How to Launch a Rocket with Baking Soda and Vinegar

Making a bottle rocket with baking soda and vinegar is always a fun and explosive (but safe) activity! When the baking soda reacts with the vinegar, it forms carbon dioxide and water. The carbon dioxide builds up inside the bottle until it launches into the air!

Here’s step-by-step directions to launch your own rocket:

Supplies:

Empty water bottle
4 Chopsticks
Tape
Paper
Scissors
Markers (or paint, crayons, etc.)
Vinegar
Baking Soda
Paper Towel
Cork

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First Make Your Rocket:

1- Take a sheet of paper and color one side. This will be your rocket decorations.

2- Cut out a circle, cut a slit halfway, wrap it to make a cone and tape it in place. This is the top of your rocket.

3- Tape three or four chopsticks to the upside down bottle, with a few inches extending past the top opening. This will be your rocket legs, so make sure they are even and the bottle can stand on its own.

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4- Wrap the decorated paper around the bottle, over the chopsticks and tape into place.

5- Tape your pointy cone to the top. You should now have something that resembles a rocket!

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It may not be very pretty, but it will still fly! lol

6- Wrap tape around a cork until you can plug the bottle easily but not too tightly. If it is too tight, it won’t shoot out.

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Prepare to Launch:

1- Take a square of paper towel and put about a tablespoon of baking soda in the center.

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2- Wrap it up to create a little baking soda packet. This delays the release of the baking soda and gives you time to put in the cork and get out of the way.

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3- Fill your bottle about 1/3 with vinegar

4- Find a nice flat surface outside where you don’t care about the splatter. It makes a big mess when it explodes, but it is all easily washed away with water.

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5- Push the baking soda packet into the bottle and VERY QUICKLY put in the cork. Make sure it is secure enough but not pushed in too far or it won’t pop out.

6- Give it a few shakes, flip it over and then RUN!

Book Review: Stark Raving Dad – Poems for the Frazzled Parent in All of Us

Stark Raving Dad is a new book from Running Press aimed at frazzled parents who are still able to laugh through their pain. From pondering the myriad of diaper choices in the baby aisle to getting spewed with bodily fluids, author Sanderson Dean captures the angst of parenthood all in comedic verse and accompanies it with original art drawn by his children.

I was impressed at the sheer volume of poems in the book. At 127 pages, this was a leap from the usual 25 page children’s books I’m sent to review. But this one is definitely not aimed at the kids, who probably wouldn’t see the humor in the evils of broccoli, dirty socks or dropping the kid off at daycare with a loaded diaper. It speaks to us, the parents who have all been there. 

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The poems cover a wide variety of parenting topics and they don’t really follow a specific pattern. Some rhyme and some are more free-form. I’m hoping Mr. Dean doesn’t take this the wrong way, but it reminds me of the kind of book you find in the bathroom. It makes good toilet reading, if parents actually got a chance to read on the toilet anymore. There’s probably a poem in there about that too.

The book is a lot of fun and everything is painfully (and humorously) relatable for anyone with children. It would make a great baby shower, Mother’s Day or Father’s Day gift. Or maybe a housewarming gift for the aforementioned quality me-time toilet reading.

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About the Author:

Sanderson Dean has been an Emmy Award-winning writer/producer/creative in the television and film advertising business for more than two decades. He is a husband and proud father of two boys who serve as his poetic inspiration (and book illustrators). Find him online at StarkRavingDad.com and check out his book on Amazon: Stark Raving Dad

 

Smell as Good as You Look with Photo Air Fresheners

When PhotoAirFresheners.com contacted me about reviewing their product, I thought a custom photo air freshener might be a neat Mother’s Day present. I always send my mom some pics, why not send ones that make everything smell good too?

There’s no minimum quantity, shipping is free and you can choose from eight different scents and shapes. I chose a heart shape with one of my favorite photos and their most popular scent, cucumber mint. Other scent choices are bacon, cherry, citrus, coconut, new car, pine and vanilla. You can also choose unscented if you just want the hanging photo.

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Ordering was really easy! First you choose your shape, then add and image and add text if you want. I chose to go with just an image, not text. You can also upload a different photo for the back, or keep it the same.

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Once you upload the photo, you can adjust the size using the “transform” tool. You want to get any wording inside the green line, and everything important inside the dotted line which is where it will be cut. There’s also a black dot at the top that shows you where the hole will go for the elastic loop.

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Prices start at $12.50 for a single air freshener, but go down as low as $5 with quantity and the price includes free shipping. My order arrived in just a few days, with each air freshener individually packed in sealed plastic. The cucumber mint is a really pleasant scent! I also got a few in my usual favorite, vanilla. The pictures came out really nice and I think these will make a great gift, as well as look good hanging in my car.

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I also ordered a few with my GeekMamas.com logo on them. I thought they came out looking great, but they recommend their sister company, CustomComet.com, for printing logo products. They specialize in printing promotional products with crisp images and custom shapes. They do have a minimum order there, but prices go as low as $2.50 and there are a lot more choices for shapes and scents.

I was very happy with the quality of my Photo Air Fresheners, the ease of ordering and fast shipping. If you have more questions about getting your own custom photo air fresheners, check out their FAQ page at: https://photoairfresheners.com/frequently-asked-questions/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

customcomet.com sister site for logo

 

Jumping Around at Jumpstreet Indoor Trampoline Park

Indoor trampoline parks are a great way for kids to burn some energy! They’re our go-to spot when it’s rainy or too hot to play outside but my son is ready to run and play. Jumpstreet in Jacksonville Beach is the closest one to us, but our city has several different options and I’m sure there are ones just like it across the US.

Jumpstreet has a special area called the Earthquake zone for smaller kids under five. They have a trampoline area, plus a blow-up slide and maze. It’s enough to keep most kids entertained for a couple hours.

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Before you go, it’s best to sign their waiver online. That way you can just go in and give them your name. It’s hard to fill out the form on the computers there with an antsy kid jumping around, pulling at you and begging to run and play.

The first time we went, it took my son 30 minutes to work up the courage and figure out how to climb the ladder on the blow-up slide. Now he’s an expert and loves sliding down on his belly and running up in the wrong direction!

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We usually go in the early afternoon and it’s never too crowded. We did try it once in the evening and it got a little packed. The kids don’t need any special socks to jump (some places require this) so they can jump barefoot or in their own socks.

My son loves it when they put out the bouncy balls on the trampolines. They usually have them out unless it gets packed.

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The total with tax for little kids comes to about $8.50 and is good for the entire day. They get a sticker and as long as they have that, you can leave and come back. They don’t charge anything for parents unless you plan on jumping as well. If you join their rewards program on the Fivestars app, then they will often send you great coupons like $5 off a jump session or 1/2 off your purchase.

They have tables around the place with good views of all the activity spots, so the bonus for parents is mostly getting to stay in one spot and keep an eye on the kids. Hurray for a moment to rest!

If you haven’t tried out an indoor trampoline park yet, I totally recommend it. Most will have a special area for small kids and some even have a special “Toddler Time” where kids under five get the run of the place for a few hours on special days. And if you are looking for more indoor fun, check out this post about Kids Bowl Free all summer!

 

 

 

Summer Fun: Kids Bowl Free is Back Early

Last summer we signed up with Kids Bowl Free to bowl two free games a day, all summer long. This year we got a message saying the program was starting up in March, so we’ve signed on again. Read on for the details!

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What is it?

The Kids Bowl Free program is two free games a day for kids and you can add on a family pass for around $20 for up to four people over the qualifying age. Check with your center for age requirements. (Ours is ages 2 – 15.) It’s just a one-time fee, and it can be anyone, not just family members. Adults don’t have to bowl with the kids, so you can just let them bowl for free. Shoe rental is not included, but the younger kids won’t need to rent shoes.

Each week they will send you coupons by e-mail for your free games. You can also download their app and get your coupons that way.

How do I sign up?

Head to KidsBowlFree.com and look for your closest participating bowling center. Each center will also say the ages, times they honor the free passes and when they start the program. Then sign up! You can keep it totally free and just pay per game for yourself, or add on a family pass.

Plus, when you register please enter my email address candykay921@yahoo.com in the “Referred By” field on the registration page and we’ll both be entered to win some great prizes including Gas Cards, Amazon.com Gift Cards, Weekend Hotel Trips, Restaurant Gift Cards and more!

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A few tips

* If you have younger kids, you can ask them to pop up the bumpers so they won’t get a gutter ball.

* You can also ask for a ramp to help them roll the ball. Some places will give you one for free, but our center charges $2.

* If you plan to go a lot, you can save money by buying yourself bowling shoes. I got found a cute pair of bowling shoes on amazon for $35, but they even have cheaper used ones on eBay. They last forever and eventually pay for themselves.

* Don’t let them discover the game room too early. Once they go in there…they may not come back out to finish bowling! So also bring a couple dollars for quarters/tokens.

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We had a lot of fun with this program last year and I’m looking forward to going again!

Regrowing New Lettuce From Old Lettuce

I love seeing what I can regrow, whether it’s from cuttings, stems or seeds. Recently I experimented with regrowing lettuce from a few different varieties I got in the Artisan Lettuce pack. You can try this with any kind of lettuce- it works great with romaine!

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I always replant my green onions, so when I heard you can do it with lettuce, I decided to give it a try. With green onions you can keep regrowing and cutting them over and over, but with lettuce it seems you just have one chance to regrow and even then it may not be enough to fill a salad bowl. So I don’t expect this to replace my usual mixed greens, but it was a fun little experiment and something neat to do with kids too.

First I used the tops of the lettuce for salads and saved the last bit with the stem. I stuck the stem part in a bit of water and then sat it on the windowsill for about a week before it sprouted roots.

You can see the lettuce already had started growing again out of the top by the time it sprouted very small roots at the bottom. The rest of the lettuce started turning brown and it didn’t seem to be growing very fast so I decided to plant it in the garden and see what happened. You can also just leave it in the water and it will keep growing.

After I planted them, they started growing pretty good and a week later they were more full and the two purple varieties started turning more purple. Then we had some cold weather and no rain and one of the purple ones withered away while one of the green ones grew big enough to eat! The other purple one was still doing good, but it’s such a deep purple that it is hard to see in the photo. If you plant them in dirt, keep them well watered!

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I was worried I might lose the nice big green one, so I decided it was time to eat my new lettuce, about three weeks after planting it and one month total including the time spent in the water cups. So even after one month, I still had to mix in a little bit of grocery store lettuce. But overall, it was a very tasty salad and neat gardening experiment!

Book Review: The Switcheroo Kangaroo

When I do a book review, I tend to include the full experience instead of just a synopsis and my opinion. So this is the story of how the Switcheroo Kangaroo, a book written by Deanna Purkiss and Illustrated by Christian Snyder, came to visit and teach my son about sharing his good fortune (and candy) with others.

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We received a package in the mail the other day, so of course my son couldn’t wait to open it, convinced it was filled with toys for him. He was right, but unfortunately it wasn’t the “shooting flying electric helicopter cars” he was expecting and instead was a book and stuffed animal. It went a little like this:

Inside the box was the book the Switcheroo Kangaroo and a really nice plush kangaroo toy. Once I explained it was a story about a very special kangaroo who found his purpose was to share candy with kids around the world, he warmed to the idea of letting me read him the story. I think the kangaroo helped.

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He really enjoyed seeing the pics of all the holidays as we followed the Kangaroo on his adventures. The story is written in rhyme and it seemed a little forced sometimes, but I’m willing to overlook a little clunkiness on the rhyme scheme for good story with a helpful theme that promotes healthy habits. The book encourages children to leave out their sweets and the kangaroo comes to take them away to children who don’t have any, and in their place leaves a toy.

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I’m sure every parent has gotten through a candy-loaded holiday and ended up hiding half their kid’s candy pile. I still have Halloween candy stashed in the laundry room. I’m hoping the more we read this book, the more the message will sink in. After the first reading, he kept wanting me to get chocolate to “feed” the kangaroo so he could still get that helicopter he wanted. I told him we’d have to wait until Easter and then he’d have something good to exchange!

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It seems like kids these days are overloaded with sugar every day, whether it’s a holiday or not. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t bringing all the sweets home yourself – they will get it at school, while out at stores, from friends…it’s just hard to avoid.

I think this book promotes a great idea to encourage kids to give up their sweets in a way that makes it fun and makes them feel good about it. I’m looking forward to a little kangaroo visiting us right after the Easter Bunny does his thing!

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Click Here to visit the official Switcheroo Kangaroo website

And find them on Instagram and Facebook at @SwitcherooKangeroo