Celebrating 6 With a Science Party

Last week my big boy turned six and on Sunday, we mixed, fizzed and slimed the afternoon away with a science experiment birthday celebration with a few of his best kindergarten buddies.

kindergarten friends

This was my science-loving boy’s idea and I thought it was sweet that he only wanted his three closest friends from school there. It was our first year not having a huge party with all the kids he’s friends with, which I thought was nice for a smaller party for turning six. I still feel bad about all the friends that were left out, especially the ones at school who at some point found out they weren’t invited. Kids do their best to keep quiet about these things, but it still slips out. We’re not going to have a huge party every year, though, so what can you do? Would love to hear from readers with older kids about how this usually works.

I didn’t realize how popular science parties are until a Pinterest search clued me in. Even Evite had a “Mad Science” themed invitation. There are tons of science experiments out there to do with your kids, but I needed to make sure there would be mixing involved, since Reece really enjoys mixing things together to see what happens. We did a whole range of experiments, but here, I’ll just list the “must-dos” if you decide to try this party yourself!

science party making slime

Safety-first!

I ordered disposable lab coats and colorful kid safety glasses from Amazon and they were a must. Not only did they protect the kids from messes and explosions, they looked like super cute little scientists and they enjoyed wearing them. Plus, they doubled as party favors.

Science Experiment #1: Coloring flowers

When the kids first showed up, I had little cups of colored water set up and gave them a white flower. They chose which color water to put their flower in and by the end of the party, the edges of the flowers had started to change color. The result was minimal after just a two hour party, but enough to see. This one is fun to do at home over a day or two to see how the flower picks up more color. You can even slice a flower stem in two, put it in two different colors to turn it two colors. The kids took their flower home as a favor.

Science Experiment #2: Making Slime

I found this easy slime recipe and it worked really well! The kids each got a turn mixing and the end result was really cool. After they’d played with it a bit, I divvied it up in reusable, small plastic containers I already had from a previous Green Chef order, but small Tupperware or Ziplock bags would work too. This was a fun favor and Emme played with her slime for quite awhile after all the party guests had left.

science party slime experiment

Science Experiment #3: Melting and Coloring Ice

When Reece saw a picture of this while I was researching experiment options, he really wanted to do it for his party. This was the messiest of the experiments and the reason why all the kids went home with green hands thanks to all the food coloring they used. They enjoyed it, though, and it was fun even for the adults to see how the salt made trails through the ice.

science party melting ice experiment

Science Experiment #4: Volcano

As typical as the volcano is, it’s a must-do for any science party and it’s an experiment I’d surprisingly never done before. I followed these volcano instructions, including making the dough. All the kids helped shape the dough around the empty sparkling water bottle we used. The eruption itself was cool, but not as big as I expected. We kept adding more water and baking soda to watch it some more, but I wasn’t very impressed with the result even though the kids thought it was kind of cool. If you know of a better recipe, go for that one.

science party volcano experiment

My science-loving boy and his friends had a blast at the party, as you can tell by their faces in these pictures. I’m so thankful for his preschool that instilled a love of exploration and learning in him, and I hope he never loses that. From Legos, to magnetic gears, to robots and bug catchers, Reece received everything he wanted and then some to satisfy his curiosity and desire to build and create.

Magnaformer gears STEM gift

These Magformer Gears are a great toy!

I love how true he is to his name’s meaning and hope he always approaches his interests with as much enthusiasm as he does now.

Chima Lego gift

Chima Lego FTW! Yes, he put this together by himself with minimal help.

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Jammin’ at Monster Jam

I received tickets to Monster Jam in exchange for this post. Reece’s excitement is all his own!

Once again, Monster Jam did not disappoint! Even with the nonstop rain and complications with parking and maneuvering around the new stadium, in the end a good time was had by all.

Last Saturday, Doug, his cousin, Reece and a friend braved the bad weather to enjoy these awesome seats at Monster Jam in Levi’s Stadium.Close seats at Monster Jam Santa Clara

These were some seriously good seats! Somehow the splatters of mud kicked up by the huge tires were avoided.

Donning rain gear and ear protection, there was no shortage of smiles from these boys.

Thumbs up at Monster Jam Santa Clara Levis Stadium

Max D and Gravedigger were for sure the highlights of the night for these two. You can see their excitement–and how close the mud was getting!–in this video.

Reece has loved monster trucks since he was very little and I’m so glad we had the opportunity to take him again, and that he got to share the fun with a friend this time! He’s already looking forward to next time!

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Meatless Monday: Dandelion Greens, Spinach and Feta Stuffed Portobellos

Vegetarian meals are not something we do often around here. They seem to take more time and planning than my usual throw together meals, but mostly I feel like I end up eating more to get the same satisfaction that a carnivorous meal would bring.

Our Sunday dinner meatless meal, which I’m suggesting to you for your Meatless Monday meal this week, came about all because Reece was enamored by the portobello mushrooms at our Saturday farmers market. He’s always been a mushroom lover and I’m used to cooking with criminis and what have you, but for some reason, I never cook with portobellos.

There is a rule I follow when shopping with the kids: if they see a vegetable or fruit they’d like to try, I buy it. So when Reece got excited about these gigantic mushrooms, I purchased a couple knowing I’d need to look up a recipe.

After buying the mushrooms, I saw one of those cooking videos going around on Facebook that makes use of spinach and mushrooms and I wondered if my portobellos would work ok with that. I didn’t really want to cut them up since Reece was drawn to their size, but spinach and mushroom sounded good, so I got to Googling and came across a few spinach-stuffed portobello mushrooms.

There were many appealing recipes, but most had far too many ingredients than I wanted to deal with. Plus I wasn’t heading to the store, so I needed to have everything. I knew we had feta cheese, so I threw that into my search terms and came across this recipe for spinach and feta stuffed portobellos. That gave me a good basis for how to cook my portobellos and I made some changes based on our tastes and what I had available.

Looking through our fridge, I realized we had a whole bunch of dandelion greens to use up, so I opted for that as the main green in the dish as well as a few handfuls of spinach. I decided to skip the sliced almonds and raisins the recipe calls for and threw chickpeas into the rice for a protein source instead (pine nuts would also be a really nice option). I also chose a sprinkling of pecorino romano for the top instead of the mozzarella in the recipe simply because it sounded more appealing.

The result was an amazingly delicious meal that my kids called “awesome” and stated “I don’t like it. I love it” (they feel really clever saying this at meals, like they’re scaring me into thinking they are being rude before saying how much they like it :) ).

I’m glad it was such a hit with the whole family and very much looking forward to making this again soon! And I’m happy to say I felt perfectly satisfied thanks to the meaty texture of the portobello.

dandelion greens, spinach and feta stuffed portobello mushroom

Dandelion Greens, Spinach and Feta Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Ingredients

  • portobello mushrooms, trimmed
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • cloves garlic, minced
  • sprig fresh thyme, chopped
  • sprig fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 bunch dandelion greens, chopped (or your favorite green!)
  • a couple handfuls of spinach, chopped (all spinach would work as well!)
  • crumbled feta cheese
  • pecorino romano

Lemon Chickpea Rice:

  • Quick-cook, seasoned rice of your choice (I used a easy pre-cooked and seasoned rice from Costco that I just toss in the microwave for 90 seconds)
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 can chickpeas

Lemon Yogurt Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • a sprig of fresh mint, chopped
  • 1/2 lemon, plus zest

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450. Line baking sheet with silicone mat (or grease).

If you need to cook your rice, start it now. Otherwise, trim portobellos and chop up stem. Place portobellos stem side up on prepared baking sheet and roast for about 15 min.

Heat drizzle of olive oil in pan over medium heat. Add minced garlic, thyme and oregano and cook for 30 seconds. Add chopped mushroom stems and chopped greens and sauté until wilted down. Salt and pepper to taste and add squeeze of lemon. Remove from heat and stir in feta.

Remove portobellos from oven and discard any liquid (using tongs will help–they are hot!). Season with salt and pepper and fill with greens mixture. Top with a sprinkling of grated pecorino and place back in oven until cheese is starting to brown.

Meanwhile, add chickpeas and lemon to rice. In a small bowl, mix yogurt, lemon, zest and mint.

Serve portobello and rice topped with yogurt sauce.

I hope you enjoy this as much as we did!

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