Saturday, September 27, 2014

Fun Experiments and Family STEM Night at Lower Columbia College in Longview Washington

Friday, September 26, 2014 my husband and I took our girls to a Family STEM Night at Lower Columbia College in Longview Washington. STEM education is teaching and learning about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. It is hands-on and so much fun! I love to include this type of learning in my homeschooling. Teela had been excited to go all week because she saw a handout with information on it.

We got there a little late, but it was going to be going from 4pm to 8pm so we actually were fine. We met in the Student Center and spread out to different areas of the campus from there.They handed out a map which had each station listed and well marked so we could find our way around. Hands-on learning activities included: Marshmallow Catapults, Make Your Own Slime, Sink Your Boat, Electric Play-Doh, SubZero Demonstration, Reptile Roadshow, Fire Truck Crawl, Alka-Seltzer Rocket Cannons, Ocean in a Bottle, etc.

Community participants included:

Making catapults to launch mini marshmallows.

My daughters made marshmallow catapults with rubber bands, Popsicle sticks and  a plastic spoon. Teela tried to launch them into her mouth. The instructions on how to make the marshmallow catapult can be found on

Fun with Slime.

DIY Slime

Ingredients and Additional Items Needed:
  • Elmer's white glue (for opaque slime) or Elmer's school glue gel (for translucent slime)
  • Borax (find in the laundry detergent aisle of the store)
  • Water
  • Two bowls
  • Food coloring (optional)
  • In one bowl mix ½ cup (4 oz) glue and ½ cup water.
  • Add food coloring if you want colored slime.
  • In the other bowl, mix 1 tsp borax with 1 cup water until the borax is dissolved.
  • Add the glue mixture to the borax solution, stirring slowly.
  • The slime will begin to form immediately; stir as much as you can, then dig in and knead it with your hands until it gets less sticky. (No one makes slime without getting a little messy!)
  • Don't worry about any leftover water in the bowl; just pour it out.
Science behind the Slime:

The glue has an ingredient called polyvinyl acetate, which is a liquid polymer. The borax links the polyvinyl acetate molecules to each other, creating one large, flexible polymer. This kind of slime will get stiffer and more like putty the more you play with it. Store it in a plastic bag in the fridge, to keep it from growing mold.

Boat sinking 101

We had fun shaping tin foil boats, floating them in a plastic tub with water in it, and filling the boats we made with various items to try and sink them. We answered the questions: Why do some things sink and others float? and How does the shape of something affect its ability to float? We learned the properties of: hydrodynamics, fluid dynamics, buoyancy, upthrust, gravity, density, volume, mass, water displacement, and the Archimedes' Principle.

Making a circuit with Play-Doh

DIY Electric Play Dough (Play-Doh)

The idea of adding electricity to play dough to make play dough creations have light, sound, and motion was developed by Samuel Johnson and Dr. AnneMarie Thomas of the St. Thomas Lab at the University of St. Thomas. Dr. Thomas and her researchers wanted to introduce circuits to young kids. In their research they discovered that salt dough was a great conductor and sugar dough was a solid insulator. They called their invention Squishy Circuits.

Ingredients and Additional Items Needed:
The last 3 items you can get from your local electronics store or you can order a kit online at

If you're assembling everything yourself, pick up some spade terminals while you're at the store and crimp them to the end of the wires. Click here to see how.

Simple Circuit Instructions:
  • When you have all the materials together and set up you can have your child start by making a simple circuit. The circle of circuitry will create a closed circuit and the light will turn on if done properly.
  • Give your child two pieces of the conductive dough.
  • Have them make a ball with each piece setting them on a surface apart.
  • Let your child place one wire from the battery pack into one ball and the other wire from the batter pack into the other ball. Make sure the two pieces of dough don't touch each other.
  • Your child can now close the circuit by placing a wire from the LED into each piece of dough. If the LED doesn't light up, have your child flip it around. LEDs only allow energy to flow in one direction.
  • Success! Your child has just made a simple circuit and the light should turn on.
  • Now have your child remove a piece from the circuit, either one of the battery pack wires or one of the LED wires. The light will go out. This creates a open or broken circuit. The energy/electricity can't flow.
  • Have your child put the circuit back together so the light comes on again. Have them move the dough pieces closer to each other. This makes the light go out and is called a short circuit. To fix the short circuit take a piece of insulating dough and put it between the conductive dough. The light will shine again.

Vocabulary Words:
  • Electricity
  • Squishy Circuit
  • Circuit
  • Conductor
  • Insulator
  • Battery
  • Positive
  • Negative
  • Closed circuit
  • Open circuit
  • Short circuit

You can amp up the fun even more and get even more creative with the dough. Have your kids sculpt the dough into different things and use the lights as eyes for animals, etc. You can get more ideas online if you do a search for circuit dough. Once your child has the simple circuit concept down you can teach series circuits, parallel circuits and voltage to them.

Yummy food from Panda Express and Panda Cares Foundation.

Panda Express Panda Cares Foundation and SubZero Ice Cream provided free food and refreshments for participants.

SubZero Ice Cream

The SubZero Ice Cream was in the next building over so after we ate our dinner from Panda Express we headed over there to get a taste and see what other things we could do. SubZero uses liquid nitrogen to make their ice cream really cold. It instantly freezes the custom ice cream to temperatures of -321 degrees Fahrenheit. It was really fun to watch them make ice cream out of ingredients and a billowing cloud of "smoke".  It was very entertaining watching them make it and my kids loved the show as much as the ice cream.

Reptile Roadshow

My daughters had fun seeing and learning about all the reptiles and some arachnids from the Reptile Roadshow that came to Family STEM Night. They got to pet one of the tortoises while they were there.

The wonderful world of microscopes.

The Lower Columbia Gardens was also there handing out free packets of seeds. They told Teela and Zari they could each take 4 different ones. They also had microscopes set up to view the wonderful world of the microscopic. All of us got to see up close live earth worms in composted soil, a cross-section of a bee's head (that is the little speck on the one Teela is admiring in the second picture above), and a sunflower. It was really amazing how cool they all looked under the microscope. It got me wishing I had one like theirs for homeschool use. Maybe someday :)

Making the Ocean in a Bottle.

DIY Ocean in a Bottle

Ingredients and Additional Items Needed:
  • 1 small water bottle with the label taken off (You can use other clear plastic bottles if you add 2/3 water to them. If you use a clear mouthwash bottle the lid is childproof.)
  • cooking oil (we used vegetable oil)
  • blue food coloring
  • glitter and small shells (optional)
  • funnel
  • hot glue (If your lid isn't child proof you may want to add a bead of hot glue around it on the inside before tightening it after everything is added to the bottle.)
  • drink down or dump out approximately 1/3 of the water in the bottle. There should be at least 2/3 of the bottle filled with water still.
  • add a couple drops of food coloring to the water
  • tighten cap and swirl gently to mix food coloring with water
  • uncap and add glitter and small shells
  • using the funnel add oil to top off the bottle
  • tighten lid and tip bottle from side to side and upside down to make a rocking ocean motion
Science behind the Ocean in a Bottle:

Oil and water don't mix. This all comes down to chemistry. Everything is made of tiny particles called molecules. Water molecules are dense and polar. Polar means they have a small positive charge at one end and a small negative charge at the other end, and they stick to each other. Oil molecules are non-polar meaning they have no charge. Because of this, oil molecules are more attracted to each other than to water molecules, and water molecules are more attracted to each other than to oil molecules. It may seem like the oil and water are mixing when you shake or swirl the bottle, but if you set it down again the oil will always rise to the top because it is also less dense than the water.

Alka-Seltzer Rocket Cannons

DIY Alka-Seltzer Rocket Cannons

Ingredients and Additional Items Needed:
  • one empty 35mm plastic film canister and lid. These are getting harder to find, but stores that develop film should have some. (The white canisters work much better than the black ones do.)
  • one fizzing antacid tablet
  • water
  • safety goggles
  • put on safety goggles and go outside to do this experiment
  • break antacid tablet in half
  • remove the lid and place 1 tsp (5 mL) of water into the canister
Do the next 2 steps quickly!!
  • drop the tablet half into the canister and snap the cap onto the canister (make sure that it snaps on tightly)
  • quickly put the canister on the ground CAP SIDE DOWN and STEP BACK at least 2 meters
  • About 10 seconds later, you will hear a POP! and the film canister will launch into the air!
Caution: If it does not launch, wait at least 30 second before examining the canister. Usually the cap is not on tight enough and the build up of gas leaked out.

Science behind the Alka-Seltzer Rocket Cannons:

When you add water it starts to dissolve the antacid tablet making a gas called carbon dioxide. When the canister is capped the carbon dioxide gas builds up inside creating pressure as more and more is released. Finally there is so much pressure that the cap is pushed down and popped off with so much force that the canister goes flying up. This is called thrust. Real rockets use their rocket fuel to blast off much in the same way.

You can take the experiment one step further by adding fins and a nose cone made out of paper to the canister to try to control the path of the rocket cannons better. Also you could add some different colored tempera paint to the water and make exploding art on a large sheet of paper like this blog did.

Fire Fighters, Fire Trucks, and Police Cruisers.

Last but not least, Teela and Zari got to meet some awesome fire fighters all dressed up in their gear. They also got to sit inside a fire truck and police cruiser. So cool!

The evening was really fun and we got to learn some neat things along the way. I am glad we got to go and share the experience with all of you!

DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER:  I did not receive any special incentives or compensation for posting this. I just wanted to share my evening with my readers.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Stand With Moby To #SaveOurBees #HollywoodFoodVoices

Center For Food Safety provided me with this promotional information and media to share with my readers. My thoughts are mine and my family's own opinion and have not been altered by anyone else.

I remember when we lived in Ohio and my now 12 year old son Jaedan was just a wee little baby. My husband and I dropped off our son Delbin at a sitter on Friday July 19th, 2002 and went to a Moby concert on the grass at the Lifestyle Communities Pavilion (LC Pavilion). We put down a blanket to sit on and huddled close together under another blanket. We watched and listened to Moby belt it out on stage as it down-pored on us. Jaedan was content, warm and happy snuggled next to me as I nursed him. My husband and I walked away after the concert drenched, but very happy. We went out and bought his albums Play and 18. The concert is something I will never forget. The music was fantastic! The electronic ambient sounds and rain made it seem a bit dreamlike.

Hollywood Food Voices is a video series by Center For Food Safety (CFS) engaging the voices of informed celebrities with a passion for food and environmental health and justice. The CFS is a national non-profit public interest and environmental advocacy organization working to protect human health and the environment by curbing the use of harmful food production technologies and by promoting organic and other forms of sustainable agriculture. The goal of the Hollywood Food Voices series is to help bring greater awareness to the critical importance of the growing food movement. The first video in this series features musician and DJ Moby talking about the importance of bees and how we can help save them.

We all should be advocates for the honey bees! They are responsible for one out of every three bites of food we eat. Sadly, our bees are being wiped out by the indiscriminate use of bee-toxic pesticides called neonicotinoids.

Moby is passionate about pollinators. He has over 30,000 bees that dwell on his four-acre home atop the Hollywood Hills. He has planted a bee friendly garden there that is free from pesticides and contaminants that would otherwise harm them.

Watch the new video:

Please sign the petition and join Moby and CFS in taking action to save the bees.

DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER:  Center For Food Safety provided me with this promotional information and media to share with my readers. I chose on my own to post about this and share with my readers. My thoughts are mine and my family's own opinion and have not been altered by anyone else. I didn't receive any compensation for posting about this.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Long Live Indian Summer with Karina Dresses

Karina Dresses provided this information to me to share with you. This is a sponsored affiliate post. This post contains affiliate links which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and make a purchase.

We wish Indian Summer would last forever! When it's cold enough to wear boots, but still warm enough to dine outside. When it's sleeveless during the day and cardigans after the sun goes down. Karina Dresses has exactly what you need for those Indian Summer days and nights. You're in luck too because from 9/26 to 9/28 all of their sleeveless and short sleeve dresses will be marked down to $99. So grab a few new frocks you can throw on for the warm days and layer up on those chilly evenings.

Karina Dresses was founded in 2007, based upon fashion industry veteran, Karina Cousineau's, vision of creating dresses for every woman. She knew there was a real need for a fashion line that makes every body (and everybody) feel and look great no matter what shape or size. A line that made every woman feel like a Frockstar™. Handmade in New York from limited edition fabrics, Karina Dresses creates a custom collection that is both classic and fashion-forward. Through a deep dialogue with retailers and direct clients, Karina takes a “slow fashion” approach, patiently nurturing dresses with artisanal attention to fit, fabric and construction.

DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: Karina Dresses provided this information to me to share with you. The links in this post are affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my blog!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Pumpkin Patch and Corn MAiZE in Sauvie Island Oregon Deal

US Family Guide provided me with this promotional information to share with my readers. I am getting something for free in return for posting this information.

Portland's original cornfield maze celebrates its 15th season at The Pumpkin Patch on beautiful Sauvie Island in Portland, Oregon. Fifteen years ago, Craig Easterly, founder of the original corn maze, brought his weird idea to Sauvie Island's famous Pumpkin Patch and it soon became a fall tradition. The MAiZE attracts 30,000 eager explorers annually to the giant labyrinth of field corn, located just fifteen minutes from downtown Portland. Portland's premier agri-tainment attraction, The Maize and The Pumpkin Patch, have combined the local food movement with down home fun on the farm.

My Readers Save $2.00 off coupon for regular maze tickets. Limit 4 person customer. ----- Order tickets online at ***** Enter the code: 2014 *****

"Keeping Portland Lost Since 1999" Maize
September: Open every day: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
October: Sunday thru Thursday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
October: 4-5, 11-12, 18-19, 25-27, 30- 31 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Open Sunday, Oct. 27, Wednesday, Oct. 30 and Thursday, Oct 31 until 10pm

DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: Because I am posting about the The Pumpkin Patch and Corn MAiZE in Sauvie Island Oregon Deal I am getting free admission for my family to go. Thanks to for providing me this promotion information and free tickets. My thoughts are mine and my family's own opinion and have not been altered by anyone else. I did not receive any other compensation for posting this promo.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Preserving Everything by Leda Meredith

We received this product free to facilitate this review. Affiliate links may be in this post. Thank you for supporting this blog.

Since we now have a farm and a homestead we are in the process of up-scaling our food production. We have already planted a small orchard and garden. Next we want to build a greenhouse and put in aquaponics. We would love to grow our own plate-sized fish with herbs, vegetables, and fruit to make a whole healthy meal for our family. Combine that with chickens and quail for egg/meat production and bunnies for meat, we will soon have a sustainable and healthy way of producing food. With the Preserving Everything book by Leda Meredeth we can preserve the foods we produce as well.

Leda Meredith is an acquaintance of mine that I met through some of my herbal, foraging and foodie groups on Facebook. She is a delightful person that also owns a blog called Leda's Urban Homestead and posts regularly about foraging and preserving foods. She also teaches food preservation classes and hosts foraging tours for the NY area. Not only that, she is also a highly accomplished dancer and dance instructor.

Preserving Everything: Can, Culture, Pickle, Freeze, Ferment, Dehydrate, Salt, Smoke, and Store Fruits, Vegetables, Meat, Milk, and More (Countryman Know How) is Leda Meredith's 4th book. This book is a gem to add to your library. It covers so many food preserving methods! If you want to know how to keep your harvest throughout the year this is definitely the book for you.

Here is the online description of the book:
"The ultimate guide to putting up food. - How many ways can you preserve a strawberry? You can freeze it, dry it, pickle it, or can it. Milk gets cultured, or fermented, and is preserved as cheese or yogurt. Fish can be smoked, salted, dehydrated, and preserved in oil. Pork becomes jerky. Cucumbers become pickles. There is no end to the magic of food preservation, and in Preserving Everything, Leda Meredith leads readers—both newbies and old hands—in every sort of preservation technique imaginable."
I have canned, froze, dehydrated and stored foods so far. I really want to get more into fermenting, smoking, culturing, and pickling foods. I have a Big Chief Smoker and I am ashamed that I haven't put it to use yet. When we are set up better I am sure we are going to put it to good use smoking the fish we grow with the aquaponics. I have made milk kefir, but that is the extent of my fermentation that I have done so far. I would love to try Kombucha (although this isn't in this particular book) and my own sauerkraut and then expand upon this from there. I love Feta cheese and would also love to make it as well as my own yogurt too. There are so many more things that I would love to try from this book!

Preserving Everything is well organized and easy to follow. The book starts with a great introduction and the gear you need to gather up for the preservation processes. Then it has chapters that are specific for each method of preservation with wonderful recipes in each. Lastly it has troubleshooting, appendix: approximate pH values of various foods, useful resources, index, acknowledgments, and a page about the author. I love that on some of the pages there are boxes of white text on a dark background. These are tips, tricks, and notes that need highlighted. There are also green pages with important information to know as well. This makes it incredibly easy to find the important information that you probably shouldn't skip or skim over. The recipes also seem like they fit well into the category they are under and aren't something that are too difficult or too gourmet. I felt like I wouldn't have any problems doing any of the recipes or methods in the book and I am not a professional cook by any means. Everything is very clear, simple and understandable.

I am so glad I have this concise guide and recipe book. It will certainly help my family and I with our food preservation. The recipes all sound so yummy. I certainly want to try my hand at the methods I am least familiar with so that I might become more of an expert in the field of food preservation. I believe that we would all do better with learning these methods and getting back to our roots a bit.

DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: I received this product for free to facilitate my review. My thoughts are mine and my family's own opinion and have not been altered by anyone else. I did not receive any other compensation for doing this review. This post contains affiliate links which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and make a purchase.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

ESSIO is Searching for Bloggers to Review

ESSIO is looking for awesome bloggers to review their Aromatherapy Shower Kit for their upcoming October giveaway. Simply click HERE to request your kit.

The first 100 bloggers to sign up and also promote this giveaway announcement on their blog will be sent a free sample!

The ESSIO Aromatherapy Shower Kit clips onto any shower and diffuses 100% organic essential oils into the shower water at the perfect rate, rejuvenating the mind and body.

DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: I might be receiving this product for free to facilitate a review. I posted this to promote this announcement and possibly be sent a free sample. I did not receive any other compensation for doing this post.