Saturday, February 20, 2010

Kaleidoscope & Fairy Tales

Angus and Winnie and I headed to Kaleidoscope and Crown Center with a few families from boy's club this morning. Zhara went with Dad to Dalton's basketball game. We had fun. The kids ran wild and made lots of cool art projects, then we headed over to the Crown Center Fairy Tale Village and played in that. We broke off and had a nice lunch at the Chinese restaurant in the food court, hit the candy store for a special treat, and started for home. We all made it back before the snow started falling again, so we count it as a success.

Friday, February 19, 2010

A Few Eventful Days

We are making up for our lovely slow start to the week with a roaring end. I'll be glad when it goes back to slow, frankly.

A Snowy Time
Today is a very snowy day. Well, actually, it is very rainy, and then snowy in the way of enormous snowflakes the size of your head, and then rainy again. Apprently Sunday is supposed to get even snowier. Hands up for those who are done with winter? Me, me, me!

Of American Girls and Sheep
Yesterday we had American Girl Club where I demonstrated spinning wool into yarn for the kids because they are reading the Josephina books. They seemed to enjoy the spinning, they also made traditional Mexican cookies and decorated memory boxes. It was a full time.

Cooking Class
Then we came home and had our final cooking coop class. The kids made dinner (with some help from me) for their parents. Everyone had at least one parent in attendance, and some had two. We had a full house. They made spaghetti, salad, and strawberry upside down cake. It was very well received, and the kids had fun running crazy through the house together.

Another Piggy Bites the Dust
This morning Winnie had tumbling. Which was fun, and, as usual, she loved it... until the very end, when she ran barefoot through the door to the lobby, pulling the heavy metal door onto her big toe. There it stuck, and she screamed, wailed, and pulled, further gouging it into her foot. I got the door off, but her toe is horribly messed up. One of the other mom's is a nurse. She said that it might be broken, but that she didn't think it was fractured and that, as I suspected, she didn't think they would do much of anything for it if it is broken... since it's a toe. It's also really cut up. So it got cleaned up and taped up, and then re-cleaned and taped when it got home, and it looks like Ms. Wednesday will be sans shoes for a few weeks. Poor little budgie.

Tie Dye
The kids have decided that they want to do a dance for the E.D.U.C.A.T.E homeschool Talent Show. After much discussion, they have settled on Candy Band's punk rock version of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. There will be some choreographing, apparently, but most of it will be pretty free form. According to Zhara, however, costuming is key. They tie dyed t-shirts today. I found spray can dye at Hobby Lobby (OMG, so infinitely easier to use for the kids than regular dye) and today we sprayed and dyed t-shirts for their costumes, then when they are completely dry tomorrow, they will decorate them further with washable glitter, etc. Zhara spent her Valentine's money from the grandparents today at Target on black pleather rock-star pants. An investment of $8. She means business here.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Unschooling & Kalahari

We went to the Unschooling Conference. It was awesome! We had a blast at the Kalahari Water Park. If you get a chance, it is definitely worth a drive to Sandusky, Ohio, it was so much fun.

Yep, we rode that!

The wave pool -- almost everyone's favorite.

Our awesome room. It came with a kitchen, so mama cooked and we saved major bank!

Did I mention the drive was long??? It was long, the kids went bonkers, but we made it.

Zhara made a friend named Abbie. She was cool. We went to a funshop on balloon twisting. The kids had a lot of fun at that. I loved meeting all the unschooling families and listening to the speakers. Well, the kids and Adam got the stomach flu, so there were some things we missed, but it was still a lot of fun. There were 400 other unschooling families there -- crazy! We are definitely going back again next year, and the kids have already declared that their friends Aden and Lily from KC are coming, too. Hear that Tara, you'll be staying in our room so you guys can come. Zhara and Angus say so.

The bathtub was huge, and had whirlpool jets. It was almost as popular as the waterpark, especially when we added mommy's homemade bubble bath to it.

We attended the talent show. Well, Angus and I did, the rest were too sick. It was amazing how much talent there was. We also got to see Up at movie night, had a lot of fun helping with, and participating in, the carnival, and threw down at the dance. The dance was my favorite. It was just terrific how much the kids all got along so well.

We stopped at McDonald's on the way home and nobody could resist taking this photo.

The speakers were mostly amazing unschooling moms who have been doing this for years and were wonderful to pick their brains and listen to what works and doesn't for them. But, I also got to meet John Taylor Gatto and hear him speak. So cool!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Science: Day 15

Fun Googling Bees

We've been sick again, so we are not doing a lot, but on the way to the pediatrician this afternoon, the kids were speculating, randomly, about bees, so when we got home, we googled a lot of bee information. We learned that:

1. Bees poop
2. Bees likely fart
3. What constitutes a queen bee -- the only fertile female in the hive
4. How queen bees are different -- only fertile ones, larger, "run" the hive
5. How queen bees are made -- they are fed "royal jelly" exclusively, while most bees only get a small amount of it
6. What royal jelly is -- a milky substance secreted from the heads of worker bees to feed bee larvae. Causes the queen alone to be sexually mature
7. How honey is made -- pollen transferred to hive by bees in their honey stomach, taken by other bees, chewed, digested and regurgitated into honey, fanned with wings to help it dry, then trapped in the honey cell by wax.
8. What honey is made of -- pollen
9. How a bee flies -- it's wings beat around 230 beats per second, when hovering, and possibly even faster when it is transferring a full honey stomach full of honey to the hive
10. Why bees sting -- rarely away from hive unless threatened, near hive to prevent attack or destruction of the hive
11. How bees sting -- use their barbed stingers, tears free from body and quickly leads to bee's death. Originally designed as a defense mechanism for bees to protect the hive from other bees. Queens can sting multiple times, as they have no barbs on their stingers, but rarely leave the hive, so generally only sting other bees

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Science: Day 14 -- Meeting a Paleontologist at the Natural History Museum

We met a Paleontologist... and it was awesome! This was our paleontologist -- Dr. Larry Dean Martin, and this is the largest Mosasaur ever discovered. It was found here in Kansas. Kansas used to be an ancient ocean, you know? So there are all kinds of fun sea monster fossils here. We learned about how we know about dinosaurs and "sea monsters" and other fun fossils, despite them being long extinct. "Science isn't that hard," said Dr. Martin, "mainly it's common sense. You know what they ate by looking in their stomachs." The kids really liked him. He was cool.

A duck-billed dinosaur. We learned about the fun noises that they could probably have made with their heads. Very cool.

The fossilized contents of a mosasaur's stomach. Wow, no wonder we could learn so much about what they ate!

One of the huge fish the mosasurs ate. Wow! "How do we know Kansas used to be an ocean?" asked Dr. Martin, "where else would such a big fish swim?" he said, "See, science really isn't that hard, is it, kids?"

Dinosaur tracks found in Osage City, Kansas. That's where dad is from. Very cool! Wonder if he knows about these?

These were examples of dinosaurs found around Kansas. Not too many dinos are found around here, since this was the edge of the ocean, but sometimes things got stuck in the mud, like those tracks above or a dinosaur or two. We learned that going down to the creek or the river is probably the easiest place to find fossils. We will likely be making trips to explore the nearby creeks soon. Angus will be all over it.

That would be the largest complete Pteranodon skeleton ever found. It has a 21 foot wingspan. And it was found here in Kansas. It likely fished in the ancient ocean. Pretty cool, especially since Angus LOVES pterasaurs.

There were close to 30 of us there from KC Homeschool. I think everyone had a really good time. After we scared Dr. Martin away :), we all converged on the rest of the museum.

The bug room was a big hit. That is an action shot of Angus jumping off of the bug crawling tunnel. Can't you tell from the blur?

Angus and Winnie observing fly species and their respective male and female characteristics through spy glasses.

Winnie never passes up a chance to stare through a microscope.

How alike is Angus to a chimpanzee? He checked it out.

There is a new exhibit on Charles Darwin, which I had to take a photo of, even though Zhara was too past crazy and hungry to care by the time we got to it.

All in all, a very successful field trip, if I do say so myself.