Stupid Penny Batteries Part I: FAIL

©2014 Beret Olsen
©2014 Beret Olsen

posted by Beret

Ages:  Persons of most any age can do this project as unsuccessfully as I did.

I had such a good time making lemon batteries last year that I got VERY EXCITED when I discovered another way to make batteries out of ordinary, every day objects. Lemon batteries were awesome. Lemon batteries were easy. So why not try penny batteries? I’ll tell you.    Continue reading “Stupid Penny Batteries Part I: FAIL”

A Blast from the Past

Gina and Beret are mostly off-duty this week, but we thought we’d remind you of a few past projects to tide you over during what remains of the holidays. Here are projects that are easy, fun, and use common household materials. String of lights? Check. Alka-Seltzer? Check. Put those holiday items to a new use. Continue reading “A Blast from the Past”

Cereal Box Night-lights

posted by Gina

Is it true, you ask?  Is it really true that with just a cereal box, a pushpin, and a string of lights I can make something incredibly, incredibly nifty?  Is it true that this nifty thing can serve as a homemade gift, a fender-offer of monsters below the bed, and a task that will keep my child occupied for a fairly long time?  All these things, my friend, are true.

I saw this crafty idea somewhere, and it’s been lurking about in my head as one of those “there’s no way this can possibly look that good” ideas.  But behold:

DSCN0785
IT’S ALL TRUE

I mean, that’s pretty impressive.  And not at all difficult to achieve.  Continue reading “Cereal Box Night-lights”

Make Your Own Play-Doh

posted by Gina

Who doesn’t love Play-Doh?

There’s something for all ages – from the mucking-about-with-it Pre-K-style to the sculpt-yourself-some-impressive-creations (I’m looking at you, Josie) up-through-6th-Grade-or-so style.

But it dries out.  The colors get muddled.  And you find yourself not wanting to shell out for yet another set of little yellow tubs.

Fear not, my friends – because it is insanely easy to make Play-Doh at home.  Continue reading “Make Your Own Play-Doh”

Ice Cream in a Bag!

©2013 Beret Olsen
©2013 Beret Olsen

posted by Beret

Ages: Any, though the very young will get tired of shaking long before the ice cream is ready.

My kids never took to Sesame Street, or Mickey Mouse, or the Disney Channel; they didn’t care for children’s movies, either. For the most part, I appreciated that, and enjoyed my Dora-free existence. It did become an issue, however, when I desperately needed to make a phone call, or do my homework, or even just have five minutes of unchaperoned time in the bathroom.

As the girls got older, they got better at amusing themselves from time to time, but sick days remained problematic. I would eventually run out of patience with Barbies (for the moderately ill) and with ladling tea and stroking hair (for the flu victims). Unfortunately, my youngest was frequently fighting some bug or another. I heard myself asking: please, please, wouldn’t you like to watch twenty minutes of television? Sadly, no.

But one day last January, my seven-year-old got a glimpse of the Food Network. Now I have that “be careful what you wish for,” kind of feeling. “That’s not how you do a chiffonade,” Josie told me later, as I chopped mint for the top of a fruit salad. “I think there has been a misunderstanding,” she said another time, catching me frosting her fancy ganache-filled mocha birthday cupcakes with a tub of Betty Crocker vanilla.

What can I possibly make for dinner now, when both girls are glued to Iron Chef Morimoto‘s every move?    Continue reading “Ice Cream in a Bag!”

Duct Tape Wallets

©2012 Beret Olsen

posted by Beret

Age Range:  7 and up, although kids under ten will need a fair amount of assistance getting their tape strips to behave.

Perhaps due to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s famed duct tape alert, I started buying duct tape long before I knew what to do with it besides tape stuff together.  I had rolls and rolls of it just laying around, waiting for something to break.  Thank goodness a friend of mine was trapped in her house with two kids for several very long and rainy days.  She’s the one who gave me a few ideas to get started.

The great thing is that duct tape is like legos.  You can make anything with it, from flip flops to prom dresses.    Continue reading “Duct Tape Wallets”