Thursday, March 31, 2016

20 - 5th Grade AR Books about The Planets and Space

Earth's Crust and Core by Amy Bauman
The Sun by Paulette Bourgeois

Discovering Mars by Melvin Berger
Jupiter by Larry Brimner
Why Does the Earth Spin? By Mary Kay Carson

Planet Earth by Steve Potts
Saturn by Steve Potts

Dwarf Planet by Susan Ring
Laika: First Dog in Space by Joeming Dunn
Mercury by Susan Ring
Venus by Steve Potts
What if We Lived on Another Planet? by Olive MacDonald

Jupiter by Steve Potts

Neptune by Steve Potts
Pluto by Steve Potts

Mars by Steve Potts
Space by James Harrison

The Earth in Space by Peter Riley

Albert II: First Monkey in Space by Joeming Dunn

Mercury by Steve Potts

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Wordless Wednesday: Iconic Chicago

Just some pictures I took of iconic images in Chicago, what I mean by that is when you see pictures of Chicago these are some of the images. If you walk by these things in Chicago, you might say "Oh, I've seen a picture of that before" or if you see a picture of these, you know the destination is Chicago. Now, it's time to be wordless......

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

#ad Review: Magformers 26-pcs NEON Set

I received this Magformers 26 piece neon set for free to review on my blog. All thoughts, opinions, and photographs are my own. You can buy this Magformers set or ANY MAGFORMERS set for 30% off (which is a great deal!) by using code Magformers30.

We are not strangers to the Magformers brand. My kindergarten-age son has played with them in school and then put them on his Christmas list this year. He received a 16 piece Wow set from his sister for Christmas. It is a fun set but he really wanted more to expand upon it and this review was the perfect opportunity to obtain more.

All of the Magformers work together and can be combined. This set is the neon said and it came with a booklet of ideas to create. Here you can see that he is creating the fish from the booklet.

If you have never played with Magformers, you are missing out. They are a lot of fun. They are in square and triangle shapes that have magnets on each of the edges so they can attach to one another. The more sets and the larger number of sets you have the more elaborate your Creations can be. Both of my kids have had a lot of fun playing with the set and the one my son had received for Christmas. This one has bright neon colors which is fun.y

Paper Plate Sun Dial

Teaching your kids about the sun and the way the Earth moves around it can be coupled up in this fun paper plate art project.

All you need is a paper plate, an unsharpened pencil and your favorite medium to make designs on a paper plate. Have your child decorate the plate how they wish you can see we chose a circular pattern. We used paint to get our colors on here this way.

When it is dry, draw in Lines to indicate times on a clock.

Make a hole in the center of the plate and insert an unsharpened pencil into the hole.

If you indicate where North is on your plate make sure that is facing north when you put it out in the sun. If you can tell from my clock markings I have 12 o'clock facing north and was able to show my children that it was approximately 1 o'clock according to our sundial, which was accurate.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Quick and Easy Ham and Egg Cups

Breakfast today looks fancy but is super easy. 

Ham and Egg Cups
 Preheat oven to 375. 
Spray Muffin Tin
Just line muffin tin with thin ham slice and crack in whole egg. 
Season as desired. 
Bake for 20 min.

That's it! Seriously! Can it get any easier? If you want to try something with a little more ingredients, try out my Low Carb Ham and Egg Cup Recipe. Of course, this is obviously a low carb recipe, but you can change it up if you want scrambled or a whole egg.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Another 20 Book Series for the 5th Grade Reading Level (AR, Accelerated Reader)

Wow! I am so glad I kept looking. My first list was only of 15 different series, but here I found 20 more series that are at the 5th grade reading level. This should keep my daughter busy for a while. I know some of these genres are not her cup of tea, but it will give her stuff to look up and consider. And maybe when my son gets around to this level, he might like different ones.

5th Grade Reading Level
  • 13 Treasures by Michelle Harrison
  • A Tale of the Wide Awake Princess by E.D. Baker
  • Bliss Bakery Trilogy by Kathryn Littlewood
  • Books of Bayern by Shannon Hale
  • Castle Glower by Jessica Day George
  • Keepers of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger
  • Poppy Pendle by Natasha Lowe
  • Princess Academy by Shannon Hale (5.2-6.0 lvls)
  • Septimus Heap by Angie Sage
  • Shadow Children by Margaret Haddix (4.8-5.6 lvls)
  • Story Thieves by James Riley
  • The Books of Elsewhere by Jacqueline West
  • The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani
  • The Sister Grimm by Michael Buckley
  • The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann
  • Time Quintet by Madeleine L'Engle
  • Twelve Dancing Princesses by Jessica Day George (5.6-6.2 lvls)
  • Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson
  • Wings of Fire by Tui Sutherland
  • Wollstonecraft Detective Agency by Jordan Strartford (very new series, only 1st book out)

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Wordless Wednesday: Skydeck Chicago

Views from the Skydeck in Chicago

I will tell you more about it and have more pictures other than these on Save Green Travel at a later date. But for now - ENJOY THE VIEW!
In the mean time, I did mention it a bit in my post 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

More Kid Projects Compliments of Pinterest

I thought this idea for laminated play dough mats was genius! I got the idea from Planet of the Apels. I printed them all off and used clear contact paper to laminate them (I did go through most of a rolls to do this) but now we can use them over & over again and get them out to play with when friends come over. We can also use them as dry erase mats. This is great for doing preschool at home.

This project was my "birthday cake" compliments of my 7 year old daughter. Of course, I scoured pinterest first for a recipe that require NO BAKING (ok, I did bake a store bought whole wheat crust, but you can use a pre-made graham cracker crust for this.) But she did mix all of the other ingredients and pour them in to the cooled pie shell. The recipe comes from the Eagle Brand website. There is only 6 total ingredients and that includes the pre-made pie crust. So, if my 7 year old (now 9 years old) can make this, anyone can. No excuse that you can't make a pie.

My son and I made this zip line lego guy after reading about it on Little Bins for Little Hands.There are a lot of different ideas on here for creative lego creations. We will certainly be trying out more of them.

This is a Minecraft sword that my daughter made for her brother as his homemade Christmas present this past Christmas. This is a printable available from All For The Boys that you can glue on to foam board or cardboard.

Monday, March 21, 2016

7 Days of Eggs

7 Days of Eggs

Tired of making scrambled eggs or fired eggs and want to think outside the box for some creative and healthy ideas, then check out how I ate eggs on 7 days last week.

I had decided to participate in an Instagram (Follow me on Instagram) promotion for Eggsland's Best. I didn't get paid or anything, I might win a prize but I don't even know what they might be.I didn't do it for the prize, although winning one would be nice. I liked the challenge of coming up with different ways to eat my eggs every day and present them on a plate so that they looked nice on Instagram. I do love eggs and typically do eat them 2-3 times a week.

"Green Eggs and Ham"

A Different Ham & Egg Cup Recipe (the one pictured is on the Instagram post)

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Inexpensive DIY Dino Bulletin Board

This is the dinosaur bulletin board my son help me make for his big boy room. It only took 3 things to make it which can all be purchased at the dollar store. The bulletin board, a bag of plastic dinosaurs, and some hot glue.

I first had him figure out how he wanted his dinosaurs to be on the bulletin board. Using the amount of each color that was in the bag he chose a pattern that suited him. Then I put the hot glue on and supervise him while he carefully put his dinosaur on top of the hot glue.

That's it. Super simple and easy to make and only cost $2 since I already had hot glue.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

10 Fourth Grade Level AR Books for Easter

I have compiled a list of 10 Accelerated Reader Books that are at the 4th Grade Level that are Easter themes, plus a bonus 5th grade level one. I did not include anything that was the about the history or traditions and I also did not include anything that was religious.

Peter Cottontail is on His Way by Andrea Posner
Rachenka's Eggs by Patricia Polacco

Angelina and the Easter Bonnet by Katharine Holabird
Racing for Birdman by Katrina O'Neill
The Bunny Who Found Easter by Charlotte Zolotow
The Easter Bunny That Ate my Sister by Dean Marney

Gordon's Great Escape by Astrid Lindgren

Nibble O'Hare by Betty Paraskevas

The Country Bunnies and the Little Golden Shoes by Du Bose Keyward

Winnie the Pooh's Easter by Bruce Talkington


The Easter Cat by Meinert De Jong

Monday, March 14, 2016

Pinterest Inspired Food

I thought today I would share some of the dishes that I have made from pins I have found. Give you my thoughts and any changes I made to the the recipe and let you check out the recipe for yourselves on the blogs and websites where I found them. These are pictures of the food I made using these recipes provided in the links. Sometimes I just like to share the items I made on my blog so that I have a reference of how to make it again, like my own recipe catalog.

This recipe as titled by the author at Second Thought is Polenta with Mushrooms and Leeks. I varied from the recipe by making a mushroom and leek meat sauce to top it with. The only change I made to the recipe is I decreased the water to 1.5 C. Also, I wanted to note that it took quite a bit longer to get to the consistency described (even with a decrease in water). It took me 10 minutes longer than the 5-6 minutes in the recipe. Other than that, next time I won't add additional salt. I did like it and wasn't sure if I would like polenta, but it was good and I would make this again.

Recently, Chipotle released it's guacamole recipe and has the original recipe published on their website that you can copy. All ingredients are fresh and no dried seasonings. I made it and thought it tasted awesome and was able to use a hot pepper and cilantro from my garden to make it, which made this Chipotle Guacamole taste even more awesome!

In the spirit of trying Chipotle copycat recipes, I thought we would also try a Chipotle Cilantro-Lime Rice recipe as well that was featured on the Culinary Hill blog. The recipe seems spot on and I would give it a try if you are a Chipotle fan. I would not have thought about needing a bay leaf to make this recipe if I had not seen it listed.

Friday, March 11, 2016

15 Book Series Ideas for 5th Grade Reading Level (AR, Accelerated Reader)

So, last week I shared with you the list I created when I was looking up books for my nephew and today I am sharing with you book series ideas I found for my daughter. My daughter is in 4th grade and her AR level range is currently up to a 6.7, but also all of the 5th grade level as well. For the most part she is sticking to books in the 5th grade level because frankly, books in the 6th grade level get A LOT more complicated as far as social rules and social constructs and intimate relationships and she is not ready to be reading that. I know I have Hunger Games on the list and have not decided if she can read it or not. Yes, there are some series in the 6th grade level she can and has been reading (Harry Potter series and Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events are a couple.) I hope this helps give you some ideas on what to suggest to your child reading at a 5th grade reading level. These are all series, so it will take some time to get through all of them. She has read several of these series already this year, but she needed a new series to move on to.

5th Grade Level

  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
  • Grimmtastic Girls by Joan Holub
  • Half Upon a Tim by James Riley
  • Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  • I Survived by Lauren Tarshis (12 in the Series with AR levels between 3.8-6.4)
  • Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
  • Maze Runner by James Dashner
  • Mean Ghouls by Stacia Deutsch (books in the series are in 4th & 5th AR levels)
  • My Life Series by Janet Tashjian
  • Nancy Drew: Eco Mystery Trilogy by Carole Keene
  • Nerds by Michael Buckely
  • Tapper Twins by Geoff Rodkey
  • The Descendents by Melissa de la Cruz (Book 1 came out May '15, next one is May '16)
  • The Land of Stories by Chris Colfer
  • The Princess School by Jane Mason

Thursday, March 10, 2016

FREE Lowes Build and Grow - Monster Jam Blue Thunder

Next up in the Lowe's Build and Grow Monster Jam Series is "Blue Thunder". This event is happening this Saturday at 10am at your nearest Lowe's. These events do fill up fast, so you need to pre-register to guarantee a spot.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

What to do with a weekend in Vancouver, CA

If you only have 3 full days in the Vancouver area, here are my recommendations based on our trip there to spend those 3 days soaking up as much nature as possible.

We went all out and bought the Ultimate Experience on Grouse Mountain, but there are 2 levels of admission below this price point if this is too much of a splurge. We weren't sure when/if we will get back here so I wanted to experience everything we could.

We decided to experience the Howe Sound on our own and rented a boat just for us. Luckily for us, my husband is familiar with driving our boat so this was an option for us. For the same cost of a 90-minute guided tour we were able to take a boat out for 4 hours and witness even more sights including harbor seals. The waters and mountains are just breathtaking.

So, if you are going to rent a boat on the Howe, you will need to go to Horseshoe Bay Park where you can also catch a ferry, play at a playground, eat a your choice of several venues and go shopping. If you are waiting to catch a ferry to a nearby island or waiting for your guided tour or for a boat to come back in to rent, you will find yourself enjoying all that Horseshoe Bay Park has to offer.

Lynn Canyon Park and Suspension Bridge is a fantastic find and is FREE! Hands down, this would be the one place I would recommend to anyone going to Vancouver to check out if they only had time for one place .

Another free find that we enjoyed was Whytecliff park, where we saw Harbor Seals while sitting on shore as well as pelicans. We had a lot of fun exploring on the logs and the rocks.

Friday, March 4, 2016

20 Book Series Ideas for 4th Grade Reading Level (AR, Accelerated Reader)

I started making this list when I was looking up book series to suggest for my nephew to read and thought others would like to see what I found. Sometimes a kid just need to get hooked in to a book and if it is part of a series they just keep reading and reading. Then before you know it, they are hooked on series because they like how it builds on each other.

4th Grade Level

  • Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey
  • Cupcake Diaries by Coco Simon
  • Diary of a 6th Grade Ninja by Marcus Emerson
  • Dork Diaries by Rachel Russell
  • Einstein the Class Hamster by Janet Tashjian
  • Emily Windsnap by Liz Kessler
  • Everafter High by Shannon Hale
  • Frank Einstein by Jon Scieszka
  • Goddess Girls by Joan Holub
  • I Funny by James Patterson
  • Justin Case by Rachel Vail
  • Lost in Europe by Cindy Callahan
  • Magnus Chase by Rick Riordan (Book 1 just came out Oct '15, next one is Oct '16)
  • Middle School by James Patterson
  • Ranger in Time by Kate Messner
  • Ramona by Beverly Cleary 
  • Stick Dog by Tom Watson
  • The Creature from My Closet by Obert Skye
  • The Terrible Two by Mac Barnett
  • Treasure Hunters by James Patterson

Thursday, March 3, 2016

I Did This! Medal & Ribbon Display

This is the medal and ribbon display I made for my son. Since I was making one for his sister I knew he was going to want one for his big boy room, but I wasn't sure what he would get interested in and earn ribbons and medals for, so I added the clothespins as clips in case he had artwork or a test score he wanted to display. This is what he has earned so far in school and sports.

I still need to share the one I made for my daughter, but you can see the one I made for myself and friends in these posts:

Instructions on How to Made These Medal Hangers (plus one for a friend)
My Medal Hanger (and another one for a friend)

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Art Party Cake Pops

This is just an idea to use a painting tray (these are $1 at Wal-Mart) as a display holder for your cake pops and used fun colored paint brushes ($1 for 10 of them at Dollar Tree) to hold your cake pops.

I have a cake pop pan, which works really swift. You just pour the cake batter in one side of the pan, then put the top on the pan and clip it down and the batter rises and bakes in to little balls shapes. No crumbling cake and mixing it with other things and shaping balls, who has time for that.

Then dip the cake balls in melted Candy Melts (Wilton makes these & you can get them at Wal-Mart, Target, lots of places). If you are adding sprinkles, do that right away after you take it out of the candy melt as it will harden relatively quickly.