Catching Up

Life has gotten really busy lately. Even though I am in the midst of project as always, a lot has been left undone. The kids are growing fast and it seems that this just goes so quickly that if I  get too preoccupied with things that are fun but not as important, I feel I will be missing so much of these short, busy years with them. A lot has happened in The Family Fun Spot Family.
First, if you are reader of this blog you know that I blog a lot about my home country of Uruguay. Well, this past month I became a United States citizen. I used to have conflicting feelings about this because I used to think that I was sort of betraying my country for doing this. After some “emotional work,” I realized that those thoughts were not true. I will probably live here for the rest of my life, and even though it is true that I was not born here, my family was. My husband, our wedding, the kids…all american. So I call Uruguay my home country and the U.S.A my “adoptive” country that I love so much. I love everything about America and I am proud to be an american citizen. I just wanted to share this with you. If you are unaware of the naturalization process, it requires passing a government, history and civics test and doing an oath.

Me and the hubby in the oath ceremony
We celebrated important milestones in our family.
Our middle son turned 8! He got baptized and became a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

(Got this free printable from Pinterest)
We had a luncheon at church with our friends. My son shared his baptism with another friend, a girl born only two weeks after him.

Cupcake toppers from Etsy (Tamy Ray Cards and Print)

We also had the Pinewood Derby. A little bittersweet since it was my oldest son’s last one and my younger son’s first one!
They got 2nd and 3rd place!
 My cute little princess had her dance recital
And many, many more things! We are also in the middle of planning our vacation. I am so excited about that! To top it off, we are switching the kids’ rooms so you know what that means…makeovers! Stay tuned for that. Each child will have his or her own bedroom. For now, feast you eyes upon the inspiration for the changes (and yes, they will not look EXACTLY like this but kind of similar (the thrifty way)
And for the boys something like this:
Stay tuned!

What we Have Been Up to Lately…

Summer is almost over! I can’t believe it! We are enjoying as much as we can together! Here are some things we have been up to:

My kids are obsessed with forts. This time we kicked it up a notch. We used 3 boxes and inserted leftover Halloween lights inside. They even ate lunch in there!

It was a blast!
3 boxes + twin sheet+ clothes pins+ lights= hours of fun!

They even colored the fort inside!
We had a sunny day with rain! Perfect opportunity to sing in the rain!
We refinished our deck
Finished baseball season
Played in the pool
Played our version of Mario Kart…
Went to Michigan

And Wisconsin
We can honestly say we indeed had a great Summer! Next week school starts and the craziness begins!

Giant Homemade Bubbles

Are you having a good summer?
We sure are! We have been having fun in our pool, enjoying “homemade” water parks and are excited to go see the Green Bay area and northern Michigan in a couple of weeks! We have been doing our experiments and science activities and we have a whole bunch to show you. My kids love this. We recently tried a version of the ginormous bubbles and they worked! This is how we did it.
First you are going to need dowels. I purchased the stuff for this at Hobby Lobby. Then you are going to need rope. We used some from the home improvement store, the white kind. Cut two pieces of the rope, one longer than the other. Tie the longer piece at the end of each dowel. Then, tie the smaller piece at the top of those two, kind of making a “circle” with the rope and the dowels on the side. It is very important that is has the shape of a circle, or a “U with a lid” like my kids said, and that the top one is smaller than the other if you want big sized bubbles!
Now for the bubble solution. You will need:
  • 6 cups of distilled water
  • 1/2 cup of Dawn ultra
  • 1/2 cup of cornstarch
  • 1 TBSP of baking powder
  • 1 1/2 TBSP of glycerin 
Mix all the ingredients into a bowl. Let sit for 15 minutes or so. Dip the rope into the solution and have fun! My kids loved loved loved this especially my little girl, she was so good at it!

Balloon Rockets

We have been having a great summer. How is your going? It has been quite cold in June for swimming, so we created ways to entertain the kids and keep them away from the screen. We saw this post on Pinterest, and decided to create our own version outside.

All you need is:

  • Large balloons (this depends on the distance you want the rocket to travel, our was kind of far ;-))
  • Yarn
  • Duct tape (we tried painter’s tape and it did not work)
  • Straws
First, insert a straw in one of the ends of the yarn.
Then, you tie the yarn to both ends. We did it outside from one side to the fence to the other.

 Then you inflate the balloon, and attach a piece of tape to the top of the straw and the balloon. Do not tie it.

 Let it go all the way!! This is the tricky part. Some of our balloons would fall off the tape, that is why I suggest duct tape. Larger balloons will travel farther. The kids had a blast. I had a hard time picturing the balloons flying because I had to be helping the kids and taking the pictures with the other hand. I thought it was a cheap and fun activity to try!

Lava Lanterns

This has been a summer full of “science projects”! My sons always ask me why why and WHY for everything. They have a passion for learning and a big curiosity of how their world around them works. They asked me to do experiments with water. I told them once that oil and water do not mix and they asked me why. Since I am not a chemist nor will I write them the chemical formula of them, I simply told them that I had to show them. This common experiment made them see that they do not mix, PLUS it was neat to actually “SEE” with colors the suspended molecules. To answer their question “mom is it going to explode?” I said we can make it become like a volcano. So we turned the lava lamps into a lava volcano.
We used:

  • Alka Seltzer tablets
  • Food coloring
  • oil
  • water
  • empty water bottles
First, we filled the bottle 2/3 of the way with oil, and then we filled them with water.

They found out they do not mix! Why? because water is a polar molecule composed of a positive and a negative charge, so water molecules stick together. Oil molecules, positive and negative are further apart so oil becomes non polar. So when water molecules do not find a negative charge to bind to the oil, they bind to their negatively charged molecules, keeping the oil apart. My son kind of understood this concept because he was curious about how batteries worked and had a positive and negative sign on them!
We then added several drops of food coloring, they decided to try first with one color and then with several colors!

But what happens when we add Alka Seltzer? Lava lamp!

And what would happen if we keep adding Alka Seltzer tablets? The lava turns into a volcano!

Here is a picture of the one with mixed colors.

The kids loved them. They also put the caps on and shook them, but they found out it did not explode like they wanted to…
Come back for more science projects we have done!

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Summer Activities

My kids are so full of energy all the time that we have to be creative with them. In the summer they love to play outside, but they also have to have some kind of schedule. If the don’t, they get bored because there is nothing to follow and they feel there is nothing to do. So we created a Summer List and also a Summer Schedule.

This is our Summer List:
Water gun fight
Nerf fight
Make homemade ice cream
Camp in the backyard
Go to a Water Park
Go to Legoland
Go to the Zoo
Work in the house
Work to earn some money
Create our own holiday
Make a bird feeder
Chill and hang out lots and lots!!!

In the schedule I make sure there is enough play time. Usually they get up, have breakfast and we do a little bit of school (so they do not feel totally spaced out the first week of school). My oldest loves this.Then it is play time.Sometimes they play Wii (they are not allowed to play every day, and they Wii is actually a privilege, so it HAS TO BE EARNED depending on what the chore chart looks like!) or they play Legos, building forts, Hot Wheels, etc. Then at noon we have lunch and then it is “resting time,” consisting of a quiet movie or a good book, laying on the floor with their pillow pets. I sometimes read with them. After resting time it is play time again, and they usually play outside with the sprinklers and the slip n’ slide. We have dinner and then it is family time, we go for a walk, or do something in the house. After that it is shower time, reading scriptures and bed (we are bad at this one, sometimes bed time gets kind of late!)

I found out that my kids love to be organized and have something they can look at and know what they are supposed to do (that even includes a chore chart). So every month we do a theme of study (for school or reading time) that they pick out. June is History, so we have been going to the library and reading books about the history of the country. At the end of the month we will do a timetable and my oldest wants to do a presentation (to dad, I guess!) July is science and August is animals. They cannot stop learning. I tell them often how great is to be a child and create, imagine and explore.

We created a plan for every day of the week:
Monday: Backyard adventures (they plan and explore in the backyard, usually involves having fun with water)
Tuesday: Pool Day
Wednesday: mom works
Thursday: Park day ( we go to a different playground/ parks a week)
Friday: Library day, pizza and movie night
Saturday: family fun
Sunday: Family time day
This does not mean that we spend the whole day doing this, just part of the morning/afternoon.

Here are some pictures of the fun times:

 With a friend:

And here are some more ideas:

  1. Create your own board game
  2. Make “move night” in the back yard
  3. Make slime
  4. Make pudding paint (pudding + food coloring)
  5. Make a garden
  6. Play charades
  7. Camp in the backyard
  8. Find constellations or look at the stars at night
  9. Go to a “field trip” to a factory, pizzeria, etc
  10. Let them be chefs and cook a new recipe (even if it is gross…)
  11. Make plastic bottles rockets
  12. Make a baking soda volcano 
  13. Go to a dollar movie
  14. do a Pinewood Derby with legos
  15. Make homemade ice cream
  16. Don’t forget the LIBRARY story time!
  17. Check your local home improvement store and see if they have kids projects on Saturdays!
  18. Make a kite and fly it in the park
  19. Plant a vegetable you have not eaten before
  20. Make lunch sack puppets
  21. Make your own bubble solution (recipe coming in future post!)
  22. Have a water gun fight
  23. Have an Olympics day in the back yard with different stations (baseball, soccer, etc) 
  24. Make a movie
  25. Go fishing
  26. Go on a hike
  27. Go on a bike hike
  28. Make a lemonade stand to raise money for charity
  29. Give them jobs to do and pay them some money so they learn how to save
  30. Once in a while, have a lazy day
  31. Make your own stuffed animal
  32. Using big boxes, let them build their own house and decorate it inside using pictures of magazines, crayons, etc
  33. Create a music band using home made instruments!
  34. Go on a picnic
  35. Make sculpts using home made clay (more to come in another post)
  36. Make jewelry using dry pasta
  37. Play with home made Moon Sand (Recipe to come)
  38. Make own caramel candy
  39. Have a international day and cook foods from another countries
  40. Have a party and let your guests bring non perishable items to donate to a local pantry
  41. Learn words in another language
  42. Have a pajama day
  43. Make a wind chime using soda pop lids
  44. Write a comic book
  45. Make your own crayons
  46. Do a Christmas in July and exchange gifts from the Goodwill
  47. Do something nice for somebody else. Example volunteer to clean grandma’s garage, etc
  48. Make no sew “reading blanket” 
  49. Enjoy the beach!!!
  50. Make boats out or left over containers: soda pop, water bottles, juice boxes, and have a race in the tub or inflatable pool
I hope you like these ideas. The most important thing really is not WHAT you do but that you SPEND QUALITY TIME with yous kids! It does not have to be extraordinary. They sure will enjoy just reading a good book or they having your attention while they play in the inflatable pool.
Stay tuned! I’ll be posting pictures and recipes of our “science projects”!!!!

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