Monday, March 14, 2011

Retiring the Easy Bake Oven...

As a mom, I never particularly cared for the Easy Bake Oven.  There.  I said it.  Outloud in print even!

The problem with the thing was always finding the bulbs.  Sure, they are making a big deal out of it now,- now that legally the bulbs are going away in January.  But honestly, since my children have been old enough for one of these things, the bulbs have been impossible to find.

We've had to go to special stores to find the 100 watt bulb... all so I could wash a zillion pieces and help her make something the size of a small cookie. 

For the same amount of time/energy/cash, why not just let them bake a batch of cookies or a real cake?  Sorry, nostalgia, I won't mourn our Easy Bake. Hasbro says they will "redesign" the oven for the new law.  Something with it's own heating element, or perhaps something that goes in the microwave.

How about you?  Are you sad?

Mary Kay wasn't born cheap... but she got there pretty quickly.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A High Tech Treasure Hunt- Right Around the Corner

I admit it, and it comes to no surprize to anyone who knows me... I'm a geek.  I love all things Math and Science-y... so how the heck have I missed out on this for so long?  There are so many great caches to find in Lewisville/Flower Mound/ Highland Village. 

You don't need a special GPS device to get started, just a GPS enabled phone.  If you have an Android phone, there's a free app available (c:geo) that is perfect! It also helps to have a free basic account at Geocaching .

From within a mile of our house in the 75028 zip code, 22 sites pop up!  The driving directions get you close to your site.  (For our family, the first several were walking distance-- no driving was even necessary.)  Then switch the app to compass.  Follow the arrow on the compass.  (Both times we did this, it took us within 10 feet.)

Now here's some advice: trust your gps.  The first one we did, I couldn't believe something could actually be hidden in a drug store parking lot.  But it was!  Once you get within about 10 feet-- it's time to just start searching.

BIG hint #2: Before hunting, you might want to search on for geocaches to see what some of these unique containers look like.  It also gives you an idea of the truly clever hiding places. 

What to bring:
-long pants (many, though not far from the beaten path-- will be past brush or stickers.)
-a pen / stamp (there will be a log to sign)  These are signed with your "geocaching" name, so think one up in advance.
-something to leave in the cache.  A small toy, a coin, or other small item.  Many have kid gifts hidden in them.  The rule is to leave something of the same value as you take.  Think small!  Some of these are pretty tiny.

The second one we found was found by Big K.  She was so excited!  And inside, was a special "pathtag".  A pathtag can be kept by the finder.  It has a number to enter on the Internet (no personal info needed) to let the person who left ir know a little something about how/where/when it was found.  It is different from a "travel bug".  Bonus!  A first find and something to show her friends.  I'm guessing that second grade journal will be full on Monday...

I had no idea there were so many.  This has all the makings of an activity I can get behind.  It's free. It's nearby.  It's quick. And kids love it.

Really, what more could a geeky mom ask?