Thursday, July 31, 2014

Snack Boxes

Normally when we take a road trip if the kids want a snack I'm passing them from the cooler to the back seats. This year I decided to try something different. I made each of the kids their own snack box.  I made Camden a blue one and Alex a pink one, each labeled with their names. The boxes are easy to open and snap shut so the goal is to be able to have them pick their own snacks in the box that they want to eat. They each got the same snacks so there won't be any complaining that one sibling got something that the other one didn't. I tried to include some "healthier" options - apple slices, string cheese, applesauce pouch, and pretzels, but also included a few "treats" like graham crackers and fruit snacks.

The first part of our trip will be almost 7 hours. So when we reach the halfway point I am going to give the kids each a little treat cup with candy corn, gummy worms, swedish fish, a tootsie roll, and a few marshmallows - that cup will be a total surprise so hopefully they like it!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Travel Binders: 2 years later

Just about 2 years ago I made my first travel binders for our drive to Bald Head Island vacation. Back then my daughter just turned 4 and my son was only 17 months old. You can see those binders here.

Flash forward 2 years and now my daughter just turned 6 and my son is almost 3.5 years old. Before Camden didn't really even get a binder but instead some cars, magnets, and Fisher Price Little People to play with. This time around he's been watching me create his binder and can't wait to play in his "travel workbook" as he calls it.

We will be driving 6 hours the first day and then will stay over night and finish the final two hours the next day. I'm not really worried about entertaining the kiddos during those last two hours - we often drive that far for visits with family. It's those 6 hours that I want to be prepared for.

I used some of the ideas from the previous binder and came up with some new ideas on my own (and didn't totally rely on Pinterest) It's true...I can actually still can come up with some original ideas!

So here it goes - our updated binders!

I used a 1" colorful binder with pockets in the inside and clear plastic on the outside - this way I could put on a title page and even a page on the back.

Removable Magnetic Pieces
On the inside cover I used magnetic tape (found in a roll at Walmart) and put 4 strips on the binder. These strips will hold mermaid pictures (which were mermaid/sea stickers that I stuck on paper, cut out, and then added magnetic tape to the back) and state cutouts. We start in Pennsylvania and will travel through MD, VA, and NC. As we enter a new state Alexandra can remove the state cutout and place it on the back of the map, which also has magnetic tape. That way she can see how many states we have left to drive through.

US Map and Sate Coloring Pages
Finally, for each of the states we drive through I have a state information coloring page that I got off of  Each page has facts such as the state flag, bird, flower, etc.

Activity Pages
I used clear plastic sheets to hold the activity pages. I have mazes, hidden pictures, tic-tac-toe boards, the dot game, and letter tracing pages

Embroidery Floss
I have been trying to teach my daughter how to make friendship bracelets. They seemed to be frustrating for her so instead she just takes two colors and makes "twist" bracelets. Hey, whatever works and keeps her busy. PLUS I won't be losing hundreds of little rainbow loom bands in the car. I will have scissors and masking tape up front in the glove box to help her out and she can tape the floss to the back of her binder and twist away!

Magnetic Puzzle
I put magnetic tape on the back of each piece of a 48 piece Frozen Puzzle. That way she can do the puzzle on her magnetic whiteboard without losing pieces. I also cut out a small picture of what the puzzle looks like . Even after taping all of the pieces I have tons of magnetic tape left. I love that stuff!!!

Bendaroos/Pipe Cleaners
I thought I'd put some Bendaroos and pipe cleaners in the binder so she can make shapes or figures with them. I love those zip pouches too ($1 each at Walmart) because they keep everything contained. (I actually use those pouches to hold puzzle pieces for all of our other puzzles at home too. Super easy organized storage!)

I put the crayons in a zipper pouch. I'm going to put the crayons either in the bag in the middle of the kids or on the back of the seat organizer. They just made the binder too bulky to have them inside.

Crayola Dry Erase Markers
I love these dry erase markers! No odor, nice colors, and washable! These are also stored in a zipper pouch outside of the binder.

Color Wonder Markers
These are not pictured but will also go in a zipper pouch - they are en route to my house via Amazon Prime. Love that 2 day shipping! =)

Magnetic Dry Erase Board
I love that we go on vacation so close to back to school time because you can find great supplies for pretty cheap. For $2.50 or so I got a magnetic dry erase board which will serve several purposes. It will be used to play with the mermaid magnets, the puzzle, or just to draw. I also made it removable.I used the 3M strips that are meant for hanging pictures. They attach to one another and can be pulled apart. So, if she wants to take the whiteboard out of the binder she can.

I-Spy Games
I printed out some I-Spy games (that I found on Pinterest) for restaurants, car symbols, and for my son I printed out an easier one.

Color Wonder Pages
Last time around when Alexandra was 4 she was into Pooh Bear, Handy Manny, and Dora. This time around she has Disney Princesses and Fairies.

Next Up: Camden's Binder (3.5 years old)

I added some pictures of construction vehicles, race cars, and a train for Camden's binder. He picked out the orange binder for his "workbook".

Coloring Sheets and Color Wonder
He is not too much into coloring but maybe some pages with his favorite characters will entertain him. I think he'll gravitate towards the Color Wonder (which is probably better anyways since the ink doesn't show on anything but the paper!!!)

Scene Boards
I purchased a "Wonder Pets" reusable sticker and board kit at Ollies for $3.99. The bottom two are a sturdy cardboard. The top two I printed out on photo paper (so that it would be glossy and the reusable stickers will stick to it!!). I got the photo paper at the Dollar Tree. $1 for 8 sheets.

Reusable Stickers/Dry Erase Laminated Pages
We already had all of these Melissa and Doug reusable stickers but I needed a way to stick them in his binder without them all sticking together. I just happened to have a few pages that I already had laminated from when I was a teacher. So, on one side is an activity page that he can use the dry erase markers for , and on the other blank side I put the stickers. Saves space and has multiple uses!

Not only can he use the stickers on those scenes I printed out but also on the windows of the car, on his dry erase board, and on the outside of the binder.

This was one more scene I printed out and I stuck it on the back cover for Camden to use his car stickers. 

Binder Storage
I stored both binders plus the porable DVD player, the iPad, and the Samsung Galaxy Tab in this bag. Each device has different movies, shows, and games on them. I stored the binders first in a deep plastic bin which fits perfectly into my favorite Thirty-One bag. The bag will go in btween the kids and can hold all of this plus water bottles, headphones, snacks, etc. Although, I saw a cute idea about making indvidual snack boxes for kids for a road trip. I'd like to do that but we'll see if I have time. If I do I can post about it later!

Hopefully this will be easy access for the kids and they can help themselves as needed. Like I said I also have an over the seat organizer to store extra things like the crayon and marker pouches, sunglasses, other snacks, tissues, etc.

I'm pretty happy with the way the binders turned out. The kids have been watching me put them together but I told them they are not allowed to use them until we are in the car! I don't want the novelty wearing off before we even leave!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

A Fun Way to Paint

I don't remember where I first saw this idea but I knew I had to try it. My kids love to paint. Camden loves tools. Combining them = genius. I had a kid sized thick paintbrush that I broke apart, used a little electrical tape, and boom, a battery operated paintbrush. I'll admit it was pretty fun to use!!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Homemade Slime!

I know we've made slime before. In fact, you can find the post here,  but this time around I thought it would be cool to make glitter slime! Too bad it didn't turn out the way I wanted. I believe I added too much Borax and what we ended up making was more like the consistency of a bouncy ball rather than slime. Although it wasn't truly slime the kids still enjoyed playing with it. 
Slime Take 1

Slime Take 2
Luckily I had another bottle of Elmer's glue laying around so I made another batch of slime...this time I was careful and added the Borax mixture a little bit at a time so that I could get the consistency right. 

The recipe I used does contain Borax so I was right by the kids' side when playing reminding them to keep it away from their mouths. Next time I am going to try a recipe that is Borax free. I found a recipe with Metamucil so I may give that a try. Below is the recipe that I used.

1 bottle of Elmer's Glue
1/4 cup warm water
1/2 tsp Borax
food coloring if you want

1. Dissolve the Borax in the warm water (warm water helps it to dissolve)
2. Empty the bottle of glue into a bowl. Add a drop of color and mix in. 
3. Add the Borax mixture a little at a time and mix well. Mixing it with your hands is best! 

Of course the first thing Camden did was make a run for his cars. Any time we make any kind of substance he loves to run his cars through it and make tracks. The nice thing is that the cars don't stick it the slime. 

Alex liked stretching it

I knew I saved some baby jars for some reason! Great storage for slime! 

In the future I do want to try to make a Borax free version and when I do I'll post it so stay tuned! 

Oh one more thing....I really should have taken a picture this morning. I came downstairs and found slime stuck on the wall! Luckily because it was a thin layer and the glue had dried it peeled right off. A little magic eraser got the rest off. This morning Camden also got some stuck on his shirt. That was a little harder to remove...hoping the rest comes off in the washer! 

Monday, March 31, 2014

Car Painting

Camden loves his cars and trucks. But what he loves more is doing messy things with his cars and trucks. He does like to paint with paint brushes but I thought it would be fun for him to make tracks on paper with his cars. I was trying to incorporate letters into the activity by making letter tracks. He,however, just wanted to play!!!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Super Science Sunday

Today (actually the past two days) we've been stuck inside because it has been non-stop raining around here. Right now our county is under a Flood Advisory and Winter Weather Advisory on the second to last day of March. This isn't the start of Spring that I imagined.

This weekend we've played with all of the toys, watched movies cuddled up on the couch, and today we decided to do some science experiments per Alex's request.

Alex has always been a curious kid. Recently though she's been asking a ton of questions about life in general, how things work, etc. In fact, tonight our dinner conversation was about how cars actually work and how electricity works. Our recent conversations have been about things like Chemistry, chemical reactions, and the elements of the Periodic Table.  I was having flashbacks to 7th grade Chemistry trying to explain to my 5 year old about molecules and chemical reactions.

I told her that when she's older she can take Chemistry and do fun science experiments. She said "I can't WAIT to take Chemistry!!!!!" (I can't wait either when she's asking me for help with her homework....eeek!)

Anyways, the point is, she loves learning about everything and although they are simple we did a few science experiments today that both kids loved.

The Baking Soda Volcano
baking soda
food coloring
dish detergent
empty plastic bottle
paper towels
cookie sheet

Place the plastic bottle on a cookie sheet (makes for easier cleanup).
Add baking soda to bottle using a funnel.
In a separate container mix some vinegar, a drop of  red food color, and a few drops of dish detergent
Add the vinegar mixture to the bottle and remove the funnel quickly!!

Elephant Toothpaste
4 oz. hydrogen peroxide (most recipes call for 6% - I used 3%)
2 oz. dish detergent
food coloring
plastic bottle
one packet of yeast
A cup of warm water to proof the yeast
cookie sheet/plastic container to hold the bottle

Add the yeast to a cup of warm water and stir to let it proof. Let it sit for a little bit
In the plastic bottle mix the hydrogen peroxide, the dish detergent, and a drop of food color.
Add the yeast and watch it rise!

Color Changing Milk Experiment
This was the first time we did this experiment. I didn't do a video but should have because the initial reaction was really funny. (Mine that is.....Chris continued to mock my oohs and ahhs for a good while after I did this experiment!!) I wasn't able to do a video the first time I did the experiment with the kids because I was trying to give directions to two kids and then try to stop Camden from coloring his whole body blue. So Alex and I re-created the experiment and I was able to take a video.

a dish with a lip on on (I used a small plate)
milk (I used my 2 percent - we did it several times....our organic milk is way to expensive to use!!)
two different colors of food coloring
dish detergent

Pour the milk onto a plate/dish
In the center of the milk squirt 3-4 drops of two different food colors
Stick a Q-tip in the middle but don't mix a lot (What happens?? Not much really - the colors may mix a tad)
Next, dip another Q-tip in dish detergent and stick it in the middle and watch what happens. Pretty Cool! 

Monday, March 17, 2014

St. Patrick's Day Leprechaun Snack

It's been a long time since I did a muffin tin lunch or snack but I just went grocery shopping and so I had food I could use that would fit perfectly with a St. Patrick's Day theme. Alexandra was excited to eat it and she finished the whole thing off after school. Camden really didn't want anything....not even the tiny Shamrock shake...WHAT??? (don't worry I finished it off!) 

In this muffin tin are: pickles (her favorite!) green milk, shamrock shake, fruit loops with "gold", celery with peanut butter, and rainbow fruit kabobs.