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At the beginning of summer I shared with all of you a list of cool places to get free fun mail for your kids. I hope you and the kids are enjoying all your fun freebies. I know we are! In fact one fun package in particular helped inspire our seed bomb project.

I signed us up to receive a free packet of pollinator wildflower seeds at feedabee.com. Wildflowers attract bees and help feed the population of pollinating insects. You can read more about why this is important by clicking here. Our little packet of about 200 seeds will cover approximately 10 sq. feet. Now we could easily toss these seeds around the back yard and wait, or we could launch them with a sling shot. Why not?

I was flipping through the pages of one of our new kid magazines when I found this unique little project. It is perfect for kids age 6 or older. In just a few simple steps you can create a handful of seed bombs to toss out into the yard, or while out on a hike.

seed bombs materials 1

Materials:

4 pages of construction paper

1 packet of pollinator wildflower seed mix

1/2 cup of warm water per sheet of paper

Kitchen Blender

seed bomb tears 1

Start by tearing each sheet of paper into tiny pieces and place in separate bowls. Next, pour 1/2 cup of warm water over the pieces. Allow paper to soak for 5 minutes before running through the blender.

seed bomb strainer 1

Pour mixture into  strainer and squish the paper with the back of a spoon to get most of the liquid out. You want the paper to be pasty, but not completely dry. Discard water and put paper pulp into bowl and add a palm sized amount of seeds. Roll into 1/2 inch sized balls and place on wax paper to dry.

According to my kids the straining step is the most, “boring part” of the project. If you have kids always in a hurry to move on to the next step, perhaps offering a wildflower coloring page, or a list of facts about honey bees to read, will help them while they wait.

seed bombs 1

Allow your finished product to sit for 48 hours to dry completely. While the bombs dry you can help your kiddos create a sling shot if you don’t already have one. You can find a Y shaped stick in the yard and place a rubber band around the branches. Viola! Instant launcher!

Tips:

  • The recipe I found makes more bombs. I cut it in half to accommodate our limited supplies, so we only have six seed bombs to distribute. Which is perfectly even for two kids always assuring me, “she got more than me!” Using three sheets of paper and one seed packet yields approximately two bombs per page.
  • You may need to add just a bit more water to the blender when whirling the paper. This will keep the paper from bunching up around the blade. If you add a little too much water that’s OK, you will remove all the extra in the straining step.

When you are ready to launch, find a nice open plain field to fling the bombs into. Maybe a nice open space in your yard, or take a hike and launch into a flowerless area of a field. The bees will thank you for it!

The Whatever Mom is a full-time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the BIG potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here. You can also find her musings and popular shares on Facebook and Twitter. Stay up to date with her creative ideas and outings on Pinterest. 

 

 

 

HVP body art barn

This week I took a break from the kid stuff to focus on having some fun for myself. I grabbed a crew of my mom friends and hit the silks at a local Aerial Yoga class at The Body Art Barn in Blooming Grove, NY. We chose this adventure to celebrate a belated Galentine’s Day (traditionally celebrated on February 13th). What better way to celebrate friendship than cheering each other on through aerial feats?

We drove about an hour to our class and not one of us knew what to expect. A dear friend of mine is the instructor. I was excited to finally get the chance to participate. The class description on the website said all levels are welcome and “One does not need any experience in yoga, acrobatics or aerial dance to reap the benefits of this class.” However, we did find you do need a tiny bit of upper body strength. Thankfully, the instructors in the class are ready to help you through any pose you have difficulty with.

Entering the barn with its sensuous smell of oils and the warm, vibrant colors immediately puts me in a zen mood. When I signed us all up for this event I had zero reservations about it. That is until we arrived and I took off my shoes to stand in front of my yoga hammock (or silk). It was in that moment I questioned my own sanity and ability to do this. Note the look of panic on my face:

The Whatever Mom (10)

It was too late to turn back now, so I had to buck up and get through the class as best I could. At one point I did get stuck upside down and was the only one swinging out of control. I was instructed how to slow down and get myself out of the fabric. It was kind of cool to feel like I was flying for a bit. I will add that I got myself out with a small amount of gracefulness.

This is not your typical yoga class. No one is quiet, there is a lot of chatting as you get into the poses. As a first timer I was thankful no one else in the class was paying attention to me. We were all too busy trying to stay upright in the silks and over thinking our next steps. This was definitely outside of my comfort zone. But, that was the fun part! Challenging myself to do something new! My day as a mom can feel mundane and routine. It was exciting to do something well outside of my “usual.”

The Whatever Mom (11)

My favorite part of the whole class was at the very end (not because it was over). We opened up the hammocks to lie down inside. The lights were off and we could hear the Beatles “Let It Be” playing. It was time to relax in our little cocoon suspended in the air. It was really relaxing to snuggle into the fabric and just breathe. When class was over I felt energized and comfortably stretched.

The Whatever Mom (8)

I worried my friends would think I was out of my mind for making them take this class. But, we all agree we would take another class in a heartbeat! Not only were our instructors awesome, but the class was not nearly as challenging as we first thought. It was definitely scary in the beginning because it was so new. But, by the end of the class we felt accomplished! If this group of moms can survive this class, so can you!

The Whatever Mom (9)

This one hour and 15 minute class is only $20 to drop in and try it out for yourself. You can register for a class online through The Body Art Barn website. This class was super fun, but I would love to go back with a group again for a Henna and Yoga party. For $30 per person you get an hour on the silks and henna tattoos by Michelle and Debra dubbed “The Henna Chicks.” You can find more info on the website or find them on Facebook.  If you have a kid interested in learning to flip and fly check out the Circus Camp being offered during Spring break! You won’t regret any classes here!

The Whatever Mom is a full-time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the BIG potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here.

Family Game Night

When I am not crafting, dancing and looking for adventures with my kids we love our weekly game nights. It gives us time to blow off steam at the end of the week and spend time together as a family. Our game nights get us through the darkness of winter and we can end our week on a high note.

Friday night is our traditional DIY pizza night. A family movie night seemed like a natural fit with our pizza, but we like to mix it up with a game night.  Plus, game night can help burn off that extra energy my kids have before bed. Our favorite games range from the silly like Pie Face, to the educational like Boggle (spelling) and Uno Attack (color and number recognition).

Playing board games can help little kids learn patience, how to take turns and understand social interactions. Learning to lose gracefully and with kindness is a necessary life lesson. It is also a great way for kids to practice using manners by using “Please” and “Thank You.” And, it’s just fun!

How to host your own family game night:

Pick a game. It doesn’t have to be a board game, it just has to be a game that your kids want to play. Card games, matching games, memory games and even a game of Twister gets the kids interacting and having fun. Who doesn’t love a good game of Twister?

Decide what to wear. A dress code isn’t necessary. But, we like to hold our game nights in our comfy pajamas or cozy pants. Life just seems less stressful when you are wearing a nice soft pair of pants you can move in. Am I right?

Create a play list. We have our favorite background tunes playing while we compete to beat (kind of a competitive family). Music sets the tone and gives our night a party feel.

Grab some snacks. The most essential part of game night is the snacks! You need good munchies to keep you all powered up to compete. We like to make our own party mix.  We start with popcorn and stir in our favorite add-ins: chocolate chips, M&Ms, pretzels, banana chips, nuts, Goldfish crackers, etc.

Grab a beverage. Mom and dad may feel ready for an adult style beverage by Friday night, but what about a fun family friendly “mocktail?” A Shirley Temple (made with ginger ale or lemon lime soda) or an Arnold Palmer (lemonade and iced tea) are fun to make. Serve them up in fun glasses or party cups.

Grab the camera. We always have a camera on hand to capture the crazy and often zany things my kids do during game night. Sometimes a dance party breaks out in the middle of a game (thanks to our playlist) and we just gotta dance. I don’t want to miss out on those memories.

Whether you choose low key or action packed games to play, a family game night is designed to be fun.  Make it your own night to be together, or share in the fun with another family. Inviting friends to share game night means double the laughs and guarantees warm memories.

Do you have a family game night? What’s your favorite game to play?

The Whatever Mom is a full-time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the BIG potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here.

 

I Heart

My kids really love making hands on science experiments. They especially love anything that explodes bubbles or makes a mess. Me, I like a nice contained experiment the most. But, I digress. My kids are also really excited about Valentine’s Day. With the holiday right around the corner I thought it would be fun to find a way to marry the two! Today we have a super easy Valentine’s Day science experiment kids of any age will enjoy.

What you will need:

I heart materials

1 package of conversation hearts

1 bottle of sparkling water

4 Antacid tablets (or Alka-Seltzer tabs)

1 clear glass or container

Before we start the experiment I share the word effervescent. Then we talk about what it means. Then I ask each of the girls for a hypothesis, or what they think will happen once I pour the sparkling water in the glass.

First, drop in the four antacid tabs into your glass or jar.

Next, drop in a handful of conversation hearts.

I heart seltzer drop

Last, let your kids slowly poor in the sparkling water.

I heart sparkle water

The effervescence of the ant acid tabs and the bubbles in the sparkling water creates a gas that causes the hearts to wiggle and jiggle their way to the top of the glass. Even without sharing all the big scientific words kids will just have fun watching this experiment!

I heart dancing

I confess our first attempt was not a success. My favorite dollar store was out of ant acid tabs and all I could find was a package of Efferdent (denture cleaning tabs).  Contrary to my expectations, these tabs do not produce enough bubbles to have the same effect.  But, they do make the water a pretty blue color. We broke up 1 tab of Efferdent and dropped it into the water. This is science after all and we wouldn’t be very good scientists if we didn’t test the limits of our experiment.

I heart blue

The girls were just giddy with excitement watching these little hearts rise and fall. They of course really enjoy the bubbles and “sizzling” sound of the effervescence.

While the bubbles do their thing we talk about a gas vs. a liquid and a solid. The girls ask all kinds of questions about what is in the tabs to make the bubbles, and the most important question of all, “Can we still eat the candy?”

An important note:  once the candy is used in the Alka-Seltzer you should not eat them, or drink the water. It often contains aspirin which is not good for children under age 12. So, please be sure to keep a watchful eye with young kids.

This fun and quick experiment is a great way to introduce some simple science and has a pretty cool effect.

After we cleanup (as all good scientists do) we begin our next experiment: a taste test of every color of the candy hearts. The final results are yellow is our favorite (it is banana flavored).

 

The Whatever Mom is a full-time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the BIG potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here.

 

 

Contest winners

The Friends of the Greenwood Lake Public Library recently raised $462 with a holiday fundraiser to benefit the Library.  The Gingerbread Village was handmade and donated by Greenwood Lake resident and Chef, Hal Weinstein, who has donated a Gingerbread House for the Friends’ holiday fundraiser for the past six years.

Featured in the picture are Maria Alvarado with her sister, Astrid (left) and her daughter, Jacklyn (right) in front of the Gingerbread Village they won for the Friend’s  annual fundraiser. All three were thrilled to take home this holiday prize and promised that they will enjoy every last morsel!

Splash and Dash Summer Day Camp is committed to providing enjoyment to children and has been an area favorite for several years running. With locations in New Windsor, Cornwall, and Harriman, they offer a range of activities for your youngster, to include swimming, sports, crafts, trips, and much more.

They are also very responsive to the community as they offer a scholarship program for working families who don’t qualify for DSS, but who may need some help with the camp costs. These scholarships are funded by their aptly titled “Cell Phones for Camp Scholarships” program. 100% of the proceeds go to fund the scholarships, not only helping area children who otherwise might not be able to enjoy Splash and Dash, but also helping the environment by collecting used cell phones.

The first open house is scheduled for Jan 13th, 2011, 6:15pm at Splash and Dash New Windsor, so get in before the spaces fill up. For more info call (845) 561-4700 ext. 2, or visit them on the web.

I see at least one PSA a night attempting to convince me that High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is no different than real sugar. In the immortal words of William Shakespeare, the lady doth protest too much methinks.

Since 1975, HFCS has been added to a wide variety of foods including bread, soda, yogurt, and processed foods as well. Over the past 25 years obesity rates have risen dramatically in this country. Are we eating that much more, or is what we are eating making us fatter?

A Recent Princeton study showed that rats given HFCS gained significantly more weight than rats given equal amounts of table sugar. The study also concluded that the rats which consumed HFCS gained abnormal amounts of fat in their abdominal region. Is it possible that a combination of corn subsidies and sugar tariffs have made HFCS a cheaper, but less healthy alternative to sugar?

For me, the holiday season is a special time that includes good food, fun, family and friends.  Like many, however, I am challenged each year with finding the balance between joy and happiness and guilt and stress.  As the founder of Time Savor Gourmet I help people just like you to make good food, fast and easy no matter how busy you are or how well you can cook.  As a result, I came up with some holiday survival strategies to help you eat well, entertain with less stress and not pack on the pounds, all while having a great time!  My next few blog posts will cover strategies for Entertaining, Cooking, Stress-Less Party Noshing and some general behavioral tips to help you get through the holidays with ease.

Entertaining

Tried and true, classic recipes that are low in fat and full in flavor are a tradition in my household.  At the start of the holiday season, I make sure to have my pantry & fridge armed with the items I’m going to need to whip up some of my favorite snacks when unexpected (or expected!) company arrives.  (I’ve listed a few of my favorites in the Holiday Appetizer 911 section on my website.)  By having good ingredients on hand and stocking your pantry, fridge and freezer with some basics (and NOT fat laden frozen appetizers!!!) you’ll be prepared and never caught off guard.


After 9/11/2001 things changed in America.   During this period of fear and uncertainty, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was born.  Since then we’ve dealt with the nuisance of taking off our shoes, and surrendering our water bottles in stride.  However, the TSA’s new screening methods go too far, may be unconstitutional, and don’t guarantee safety.

The fourth amendment guards against unreasonable searches and seizures.  If I’m not a suspect of a crime, and I am forced to choose between a potentially unsafe radiation scan, and allowing someone to grope me in a way that only my wife should, then I say we have a constitutional crisis on our hands.

I won’t be flying anytime in the near future.  Unfortunately, there are indications these measures will be adopted in train and bus stations very soon.  How long before these procedures appear in all venues where people congregate en masse?

LP just got an invitation to yet another birthday party. The envelope was even addressed to her! This time we get to go to Jumpin Jakes in Fishkill.  LP is only 6 months old so I am the one that is really excited! I can’t wait to see all of the bouncy houses, castles and mazes.

What great places have you gone for birthday parties?

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