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Kindling gone green

JAN 27, 2010 25 COMMENTS

Confession time.

I’ve always felt a little odd about just tossing dryer lint in the trash.  I just felt like it had a higher purpose in life.

Hey, I never claimed to be normal.

Keep reading. I have a point.

The point is…it’s useful! Dryer lint is useful!

Take it out of the filter, ball it up and shove it in a toilet paper tube and what do you have?

A big hunk of trash. Or…kindling for your fireplace.

So, instead of tossing out your lint, save up toilet paper rolls, paper towel rolls and even wrapping paper tubes. Cut the longer ones into smaller sections, stuff them with lint and you have yourself some great firestarters.

Before we went I made these fun fire starters. You begin with an empty egg carton, add old dryer lint, and cover in wax. They worked great.

You just let the wax dry, break them into 12 individual cups, and light the cardboard corner to start your fire.

Campfire Cones
Over Spring Break a few weeks ago, I took the kids camping.   I'll be honest, we weren't totally roughing it ~ our cabin had heat and electricity (and even a little fridge and microwave).  Despite those "luxuries",  I knew I wanted to do most of our cooking over the campfire.  We cooked hot dogs and chicken and roasted TONS of marshmallows (seriously, like 2 whole bags between the four of us!).  However, for a more "gourmet" dessert, I decided to combine the ingredients of our Campfire Bananas with Quirky Momma's great idea to make Smores in a Cone!  Let me tell you, they were AWESOME!

Just take a look...

Here's what we used:

   *  Sugar Cones
   *  Peanut Butter
   *  Mini Marshmallows
   *  Chocolate Chips
   *  Bananas
   *  Aluminum Foil
            (to wrap them in)

Here's what to do:

1.  Chop up the bananas and get some marshmallows and chocolate chips ready.  ( I liked using these ingredients on a camping trip because they don't need to be refrigerated and you can easily slice the bananas with a plastic knife ~ oh, and the fact that they're really, really yummy together!)

2.  Spread some peanut butter on the inside of the cone, then put in the bananas, marshmallows and chocolate chips.

3.  Wrap the whole cone in aluminum foil, then put in over the hot coals for 5-10 minutes or so, turning every so often.


4.  Unwrap your cone, check to see that everything's ooey, gooey, and melted... then dig in and enjoy!

The combination of the melted peanut butter, chocolate and marshmallows with the warm bananas was just awesome.  Making it in the sugar cone gave it all a nice crunch and made it a little less messy than a regular s'more.  (At least for some of us)

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Making a Mosquito Trap

Because mosquitoes are attracted to the CO2 we breathe out, I started looking for ideas that used CO2 as the bait for the mosquito trap. I did think of dry ice but it does dissipate fairly quickly.

I found a cached link on Google here. It seems to be active again now. I've rewritten the instructions some and hopefully it will work as well.

Thanks to the students for their hard work on this project. I've used some of their photos for illustration.

  • 1 2 liter soda bottle
  • a sharp knife
  • black paper
  • tape
  • candy thermometer

Take a 2 liter soda bottle. Cut off the top right below where it starts to narrow for the top, invert and place inside the lower half.

Make a simple sugar syrup.

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups cool water
  • 1 tsp. active dry yeast

Bring 1 cup of the water to a boil.

Dissolve the sugar into the boiling water.

Once the sugar is dissolved completely, remove the pan from the heat. Stir in 2 cups cool water, stir well.

Check the temperature of the syrup to make sure it is no hotter than 90 degrees F, if hotter, let cool to 90 degrees F, add 1 tsp. active dry yeast, no need to mix. Put syrup in the bottom part of the bottle, using the cut off neck piece, leave in place.

Be sure to seal the two parts of the bottle with the tape. The fermenting yeast will release carbon dioxide. Put black paper around the bottle since mosquitoes like dark places and carbon dioxide. This mosquito trap will then start working.

TIPS: Put the trap in a dark and humid place for 2 weeks, you'll see the effect. You'll have to replace the sugar water + yeast solution every 2 weeks.

By Susan Sanders-Kinzel

Rosemary Coals Instead of making a marinade with rosemary for grilling, place the herb right on the coals. The smoke enhances food in the same way burning wood chips does. Once the coals are uniformly gray and ashy, loosely cover them with fresh rosemary branches (be careful not to burn your hands). Almost any meat or vegetable will benefit from this savory smoking.

MONDAY, APRIL 16, 2012
15 Ways to Have Fun Outside- In The Dark

We love playing outside and the fun shouldn't end just because the sun went down! So today I thought I'd share fifteen ways to have fun outside.. in the dark. 

  1. Flashlights are fun! Give the kids flashlights and take a look around. Much fun can be had by simply exploring with a flashlight. What looks different at night? What does my mouth look like with the flashlight? My fingers?
  2. Flashlight tag. Tag players using the beam of light, or simply play tag with flashlights to guide the way.
  3. Flashlight limbo. How low can you go? Two people, holding flashlights, face each other and make a steady beam of light for others to limbo under.
  4. Catch the light. My son absolutely loves chasing after the ever-moving beam of light. I shine it around and just when he thinks he's caught it, I move it again. He has so much fun and this really tires him out. He also enjoys reversing the play and watching me scurry after the light. 
  5. Catching shadows. We've also had a lot of fun chasing each other's shadows. The object is to catch the other person's shadow by chasing after it and jumping on it. All you need is a porch light that shines out into your yard and you're ready for some fun. 
  6. Shadow puppets. Shine a light onto the side of your house or fence to set the stage for an evening of puppet shows. 
  7. Catch lightening bugs.
  8. Put a spin on some classic games. How much fun is "Red Light, Green Light" or "Duck, Duck, Goose" in the dark? Lots, actually.
  9. Glow in the dark dancing. Put on shows for one another, or simply rock out with glow sticks. 
  10. Hide and seek with glow sticks. One person hides a glow stick and then all of the others try to find it. The person that finds it first gets to hide it again.
  11. Hunt for glow sticks. Hide a bunch of glow sticks all throughout the yard and let the kids hunt for them. 
  12. Flashlight hunt. One player hides an object, like a rubber duck, and the others try to find it using their flashlights.
  13. Build a campfire. Listen to music. Play cards. Cuddle. Make s'mores. 
  14. Tell spooky stories. But maybe not too spooky.
  15. Tell stories with constellations. Show your children a few constellations and then ask them if they can find any pictures in the stars. Ask them to tell you more about the object they see. Can they make up a story about it? Can you?
More Tips:

  • Regular flashlights are great fun, but a child-size headlamp can make the night extra special and some of the games a bit easier. 
  • Make sure your yard and area of play is safe before playing. As with anything, supervise your children and use caution and your best judgement. 
  • Set a timer to let everyone know when the play must come to an end to transition smoothly into bedtime routines.