Sunday, June 30, 2013

On: the joys of learning to read

Starboy is checking out his kids' meal at the San Diego Zoo. The mac and cheese came with several bags of not-great, but not-too-terrible, over-processed snacky things. (Including already-sliced apples with a sell-by date at least a week away. Yech.)

"What are these, Mama?" he asks, holding up a very kid-friendly black package.

"What do you think they are?"

"I think they are animal cookies!" Big smile.

"Why do you think they are animal cookies?"

"Well," he reasons. "The picture is animals, and I see here a /k/ for 'cookies.'" He points to the "c" at the beginning of the word.

We're doomed.

More Sparkle!

We're kicking it up a notch with the second part of our kid-friendly fireworks display! Check out Phase 1 from Friday!

And the beautiful display with both projects together!

We started with some dowels or lollipop sticks, silver duct tape, and several types of mylar for fringe. All from the craft store. It turned out that the shredded mylar was the fastest and easiest to work with.

First, we anchored the tape to the stick.

Then we just added the strips as fringe, and rolled it up. We needed a few layers.

Et voila!

 I was disappointed to realize that our blue mylar was clear. And slippery. With lots of static cling. And, the wrong color. And wrong quality of light reflection. Starboy loved it. I cut fringe, rather than individual pieces, to avoid a mess, and chaos.

This was too complicated for Starboy to do. So already: Fail.

 Sheesh, was the mylar a hassle to work with. Very flimsy and static-y, and hard to tape. And it kept tearing. And, way too hard for Starboy to do. FAIL.

 The result? A pom-pon. Rah! Rah! Rah!! U! S! A! 
Starboy loves it. I think it's hideous and cheap-o. But I suppose we could take it to the parade.

 Luckily, it makes a great car wash wand.  Moving along...

 The mylar fireworks with Friday's pipe cleaner ones look great together. Rice is anchoring the lot of them, and you can see in the photo at the top of the post that a ribbon might pull it all together.

We also tried some using just a mason jar and the rice. Another approach!

Friday, June 28, 2013

July 4th Sparkle!

Starboy was super-enthused to make these "sticks with pokes on them made from pipe cleaners."

It's very easy to make your own kid-friendly fireworks display. Many, many thanks to Miss Molly for giving us the idea! 

The materials are simple: Pipecleaners, sticks or dowels, and duct tape. We got special, shiny tape, and two lengths of sticks. We also used some old canning jars and rice to turn them into a table decoration.

A decent burst requires four pipecleaners, though five is a little better. You can cut them into thirds, or just cut off one third and bend the remaining long piece in half.

 Kid scissors will be useless. Starboy loved using adult scissors. This gave us a chance to talk about "leverage." Math lesson!

Then, really secure the duct tape to the stick. If you have ripped the tape instead of cut it, feel free to attach that ragged end here, to bury it. And leave the ragged side at the bottom so it gets wrapped in to the project with the straight edge on top. We used strips that were about 1/2" wide by 5" long.

 Then, start adding pipe cleaners, and rolling.

 As you roll, add a few more stems.

Starboy was very interested in the sticky tape, and rolling it by himself. You'll notice his isn't too tight. You can pinch it down, and wrap another piece of tape around the outside to snug it down.

Then, arrange the "pokes" to make some rockets' blue glare.

Sparkly joy!

Here's a close-up of a cinched-down firework.

Oooh, what are those other fireworks?! Stay tuned!

Can you think of anyone more perfect to enjoy some holiday sparkle? We couldn't! Hope they arrive in time for celebrations! And check out for a free summer story!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Free Summer Sparkle Story!

Hope over to and enjoy a free summer story! We're checking out the new audio book right now.

Starboy is a big fan of the new "Sleep Fairy" series, as he calls it—the Sparkle Sleepytime series. Every week, a new bedtime story! It's a nice way for Mommy to get a break.