Homemade Science

Chemistry in Action: Gloop

The following article was written by my 10-year-old daughter, Sofia.

Hello! This is Sofia. Today my sister and I made a cool experiment—Gloop! It’s made of borax, glue, and water. We mixed it up outside and spent the next half-hour playing with it. I even made a Gloop bracelet!

The Gloop is stretchy and kind of sticky. Adding more borax makes it less sticky. It was white, but I bet adding food coloring could have changed that. After you knead it for a while, it becomes very easy to mold and acts kind of like stretchy, gloopy clay. It also is considered a “non-Newtonian fluid,” which means that it has characteristics of both solids and liquids.

Eliana likes it because, quote, “It’s sticky and fun. And you put it in a bag and play with it tomorrow.” I’m not actually sure how well it keeps, but I guess we’ll find out!

If you want to have your own Gloopy fun, here’s the recipe for Gloop:

White glue

1. Mix one teaspoon borax with 1/3 cup warm water in a bowl. Stir well.
2. Mix 1/6 cup white glue with 1/6 cup water in a different bowl. Stir well.
3. Mix the borax solution into the glue. Less borax makes a stickier Gloop. When the Gloop gets thick, knead it with your hands.
4. Play with the Gloop!
5. FOR SAFETY: Do not eat the Gloop. Throw it away in the trash, not the sink, or it will clog the drain.

Enjoy your Gloop!

We got this recipe from the book “Totally Gross Chemistry” by The Creative Activity Kit.


Grocery Budget Extreme Makeover Part XIII

Level 3: Super Saver

Ask Yourself:
Do we throw away too much food?

According to foodnavigator-usa, University of Arizona anthropologist Dr. Timothy Jones’ research on food waste revealed:

“On average, households waste 14 percent of their food purchases. Fifteen percent of that included products still within their expiration date but never opened. Jones estimates an average family of four currently tosses out $590 per year, just in meat, fruits, vegetables, and grain products.”

That same study from the University of Arizona in Tucson “indicates that 40 to 50 percent of all food ready for harvest never gets eaten.”

Hear Jones’ personal suggestions for saving food—and saving money—for yourself at NPR.

Does your family waste almost $600 of food each year? You may surprise yourself by calculating the cost of food you throw away. And like before, I ask: what else could you do with $600? Make a car payment? A credit card payment or two? Start a college fund? Take a mini-vacation?

A little planning is all it takes. What will you do to waste less food—and change your family tree?


Grocery Budget Extreme Makeover Motivation

If you’re a parent who has taken Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, you’ll remember when he talks about what you would be willing to do if your child had a curable disease that required you to raise thousands of dollars in a short period of time. Without hesitation, I bet every parent in the conference facility—or watching Dave on video—was on board. I know I was. And I still get teary every time I see that lesson.

He’s right, of course. As parents we would go to the ends of the earth to save our children medically. Why is it then that we cut off our noses to spite our faces when it comes to saving them financially? Why is it that desperation must be upon us before we are willing to “change our family tree,” as Dave says?

Of course none of this is intentional. When we’re too tired to cook and choose to go out to eat instead of fund our children’s college education—or our own retirement funds—we’re not intentionally sabotaging our family’s future. We’re simply in self-preservation mode: “I’m really tired; I’ve worked all day. I deserve a meal that I don’t have to cook—or clean up after.” Dave, of course, is much harsher than (I hope) I am and counters that with “No, you don’t!”

I won’t go that far. I know how you feel, and you do deserve some time off, someone to pamper you for a change, a meal you don’t have to cook—or clean up after. But you also deserve a life of financial stability, or Financial Peace as Dave calls it, where you and your partner don’t fight about money; where your kids can go to the movies and you don’t have to take that money out of the grocery budget; where you can take a paid-for vacation; or where you can choose to leave a J-O-B you don’t like to pursue your dream.

That’s what this series, The Grocery Budget Extreme Makeover, is about. It’s not about saving a little money on your grocery bill. It’s about changing your life. Initially, of course, it was about changing my life, my family’s life :). And it has. Making a few small changes over time have added up to a new way of life and hope for the future. As corny as that sounds, it’s true.

I don’t think my husband will mind if I tell you that before we implemented the new budget, complete with monthly budget meetings, we fought about money a lot. He had no true understanding of how much it cost to run a household, and I thought I “deserved” a few new things for the house and kids every month. Simply making a plan—together—and sticking to it has allowed us to move forward financially, and closer as a couple.

Do we still have medical school and graduate school debt? You betcha. That’s a mistake I’ll be living with for a few more years. But now, instead of feeling consumed and disemboweled by the debt (sorry for the graphic description, but that is how I felt), I feel empowered. Not only are we systematically, and successfully, paying it off, but for the first time in our lives I feel like we’re LIVING; that our future is hopeful; that we will be able to fund our retirement, our children’s educations, and maybe even vacations :).

The money I’ve saved by developing and implementing The Grocery Budget Extreme Makeover has changed our lives. The next question is: Will you let it change yours?


Grocery Budget Extreme Makeover Part XII

Level 2: Dollar Diva

Ask Yourself:

The questions that we will be asking ourselves throughout the Grocery Budget Extreme Makeover are what I call the Hard Questions. They may not be fun to answer, but they’re necessary if we are to be honest with ourselves, improve our family’s health, and save money.

Here’s the question: Do we eat out too much?

Do you know what percentage of your income you spend at restaurants or other quick stops, such as coffee shops, convenience stores, at movies or sporting events, or at snack machines, etc.?

Think there’s not much difference in the cost of eating at home versus eating out? Check out The High Cost of Eating Out and The Cost of Eating Out vs. Making Meals.

Between you and I, now that I rarely eat out (for budget and health reasons), when I do, the food is never as good as I remember. Honestly. I don’t miss it like I thought I would. What I do miss is someone else cleaning up the kitchen!


About LivingLaVidaMama

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Formerly, I've worked in publishing and been a medical student. Currently, I'm a freelance writer and copy editor, and full-time mom with two exceptional daughters. LivingLaVidaMama focuses on intentional frugality and the Specific Carbohydrate Diet that has dramatically improved my younger daughter's autistic-like symptoms. Contact me at MadForWriting at windstream.net