Monday, September 17, 2012

Exploding bags

This one is a ton of fun - especially if you have boys (How they LOVE to destroy things!) It's our version of the baking soda and vinegar volcano that you get to watch working, make a pop, and without all that red dye. Once we got this one started, we had to do it about 8 times, so you may want to make extra!
Put a couple of tablespoons of baking soda in 1/4 of a paper towel.

Fold the corners into the center of the baking soda and tuck in the edges.

Pour about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of white vinegar into a zip top sandwich bag.
Add your baking soda packet, zip it up, and lie it on the ground.
The bag begins to expand.

This is the exciting part! It pops and spills the fizz.

Baking soda and vinegar react this way because the acetic acid in the vinegar reacts with the sodium bicarbonate in the baking soda to form carbonic acid. Carbonic acid falls apart into carbon dioxide and water. The bubbles coming from the escaping carbon dioxide cause the fizzy reaction.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Pool Noodle Fun - Without the Pool!

Family Fun magazine has been a favorite around here for over 10 years. If you've never heard of it, you should check it out here. It's packed with all the kid stuff you could ever need. Before Pinterest, I had an entire 2" binder devoted solely to Family Fun articles, recipes, and activities. I'm now, slowly, moving those all over to Pinterest. This summer they had a great article about how to make outdoor games and obstacle courses with pool noodles.

I think my 17-year-old and I had as much fun with these as the little ones did. It was super easy and by buying the noodles at the dollar store, under $20. I wish we had been able to play with them more, but with the weather being so hot this summer, we were kind of an indoor bunch. I hope they stand up to the weather and that we can use them next summer.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Plastic bag painting

     I kept seeing this whole hair gel in plastic bag "painting" activity. It looked like fun. I figured my guys would love it. Not so much. I would have better off using the hair gunk on my head. These pictures are of the 2 minutes that it interested them.

Now, maybe it's just my boys and just this activity, but I have a feeling that lots of these 'amazing mom' blogs have lots of these failed experiments posted as great successes. Mom's just can't take themselves too seriously. This whole child-rearing thing, while having some constants, is really just a learning curve for everyone involved - parents most of all. And, as parents of multiple children will tell you, the rules change from season to season and child to child. Just when you think you have this whole parenting thing down pat, BAM! One of your kids are sure to drop a bomb on you. I like the way Rachael Jankovic puts into perspective motherhood in Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches (a read I HIGHLY recommend),
"God...threw me into the rock tumbler. Here it is not easy to feel godly, because we spend our days crashing into each other and actually getting our problems addressed. Here there is very little time for quiet reflection. I do a lot of on-the-job failure and correction. Repenting and forgiving. Laughing. Lots and lots of laughing. Because if there is anything that life in the rock tumbler will teach you, it is that there is no room to take yourself seriously. Like trying to strike "cool" poses on a rug that someone is continually pulling out from under you, self-seriousness in mothering is totally pointless and probably painful!"
 So, fail, laugh, get up, try again, laugh some more. It's a wild ride - blessed, tiring, hilarious, frustrating, and, ultimately, life-giving to your children, those around them, and you. Remember that, if you are a believer, the death to yourself is not the end. Look to the cross. Through death, comes life.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

DIY Vinyl Record Table

Inspired by this post over at The Flourishing Abode, I decided that I'd give a record table a go. I actually found the plant stand at Aldi, of all places for $6.99! A word of caution if you try this, be sure that your legs sit flush or below the plant pot ring. I found tons of tables that did not. I found the awesome record at the Goodwill for $1. I chose according to the cover, since I used it as a display. It was way too easy and we use the table all of the time. Not bad for eight bucks!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Creme Brulee Bunnies

I know this is a bit out of date, but, being a big fan of Pinterest, I figured I'd go ahead and post it, that way, if you wanted to save it, you could post it. I LOVE creme brulee - the crunchy caramelized  crust just makes it for me. I am, honestly, unsure of where I first heard about doing this, but, it is genius! If you stock up on peeps when they go on clearance after Easter, you can make creme brulee peeps by toasting them over a fire or make them into s'mores - like the picture shows. We actually did our under the broiler. They taste amazing!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Pollock Painting

Did anybody else see that tumbleweed rolling through this blog? Yep. It's time to get those swept out. We love, love, the series Getting to know the world's greatest artists by Mike Venezia, so much so that I actually BOUGHT his books to have here at the house! That is a big deal for this penny pincher. So, when the book on Jackson Pollock arrived it was pure excitement around here. We mixed up some cornstarch paint, inspired by a post I saw over at Domestic Charm, and headed outside. Here is the ensuing mayhem.
You can't really tell, but they were dribbling a Pollock-esque painting on the driveway.

Let the slinging begin...

Wish you could see the "paint" more...

Then they kind of painted each other.

Then they kind of painted the van...wish I'd rolled the window up first!
Really it was a great time - clean up included and the boys remember who Jackson Pollock is so much more with adding in the activity!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Dying in the moment

Have you ever had a period in your life when God was working on driving a particular point home? Of course, we should always be growing, maturing, but I'm talking about one of those times when you have the perfect storm, as it were, that opens your eyes to an issue you didn't really see as an issue. I've just had one of those. One of those moments in the rock tumbler, as Rachael Jankovic would call it. My ladies book study group is reading Elizabeth Elliot's Because He Loves Me. It's pushed me a little, but most of it I sort of took as, "I've heard all of this before." I suppose that's where it started. Then we covered women's roles in a sermon at church. That chipped away a bit more. Then I read this article from over at the Femina Girls blog. Ouch. I was getting poked in a sore spot that needs a lot of work.

                                          Woman and a child on a walk through a forest by State Library and Archives of Florida
Woman and a child on a walk through a forest, a photo by State Library and Archives of Florida on Flickr.

That sore spot has turned out to be quite a surprise for me. When women's roles are talked about, I'm right there with you. When loving your family comes up, I'm all over it. When I read or hear of the cruciform life, I couldn't agree more. But, what I've realized is that I've been lined up in the macro line and I've been simply ignoring the micro line. Let me explain. I get the big picture - the macro. Die to yourself. Love your husband and family. Serve them. Sure. Got it. I love God. I go to church. I had quit my job to stay at home, care for the house & my family's needs, and to home school. I bake and make crafts on top of all of that, for crying out loud! I mean, I get it. I was dying to myself. Now, you would think that a girl with a blog by the name of Eating Elephants (you bite at a time) would not have the problem of missing the trees for the forest, but I did. I wasn't striving to die in the moment.

I haven't been seeing my huffiness over the 3rd spilled cup of juice before 10am as sin. I haven't been considering my lack of self-control in staying on the computer "just 15 more minutes" as a problem. Most of all, I haven't been seeing the little people. My tone. My lack of compassion at times. My not treating childishness differently than willful disobedience. The effect has had dire consequences in those little hearts. That hurts.

God is gracious. Not only has He brought me to the place of recognizing this, but He has been patient with my disobedience. What a loving example. And He brings me here knowing that this is what is best. Knowing that in dying, I'll find a more abundant life. Well back to eating those elephants!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Pinterest Review - Tub & Shower Magic


I made the Tub & Shower Magic that I found here. I LOVE cleaning with vinegar. I just wasn't sure about all of that Dawn...So, here's what I found. I mixed up the solution with a 13oz of vinegar and a 10.3oz bottle of Dawn. The only reason that I did it this way, instead of equal parts, is because of the size of the bottle of Dawn. As a side note, which will help in making this recipe even cheaper, Walgreen's regularly runs this size of Dawn on sale for 99 cents (I price match at WalMart to save the trip) and you can almost always find a 50 cents off Dawn coupon monthly in the Sunday coupon circulars.

The cleaner worked really well. My tub and shower tiles sparkled. However, it was VERY thick! And, you can imagine, there were quite a lot of suds and I spent a good deal of time rinsing and re-rinsing to get the bubbles down the drain. So, after I'd used it a few times, I added about 4 more ounces vinegar to the bottle. It worked just as well.

After using this cleaner for months, I recommend a solution of closer to 3-5oz. of Dawn or any other dish detergent and the rest vinegar. This is a more cost effective solution while being just as adequate a cleaner without all the suds.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Missed beauty

Below is an article I find immensely interesting. It is about a bit of an experiment set up by Washington Post writer Gene Weingarten and world-renowned violinist Joshua Bell. Mr. Bell played his $3.5 million 18th century Stradivarius in a metro station in Washington D.C. during rush hour, dressed in street clothes. What happens says so much about what we perceive and how much we miss in terms of beauty, joy, and blessings on a day-to-day basis, because we are too busy or it doesn't look like we expect it to look. Enjoy.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sicko smoothies

OK, so Julius was vomiting yesterday and last night and had diarrhea this morning. (He'll be SO glad I posted that to my blog when he's a teen!) Things seemed to slow down this morning and he held down some cheerios - sans milk, so, at the suggestion of my clever husband, I made some Sicko Smoothies for the lot of us. I am a big proponent of probiotics.  Their expense is worth it and I prefer Culturelle. It seems to have more active cultures than the others.  Here is my recipe:

16oz Greek yogurt
3 VERY ripe bananas
1 Tbsp vanilla
1/2 c uncooked oats
1 tray of ice cubes
The contents of 3 Culturelle capsules
sweetener to taste, if desired

Place all of the items in a blender and blend on high until smooth. Makes 4 10oz smoothies

Valentine's Day

So, I decided that the best course of action on Valentine's Day was to pump my kids full of sugar and red dyes before taking them off to a preschool/grade school Valentine Party at the local inflatables joint - amazing idea!
Pink pancakes with strawberries & sugar, chocolate sauce, and PILES of whipped cream.


Our heart-shaped milk ice cubes (We ran out of red food coloring...)
IKEA ice cube trays - tons of fun! I put one drop of food coloring in each heart, filled it with milk, and froze it overnight. I'm not sure I would recommend doing this with a plastic ice cube tray, though.  I had to work pretty hard to get the hearts out of this silicone tray.

And, though a little late, here's an idea for a FREE (don't you love that word?) card or gift for your wife or hubby for next Valentine's Day.

Just use your wedding band in the valley of an open book and a bright source of light.  The shadow makes a heart!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Random fun & a craft

If you don't mind a lot of running around and laughing, this one is a hoot!  They are called Wobble Balls.  If you have kids, you probably already have way too many of the supplies on hand to make them.

I know, they just look like balloons.  Here's what you do. Take about a 1/4 - 1/2 inch ball of clay or 
Play-doh and roll it into a "snake." Put it into the opening of your uninflated balloon. Once it's completely inside, work it back into a ball and blow up & tie off the balloon.  The weight of the clay throws off the center of gravity of the balloon just enough that the thing goes all over the place!

Needless to say, it kept them occupied and happy for a bit!

This was just a fun craft that I wanted to try out from Pinterest. The link originally came from a blog called Cotton and Curls. This blogger claimed that you could cut out a cute design onto freezer paper, then iron the waxy side of the freezer paper onto a shirt. This supposedly sealed the edges of the design tightly enough that you could paint fabric paint onto the shirt with a sponge brush and it wouldn't bleed.  I had my doubts, so I tried it on a shirt that I was planning on donating anyway.

Guess what? It worked! I'm thinking that this may be the perfect remedy for all of the boys shirts that got past me and into the washing machine and dryer and now have stains forever set down the front of them.  I could paint on little ties or mini bodies with their regular-sized heads coming out of the necks! Awesome!

And, well, this was just a random shot, but it made me smile.  I hope it does you, too. Julius saw this and asked me to take a picture.  At first I didn't see it.  The tissue paper ball is making the shadow of a heart on the wall. :)

Home school History Fun

These are the pictures from our latest stop "Around the World." We are still in North America. As you can see, it is the Spirit of Saint Louis.  It is a construction paper-covered milk carton with cardboard and craft stick wings taped onto it.  It lasted for, oh, about 2 minutes after this photo was taken...which I expected.  I mean, who tells a 6-year-old boy the story of Charles Lindbergh, hands him an airplane and expects him not to see how far it can fly?!  Not me.  That's why I take pictures.

Here, we had just talked about the history of writing in the Mesopotamia.  They were supposed to be practicing their cuneiform writing - like the Sumerians.

Julius was MUCH more interested in the Egyptian style.

The twins, well....I...ummm...let's move on...

This was fun. We talked about the Old Kingdom in Egypt.  This is GREAT boy stuff! They put organs in jars - pulled out brains through your nose - there was buried treasure and thieves. I can't make up stuff this good! I told them each to go get one of their stuffed animals and we'd make it into a mummy.  The one on the right is just a doll that I'd sewn for them a few years ago. The one one the left  is a Rio Angry Bird - you can't make that stuff up, either.  This picture was taken immediately upon the completion of the wrapping, because I knew what was coming...

...this is what the "mummies" looked like before I even made it across the room to set the camera down. Mothers of boys, take heart. :)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Some great quiet books

I'm kind of a sucker for things that keep my kids' interest and require little effort on my part. After reading a post over at All For the Boys (a great little blog, by the way), I decided that I'd write a post of low-effort, high-interest quiet books. Here is the one I saw over at All For the Boys this morning:
This one is no-sew!

This one at Homemade Holiday Gifts would take a bit longer, but is all hand-sewn and would keep an older child more engaged.

B-rilliant! A binder, sheet protectors, age-appropriate worksheets, and  dry-erase crayons. It couldn't be any easier than that! Thanks I Am Momma Hear Me Roar!
This one is SUPER cute and, again - no-sew! This would be a great one for doctor's offices and the like as the swish of the velcro may not be welcomed at church. Very cute Kojo designs!

Hope that gives you some good ideas! Interestingly, I learned a few things from this post, as well #1 - apparently some women define "quick and easy" as 3 hours of work.  Wow.  Now more commentary needed.  #2 - Quiet books are HUGE with the Mormons.  Seriously.

Friday, February 3, 2012

A Dream Deferred? A post for single ladies and married ladies who feel cheated

      I was talking yesterday with a friend about how very much the Christian culture tends to not realize how very much we are influenced by the culture of the world around us.  We see this in various ways.  Christian parents let their kids date (more on this later) & date non-christian kids.  We put our kids on the big yellow bus when they are 5.  We sign them,and ourselves, up for umpteen activities, leaving little family time.  We buy them the latest and the greatest gizmos,gadgets,apps,and movies, letting them keep up with pop culture and idolize its heroes.  Now, am I saying that these are all sinful? No.  Am I saying that we should withdrawal our families from society, at large, and only allow them to interact with like-minded families? No.  Am I saying that we, in general, have tended to stop evaluating many of the choices we make for ourselves and our families based on biblical sources and more on what our friends, neighbors, and "the culture" at large are doing? Yes.
     As Christians, our choices matter. As the author of this article wisely quotes,But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness." Romans 6:17-18 (NASB). We are slaves to righteousness.  We lay ourselves at the foot of the cross.  We die to ourselves - not as some martyr, because the death is not the end of the story.  The life on the other side is richer, fuller, and more amazing than we could have ever imagined or chosen for ourselves.

     This article is directed toward single christian young women, but I find it much more far-reaching than that.  It's for parents, daughters, sons, wives, maybe especially wives who have been fed the lie that being at home is "not living up to your potential" or that "you deserve more and so do your girls".
     Anyway, have a read. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. A dream deferred.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Fun Science

We've been doing a lot of fun science-y stuff lately.  I mean, part of the fun of home schooling is, well, the fun!

Magic Milk or Milk Painting, as the boys liked to call it. Great lesson on surface tension.
See the tutorial here.

We both decided that this one really looked like Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh. (This happens to be his favorite painter, because his middle name is Vincent.  He remembers the name because of the book Vincent van Gogh by Mike Venezia.  He has a whole series of books out called Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists.  Our local library carries many of them.  He mixes period paintings and the artist's works with hilarious cartoons.  My boys love them!)

Making mini volcanoes with baking soda and colored vinegar in droppers. He TOTALLY felt like a scientist.  If only he had a lab coat... 

Saturday, January 28, 2012

This week's lessons learned

I learned some valuable lessons this week.

Lesson #1 - Sometimes, it only takes a few drops of food coloring and a pancake to turn the morning around.

Lesson #2 - Ivory soap really does turn into this in the microwave!
See the tutorial here.

Often, the guys cutting down and chipping up the trees outside have more to teach your boys than you do.  Don't fight it.