Popnology at the Museum of Science

The newest temporary exhibit at the Museum of Science, Popnology, is really fun and hands on for all ages.  We learned so much, had so much fun and even caught up on a little 1980s history!

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Right when you enter, there is a robot that welcomes you.  My kids were fascinated by it and stood watching it for awhile before I was able to move them onto the rest of the exhibit.

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My son is obsessed with City Blocks and there was a huge city intricately built from them in one corner.  He was very inspired and started to build one on his own before deciding he would have more time at home to create an underwater city.

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Both of my kids enjoyed controlling a robot to roll a ball or pick up blocks.  They spent a long time figuring out how to control the robotic arms.  

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The car built from a 3D printer was amazing!  You have to see it up close to believe it.

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My favorite part of the exhibit was narration of a day in 1983.  I got a huge kick out of listening to what life was like when I was a little kid.  It was fun to show my kids some of the things we had in my house as well as tell them stories about how different life was without an iPhone in my back pocket. 

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There were so many fun games to play including Donkey Kong and a floor game where you tried to manipulate the flowers that were moving around.  We've been so into E.T. lately and there was a replica of his invention of a phone to call home.  It was so interesting to see up close all of the different household items he used!

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This exhibit closes on Labor Day so hurry over before it's gone!


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E.T.,The Extra-Terrestrial
Starring Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore, Dee Wallace, Robert MacNaughton, Peter Coyote

When Summer Comes to an End: How to Dill with It. (All About Pickles!)

My children adore pickles. This time of year, we have veggies in our garden growing faster than we can eat them, and we thought it was time to give pickling a try ourselves! We knew you could pickle more than cucumbers, but we didn't realize the range of foods that can be pickled. We signed up for a class at Drumlin Farm to learn more about the recipe and process. 

EASY REFRIGERATOR PICKLES in 6 Steps: 

PICK a variety of veggies and herbs. 

PICK a variety of veggies and herbs. 

WASH and SORT to take a good look at what you've gathered. 

WASH and SORT to take a good look at what you've gathered. 

CUT... big, small, long, short - it doesn't matter!

CUT... big, small, long, short - it doesn't matter!

MIX the brine - (boiling water, vinegar, salt, sugar) - see recipe suggestions below.

MIX the brine - (boiling water, vinegar, salt, sugar) - see recipe suggestions below.

POUR brine into ziplock bag or mason jar. 

POUR brine into ziplock bag or mason jar. 

SEAL, SHAKE, and WAIT... an hour or longer!

SEAL, SHAKE, and WAIT... an hour or longer!

We added lots of dill that we picked, garlic, and a few mustard seeds to some bags. We are so thrilled with the outcome - they are delicious! 

You can find lots of recipes online - this one is very simple, or this one is great but what we learned is - it's hard to go wrong. Don't limit yourself to just cucumbers! We will try again using apple cider vinegar for fun... it is not an exact science, but more of an art to experiment with your own personal taste. 

We learned a lot about the history of pickling and preserving foods - this is a great article on PBS The History Kitchen we all enjoyed. 

As easy as it is, you can make it even simpler by buying a mix of spices - just add the vinegar, water, and cucumbers for  - these were also delicious. But we feel confident now to make our own concoctions and continuing to see what we like best!

Next up... we've got our minds on preserving foods! All about jellies and jams coming soon:) 


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Donate to the Strong Starts Book Drive

Hopefully, most of you reading this have stacks of books piled high next to your nightstand and your children have shelves stocked full of wonderful reading material.  As much as we love and take advantage of the library, it's so important to have a collection at home to visit and revisit. When our children were little, we had board books all over the house and they would drool on them, play with them and sometimes even chew on them!  Not everyone is lucky enough to own piles of books for their little ones though.  That's where Room to Grow enters the picture.  

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Their mission is to provide their clients, who are families with children up to age three, with 10 books each time they visit so that by the time these families graduate from the program they have at least 130 books in their home.  The staff at Room to Grow encourages families reading together and helps to instruct them to incorporate books into their daily lives which in turn helps these kids start school on par with their peers with an end goal of breaking out of poverty.

Room to Grow is partnering with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to present the Strong Starts Book Drive going on now through September 30.  Every book that is donated by the Boston community will be matched by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, thereby doubling our impact!  My kids have decided to use the money in their Give Jars, an idea we got from Three Little Monkeys Studio, to use to purchase bilingual board books from Room to Grow's wishlist.  And, I suggested that we go through their own collection to find titles to donate as well.  My son commented on how lucky they are to have a Spend Jar to buy new books to replace the old.  So true.  If you decide to do the same, you can find drop off information here

Spread the word to friends and family.  Let's help Room to Grow make the Strong Starts Book Drive a huge success!

Knot as Hard as we Thought!

My daughter started sailing last summer, and came home each day to show us a new knot she learned. She had so much fun experimenting with different types of knots: cleats, figure 8, the bowline. Fortunately, I found a free knot tying workshop at the local library, run by the Cape Cod Maritime Museum

She and her brother had so much fun exploring those knots and learning more. We even learned the monkey's fist knot!

I bought scraps of rope at our local hardware, and we keep it in the car - this is a great activity for travel! 


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Getaway to Manchester-by-the-Sea

Manchester is a great place to spend a summer day.  It has a beautiful beach as well as an adorable little town.  We got up early, grabbed iced coffees, milk and muffins and were at the beach in no time.  If you don't feel like packing lunch, there is a cute little snack bar to purchase food. And, they have a bathhouse to rinse all that sand off when you are ready to explore the town.

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My kids spend hours digging and playing.  The beach never seems to get too crowded, even during high tide, so there's always room to toss a ball or dig a moat.

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We ran into so many people we knew while we were at the beach.  It seems to be the beach of choice for many Bostonians.

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The ice cream shop is between the beach and the town and it's hard not to stop.  We all got kiddie sized cones which were much larger than we had anticipated!  There is a playground across the street to burn energy after a sweet treat.

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I have a soft spot for old bookstores.  There are always fun finds for myself and my kids and the prices are great.  We walk away with a stack of books for a fraction of what it would cost to buy them new.  After we read them, we give them away to friends or donate them to our local library.

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After a hot day on the beach, it's great to be indoors looking at books for awhile.

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While we were wandering around town we passed the Manchester Historical Museum .  A docent was outside and invited us in for a quick tour.  It was the cutest little place and we learned a lot about the town and the beach.  There is even an old bath house in the backyard of the museum that they have preserved.

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And, if you go, listen for the sand to sing while you walk on it!

Looking for books about the beach?  No Time For Flash Cards, one of our favorite blogs, has put together a great list that we just had to share. 


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Waiting for High Tide
By Nikki McClure
Wave
By Suzy Lee
Beach House
By Deanna Caswell