School Projects

Fun Projects

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Chronicling Our Vacation

When Aaron and I first got married and began going on vacations together I had a 35mm SLR camera which I used to take all the pictures that recorded our travels.  Two or three rolls of 36 exposure seemed to do the job of recording our memories nicely.  Of course, I wasn't pictured in many of those memories, because I was holding the camera, but that's okay, I was still there.  A few years later we decided to cave to the pressure of new-fangled technology and get a digital camera.  The number of pictures taken increased dramatically because why not take as many shots as you want if you don't have to pay to develop the ones that flop?   For the record, the increased number of pictures taken did NOT result in an increased number of pictures taken of me (not that I am complaining, mind you, I just want to be clear that I did attend all the vacations that we have pictures of, regardless of the lack of pictorial evidence).  Several vacations passed in that manner, until our next leap forward in photo-jouraling came when Aaron got a smart phone.  Suddenly he had a camera readily available to take pictures on our vacations.  Since I was no longer managing the sole picture taking device I made a sudden appearance in vacation photography.  It was a fun development.  This year, however, marks a new epoch.  This year we took FIVE cameras on vacation: Aaron's phone (aprox. 300 photos), my camera (aprox. 100 photos), Ian's camera (141 photos), Brynn's brand new camera (418 pictures), and Blair's camera (picture count unknown - the memory has room for 1000 pictures and it was full by day 2 - after that I deleted between 50 and 100 pictures of blurry kneecaps, extreme closeups of the driver's seat head rest, extreme closeups of toys, very blurry selfies and the floor to provide room for the next day's shots).  With so many cameras going we didn't miss a moment of fun this year.

For instance, this year we have pictures recording the goings-on in the children's section of the van.  Here we have one of the kids playing with a horse as we drove through Illinois.
 Here is a child coloring as we drove through Arkansas.
 Here is where Brynnie learned to take selfies, somewhere in Louisiana.
 We also got to see some great candid shots - like the top quarter of Cambo's head,
 and a lovely view up their mother's nose complete with lens flare (I just love my kids).
Still, when you have over 900 photos to work with, you are guaranteed to get a few good ones (brace yourself for quite a photo dump here):
The girls exploring a gun boat at Vicksburg National Battlefield,
 the side door of the Nottoway Plantation Mansion in Louisiana,
 Blair, taking 300 shots of a tree in the plantation garden,
 Blair, not being grumpy during the mansion tour,
 Brynn, as an astronaut at the John C. Stennis Space Center in Mississippi,
 Ian, impressed by all the warplanes hanging from the ceiling in the WWII museum in New Orleans,
 the Battleship Texas,
 Ian, manning the guns on the deck of the battleship,
 Blair, testing the sleeping accommodations on the ship,
 Cam, holding down the steps at the Monument for the Battle of San Jacinto (War for Texan Independence),
 Ian, Blair, and Admiral Chester Nimitz at the Museum of the War in the Pacific, in Fredericksburg, Texas,
 exploring Enchanted Rock State Park in the Texas hill country,
 Blair and Cam watching the shore go by on the boat tour of San Antonio,
 trying out all the activities at the Witte Museum (where we had to battle for space with 1000 school kids there on field trips),
 and finally Blair at one of the museums at Fort Hood.
It was a really fun trip, and with so many pictures we will never forget one second of it.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Weekly Science Experiments #17 and 18

Last week we were sick around here, so we didn't get to do any science experiments, so this week we did a twofer (two "fer" the price of one).  Ian had a unit in his science text book on Oceans with a suggestion on how to demonstrate why the ocean is salty but rain is not.

Step one: Mix 4 tablespoons of salt into one cup of water and stir until as much salt as possible is dissolved.
Step two: pour the saltwater into a pan and heat to boiling (this is the evaporation step)
Result: the water boils away (evaporates) and leaves the salt behind.
For the second part of the demonstration, we put some ice packs into a cake pan and waited until the pan was really cold - this was to simulate the cooler air high in the atmosphere.  Then my lovely assistant held the pan into the steam above the boiling (evaporating) saltwater.  Almost instantly the steam condensed on the bottom of the cake pan and "raindrops" formed.  When we tasted the raindrops they were not salty at all.

Happy science, everyone!

PS - We are leaving on a vacation later this afternoon, so I won't be posting for a couple of weeks.  I hope you all have a lovely spring.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Ian and Brynn's House O' Flowers

Every year around this time our backyard bursts into bloom.  For a city yard, we have an unusual number of wildflowers.  Consequently, each spring my little girls spend hours outside wandering from patch to patch, collecting fistfuls of flowers to decorate our kitchen table.  This year Brynnie decided that all her labor should not be without reward, so she opened her first flower shop.  She wrote up a sign: "50 Cents a flower" and waited for business.  Her faithful Daddy was happy to oblige.
After a few days, however, she realized that the backyard picnic table was not the best location for a budding business, so she moved her shop to the front yard.  She also created different price points for her bouquets.  This time Grandpa Kevin was convinced to buy some flowers.
After front yard sales stagnated due to a lack of grandpas, Brynn decided to take on a partner and take her business to the next level.  She created a brand and began marketing.
She hired staff,
built a green house,
and began offering lessons in botany and wildflower identification.
The shop is open Monday-Friday from 4:45-5pm, with special sale hours on Saturdays.

Happy spring, everyone.