Thursday, October 10, 2013

Keep Kids from Getting Out of Bed Early with a Timer and Nightlight

Keep Kids from Getting Out of Bed Early with a Timer and Nightlight

Everyone who's ever parented an early riser has been through war—the battle against young kids waking you up at unreasonable hours in the morning. A simple solution to encourage kids to stay in their beds? Add a timer to their nightlight.

Parent Hacks offers this smart tip:

My three year-old daughter was a very early riser and would wake me up repeatedly to ask if it was time to get up yet. [Don't you love that? My kid would creep up to me while I was sleeping, and then wake me so he could demonstrate how quiet he could be. — Ed.] She was too small to read a clock, and although telling her to look for a "6" was an option, she didn't quite get it that 5 was not OK, but 7 was. I was looking for a simple "yes/no" cue that did not require her to do too much thinking if she were to wake up in the middle of the night. I did not want to set an alarm, because I didn't want to disturb her sleep if she were to sleep in.

My hack inspiration came from anelectrical appliance timer. I used it to rig her night light to turn off at 6 am and told her she was to stay quiet and in her room until the light turned off. After a minor setback when she turned off the light manually to make it "time to get up," it has worked like a charm!

Well, it's worth a try until your child starts hacking her nightlight!

Nightlight on a timer tells early risers when it's morning wakeup time | Parent Hacks

Photo by Jason Hull.

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Paella on the Barbecue

fire.pngPaella is a saffron steeped rice dish originating in Valencia, Spain. The traditional ingredients in traditional Valencian Paella include: chicken, rabbit, beans, rice, saffron, paprika, rosemary, garlic, snails and olive oil.

Sticking with a few key ingredients, it's easy to create a Paella to suit anyone's taste. This Instructable does not present a specific recipe, but some tricks we've learned over past few years.You will not find exact measurements. You can find numerous recipes for paella online.

This is a Coloradan's take on Paella. Criticism is expected and accepted.

smoke.jpgSome important factors in making and enjoying paella:

1. A Paella Pan - Paelleras are traditionally round, shallow and made of polished steel with two handles (Wikipedia). Prices range from cheap to super-expensive. The traditional steel pans are a bit more maintenance due to the need for seasoning, but the price is much lower. Go with tradition.
2. Saffron - A spice derived from the flower of Crocus sativus, commonly known as the saffron crocus (Wikipedia). Saffron is expensive, but this ingredient absolutely can not be substituted.
3. Bomba Rice - Bomba is the supreme strain of rice in all of Spain. Bomba absorbs three times its volume in broth (rather than the normal two), yet the grains remain firm and delicious ( If you can't find this rice at a local specialty grocery store, you can order it online. It's worth taking the time to locate the correct rice.
4. Smoke - Paella is cooked over a fire, smoke adds to the flavor of the dish. Use natural charcoal. Add aromatics, such as orange peels to add to the flavor.
5. People - Shared directly from the paellera, paella is an intimate dish shared by friends and family.

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Cardboard Fire Hydrant using 123D Catch

We all know fire hydrants belong to the streets, but how about bringing a cardboard one to your home?

This instructable is going to show how to make your own cardboard fire hydrant step by step using 123D Catch. 

What you need:
123D Catch, which is software made by Autodesk that you can download as an app. (
Meshmixer, another Autodesk program that is used to clean up your catch. (
123D Make, also free software by Autodesk. (
One sheet of cardboard (18"x24")
Laser Cutter

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How Can I Use an iPad Mini Productively in Class?

Tablets are wonderfully portable and fun to use. They provide an engaging way to consume and share content and, depending on your situation, create that content as well. Sometimes, though, tablets may not be the productivity tool potential users image.

Productively Unproductive writes:

I am a student who recently received an iPad mini as a gift. Admittedly I was very excited by the prospect of what I could do with the device, from taking notes in class to things that my phone couldn't handle... fast forward 2 months and the only things I find myself using it for is occasionally doodling in notability or reading. Its cluttered with games and apps that frankly work better on my phone. With all of these new "productivity" apps coming out like Boxer as well as Vesper and Tempo that are bound to my phone are there still ways to be productive on an iPad?

Have some advice for Productively Unproductive ? Post it below!

Do you have a problem that needs solving and want help from the Lifehacker community? Email us at and we might post it. The best questions are broad enough to apply to other people and have many possible answers (so that you can get lots of opinions from your fellow readers). If you have a question that's specific to you or only has a single solution, send an email to instead.

Images by name (source).

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Whats better than water Balloons... Sponge Balls!!!

sponge final pick.jpgEvery summer we make a large batch of sponge balls for the kids to enjoy in stead of water balloons. We do this for several reasons. Once made they can be enjoyed all summer if taken care of properly. The clean up is real easy since there aren't any little rubber balloon pieced to hunt for and pick up. The set up is also really easy. It takes under 2 minutes to make 1 sponge ball. We usually make around 40 sponge balls every summer. Once the sponge balls are made we split them into four 5 gallon buckets filled with water strategically placed around our yard. The kids grab the sponges and start attacking each other. After a couple of throws when the sponges aren't as saturated with water, the kids dip them back into the 5 gallon buckets and continue with their sponge ball fight. They can be used every day if desired, and it's a great way to cool off in the summer. We regularly have kids in the neighbor hood with ages ranging from 4 to 17 playing with these things, and we have yet to have an injury due to the sponges themselves. We have had kids slip on the lawn and run into structures we have in our yard, so I still recommend playing with caution. Also, we regularly have friends ask to borrow them for parties. Everyone who uses them seems to prefer them over water balloons.sponge material.JPGTools:

Wire Ties

A pack of 4 sponges cost me .99 cents at our local grocery store. One pack of sponges will make 2 sponge balls. The wire ties can be found at your local hardware store for around $5.00 for a pack of 100. One wire tie is used per sponge ball.

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Keep Sunscreen in a Cooler for Better Comfort and Effectiveness

Keep Sunscreen in a Cooler for Better Comfort and Effectiveness

If you're going to be out in the sun all day, sunscreen is your friend. However, warm, slimy, and runny sunscreen is a very unpleasant friend. Protect your skin and make putting on sunscreen more comfortable by keeping the bottle in a cooler bag.

This tip comes from the Be It Ever So Humble blog, where Mrs. Mordecai writes:

I put the sunscreen in an insulated lunchbox and kept an ice pack in the top when we were away from home. Not only has the sunscreen remained effective through the summer (we have had NO sunburns this summer, hooray!), it has been much nicer to put on. I hate putting on warm, oily, slimy sunscreen.

As a bonus, the sunscreen is always corralled in one place now, and it's easy to grab if we want to take it with us.

Toss your sunscreen in the cooler when you head to the beach not only to prevent the sunscreen from becoming gross and separated, but also to keep it from losing its effectiveness.

Keeping Sunscreen Cool | Be It Ever So Humble via Parent Hacks

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Healthy Chicken Lasagna

700_2287.jpgHey guys! Im back with another [delicious?] healthy version of a classic recipe: lasagna. This dish is usually made with a ton of full-fat cheese, ground beef, and glutenous pasta; my recipe replaces all three of these not-so-healthy ingredients with much cleaner ones. 

4 Boneless skinless chicken breasts 2 boxes of Brown Rice Pasta Sheets2 cups Fat free cottage cheese or Fat Free Ricotta Cheese1 bag Baby spinach 1-2 cans Whole Tomatoes2 Tbs. Olive oil1 head Garlic 1 yellow Onionoptional: carrots and celerySpices: Basil, Oregano, Garlic Powder, Salt and Pepper

Nutrition Information 
Serving Size:   1/4 Pan (2x4 inch slice)
Calories         420
Fat                 11g
Sat Fat        2g
Carbs            51g
Fiber           7g
Sugar         14g
Protein         32g

700_2239.jpgChop your onion (and celery and carrots if you have them) and dice your garlic. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan and toss the garlic in once the oil gets hot. After a minute or so, throw in the onions, celery, and carrots. Saute for several minutes until things start to stick. Now pour in your canned tomatoes and stir those around. Make sure to mash up the tomatoes into smaller chunks so they cook well. Bring to a boil, then let simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally.

Clean your chicken breasts and cut them into smaller chunks. A blender will suffice for this next step, but a food processor will work much better. Using the food processor or blender, puree your chicken chunks until you have a meat blob. In another frying pan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil and then dump in your meat blob. Mash it around so it spreads out, and as it cooks you will see that it does indeed turn into ground chicken! Break up larger chunks with your spoon to get that ground-meat texture.

Once the chicken is browned (and cooked too), and after the sauce has simmered for about an hour, dump the ground chicken into the sauce and add spices! I added a bunch of basil, oregano, salt, and pepper, but you can add whatever you like. Mix it all up and the meat sauce is done!

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