Valentine’s Day, a Chocolate Mustache & A Free Printable to Make the Process Easy

Valentine's & Free PrintableWe are getting ready for Valentine’s Day like everyone else.  Most years we have fun making & sharing edible Valentine’s from the kitchen.  This year my daughter wanted to find something we haven’t done in the past & we accidentally stumbled upon chocolate molds in the form of a mustache & with the latest mustache rage still making a big hit with the kids, who could resist?

We found ours at the local craft store & with our coupon, the mold was under $5.

What do you need for this entire project?

* Free Printables (see below)

*Scissors or scrapbook cutter

Valentine's supplies* Glue Stick

 

* Card Stock

* Mustache Mold

* Melting Chocolate

* Cake Pop/Candy Sticks

* Candy/Cake pop clear bags

* Ribbon

This project is really very simple.  Print the free printable(s) below, we have a blue & and a pink for you to select from & there are four on each page.  Cut the printed Valentine’s into fours, glue each one to colored card stock & cut them so that just small amount of the colored card stock extends to show.  It’s easier if you have a scrapbook cutter, but scissors can do the job.

IMG_1638Melt the chocolate, pour it in the molds, let it begin to set, add the sticks & make certain they are covered with chocolate.  Let the chocolates set until they have fully hardened and then remove them from the mold.  Repeat this process until you have the number of mustaches needed for your class.

Cake Pop/Candy Sticks: We found our sticks for $1.99 a pack at the local craft store and with a 40% coupon they are very reasonable.

Chocolate:  We purchased our chocolate melts on sale for $1.99 and decided on milk & dark chocolate, but you can use other colors if desired.

mustache valentines pink Grab the free Pink Valentine Printable by clicking here: mustache valentines

mustache valentines blueGrab the free blue Valentine Printable by clicking here: mustache valentines boys

 

Easy Rainbow Science with the Imagine Nation Museum

imaginnation

Rainbows are always magical & amazing when they appear in the sky.  Although we can’t recreate the exact science of a rainbow in our own kitchens, it’s always fun to try.  The Imagine Nation Museum recently shared their trick with Easy Rainbow Science Fun that’s perfect for all ages trying to answer the age old question of ‘Is there an end to the rainbow?’  According to this science experiment it just keeps going & going & going…

However, before you start any science experiment, always have the kids guess what is going to happen & record it so that they can compare their thoughts to their actual discoveries at the end.

Supplies Needed:

  • Milk
  • Food Coloring (all different colors)
  • Q-tip
  • Plate
  • Dishwashing detergent

pouring milk for rainbowcreating rainbow

  1. Put a layer of milk on a plate, enough to cover the bottom.
  2. Using 2-3 different colors of food coloring add a few drops of each color in different areas on top of the milk (so that none of the colors are touching each other).
  3. Dip a Q-tip in dishwashing detergent , and touch the Q-tip in the middle of the milk
  4. After a few moments the detergent will spread to the food coloring, and swirl the colors together creating a beautiful rainbow.

rainbow with food dyegirl stirring rainbow

 

 

 

 

 

Note: Be certain to tell kids that the experiment is not edible due to the dishwashing detergent used.

Real Rainbow Science Discoveries: 

  • Rainbows are kind of like an optical illusion 
  • A rainbow is formed because raindrops act like little prisms that catch the light
  • The raindrops split the light creating colors for your eyes!
  • No matter how you move, the rainbow will always be the same distance away from you

Science Experiments in the Kitchen are Always Fun & We are Creating Crystals

IMG_1959

 

Science experiments are always fun.  This week we pulled out an oldie, but goodie; creating crystals from borax.  I have done this with my older two in years past by making snowflakes.  This time we made it with my youngest and tried the Luck of the Irish by making shamrocks & adding a wee bit of green to see what happened.

It has been a lot of fun watching it grow, in fact it grew quickly.  Wait until you see our results/findings are & then you can match them to yours if you decided to do this at home.  But, before you start have your child make predictions of what they think will happen, record them & compare them to what actually takes place.

Supplies Needed:

  • string
  • wide mouth jar
  • green pipe cleaners
  • borax soap
  • pencil
  • boiling water
  • green food coloring (optional)
  • scissors

Crystal Science Project:

  1. The first step of making borax crystal shamrocks is to make the shamrock shape, which can be done by cutting two pipe cleaners into three equal sections.
  2. IMG_1945Bend the pipe cleaners in petal-like shapes, using the extra pipe cleaners wrap around the center of
    all four petals to create a shamrock shape. The shamrock should be sized to fit inside the jar you are using.
  3. Tie the string to the end of the shamrock stem. Tie the other end of the string to the pencil. You want the length to be such that the pencil hangs the shamrock into the jar, but doesn’t touch the bottom.  Set the shamrock aside until you have created the solution.
  4. IMG_1950Fill the jar you are using with boiling water.
  5. IMG_1954Add borax one tablespoon at a time to the boiling water, stirring to dissolve after each addition. The amount we used was approximately 4 tablespoons of borax per cup of water, although I have read 3.  We added until the water would dissolve any additional borax & did end up with some on the bottom of the jar, which is okay, but don’t let the shamrock touch it.
  6. We then tinted the liquid mixture with green food coloring for further observations.
  7. IMG_1955Hang the pipe cleaner shamrock into the jar so that the pencil rests on top of the jar and the shamrock is completely covered with liquid and hangs freely (not touching the bottom of the jar).
  8. Allow the jar to sit in an undisturbed location overnight.
  9. Look, observe & record like a scientist!                 IMG_1959Note:  Borax can typically be found in the laundry section of your stores.  It is not edible & adult supervision is required (my daughter said it looked like rock candy so of course we want the kids to know this isn’t rock candy!)                    What observations did we make?
    • The green food coloring did not absorb into the borax crystals, it was only in the water, which was a fun discovery and not what we expected.
    • Our jar was not wide enough at the top, the crystal grew so much in 48 hours that we couldn’t get it out.  We have decided to let it grow for a week to see what happens.
    • Crystals began to form within an hour.

Valentine’s made Easy with a Free Tic Tac Toe Printable Treat

Are you still looking for a fun Valentine’s idea to share?  Check out this free Valentine’s Printable! There’s a game, a treat and a bit of fun all wrapped up into one.  The directions for play are all included on the printable and the person who is receiving the Valentine can take it home to play with a parent or sibling before sharing a snack or two!Valentine's Tic Tac Toe

What do you need for this Valentine’s Printable?

Card Stock (we used pink)

Hershey kisses (8 per card)

The Valentine’s Printable (prints four on a sheet to create four valentine’s – see the link below to print as many as you need)

Scissors

Glue Stick

Mini Candy bags

StaplerValentine's Free Printable

How do you put this Valentine’s Printable together?

1. Cut the printable into four separate cards.

2.  Cut the card stock slightly larger than the tic tac toe board so that it creates a border.

3. Glue the printable tic-tac-toe board to the card stock.

4. Place four kisses of one color and four kisses of another into the small sized candy bags.

5.  Fold the edges of the filled candy bag and staple it to the card.  All of the directions for play are included…

To grab your free Valentine’s Printable click here: 2013 Valentine’s tic tac toe

Note: it prints four Valentine’s to a page.

Cutting: I have a cutting board that has been made for crafting & scrapbooking which does speed up the process and ensures straight edges and with guidance, it’s easy for kids to help.  If you don’t have one, I recommend folding the paper to create straight lines to follow before cutting.

Candy Bags: can be found in crafts stores in the candy make section.

A Crafty Chinese New Year Celebrated with Easy Painted Paper Lanterns

Chinese New Year is this week. Why celebrate?  It’s filled with a lot of kid fun & it introduces us to different customs & cultures from around the world.  It’s an opportunity to take us on a journey of exploration, understanding and mind opening experiences.  Several years ago we celebrated Chinese New Year and made Chinese Lanterns for fun (well…our version of a Chinese lantern minus the candles.  So, I don’t know if technically they are really a Chinese Lantern, but none the less…they were fun & decorative to create).

The Chinese New Year, at least in ancient times, actually lasted up to 15 days and has to do with the full moon.  One fact that appears to be consistent in our research is that the Chinese New Year always ends with a Festival of Lanterns on the final day.  Here is how we decorated for our festival of lanterns to commemorate a little Chinese New Year fun.

Step 1: Google Chinese symbols and/or letters to copy.  Print them for the kids to follow along.  We’ve even tried our best to re-create our names with the chinese letters we’ve found on-line.

Step 2:  Fold a 8 1/2 x 11 piece of paper in half-length wise.

Step 3:  We used a ruler to mark off a line on either side of the paper (see below), which is the width of the ruler and runs length wise.

Step 4: The children then cut lines with safety scissors from the fold to the drawn line, but not past it.
Step 5: We then open the paper & lay it flat.  The kids then draw Chinese symbols on the edges.

Step 6: This particular year, they used water colors to decorate the cut lines. Step 7: We wrap them around, connect them with a staple or tape & voila – decorative Chinese New Year fun!

Added Family Fun:

1.  Google & discover they symbol of the Chinese New Year; 2014 is the year of the wooden horse.

2.  Google & discover with your Chinese symbol is based on the year and month you were born; we looked up each family member.

3.  Google & discover what 2014′s year of the wooden horse means to your chinese symbol.

Other Chinese New Year posts to check out include; Gok Jai desserts & Fortune Cookie Lunchbox Notes

 

Crafty Chinese New Year Lunchbox Note Fun Made Easy

 

paper fortune cookies for lunchbox fun Over the years I have LOVED sharing lunchbox notes with my kids & with Chinese New Year 2014 just around the corner, Friday, January 31st to be exact, I decided that this year I was sending paper fortune cookies with some well wishes to my youngest.  I have seen the fabric fortune cookies, but determined that wasn’t a project I could take on.  I needed it to be quick, easy & something that was fun, but didn’t take up hours of my time.  After a little configuring, we discovered that these are quick & easy to make.  It only took approximately 20 minutes to complete the entire project to share and we’ve even simplified it a bit to share with you complete with a free printable.

 

paper crafting for Chinese New Year Supplies Needed: 

Colorful Scrapbooking Paper

Compass or ruler with a pencil

Scissors

Tape

Stapler & staples

Pipe cleaners

cutting paper fortune cookies paper fortune cookie making

Step 1:  Draw a 4 inch circle using the compass with pencil and cut it out.

Step 2:  Cut a 4 inch piece of pipe cleaner.

 

creating paper fortune cookies

Step 3:  Tape the pipe cleaner down the center of the circle on the side that will ultimately be the inside of the paper fortune cookie.

Step 4: Fold the paper fortune cookie in half loosely not forming a crease at the bottom.

Step 5: Staple the very top of the folded cookie at the rounded edges.

Step 6:  Fold the fortune cookie in half to create the fortune cookie shape.

chinese new year crafts       lunch box note fun for chinese new year

chinese fortune cookie noteslunch box note fun for chinese new year

 

We searched the internet for a few chinese symbols & created a free printable of notes to fill the fortune cookies for lunchbox packing fun.  The printable is at the bottom of the page, but here is what it has included on it;

fortune cookie notes

Here is the free printable to simply print & clip: fortune cookie notes

Also, check out our Gok Jai recipe for a little family fun taste testing by clicking here.

 

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Hot Cocoa Cones are the Perfect Recipe Combining Food & Craft for Kids to Make & Gift

hot cocoa cones Whether you are looking for an easy make & share for the upcoming classroom party or a fun craft the kids can gift to a few friends, Hot Cocoa Cones are always a great option.  We made hot cocoa cones last year for my daughter’s entire classroom & they were a hit; they are perfect for all of the snow days & school vacations in coming in our very near future.

This time of year is always busy & if you can have a little time together in the kitchen crafting with food while avoiding the oven it can be an added bonus with already hectic schedules & extra activities this time of year.

 

 

Supply list:

Holiday wrapping paper

Poster board

Scissors

Stapler & staples

Cellophane or Clear Cellophane gift bag (party supplies)

Ribbon

Instant Hot Chocolate Packets

Mini Marshmallows

Saran Wrap

Candy Canes

  1. Create a template on the poster board as seen in the photo to create the cone.  Each cone will need a poster board or brown paper bag base for stiffness. (sides are approximately 5 inches on each side with the triangular part of the cone at approximately 6 ½ inches)
  2. Trace and cut wrapping paper to fit the cone template.
  3. Staple the wrapping paper and poster board together so that the paper doesn’t shift.
  4. Roll to make the cone & staple it into form.
  5. Roll the hot chocolate packet and slide it inside of the cone.
  6. Wrap approximately a ½ cup of marshmallows in the Plastic Wrap.  I typically tie mine off with a twist tie, ribbon or tape.
  7. Place the marshmallows on top of the cone.
  8. Wrap the entire cone with cellophane so that it is one piece.  Tie the top with Ribbon.
  9. Add a holiday note & voila, your food craft gift is ready to share.

Note: One 10.5 oz. Price Chopper Bag of mini marshmallows yields 10 – 11 half cup scoops for Hot Cocoa Cone wrapping.

 

 

Family Fun for the Holidays making a Reindeer Food Holder Craft

Reindeer Food Craft Over the years we have both made & received reindeer food.  Many of the reindeer food gifts we have received contained items like glitter, etc. in the mix.  So, I morphed the concept into our own concoction to share that is both festive & eco-friendly to any critters that might partake once it’s been dusted outside to attract Santa’s Reindeer for a visit.  You can grab my Reindeer Food Recipe by clicking here.  In addition to making this fun combo, we also created an affordable Reindeer Food Holder Craft that was perfect for family fun & a great way to share this festive treat with friends.  Making the Reindeer Food Holder Craft & filling it with the Reindeer Food has made a wonderful classroom gift or just the right share with family friends.  It also has provided a fun way to sprinkle out reindeer food on Christmas Eve.

 

Reindeer Food Holder Craft Supplies Needed:

Reindeer Food

Black Marker

Black poster board or card stock

Large Paper Bag

Pencil

Red Duct Tape

Scissors

Stapler

1.  Cut one rectangular side of the bag away from the rest of the bag & lay it on a flat surface.

Reindeer Food 012

2. Cut out a curved triangular shape like below (the sides equal 8 inches in length and then slightly curve/arc the top).

3. Using a black marker, add eyes towards the top of the arc.  Note: The point will end up being the nose of the reindeer.  You can also use the craft wiggly eyes if desired by attaching them with crafting glue.

4.  Roll the triangular piece of paper and staple it to create a cone shape.

5.  Add a piece of red duct tape around the point to create a rudolph nose affect.

6.  Cut two antlers out of the black card stock or poster board by creating a large ‘Y’ that is 1 1/2 – 2 inches thick.

7.  Cut out a handle form the black card stock or poster board that is approximately 10 – 12 inches long & 1 1/2 – 2 inches thick.

8.  Staple the antlers and handle in place.

9.  Fill the reindeer holder with reindeer food.  We actually wrap the reindeer food in a cellophane goody bag and tie it off with holiday colored ribbon before putting it in the holder and then open it & pour it into the holder on Christmas Eve before sprinkling it outside for Santa’s Reindeer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Free Thanksgiving Printable Lunch Box Joke Notes Add Family Fun to the Holiday

 

thanksgiving riddle cards cutHere’s to a little Thanksgiving lunchbox packing fun for everyone.  What is it?  We surfed the web to find Thanksgiving Riddles.  We then picked six riddles that were stumpers.  Our main test requirement to narrow down the six to share with you?  They ultimately had to make all of our test shares laugh.  We then turned them into printable lunchbox notes so that you could share them with your family.  We’ve made it super easy!  All you have to do is print them out, cut them into individual riddle cards and share them with your family.

What we’ve found?  Everyone has been enjoying them.  As we share the cards, typically everyone is stumped until the last card when they start to catch on to the humor pattern and start thinking in riddles.

All you have to do is click on the link below the picture to pull up the pdf.  The answers are below;

Thanksgiving jokes

Thanksgiving jokes

Riddle: If April Showers Brings May Flowers What do Mayflowers bring?

Answer: Pilgrims

Riddle:  When does Christmas come before Thanksgiving?

Answer:  In the Dictionary

Riddle: What sound does a Turkey’s Phone make?

Answer: Wing-Wing!

Riddle: What always comes at the end of Thanksgiving?

Answer: The letter ‘G’

Riddle:  What is the best thing to put Into pumpkin pie?

Answer:  Your teeth!

Riddle: When the pilgrims landed, where did they stand?

Answer:  On their feet!

IMG_1384 Check out our lunch time food art Thanksgiving fun that’s perfect any time this month or to use with left-overs the weekend after by clicking here.

 

 

 

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Disclosure: I am pleased to be working with MVP Health Care and the MVP Generation Go Program, which has sponsored this post. My participation is voluntary and my opinion is always my own, as is any advice offered.

 

 

 

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Mother's Niche

Lava Lamp Experiments at the Counter

We are the proud owners of a lava zebra and hot pink lava lamp.  Well, technically one of our kids is the proud owner of this little contraption.  It can be mesmerizing and has created the question on occasion, How Does a Lava Lamp Work?

zebra lava lamp

 

We found a great explanation at How Stuff Works? Part of the explanation reads;

In the lamp you have two liquids which are:

  • Very close in density
  • Insoluble in one another

Oil and water are insoluble in one another (that’s where the expression “oil and water don’t mix” comes from), but oil and water have very different densities (a volume of water weighs a lot more than the same volume of oil). They won’t work, so you search to find two liquids that are very close in density and are insoluble. 

Now you apply heat to the bottom of the mixture. In a liquid motion lamp, the heat usually comes from a light bulb. The heavier liquid absorbs the heat, and as it heats up, it expands. As it expands it becomes less dense. Because the liquids have very similar densities, the formerly heavier liquid is suddenly lighter than the other liquid, so it rises. As it rises, it cools, making it denser and therefore heavier, so it sinks.

This all happens in slow motion because heat absorption and dissipation are fairly slow processes, and the density changes we are discussing here are very slight.

A great explanation, but this starts to sound like the adults talking on Charlie Brown to my youngest; wah wah wah wah wah…

So, when I asked my intern to look at some science experiments recently, she discovered this one and didn’t realize at the time that it was the perfect explanation for my hands-on learner.

Our first attempt:

IMG_0272

We took a clean, empty plastic bottle and filled it 3/4 of the way with water.  We added blue food coloring, placed the cover on & shook it up.  Then we added some oil demonstrating that water and oil really don’t mix.  We then began to pour in salt.  As the salt pours in, it absorbs and pushes some of the oil to the bottom and then bounces back to the top.  It was a challenge to catch it in photo, but you can catch a glimpse below.

IMG_0275

 

Our Second Attempt:

IMG_0719

 

We took a clean, empty plastic bottle and filled it 3/4 of the way with water.  This time we did not add any food coloring.  We added the oil like above and then topped it off with heavy layer of glitter.  As we added the salt, it collected the glitter, pulled it to the bottom and created balls of glitter that bounced back.

IMG_0723Our Third Attempt:

We can’t wait to update this post & let you know if our idea works or not.  We will be adding a broken glow stick to the mix and will let you know if it’s successful or not.  Why haven’t we done it yet?  We have visited three different stores and have not been able to find the larger size.  We’re on the hunt & will add up our discovery as soon as we can locate the right size glow stick.