How to See More Rainbows by Marilyn Ostermiller

Would you like to see more rainbows? You must be in the right place at the right time.

It’s not just a matter of luck when we look into the sky on a rainy day and spot a glorious arc. The sun has to be shining behind you and rain or mist or spray must be in front of you. That’s when you are in the perfect spot to enjoy one.

Rainbows occur when sunlight and rain combine in a very specific way. When a beam of sunlight travels toward Earth, the light is white. But, if the light beam happens to hit raindrops at a certain angle on the way down, the different colors that make up the beam separate so that we can see them as a rainbow.

The angle for each color of a rainbow is different, because the colors slow down at different speeds when they enter the raindrop. The light exits the raindrop in one color, depending on the angle it came in, so we see only one color coming from each raindrop. Light at different angles coming through many raindrops form the rainbow that we see.

The spectrum of colors is always in the same order with red at the top, followed by orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. (ROY G BIV is an easy way to remember the order)

April, with its famous showers, is a good time to be on the alert for rainbows. But if Mother Nature doesn’t provide one when you are in the mood, you can create a miniature one for yourself with a garden hose. Meteorologist Joe Rao suggests you simply stand with your back to the sun and adjust the hose to a fine spray. Rainbows can also be seen against the spray of a waterfall.

There are even ways to use water, mirrors and windows to form rainbows in the house. For instructions, visit www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Rainbow

Rainbows are the subject of several children’s picture books including nonfiction books that explain the science behind the beauty and fictional story books. 

Among them:

Ready-to-Read Level One Rainbow. Newbery Honor recipient and New York Times bestselling author Marion Dane Bauer teaches beginning readers about rainbows in this one. It is illustrated by John Wallace.

A Rainbow of My Own, by Don Freeman. A small boy imagines what it would be like to have his own rainbow to play with.

Marilyn Ostermiller is a long-time business journalist who now writes for children. You can follow her on Twitter @Marilyn_Suzanne.

 

 

 

Linda Kelley Gets Crafty.

I came across crafter LINDA KELLEY’s site and found lots of projects perfect for family fun.  Here is a sample of some spring time crafts you and your kids can do at home, thanks to Linda’s great instructions.

Where Creativity and Imagination Creates Wonderful Ideas for Your Home!

Hi! My name is Linda Kelley..Welcome to my site!!!    
I started this site because I love to DIY, and I love sharing my ideas with others.
I love creating new ideas. And now that I am happily retired, I have lots more time to create them! Whether its crafts for decorating my home, or up cycling items I find at garage sales, thrift stores, and even on the curb, and turning them into something wonderful.
Most of my projects are of my own creation…if I should find a project that I want to try, I usually try to tweak it, either in design or cost. I always look for a way to decrease cost!

 

 

RAINY DAY FUN

To get the kids away from TV and video games when you’re stuck indoors due to bad weather, try some old fashioned fun. BUILD A FORT: Throw a sheet over the table and you have an instant hide-out. A backpack or shopping bag can hold all the survival items such as a flashlight, paper and crayons, books, snacks, bottled water, camera. Eat camping food like hotdogs and beans, and help your child toast marshmallows on the flame of the gas stove. Bring in a sleeping bag or blanket and pillow and it becomes a sleepover they’ll talk about for days afterwards.

8cxkapj5iTry some different table activities to while away the time. Color, draw, and make silly “creatures” out of paper, Popsicle sticks and whatever scraps are available. Put On A Show, using these creations as puppets.  Or, let the stuffed toys become puppets in a show. Sing, dance and tell silly jokes, just like they did in the days of Vaudeville.

Make Your Own Play Dough: Here are two variations – one of which is edible!

PLAY DOUGH – Let your child help measure and mix: 1 C flour, 1 C water, 1 T. veg. oil, ½ C salt, 1 tsp. Cream of Tartar, food coloring.

– Cook over med. Heat until mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan and looks like dough.

– Knead until cool. Store in airtight container.

Or try this recipe for Edible Peanut Butter Play Dough

-1 18-oz. jar creamy peanut butter, 6 table spoons of honey, 3/4 cup non-fat dry milk.

– Mix all the ingredients together, using varying amounts of dry milk for desired consistency. Kids also like to add other foods like M&M’s, raisins, or peanuts for facial features, etc.

You can get more ideas for rainy day edibles from this awesome website: http://www.makeplaydough.com

ENJOY AND HAPPY RAINY DAY!  What are YOUR favorite activities for a rainy day?

Irish Soda Bread…AGAIN…Because it’s Delicious!

I first ran this recipe in 2014 but everywhere I go, people comment on the moistness and light sweetness of this bread, so here it is…in time for ST. PATRICK’S DAY.

This recipe for Soda Bread is more moist than many thanks to the buttermilk.  If you can’t find buttermilk, use regular plain yogurt (NOT Greek).

Irish Soda Bread

4 C flour (I use 1C whole wheat)       ½ C sugar       1 T baking powder

1 t salt               1 t baking soda         1 C. raisins plumped (see note)

 4 T melted butter        1 ½ C buttermilk      1 lg. egg

  1. Preheat oven to 375.  Grease and flour a round pan or cookie sheet.
  2. In large bowl, combine flour, sugar, powder and salt.
  3. Pour melted butter into dry ingredients and mix until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Stir in raisins.
  4. In a separate bowl beat buttermilk, egg and baking soda.  Add to flour mix until blended.
  5. Turn dough onto floured surface, and knead until smooth – about 1 minute.  If dough is sticky, flour your hands as you knead.  Shape dough into two round loaves.  soda bread 1
  6. Place dough in prepared pan. With a sharp knife, make 2 crisscross slits in dough.
  7. Bake for 45-60 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry.  Let rest for 10 minutes before removing from the pan.
  8. Serve sliced with butter or jam.  Bet you can’t eat just one piece!

soda bread 2

NOTE: Pour boiling water over the raisins and let them stand for 5 minutes to soften.  Drain and pat dry.

 

Shake Off the Winter Blahs.

 I recently visited the Art Museum on the Princeton University campus. It was great for three reasons. First of all, it’s free. There aren’t many places of culture and enlightenment nowadays that can boast that. And, the collection has something for everyone.  There are sculptures and pottery over 4,000 years old, paintings done by ANDY WARHOL, and everything in between.

The third reason it was a great visit is because where else but an art museum provides peace, quiet, and contemplation along with some magnificent objects of beauty? Being in such an environment frees the mind and allows all sorts of creative energy to enter. Writers who are struggling with writer’s block might find inspiration looking at any painting or sculpture, and stories begin to spring into mind. WHY did the artist choose such a subject? WHAT IF the subject were alive today? WHAT would she/he have to say?  The possibilities for story are endless.

Let the kids go on a SCAVENGER HUNT, searching for specific art pieces throughout the day.  Many museums have programs geared specifically for children.

So, if you feel as if you’re in a rut and need some CHANGE to jump start the muse, visit the Princeton University Art Museum – or ANY art museum and let your imagination run wild. Take notes, snap photos and just doodle in a notebook. You never know, it may be the start of something wonderful. artmuseum.princeton.edu

Didn’t someone say “a picture is worth a thousand words?”

Happy Chinese New Year: Easy Dragon Craft

The Chinese New Year will be celebrated on Saturday 1-28-2017.  It is the YEAR OF THE ROOSTER.  Why not have your kids join in the festivities by making their own CHINESE DRAGON PUPPETS.

Here is all you need (with scissors, tacky glue and some bag clips to hold pieces in place):

2016-01-16-19-52-20I used thin foam pieces for the head and tail, and card stock for the head fin and middle section.  You can also use craft paper for the whole thing, or felt and ribbons or yarn for the mid-section.  Pipe cleaners are another option for the mid section or stems. Let your imagination go for creative designs.

Using the pattern pieces below, cut the number of pieces indicated and set aside.

2016-01-16-19-53-12

 

If you’re using paper for the midsection, fold it accordion style as shown here:

2016-01-16-21-09-48Make it as long as you like…it actually looks best when the middle is long and twisting.

Assemble the head by inserting the fin between the two pieces.  Glue in place.   Insert the sticks (I used wooden skewers) between the head pieces and tail pieces.  Insert the ends of the midsection into these pieces as shown.  Glue in place and clip to hold together until it dries.

2016-01-16-21-26-15        2016-01-16-21-26-27Add a googlie eye or draw facial features with a Sharpie marker.  Don’t forget to put features on both sides!

 

Hold the sticks at both ends to make the Dragon move.

Here’s another version of a dragon puppet:  http://www.redtedart.com/chinese-new-year-craft-dragon-puppet-free-printable/

For more activities and easy crafts to celebrate the Year of the Rooster visit:

http://www.enchantedlearning.com/crafts/chinesenewyear/

Happy New Year!

2016-01-16-21-27-40

More Summer Fun and Games.

It only feels like summer is over.  There is still plenty of time for fun and games.  If your kids are bored or you just want them to enjoy some fun away from technology, check out these sites for some ideas:

  1.  For some old-fashioned jump rope rhymes try:

http://www.gameskidsplay.net/jump_rope_ryhmes/jump_miss_susie.htm

2.  For imaginative platy and telling stories with nature here’s a wonderful site hosted by my writer friend Katey Howes:  http://kateywrites.wordpress.com/2015…th-nature/

3.  For great summer crafts for kids of all ages:

http://www.spoonful.com/summer/summer-crafts

Here’s another site for dozens of ideas for summer or rainy days.  This site even has light sabers, salt dough dinosaurs, bubble art, weaving, and plastic flowers to name just a few.

https://www.buzzfeed.com/nataliebrown/impossibly-cool-crafts-that-will-blow-your-kids-minds?utm_term=.eodvM0BGa&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Parents%20622&utm_content=Parents%20622+CID_21d3394b54b860e27a06b21dbba3384c&utm_source=BuzzFeed%20Newsletters#.hqnXJNkVY

Other ideas:  Make ice pops by putting your favorite juice in paper cups with a popsicle or craft stick resting in each.  Freeze until firm.  Tear away the paper and enjoy.    Water balloon catch is perfect for a hot afternoon.  Bubbles provide endless hours of fun for even the youngest kids. Go on a NATURE WALK and look for things in unexpected places.  Even in your own back yard you can find nests of birds, rabbits, a butterfly chrysalis, caterpillars and the like.  Nurture the young scientists in your house and discover the wonders of the great outdoors.

What do you like to do for fun?!