Nifty Beads

Sibo beads 2

We made some seriously cool beads last week. They are really easy to make too. Here’s how you make beads out of salt dough…

Making the dough…

2 cups of plain flour
1 cup of table salt
1 cup of water

Put all ingredients into a mixing bowl and gradually add the water, mixing to a soft dough.

Remove the mixture from the bowl, put it on a flat surface and knead it for 10 minutes. (Yes I know your arms gets tired but you need to do this because it helps to create a good smooth textured  dough.)

Let the dough stand for about 20 minutes before you start working with it.

While your dough is having a rest (you can have one too) you need to cover some baking trays with grease proof paper or baking paper.

If you don’t use all of the dough at once – you can wrap it in plastic and store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

Making the beads….

Pinch of small amounts of dough and roll it into a nice round ball in the palm of your hand.  Carefully make a hole in the centre of the bead using a toothpick or something similar. Place it on the baking tray.

Make a hole through the centre. You must make the hole in the centre whilst the dough is still soft – it becomes very hard once it has dried completely.

You can, or course, make the beads any shape or size that you want to.

You can leave them to dry naturally in the air. This is environmentally friendly, but it does take around 48 hours for them to dry. Or you can dry them in a very cool oven ~60 degrees Celcius.  (Don’t be tempted to make the oven any hotter – the beads just crack and then they are useless.) It takes 3-4 hours for the beads to dry.

Once they are dry you can paint them different colours with craft or spray paint.    When the paint has dried, give them a coat of clear varnish or spray paint to make them nice and glossy.

Now you’re ready to thread your beads.  We use fishing nylon – but you can use anything – wool, twine,  leather – whatever you have. We also cut up slices of cork (from wine bottles) in between the big beads.

Go crazy – have fun.

Sibo

Test Your Strength!

 

Sibo olympicsI suppose most of us must have seen or heard something about the Olympics that are going on in Brazil at this current time. Especially with that fabulous Wade van Niekerk breaking the world record – how awesome is that. I’m seriously holding thumbs for Caster Semenya as well.

All those athletes participating must be really fit, strong and tough – don’t you think?

Strength is actually a funny thing. No matter how strong a person is – you would imagine that everybody is strong enough to crumple up a few pieces of newspaper – right?

Here’s something to try out – see how strong you really are.

You need 5 full sheets of newspaper to do this experiment (and you better make sure your family has read it first).

This is what you do…

Hold your arm out straight and hold one piece of newspaper in just one hand. If you are right-handed use your left hand. If you are left-handed use your right hand.

Now crumple that sheet of paper up into a tiny ball – using just one hand.

Do it again with the next piece of paper – and again and again until you have crumpled up all five pieces of newspaper.

Is your arm tired?

I bet it is. See, we don’t use those muscles in our arms to do hard-crumpling jobs very often so your crumpling muscles tire out quickly. If you practice crumpling newspapers up like that – your whole arm will grow stronger.  (Maybe you better do it with both arms though – otherwise you might land up lopsided!)

SmileWe all have 656 different muscles in our bodies. Exercise increases their size and strength but will never add to their number. Even something as simple as walking involves 200 different muscles. Something to think about… you use 40 muscles when you frown… but only 15 when you smile!

Here’s your funny fact for the week… the fastest muscles are those that blink your eyelids. They allow you to blink up to 200 times a minute. We normally blink without thinking. Actually it is really hard NOT to blink and impossible to manage not to blink for as long as a minute. Go on – grab a friend and time each other trying not to blink for more than a minute.

Keep smiling!

Sibo

Cool Sciency Stuff!

Sibo's Experiment

Once again it is that time of year – National Science Week. Some of you might remember that I’m always saying you should go visit your local science centre. If you can’t get your teacher to take the whole class, then ask your parental agents to take you. They’re really very cool places, where not only do you have loads of fun, but you also learn some very interesting stuff.

So I thought I’d share some crazy facts and maybe you’d like to do a little science experiment all of your own at home.

First the facts. Did you know…

  • Your tongue is the strongest muscle in your body.
  • Earth is the only planet not named after a god.
  • There are no naturally occurring blue foods, even blueberries are purple!
  • Just like finger prints, everybody’s tongue is different.
  • A “jiffy” is the scientific name for 1/100th of a second.
  • You breathe on average about 5 million times a year.
  • Cockroaches can live several weeks with their heads cut off. (Eeergh – that’s really gross.)

 Now for the experiment…

Its winter time and we all enjoy a bit of heat when we are cold – right. Heat is an important form of energy. It is produced in our own bodies as we break down and use the food we eat. We can release stored heat energy by burning fuels such as wood or coal.

Heat can move from one substance to another in three different ways:

  • By convection. (Convection takes place when heated molecules move from one place to another, taking the heat with them.)
  • By radiation. (Radiation is rays of energy – the Sun’s rays travel through space and reach us as heat and light energy.)
  • By conduction. (Conduction is the way heat spreads through a solid or a liquid object – metal is a faster conductor than glass.)

Maybe get an adult to help you here – or at least ask if you can have 3 peas and a teaspoon of butter!

Take a metal spoon, a wooden ruler and a plastic spatula. Stick a frozen pea to one end of each using a bit of butter. Put the other ends in a jug of hot water.

Heat is conducted from the water up each object, melting the butter and making the pea fall off. Which one do you think will be the best conductor?

Science makes the world go round!

Sibo

Really useful stuff

Rude Sibo

The other day I was having lunch at my friend’s house and accidentally dropped some food on my jeans. It made a big oily splodge. I dashed to the kitchen and gave it a rub with some sunlight liquid.  Thought I had cleaned it… but no.

When the patch dried, the oily blob was still there.

I was miffed with myself and sad too. Not only were they my favourite jeans, but they were also new and I figured my mum was going to yell at me for messing them up.

Then my friend’s older sister Emma came to the rescue.

“Don’t worry,” she said “I’ll sort them out for you!”

I was a bit worried because she’s an arty type.  I half imagined that she might cover up the splodge with a bigger splodge of paint or something, but instead she took the bicarbonate of soda out of the cupboard and made a little white heap on the oily spot. Then she added a few drops of water to the heap.

A couple of hours later she handed my jeans back to me. They were spotless. I couldn’t even see where the mark had been. It was amazing.

When I got home later I googled bicarbonate of soda – also known as baking soda.

Wow! It’s fabulous stuff. You can use it for literally all sorts of things and it does not mess up the environment like other cleaning products do. It’s cheaper too.

Here are just a few ways of using it that I thought were useful.

  • You can sprinkle a small amount of baking soda into your palm along with your regular shampoo and wash your hair as usual. The baking soda removes all residue that styling products leave behind and makes your hair cleaner and more manageable.
  • If you have a mozzie bite, you can make a paste of baking soda and a bit of water and cover the scratchy spot up. It stops itching.
  • You can also give yourself a refreshing facial and body scrub. Make a paste of 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water. Gently rub in a circular motion to exfoliate your skin. Rinse clean. You can even use this every day. (It really works – I’ve tried it myself!)

Here’s a link for more ways to use baking soda  http://www.care2.com/greenliving/51-fantastic-uses-for-baking-soda.html .

Try out this miracle stuff when you get a chance!

Sibo

The friendship bench

Sibo and friends

A few weeks ago I read a very interesting story about a school overseas that has something called “friendship benches”.  Apparently it started out with just one of the lower grades having a bench but then it spread to the whole school and they ended up having several.

I thought the whole idea was seriously cool.

Most of us know what it’s like to go to school and not have any friends. Whether you are new at that particular school or maybe you only have one special friend and they are not there for whatever reason. It’s okay during classes, because you are listening to the teacher and doing your work, so you don’t really have time to feel lonely or misplaced. But it’s a really horrible feeling to be all alone and not know what to do with yourself during break time or lunch time.

It’s even worse when you have to watch everybody else is running around, chatting and generally having fun.

Imagine having a bench – where you would feel comfortable to go and sit if you are feeling alone and sad, wishing badly you had somebody to talk to.

Everybody else would know that’s the friendship bench and they would make an effort to come and chat to you, or even just sit with you so that you don’t feel so sad and alone.

Maybe it would work even better if a rotation of kids (who had volunteered for the job) were assigned to keeping an eye on the bench to see if anybody was sitting there. I mean, it would not be very useful if everybody thought somebody else would take up the challenge and then nobody actually did it – would it? Then the poor person sitting on the bench would feel even worse.

Often people are shy – and they come across as being full of nonsense, or stuck up or snotty which really isn’t the case at all. They are just really shy.

After all – a stranger is just a friend you have not yet met!

Of course – this does not mean that you should go and sit next to strangers and start chatting to them in public spaces – especially adults. That’s not a very clever thing to do. But in a school environment – it’s perfectly safe.

Why not try something like this out in our schools.

Have a happy day.

Sibo

Sibo gets organized!

Sibo T-shirt

Feh! After just a few days of school I am missing the holidays already. Mind you – it was really nice to see all my friends again and I do like learning new stuff.

I decided to be more organized this term. Often I used to scatter my school stuff all over the house and then sometimes land up in class without a book I need or I’d forget my sports clothes or something else important.

So I asked my parental agents if I could have a table into my room so that I can do my homework there instead of in the kitchen. Dad found one at a second hand store and sanded it down for me. We painted it a nice bright pink and now it looks really great.

Funny, but I feel more motivated to sit down and work at my new pink desk.

I also keep all my books lined up against the wall.  I pinched two of mum’s smooth round stones from the garden and painted them the same pink as my desk so that I can put them either side of the books and they don’t fall over.

I covered an old tin with a page from a magazine that I liked and I’m keeping all my spare pens, pencils and rulers all neat and tidy in one place, so I can find them. I even have a diary and I write down all the important things that I need to remember and diarize dates.

My next project is to make a notice board that I can put up above my desk, so that I can pin stuff to it. When I finally make it I’ll share details with you all too – in case you want to have a nice tidy, inviting workspace too.

When I get home from school each day I first have a snack. Then I get changed and hang up my school uniform all nice and tidy for the next day.

Instead of procrastinating as much as possible before doing my homework – I am trying to do it straightaway. Then I can reward myself with some TV time or go have fun working in my veggie garden or riding my bike.

So far it’s been working rather well – but then again – we’ve only been back at school for a few days.

We’ll see how long it lasts!

Sibo

Helping the end-of-holiday blues.

Sjoe! It’s unreal how quickly the holidays have whizzed past. Unbelievable!

I considered getting depressed at the idea of going back to school next week but then I thought it would actually be nice to see my friends again. Plus learning new things is always pretty awesome.

Did any of you use the ideas in my previous blog? If so – I’d love to see the results. You can always email pics to me at sibo@sibo.co.za . We could put your pictures on the website so that other people could also be inspired.

A great way to end the holidays is to make something tasty to eat. I’m talking seriously tasty now – like milo balls! You could get a group of friends together and pool your resources to buy the ingredients.

This is what you need:

I x 250g packet of Marie biscuits; 4 x table spoons of Milo, 1 tin of condensed milk, half a cup of coconut plus extra coconut to roll the balls in.

Smoosh up the Marie biscuits until they are all small and crumbly.  If you don’t have a blender or a mixer – you can put them in a zip lock bag and smack them gently with a rolling pin or a wooden spoon for a bit. Be careful not to be too enthusiastic and break the bag though.

Once the biscuits are all nice and crumbly put them into a bowl (if you are not using a blender) and add the Milo, coconut and condensed milk. Blend it well until it is all nicely mixed together.

Using a tea spoon – take a spoonful of mixture and roll it between your palms into a nice round ball. Then drop it into a cup of coconut and swish it around until the ball is coated with coconut. Place it on a baking tray or something similar. Keep rolling until you have used up all the mixture. (It should make approximately 50 – 60 balls – or more if you make them smaller.)

Beware… you will get very sticky hands but you can always lick them clean – after you’ve finished that is!

Place the tray of Milo balls into the fridge for 10 minutes to harden. Then store them in an airtight container.

These really are a delicious treat – and they’re not as sweet as you might imagine. Have fun making them and remember to clean up the kitchen afterwards.

Enjoy!

SiboSibo with Milo Balls

Holiday Fun Again

Recycling

I bet you are all really glad that its school holidays again – especially now that its winter and is cold in the mornings. But after a few days of sleeping in those odd few twinges of boredom start to set in.

I mean we can only watch so much television, play so many computer games and even after a while I even want a break from reading books too.

It’s great if you money is no object – then there are lots of things to do. Like going to the movies, shows, amusement parks, on holiday and other fun stuff. Or one could visit a science centre like Sci-Bono Discovery Centre in Newtown. It’s not so expensive and they have some very cool things going on for the holidays.

But many of us are a tad financially challenged and that’s when we have to make a plan.

Firstly remember that if you’re feeling cold and a bit in the doldrums – get some exercise. Any kind of exercise. Grab a friend or even better – a couple of friends and go for a nice brisk walk. Or a run. Or a bike ride. Or hula hoop.  Do somersaults and handstands in the garden or the park. Go crazy.

Exercise boosts creativity – so when you’ve finished it’s time to get creative.  You can make amazing things with junk. Using fishing line (which does not cost that much and you get an awful lot of it on one reel) you can string up all sorts of things like bottle tops, corks, buttons, old beads and bits of plastic. These days’ plastic bottles come in all sorts of colours too.  You can also paint the stuff you string up. One string might look a bit odd – but if you make lots of strings you could make a hanging doorway for your room or even a secret nook in the garden.

Don’t forget about fabric painting. If a bunch of you each buy one pot of fabric paint and share – then you’ll have lots of colours. You can brighten up old t-shirts or even paint flowers or patterns on your sheets. Make sure you get your parental agent’s permission first though.

If you have access to the website – there is a fabulous site to visit to find things to make Toys from Trash.  Arvind Gupta is a friend of Ginny’s and lives in India.

Happy Holidays.

Sibo

Our life blood.

Sibo 5

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) “108 million units of donated blood are collected globally every year. Nearly 50% of these blood donations come from high income countries – home to less than 20% of the world’s population”.

Sadly though – many people still die each year because they do not have access to safe blood and blood products.

You are probably wondering what exactly is “safe blood”?

It’s blood that is free from HIV, Hepatitis B and C and syphilis – these can easily be transmitted through transfusion.

In South Africa, every unit of blood that is collected goes through stringent testing to ensure that it is safe. Scary to note that in some other countries this does not happen due to a variety of reasons – shortage of staff, irregular supply of test kits, poor quality test kits or general poor quality of the laboratories.

So how much of your precious life blood do they take? A mere 480ml – that’s all. It’s less than 10% of the total blood volume of an adult. Most adults have between 4.5 and 5 liters of blood in their bodies. (However, if a person weighs less than 50kg they are not allowed to donate because they don’t actually have enough blood to spare.) The lost fluid is replaced in the body within 36 hours.

You are, by law, not allowed to give blood more than every 56 days. This means that a person would only give three or four times a year. Not too much to ask really – is it?

In South Africa people between the age of 16 and 65 are allowed to give blood – if they are fit and healthy that is. There’s a questionnaire that you have to fill out – regarding your health and life style. They do a finger prick test to check iron levels before donating. Blood pressure is also checked to make sure that people are actually healthy enough to donate.

Remember – you need to eat and drink enough fluid (not alcohol) before you donate.

Or course, if you’ve had flu or have been sick in the last few days you are not allowed to donate because it would be bad for you.

For more information on giving blood – go to http://www.sanbs.org.za/ .

Interestingly enough… dogs can have blood transfusions too – with dog blood of course.

If you are fit and healthy please consider donating – you never know when you yourself might need a blood transfusion.

Stay safe,

Sibo

A few small rules

Every now and then we all have to use public transport. Some of us even use it daily – we don’t have a choice.

We all know that it is not polite to put our feet on the seat – of a train, bus or taxi. It’s not fair to the next person who sits there. Our No feet on the seatshoes might be dirty and then that dirt would get onto the next person’s clothes. Yet… people still do it.

We also know that we should give up our seat if there is an elderly person, a preggy lady or even somebody who has small children who does not have a seat of their own. Even if we are tired and don’t feel like it – it’s the kind thing to do.

Some types of public transport have designated seats for the elderly or the disabled – these seats should be out of bounds for normal travelers, but sadly, people don’t care and they sit in those places anyway. They even have the cheek to be rude if they are asked to move.

It’s the same for parking places in malls, shopping centres and other public spaces that are allocated for handicapped people. They are usually wider than usual parking places to allow for wheelchairs to be loaded on and off the roof of the car. Usually they are also close to the entrances.  This does definitely not mean that somebody can park their big fat bakkie in that space to run into the shop quickly.

There are also spots in some shopping centres for Moms with tots. People sometimes consider that these folk are getting special treatment, but this isn’t the case. It’s not easy humping a pushchair in and out of the car whilst managing small children – let alone having to look for parking in some out-of-the-way spot. It just makes it easier for them to shop at that particular centre – that’s all.

But what’s really rude is to have a loud conversation on your cell phone whilst using public transport. Nobody wants to have to hear what you are ordering for supper, or what happened to you last night, or even what business deal you are doing. It’s even worse if you have to listen to somebody having a fight on the phone.

Please people! Let’s all try be a bit more considerate in future.

Sibo