Fizzy, Fun Preschool Science Activity (Part 4: Witch's Brew!)

Today is my final Fizzy, Fun Preschool Science Activity!  I've been planning the Witch's Brew for Halloween for a month now!  I think I enjoyed watching the kids play at least as much as they enjoyed it!

If you want to look at my other Fizzy, Fun Preschool Science activities, Part 1 was Fizzing Sidewalk Paint, Part 2 was Fizzing Lemonade, and Part 3 was an Alka Seltzer Lava Lamp.

So, "Witch's Brew" is actually code for "Home-made Root-beer!"  Here's what you'll need:
  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Watkins Root Beer Concentrate
  • 1 1/2 pounds dry ice

This will make a very sweet root-beer.  Feel free to adjust the ingredients however you like.  You can get all these ingredients at your local grocery store...if you have the right grocery store.  Some just don't carry dry ice and root beer concentrate.  I like to call in advance.  Anyways, on with the magic!

  1. Mix the water, sugar, and concentrate in a saucepan.  Let your little witches and warlocks help measure, count, pour, and stir.    
  2. Heat the mixture on the stove until the sugar dissolves and the it starts to boil.  High heat is fine, as long as you don't burn any sugar on the bottom of your pan.
  3. Pour the mixture into your "cauldron" and add half of the final, secret ingredient: dry ice! **See safety note at the bottom of this post about dry ice.**
  4. Enjoy the magic!  If the first half of your dry ice disappears, add the second half.  Let it sizzle for about an hour so it has time to carbonate your drink.  We did this at the start of our Halloween Party, and then came back to it after a craft and pinata.  

Dry Ice Science: Dry ice is frozen carbon dioxide.  It sublimates, or moves directly from a solid to a gas.  When it turns into a gas, it bubbles and foams.  The bubbles that are caught in the brew will make it fizzy/carbonated.  The carbon dioxide that seeps out of the pan and along the table is just carbon dioxide as a gas.

Dry Ice Safety: Dry ice is much colder than normal ice--it is more than 100 degrees F below zero.  If you hold it with your bare hands, it will burn you as easily as a fire would burn you.  Use gloves and tongs when handling dry ice.  Touching the "foam," or gas as the carbon dioxide sublimates is perfectly safe. 

Happy 17-months, Harry!

I've definitely been on a video kick, lately!

Here we have Harry dancing to the music on the basketball hoop!  He also likes to rock out to a few other songs!

Next month (18 months) will be a much more comprehensive birthday post, but for this month, here's a few highlights!  Harry:

* favorite songs: Uh huh, Eency Weency Spider, Head Shoulders Knees Toes, One Thousand Steps, Dinosaur Song, Clean Up.  He is an excellent dancer!

* Best words (speaking): Mommy, Daddy, boo.  Seriously hoping he'll be able to say more by next month!

* Favorite words (hearing/acting): outside, bath

* Least favorite words (hearing/acting): diaper, no, all done

* Harry has very articulate hands.  They point and gesture very effectively!  He also speaks very fluent grunts and gibberish.  He has signs for more, please, where, all done/full, and play.

* He loves to draw, paint, and glue.  He also likes to eat the glue, paint, and crayons.  Yikes.

* Sometimes it seems like he understands everything!  He will follow directions like, "Put this back," "Put the book away," "Where is your other shoe?  Go get your other shoe!" "Kick the ball," "Go get Daddy," "Brush teeth!" and much more!  When I turn on the clean-up music, he always grabs a block and puts it away!  He also loves to put stickers on his chart after we finish cleaning.

We just love, love, love this baby!  I will definitely make a longer post about him next month...I think 18 months might as well be a whole birthday!

Look What My Daddy Taught Me!

I was telling my dad about Kaia's new skill and how it's a bit of a hopeless situation because I find it so incredibly funny--she's definitely getting way too much positive feedback for this!

It started when my husband tried to convince Kaia that his mom (who was sitting across the table) taught him how to do this.  Kaia quickly caught on to the idea that Jon was teasing his mom by saying she taught him the trick when Kaia was pretty sure that Grandma would never do such a thing.  She promptly grabbed a handful of grapes, turned to Grandma, and said, "Do you want to see what my Daddy taught me?"  She's repeated the performance every time we've had grapes since.

My dad wisely suggested that I record the whole thing because it's "one of those little things" that you think you'll always remember, but then the years go by and...  well, you know.

The Moments We Celebrate!

If you listen really closely, you can hear him say, "Ba." (Don't mistake it with "boo" at the very beginning!)  "Ba" means BALL! Later, every time we watch this little video, he says "ball" more and more clearly!  He did walk very early, but he hasn't been in much of a hurry to talk--each word is still pretty exciting around here!

Wordless Wednesday: How The World Has Changed

Fizzy, Fun Preschool Science Activity (Part 3: Alka Seltzer Lava Lamp)

Part 3 of my Fizzy, Fun Preschool Science Activity Series is at least as much fun for the adults as it is for the kids!  In case you missed my first two posts, Part 1 was Fizzing Sidewalk Paint and Part 2 was Fizzing Lemonade.  Part 3 (today's post!) is so much fun and so simple, that you might just have to do it a few days in a row!  I first discovered it on SLSmith's blog, and have loved it ever since.

So, just how do you make an Alka Seltzer Lava Lamp?  Help your kiddos...
  1. Fill a vase (glass water bottles look cool too!) about 2/3 full with oil.
  2. Add water until the vase only has 1-2 inches of air space left at the top.
  3. Add 5 drops of food coloring.
  4. Add Alka Seltzer (or the store brand version), 1/4 tablet at a time.  When the bubbles slow down, add another 1/4 tablet.  
  5. Experiment with any other additions you like.  My kiddos were particularly interested in sugar, salt, and teddy grahams.  I'll let you find your own experiments, but I'll tell you this...salt is more interesting than teddy grahams!
Check out this "action shot"...they just couldn't stay sitting down!

So, what's going on here?  I know you probably don't really care why Alka Seltzer makes bubbles, but since your kids will ask, I thought I'd give you something to work with!  Two of the ingredients in the Alka Seltzer tablet include sodium bicarbonate (aka baking soda) and citric acid.  When the tablet is dissolved, the ingredients mix together and carbon dioxide (bubbles) is released.  The bubbles mix the oil and colored water, which would otherwise remain separated.

Of course, my explanation for the kids came after the gasps and "Ooohs" and "Aaahs" and sounded more like, "The Alka Seltzer reacts to make the bubbles.  Carbon dioxide bubbles.  The bubbles stir the oil and colored water together."  And that's when Kaia asked if she could add sugar.

Wheat/White Bread/Rolls Recipe

I just love the smell of fresh bread!  I love eating it while it's still warm enough to melt the butter I smear on it.  And I love finding a new recipe that I can use!

Last week, I came across this recipe for Amish White Loaf Bread on Fake-It Frugal.  I like to use wheat when possible and I like to cook more than two loaves at a time.  Few things are more frustrating to me than taking the time to make bread by hand and watching it disappear within a few hours.  Yeah, bread is popular around here!  So, I made a few changes and came up with the following (absolutely delicious) recipe:

1.  Pour 4 cups warm water over 3 Tablespoons yeast (4 packets) and 1-1/3 cups sugar.  Use a very big glass bowl.  Let it sit for about 10 minutes, until it is nice and bubbly.

2. Add 1 Tablespoon salt, 1/2 cup oil, and 5 cups whole wheat flour.  Stir gently.  

3.  Continue stirring in the rest of the flour--about 8 cups white flour.  The amount of flour varies a little every time.  When the dough is too thick to stir, knead it until it holds together in a nice ball.  Knead for an additional 10 minutes.  

4.  Cover the bowl with saran wrap sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  Then, cover the saran wrap with a cloth towel.  Let it sit and rise until it doubles.

5.  Punch out all aggression and anger you have built up from the last time you made bread.  

6.  Knead a few times, then divide the dough into four sections.  We used three to make loaves of bread.  I divided the fourth into four more pieces and gave one to each of my kiddos to make "crazy rolls."  Sometimes the crazy rolls look like normal rolls, sometimes they look like narwhal horns, and sometimes they look like ducks.  It's all very fun.  I ended up making most of Harry's into normal rolls while the other kids shaped theirs own.  Make sure you grease your pans. 

7.  Once your bread is in the pans, cover each loaf/pan with greased saran wrap and a cloth.  Let it raise again until it doubles.  Bake in the over at 350 degrees until it's a beautiful, soft brown--about 20-30 minutes.  Remove the bread from the pans and place on a cooling rack, but don't cut the bread until it sits for at least 20 minutes.  Smear/brush butter over the tops of the bread while you wait. 

8.  Eat and be happy.

Wordless Wednesday: Harry Paints

Harry, 16 months old, discovers Kaia's leftover painting supplies.

"Listen, Child..."

Listen to the don'ts. 
Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. 
Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... 
Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”

--Shel Silverstein

I'm always telling my kids they can do anything.  Sometimes, though, I think they already know!

I thought I'd share some of their adventurous spirit with you today!  In both of the pictures above, they are taking steps they weren't supposed to take by themselves...but they just loved it!  These are from our trip to Utah this last summer, as we hiked to the Grotto on Mt. Loafer.  

Here's the actual Grotto:  

It's a beautiful place, and it was a great hike for the kids to explore a little more of themselves.  Of course, if any kids came pre-programmed to want some adventure, it was these two!

Soccer Begins

Kaia started soccer two weeks ago through our local YMCA.  She was very excited about it and even had a lot of fun buying shin guards and socks (she has the pink socks in the picture)!  She has admitted to not wanting to charge in the middle of a group of kids when everyone is clustered around the ball, but she has already managed to get a few good kicks in when the ball flies away from the main group--she is a fast runner!

I really like how it is set up for 3-4 year olds:  they only meet on Saturdays.  The first 20-30 minutes is practice time and the next 30 minutes is a game.  The teams are big enough that each kid usually sits out 1-2 quarters during the game.  At first I was annoyed by that, but now I think it might actually be a good thing--60 minutes is a long time for a 3- or 4- year old to run around a hot field!

Kaia has moments when she seems a little unsure of where to go or what to do.  Last year she absolutely loved her gymnastics class at The Little Gym, but it took a few weeks to get accustomed to.  I suspect that in another week or two she'll have a better idea of what's going on here as well!  Until then, at least she's having fun, being active, and getting a few good kicks in each day!

Winner: Betty Crocker Molasses Cookies

Crystal won the Betty Crocker Molasses Cookie giveaway!  I'll be contacting you soon for your information!  Congratulations!!

Fantastic Find: Tiny Prints Christmas Cards!

We are officially in the holiday season now, and it is definitely time to start thinking about Christmas cards!  This summer I discovered Tiny Prints, and I absolutely fell in love with them!  Their cards are on a nice, thick, high quality paper, and their designs are wonderfully unique and fun.  I'm really in love with their contemporary Christmas card collection.  I'm not sure how I'll choose which design, but I have (currently!) narrowed it down to these:

I am a HUGE fan of photo cards.  Our little family changes so much every year, that if I am going to take the time to do Christmas cards, I want our family and friends who are far away to be able to see what our kids look like these days!  Tiny Prints has tons of photo cards available.  I really like this design:

And I love the bright colors on this one:

 I also think the black and white on this one is very stunning.  And black and white pictures always seem to improve my photogenic-ness!  

Of course, photo cards also mean family pictures, and I do have to consider how much easier it is to get one or two or three people smiling than all four of us at once!  I also usually have a really hard time choosing just one picture.  So, I really like these options where I can use several poses:

I think this tri-fold design is super cute (and it has more than one pose!), but I'm not sure how it would affect the cost of postage:

And last, but definitely not least, I really love the effect cutting the picture with lines has in this design:


So many choices!  And these are just a few!  Visit here to see the entire Tiny Prints Christmas Card collection!

Do you like to send out Christmas cards?  Do you usually take a family picture for the cards?  I love to hear from you!

Disclaimer: I will receive a set of Tiny Prints cards as a thank you for posting.  No monetary compensation was given and all opinions are my own!

Wordless Wednesday: Halloween/Fall Decorations

BocaBeth Coupon Code and Winner!!

The winner for the BocaBeth Giveaway is...(drumroll!!)...Katey!  I've already contacted you and you should receive your DVD and Activity Book soon!

For anyone else interested in BocaBeth materials, BocaBeth has been kind enough to provide a coupon code just for Jansen Family Adventures readers!  This coupon code will give you 40% off anything in the BocaBeth store...including the bilingual CDs, DVDs, toys, musical instruments, and more!  Visit their store to see all the options.  When you check out, enter the coupon code JAN to receive 40% off anything in their online store!  Make sure you check out by October 9th--this code is only good for one week!

Thank you, BocaBeth!

Fizzy, Fun Preschool Science Activity (Part 2: Fizzing Lemonade)

Last month, I started a Fizzy, Fun Preschool Science Activity series with Fizzing Sidewalk Paint.  I missed a week, but I'm back now with Part 2: Fizzing Lemonade!  

My goal at this point is to expose my preschooler to another simple reaction and let her hear words like "mixing" and "reaction" and review concepts she's already familiar with like liquid, gas, and bubbles.  I like to explain to her what we will do and then ask her what she thinks will happen.  These conversations lay the foundation to introduce ideas like hypothesizing, testing, acids, and bases.  Lemonade is an acid and baking soda is a base, but I'm still not ready to categorize reactants yet.  My toddlers also enjoy the reaction and are exposed to more vocabulary and experiences.

What do you do?  You mix baking soda, broken spaghetti sticks, and lemonade together.  I let the kiddos break the dry spaghetti noodles into (about) one inch pieces and put several in the vase and two in the cup.  It's easier to watch the noodles in the cup.  They each put a spoonful of baking soda in the vase and a much smaller spoonful in the cup.  Then, Kaia poured the lemonade in the vase.  After the oohs and aahhs, we poured some lemonade into the cup too.  For lemonade, I used Crystal Light powder.  The powder was supposed to make two quarts, but we only added enough water to make five cups.  That made it a slightly more concentrated acid.

What do you see?  The baking soda and lemonade react and form bubbles (carbon dioxide).  Yay...fizzing!!  The bubbles collected on the rough, uneven surface of the spaghetti noodles.  When a noodle had enough bubbles on it, the bubbles lifted the noodle to the top of the cup, like the balloon that lifted Winnie the Pooh in The Honey Tree.  When the noodle reached the top of the lemonade, the bubbles popped and the noodle went back to the bottom of the cup.  This process repeated several times. 

Kaia also wondered what would happen if we added food coloring, so I let the kiddos each put in a drop of food coloring.  Always encourage the curiosity!

Breakfast Taco Lasagna

Okay, this takes a few minutes to put together, but it is definitely worth the time!  I thought the left-overs were particularly delicious with Herdez Salsa Verde (a green Mexican salsa) spooned over the top of it!  We've had it as a yummy dinner and the perfect after-run breakfast!

corn tortillas
hash-browns (we used "southwest" hash-browns, but it probably doesn't matter)
6 scrambled eggs
1 package cooked bacon
1 can refried beans
1 chopped bell-pepper
dried, minced onion
taco seasoning
2/3 can diced tomatoes, drained
cheese...lots of cheese!
cream cheese, melted just until it is spreadable
1/4-1/2 cup milk

1.  Spray 9 x 13 inch pan.
2.  Cover bottom of pan with tortillas.
3.  Spread the bacon across the tortillas.
4.  Mix refried beans and hash-browns and spread on top of bacon.
5.  Spread another layer of tortillas across pan.
6.  Spread scrambled eggs across tortillas.
7.  Spread melted cream cheese on top of eggs.
8.  Sprinkle bell-peppers on top of cream cheese/eggs and cover with cheese (we used colby jack).
9.  Slowly pour milk through the top, along the edges and in the middle, until you can see it begin to sit on the bottom of the pan.
10.  Spread another layer of tortillas across pan.
11.  Cover tortillas with more cheese...mmmmm!
12.  Sprinkle tomatoes across pan and partially cover the tomatoes with cheese.
13.  Sprinkle minced onions and taco seasoning across top, to taste!
14.  Cook uncovered for about half an hour at 385 degrees, until cheese is golden brown and casserole is heated through.