Monday, October 10, 2011


A couple of weeks ago, we discovered that Lowe's has these awesome horseshoe magnets for $1.70 a piece.  Today we bought three more of them (one for each kid, because I was attempting to minimize fights).  We decided to learn some things about magnetism.  So I pulled out one of our science experiment books, and a piece of poster board, and we got to it.  We decided to record our findings on the poster, then as we learn more, we can add on.

First, we told each other what we already knew about magnets, and I wrote that down.  Then I sent the kids on a scavenger hunt to find household items, and we tested them with our magnets, which taught us even more about magnetism and what magnets do and do not attract.

 Then we did an experiment with a glass jar, and some paper clips to see if we could move them through the jar with the magnet.  We could, even when they were attached to something heavy like a clay snake.  We tried several other mediums to try and pull things through.  The table was too thick.  A lego board worked. As did a plastic cup.

We learned about polarity, and the north-south pull of magnets, and did an experiment by putting the horseshoe magnet on a stick and watching it "magically" rotate so that it was always pointing north/south.

Overall, a very fun way to spend an afternoon.

The Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch

Eli and Wednesday as Frankenstein and his bride
 This story could start with, it was a cold and wet afternoon, when the Dayhoffs and McKinneys trudged through the corn maze.  Wow, was it ever!  Despite much of the country, our late summer/early fall has been very warm, so we were rather taken aback when we arrived at the pumpkin patch on Saturday and it was around 50 degrees and raining.  But we trudged on, as we were there, with our friends, and we were going to do this thing.

 There was a great deal of discussion about which way to go to get through the very long, very windy corn maze.  Sometimes they took votes, sometimes they asked dad.  Wednesday just ran.  The whole time.  Very loudly.  Everyone has their own method.

 We knew it had rained, but we had no idea the extent of the mud.

Did I mention it was muddy?  Very muddy?  Like the end times muddy?  Yay, it was.

 A rare moment of Wednesday neither screaming nor running in the corn maze.  She's waiting to have her list punched so she could get a piece of candy at the end for completing the whole maze.

 After we made our way out of the mud, er, I mean corn maze, we headed over to the pumpkin patch.  The pumpkins were huge this year, and the pumpkins are all the same price, regardless of size, so the kids bought some big ones.  Thankfully, we brought the wagon for just such an occasion.

 The big kids took off for the back of the field with dad to see if there were even larger pumpkins there.  Wednesday followed them for a bit, but then she got worn out. I don't know about pumpkins, but there was no shortage of mud.

Wednesday does a little heavy lifting of our pumpkin haul!

Maritime Studies, or Learning about Flotation

 Awhile ago, I told you about the science experiment kits that I ordered from Kids Woot this summer.  They are wonderful for days when I'm not sure any of us are going to make it until dad gets home.  Last week we had just such a day, so I whipped out the kit about boats and flotation.  It has ten pre-prepared science projects.

I let the kids each pick one and it made things better, at least for awhile.  This is your dose of homeschool reality -- it's good, but it ain't always roses I'm just saying.  :)

Wednesday picked the experiment to determine what objects float.  So the kids ran around the house collecting things to try out, and Zhara recorded what floated and what didn't in the science booklet that came with the kit.

It also suggested, in the same experiment, trying the floating egg trick.  So we learned that an egg will sink in regular water, as the egg is heavier than the water.  However, when you add a considerable amount of salt to the water, the egg floats, because the water is denser due to the dissolved salt.  We were already familiar with the concept -- heck, we live 45 minutes from the Great Salt Lake -- but it was still nice to see it demonstrated
Our floating egg

 Then we did Angus's chosen experiment, which was to use the enclosed clay (I told you these kits were awesome), and to divide it into two equal parts.  With one we molded it into the shape of a boat, with the other we made it into three different shapes -- a ball, a ring, and a disc.  Despite the sameness of size, the boat-shaped clay floated, while the other three did not, because the boat was made into a shape that displaced the water evenly, allowing it to float, while the others did not.

 Finally, with Zhara's experiment we made a rubber band propeller boat out of the enclosed pieces, and drove it in the hot tub, learning about potential stored energy and how it is released.  Wednesday got in for full effect.

Angus then made a boat out of Legos to see if he could get it to float in the same manner as the clay boat, which it did.  Hooray for our own experiments!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Halloween is Coming

 We are fans of Halloween.  Really, we are.  So last year when our friends, the McKinneys, made these delightful Halloween votives out of old glass jars, I was in.  We were going to make them with the McKinneys when they came over to play the other day, but then we got busy making other Halloween crafts, and playing, and that didn't happen.  So today, having saved many a spaghetti sauce, jelly, and iced coffee bottle, we made some of our own, using a bit of paint. 

 Wednesday worked on a jack-o-lantern, and Angus made a Frankenstein and a ghost.

Zhara made candy corn, a Frankenstein, and a Bride of Frankenstein.  And I contributed several of my own, because I'm just a big kid when it comes to Halloween, too.

We plan on adding tea light candles to them, and placing them outside on our front steps.  I think they'll be especially spooky for Zhara's Zombie Prom in a couple of weeks.