Holiday Audiobooks

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Chances are you have travel ahead for the upcoming holidays, whether that means a car ride or plane ride or something in between. One fun way to fill the time – and limit screen time! – is to listen to holiday books through downloads or on CD. You can download many at but we also checked out the offerings at our local library.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas was a perfect classic, with Walter Matthau doing all the different voices from the Grinch to Cindy Lou Who.

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Then Travis enjoyed a wintery tale from the Magic Treehouse collection, The Winter of the Ice Wizard. These auditory adventures were a novelty in our car, and a great way to pass the time! What classic holiday stories would you listen to? Please share in the comments!

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Crystal Suncatcher

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This neat science project will require a few days of patience, but has a beautiful ice crystal reward at the end, perfect for winter!

To start, poke a hole through the rim of a clear plastic container (we used the top of a Pringles canister) with a needle or push pin. Make slightly wider with a pen or pencil, then set aside.

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In a microwave safe bowl heat 1/2 cup water for about 45 seconds, or until warm. Add 1/2 cup Epsom salts, stirring until dissolved. Travis loved making this “potion”.

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Fill the container lid with the salt solution and set someplace that gets a lot of sunlight. Now wait! Here’s how our crystals looked after 24 hours:

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And now after 48 hours!

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The science here is fairly simple. When you stir the Epsom salt into the hot water, it doesn’t disappear of course; it dissolves. But when the water evaporates off, the Epsom salts are revealed again. Hence the beautiful crystals!

To capture your experiment into a work of art, cut the rim off an identically sized lid (again we used a Pringles container). Hot glue them together carefully so as not to crush the crystals.

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Thread a length of string or yarn through the hole you poked in the beginning. I worried we might crush the crystals because our hole was quite tiny, so we hot glued on our string instead, which works in a pinch! Now it looks like Jack Frost has come to call at our window.

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