Wednesday, September 26, 2012

there's no pressure. so just breathe.

today was the last day of the weather module in our homeschool class at the zoo.  the kids passed around a tornado tube, they made a huge pinwheel and a barometer, and they created hurricane waves.

it was a successful day.  except.  the hurricane waves demonstration went something like this.  put water in a pan. blow water with straw.  watch water splash everywhere.   see lil's mom grab her away from the project and violently sprinkle hand sanitizer everywhere like it was holy water.

creating the barometer went a little bit more smoothly.  to make your own barometer, you'll need:

- a half pint mason jar (without lid)
- balloon
- scissors
- rubberband 
- glue and glue dots
- toothpick
- index card

1.  cut the neck off of the balloon.
2.  stretch it over the top of the mason jar and secure with a rubberband.
3.  glue toothpick onto the top of the balloon (towards the middle).
4.  draw a line in the middle of the index card.  write "high" on the top, "low" on the bottom.
5.  attach the card to the jar with the middle line adjacent to the rim of the jar.

once the glue on the top of the balloon is dry, you have a working barometer.  the toothpick will indicate pressure. as pressure pushes down on the balloon, the toothpick will rise and point to high.  etc etc and vice versa.

ps.  did you know that hurricanes don't form on the equator because there is no spinning wind there?  and hurricanes that form in the northern hemisphere spin counterclockwise while those in the southern hemisphere spin clockwise.   

Sunday, September 23, 2012

there were these last week.

cracked.  over a grate in legoland florida.

fallen.  behind lego deer.

ordinary color.  in the cypress gardens' pond.

bokeh.  with a lost lego minifigure shield.

fence.  overtaken by the banyan tree in cypress gardens.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

stepping on legos hurts. swimming with them, not so much.

we hung out with some friends yesterday morning at legoland florida's water park.  it's a relatively small area, but we had a blast.  except.  there was that one time when lil pushed me down a pitch black tube water slide.  and then i heard her laugh about it with the lifeguard.  i think they even high-fived each other.  true story.  

also.  i'm going to take her around town later this week.  in my pajamas and curlers.  while rapping old school run dmc.  like "you be illin'".

duplo splash safari area and build-a-raft river.

joker soaker.

joker soaker slides and wave pool.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

balloons are scary because of the popping and the spit.

i'm terrified of balloons.  i blame the lutherans.  sort of.  when i was a mere six or seven, my dear mother enrolled me in vacation bible school at a local lutheran church.  for our activity, they thought it'd be good clean fun to have relay races that went like this:  run to the chair with the balloon on it.  sit on it.  pop it.  and repeat to the other side.

longest - week - of - my - life.  also.  i'm probably a southern baptist for this reason.  that and the potlucks.

yesterday's first zoo school lesson focused on thunder and lightning.  in order to demonstrate thunder, the kids blew up balloons.  and then they popped them.  i cried and shuddered in the corner.  

for the lightning experiment, we attempted to produce static electricity.  however.  because we live in florida, the humidity didn't allow us any success.  praise jesus.  because i have  a story from my childhood about that, too.  yada yada yada.  i blame clint and steven.  but just in case you want to give it a shot, you'll need to gather:

- foil pie pan
- styrofoam plate
- piece of fleece
- pencil with new eraser
- thumbtack 

1.  poke the thumbtack through the bottom middle of the foil pan so that it points up.  
2.  stick the eraser on the tack.
3.  place the styrofoam plate upside down next to the foil pan.
4.  rub the fleece on the plate several times then quickly drop the fleece into the foil pan.
5.  pick the pencil up (without touching the foil pan).
6.  touch the foil pan with your other hand.  you should feel the shock.

if this is done in a really dark room, you should actually be able to see the static electricity.  

ps.  some happy things we learned were:  you know how sometimes there's a double rainbow?  well in the primary rainbow, the colors start with red at the top.  and in the other arc, the colors are reversed.  and.  to even see a rainbow at all depends on your position.  you have to be in between the rain and the sun. once you're there, look towards the rain.  and.  the lower the sun, the bigger the arc.  

Sunday, September 16, 2012

there were these last week.

kiss.  on the road.

askew.  over epcot's japan.

fragrant.  in epcot's rose garden.

simple.  in epcot's germany. 

plant.  in epcot's canada.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

silence is a sign of (a) good character.

i don't recall ever hearing a child ask why certain characters at the disney theme parks don't talk.  it's like some magical innate acceptance.  in any case, words can be puzzling.

yesterday's trip to epcot allowed us to meet remy.  and wendell.  and br'er fox.  and mr. penguin.   lil and mad could associate all of these characters with either movies or rides/shows.  can you?

Friday, September 14, 2012


this giveaway is over.
this giveaway is over.
this giveaway is over.

i lose my keys.  a lot.  and i want to give you the chance to do the same.  only with a really awesome wristlet key fob that i made.  so every once in a while, i'm going to give one away.  because i like you.  and because i make a lot of these babies.  not to be confused with "i make a lot of babies".

also.  i think i'll offer a second wristlet key fob for the winner to share.  because while i don't make a lot of babies, i have made two.  and probably it's best to let them pick out one key fob each for the giveaway.

up for your consideration for this fobulous giveaway are these two wristlet key fobs.  chosen and named by lil and mad.
"black sheep of the day" and "i love you my sweet sweet feathers"

to enter for a chance to win the set, all you have to do is comment on this post.  don't know how?  --->  right after all my words.  in the gray box.  click the word "comments".  and boom.  you'll be magically transported to a box where you'll need to type in the words "i want to lose my keys with an awesome wristlet key fob that you made attached to them".  or.  just leave any comment (and a way to contact you for when you win).  and if you want to follow my blog, that'd be mighty decent of you, too.

also.  when i can't find my keys or phone or checkbook or children, my husband is always like.  have you checked your purse?  and i'm like.  oh.

and now for the fine print. it's more small print than fine. contest starts as soon as this is posted. it ends at 12:01am on thursday, september 20, 2012 est. one entry per person.  if you do not follow the rules, you're not a rule follower.  chances of winning depend on the number of entries. raise your chances of winning by not telling anyone. lower your chances by telling everyone you know. this contest is open to you - whether i know you or not. by entering this giveaway, you agree to abide by the rules i've stated or not stated. and i can change the rules whenever i please.  this is just a simple giveaway that is sponsored by me.  i make these key fobs when i'm feeling nervous.  or anxious.  or stressed.  or all of the above.  because the process calms me.  or sometimes i just enjoy the sound of the sewing machine because it drains out the surrounding noises.  you'll notice i have a lot of key fobs.  i don't sell them.  i just like to give them to nice people.  so only enter if you fit that description.  yay!

and the winner is:
and the winner is:
and the winner is:

yay!  congrats, ashley!  and thank you to all the good folks who played along!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

so the whole raining men thing could maybe actually happen?

homeschool class at the zoo was entertaining on wednesday.  we learned about weird precipitation and how (because of water spouts) it rained frogs (france, 1833).   and that the largest snowflake ever was about fifteen inches wide (montana, 1887).  and also how once a turtle was found in a hail stone (mississippi, 1894).  this would be a perfect opportunity to insert a joke.  but let's just laugh at the actual facts instead.

in continuing with this month's weather module, the kids made "snow".  i'm not sure what it really was but it started out as tiny beads and then puffed up to a soft fluffy consistency once water was added.  lil and her friend caleb really liked playing in the mix.  they even convinced themselves that the snow was cold.  i just kept making sure it stayed white.

after the snow was cleaned up, the kids made rain gauges and water cycle models (in a bag).   the rain gauge was a simple kit that only required attaching the water tube to the measurement backing.  the water cycle model in a bag - while simple - was a little more involved.

to make a water cycle model in a bag, you'll need to gather:

- soil
- water
- wild flower seeds
- gallon baggie
- sharpies (optional)

1.  mix the soil, water (enough to make the soil just slightly wet), and wild flower seeds in a bowl.  you'll need enough to fill the baggie up to about an inch from the bottom.
2.  decorate the baggie with sharpies. 
3.  add your soil.
4.  tape the bag to a sunny window and watch the evaporation, condensation, transportation, and precipitation. give or take.
5.  you'll want to add a little bit of water every other day if the soil gets too dry.
6.  once your seed begins to sprout, take it out and plant it.  yay!

when we got home from zoo school, lil immediately staked her rain gauge into the ground.  it was cloudy all day so we didn't tape up her baggie to a window.  instead.  i just put it on the stovetop and turned on the hot exhaust lights.  then i was like.  oh no.   i can't make dinner because it'll affect our project.  we ordered out to panera. kachow!  can't complain 'bout no dinner when your child is a science winner.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

well shoot. it all happened so fast. and without a quiver.

lil has been involved with archery for a little over a month now.  her coach has been working on form and patience with her.  my goal for lil is for her to make it to the 2024 olympics.  and for my family to cheer her on from the stands.  you know.  without getting kicked out. 

lil working on her form with her coach.  and practicing at home.
no one has been shot.  yet.

lil, however, has already fulfilled any goals she may have regarding archery.  as we were waiting in magic kingdom's brave arena this weekend, the host asked lil if she would like to shoot his bow and arrow.  she barely looked up from coloring her page and nodded after informing him that she took archery.

the look on the host's face says it all.  also.  i hope lil doesn't see this
and think.  oh!  let's roast marshmallows by shooting them into a fire.

after following him to the tiny shooting area, she shot the big fat cushion arrow perfectly into the target hole before the host had time to finish saying "hold it like this".  also.  kilts don't fly up in the wind like skirts do.  and it's a good thing too the way lil quickly turned to thank her host and briskly walked back to the middle court to finish her artwork. 

merida's courtyard. 

ps.  lil uses an italian made beginner's ragim matrix jr takedown recurve.  fifty-four inches.  sixteen pounds.  she carries four to six jazz arrows in her quiver.  blue and white fletchings are a must.  yada yada yada.  i had to look up all this terminology.  also.  same rule applies to lil as it does to merida.  no weapons on the table.  until she can use it to provide dinner.  um what?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

duckduck is hangry. always.

this is duckduck.  he visits us when we're in the backyard.
he comes from the vicinity of our lake.  but really.  he just kind of appears out of nowhere.  

you can't always see him coming.  but you can feel the ground shake when he is close.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

i know school has started because that's where everyone was.

i guess summer is over.   i can tell because the streets of magic kingdom were void of arm to arm walking.  the crowds were sparse.  the lines were short.  and the stroller parking left ample room for our double wide orange bob stroller.  i sure do like it when school starts.

we smiled nice with some friends.  the godmother.  cindyrelly.  vid.  belle.  tink.  rap.  merry.  tigg.  pooh.  double e.  and pig.  also.  my husband claims that tigg purred at him.  tonight when he's sleeps, i'm going to purr in his ear.

we played with some rides and attractions.  the barnstormer.  aladdin's magic carpets.  casey jr's splash and soak area.  astro orbiter.  and the tea cups.   we went 'round in circles a lot.

we remembered the classics, too.  the tomorrow land transit authority (aka the people mover).  the jungle cruise. and carousel of progress.  the girls and i were the only ones in the room to sing and clap with each rotation.  my husband didn't mind because he slept.

we had fun hanging out in the new dumbo play area for a bit before riding on the flying elephant.   under busier crowds, a buzzer is given to each family as they enter the area.  this allows for timed sessions and makes room for incoming guests.  i especially enjoy the dumbo ride these days because it gives me a sneak peek at the construction of (more of) the new fantasyland.  

our last adventure of the day was at  monster's inc laugh factory.  this place cracks everyone up.  and while you're standing in line, disney gives you the opportunity to text in a joke to be used during the show.  we've tried before with no success.  but this time, lil's joke was selected.  and i think it was because the guys behind the whole shebang probably felt sorry for me.  watch and see.

my text:  what does a python order at an ice cream shop?  a milk *snake*.  

their text:  ha ha!  very funny!  we'll try to get this into the show.  yours monstrously mike wazowski.

my response text (because i forgot lil's name and location):  what does a python order at an ice cream shop?  a milk *snake*.  from lil of etc etc.

their response text:  you call yourself funny?  i sure do!  thanks for the joke!  your pal mike wazowski.

my response text again (because lil saw what i texted and was like.  no, mom!  that's wrong!):  what does an eagle order at an ice cream shop?  a milk *snake*.  from lil of etc etc.  sheesh.  i can't get it right.  sorry.

their response text again:  we got your joke!  thanks!  yours monstrously mike wazowski.

oh the pride beaming from lil's face when she heard her (correct) joke on stage was perfect.  i'm so thankful for that.  and for the copy/paste option on my phone.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

i almost grabbed the bottle to rinse my hands. and feet. and hands again.

our local zoo offers monthly modules (composed of four meetings) for homeschoolers.  this is lil's second year participating in the science classes.  and today was day one after the summer break.  

lil's friend caleb joined her for the first time this morning.  he was thrilled.  or really annoyed.  but actually.  i'm gonna go with confused about the fresh zoo smell.

this month's topic is the weather.  the kids made thermometers with water bottles.  to make one of these bad boys, you'll need to gather:

- plastic bottle
- water
- isopropyl alcohol (we used 70%)
- food coloring
- straw 
- modeling clay

1.  fill about a quarter of the bottle with equal parts water and alcohol.
2.  add a couple drops of food coloring.
3.  insert the straw.   do not let the straw touch the bottom of the bottle.
4.  take the modeling clay and form a seal around the straw and bottle mouth.
5.  gently hold your hands around the bottom of the bottle.  avoid squeezing it. 
6.  as your hands warm the bottle, the solution will expand and rise up the straw.

also.  if you leave your bottle thermometer in a hot car, you'll have a wet and food color dye filled cup holder.  and the modeling clay will be mushy.  and the kids will beg to play with it.  and you'll let them because you're an awesome mom.  and as they stretch and pull the mushy clay, you'll gag.  and it'll take all the strength left in you not to drink what's left in that bottle thermometer.  

man.  zoo school is so awesome.

Monday, September 3, 2012

here comes the bride. again.

i never thought it would happen.  but finally.  my girls were asked to be flower girls.  or it could be that i just had them crash the party like the bride.  

our good friends donna and john were married last year.  there wasn't a ceremony or big reception.  they just walked hand in hand to the courthouse and said their vows.  and that was that.  because love doesn't mean having cake.  

here we are one year later and john decided it'd be nice to treat his bride to a surprise wedding for their anniversary. he gathered up close friends and had us all arrive at the chapel thirty minutes prior to the start of the ceremony. then he blindfolded his wife and drove her to the destination.  

also.  the church has a bumpy dirt parking lot and donna did mention that she thought at one point john was driving her into the woods.  too bad i didn't know that until after the fact.  because i would have totally stood outside the car howling and scratching at the windows.

when donna's blindfold came off, she was standing in the atrium.  her son met her and she screamed.  we all heard it behind the wooden sliding doors that were pushed open to reveal lil and mad standing there with the flower bucket and a room filled with some pretty awesome folks.

a chapel with red doors.  a surprised bride.
flower girls and their ensemble from chasing fireflies and chooze shoes.

yada yada yada.  donna walked down the aisle.  the bouquet was put in her hands.  the garter was slipped onto her wrist.  and they lived happily ever after.  except.  at the dinner afterwards?  there still wasn't any cake.  this kind of love sure is crazy.

ps.  the bouquet was handmade by our friend tracey.  a few of us contributed brooches and jewels and the like to help create this beautiful arrangement that was absolutely perfect for donna.  it is also heavier than a mack truck. so probably donna will drop her shake weight and start curling the bouquet because she has not let that thing leave her side.  i wonder if she'll use the garter as a headband.

the most beautiful weapon ever.

oh.  lil and mad were great and behaved as expected.  sweet.  and smiley.  and.  wait for it.  mad dropped the bucket after taking about three steps and ran to the front alter leaving lil and my husband to finish the walk.  and after the ceremony, the girls laughed and played and punched each other.  and a wonderful time was had by all.

true to form.

also.  as a reward for keeping their outfits clean all day, we let the girls play on the beach in them.  and as evening came and we started our leave from the beach, we met another beautiful bride who was also married that day.  she held her bouquet and we wished her good blessings.  i wonder if she had cake.

i look at these girls and i'm like.
this is so much better than cake. seriously.


Saturday, September 1, 2012

grapevine studies. joseph. a review and giveaway.

this giveaway is over.
this giveaway is over.
this giveaway is over.

i've had friends ask me what curriculum i use for history.  and i'm always like.  none.  because it's history.  forgive and forget.  i think only one person has ever laughed at that.  because dude.  homeschoolers are way serious.  

but then when i see the concern, i come clean and answer with grapevine studies ---> their tagline?  stick figuring through the bible.  (um.  i like stick figures.  and the bible is fine by me.  and what a great history book it is, too.)

the girls and i are currently working our way through the story of joseph.  he's well known as the man with a pretty fine coat.  and we know that severe sibling rivalry got him thrown into a pit and sold into slavery.  but GOD chose him to enter into pharaoh's courts and joseph ended up saving lives - including his brothers' lives.

what grapevine studies does is this:  they take the subject (in this case, joseph) and they break it down into lessons.  there are bible verses.  and discussions.  and vocabulary words.  and memorization.  and just like any other curriculum, you can pull what you need to pull from it.  joseph is designed for ages seven and up.  but mad (who is four going on mid-life crisis) does just fine with what we go over.  

wait.  there's also drawing.  <--- makes grapevine studies extra special.  this is what engages my girls.  stick figures, when properly drawn, can be framed and displayed above your piano.  of course my girls think that if i'm going to display my lesson drawings, i should also display theirs.  

our set up is simple.  i pull out the chalk and board and gloves.  (my closest friends will read that line i just wrote and not give a second thought to it.)  the girls get their colored pencils.  and then we all actually just sit on the floor and work our way through the day's lesson.  i tend to split lessons into mini lessons because lil and mad work best this way.

we enjoy grapevine studies.  lil can look at her drawings and recall the specific events of the lesson.  mad remembers a good bit, too.  but her recollection of the story may not be as detailed.  still.  what a great way to learn history - for the girls and me.

ps.  warning for those who have children like my mad.  there are times when the stick figures are drawn with profiles.   so basically, they've got one eye.  go ahead and have your child draw in two eyes.  it's not worth the meltdown.  

and you know what else?  right now on my blog, i'm having a giveaway!  one blessed reader will win a free ebook copy of joseph (the teacher guide and student workbook).   all you have to do is check off the appropriate entries in the rafflecopter entry box below.  so go ahead and play.  you have until 12:01am est on monday, september 10, 2012.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

and now for the fine print. it's more small print than fine. contest starts as soon as this is posted. it ends at 12:01am on monday, september 10, 2012 est. one entry per person - unless you participate in the optional additional steps. in that case, you'll get a maximum of ... a lot ... of entries. if you do not follow the rules, you're not a rule follower.  chances of winning depend on the number of entries. raise your chances of winning by not telling anyone. lower your chances by telling everyone you know. this contest is open to you - whether i know you or not. by entering this giveaway, you agree to abide by the rules i've stated or not stated. and i can change the rules whenever i please. this is a review in conjunction with a giveaway. i purchased my joseph books and did not receive compensation - monetary or otherwise. i was not required to write a positive review. this lovely post you just read is comprised of my own personal opinions. i say what i want, yo.