Tag Archives: kids

Science Saturday: Mushroom Kits

I like to do various semi-education activities with my kids, most often on Saturdays. We call these Science Saturdays activities. I am going to post about some of the successful activities and the less-than-great semi-educational activities.

Mini Mushroom Grow Kit

Mushroom growing kit
Mushroom growing kit

Growing Mushrooms clearly takes a bit more than a single Saturday, but it is a great science activity with the kiddos. We grew a back to the roots Mushroom mini grow kit. That can be started in just a few minutes. The initial setup involves opening the box, cutting the bag, and soaking it in water. All the while discussing mushrooms, it was super easy to start.

mushrooms growing
mushrooms growing

Then it is fun to watch as it grows from tiny baby mushrooms to something we can eat in just 2 weeks. We grow tons of stuff with the kids, with a summer outdoor garden and our basement hydroponic garden (which I will cover in a future post).

kiddos growing and eating mushrooms
kiddos growing and eating mushrooms

If you have any questions about it, this is a pretty good youtube video that includes setup and a timelapse of the mushrooms growing.

Our kids love eating and cooking mushrooms, so it seemed like it would be fun to grow some so they could see the process and eat their bounty.

The mushrooms start coming up fast, and I think Theo pulled his first one off the box and popped it in his mount by day 6 after starting the kit.

preparing the mushrooms
preparing the mushrooms

From reading a bit about these kits, we should be able to grow two or three crops of mushrooms. We just started the second batch yesterday.

Our kids enjoyed sauteing them in butter, the first batch we harvested a bit too late, and they were a bit dry and cooked up chewy. We will see how we do with the next batch.

Full Mushroom Kit photo gallery

Family Climbing Time

We have been into climbing as a nice form of exercise. Theo has been climbing since he was a baby. He first visited this climbing gym at age 3. Now that Sasha is 3, we needed to get her to her first gym as well. It was fun to go as a family, and they have daycare available making it possible to climb with the kids for a while, then have them play with other kids while you get in a few climbs without distractions.

Theo Climbing a Boulder
Theo Climbing a Boulder (click for higher quality video)

It was good to get them more experience at the climbing gym, as Theo could start youth group climbing classes in just a few months when he turns 6.

Theo climbing a few routes
Theo climbing a few routes

Sasha, had fun at the gym, but quickly wanted to go to the daycare so she could play with the toys and other kids… She was happy and we were able to focus on ab it more climbing with Theo.

Sasha trying some routes
Sasha trying some routes

A great way to spend some time with the family and to get some exercise during the cold and snowy winter months in CO.

At the top
At the top

First Family Ski Trip

We finally got our little family out skiing. We tried two years ago for our first ski trip, and our car broke down on the way to the mountains… After that disaster, we finally built up the courage to try again.

our kid's first time on skis
Our kid’s first time on skis.

We go on Christmas eve day to Loveland, a family tradition before kids. We had to bring two duffle bags of gear to have all that was needed, along with backups for any issues that might come up. For a family of 4 renting everything and getting two passes along with a small shared lunch, it costs about $300 for a single day… Which is pretty expensive but much less than the bigger resorts.

kids getting lift tickets and ski rentals
The kids going through the lift line and getting sized for rentals

Getting the kids through the lift pass (free for kids 5 and under) line and fitted for rentals was a breeze. Loveland is really well set up for beginner kids, with folks helping size boots, helmets, and goggles, sweetly telling our kids how great they are doing.

Theo made amazing progress on his first day
Theo made amazing progress on his first day

It was amazing to see how Theo took to it, with no complaints and learning so quickly. He sometimes carried his skis up the bunny slope so I could carry Sasha. He went from his first time standing in the skis to being able to do “pizza pie” stops, riding the “Magic Carpet” lift, and even finishing off the day with two real lift rides.

Sasha also had fun and was excited to join the adventure
Sasha also had fun and was excited to join the adventure

Sasha also did amazingly well for a 3-year-old. She did three bunny slope runs before wanting a warmup and snack break. She got comfortable with all the gear and asked to go “again and again.” She got pretty good at skiing down but couldn’t yet master the “pizza pie” stop.

Theo keeps going and going
Theo keeps going and going

Theo kept going, and I was looking for a break to get some water while he still wanted to ski more. He finally admitted he might need a break as he was “running low on air.”

After all four of us had a break (in shifts so we could sneak in a few bigger runs), we got everyone out for round two, and Sasha did three more runs, including going up the “Magic Carpet” lift once… They did pretty great for a cold day, with snow and a first time on skis.

Sasha skiing to Erin
Sasha skiing to Erin

I also need to mention the help of having grandpa who would watch kiddos when they needed a break for a bit in the lodge. Erin and I both managed to sneak in a few non-bunny slopes runs. I am not sure we could have pulled that off without another adult. 

Overall it was a super exhausting day, and carrying both kids and gear up a hill while on skis is far more exhausting than just going skiing oneself. Still, it seemed like a success and went well enough we will probably rent a cabin for a long weekend sometime.  Feel free to check out the full ski gallery if you like.

Family Ski Day
Family Ski Day

Loving the Basement Swings

Sasha loves her swings…

Sasha jumping onto the rope swing.
Sasha jumping onto the rope swing.

As we had kids, I set up mounts in the ceiling to attach a variety of swings… Over the years, they have served us very well. Both our 3-year-old and 5-year-old still enjoy a variety of attachments. We even have hanging chairs for adults when we end up playing games or watching movies in the basement.

Indoor Ceiling Swing Hangers Unlock Many Options

The most popular attachments change over the years, with the original baby swing and traditional swing long original favorites… These days the rope swing and trying to jump from and land on various targets seems most popular. It is the most popular obstacle in games of “the floor is lava.”

a collection of pictures of our kids on swings
our kids have enjoyed a variety of swing attachments.

For more, see our entire gallery of swing photos.

How and What

If you have a suitable playroom for something like this… You need a few things to make this work. I am not giving detailed instructions as I am not a contractor, etc… You can find great youtube videos and instructions to ensure you have the mounts in studs in the ceiling. All of my mounts I test with around 150 lbs ensuring when a swing is attached to two mounts, it should be able to handle crazy kids or most adults.

  1. Stud finder, drill, and suitable studs that can take the load.
  2. Heavy-Duty Swing Hangers Sets (I have 3 sets, so 6 ceiling anchors)
  3. Pick a few attachments.
  4. Buy carabiners. I recommend having enough for all the attachments you get, so it is fast and easy to swap them out.

Which attachments?

Sasha Approved

While Theo might spend a little more climbing on the wall these days, Sasha probably still spends more time on the swings.

Slow motion Sasha jump

The swings are a great compliment to our climbing wall and ninja line that also mounts in the basement.

What about the babies?

Though Erin’s Dad doesn’t believe in the “unique snowflake” theory of childrearing, we love little ones and youngins are welcome at the casual volleyball party in Aurora on Thursday afternoon.

For the wedding ceremony and reception, there are a number of child care options available. If you are traveling from out of town and need some help connecting with options, please contact mother-of-the-bride, Wanda Venters explaining your child care needs and she will help arrange something with you.