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Posted by on Dec 10, 2015 | 0 comments

DIY Gifts: Chocolate Truffles in Origami Boxes

DIY Gifts: Chocolate Truffles in Origami Boxes

The elves in our house are hard at work making gifts for family and friends, and we hope these origami boxes filled with chocolate truffles will please their recipients! First, the truffles — easy enough since they only require three basic ingredients (and a few extra for toppings). We used this recipe which calls for: 8 ounces of bittersweet chocolate (60% cacao) 1/4 cup cream 6 T of unsalted butter (I used slightly less) I heated the cream in a pan, then added it to a bowl set over a pot of simmering water with the chocolate and butter. I gently stirred the chocolate mix until it was silky smooth and after it cooled, I put it in the fridge covered with plastic wrap to harden. After a few hours, it was time to roll the truffles. For each truffle, I scooped a hefty teaspoon of chocolate and rolled it in my hands until round, then passed it on to Calvin to coat in the toppings. Half of them...

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Posted by on Dec 1, 2015 | 2 comments

The Science of Bubble Making

The Science of Bubble Making

In our last post, we celebrated the beauty of bubbles and introduced a family in Alexandria – Scott, Eva and their son Noah – who enjoy a hobby of making really big, iridescent, long-lasting bubbles. Today, we share Scott’s recipe (some serious chemistry at work) and his DIY bubble wand designs, which you can easily make at home yourself. Here is Scott using his handmade wand and bubble solution on one of his many bubble-making outings around town… Let’s start with the bubble solution. Making the solution can be a bit technical, Scott admits. He uses 2.5 gram measuring tins and a scale. (Scott is happy to talk about his recipe or answer questions you may have on the steps – you can ask in the comments at the end of the post.) He gets his supplies at Educational Innovations, teacher supply store, and organizes the ingredients in one big plastic tub. Scott showed us how to make this bubble solution recipe during our visit. Note that he prefers...

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Posted by on Nov 24, 2015 | 0 comments

The Art of Bubble Making

The Art of Bubble Making

When we set up our bubble making booth at Family Field Fest last month, little did we know the bubble enthusiasts we would meet. At one point during the day of bubble wand crafting, a boy named Noah stopped by carrying his own handmade wand and a container of solution. He soon became the life of the party wowing everyone with his DIY bubble wand and amazing, beautiful, and huge bubbles. When his parents Scott and Eva strolled up, we got to talking about all things bubbles and made a date to learn more about their family’s bubble-making hobby. During his free time, Scott makes his own solution and wands. On family outings, he brings along a wand or two and some solution and makes giant bubbles at different locations. He especially enjoys seeing people smile, he told us, and bringing out the kid in adults. When we visited him, our kids had the best time making and chasing bubbles. Noah showed us how to make a bubble within...

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Posted by on Oct 14, 2015 | 1 comment

Favorite Stories to Share at Halloween for Tots Through Tweens

Favorite Stories to Share at Halloween for Tots Through Tweens

Listen to the wind picking up, snuggle under a blanket, and enjoy sharing these alternately funny and spooky stories about witches, ghosts, monsters, and jack ‘o lanterns. Many of these don’t specifically reference Halloween, which makes them all the better for pulling out all year round when the mood strikes. Here are my pics for spooky books from youngest to oldest ages. Pete the Cat: Five Little Pumpkins By James Dean (Ages 2-4) I’ll forever have a soft spot in my heart for the “Five Little Pumpkins” poem, which my son used to recite to us when he was a preschooler. I only wish this book had been published back then! Ten Orange Pumpkins By Stephen Savage (Ages 2-6) In this delightfully dark Halloween-themed countdown, the reader must look closely to discover the mystery behind how each pumpkin disappears. You can read my full review here. Happy Halloween, Witch’s Cat! By Harriet Muncaster (Ages 2-6) The charming dress-up enthusiast from last year’s I am a Witch’s Cat is back...

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Posted by on Jul 30, 2015 | 3 comments

From Cinder Blocks to Mosaic Tile Planters

From Cinder Blocks to Mosaic Tile Planters

We have big plans this summer to add a mosaic to some plain cinder block steps in our backyard. Before we embark on that project, my kids and I practiced by sprucing up some cinder block planters. I headed to Restore to buy tile. They did not have colorful tile in stock, but in the dishware section, I found several plates, a vase and a platter to smash for the project. My kids, Miles and Vivien, were more than eager to get started. Vivien chose a green vase, a blue plate, and a white tile for the color scheme. We started by cleaning off the cinder blocks. Then, Miles smashed the blue plate with a mallet. The smashing of the plate made a mess. We decided to wear protective goggles and smash the next object inside a paper bag. This worked perfectly, no mess and much safer. Next up, we arranged and secured the pieces with liquid nails (from Home Depot for a little over $2). When they were done...

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