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

 

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!

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

Making Wall Worthy Kids Art with Stencils

Stencils are a great way for kids of almost any age to make wall worthy art. As long as they can hold a painting utensil or sponge, then they should be able to transfer paint onto the prepared stencil surface and have it result in something pretty decent!

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We recently took advantage of a cold rainy afternoon to do an art project compliments of Stencil Revolution. I picked out a neat seahorse stencil to go with our beach house renovation decor and set it up so my three-year-old son could do the painting.

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The first thing we did was head to the hardware store to get a piece of wood to use as a base. I also had a second Halloween themed stencil, so I got a 4ft. piece of wood to fit them both for just $9. After cutting it to fit both stencils I still had enough left over to make something else. After cutting the board to fit, I stained them a navy blue. You can also paint the boards a solid color.

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After the stain was dry, I taped the stencil where I wanted the design to be. My board wasn’t as wide as I should have been, but I just went with it. I realized later, as my son was really going crazy slapping on the paint, that it is best to have all the sides taped down really well. I was only able to tape down the top and bottom so it slipped a tiny bit, but not enough to mess it up in the end. You do need to have it secured better than we did if you want a crisp stencil edge.

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With our surface prepped, next we mixed our paints. We used acrylics in a metallic teal, blue and a dash of white. Our painting tool or choice was a sponge painter. My son took to sponge painting with gusto, scooping large blobs of paint out and slopping it down as I scrambled to make sure it wasn’t splattering beyond our small art mat.

At first I kept trying to limit his paint and show him how to do it, but then I just let him go with it and his unique blob painting technique actually resulted in a really cool texture! The bubbles and lumps make it look almost like the seahorse has scales.

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I made sure every spot was covered and then Mr. Impatient had to see his creation immediately, so I removed the stencil and we were both very excited to see something so pretty! I’m sure you’re probably supposed to let it dry and then remove it so you don’t risk smudging it, but it was hard enough to stop the flailing little arms from smearing the whole thing while it was on so I figured I’d better show him and then display it up high where he couldn’t touch it.

After I removed the stencil, I immediately rinsed it off and the acrylic paint easily came off with a little scrubbing. The stencil is made from laser cut 12 mil Mylar and can be used over and over again. It can also be cleaned with paint thinner if you choose to let the paint dry on it and have a harder time cleaning it off. Acrylics will usually wash off or peel off easily though, even when dry.

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So you can see our seahorse doesn’t have super crisp edges and isn’t “perfect” but I think that adds to its beachy vibe. I just have to add a little hook to the back and I’ll be hanging this little masterpiece on the wall. And thanks to StencilRevolution.com for sending the stencil for this fun little project!

For the Love of Noodles

My son loves noodles. Just plain spaghetti noodles with a little butter or olive oil. He doesn’t like to spoil it with any sauce. I keep trying to encourage him to try them differently- marinara, cream sauce, maybe some meatballs, but no. Just noodles. It makes me think of a photo of me as a little girl, where I’m eating spaghetti and it’s smeared everywhere. I expected this to be some sort of normal baby ritual- the spaghetti mess. But when my kid is done he just looks like he’s oiled up and ready to wrestle.

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Pure Joy & Noodles

He loves them so much that when we went on a two week cruise where he could order absolutely anything he wanted for dinner, every single night he ordered plain noodles. One night he tried nuggets and sent them back in exchange for noodles.

So I’ve embraced this and now make a big batch of noodles all at once, put them in a gallon freezer bag and keep them in the fridge, ready to heat on-demand. That way, I can make noodles in 15 seconds instead of cooking them from scratch every time. I’ve also started getting those “Hidden Veggie” noodles and other healthier varieties rather than regular old pasta. So far, he likes them all the same.

To be honest, I’m just happy anytime he shows excitement about eating something besides chocolate and gummy bears. We have a lot of arguments over what consists of “real food” and why he needs to eat it. So if he loves noodles, I’ll make noodles!

He also went through a serious Puffs phase and a hot dog phase. As a first-time mom, I’m guessing this food fixation is a universal toddler (and child) trait. So what food is your kid obsessed with right now?