Monday, February 28, 2011

Millions To Measure Measuring Fun

This month, for math, the boys and I are tackling a wide range of measurement fun. Today we read through this really fun book, Millions To Measure. It's a really fun book that covers the topic of measurement from "prehistoric" time to present.

The book covers the problem with the original forms of measurement, which my guys found really funny. I'm sure the funny voices (slightly cold/congestion induced on my part) helped. It works it's way up from using one's foot to using a standard foot size, and moved up to how the metric system  became.

I love that this book spent half it's time discussing the imperial system and the other half discussing the metric system. We use both forms of measurement in our home so none of these words & terms were foreign to my children.

The idea, for us, is to focus in on the metric system for now. So I whipped up a few notebooking pages Morgan to record what we read about. The blank line on the above notebooking page is for a quick timeline based on the history of measurement. Not because it's super important to me that he knows this, but the book covered this topic loosely and he couldn't stop chattering about it!

More room for recording the fun and important stuff that we learned. Again, it's not super important to me that he knows who's credited with starting it but since we covered it he'll want to record it. He loves gathering up all sorts of tiny tidbits of information.

The book didn't just cover things like inches and centimetres, it also covered quarts, pints, litres, and millilitres.  So this opened up a perfect opportunity to tackle those measurements as well. Mind you, my boys help me shop and cook so they do know a good deal about navigating these waters. In fact, I sent them off to measure some grapes in the grocery and found them trying to measure a helium filled balloon, much to the delight of several customers who were watching the boys many theories on how they could hold it down on the scale and still get an accurate weight. The lesson that followed, on gasses, was completely lost in a load of boyish laughter.

The idea here is for them to cover how much of each item is in the bigger. Did that make any sense at all? Hopefully it did to someone!  And no, we don't always do all these notebooking pages at one time. We fill them in as we go to help cement the lesson as we move along.

A few additional activities we might do based off this book would include using their own feet to measure the same things. While I think they all ready understand why it was a poor idea, I think it will help them also see the humour in it a bit more.  There was also a reference to stones for measurement in the book (another term my children are reasonably familiar in hearing because their grandparent with English heritage still uses the term from time to time) where two people used the same amount of stones but measured completely different things. (Hog & Hippo) I think it would be an interesting experiment because rocks vary so much in size. I'm just not sure I'm willing to drag the kitchen or bathroom scale down to the beach, the nearest rocky area to us!

We have a lot more really fun measurement activities ahead. The boys are dying to know why I pulled a copy of Jack & The Bean Stalk and told them not to run off with it because it's for math.. Yep. Really.

If your'e after the notebooking pages you can find them here. You can find a more imperial version here courtesy of Scholastic.

Project 365: Week Eight

Sunday, February 20 -- Haircuts were in dire want around our home so Sunday afternoon I plugged a video in and loaded the guys up. That's the third pile of hair I swept up. Don't worry they aren't completely bald.. yet.

Monday, February 21 -- The lighthouse we see each morning when we go down to the ferry. It looked especially nice as we sat in the car and waited to make sure the ferry would manage it's crossing without breaking down. Laugh if you want, but we know how reliable it is..

Tuesday, February 22 -- Somedays we have to wait for this monstrosity to scoot out of the way before the ferry can cross the river. Tuesday was one such morning. For whatever reason the ferry refused to cross until this was out to sea; I know you're thinking safety reasons but normally he can cross a half dozen times, the same amount of time it takes this big vessel to turn around. Why is my mirror in the picture? I refused to get out and look like the other gawking tourists just to snap a photo. Besides, sometimes tourists can get pretty feisty as they elbow each other for prime picture spots.

Wednesday, February 23 -- The funny ferry Mr S takes into town on a daily basis. We usually stay close until we're sure it's made it's way across the river and landed safely at the dock. It's been known to conk out a few times before it went in for some massive repairs.

Thursday, February 24 -- I spent the day sneezing and coughing and freezing. I was rugged up in my orange woollen socks and that footy scarf. My eyes are even doing freaky things in that photo! Best part was when I walked in the room all rugged up and the guys were asking for popsicles because they were so hot. I thought they were joking until I checked the temperature outside. Apparently I was feverish..

Friday, February 25 -- The look from an upstairs window. I was still sneezing and coughing on Friday, but not as badly. While waiting on a printer to print I looked out the window and was impressed to see a tree in the yard was all ready starting to change colors! We have 3 that do this in our yard, if they can survive the summer heat. Considering our summer was so not hot it'll be fun to see these leaves change.

Saturday, February 26 -- We checked in at a local park and enjoyed checking out the small creek that runs through it. Normally we get carried away with the cattails. I love cattails, don't you? Really I do. I still remember a case cattails and silver dollars sitting in a vase shaped like a boot in my parents house for years. My kids are more intent on using the cattails as exploring missiles though. Alas.. I found myself distracted by the lilly pads.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Shop Open: Nature Game

It's finally here! The Nature Game Starter Pack is finally finished and ready for purchase. Unfortunately due to the issue of obtaining blank game boards (and a few other snags) we're only offering the playing cards, full instructions on how to play the game, and instructions on how to create a game board just like ours! 

Download the 14 pages of cards plus more now at Currclick!

What are you getting in The Nature Game Starter Pack?

  • Inside this printable you'll be getting simple instructions (with picture) to guide you through making your own game board. I've even included links and specifics on the graphics we used. 
  • You'll also receive the very simplistic instructions for playing The Nature Game. Once you have the supplies on hand making the game board shouldn't take you more then 30 minutes!
  • You will also receive 56 Nature Game Cards. These cards include challenges which help you collect acorns as you move around the board. While the biggest object of the game, is of course, to have fun and get out and explore the idea of the game is to collect acorns as you travel around the game board. Most of the cards in the starter pack include small challenges like identifying insects, flowers, trees, feathers, and more. While some of them are less challenging like looking at the clouds and calling out what shapes or images you can see. Players collect acorns for identifying things with or without the aid of field guides. There are also bonus cards which allow a player to gain or lose acorns for theoretical situations.
  • Example: "You remembered to wear sunscreen and shared it with the rest of the group! Collect 2 acorns and take another turn."  "Oh no! You disturbed a nest of bees. Lose one acorn and move back to the nearest yellow marker on the board."  
  • The idea of the bonus cards, as I'm sure you've guessed, is to encourage doing the right thing while out on Nature Walks, group hikes, etc. 

Why it is called a Starter Pack? The idea is that we have hopes of making booster packs of cards based on specific habitats or places one might normally hike, explore, or in general be involved with nature. Meaning that we hope to share the subsequent booster packs with you as we create them. They would, of course, be sold at a lesser price as you'd only be obtaining more cards for game play.

How many people can play this game? We've played with as few as 3 and as many 12. The game was originally created with our small family of four in mind. However, it's quite easily adaptable and that's included in the instructions/rules of the game. When we played with more people we had a few teams of 2 going around the board. 

Do I need anything Special to get printing? No! You can print your game cards on regular paper or card stock. We printed our first test batch on red card stock (scrapbooking paper cut to fit in the printer) and our final play batch was printed on a lovely tan card stock. Once we printed on both sides of our paper (challenges on one side, Nature Game on the other side) we laminated the cards before cutting them apart.

How do you store your game? We store our's in an empty flour sack, mostly because we have an excess supply of them. A simple plastic shoe style box would work too if your box is big enough to fit the game board. We keep our cards rubber banded together and our little acorn/beads stored in a small drawstring bag. Use whatever works for you! We may be selling the bags for storage down the tracks, as well as premade game boards.. time will tell.

Is The Nature Game region specific? No, we created the game while living in Tasmania and we use it freely here, but it isn't specific to our region. If you have trees, lizards, rocks, logs, toads, frogs, spiders, birds, and a general curiosity about you then you'll have no trouble using the game. We do use our own field guides which are region specific, but clearly you'd use your own which would be specific to the area in which you reside.

Please Note: All files are PDF format and you can use Adobe Reader to view them with, which is free. Unless otherwise specified all files can be printed on A4 o US sized paper. Some files (like this one) are compressed ZIP files, so you will need to extract them before you can view them. You can find free extractors online if you don't all ready own one, just try a simple Google search.

Purchase now at Currclick, and be playing in no time!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Helping New Zealand

I've been asked a few times if our family is okay after the recent events in New Zealand. First off, thanks for being concerned, but those of us here in Tasmania are more then okay. Occasionally when an earthquake happens in surrounding islands we get higher then normal waves or high water warnings, but we didn't this go around.

Our hearts go out to those in New Zealand and their suffering. A lot of people want to be able to help, and here's one small way you can. Currclick is offering a $254.23 package for a mere $20. That's a huge savings of $234.23!

The package includes a large range of items from lapbooks and notebooking pages to full unit studies. The best part is that Currclick has decided that all proceeds make from sales on this packaged bundle will go directly to the New Zealand Red Cross. Which means that the $20 you spend will go directly towards helping those who've been effected by the earthquake.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Vocabulary Notebooking Pages

While chatting with some friends today, we all thought it would be super cool to have a Vocabulary Journal. Lakeshore has some amazingly cool and awesome journals, many I'd love to get my sticky little fingers on. Unfortunately, Lakeshore will only ship internationally if I call them first, and several months ago now I put in to have them contact me about what the rate would be if I ordered a few of their journals. I'm still waiting for that call back.

While I wait(ed), the whole topic about these amazing little Vocabulary Journals came up. They are fantastic! I mean really fantastic, and it dawned on me it would only take a short time to whip up a notebooking page that would be quite similar to that.

I'm not one for making a general "rip-off" style printable, especially if I'm going to share it. However, all the chatter about these vocabulary journals made me think it would be a bit selfish if I kept it for myself.

I really can't wait to put these to use considering the many vocabulary words we seem to learn each week. I'm sure other homeschooling families learn many new words each week too, right? I know Morgan will enjoy the space to draw a picture on his paper, and I love that he can work on some grammar by filling in a synonym for each word. Now available from CurrClick!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Homeschool Expo

Did you know that the there are limited seats at the Old Schoolhouse Expo? Apparently, there are! There's roughly 300 tickets left up for grabs and they are still as low as $19.95. You can currently pick them up under two different options. You can pay $19.95 and get the Expo To Go. That means that once the Live Expo meetings are over the people who work behinds the scenes on all the techno stuff will turn the lovely meetings into MP3's which one can download to their ipod, computer, or whatever device you want. Then you can listen at your leisure. For $29.95 you can get the Live Meetings as well. Rumour has it that the prices are set to rise by $10 so if you're considering picking up a ticket, you might want to snag one soon to get the lower price!

I know some of you will ask what the advantage to one ticket over another is, especially those of you who asked about time zone differences last year when I mentioned I was attending. The only big difference is that a "to-go" ticket means you can download the meetings (a couple of weeks after they are over) and listen to them at your leisure. An excellent choice if you're some 15+ hours ahead of other parts of the world.

Honestly, I really enjoyed the Expo last time. It's a great alternative to attending a giant homeschool conference, something I don't have the ability or opportunity to do in my neck of the woods. Last year one of my favorite speakers was Todd Wilson. He was funny and to the point and tackled a topic that pretty much all homeschoolers need to hear: Lies Homeschoolers Believe.

Todd spoke about a lot of the things we, as mothers and fathers, believe about others in order to influence why and when we do things in our own home. This was a chat I really enjoyed and, in fact, just listened to it again and it was as great the second (or third.. I might even admit fourth) time around as it was the first.  In fact, the first time I heard this it was during the actual meeting, and my dh was listening too as we were both busily bustling around getting breakfast and things. There's a point in the meeting where he asks us to put cleaning on a priority list and my answer caused Todd to say, "No, it's suppose to be a lower number time to start over!" Thankfully, he didn't actually use my first name, but Mr S was laughing so hard he nearly choked on his Weet*Bix.

His meeting really hit the nail on the head with the growing epidemic amongst homeschoolers, and how so many feel the need to do or be simply because they think Jane and John Doe do it. We've all been caught in that trap at some point in our homeschooling careers. Anyway, I'll leave you with a couple of quotes that always make me stop and say, "Wow!" when I listen to this particular meeting. "If you believe a lie long enough it becomes a truth." "If we act on the lies we'll miss the truth. Don't compare your weakness against other people's strengths. Comparing is poison to your soul."

Todd Wilson won't be speaking, as far as I know, at the coming Homeschool Expo but you can look here to check out who will be speaking this time. Check out the latest specials and tickets available here.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Seahorse Art

I've had a few art projects flagged to do with the boys over the coming weeks, and this afternoon seemed like a great opportunity to pull one out. The original idea used frogs, but considering our current ocean study I thought we'd change that idea just a little bit.

So I did a quick google search for a seahorse template. This wasn't too hard if you use the image feature on google and then select line drawing. We went with a simplistic image that didn't have too many fiddly bits to cut or trace.

Once we found we liked I printed out two copies and cut them out for the boys. Then I gave them each a sheet of watercolor paper and the patterns and instructed them to trace as many on their paper as they wanted with a crayon.

The instructions said to heavily outline it with a crayon. I did the first one for Jayden and set him to work with the rest. He did pretty well, but our curly tail was a bit wiggly and he ended up needing help holding it all down. Morgan managed it all on his own.

Then we painted our little seahorses. I ended up doing one of these two, but I cut a bit off my white paper because after helping the kids trace seahorses I was holding up the progress. The picture above is Morgans, he made one of his little seahorses have it's tail hanging "below" the picture. Funny part? I had only a tail of one in my picture!

After you paint your seahorse while your paint is still slightly wet you're suppose to dab on bits of lemon juice. We each did this slightly differently. We used a very tiny paintbrush and q-tips/ear buds. The purple seahorse above is mine after testing the theory. You can slightly see it in the green tail on the right side of the photo.

This is Jayden's seahorse he did lots of swishing the lemon juice around. Can you see the slight wash in the tail, neck, and "wing" area? Interestingly enough the look was all dependant upon how you applied the lemon juice, swishing or dabbing, and the color paint we used.

This is Jayden's finished project. He decided to use crayons to color in the water.  He was pleased with that until he saw the other finished projects with blue paint for water, then he was a bit disappointed he hadn't taken the time to paint the background.

Here's Morgan's finished project. The lighter spots in the blue are where he went for the lemon juice effect in the water as he was disappointed with how it worked on his seahorses. Notice the wash on the purple one's belly? That was from swishing the lemon juice on it.

And there's mine. The purple one has the most mottled look to it which was the first one I did, but then I tried swishing it on some of the others and dotting it in other places. I also tried the lemon juice effect in the water area too and was reasonably pleased with how it turned out. The darker patch of blue was where I started with a different pat of water color and then changed my mind on the color I was using. You'll find the original instructions here.

The Homeschool Mother's Journal -- Week 5

In My Life This Week: We're gearing up for a rental inspection. Did you know that was customary in Australia? It is. Every so many months they come through and make sure the upkeep is happening and it gives you a face to face with the agent to lodge any problems or complaints. We've never had a bad inspection, but I still stress out over these things. Mr S, on the other hand, has had a few poor inspections when he was living in the city on his own. All I can honestly say about that, is it's probably a good thing the inspector didn't open the oven. He's been known to hide dirty dishes in the oven, clean clothes in the fridge, and books under the mattresses before.

In Our Homeschool This Week:  Our schooling this week is very halted and slow. Truthfully, sometimes real life experiences get in the way of book learning, but that's okay because it gives us the opportunity to put what we know to use. Hopefully we'll be returning to our regularly scheduled program of Ocean Fun before the weeks over.

Places We Are Going, People We Are Seeing: We had an absolutely clear and beautiful schedule this week, but five minutes into the new week things changed. We've been the hospital, where my children wanted to lecture nurses on the habits of smoking and we stopped to collect acorns so we can attempt to get one to sprout. We're off to see a new house with a family member tomorrow (we're not moving, the family member is). We're also hoping to hit our local arboretum sometime this week to collect feathers and check on the progress of changing leaves. Did you know they have trees from all over the world there including the US?

My Favorite Thing Last Week: I really enjoyed finding lots of little Valentine's hidden all over the house from Morgan. It hasn't stopped, we're still getting little notes with love hearts on them. He's great for making letters and sending them to us, which is a great way to find words for his spelling. When I reminded him that he's still persistently writing you wrong even though he knows how to spell it he later delivered a picture to me with a new Mr Man on it entitled: Mr Spelt It Rong.

What's Working/Not Working For Us: We're completely loving our ocean study! It's inspiring all sorts of reading and investigating around here. In fact, the boys requested we rent a few ocean videos to watch and after much humming and hawing we chose Finding Nemo & Flipper (the new'er' one with Elijah Wood in it) and the boys were so excited to see several creatures we learned about in the later film.

Homeschool Thoughts/Questions I have: I've actually been back into researching Charlotte Mason's manner of educating children. We all ready use many of her methods, and there's a few more I'd like to put into action around here. Which means in what little spare time I've had I've been reading, researching, and so on about these methods and ideas. My brain can be a really scary place to be sometimes..

A Video, Link, Photo, Or Quote To Share:

Princesses wear crowns to remind them that they are smart and beautiful because somedays it's easy to forget. Author Unknown

To find out more or participate in the Homeschool Mother's Journal click the picture above, or follow the link.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Project 365: Week Seven

Sunday, February 13 -- There was much hustle bustle around the house as the day came to a close. Printing papers for school, tidying away the last of the days activities, checking the following days weather, and of course Valentine's Preparations. With a party the day before and taking a Nana home today the boys waited until last minute to make valentines. I found this tucked on my nightstand before I climbed into bed. It's not a great photo, but the stack of papers neatly tied together and clipped made me smile. Unlike some family members, mine didn't state that I had to wait until morning to open and read them!

Monday, February 14 -- Valentine's Day seemed to creep up on us this year. We often find ourselves having a birthday party on this special day or it seems so much closer to a weekend. Mr S, however walked through the door with this beautiful bouquet for me. The crazy man carried it all the way home after stopping off for it on his walk home from work! Talk about love, that and the brand new Alarm Clock he got me were very sweet presents indeed!

Tuesday, February 15 -- A normal breakfast around here consisting of oat bran drizzled with maple syrup. My family thinks I'm a little bit nuts for eating hot cereal all year round, but then again they are kinda use to my insanity. Seriously though, I'm cold all the time lately and there's nothing like a bowl of cereal to warm you up!

Wednesday, February 16 -- We buy our popcorn in 5 kilo rations (that's more then ten pounds for those of you in the imperial system) and we pop the bag in the freezer putting just enough in our popcorn jar to fill it. We tend to eat a batch every day, especially now that the boys now how to use our fancy little air popper. Today it was requested at morning snack time while we watched a science video. And yes, the first time I went into my shop and requested a full bag of the popcorn the girls said, "You do know how much that is right?" My cheeky little boys smiled and said, "I hope it's a lot because we eat it every day!" 

Thursday, February 17 -- Creationary. A certain little boy, who's not so little, got a fantabulous present from his grandparents. You should have seen the look on his face when, as he was unwrapping it I said, "Oh, this one is from Gram-Gram and Poppy!" He was confused, but when he opened it he said, "What?! This came in the mail and I didn't notice it?!" We've been subjected to many games of this since he opened it, and I see many more ahead of us.

Friday, February 18 -- A view of the cruise ship we can see leaving port from our house every day. We can also see it coming back in, and in the dead of winter when it toots it's horn incessantly at 6 am so the tug boats can find it out in the fog covered ocean I'm often tempted to open my window and scream, "He's coming all ready, keep it down now!" Nothing like the bellowing noise from a boat horn at  5 am to start your day! We often see this beauty leaving port when we drop Mr S off at work, and Jayden never hesitates to roll down his window, throw himself halfway out and wave good-bye as though his nearest and dearest were on that boat. It's really quite funny..

Saturday, February 19 -- It's a miserably dreary day outside, just what I'd hoped for! A reason to stay home and huddled together in the house where we can work on craft projects and be complete and utterly lazy without one whim of guilt for not going outside today! My craft area was covered with the front part of flour sacks after whipping up some lovely little chickies. Which meant putting them all away before I could pull out my snowman quilt to work on.. or the other long list of never ending projects which are all demanding my attention.. 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Blogging Awards

As it turns out, I'm quite behind on sharing some blog awards this little patch has been given. It's always fun to get silly little awards that tell you someone's reading your blog, you know besides your parents or your husband. Yes, that's right Mr S reads our blog, but mostly just so he can figure out what's going on around here and not be totally "knocked your socks off" surprised when he comes home and finds his wife covered in glitter or other odd things happening around here, but I digress..

I must admit I'm also very behind on answering emails and comments too, so if you've asked a question via email or comments and I haven't replied yet I'm really sorry about that, and will hopefully attend to it soon. You can always ask again just in case your questions got lost in the shuffle of things around here.

So, now that we have all that out of the way, let's see if I can clear up some of these awards that are laying around..

First up we have the Stylish Blogger Award which was awarded to us not once or twice, but three times from three completely different ladies! Kinda makes me glad you can't see me right now with bed head hair and pjs on..  Wendy, from Homeschooling Blessings, Jen from Adventures in Unsell Land, and Sweet Phyllis from All Things Beautiful all blessed us with this fun little award.

There are a few rules attached with this little award, or as Jen put it, With great honor comes great responsibility.. Hmm, I wonder if she was watching Ever After shortly before she posted that!

1. Link back to the person who award you and thank them.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Award 15 recently discovered great bloggers
4. Contact these bloggers and tell them about this award.

Seven Things About Myself:

Let's see if I can share 7 absurd things about myself without mixing them up with the last 7 things I shared, shall I?

1. I'm terrified of mice. No, really I am. I constantly tell myself I'm bigger then they are and I put on big clompy gumboots or my sneakers and I stomp around if I know we have one in the house, but in short I'm terrified of them. Last winter when we had a mouse in the house (because it happens every winter because we live next door and across the street from many sheep paddocks) I was sitting in a recliner reading some homeschool stuff when a mouse bounded up the hallway. I didn't just scream, I threw the computer onto the couch and jumped up in my chair to scream. My husband, more level headed, got up to chase it with a broom. He successfully disposed of it too. I, however, now have to flip on the hall light in the dark before I feel comfortable walking up and down it. In fact, one night I even had a nightmare about a mouse and was found whimpering in my sleep about it! I've got some serious mouse issues..

2. I love giving gifts. Really, I do. the only hard part is waiting for the right time to give it. I often have to come home and hide the gifts and then convince myself a million times over not to give that gift out until the appropriate time.

3. Alarm clocks terrify me. It's true. The incessant beeping from an alarm clock, be it in a movie or on a commercial can send shivers up my spine and make me cry. I think it all stems back to having a baby in the house.. Morgan use to get up at 3 am every night for months and nothing would soothe him unless I was singing to him or pushing him in his indoor swing. Mr S, however, had to be up and at work by 7 am, and Mr S doesn't drive. Which meant I had to be up and at them that early so I could drive him to work. I'm pretty sure I did a lot of sleep driving during that time frame. Jayden, however, didn't sleep through the night until he was over a year old, and even then it was never a guarantee.  At that time we were much closer to Mr S's work, but after working for more then a year on second shift he was swapped to 1st shift which meant getting to work by 630 am. It took me years to catch up on that sleep deprivation! So much so that I still shudder when an alarm goes of, and when I set my own I'm quick to turn it off while muttering, "Sorry about that!"

4. My husband and I both grew up on farms, his a tad more productive then ours. The ins and outs of farm life are pretty common for us, but it dawned on me how uncommon it was for our children when yet another farm went in across the street from us. While walking towards the beach the two new horses on the land came galloping up in hopes we'd pet them. My youngest and very animal addicted child walked forward and put his hand on to stroke a horse nose when I grabbed him and pulled him away. Most offended he said, "MOOOOOOOOOM! I was gonna pat him and give him grass." I simply pointed to the fence line and said, "Honey, that's an electric fence!" This caused such mystification amongst the boys that we had to explain what that meant. So now, every fence line we pass they ask about and Mr S and I are terribly rotten for poking certain fences and pretending were getting zapped. Jayden rolls with laughter, Morgan, however, finds this entire thing embarrassing and horrifying all at the same time.

5. This is the 3rd blog we've had, or the 4th website. Weird, huh? My husband and I have had a website up and running since before we were married. It contained very little of anything and was started well before all the blogging rage. We actually had an announcement on it when we found out we were expecting the first time. It was a lot easier then calling various continents and relatives. We simply started the word by alerting grandparents and let the news follow down the chain. Then we had a homeschool blog, but it was on a site that was very difficult to navigate and so we eventually gave it up. We had another one, which was equally difficult to deal with and ended up here in the end.

6. I love sporting events. Okay, so maybe not something like ping pong, but for the most part.. Only, when it comes to kids soccer games I tend to be the only parents on the sideline cheering. It's weird, but it's true. I think I confuse the other parents by not only cheering for my own child's team but also cheering for the opposing team. It's true, I'm happy to clap and shout things like "good job" "Oh, that's okay you'll get it next time" or "Wow, that was AMAZING!" no matter who did what. I always find it kinda sad when kids wander up on their own and no one bothers to cheer them on..

7. I hate walking in seaweed. I'm not talking about a few scatterings of seaweed on the beach, I'm talking the ankle high, knee high, or worse yet waist high seaweed that washes up on our beach all the time. In fact, when I'm down there walking every morning and I have to conquer so messes I make the dog go first. When I confessed this fear to Mr S he asked why and I confessed that I'm always afraid something will pop out of the seaweed. A spare tentacle, a fish desperate to make it's way back out to sea, or worse yet a hand. I know, weird, huh?

Okay, so if you've been around here for a while you probably see why I've taken so long to put this blog up. Award 15 blogs? Oh my goodness gracious me! That one always throws me for a loop, so instead of passing on the award officially, I'll share a few blogs, in no particular order,  I've recently been "hanging out" on:

1. First Grade Parade -- this blog is run by a public school teacher in Texas. I don't remember how or why I stumbled upon it, but she had a few cute ideas and printables and I found myself returning often.

2. All Most Unschoolers -- I stumbled upon this blog last year sometime and really love the way they work in lots of fun art and math. I've snagged many good ideas, book recommendations, and art projects from this fun little blog.

3. Notebooking Fairy -- Jimmie started a nifty little notebooking place, and I've really enjoyed peeking in on it now and again. Notebooking is something we've done on and off, but are more on with this year and I always enjoy seeing what other people are doing in this area.

4. Of Home & Farm -- a fellow homeschooling family who shares their daily happenings (and more) on their farm.

5. Our Blessings From Above -- another fellow homeschooler's blog. And, if you check in with Michele and her son's on Thursdays you'll find a fun link up for Lego Creations! They'd love for you to join them for that fun event!

6. Gina's Skinny Recipes -- a site full of some scrumptious looking recipes, but I have to admit I've not done more then scan through them and flag a few I'd like to make. I'm pretty sure if you weren't hungry before checking in over there you will be afterwards.

7. Recipe Girl -- another recipe site with gobs and gobs of recipes. She even includes nutritional information for those who need/want it. Again, I admit I've not made any of these recipes, just flagged a few I might make in my spare time.

8. Moda Bake Shop -- I've been enjoying this blog for a long time, but I only check in sporadically. I don't have access to some of their beautiful little jelly rolls, cakes, and other beautiful material, which means I often have to guess and improvise at the various amounts of material needed. I'd love to get my hands on some of their nature material for one of their beautiful nature quilts, and the love based jelly roll for the gorgeous valentine's quilt.

Phyllis also awarded us The Versatile Blogger award quite some time ago! The rules for this award are pretty much exactly the same as they are for the Stylish Blog Award, so honestly I must admit that I'm not going to add anything else to this extremely long post all ready. Instead, I'll hope that the new and different blogs I've all ready listed will suffice, as the idea for these two awards was to list blogs you don't normally list. 

Friday, February 18, 2011

Ocean Science Experiments

Excuse the terrible photo I took at 10 pm..
We got our whale mobile hung up yesterday, only instead of doing it as a mobile, I decided to hang the whales from the dinning room ceiling with our stars and planets. I know, kinda weird, but I thought it would be a new fun change of pace. Instead of strangers walking in my home and asking me why I have planets hanging from my ceiling they can now ask me absurd questions like, "Why are there whales hanging up there with the planets." And yes, Mom, I know exactly what you're thinking because I've all ready said it a half dozen times.. "There be whales here!" 

Shark Experiment
We also tried out a shark experiment, which was far less dangerous then going down to the beach to see if we could spot any. It turns out sharks don't have swim bladders, did you know that? We find a lot of swim bladders washed ashore, that's not too gross for you is it? Anyway, as it turns out sharks don't have swim bladders thus their ability to float comes from their liver. To test out how well this works we had to fill one balloon with water, one with air and one with oil. To be fair all our balloons should have been roughly been filled the same, and we were doing well until our oil balloon neck broke. Then my oil jar spilled, and I didn't have any cheap run of the mill oil in the house either.  Alas.. So I was only willing to spare a small amount of it for this experiment. The kids were really wowed by the results!

Fish Shapes
Next we all worked some clay into basic fish shapes. Yes, I promise those are really basic fish shapes! The idea was to make all these shapes based on a typical fish body shape. You had the string on them to pull them through the water.

Fish Experiment
We each took a turn pulling the string through the water to see which fish moved the easiest and which one was fastest and so on. We were pretty impressed by how some of them moved. The box shape, for instance, while not quick was so simple to steer where as some of the more aerodynamic fish were much more difficult to move around.

Fish School Experiment
We also had a go at making our own school of fish, or glitter in this instance. The idea was to understand why fish swim in schools. So we took a bit of water and put it in a jar and then dropped in some glitter glue (I'm not a fan of glitter..) and then mixed it up with a spoon. Then we mixed some more and mixed some more until everyone felt they'd had a really fair chance at mixing it up.

Fish Schools
It's a bit hard to capture a photo of this, but the idea was for each person to pick out a bit of glitter to keep their eye on then mix it all up and see if you could still tell which one was yours! Needless to say we all went cross eyed and grasped the concept of why swimming in a school was so important for fish. Which also brought to mind the tail end of an episode of Bondi Rescue that we'd watched where a school of fish were swimming in such perfect unison they started to shut the beach down thinking it was a shark. A couple of daring lifeguards went out to check the situation out and were amazed at what they really discovered.. a school of fish!

We also finished our ocean pie yesterday as well. It took me a ridiculous amount of time to get the thing done for them so they could assemble it. We didn't completely go with the recipe in the book. Instead I used some leftover sugar cookies to make a cookie crumb crust. I used a homemade vanilla puddling/custard recipe. I mashed frozen blueberries and mixed them with sweetener and corn starch to thicken them (my guys like blueberry sauce more then fresh blueberries). Anyway, this involved math and geography. The idea was to trace your pie plate on a paper and break it into tenths; Morgan did this. Then we cut 3 of the tenth's away and laid it on our filled pie shell so he could place the sliced strawberries as he wanted. Then we put the blueberries in the rest of the shell. Strawberries represent land and the blueberries represent water. I still think we should have used gooseberries or kiwi, but no one was opposed to strawberries!

As for the whale, well that was Morgan's idea. Both boys were quite taken by all our whale learning this week and we even had a whale experiment, but I don't seem to have photos of that. We cut a milk just so it had baleen and then we used some glitter (again) as plankton and tried out our baleen. Aussie milk jugs are not shaped like American milk jugs. Thus, while the experiment worked, it was a tad more difficult. We still got the point and had fun with it! To check out these experiments and more you can find them in the Awesome Ocean Science book!