Monday, July 21, 2014

Try It Tuesday: Make a Volcano and Eruption (not paper mache!)

My son is a huge dinosaur fan and when we filled out our Summer Goals Lists, 4 our of his 10 goals revolved around dinosaurs. He wanted to build a landscape with a volcano to use with his dinosaurs when he played with them, so we decided we would make one. I wanted it to last longer than just one "explosion" so the traditional paper mache volcano was not going to be in our best interest and we came up with another idea using spray foam insulation.

We used a sturdy scrap board so that we could easily transport the volcano and it would stand many play time episodes.We also used a 2L bottle, duct tape, spray foam insulation (we used a whole can), newspaper, spray paint, homemade playdough, and sticks.

To start off, we duct taped the 2L bottle to the board.

Next we stuffed crumpled newspaper underneath the duct tape and reinforced the ends of the duct tape with more duct tape so that they don't pull up.

This next step you will want to do for the kids and do it inside a large box or at least outside on the grass in case you overspray. Spray foam insulation over the volcano and allow to sit for a couple hours before moving. Allow to cure overnight before painting. I thought the use of the spray insulation gives it more of a rocky look that you can't get from paper mache typically.

I placed the volcano in a large box (now deemed our painting box - LOL!) and taught the kids how to use spray paint. You can just imagine how excited they were that their mom was actually teaching them how to use spray paint and allowing them to use it.

We used all leftover cans of spray paint, which is why we have black and grey and red. Plus we thought the black and grey looked like volcanic rocks and the red looked like lava.

You can see how proud my son is of his volcano. It is turning out so much better than we ever imagined and we are still not finished. What you don't see here is that we took old homemade playdough and applied it to the board to be the ground and allow us to stick bare sticks in (they had to be bare because the lave burned them) :)

Now it is time to make it explode!  You need baking soda, vinegar, food coloring (if you want your "lava" to have some color) and dish soap (optional, but it will foam out thicker more like lava.)

Using a funnel, pour 1/4 C of baking soda in to the bottom of the volcano.
In another cut mix together about 1T of dish soap. a few drops of food coloring and 1/2 C vinegar
Pour the vinegar mixture in to the funnel and quickly remove the funnel to watch the lava.

Below is a little video of one of their attempts at making lava flow from their homemade volcano. I think it is safe to say that my kids loved this experiment and project.

Review: CLUE DVD from Shout Factory

With a heat index of 100+ degrees today (dew point levels were crazy!, plus it was hot - totally tropical in MN) we ended up spending much of the day indoors and so I suggested to the kids that we watch the DVD CLUE, which we just received from Shout Factory to review. I knew my daughter was really going to be in to it and I was right. Now, she wants to know if there are more episodes of CLUE. I told her that we actually own the original game (hasn't been dusted off since we had kids) and we had to get that out as well and my husband told her about the original CLUE movie and she wants to see that too. It is so neat to see how a recent re-make of a movie is spurring interest in my daughter for things that we have memories of from our childhood and can now share them with our children as adults.

About Clue: A Movie Mystery Adventure from Shout Factory

It features the beloved characters inspired by the world’s most famous crime-solving board game, Clue. Follow six very different young sleuths as they embark on a mysterious adventure beyond their imaginations. As they work as a team to discover hidden treasures, decipher cryptic knowledge, and uncover a secret society, they learn they have more in common than they thought.

CLUE: A Murder Mystery Advenyure was released on July 15th.

Buy it from Shout Factory or Amazon.

I received a copy of the above DVD for the purpose of review on this blog. No monetary compensation was received. All thoughts and opinions and photographs are my own.

Review: Kind Bars

Let me just say, "I Love KIND Bars!" So, I was so excited to be asked to review the newest flavors of Caramel, Almond and Seat Salt and Dark Chocolate Mocha Almond. Seriously, I couldn't tell you which one I like more. They both are very different (except the almonds) and satisfy different taste buds, but both are very tasty.

Dark Chocolate Mocha Almond has a wonderfully delightful mocha flavor to it that is sure to be a hit with any coffee lover. This was my first choice to have with a cup of coffee as a pick me up after an afternoon of fishing with my family on Sunday before I headed out to go paddle boarding with a friend. I knew I needed something that provided me with some energy and nutrition as I headed from one outdoor activity to another.

Caramel, Almond and Sea Salt is a sweet treat of delicious caramel. I spent the morning with my daughter at Camp at the Apple Store at the Mall of America and we came home just in time for the afternoon slow-down, which was amplified by high heat and humidity of a day with a heat index of 100+. I made myself a cut of green tea and had this KIND bar and started blogging. Now I feel ready to finish this post and promote it, as well as get started on another post or two.

What do you consume for an afternoon pick me up?

Product Description from KIND Snacks

Caramel Almond and Sea Salt is made with a seemingly indulgent blend of savory sea-salt and sweet caramel drizzled over crunchy almonds. This bar is a delightfully low-sugar healthy snack that only tastes like dessert.

Dark Chocolate Mocha Almond is made with dark roast coffee and whole almonds blended with honey and drizzled in dark chocolate to form a bar that, with just 5g of sugar, only tastes indulgent.

Both flavors contain 7g fiber, 6g protein and 5g sugar

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Make It Monday: Low Carb Shrimp Alfredo

This recipe was a huge hit with the entire family. It is quite rich so you will feel full for quite a while even with eating it served over Zucchini Spaghetti or Nasoya Fettuccine. Zucchini Spaghetti is certainly the cheaper way to go, especially is you have an abundance in your garden, but when I was planning this meal I wanted something different, so I bought the Nasoya pasta which cost me $1.98, which was the entire contents in the picture (although it says it is technically 2 servings). 

Low Carb Shrimp and Broccoli Alfredo (serves 4)
1 T oil  (I used Wildtree garlic grapeseed oil)
1 garlic clove, minced
8 oz fresh Baby Bella mushrooms, quartered
1 C cooked broccoli, chopped
12 oz. frozen shrimp (thawed and tails removed)
3 T butter
3 triangles of Laughing Cow Garlic and Herb cheese
2 oz. low-fat cream cheese
1/3 C half and half


  • Saute garlic and mushroom until cooked in a 2 qt pot.
  • Add broccoli and cook until broccoli is warmed.
  • Move vegetables to the side and make space for butter and cheese.
  • Add butter and cheeses to the pan and cook until melted.
  • Stir veggies in to the cheese mixture.
  • Add half and half and shrimp and continue to cook until shrimp is warmed through and sauce thickens.
  • Serve on top Low Carb Pasta or Zucchini Spaghetti.
  • Enjoy!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Fitness Friday: Jost Running "Beat the Heat" (July)

This is my third month of running races through Jost Running. This month the theme is "Beat the Heat" and proceeds from this virutal run go to support Girls on the Run. 

You can choose between a variety of length of races, including 5K, 10K, Half-Marathon, or Marathon. The medal with the watermelon is for the 5K or 10K and  the popsicle one is for the half or full marathon.

It's simple to do, just sign up on the website for a race, print off a virtual bib # (if you wish) and enter in your time when you are finished. You can see how you rank against others completing the same race.

If you want to read about my other months of virtual racing for Jost Running, check out these posts:
June: Alternative Races with

I will be sharing one more month of virtual racing in August, so come back and see what I have to say.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Thrifty Thursday: DIY Bunkbeds for Under $100

You can see the measurements below, but this post is not a tutorial. I just wanted to share that you can build bunk beds for under $100 in lumber and screws. Of course, you can paint it as well, but since this is in our rustic cabin, we kept it the plain wood.

We had looked at bunk beds in stores and the ones that cost under $200 just seemed chintzy and not very sturdy. I want sturdy for my kids who will be climbing up and down all the time, and sturdy for someone sleeping over the top of me. We ran in to this same issue when we wanted to have a clubhouse and playground in our backyard for the kids. Everything in our price range was small and didn't seem very sturdy or that it would last them a long time, so we built them this DIY Clubhouse.

This bunk bed is sturdy and not going any place! The kids can climb up all they want.