2012
Aug 08

Peanut Butter Play Dough

by Hannah Holt »

2 comments


For those who always wanted to eat play dough

(and some who already do).

What you’ll need:

  • 2/3 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp honey

1) Cream the peanut butter and half of the powdered sugar together. Gradually add the rest of the powdered sugar (the resulting mixture will be dry).

2) Beat in the honey. The dough should be firm but pliable, not too sticky.

3) Divide into six portions. Play with it or eat it or both.

4) Refrigerate or freeze any leftovers for another day.

My four and six year olds had a lot of fun playing with the dough. My eighteen month olds had a lot of fun eating it.

What else you can do with it?

Use it as the center for homemade chocolate peanut butter cups.

Warning… this is ridiculously yummy! Add a dash of vegetable oil to 1/2 cup of chocolate chips. Melt the chips in the microwave on high (stirring every 20 seconds until smooth). Using two teaspoons, put a little chocolate in the bottom of a few cupcake papers. Press the peanut butter dough into the chocolate and top with more chocolate. Let them set in the fridge for a couple hours.

Make double-trouble peanut butter cookies.

Place a ball of the peanut butter dough into the middle of your favorite peanut butter cookie recipe. Bake as usual. Enjoy the surprisingly soft and delicious center. The hubby and kids gave them a big thumbs up!

This recipe is like peanut butter Marzipan.

Enjoy!


2012
Aug 02

DIY: Glow-in-the-Dark* Paint

by Hannah Holt »

7 comments


This paint glows under black light.* With only two ingredients, it’s completely non-toxic (you could eat it), and it will brighten any black light party.

What you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup tonic water
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch

1) Pour the tonic water into a small bowl and let it rest until it loses its fizzy.

2) Stir the two ingredients together.

3) Using paint brushes, decorate colored construction paper, skin, or other non-phosphorescent surfaces. (Most white papers won’t work because they also glow under black light. I used black construction paper.)

While working on my Spicy Alphabet book, I learned that tonic water glows under black light. I have a black light at home (who doesn’t?), so I tested it out.

It turns out tonic water ice cubes also glow under black light:

As does boiling tonic water:

Here’s the paint applied to my face:

When working on this post, I first tried adding tonic water to a variety of paints. None of them worked. The pigments in the dyes seemed to block tonic water’s glow. Finally my husband and I walked around our kitchen waving the black light over all the foods in our pantry. Cornstarch had the best luminescence, hence this recipe. We tried a few different ratios. The one-to-one ratio had a good consistency.

Most of my projects involve a lot of trial and error. Here’s a video I shared on my Facebook Page a while ago (from my Summer Science series):

What can I say? I like to play!

Happy painting!


2012
Jul 20

New to the Library: Spicy Alphabet

by Hannah Holt »

31 comments


It’s been a while since I’ve added anything to the reading library. Sorry about that. Life has been as crazy as two babies dancing on a window ledge.

However, I’m excited to show you my latest addition.

Click the bookshelf and read it now!

In the mean time, I’d love to hear about your favorite spices, and your thoughts on this book.


2012
Jun 21

Red, White, and Blue Meringues

by Hannah Holt »

2 comments


Meringue cookies are a delicious and low calorie addition to your festivities.

What you’ll need:

  • 6 egg whites (divided into three bowls, 2 egg whites/bowl)
  • 1 1/2 tsp cream of tartar (1/2 tsp per bowl)
  • 1 six ounce package black berry fusion Jell-O
  • 1 six ounce package berry blue Jell-O
  • 2/3 cups ultra fine sugar (regular granulated will work in a pinch)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Makes a boat-load of cookies (72 cookies!).

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Bowl #1 – Red

Let the egg whites sit until they are room temperature. Beat 2 egg whites until frothy and add 1/2 tsp cream of tarter. Continue beating until the mixture has soft peaks (fluffy and white but not tight). Add the black berry fusion Jell-O one tablespoon at a time until it is all combined. Beat the mixture until it forms stiff peaks (if you dip a spoon in and bring it out, the spike left behind will hold its shape). Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray and using two spoons, spoon cookies onto the tray. This bowl will make 24 cookies. (You will probably need two cookies sheets)

Place the cookie sheets in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. While the first batch is baking let’s move on to Bowl #2.

Bowl #2 – Blue

Beat 2 egg whites until frothy and add 1/2 tsp cream of tarter. Continue beating until the mixture has soft peaks. Add the berry blue Jell-O one tablespoon at a time until it is all combined. Beat the mixture until it forms stiff peaks. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray and using two spoons, spoon cookies onto the tray. This bowl will make 24 cookies.

Once Bowl #1 cookies are finished baking, place these cookies in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. While this batch is baking let’s move on to Bowl #3.

Bowl #3 – White

Beat 2 egg whites until frothy and add 1/2 tsp cream of tarter. Continue beating until the mixture has soft peaks. Gradually add the white sugar into the mixture until it is all combined. Add the vanilla. Beat the mixture until it forms stiff peaks. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray and using two spoons, spoon cookies onto the tray. This bowl will make 24 cookies. (Again, you will probably need two cookies sheets, but the cookies sheets from batch #1 are probably cool. So you can use these.)

Once Bowl #2 cookies are finished baking, place these cookies in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.

Tips:

  • This recipe makes a monster batch. I suspect you might be able to half the recipe and use 3 oz Jell-O packets. However, I haven’t tried it, so let me know if it works for you.
  • Also meringue cookies form best in a dry kitchen. If you have a lot of humidity, your meringues will sweat and melt.
  • Your beaters should be oil free. Avoid plastic bowls as these retain oil from previous uses. No egg yolks should be present in your meringues, or they won’t set.
  • Cooking meringues for 20 minutes at a time will yield delicious but marshmallow like (soft) cookies. If you like hard and crisp meringues, then place the cookies in the oven, turn off the heat, and let them sit undisturbed for 2 hours (or overnight). This will yield the drier cookie. However, this method just wasn’t practical with the number of batches I was making.
  • This method will work with other colors of Jell-O, too! (Like, red and green at Christmastime.)

2012
Jun 14

Summer Science Projects: Physics

by Hannah Holt »

14 comments


Launch imagination into orbit with these fun physics activities!

#1) Balloon Rockets

  • Oblong balloons
  • Construction paper
  • Tape
  • Straws
  • Fishing line (we used a nylon chord, but fishing line would have worked better)

Use construction paper to build the rockets (make sure a balloon will fit inside). Cut the straw into a three inch tube and tape this to the back of the rocket. Thread the straw onto the fishing line. Fill the balloon with air and pinch (but don’t tie) the end. Place the balloon inside the rocket. Release and watch it fly.

Discussion Topic: Potential vs. Kinetic Energy

Two sentence explanation: When you blow up a balloon you pressurize it (like stretching a rubber band). When you let go of the balloon’s end, you change stored (or potential) energy into moving (or kinetic) energy.

Follow up questions: Could you design a balloon rocket that will go down the string AND come back? What other ways can you store energy (gravitational, elastic, chemical)?

#2) “POP” Bottle Projectile

  • a one liter plastic bottle
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 3/4 cups vinegar
  • a cork (or a potato cut to fit the top of your bottle)
  • a funnel (to help pour the vinegar into the bottle)

Fill the plastic bottle with baking soda. Pour the vinegar into the bottle and quickly cork the bottle. In 2-3 seconds watch the cork fly. (Make sure it isn’t pointed at anyone.)

Discussion Topic: Gravity

Two sentence explanation: Gravity attracts (or pulls) everything on the surface of the earth downwards. The pull of earth’s gravity will eventually overcome the push the cork received from the bottle and pull it back to earth. (You could also test gravity by throwing a ball into the air, but where’s the fun in that?)

Follow up questions: Can you change how far the cork travels by switching the amounts of vinegar and baking soda? What if you changed the angle of the bottle from launch? What if you changed the substance of the cork to something like a wet paper wad?

Tips: It’s important that the cork have a tight fit. If you have a slow leak, the cork won’t pop. Also, you can use a different sized bottle than the one liter; however, you’ll have to play around with the vinegar and  baking soda ratios.

#3) Win a Quarter Trick

  • Four baseballs
  • A quarter
  • Masking tape
  • A measuring stick
  • A length of PVC pipe (for a cue stick)

This is an old pool hall trick, except we are doing it with baseballs and PVC pipe. If you can knock a quarter (or silver dollar) out of a circle you get to keep it, but the trick is it’s almost impossible.

Here’s the set up: create a two foot diameter circle using the masking tape, and place one baseball in the center of the circle. Balance a quarter on top of that baseball. Place the other baseballs outside the circle. Hit an outer baseball with the PVC pipe such that it knocks the ball in the middle. If the ball leaves the circle without hitting the other ball, try again. The goal is to knock the quarter out of the circle by “shooting pool.”

Discussion Topic: Newton’s First Law– Something won’t move unless something else pushes it.

Two sentence explanation: The quarter (most likely) won’t leave the circle because nothing hits it directly. When one ball collides with the other, the ground is knocked out from underneath the quarter, but there is no forward push. (Think of ripping a tablecloth out from under a bowl.)

Follow up questions: What would you have to do to knock the quarter out of the circle? Can you design any other games with balls and the two foot circle? What if you tried this set up with bouncy balls or soccer balls?

If you liked this post, you might also like Summer Science Projects: Biology, or Summer Science Projects: Chemistry.

Recap: For the past three weeks, our household has been on a science quest. We’ve learned many things. Like, oblong carnival balloons are a riot to have around the house.

However, more importantly, I’ve seen a big difference in the inquisitiveness of my boys (ages four and six). After the first couple of experiments, they started designing their own. Even within the tailored projects here, I was impressed by the range of creativity they expressed. I plan to run at least one science related experiment a week with them; however, I probably won’t post these here. If you’d like to keep up with our summer science projects, follow my Kid Craft Ideas page on Pinterest.