go back to if we were passing through.

In St. Louis we stayed with my Aunt Julie.  The evening we got there we walked down to the park in her neighborhood that I remembered going to when we would visit Grandma and Grandpa Dueber.  The following day we went to the zoo and met up with Marcie, Amelia, Megan and the Johnson clan.  Amelia and N2 really liked being together and looking at the animals.  It was really fun to watch the kangaroos because there was a mommy kangaroo carrying around a BIG baby in her pouch and she finally dumped the baby out.
We also met up with my Aunt Joanne and 2 of her kids-Bill and Kathy.  She had passes and offered to take us to the sea lion show (we had split up with Marcie by this point).  N2 LOVED watching the sea lions do different trick.  The one at the end went down a water slide and dove into the pool. (Sorry, this picture is blurry.  The other one I have of them isn't blurry but Noah isn't looking and Natalie is making a funny face).
After the zoo we tried naps but neither one napped.  Then we went to dinner at Aunt Joanne's house.  Thank you Aunt Julie for letting us stay at your house and thank you for all the food you got for us!  We really appreciate your hospitality!

That was the end of our trip.  We were supposed to stop in Bloomington-Normal and get together with college friends but I was not feeling well so we drove straight back home.  We had a great trip but it was nice to be home and back in our beds and sticking to somewhat of a schedule!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Days 12-13 Albuquerque

My Aunt Elaine and Uncle Randy graciously offered to have us stay at their house for a few days in Albuquerque.  It was so nice to be in a home again after being on the road and camping for such a long time.  It was nice to have bedrooms and a bathroom we didn't have to share with people we didn't know!  We also had delicious meals and N2 had fun new to them toys to play with!  I think it was a great way to wrap up our vacation in the southwest. We all appreciated their fantastic hospitality.

I've been to Albuquerque numerous times but we've never been to the zoo.  Since N2 and Brian and I like zoos, we decided we had to check it out.  Albuquerque was hot while we were there so we went to the zoo in the morning and left by midday.  We met up with my cousin Liz and her son James.  We've never met James and we'll see him again at the reunion so it was fun to start getting to know him!

The zoo was really nice.  There were lots of animals to see and it wasn't too far for young ones to walk.  One of our favorite parts of the zoo was watching the smaller element play with the fountains that are in their exhibit.  Here he is with his foot over the fountain.  He would step on it and spray it in different directions.  He would suck out of the fountain.

We also saw a porcupine on a leash.
While we were at Aunt Elaine and Uncle Randy's house, N2 played with castle building blocks and their marble roller track.  We also played outside with the t-ball set.  They were getting a little rambunctious, so I asked for a jar and clothespins and they tried to drop clothespins into the jar (they had to hold the clothespin by their nose and not bend over).  Natalie stuck with it a little longer than Noah.

The next day that we were in Albuquerque we decided to ride the tram up to the top of the Sandias.  They closed all the hiking trails up there the same day we went so all we could do was stay on the boardwalk and look at the views.  We should have done the tram the day before because that was the last day the trails were open but oh well!  We thought since Monday was supposed to be hotter, it would be a better day to be at the top of the mountains where it is cooler.  N2 really liked the tram ride.  They didn't care too much for the views but they could have ridden the tram several times!  They kept asking to go down.

That afternoon, Aunt Elaine watched N2 (we put them down for naps) and let Brian and I go to the game store near them to try out new games.  We played 4 games while we were there and the store only carried 1 of them!  We did order one of them when we got back home.  It was so fun to be able to try out new games before buying them.  Thanks Aunt Elaine for watching N2!

The morning we left, Aunt Elaine read so many books to N2.  One of them asked if they could call her Grandma and she said she would be their Albuquerque Grandma!  We had such a fantastic time and it was so nice and relaxing!  Thanks for having us!