After my son kept bringing up science kits and crystals at the toy store and then found more crystal stuff in a catalog we had at home, I told him that we could try making some from a kit I picked uup at the thrift store…IF he sat quietly and followed all the directions.  Crystals must be pretty important because both kids listened carefully.  We spent a good half hour outside looking for the perfect rocks to fit in our containers to use as a base for the crystals to grow on, then got the first (green) solution ready, poured in over one of the rocks, and carefully covered it and tried to forget about it for a week 🙂  The other types of crystals in the kit will need to wait for another day.


We went to the toy store the other day to look for a “Wacky Zingo” stuffed toy that has a code which opens up an extra Webkinz game.  They were sold out when we went there, but the kids had a good time looking around at the other stuff in the store.  My son in particular was interested in the circuits lab stuff and the chemistry sets.  I told him that I thought I had one at home and would show him when we got back from the store.  Luckily, I DID have one at home that I had found at the thrift store and stashed for the day the kids would be ready for it.  It cost $2 and had all the stuff inside.  The one at the toy store was $25.  It made for a nice side lesson in money matters for the boy.  Anyway, we have been slowly looking through the manual and trying out the less messy stuff. 

This morning, we tried out an experiment with filter paper and food coloring.  Basically, you put a drop of green food coloring onto some filter paper and then rest it in a bit of water.  Capillary action moves the water up the filter paper.  We set it up using green coloring and then decided to add red and yellow also.  We guessed that you might see blue and yellow on the paper that had the green sample because the manual asked what color would wind up on top after the dye was carried up the filter.  We also guessed that the red and yellow ones wold just be red and yellow.  Here it is in progress.  We were right!  The green actually separated into yellow, then green, then blue on top.

After we were done with the experiment, the kids used droppers to make beautiful coffee filters with more food coloring and water.


Purple Hair and Earrings

My daughter has been asking off and on for months to have her hair purple like a doll she bought last Fall.  I said she could and that I would look for some hair dye for her.  The other night on the way home from a McDonald’s ice cream cone run, I finally went to a Sally’s and bought some.  We did it that night and she now has a purplish/pink streak down one side of her head.  I talked her out of the whole head idea for now. I worked so hard at not letting any of it touch her scalp that not much dye took at the top of her head…it looks like it has been growing out for a while already.

She also asked again about getting her ears pierced.  Our deal had been that when she was ready, I would take her.  I let her know that it might hurt and she had put it off for months, waiting to decide she was all the way ready.  Today turned out to be the day.  She wasn’t afraid at all and she said it didn’t hurt.  She now has a brand new pair of flower earrings 🙂 

Sleepover, Furniture Sale, and the Natatorium

One of the kids’ friends ( My son’s favorite girl friend to be particular) came home with us after Thursday gymnastics.  All 3 kids played outside for a few hours after we got home, creating a miniature construction zone with our big pile of gravel and a bit of dirt.  The evening went pretty smoothly as far as all of them actually getting to bed.

After they woke up in the morning, I took off to explore a furniture liquidation sale while J. stayed home for the morning.  I found a great armoire and a matching table for the family room.  I didn’t find a dresser for either kid which was something else I was scouting for.  Oh well! 

After I got back from the sale, we had some lunch and headed out to the Natatorium for swimming and playing in the big tree.


Gorgeous Day Outside

I have a great appreciation for the fact that we are able to homeschool- especially on days like yesterday when the weather was fantastic and we were able to be outside pretty much the whole day.  The kids dragged their sleeping bags outside and then grabbed books and games while I figured out some snacks.  They spent some time feeding the ants and observing the other animals they could find, then moved on to playing the games. I have been working on a new quilt idea in my head and I started to work out some of the details on paper while the kids played on the front porch.  Then we read a few stories together. 



After seeing us on Saturday, my dad and stepmom headed up to Rochester to see my brother and his kids for a few days while they were on Spring Break. Then the kids came back home with them to stay here for a bit. We met up with them at a McDonald’s playland on Tuesday while we were with some of our homeschooling friends and the cousins got along really well…so well that we headed over to my dad’s house so they could play some more and then wound up spending the night.

Here are some pictures of the kids making paper beads out of wallpaper and playing on the tireswings.



While staying home sick for a few days, we had plenty of time to play around on the computer.  I entered my website’s information at a site that ranks websites for parents, called what else… “Sites for Parents” and spent some time checking out the other offerings.

I found this neat site, “Soft Schools“, where my daughter played around with some phonics games.  In this one, you rearrange the letters to make short words.

My son spent quite a bit of time on “Ant War“, building up his colony and defending against enemies.

Sickness and Travel

My daughter stayed sick all weekend and into Monday, so we skipped gymnastics this time and stayed home instead. J. left for a business trip to Tennessee just in time for me to get sick.  Being home with 2 kids while sick- feverish, tired, and with a sore throat, stinks!

J. did bring home stuffed toys for the kids, this time 2 generals from “The General” Insurance Co.  They quickly made friends with snoopy from the “Met” and the stag from the “Hartford”…the kids love them 🙂

Emma Out of Commision

We went swimming with the homeschool group yesterday and then the kids played in the big tree afterward (as usual).  Unfortunately, this week my daughter must have moved her neck in a strange way to look over her shoulder or something because all of a sudden she was on my lap crying.  It looked like she pulled muscle in her neck and couldn’t get it to go back upright again.  Everytime she moved, it was hurting her.  Thankfully, one of the moms got some aspirin for her and I was able to pull the van up to the front door and carry her out gently.

Today, she mostly stayed on the couch, complaining that it hurt and watching movies.  Thank goodness I had a few sitting around from the library.  I really liked the box set we got of the BBC series called “Five Children and It”.  It is about some children who find a sand fairy that grants wishes, but the wishes always seem to cause trouble.  We also have the “Return of It” set of discs for upcoming viewing.

I moved inside and out while they were watching, trying to get the leaves raked up to clear out the flower beds and shoveling gravel behind the garage, finishing up some of the drainage work left over from the fall.  My son came out and helped with the rocks, moving bucketful after bucketful to complete the path.

Sometime around 7:00, J. got home from playing D&D and informed me that our daughter was asleep on the couch, which was a big deal as she *never* falls asleep during the day unless she is sick.  Sure enough, she was burning up wih a fever. Turns out she has a sore throat.

We Saw Them…Spotted Salamanders and Frogs!

Spotted salamander and frog migration at Sand Run Metropark, April 3, 2008.

The kids recently got interested in spotted salamanders from an issue of “Ranger Rick” magazine that talked about how rare it is to see them and that your best best is during their migration in the Spring.  The catch is you need to time it just right to see them.  According to the article it needs to be after the sun goes down, raining, and over 40 degrees. We have been waiting and waiting while the kids checked the temperature on the van thermometer each day.  We were down in Copley today for their new gymnastics class and went to a nearby park afterwards to play.  I kept noticing all the clouds and thinking that tonight might be the night.  It was clear by us through the evening and I temporarily forgot about it. Then I remembered around 8:30 and asked J. to check the weather in Akron and sure enough, it was raining down there.  We decided to head out and hope for the best.

We made a short stop at a CVS to grab some flashlights and (hopefully celebratory) snacks and drove down to Akron.  We found a place to park across the street from a very promising sign! And then we got to see them-spotted salamanders, wood frogs, and peepers.  It was really cool to get to see them up close and really loud hearing the frogs calls.

I am so glad we went for it and the kids actually got to see them.  I took lots of pictures and they are wanting to send one in to “Ranger Rick” as “proof”.

The sign:

First one spotted by my daughter’s boot:

Close up:

First peeper:

Wood frog:

Walk back: