Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tie-dyed Milk

This was a really cool experiment I did this afternoon with the Eskimo. We had some leftover milk that I had forgotten to put away. It had been sitting out long enough that I didn't think we should drink it, but definitely hadn't gone bad yet. Perfect for an experiment! I poured the milk in a bowl and added a few drops of food coloring. Then I dipped a toothpick in dish soap. Dip the toothpick in the bowl of milk and boom! Exploding colors!

Seriously, this is so cool, you should try it right now. I don't care whether or not you have kids, this is worth doing. I'm sure there's a whole bunch of science-y stuff to explain it, but I am not a scientifically minded person. I hope y'all have fun with your very own bowl of fireworks!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Something you may not know about me: I'm currently working on my Masters of Arts in English Language Learning. I'm doing it all online, so it requires a TON of self-motivation. And what I'm discovering is that I can accomplish a lot when I'm procrastinating. We're not talking school work here. Oh no, that paper is still looming over my head, threatening to crush me. But look what I made tonight!

I've been wanting to make the Eskimo something with a Q for a while now. Not only is it the first letter of his name, but it's one of the 5 or so letters that he recognizes with reliability. I had originally planned on doing some kind of collage with buttons, but the more I tried to put it together, the more I hated it. So, I decided to paint.

I got the canvas at Michael's today. It came in a 2-pack and was relatively inexpensive. I already had the paints and the painter's tape, so this was a pretty cheap project for me. I printed out a great big Q and taped it down in the center. Then, I made stripes with the painter's tape and got to work. It's not perfect, but considering it was thrown together last second while avoiding a paper, I'm pretty pleased. I'm still debating whether or not I want to paint the Q yellow, red, or just leave it blank.... Husband likes it blank. I'm leaning toward yellow. We'll see! Opinions welcome!

ETA: I decided to paint it yellow. The white was bugging me:

Dyed Pasta

So last night while I was watching the Australian Open, I decided to dye some pasta for my son. I pulled out a box of penne pasta and got to work. Here's what you'll need:

-dry pasta
-food coloring

I put between 10-15 drops of food coloring in each baggie, depending on how vibrant I wanted the colors to be. Then I added a TBS of vinegar and one cup of pasta. Seal the Ziploc and mix. I spread them out to dry on cookie sheets covered with both parchment paper and wax paper. Vinegar is acidic, so if it comes in contact with the metal cookie sheet, it tends to corrode it. Or maybe that's just because I'm using our super cheap cookie sheets for this. Maybe next time I will dry on a cutting board. Here's what it looked like drying:

The colors are actually a bit more vibrant after drying. In retrospect, the yellow food coloring was a bit pointless. :) I'm not 100% thrilled with this dying method as the noodles took a long time to dry and some of them got a bit soggy. Maybe that's just the nature of the beast when dying noodles, but I'd love to hear suggestions for improvement!

The reason I dyed these was so the Eskimo could practice stringing them onto a shoelace. And we did try this...

...and it lasted about 2 minutes. Then he got frustrated and decided to "cook" the noodles instead. He spent the next hour preparing the noodles in his kitchen and serving them to me. He put them in and out of different pots and bowls, "cut" them with his knife, and thoroughly enjoyed himself. Not the purpose for which the noodles were originally intended, but hey, he's having fun and that's all that matters!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Dolls and Cups

So we made a trip over to JoAnn Fabrics today to pick up the supplies for today's crafty adventure. We got little wooden peg-dolls and cups for them to sit in. They look like this to start:

I actually had eight, but the Eskimo was already playing with two of them. Cute, right? Well, I also bought some craft paint, and then I got to work. The end result was this:

How cool are those!? These required multiple layers of paint, but I think they turned out beautifully. If I was feeling really ambitious I could paint faces on these suckers, but I kind of like them without. The idea is for the Eskimo to match the doll with the correctly colored cup. This will be great for working on colors as right now he only knows "boooooo" (blue). Also really good for fine motor skills. After he went through and matched all the little dolls with the correct cup the first time, he started putting them in the wrong cups, looking at me, and giggling. He knew it was "wrong", and he thought it was hilarious. :)

My inspiration for these came from here. Another fantastic Pinterest find. Because these are cheap and easy to make, I can see these becoming a go-to birthday gift for any young child.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

More discovery bottle action and colored rice

Today's discovery bottle was created with colored rice, an empty water bottle, and some beads with letters. We've been working with the Eskimo a lot lately on learning his letters, and he's doing pretty well!

If you haven't colored rice before, here's what you need:

1 TBS vinegar
Food coloring
1 cup rice
Ziploc bag
Wax paper
Cookie sheet

Put the vinegar and food coloring in the Ziploc. Add as much food coloring as you like. I usually put about 5 drops. Add the rice to the bag and squish around until it is evenly coated. This is a great chance to get little ones involved as long as they don't try to run off with the bag and rip it open. ;) This technique is supposed to work on dry pasta as well. That's next on the to-do list for me.

Lay the wax paper on a cookie sheet and spread the rice out on it. I dry mine outside because the smell can be a bit overwhelming and it's warm and sunny in Texas this time of year. The vinegar smell does go away, I promise. It dries amazingly quickly, and then you're ready to go!

The bottle pictured above has blue and green rice in it. I was using "neon" food coloring, so the green looks a bit more yellow than I had anticipated. Experiment. Rice is cheap, so have fun! Oh, and don't forget to glue the lid on the bottle. You do NOT want colored rice spilled all over your house. :)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Blackboard fun

So, this project has been in the works for a few days. It started last week with a trip to Walmart for an oil drip pan and a trip to Lowe's for blackboard paint. The goal? A DIY magnetic blackboard. Looking at the final result, I'd say I was pretty darned successful.

The oil drip pan was less than $10 at Walmart. It's 4' long, which ended up being a tad too big for our space, but having it hang over the window by an inch isn't really bothering me that much. I did three coats of the blackboard paint on the pan and am really pleased with the results. I also have tons of paint leftover, so I may do some sort of travel-board out of a cookie sheet. The Eskimo is currently in love with magnets. He loves to walk around the house, seeing what they will stick to. I've also ordered a bunch of really cute letter magnets off of eBay, which I think he will enjoy.

I stuck this to the wall with those Command damage-free picture hanging strips. The oil pan itself is quite light, so it seems like it's going to stick. I may have to come up with a stronger solution in the future, but for now, this is working. I can't wait for the Eskimo to wake up from his nap to see this! Now the trick will be getting him to draw on the blackboard and not every single other surface in our house.... Oh well, chalk washes off, right? ;)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Discovery Bottles

One of my resolutions this year was to create homemade "toys" for my son. Things that will challenge him, allow him to explore, and be fun. :) I'm going to credit Pinterest with a lot of my inspiration. Here are a couple examples from last week. We started with an I-Spy bottle. For this, all you need is rice, glue, an empty water bottle and tiny objects (I used beads). Put the rice and objects in the empty bottle and glue the lid on. Voila! 

The Eskimo says, "Ooooo!!". The beads I used are shaped like different animals. I ask him questions, "Where's the purple dog?" Okay, he's not quite there yet, but he does say "woof woof" and "meow" when he sees the appropriate beads. He loves rolling and shaking the bottle to unearth different beads.

Our second discovery bottle was equally easy to make, but this time I filled it with water, food coloring and oil. He loved shaking it, rolling it, and shining a flashlight through it. I think I'm going to put some kind of floating fish in the next one of these I make.

Oh, and if you haven't started drinking Voss water, you should. Only because it's comes in these awesome bottles. I found it at our local grocery. It's expensive for water, but cheap for a cool bottle! Stay tuned for some really cool projects!