Sand Glow Ball

The Crayola Glow Sand Ball is something I purchased on a whim while stocking up on stuff to keep Jack (ok, and me) entertained over summer break. The package wasn’t particularly enticing, but for $1.99 at Tuesday Morning, I decided to take a chance. It came with three color packs, so at less than $1 per use, I figured it was better than buying Jack a couple of lottery scratch off tickets.

crayola sand ball

Plus, they retail for $14.99 on Crayola’s site, so yay me! I’m thrifty!

Basically, you just pour a packet of the included “glow sand” and glow sand “activator” into the ball using a little enclosed funnel and then off you go to enjoy “up to 4 hours” of fun, preferably during “outdoor, evening use only.”

sand packs Notice the “pre-pressurized” pocket on top for the special glow sand activating stuff…

glow sand with flash Here is the yellow sand, with flash.

glow sand in action Here it is “in action,” glowing in the dark.

The disclaimer regarding the mixing of glow sand ball ingredients made me think of this old SNL commerical for Happy Fun Ball:

SNL skit Happy Fun Ball

Once we got everything mixed up, the ball did indeed glow in the dark. We soon discovered, as you might expect with a 7 year old boy, that it was way more cool to pour out the contents than simply play catch with the glowing orb.

milky way with flash Milky Way galaxy in street with flash

milky way 2 Milky Way galaxy in street with no flash

orion Can you guess? Of course! It is the constellation Orion!

big dipper And the Big Dipper!

 

So, despite the West Nile Virus I am surely carrying from all of the mosquito bites endured at dusk in the south, this was a pretty cool toy. Bonus points for the funnel and added excitement of pressurized packets to open and mix for the budding scientist Jack.

Advertisements

Ain’t No Party Like a Bacon Party…

If you are ever in the mood to entertain but not sure what type of gathering you wish to host, may I suggest a bacon-themed get-together? You’ll be amazed how many people come out of the woodwork to join the fun and the creativity of dishes is a nice bonus, too!

We hosted our second bacon club recently. We founded bacon club in Kansas City and the only requirement was that you bring something made with bacon. Once settling into Tybee, we decided it was time to share the bacon-y love again. Our first gathering was small, with only about 10 people participating, and dishes ranged from avocado BLTs to chocolate bacon…all good.

The second gathering was much bigger, with over twenty people in attendance and dishes ranging from homemade pimento cheese with jalapenos and bacon; caramelized bacon; goat cheese rolled in bacon and crushed pecans; deviled eggs with bacon; chocolate bacon cookies; bacon and egg “pizza;” bacon-wrapped l’il smokies; bacon scones with homemade bacon jam (including honey from the Tybee Island Hives‘ bees!); spinach salad with warm bacon dressing…and so much more.

bacon and eggs These bacon and egg candies made with melted white chocolate, a yellow m&m yolk and pretzel stick bacon were Jack’s favorite…I had to hide this last one to snap a pic before he ate all of the evidence!

Tyler set up an event page on Facebook and word spread quickly. Folks came from as far away as Bluffton, SC, and close enough that they rode their bikes. One couple that we had never met before showed up and introduced themselves, saying “Sean and Wen invited us and told us the password is bacon!”

There were even bacon themed hostess gifts!

bacon keychain This is smiling bacon keychain, although I plan to give it a place of honor on our Christmas tree each year instead!

We also received bacon salt AND a tin of bacon-y goodness for dipping the rim of cocktail glasses like Bloody Marys (note to self, add bacon-y cocktails for next bacon club gathering)!

Perhaps the most impressive (to me anyway), was the guest who took the time to re-create the popular Pinterest pin of bacon roses!

bacon roses The fabulously talented Carolyn Williams, posing with her creation. When I realized what they were, I wondered whether to put them in a vase or offer them on a platter for guests to enjoy? I finally decided to pass them around for all to see, take a pic with their creator, and then put them on the counter to re-purpose the “blooms” into salad toppers for later, all the while hoping that the dog wouldn’t figure out a way to reach them (not entirely out of the realm of possibility. Although a small dog, he has been known to leap up and snatch a hat right off of Jack’s head–for some reason, only winter hats, not baseball caps or any other kind of hat). 

krypto on dog sheetsKrypto the super dog…am sure a post dedicated just to him is forthcoming. Notice how at home he is on my pillow? And doesn’t feel the least bit bad about sitting atop dog sheets? But I digress from bacon…

I asked (ok, mandated) that Tyler make candied bacon. His first attempt actually caught fire in the oven and temporarily filled the house with smoke, but his second attempt was well worth the potential 911 call.

My two favorite comments from the event were: “I didn’t think you could improve deviled eggs, but adding bacon was pure genius!” and “bacon is the duct tape of food.”

post script: Tyler and I went to a small local play production last night to see some friends perform. After the show, one of the actresses introduced us to her husband who said, “You’re the ones who host a bacon club?! Can we please come to the next one? I love bacon!” and he proceeded to show us his tattoo of a heart wrapped in…you guessed it, a strip of bacon.

First Week of Summer Vacay

We survived our first week of summer vacation…it was really hot so we pretty much divided our time between staying inside in the a/c, swimming in the ocean, or swimming in a pool. We went through 3 swim masks and one snorkel, so now I just buy them in bulk at the Dollar Store.

In an effort to not let Jack’s impressionable young mind turn to mush for the next seven weeks, I have lined up a variety of science-y things to do and hope to update this blog at least once a week with our successes and failures, as well as anything funny along the way. First off, not science-y at all, but fun nonetheless, we designed our own tattoos and I drew them in permanent market on Jack’s biceps:

jack skull tattoo

Yes, that does say “Ruler of Death” per Jack’s instructions; he also drew the skeleton on paper for me to copy.

jack lion tattoo

This one came from a Google search of “lion tattoos” and taking into consideration my limited Sharpie skills for anything with too much detail.

Now on to the science fun! Before school ended, I picked up a couple of little kits at Tuesday Morning and also checked out a couple of library books on stuff like making your own volcanoes. First up, Make Your Own Meteor Kit!

meteor kit

 

Basically, they give you a little mold and three tiny bags with different colored space age-y material a little heavier than sand that you pour into the mold. I really liked this project because the steps were easy but you had to wait a bit for things to set up between each step so it kind of prolonged the fun and we set a count down timer on my phone (anytime I can teach Jack about time, being patient, waiting for something, etc. is a good thing!).

jack making the meteor

Here you can see Jack carefully pouring the red meteor material into the mold. Once the mold was full, we covered it with water and sealed in a little cup for 30 minutes to set. After the 30 minutes were up, we opened the mold and it was solid but tacky, requiring another 30 minutes to be completely done. Once done, the experiments began…we filled a baking pan with flour and threw the meteor into it, measuring the impact of craters and crash paths with a measuring tape and talking about how different speeds, angles of trajectory, etc. resulted in different kinds of impacts.

meteor in flour

Here you can see the meteor in the middle right of the pan.

meteor in flour 2

 

Here you can see the meteor in the upper left after carving a nice impact channel. We talked about the craters on the moon and about how big the meteors that made them must have been, as well as different kids of craters on earth, those made from long-ago meteors and those made when volcanoes explode. Good stuff.

Final verdict: Totally worth the $3 or $4 I spent for an evening’s learning disguised as entertainment.

I Have Officially Seen It All @ The Beach

Living at the beach, we see a lot of the things that you would expect: PDA, tattoos, drunk people ignoring their children, swimsuits too small for the body they are on, kids playing frisbee, kids building sand castles, etc. I thought I had seen all there was to see in this particular setting until today…

Solar Face Shield, a full face sun protection visor

So, apparently this is a thing…some kind of full face sunscreen visor. I saw two people (obviously related to one another, but difficult to say whether it was a mom and son or brother and sister since I couldn’t see their faces!) frolicking in the waves today when Jack and I went to the beach to celebrate the first day of summer vacation. The website notes that they are very popular in Asia and offers up the following benefits and tips:

  • 50+ UPF maximum full face sun protection
  • Now available in a 6″ or 7″ tinted see-through shield
  • One size fits most
  • Padded head band
  • Detachable sports strap
  • Not suggested for use while driving a car
  • Imported
  • FYI: High heat, for example the inside of your car in the summer, can warp the plastic shield.

For just $27, you too can snag one! Personally, I’ll stick with good ol’ sunscreen.

 

My Shower Hates Me

Do you know that song by Puddle of Mudd with the refrain “she f*$&ing hates me?” If so, feel free to hum along while reading this post, but substitute “it” for “she” because I am not entirely comfortable assigning a gender to my shower. Here is a YouTube clip, for some reason subtitled in what I think is Italian, just in case you want to learn to sing it in another language to impress your friends (I love this song, and the video, and the fact that the lead singer has such perfect teeth–you just know he had a super suburban, perfect upbringing to be singing with those teeth and such angst).

So my shower hates me, but not in the typical ways you might assume, like temperamental water pressure, or wildly fluctuating temperature (in my sorority, if someone was showering while you were using the toilet, you had to shout “flushing!” and couldn’t flush until they responded “thank you!” so they could get out of the way of the molten water stream that would momentarily ensue from the flush of ancient plumbing in a structure not actually built to house hundreds of girls, much less girls in the 80s with all of that big hair, mall bangs, and Aussie spray scrunch product to keep it coiffed sky high).

No, my shower hates me because sometimes it simply refuses to work in its intended capacity. We live in a tiny little beach bungalow with one bathroom. It’s got a clawfoot tub that’s been (poorly) rigged with a pipe and shower head (why, yes, that is clear packing tape wrapped around the intersecting pipes!).

shower head

I don’t mind taking a bath once in a while, especially when it’s cold outside, but I prefer a shower for its efficiency (the lack of feeling like I am stewing in my own filth is a bonus). At any rate, I like to be the one who determines whether I want to take a bath or shower, not have my plumbing dictate it. But the little pull-up stopper on the faucet just flat out refuses to function correctly for no apparent reason. One day it’s all “enjoy your shower!” and the next day, “bath time for you, sucker!” I can go weeks without it being an issue, to the point where I start to think maybe I made the whole thing up, and then it reminds me that I am not the one calling the bathing shots. We went for a couple of weeks where it simply wouldn’t budge—to the point where I was ready to call a plumber about it (due to its on again/off again nature, I was wary of doing so: I have a long, embarrassing history of cars, computers, etc. not doing the “wrong” thing when an expert is finally called in, leaving me stammering with descriptions of what was wrong that has, for the immediate moment, stop being wrong, like the singing frog in that old cartoon) and then it simply, maddeningly, started working again.

But then came the last straw. I had colored my hair (I have had a shock of grey hair since my 20s, although now the shock has spread to pretty much my whole head. I went to a hair stylist once who suggested perhaps I had been dropped on my head as a child on the spot in question. I did not agree with her theory, but it did result in me never going back to her) and hopped in the tub to shower away all of the grey when, of course, the damn shower stop wouldn’t work. I tried everything—cursing, shoving something up inside the faucet to magically release it, jiggling and pulling on the stopper while pleading, all to no avail. So I ended up hunching over and squeezing my head in the space under the faucet to rinse the hair color out (please do not judge me for the rust marks–do they even still make new, porcelain, clawfoot tubs?? probably not in my price range).

faucet

And that is why my shower hates me. But now, the feeling is mutual.

Post script: A plumber was finally called and he re-rigged a whole new faucet (see photo above; the previous faucet was even lower and more awkward to get one’s head under). Although it took several days for the right parts to be procured, the plumber was kind enough to point out that I could still take a bath.