Tag Archives: boredom buster

Cool Things to End the Year

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I can’t believe it’s almost New Years. My the time does fly. I’ve seen a lot of lists and the like on the most important things we’ve learned, the most influential people, the most whatever of 2013, but there was only one list that I thought was pretty cool. BBC’s News Magazine’s list of 100 things we didn’t know last year. On the list of 100 things, there were a handful that I was really impressed with and thought I’d share.

  1. Hot coco tastes better in orange cups. Yup, there was a study done by the Polytechnic University of Valencia and the University of Oxford that showed that participates felt that coco served in orange mugs tasted better. Too bad the mug I got for Christmas was white.
  2. There is a whole host of surnames in Briton that are in danger of going extinct. There are a few reasons for this, the one that stuck out to me was that during big wars, WWI and WWII, neighbors, who usually had the same last name, would sign up together, and get killed together, thus decreasing the number of people with a particular last name. It’s pretty sad when you think about it. Names that will never be again.
  3. You can’t cry in space. Ok, you can, but your tears don’t fall. I’ve seen several of the videos done by this astronaut showing how things work in space, but this one was really cool. Much like regular water, tears just clump together in a ball in space. Watch the video, it’s pretty nifty.
  4. Babies smile, frown, and grimace in the womb. So a recent study of 4D ultrasounds shows that babies at 36 weeks were showing multiple and complicated facial expressions. The researchers said that this is probably so that babies can communicate via facile expression as soon as they are born, so that we can tell if they are in pain or are uncomfortable.

There were more, but those are the four links that I clicked through to to read more about them.

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Zion

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I do love going out and about with my children. And the area I live in is bursting with fun outdoor activities. Recently I took my kids over to Zion National Park, because I could basically, and enjoyed every minute of it. We went on only one hike, but that was fine. We just enjoyed time together. I also like to write, which isn’t really a surprise considering that I’m writing this now. However, I recently entered a kind of fun writing challenge with a brief entry on my most recent trip to Zion and I thought I’d share that here.

I love the way the sun shines on the red rocks of the valley. I can’t see it from here, but I know that the arch below me is catching the light and highlighting the way the shadows play in it’s depths. As my children run on the rocks a few hundred feet off the ground I try not to look at how close they get to the edge. The fence is only at the flat place between the two sides of the mountain, and even that doesn’t seem like it would stop a six year old running full steam. I take a deep breath and try to find the windows in the side of the mountain near us. I know that tunnel, the number of times I’ve driven through it I should know where all the windows are, but I’m not used to looking at it from this angle and I can only find two of them. It’s getting hot and I want to move to the shade. I look once more at the breathtaking views and call for the children to hurry and take one more picture before we head back to the car.

Summer Fun!

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Summer is here, and along with it comes tripled digit temperatures and humidity that hovers somewhere around 10%. And because it’s so hot and dry (we do live in a dessert after all) water play is at a premium.

In town we have a number of splash pads, basically giant fountains that are on the ground that kids can run through and play in. But once temperatures hit the 90s they are always so crowded.

The other day as I was browsing the dollar store (I needed a new broom and as we are moving across country at the end if the summer I’m not going to pay more than a dollar for one) I saw water squirters and knew I had to have them.


Cheap fun, that’s what I call it. For $4 and the price of a few gallons of water my kids and my sister were able to have hours if fun running around in the front lawn squirting each other and running from water.

Later that night when just my kids were again outside I went to check on them and decided to get in on the fun. I don’t know what the people driving by on the street thought of a grown woman running around fully clothed and dripping wet, but I didn’t care. It was a blast and an experience with my kids I won’t soon forget.

(And I’d like to point out that the first picture was taken on my phone. I remember my first digital camera had 3 megapixels and I thought it was pretty top of the line. Now my cell phone has a better camera than that. And it’s not even one that likes to brag about it’s camera.)

BEACH BOYS!!!!

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Sorry for the yelling in the title, but I love The Beach Boys. When I was a kid I remember putting on my dads old Beach Boys records and pulling the cushions off the couch and pretending that they were surfboards and just ROCKING OUT!!!! It was a blast. I don’t have picture of my as a kid doing it, but I do have the memories.

The other day I was talking to my boyfriend about new marketing strategies that they are using at his work and he said that they are going to have the music that’s played in each month match the theme for the month. I mentioned that I bet one of the summer themes was going to be the beach and I thought of the Beach Boys, because they remind me of pillow surfing and the beach with my dad and the sand and warm sun and I got to really missing those old times.

I decided that I needed to pull out some beach boys and when I realized that I didn’t have any Beach Boys on my iPod, I went old school (so to speak) and bought a CD of the 20 best songs at WalMart. Today I put it on and started listening with my kids. I got up and started dancing…well, more like hopping around and swinging my arms. My kids thought I was crazy. My son was sitting at the table playing with cups making cup towers and my daughter was sitting on the couch looking at me like I’d gone crazy.

I grabbed a pillow and started “surfing” and my daughter finally decided that it wasn’t so bad, because anything that lets you jump on pillows can’t be bad, though she was still a bit dubious. Half a song in and she really stated getting into it. And then my son had to see what all the commotion was about.

During “Be True To Your School” we were jumping and dancing all over the house. And when “Surfing USA” came on we all grabbed our surf boards and hung 10 and just had a blast. My son called us all crazy, but he and a huge smile on his face and he was having a blast and it was all sorts of fun!

SO, today I’m bringing you a Beach Boys Party. Listen to the songs and see if it doesn’t just make you think of summer and the beach and dancing and being young again.

Life, The Universe, And Everything Part 1

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Life has been busy. This has led me to ponder the answer to the ultimate question. Which is, of course, 42. The newest Doctor Who episode also had me thinking about it…but that would be a spoiler, and as we all know, spoilers are bad. Very, very bad. So. As I’ve not been posting as I’d like, and because I’ve not been posting as I’d like I thought I’d make up for it with a list of 42 things that I like. These are in no particular order and is not to be confused with my thankful posts. These are just things I like for what ever reason.

  1. ohthatmomagain-Blog of a good friend. And it’s pretty awesome. A mom who’s not afraid to admit that she’d not perfect, and she throws a little inspiration in just to help.
  2.  Full of potassium and really good 🙂
  3. This blueberry bread. Posted on one of the few blogs that I follow, meeshiesmom. Have I made it? No, but doesn’t the picture that was posted with it look good?
  4. This post. I ran across it the other day and thought it was a good read. It’s about the questions kids ask. I love it. It made me laugh. And that is a good thing. Especially when you have kids. You need to laugh, and you need to look at the things that they do that make life special. This post does it.
  5. Doctor Who. I do love a good sci-fi show, and this is a good sci-fi show. Just started back up for the second half of season six. Lots of good stuff happening. Some of it most of the fans already pretty much knew, but some of it still throws us for a loop. At least, it throw me for a loop. And that makes for some good television.
  6. Ok, so I’m a psych major, and most of my classes have dealt with development or social psych or you know, disorders. But, that’s not the only part of psychology. There’s a part that doesn’t just guess at stuff like personality, but actually tells you how your brain works. This is cognitive psychology and its very fascinating. A while back I stumbled upon this website. It’s called “Mind Lab” and it is amazing. It explains, in what I think is simple language, the way that some of the parts of the brain work. We know the most about the eye, not sure why, but that’s what  a lot of the website covers.
  7. Another project that I came across that I must try because it looks freaking amazing is these corner bookmarks. They look really cool and easy to make too. I want to do them with the kids because I think it’s some thing they would like to do and would make nice gifts for people who enjoy homemade kid gifts.
  8. I’m all about the homemade gift, for several reasons. 1-they tend to be cheaper. 2-they are more personal. 3-they’re just more fun. I’m actually half way through this project. When I first saw it I was busy scanning in old pictures so that my family would have a digital copy of them as well as a hard copy. Just in case anything ever happened to them. I knew that I had to do this project. I’m planing them for Christmas gifts and already have the picture part done. I just need to get the foam board and the packing tape 🙂
  9. I’ve always been fasinated with space. As I mentioned before, I love sci-fi,and there’s nothing better for a sci-fi fan than pictures of/from space. This one is particularly awesome.
  10. “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution. It is, strictly speaking, a real factor in scientific research.” –Albert Einstein
  11. I do love to look at pictures. This on is another of space. Not from NASA this time thought, this one is from Stanford.
  12. I love chick flicks. I think that everyone should watch them. Even guys. I know that they’re not exactly realistic, but it’s the fantasy behind it. It’s like reading “Pride and Prejudice”. Sure I know it was written over 100 years ago, and I’ve read it/watched the movie enough that I know whats going to happen and can skip to the parts I love best, but it’s still fun to read/watch. I love the drama of it. Will the sisters end up with the men of their dreams, will the family be made a laughing stock, will they be kicked out on their ends when the dad dies?  All so much fun.
  13. I like to craft and sew and cook…I just don’t have much time or money to do it. But, I’ve realized that I can afford about a yard of fabric at a time, and the time to make something that only takes about a yard. So, while looking on Amazon a while back I came across the book “One Yard Wonders” and knew I had to have it. I’ve not made anything out of it, but my mom has. And she loved it. I just like looking at the pictures and planning. I think I may pull it out next weekend and make one of the little girl skirts in it. Boo just started school and I know she’d love it.
  14. What’s better than gummi bears? Homemade gummi bears 🙂 I’m beginning to see a pattern to this list of mine. Most of the links and the like that I’m sharing are things that I’ve not made or done yet. i should fix that. That being said, I ran across this recipe for gummis the other day and knew that it would be something fun and easy for kids to make, or help make.  It’s basically jello and unflavored gelatin. Take a look at the picture that the bloger posted of what she and her kids did.
  15. “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”–Dr. Seuss
  16. More on the homemade gift idea are these really cool notebooks that have the pages sewn in so that you can tear the pages out. I don’t have a sewing machine (sadly) so I’ve not done them, but I want to.

And at 17 this post is done. I will start with 18 next time. I will make it to 42…I hope.

Easy Chocolate Pudding Pops

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Have we discussed the summer doldrums yet? The period of time in the summer when its looking like it will never end and at the same time quickly slipping away?  When the kids sit like lumps on a log because they don’t want to go outside and play because its too hot?  When they wish they were this dog?

Sadly, we don’t have a pool.  At least, not one that’s going to have enough room in it to just lounge around.  All the public pools are always packed to the max this time of year. Even if we’ve got to be hitting record lows.  So, what’s there to do.  How do we break out of the dullness that is summer vacation?

Well, if you’re me then you start school for the summer and take four classes in half the time.  I think i may have suffered a brain injury of some sort when I registered for classes because i don’t know what I was thinking.

If you’re my kids you bug me and bug me until we make pudding pops 🙂

When I was a kid I remember making Popsicles with paper cups and plastic spoons.  They were a blast!  I loved them.  This year, for the first time, I thought I’d introduce my children to the joy of these simple summer time treats.  I got 3 oz Dixie cups from the store and set about finding something small enough to put in as the stick.  I could have just got bigger ups and used spoons like my mom did, but I wanted the smaller size because they would be easier to share and provide better portion control.

I thought about using craft sticks, thinking that if they’re good enough for the pros they’re good enough for me and while walking through the isles of my local Wally World came across mini crafts sticks!

So, stick in had we set out to make pudding pops.  It’s really easy.

Chocolate Pudding Pop

1 large box instant chocolate pudding
3 cups milk
Dixie cups (the paper ones you’d use in the bathroom)
Craft sticks, or plastic spoons if your cups are big enough

  • Mix the pudding with the milk.

  • Whisk until the pudding is well combined, but not thickened.  It’s easier to pour when its still a little liquedy.

  • Line up your cups on a cookie sheet or other flat stable surface.  Fill the cups as full as you’d like to.  I decided to fill them about half way full.

  • Insert sticks into the pudding.  This is where the pudding is nice.  If you used juice, you’d have to let the them freeze up for a bit before you insert the sticks so that it doesn’t float or become all crooked.

  • Clean a level spot in your freezer so that the cups don’t tip over on the cookie sheet…And then wait.  We made them before I went to class, which is two hours, and when we came back they were hard, so I’d think that if your frezer is cold enough it’ll only take about two hours.

The only thing left to do after that is eat them.  Just peel the cup off the sides.  These cups seem to have a problem with the bottom sticking.  It doesn’t just pop off like I remember, but they still came out OK.

The kids really liked them, as you can see Bud and Boo are both enjoying them.  Another plus with using the pudding is that its a a little slower melting than a juice pop.  Other than getting pudding all over there faces, there were no sticky hands because of drips.  And, you can fit them in your mouth completely.

Bud wants me to make jello pops. I’m not sure how that will work, frozen jello on a stick, but I’ll post if and when that happens.

Frozen Peach Smoothy

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Today is the second day of summer vacation and all ready the kids are complaining about being bored and hungry.  Now, I don’t starve my children by any means, today for lunch they had chicken noddle soup, Oreos and milk, but when they’re bored they are apparently starving.  So, the question is, how can I satisfy both problems?  Well cook something, of course!

Ok, so cooking’s not quite the right word for it, but it works.

Last summer, or early fall almost really, I had a plethora of peaches.  I made jam, of course, and bottled some up.  But I also froze some, and that was the inspiration for today. I recently inherited a blender from my parents and have wanted to use it, and this was the chance.  There’s not really a recipe to follow, so much as a technique that I used.

I used my slightly defrosted frozen peaches, milk, honey and some made from concentrate peach/mango/strawberry juice (it’s cheaper than the premixed stuff that’s from concentrate anyway).  If your frozen fruit is pre-sweetened you don’t need honey.  I almost used corn syrup, but Bud insisted that I use the honey when he found it in the wrong cupboard (why it was with the cans of tuna and boxes of Hamburger Helper I’ll never know).

My peaches were frozen in two cup increments, so that’s how much I had.  I added probably 2 tablespoons of honey, and 1/2 to 2/3 cup of each the milk and the juice.  I just dumped it all in my blender and whirred away.  I had to stop once and break up some rather large peach chunks by hand, but after that I didn’t have a problem.  I added another splash of juice and milk towards the end to loosen it up a bit more, but that was it.

I think its safe to say that any combination of fruit, juice and dairy would produce an equally creamy rich smoothy.  It made the perfect amount, 3 zoo glasses full (the only cups that I have enough of that are all the same size.  As my children are 4 and 8, this is very important).

The kids loved it, they both thought it was great, if a bit cold.

Bud wanted to show off his peach smoothy mustache, which he thought was awesome and cool.  And when both the kids came running that they were cold and needed something warm I sent them outside to play where summer seems to finally have arrived (about a month late) with temperatures near the 90’s.

Will this last for long?  No, probably not.  Bud’s already come back inside telling me that no one else is outside to play with, despite the fact that Boo’s out there, so we might have to find some more things for them to do so I can write about how Leonardo da Vinci is important to psychology, but it was fun while it lasted, and those were darned good smoothies.