We recently had the opportunity to get sticky and make our own chewing gum. My kids have since declared this, “one of their favorite things…ever!” Have you heard of Glee Gum? They produce a wonderful assortment of all natural chicle chewing gum, chicle gum pops, and several make your own candy kits. We were able to try several flavors of the gum and the pops. My personal favorites were the tangerine and the cinnamon! They were a big hit with my kids and even a bigger hit with me. My kids love chewing gum, but I rarely buy it, because I’m not crazy about the ingredients. Glee Gum has none of those questionable ingredients. There is no artificial coloring, no preservatives, no artificial sweeteners, and they are Non-GMO Project Verified! They are supporters of Fair Trade, making sure farmers get a fair price for their goods, and they will even plant a tree, if you tell them you bought some Glee! So many wonderful things to say about this company, but perhaps my favorite is how they are helping to save the rainforest and provide jobs in the Peten, in Northern Guatemala.
The Make Your Own Chewing Gum Kit was so much hands-on fun! They got to mix, measure, flavor, taste test, and see first hand how sticky gum making can be. I know I was surprised how much work goes into making chicle gum. A lot of stretching, pulling, and kneading! Not only did they learn how chicle gum is made, they learned about the source of chicle and how it is saving the rainforest. Included in the Make Your Own Gum Kit was a brief story, about a chiclero, named Eduardo. He finds a way to earn a living for his family, without destroying any trees in the rainforest. He collects sap (chicle), from the Sapodilla trees, which is cooked and used to make chicle chewing gum. I never knew this! Now, I really have a reason to buy chicle chewing gum. This, of course, makes me kids happy!
If you’d like to stock up on some all natural chewing gum or get one of the kits for summer, Glee Gum has graciously offered a coupon code for all my Jacks & Kate readers. It’s good for 15% off your entire order at www.gleegum.com. Just enter code, jacksandkate at checkout!
I was recently interviewed for an article and one of the questions asked was, “How do you come up with your ideas?” It was hard for me to find the words to describe my creative process. It’s like all these ideas are streaming through my mind all day, every day and if one really catches my eye, so to speak, I pause and think on it for a bit. Then, I think on it some more. I will mull over an idea for weeks, before I actually begin any tangible work. WEEKS! I started thinking over this project two months ago and finally, here I am with a finished product. I think the extra thinking time I put into these paid off. They turned out better than I ever expected. My kids are having fun creating all sorts of prize ribbons. The possibilities for design are endless!
First, gather your supplies:
Small bowl or something circular
Plastic grocery bags
Flour and water for paper mache paste
Low temp glue gun (if you are comfortable with your kids using it. if not, just use a regular glue gun)
Mod Podge (optional)
- Trace 2 circles around your small bowl or other circular template onto a piece of cardboard, set aside.
- Draw a picture that will fit within the cardboard circle. Keep it simple, you can add detail later. Cut out picture and set aside.
- Form the plastic grocery bag into a ball shape and press flat over cardboard circle. Begin taping, until the plastic bag is covered. There is no need to cover the back.
- Using the glue stick, glue your cut out picture in the center of the cardboard circle. Glue it to the plastic bag side.
- With paper towels and masking tape, start to build up your design. The idea is to create a relief, so the picture can be distinguished from the plastic bag medallion. It helps to work in small sections. Keep doing this, until your entire design is covered.
- Now, paper mache the front of the medallion with newspaper strips and paper mache paste. For the paste, I mix equal parts flour and water. When completely covered, allow to dry thoroughly.
- After the medallion has dried, paint your design. Start with the background, this helps to see your design easily. Then, paint your design. Add second coats if necessary and allow to dry.
- Add a clear coat of Mod Podge as an optional step. I thought of this after the fact and really prefer it to just left plain.
- Using some of the newspaper or other paper, make paper patterns (size will vary, depending on size of medallion) for the fabric portions of the ribbon. You will need one for the loop, the ribbon tails (cut 2), and the ruffle.
- For the loop, cover the wrong side of fabric with your glue stick, fold one side into center (lengthwise), then fold the remaining side on top of that one. Form into a loop and secure to the top of the remaining cardboard circle with glue gun.
- For the ribbon tails, cover the wrong side of fabric with your glue stick on one of the tails. Lay remaining tail on top, press and smooth until attached. Trim up edges if necessary. Fold tails over each other at center and secure with glue. Attach tails to bottom center of cardboard circle.
- For the ruffle, thread your needle, then run a basting stitch along the length of the ribbon. Pull end to create ruffle. Secure two ends with glue gun. Attach ruffle to cardboard circle with glue gun.
- Finally, attach paper mache medallion to the cardboard prize ribbon, using your glue gun.
It feels good to finally get this project out of my brain and onto the blog!
A few weeks ago, we traveled to Sarasota to visit the Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium. I’ve been wanting to go for years, but just never made it happen. Which is crazy, because it’s barely a drive away! I had read they were opening a River otter exhibition and that finally motivated me to make the trip. Savannah LOVES River otters! I really never could understand her fascination and affection towards them, until I saw them interacting with another. They were very cute and playful! Also, it was next to impossible to get a picture of them, because they were always on the go.
Besides the Rivs, as Savannah calls them, the manatees Buffet and Hugh, were the biggest hit. When we visited them, they were cruising through their tanks eating lettuce. There was someone outside their tank counting how many leaves they ate. I could not imagine sitting there for hours counting lettuce!
There were also sharks, sea turtles, seahorses, jellyfish, an octopus, lion fish, an eel, stingray touch tanks, and several other aquariums full of interesting sea life. The jellyfish were my favorite. They always appear to be doing a mesmerizing water ballet.
I think what I love most about Mote Marine, is the research that goes on behind the scenes. It’s not just a place to go and see marine life on display. In their research, they are helping to conserve and sustain marine life. Also, at the same time educating the public. We plan to go back soon. I’m sure we could learn something new every visit. If you are in the Sarasota area, make sure to stop by Mote and see all the wonderful things they are doing for marine life!