THE NANA FILES (aka: Summer Fun: July Edition – Part 2)

After Papa Jack’s birthday celebration on Monday, some storms rolled into our area (see the first post Summer Fun: July Edition by clicking here).

We woke up Tuesday morning to more storms with no chance of them clearing any time soon.  Swimming was obviously out of the question for the day, soooo, I had to pull out THE NANA FILES (aka: Pinterest ideas) to keep the kids busy and occupied.

After a little breakfast and a few cartoon shows, I completed setting up for the first activity.  I had purchased some little packages to “Grow Your Own Crystals.”  Each grandchild stirred the granules in the warm water (with a little help from Nana) and then poured them over the stones we placed in the little container.

Jade went first and chose the pink crystals.

Jade went first and chose the pink crystals.

Next it was Kylee's turn.

Next it was Kylee’s turn.  She chose purple.

Last, but certainly not least, Jackson mixed up his granules.

Last, but certainly not least, Jackson mixed up his green granules.

This is what they looked like after we completed all the directions.







Now on to the next activity.

Did you know that baking soda and vinegar are interesting ingredients to play with?  When you put vinegar in baking soda, it results in a bubbling reaction.  Kids love to watch it bubble!  Add in a variety of food coloring and you can make designs and pictures.

I mixed up small cups of vinegar with food coloring.  Each grandchild had four cups with colored vinegar (red, blue, green, and yellow) and an eye dropper.  I also gave them a cup with water to “rinse out” their eye dropper.  I used tin foil cake pans (the cheapest ones worked just fine and clean-up was a snap: just throw them away!) and filled the bottom with baking soda about an inch deep.

Once I showed them how to drop the colored vinegar solution in the baking soda, they got really creative.  Needless to say, they were occupied for quite some time — almost TWO HOURS!  I had purchased the largest box of cheap baking soda I could find (it almost looked like a cereal box it was so big!), so when the kids covered up all their baking soda with colored vinegar, I just poured on more baking soda and they started designing again.  It was fun to watch them play with it.







Running out of places to “color.”

It's getting a little "soup-y."

It’s getting a little “soup-y.”

I’d say they had fun playing around with this!

After lunch I invoked the rainy day Nana option:  TAKE THE GRANDKIDS TO THE MOVIES!  We went to the theater in our small town and saw Turbo.  It was a cute movie about a snail who wants to go fast and race.  It kind of had a moral to the story:  You CAN do anything you want if you just work hard and put your mind to it.

“What was the best part of the movie?” you ask.  I’ll tell you:  THE POPCORN WAS FREE!  Yes, I said FREE!  At our local theater, if you bring your own bowl to the movie on Mondays or Tuesdays, you get popcorn free.  🙂

All in all, the stormy, rainy day turned out pretty fun!

ALL THOSE PLASTIC BAGS: Blessing or Curse?

If you are like me, you like to save things “just in case” you might find a use for them sometime in the future.  Most teachers I know (myself included) are VERY good at “hoarding” things that might be useful for just about anything in the classroom:  a Science lesson (or ANY subject), learning centers, an art project, a craft idea for Mother’s Day gifts….I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea!  I hate to dispose of things that could be used in another way.  If I do happen to decide to throw something away, it isn’t but a few weeks before I’m wishing I hadn’t thrown it out because something has come up and I NEED the item I threw away.  Grrrrr!

Enter the dreaded PLASTIC GROCERY BAGS!  We all get them when we go shopping – grocery shopping, Wal-Mart shopping, Dollar Store shopping, department store shopping, etc.  You name it.  Chances are if you buy something ANYWHERE, you are taking it home in some kind of plastic bag!  Since they are plastic, I hate to throw them away for two reasons:  I might be able to use them for something sooner or later, and they are not bio-degradable, so I don’t want them in the local landfill.  I bet I had HUNDREDS of them before I took them back to the recycle box at the store a couple of weeks ago.

Recently I was browsing through Pinterest, and came across a really good idea, so I repinned it to my board titled Really Good Ideas. I know…I couldn’t resist.  Anyway, a friend had pinned this idea from Polka Dot Pineapple’s blog on how to store those plastic bags that are such a nuisance.  You won’t believe how incredibly simple this idea is (check out her blog:!  I thought it was such a good idea that I wanted to share it with you.  Soooo, the idea is hers, but the pictures are mine.

Remember when you were in Middle School (or Junior High as it was called in my day), and you had something to share with a friend and it JUST couldn’t wait until the class was over?  How did we solve that problem?  We wrote NOTES, of course, and passed them in class!  BTW….Middle Schoolers still do that, and they think we teachers don’t have a clue about it!  Haha!  We invented the passing of notes in class!  Anyway, do you remember the cute little triangle shape we would fold that note into before passing it?  Well, that is what we are going to do to our plastic sacks.  We are going to fold it into a triangle and tuck in the handles.  Here we go:

Here is the mess of plastic bags I got today when I went to pick up a few groceries (8 total).

Here are the bags after I tried to “wad” them up…like I used to do before stuffing them into a paper grocery bag (YES! I had a few of the original PAPER grocery bags!)

They aren’t much smaller, are they?

First thing we are going to do is flatten and smooth out our bag.  You will need to pull on one of the handles while holding on to the bottom of the sack to tuck the side “pleat” back into the bag.  Do both sides.

Now the bag is flat and all the air has been pushed out as you have smoothed out the wrinkles.  Next you will fold the bag in half (handle to handle), and then you will fold it in half again.

Next you will start at the bottom of the bag and fold one corner up and across making a small triangle.  It doesn’t matter if you start on the left or the right side.

Now you will fold that triangle straight up.

While you’re folding, press and smoothe to keep air out of the bag.  Next fold the corner on the same side as the triangle up and across to form another triangle. On mine I would fold the left bottom corner up and across.

Now fold it straight up again.

Keep on folding triangles and then straight up until you get close to the top.  Just the handles will be left.

Now you are going to tuck the handles into the last triangle.  You should be able to find two layers of plastic to tuck in the handles (Can you see the two layers in the above picture with my hand?).  Just keep pushing the handles in (they don’t have to be neat) until they “disappear.”

That was easy, wasn’t it?  Did it bring back memories from Junior High?  Now your plastic bag is very small.  It won’t take up much space and won’t become a big mess as it “un-wads” after you have wadded it up.

Look at how little space those 8 bags take up now:

I know you must be thinking, “That takes too much time!”  After you do several, you will get much faster at folding them.  I folded all 8 bags in less than 5 minutes.  I bet you could store more than 100 plastic bags in a small Bath and Body Works handle bag because they take up so little space folded this way.  In they go:

I hope you will benefit from this technique of folding and storing all those pesky, plastic grocery bags!  At least until you take them to the recycle box.    🙂