Tot School: Make Your Own Fireflies In A Jar And A Printable

8.21.2014

School is back in session at the Rodriguez casa! Tot school, that is. We took a break from doing our tot school activity time because that is what summer is for, but are ready to get back on the educational train. 

This week we learned about fireflies, for purely nostalgic reasons. Around this time two years ago, I saw my very first fireflies when we were visiting Matt's parents back in Chicago. Dusk drifted in and those magical, glowing creatures came alive. I felt like I was watching fairies or something, and got giddy at the sight of it. Those little buggers are pretty dang magnificent, so I wanted to teach Luke all about the cool bugs at Nanny and Papa's house. I knew it would be an instant hit, and I was right!

We made our own glowing fireflies in a jar, watched a video about fireflies, and colored a printable.

Here's what you need to make your own glowing fireflies in a jar:

-a mason jar
-fake floral buds or pom poms (plastic toy beetles or flies would obviously be more realistic, but I couldn't find any and wanted them to look round when they glow in the dark)
-glow spray paint
-thread
-tape
-grass, leaves and sticks for the bug jar



Directions:

1. On wax paper, spray your glow paint onto your balls or pom poms in a well-ventilated area. Give them three coats of paint — the more coats, the brighter they will glow! Let dry for 15-20 minutes.

2. While they are drying, tape three 3-inch pieces of thread to the inside lid of the mason jar. Make sure they are evenly spaced so they hang correctly.

3. Fill your jar with all your nature fixings and findings. Throw a few ants in there to give it a real dramatic effect!

4. Once the "fireflies" are done drying, tie then onto the string and close the lid. Make sure to sit them by bright light for a bit to get that glowing juice. Then go into a dark space and see your fireflies glow!



Luke kept staring into his jar and was completely mesmerized. After about twenty trips in and out of the bathroom to see the "bio-woom-a-ness" in action (bioluminescence — yes, I taught my 2-year old that word; we have Ivy League universities to prepare for, people), we watched a short video presentation all about fireflies on our new Intel 2 in 1.


We were graciously given this Dell Inspiron to review, and we have loved it so far. Matt has always had a Dell of some sort, whereas I have always been an Apple person, so it has been fun testing it out. It is both a laptop and a tablet, which is genius engineering if you ask me. With my laptop, it always bothers me I can't touch the screen to click or select something as you would with a tablet, and I always get frustrated trying to type out lengthy things on tablets. Thanks for solving this problem, Intel! You rule. That incredible price point of $400 isn't too shabby either, especially for students. (Much better than the $1,500+ you'd shell out for a Macbook and iPad.)


After the video, we went over the basic concepts of what a firefly is and how it works in terms that Luke could understand. We then set off to coloring this firefly printable coloring page. It is both a counting and coloring activity, and wrapped up the tot school day perfectly. 



This was the perfect lesson to get back into the swing of things. What boy doesn't love bugs? I hope you can find some time to enjoy one or all of these activities with your little one! Happy tot schooling!

Disclosure: This product was sponsored and provided courtesy of Intel, however all opinions are my own.

Are You A Minivan or SUV Mom?

8.20.2014





(Image source. This one is also hilarious.)

You guys, I have a confession. I drive a minivan...

And I LOVE it!

I never thought in all of my life that I would be the proud owner of the ultimate mom vehicle, but it is probably one of the top five greatest life choices I've made yet. Dual sliding doors, 8-seater, great gas mileage, etc. It is probably the most economical and mature choice we've made, that's for certain. We even went so far as to name her, which is something I've never done with my cars before, and proves my attachment to the big hunk of metal. (We call her Delilah.) I'm telling you, minivans are the up and coming thing, people. Consider it an extension of the Normcore trend. I mean, really, what goes better with a pair of sneakers, mom jeans, and a baseball cap? BING-O! You nailed it. A MINIVAN.

I suppose there are some of you out there who don't share my enthusiasm for God's gift to parents (besides the obvious little creatures that go in it and systematically destroy it), and that's where the SUV comes in. I get it, I get it. It's more sleek, probably a bit more masculine for all the dudes out there, and just feels a little less, "I'm covered in Cheerios and haven't slept in over two years" and more, "I am cool, calm, collected and I still got it."

So, I want to open this very real parental debate to all of you fine people. If you have children, are expecting children, or plan to have children someday, there will come a time in your life when you will have to choose. What say ye?

Minivan or SUV?

A Random Thing Or Two-sday

8.19.2014



H&M Cotton Top
Old Navy Printed Jersey Pencil Skirt
H&M Handbag (similar)
Marc Fisher Leotie Sandals

1. I am really digging the mule/bootie trend thing for fall. Ahh, yes, yet another ugly shoe craze that has resurrected from the 90's. But an ugly trend I love! (See also: Birkenstocks.) Mules are probably the most comfortable type of heel. I scored these babies on clearance, and I figure since I live in year-round warm weather, this sandal pair are perfect. Although, my inner Rachel Green will probably lose all willpower and buckle under the pressure to buy this pair. And I will blame it all on Elaine Benes!

2. Fact: Because of noise laws and regulations, certain clubs in Europe have "silent discos" where everyone jams out to the music on their wireless headphones instead of collectively listening to it through loud speakers (source). The visual I get from this is one of pure awkwardness, and zombies.

3. On Sunday night, Wes was just crying and crying, simply for the fact that nobody would pick him up and he had to play on his own for five minutes. (First world baby problems, I tell you.) Benny clearly understood his plight of being ignored and started howling along with Wesley's wails. Matt captured it only for a couple of seconds, since I ruined the AFV moment by running downstairs and distracting them from their howling/crying sesh in my own attempt to film it, but it is hilarious and you have to watch it.

4. I am still having Bachelorette withdrawals — heck, I am still having Gossip Girl withdrawals — and Monday nights are a melancholy time for me. Now I guess I know how Matt feels when it's not football season. Or any dude for that matter. Oh man, football season. This commercial is a very accurate representation of my general demeanor during the months of September through January in regard to the programs blaring from our television (sure, it may be sexist, but I think it is hilarious since it does apply to our household.) Maybe Benny will share my plight in that as well, and we can howl over his empty food dish together for the next four months.

5. Would you rather live in a world with no movies or television, or in a world with no iTunes or any type of professionally recorded music?

And today we have this handsome fellow filling in for Matt the Fashion Blogger! We call this pose "The Great Flight" because it's the position one assumes when about to take a leaping jump. Luke has it perfected. And thanks to Young & Rad for sending us this rad tank!

Why We Have An Awesome Marriage

8.18.2014










"Happy Birt-day, Daddy!" Luke chirped all day long on Matt's birthday back in June. (This post has been sitting in the drafts for two months now because I am fabulously talented at procrastinating — I should write a "how to" post on it!) We were celebrating the big two-nine for Matt, which is a big deal when you think about it, as it's the final page in the twenties chapter of life. The day was mellow in birthday standards with a simple lunch and a cookies and cream pie masquerading as a cake, since the store was all out of ice cream cakes and our baking supplies were all packed away for our impending move.

As I watched Matt hug onto Wes as he blew out his candles, and stick his finger in the pie-posing-as-cake for a taste of the icing with Luke, my heart tripled in size and was overcome with an incredible amount of love and admiration for him. How could it be that on this sixth birthday we celebrated of his together as a couple, I found myself more head over heels than I did on the first? I mean, marriage is challenging and aggravating, and surely the law of diminishing returns applies to it, right?

Wrong.

I am definitely one of those people who bores easily, and when I was younger I was afraid I would never be able to get or stay married because of my ever-changing interests. My relationships never lasted more than a few months at best, or they were casual and noncommittal in nature, so nothing serious ever evolved. I loved the idea of love, and was a self-proclaimed hopeless romantic. Frequent nights full of tears and gallons of empty ice cream containers were spent watching The Notebook, An Affair To Remember, and The Holiday, because someday that would be me. It had to be! I was true love's biggest fan, but why couldn't I figure out how to be the leading lady in my own love story? Iris Simpkins was TOTALLY me (except I had Cameron Diaz's haircut), to the point where I would pathetically bawl along with her and had her opening monologue memorized. (And this is funny now looking back on it, but the guy kissing at the beginning has always reminded me of Matt. Conscious coupling for the win!) What was the missing link in all of my miserably failed relationships?

Answer: self-respect and a nice guy.

I think the saying, "nice guys always finish last" applies to clueless, immature people in search of unrealistic, passion-only romances. It's like that awful Eminem and Rihanna song (you know the one) is the anthem for their terrible relationships, and having an insane amount of drama is the catalyst for the ultimate expression of the emotion they think is love. But guess what? Those stories mostly end the same, with the result being a burnt down house and loneliness. And there is most likely a huge hole where a heart once was, and when they are standing there in the middle of the huge pile of crap they've created, with nobody by their side, THAT is when they realize nice guys actually are the stuff real life fairy tales are made of. At least that's where I found myself, and it took me more than once for it to click. Don't worry, nobody actually burned my house down, although I felt like my heart was burnt to a crisp every dang time because I am dramatic and a liiiitttle neurotic. Or maybe a lot, but whatever. I found someone to love my crazy.

Yep, staring across at me in ghetto fabulous Air Force Ones and track pants six and a half years ago was Rod, the guy I could not stand, and who I absolutely NEVER thought would be my husband. In his never-give-up attitude, he pursued, courted and married me. Or, since my maiden name is Fish, (hold the jokes, I have heard them all, folks) I suppose hook, line, and sinker would be more appropriate.

Honestly, I love our marriage. It's not perfect, because that certainly does not exist, but it is awesome for who we are as two individuals trying to navigate how to do this whole life business. With two other humans! That we MADE! IncreĆ­ble! Anyway, here are the things I attribute to keeping Rodriguez, Inc. awesome, happy and fulfilled:

1. We don't sweat the small stuff, and we laugh. A LOT. This simple act of ending an argument with the dumbest jokes in an effort to cut the tension works 99% of the time. Really though, how can you be mad at someone who is making a complete fool of themselves with tape wrapped around their face and doing terrible celebrity impersonations?

2. There is always an open line of communication. We talk about anything and everything. Even the scary things you don't want to talk about with anyone. Somehow or another, that uncomfortable stuff, which is most likely the junk that needs to be discussed, always surfaces and the open conversation clears the air and draws us closer.

3. We trust one another. Honestly, truly trust each other. We don't get jealous or possessive over anything. I can't even begin to tell you how lovely it is to be able to trust someone to that level. Every other relationship I was in before Matt was hell on wheels because there wasn't that trust. It's not worth the energy constantly worrying about what shady things may wait around the corner and sniffing around for drama. Instead, putting that same energy into focusing on the good and building one another up is what keeps things happy.

4. We give each other space. Matt and I are introverts through and through, so we need alone time to recharge. I feel like we are both very aware of this, and try to be conscientious of each other when one of us simply needs to hole up somewhere and just chill the freak out.

5. We also try to spend quality one-on-one time. I will admit, we have a sucky track record for getting out on dates sans kids, but we make an effort to enjoy one another's company after the boys are down for bed every night. One of the things I love most about Matt is his intellect and sense of humor. I have the problem of assuming that everyone around me knows the answers to my ridiculous life questions, and always find myself asking things that come out of nowhere, like, beyond left field. Actually, it's more like the empty parking lot that takes 20 minutes to walk to from left field (hence, A Random Thing Or Two-sday posts). We can and do talk about the most random topics for hours, and Matt happens to make a fantastically exceptional human encyclopedia.

6. We wholeheartedly support one another's dreams and goals. There are enough naysayers in the world and there is certainly more than enough opposition, so we give our all to be the best cheerleaders for each other. Matt is my biggest rallying supporter and I am without a doubt his number one fan. No dream is too lofty and every goal is taken very seriously. I absolutely believe anything is possible when there is a solid support system to back it up, and Matt and I work our best to do just that.

7. You know that sex stuff? The more your do it, the more you like it, and the better it gets. I know, I know, it can feel like one more chore to check off the daily list, and sounds less than appealing when you've been taking care of babies all day and are covered in spit and funky smells, but it is worth it. Always. I know we need all the natural stress relievers we can get, and this one is free and fun ;) Also, the intimacy it creates is essential to keep a relationship thriving.

8. We actively try to serve one another. Matt wins the husband of the year award for doing the dishes when they are piling out of the sink (which is every day, who am I kidding?) AND making dinner. Yes, ladies, I did land on a gold mine with this one! Thank you, thank you! This wasn't always the case, but you can buy my book, How to Make Your Husband Do Stuff For You, for $19.99 and I will even throw in a box of chocolates at no charge when you call and order now! Seriously, I think a little conditioning never hurt anyone. If Pavlov could do it with dogs, it can definitely be done with men. I feel like this is turning into an evil plot to take over the world (AKA my husband), but let me remind you of one last key point in relation to that...

9. We have a sense of humor. Oh yeah, and laugh. A LOT.