Category Archives: Fun & Games

Liberty Science Center in NJ! Review & Giveaway

Recently, we’ve been promoting the idea of S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathmatics) to our girls, so when an opportunity came up to do another review of the Liberty Science Center’s new exhibits, we were thrilled!

They have a new Bob the Builder exhibit!

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And they have a new NFL Training Camp interactive exhibit, as well as Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame!

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First, we made a bee-line for the Bob the Builder exhibit, and were very happy to see some of our favorite friends waiting to greet us at the entrance!

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We were amazed by just how many features and interactive activities there were for the kids!  This exhibit blew our minds!

The girls loved helping Wendy with her flower and veggie gardens!

 

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They proudly demonstrated the solar-power feature on Wendy’s camper.

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They joined up with other kids to keep the ‘water’ flowing!

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Halle got right to work on that pesky plumbing problem Bob’s been having!

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We built a rock wall!

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And the girls loved getting up close and personal with their favorite construction vehicles!

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We easily spent a couple hours here, as there were many, many activities here, before almost literally dragging the girls away for a potty break!

(I strongly recommend that you experience this exhibit as soon as the museum opens.  It’s very popular, and with so many children around, a lot of the smaller pieces of equipment get scattered.  But at the start of the day, everything is all organized and in its proper place.  It’s also easier to keep track of your kids when it’s not so crowded, it’s also a little quieter.)

Then I thought we could chill out for awhile and watch as Daddy explored the NFL exhibit.  Boy, was I surprised at how much fun EVERYONE in my family had with the Training Camp!  Of course my husband had a ball, but the girls were insatiable and tried each feature again and again and again and….well, you get the picture!

training camp blurb

And the LSC staff on hand were very kind and helpful!

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Then we took a stroll thru Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and even that was pretty amazing!

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After that, we went for lunch in the LSC’s cafe – the food is so good there! (and very reasonably priced)

To give my husband   lsc2013_506    a bit of daddy-time to explore the museum on his own, We took the kids to the I Explore exhibit which is just across the hall from the cafe on the 2nd floor.  My girls loved visiting this favorite from a previous trip!

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They spent nearly an hour just with the ‘sand’ (rice) box, and made some new friends!lsc2013_492   lsc2013_544

And as we were about to go, we found that LSC had set up some more NFL-themed games for the kids to play in the lobby!

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So while the kids were occupied with that, I took a quick look thru the LSC gift shop!

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We had a great time here, and I am personally very grateful to the Liberty Science Center for making S.T.E.M. fun for my girls!

And now you and your family can have the chance to win some free passes to LSC and see the new exhibits!  Just enter this giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Bob the Builder exhibit runs until April 27, 2014

Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame runs until March 2, 2014

Here’s some more info on the Bob the Builder exhibit

Here’s some more info on the NFL Training Camp & Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame

 

*This review was facilitated with complimentary passes provided by Liberty Science Center.  The opinions expressed herein are my own.

The Egg Hunt That Would Not End

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Remember when all you other mommies out there gave birth? It was so traumatic and painful that after it was over, your mind sorta blurred the experience in your memories so you’d be willing to have another child after that one.

That’s what must have happened to me after last year’s Easter Egg Hunt.

Our usually family shuns public egg hunts, as lately there’ve been a plethora of stories in the news of thug parents bullying other children, or encouraging their own offspring to physically overpower other kids just for the sake of a stupid plastic egg and trinket probably worth all of 10 cents!

So we have the home version.  I buy a bag of plastic eggs at the dollar store for $1, and put 1 jellybean in each. (We don’t give a lot of candy to our kids. Yes they get a basket, but it’s modestly sized and with small gifts and minimal candy.) Sometimes I’ll put in a chocolate chip, or a mini-marshmallow, or a slip of paper with a number for a prize.  Anyhoo, the twins are mighty happy with what they get.

The problem is that Every.  Fricken.  Year.  there is ALWAYS at least one or two eggs that we cannot find.

And every year, I swear that next year, assuming we even have a Hunt at all, we will carefully write down the location of every hidden egg.

And we forgot to do that again this year.

So there we were, two kindergartners, me, my husband and my mother looking all over the place for the last egg.  Because wouldn’t you just know it – it was one with a special candy treat in it.  I couldn’t just swap it for another jellybean – this was an organic 100% all-fruit roll-up.  And I didn’t have another one handy.

Finally, after 40 minutes of dedicated searching just for that one egg, we threw in the towel and tried to console the child whose egg it would have been (they’re twins, they’ve got to have the same amount or it’s war.).

Eventually, when my stress-hazed mind cleared a bit, I idly asked my husband if he was SURE that he hadn’t hidden any eggs in the off-limits zone that included the toybox.

I swear I could have cheefully throttled him when he got a guilty-shocked look on his face.  Not a jury in the land would have convicted me.

Sure enough, we found the last egg, the child rejoiced, and the rest of us adults collapsed in exhaustion.

Next time, we are going to write down the locations of every egg we hide.

Next time, we are going to write down the locations of every egg we hide.

Next time, we are going to write down the locations of every egg we hide.

Next time, we are going to write down the locations of every egg we hide.

Next time, we are going to write down the locations of every egg we hide.

Next time, we are going to write down the locations of every egg we hide.

Next time, we are going to write down the locations of every egg we hide.

Next time, we are going to write down the locations of every egg we hide.

Happy Easter! Happy Passover! Happy Spring Equinox!

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Creativity For Kids Craft Kits Review/Giveaway

Recently, I was offered a chance for my twin girls (who just turned 5 in July) to try out some arts and crafts kits made by a company called Creativity For Kids.

Since we’re still in the midst of summer vacation (and I’m starting to struggle for fun and new things to keep the kids occupied (and thus any surviving remnants of my sanity intact), I leapt at the chance with all the ferocity of a mother lion desperate to feed her young (lest they start gnawing on her).

We received the Deluxe Glitter Art Kit

“Add some sparkle, shine and shimmer to all of your craft projects. This deluxe art set includes an array of glitter glue, shaker-top glitter pots, glitter stickers, glitter paper, gift tags, envelopes, greeting cards, craft glue, trinket boxes and more. This is a perfect craft activity for parties, holiday projects and seasonal crafting.”

The twins LOVED this kit! I had to fight them off to get this pic of the insides:

The only thing I had to take away were the shaker-top glitter pots, as the potential for mayhem loomed large with those.  The rest of the items included were no problem for my girls to comport themselves with decorum.

The girls eagerly set to work right away on making some cards for their daddy’s desk at work.

We were pretty impressed with what the girls did with the cards!

And the trinket boxes turned out very lovely as well!

The Tile Art Necklace Kit

“Turn ceramic tiles into amazing art you can wear and share. Decorate eight 1″ square tiles with fun paper designs, ribbon, rhinestones, pearls, and glitter accents. Includes colorful cotton jewelry cords, Jewelry findings, scissors, stencil and 3 gift boxes.”

This is what was inside this kit:

At first I thought this would be great for the girls, as they love to make presents for their friends, but each step of the way required time for glue to dry.

5-year olds are not known for their vast realms of  patience.  I managed to get them through gluing the backs on the tiles and picking out the designs/gems/decorations they wanted on their pendants, but with each glued-on addition (and requisite drying time) I had to scramble harder to find other activities to distract them with.  The recommended age for this craft kit is actually 7+, and I’d have to agree. Probably it’s a nice activity to do when you can relax with a good book and cup of cocoa during drying times.

We finally got to this stage:

and the girls finally gave up.  Halle chose the bird design, Zanna (for reasons she wouldn’t explain) chose the “D”, and I chose my initial: “L”.

We haven’t actually completed this project because the girls are still too frustrated by it, so I’m going to put it in our art supply cabinet for future use.

Moving right along, the next kit we tried was the Mossy Meadows Gnome Garden Kit

“Everything you need to create an enchanting home for 3 wee gnomes. This all-inclusive garden craft kit includes a garden dish, potting mix, wheat grass seeds, bark house, leaf-shaped pond, mossy rocks, stepping stones, resin gnomes, toadstools, ladybugs, paint, brush and a mister – just add water and a little sunshine.”

Since the girls are head-over-heels in love with making Fairy Houses, this seemed like and actually turned out to be a home-run hit!

They never got bored with it and had a great time painting and arranging the objects for the garden, and then sprinkling & pressing down the wheatgrass seeds (possible allergen for some?) and misting the garden.

The only things I had to be aware of (since the girls are kind of young) was that the original paints that came with the kit would dry permanently – so I substituted washable non-permanent paints (just had to be careful when watering the garden or the paint would run), and the mister bottle to water the garden is a little hard for small hands to handle.  The girls gave it a good try though, but finally asked me to help them out with that part.

And after a week, the garden had grass! The girls were very happy about this and have let the garden sit on our living room table unmolested – this is a pretty rare thing and a testament to how much they loved this kit!

 

So overall the girls had a great time with these kits, and they certainly staved off the incessant whines of “Mooooom! I’m BORED! Can we do something NEW?”

And what’s even better is that Creativity For Kids and MomSelect have offered me the chance to host a giveaway for a Craft Kit Gift Pack that one of my readers at TwiceBlessedLife.com can win!

It includes:

Beach Buddies Shell Craft Kit (ARV $17.99)

and

Deluxe Glitter Art Kit (ARV $29.99)

Just enter with the rafflecopter form below 🙂

a Rafflecopter giveaway

**Disclaimer:  I received the free products mentioned in the review as part of a promotional program with MomSelect. All opinions are my own.

#NewJersey ‘s Liberty Science Center Review-Giveaway!

In a previous post I mentioned the Liberty Science Center’s new Science Near You tool for finding great science activities in NJ that your kids will enjoy.

After browsing thru the many activities in our area that I never knew existed, I decided to take my 5 yr old twins to the Liberty Science Center itself!

And they’ve got some very cool exhibits and activities for summer!

Here are some pics from our recent trip:

First we went to explore the aquariums and the Touch Tank at the Our Hudson Home exhibit, then we checked out the Glow-in-the-dark activities at the In The Dark exhibit, then we went to the I Explore area (great for younger kids!) and spent over an hour there.

By then it was time for lunch.  The cafeteria at the museum has everything from typical fast food to healthier salads, fresh-baked pizzas, soups and desserts.

After we finished our lunch we explored the insect displays at the Eat or Be Eaten Exhibit, the enormous bubble maker and rock-climbing wall at Wonder Why and other cool experiments with energy at Got Power?, then the girls started begging to return to the I Explore area again and we spent another 90 minutes there on various activities.

After a snack of yummy cupcakes at the cafeteria, we watched a demo using liquid nitrogen and balloons showing how gases expand or contract according to temperature, and finally it was nearly closing time.

The girls begged to stay longer, and for the next several days they continually asked when we were going back again.

And guess what?  We still hadn’t seen everything the museum had to offer!  There are so many labs, experiments and activities and displays geared for older children, as well.  So no matter what age, there’s something for everyone!

So how would you like to visit the Liberty Science Center with some free tickets?  Courtesy of the Liberty Science Center, we’re proud to offer one of TwiceBlessedLife.com’s readers TWO FREE ADMISSION TICKETS!!!

Just enter with the rafflecopter form below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And while you’re at the museum, check out their newest summer exhibits:

Two New Exhibitions at Liberty Science Center This Summer
It’s power to the people! Learn about recent advances in solar and wind
energy technologies that make it even easier to create power at home.
Explore new ideas, see how energy conservation can help you save even
more, test your own energy use profile, and learn how solar panels work. Then jump on an exercise machine to create your own power. Enlist others to
help and you’ll set off a celebratory LED fireworks display! Got Power? is the
latest in the Breakthroughs series of original exhibitions about science
in everyday life created by Liberty Science Center
— Explore cool, dark and mysterious ecosystems like caves, forests, the
ocean floor – and your own backyard at night! Learn more about nocturnal
animals, shade-loving plants, and how we humans get along in the dark.
We’ll take you to the deepest part of the ocean to see fish that use
glowing lures to hunt, and to the treetops with insects that advertise
their fitness with light. Enjoy hands-on activities and amazing dioramas!
A traveling exhibit organized by Cincinnati Museum Center. Suitable for ages
3 and up.
Special Glowing Summer Activities
In celebration of the new exhibition In the Dark, Liberty Science Center
is lighting up the dark with great weekend activities for almost every age. Saturdays & Sundays through September 2
Bubbling Lamp
What things glow in your home? Discover which household items light up
under UV light, then, create a bubbling lamp using common household
products. You’ll be amazed! Learn what makes these items glow and take
your bubbling lamp home. 11:00 am- 3:00 pm, 7+
Instant Glow
Animals use eyesight, hearing, smell, and touch to navigate at night. Are
you able to see in the dark? Create a chemical concoction in a mini-test
tube to create an instant glow. What created the glowing light? Chemical
luminescence! Learn how animals in nature, from fireflies to deep sea fish
produce the same kind of light. 11:00 am – 3:00 pm, 7+
Crazy Glowing Bubbles (Saturdays Only)
Make crazy, glow-in-the-dark bubbles! Take weird shapes and use them to
create amazing bubbles using safe, all-natural substances. They glow so
brightly you can even see them shine in daylight! 12:00- 3:00 pm, 4+ Saturdays & Sundays June 16 through September 2
We Explore: GLOW! In the Dark
To learn about what happens in the dark, first we need to talk about
light!  Using black light tables, children ages 2-5 learn about a wide variety of
fluorescent and glow-in-the-dark materials. Experiment with the light
spectrum, rainbows, and UV rays, and learn the amazing ways different
animals can see different colors. Reserved for children ages 2-5 with an
adult.  Programs at 10:30 am, 11:30 am, and 12:30 pm.
Detective-in-the-Dark and Glowing Bubbles
Be a detective-in-the-dark and use UV light to find fingerprints! Explore
and play with a wide variety of glow–in-the-dark toys and materials, and
have a blast with slimy and amazing Glow Goop and Glow-In-The-Dark
Bubbles! 1:30– 3:00 pm, 7+
Animals After Dark: A Flashlight Adventure!
When the lights go out, the animal world comes alive! Step into the dark
and join our intrepid adventurers as they search for scorpions that glow
bright green owls that fly without making a sound, fish that hunt in pitch
black waters by creating their own light, and more! Travel to exotic
locations by flashlight and experience some of the amazing ways animals
have adapted to life after the sun goes down.  Inquire at the Welcome Desk
for show times, 7+
*Disclaimer: To aid in the review of the Liberty Science Center, my family received free admission for 4 people.  The opinions expressed above are my own and are not influenced by compensation.  I also received 2 extra free admission passes for the purpose of hosting a giveaway.
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