We received a large package in the mail this week and the kids immediately claimed the box. After taping the end shut and cutting a door, it quickly became a rocket ship when on its end and a car and a coffin when it was laid flat. This led to scurrying to find the dress up clothes to become a vampire and then a skeleton. It also led to talk of Halloween costumes 🙂

It is now set up with a blanket and pillow inside. My son likes it for a “getaway”.

Tinker Toys for Yarn

I bought some yarn to start another sweater for my daughter because I am so smitten with the designs of one of the designers on Ravelry. This one will be a “Cinnamon” by Elena Nodel.

I don’t usually buy yarn that needs to be wound before use so I don’t own a swift. In the past I have just had the kids put their arms out to keep the yarn behaving while I wound it. Today, I followed an idea I saw on a blog to build one out of Tinker Toys.

My son took charge of construction and in no time we had a working, spinning swift. It needed a few adjustments to keep the pieces tight as I am sure some of these pieces are older than me. In the end, I had 3 beautiful cakes of yarn.

My son hung out and built while I worked 🙂

Here is a blog with great pictures and instructions for making your own. It is a little bit different from mine, but serves the same purpose.

Akron Zoo

We headed to the zoo for a quick trip with friends on Saturday. It has been almost 2 years since we last went and a few things have changed. One thing was the new carousel. It is pretty darn cool with all the different animals that you can choose from.

We got to see most of the zoo before it started raining.

The girls really enjoyed the touch tank. There were 2 kinds of rays, a shark, and horseshoe crabs.

They are Alive!

We have 2 baby Triops 🙂

I was worried the kit might not work because, let’s be honest, sometimes these type of kits just plain don’t.

Our cool plant kits from Easter have only produced 2 plants out of 6. I still water the mossy dirt regularly, just in case they still might grow.

These pictures are really just to have pictures in this post…the babies are so tiny, it might be a few days until I can get a good shot of them.

Two New Card Games

We have recently tried out 2 new math card games that the kids enjoy.
Each one plays similar to “Blink”, where the deck is split evenly among players and you race to get rid of all of your cards onto a “play” pile.

“Speed” was created by a homeschooling family and lets you choose what number you want to use to practice the multiples. There are decks for the numbers 2-9. Within each deck are 40 cards, 5 of each multiple. You must play 1 card higher or lower than the ones in the “play” piles. There is an extra rule with this game as there are 2 “play” piles and whenever the cards in them are equal, you can shout out “Speed”. The other player picks up the piles and adds them to the bottom of his/her stack. The kids love to do this to me!

“7 Ate 9” is a game for practicing adding and subtracting. Each card has a large yellow center number and a smaller number in the corners that you add or subtract (1, 2, or 3). Everyone plays at the same time trying to find a card in their hand that matches either equation on the “play” pile.

PA Trip Day 3

Today was our final day. We went to the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium. We spent 4 hours checking it out which is way more time than I expected based on the zoo map. The lemurs were super active which was exciting after passing by the large cats, giraffe, and elephants that might as well have been sleeping. From there, it was all uphill! Exhibits that the kids could climb through were very well done, especially the touch tank for the rays and the tunnel network for the meerkats. The aquarium in general was much better than I expected and we thoroughly enjoyed it. The polar bear and the sea lions were active and we got to see and hear a baby sea otter (ouch my ears).

The kids loved our trip and want to go back!

PA Trip Day 2

Today we got up early for the hotel breakfast and headed off to the Carnegie Natural History Museum and Art Museum. We spent over four hours at the Nat. History Museum and were too tired to check out the Art Museum half. The Museum was really great. The kids both enjoyed checking out the exhibits and we got lots of one on one attention from the staff as the place was nearly empty.

Both kids agreed that this hands-on paleontology pit was the best attraction in the museum. There are replica skeletons of ancient mammals and dinosaurs encased in soft rock that the kids actually got to work on with chisels and brushes. They learned that it isn’t as easy as it looks!

The staff shared lots of specimens with us and we got to look through the boxes that are normally sent out to schools. We got to touch and compare lots of different animal pelts. It was amazing how soft the sea otter fur was. I expected it to be more coarse, like a beaver’s.

We took a break for lunch and then checked out animal exhibits from around the world, the Egyptian display, Native Americans, the Polar regions, and finally the hands-on Discovery Room in the basement.

Heading out through the sculpture garden. My son wanted to be “The Thinker”.

Great Books

We picked up more books the other night and had two huge winners in the stack for my son.

The first was what we specifically went to get, a book about ancient animals called “When Fish Got Feet …”. We had this book when he was younger and he loves it now as much as he did then. And now he can read it himself. And tell me about giant trilobites larger than me with claws 🙂

The second huge winner was “Killer Koalas from Outer Space”. It is an irreverent, poop and death filled comic book. He has read it twice now- once out loud in the car.