Monday, 1 August 2016

Easy Snack Ideas- Microwave S'mores

Most of my family loves s'mores (I just recently found out that the kids dad does not enjoy them as much), but when we moved into our new house there was no fire pit. So i had to improvise when the kids started begging for s'mores even though we don't have a place to roast the marshmallows. The idea was so simple. Make microwaved s'mores. Why hadn't I thought of it before?

"Let's find the ingredients, I have an idea" I said to them. Little girl races to the kitchen

"I'll get the chocolate chips I know where they are." And she excitedly climbed a chair and grabbed them. We also needed marshmallows, graham crackers and microwaveable plates.

I had the kids place graham crackers on their plates, and we had to figure out how to make the chocolate stay on top while heating it up. I squished my chocolate chips into my marshmallow, the kids just places theirs on the tops.

We noticed that the marshmallows get really big in the microwave while cooking. We also discovered that if you put them in too long they get hard and too chewy to enjoy.

Simple, fun way to snack on s'mores without a fire.

if you don't have a microwave, I'm sure it will also work in a toaster oven or big oven. I'd like to try it there and see if the marshmallows brown like over the fire.

Peace, love and happy snacking.

Monday, 25 July 2016

Monday Madness

Do you ever feel like Garfield, and just wish Monday's wouldn't arrive? Or that sleeping through them would just feel oh so great, and you could wake up Tuesday fresh as summer rain?

Even though we homeschool, sometimes Monday's can be crazy! What better way to deal with a crazy day than to have a dance party complete with a karaoke machine?

Several months ago (when it was still snowy) we acquired a karaoke machine. Although we haven't used it for its intended purpose, we often put on music we love, grab a microphone and start singing. Usually, one or 2 of us put on a song performance while the others dance away until we're out of breath.
Then the next person takes over singing and the dancing continues until we're all tired and happy.

Sometimes we make up games with a pair of dice, (or just one) where each number represents a new dance move or action.

Here are a few moves we use when we roll the die:

Roll 1 and clap your hands once

Roll 2 and hop on one foot two times

Roll 3 and wave your hands while spinning 3 times

Roll 4 and do 4 popcorn kernel jumps (scrunch down into a ball and jump up from that position, opening arms and legs as though you're exploding)

Roll 5 and do 5 robot moves

Roll 6 and spin on your bum 6 times

Whether you make  up your own moves, play freeze dance ( where everyone freezes when the music stops) or follow along to someone else's moves dancing is a great way to let off some steam and brighten up any morning.

Peace and love.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Science Fun- Layering Liquids

We really enjoy hands on science experiments in our house, and one we've recently played with is density of different liquids.

We have thick plastic test tubes to use for our science experiments, and use them often.
Gathering materials found around the house, we began our experiment.
As usual, I asked the children what they thought would happen if we put all the liquids together in the tube.

The younger two thought they would all mix, while my oldest at 15 already knew what would happen and said he thought it would layer on top of each other.

Although I found the original idea in a book we have, for this experiment I found a couple of simple videos on YouTube, I watched them (the children weren't interested) and we got started.

First, We put together our stand for the test tubes, and starting with the heaviest liquid slowly poured it into the tube, being careful not to get it on the edges of the tube. Carefully one at a time we slowly Poured the other liquids one on top of the other, always careful to not spill or go to quickly.

The liquids stayed on top of one another! It was really neat, as I made sure to have contrasting liquids to see it better.

After seeing how that worked, we decided to See what would happen if we poured the liquids into a tube in s different order. Would it still make layers?

We poured it in a random order and waited. After about 15 minutes we noticed it was beginning to look like the first one and become layers of liquid one on top of the other, And they were in the same order as though we had put them into the tube in the same order. After several hours the liquids had separated completely and you could hardly tell which was which.

What we used:
Plastic test tubes
Golden corn syrup
Liquid soap

What we did:
Beginning with the corn syrup, we (and for the first try that meant myself) slowly poured the liquids into the tube. In order, the first tube contained: corn syrup, glue, water, bubble solution, vegetable oil (canola)

The order we put them in for the second tube was: vegetable oil (canola), bubble solution, water, corn syrup and glue.

How it works:

Just like solids, liquids have a mass. Their mass corresponds with the density, or how much "stuff" is packed into a certain volume of liquid.
Depending on how much "stuff" is packed into the liquid will make the liquid float on top of another (because it's lighter) or make it sink to the bottom of another (because it's heavier).

In other words, it's a comparison between an objects mass and its volume.

Monday, 18 July 2016

Science Fun: Fun with Water

I really enjoy doing science experiments with my kids, whether playing with chemicals, like baking soda and vinegar, or pulling apart a plant to see how it's put together. We own a wide array of science and 'magic' books, most of them older and using items we can usually find at home.

One experiment we tried that was quite fun, fast and simple to do using items we can easily find around the house.

plastic zipper style bag
Sharpened pencil crayons

What We Did:
We carefully filled the bag with water and closed the top. I asked the children what they thought would happen if we pushed the pencils through the water filled bag. Will it leak, or will the water stay in?
They both thought it would leak all over. So we stayed over the sink while they each took turns pushing pencils through the plastic bag. It didn't leak! The children were amazed, and we proceeded to fill more bags and poke them with pencils.

Of course water play wouldn't be complete without actually letting the water go, so we pulled the pencils out and watched the fountains of water flow out of the bag.

We all enjoyed learning why it doesn't leak when you push the pencils through, but will once the holes are unplugged.

How It Actually Works:
When you push the pencils through the plastic bag, usually made from a polymer plastic called low density polyethylene. The bag pulls itself against the pencils, creating a type of seal. When the pencils are pulled out, the plastic cannot go back together, so the holes remain, and the water leaks out.

How do you play with science in your home? This is one simple experiment almost anyone can try out.

Peace and love.

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Flowers on our Walks

Sometimes it's nice to stop and smell the flowers. Here are some of the flowers we've seen on our walks around the neighbourhood.

Some are specifically planted as part of a butterfly garden, some are just flowers from the park or gardens around the neighbourhood, all of them beautiful.

I want to create our own garden full of flowers to attract butterflies and bees to our yard. How wonderful it would be to see monarchs and their caterpillars, and possibly watching them transform in nature? I think it will be an amazing thing.

Bees and butterflies are an important part of our ecosystem, and whatever we can do to help promote their growth and prevent their loss will help the populations soar once again.
We've also seen poppies, daffodils, black eyed Susan's and many more.

Do you have a garden specifically to attract butterflies or bees? Tell us about it!

Peace and love, until next time.

Friday, 15 July 2016

Outdoor activities to try this summer

Tug of war
I've made it a personal family goal to allow my kids the freedom this summer similar to what I had growing up. And along with that, I decided to create a list of games from my childhood I'd like to teach to them, so they can play the games with their friends we enjoyed as children. rover

Remember this game? We all stood in rows facing each other, arms linked and yelled out "red rover red rover send  (whoever) over. They'd run full speed into a set of arms they thought was the weakest link. If the got through they picked one for the other side. If they didn't they stayed with the opposing team.

2. Mother may I

Mother may I
Another oldie but goodie. Grab a bunch of kids, line all but one up at the starting line and one stands a few meters away, as mother or father. Each child asks one at a time if they may take steps forward. Mother or father replies with a yes you may, or a no you may not. Mother or father may choose something else or keep them in place. Whoever reaches mother first becomes the new mother (or father,)

3. What time is it, mr. Wolf?

Similar to mother may I, but with a twist. Instead of asking to move forward, the group of moving children ask "what time is it mr.wolf?" The wolf proceeds to say a time, and the children move forward that many steps, big or small. But beware! When mr. Wolf yells it's lunchtime better get back to the start before wolf tags you or you're out for the round.

4. Tag

Pick a version, whether it's freeze tag, grounders or just tag! You're it, this game can be a lot of fun. To keep it fair, I'd try to keep littler ones together and bigger ones together, but as a large group or separated into sizes there's sure to be a version to suit everyone.

5. Red light/green light

A great way to learn following directions. The traffic light faces a group of children as a red light. When he or she turns their back they yell green light. The other children try to reach the traffic light as fast as they can before they turn and yell red light. The movers FREEZE in place and if the traffic light catches s movement sends the offenders to the starting line. The first one to reach the traffic light becomes the traffic light.

6. Musical chairs

Grab some chairs or cushions, make a circle with them, put on music and start walking or dancing around the chairs. Make sure there's one less chair than people. When the music stops, everyone scramble for a chair. Whoever doesn't have one sits out until the next round.

7. Telephone

This one was always fun! Will the message last until the end or will it change into something hilarious? Sit in a circle. One person begins by whispering a message into the ear of whoever is next to them. Keep passing the message until it reaches the last person. They say the message out loud and whoever started it says whether it was correct or not. Sometimes this can get pretty funny.

8. Picnics

Grab a blanket, throw together some sandwiches and drinks and head outside. Picnics can be held anywhere from the living room floor on a rainy day to a park complete with fire pits and anything in between. Don't worry if you can't go far, picnics are a blast anywhere you have them.

I'm positive that while I play these games with them, My mind will go back to memories I had as a kid playing until our parents hollered, all the while making new memories to share with my children as they grow.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Observing insects- the emergence

Our caterpillar has emerged as a beautiful black swallowtail butterfly.
I was asleep and woke up to a fluttery sound, like something caught in a container trying to get out. I looked up at the shelf holding the chrysalis, and there it was! I was not expecting it yet, as all I've read says these over winter. (Although I couldn't believe it with it changing so early in the season)

I frantically got up, and looked for a branch for it to climb, hoping it wasn't too late for the creature to dry its wings. Slowly it climbed up the branch I found, and as it hung onto a leaf, I wanted so badly to wake up the kids.
Instead, I sat and watched it until the children woke up.
Excited they gathered around to look, and begged to keep it.

I had to say no.

We observed it for awhile, opening and closing its wings and climbing around on the branch until it began fluttering around the kitchen. As it landed on my daughter, I told them it was time to let it go. With the butterfly still gripping to her shirt, my 7 year old carefully walked outside, and the butterfly took off in the breeze.
We watched it land in a nearby bush, and waited until it flew away before leaving our spot on the steps.

We talked about the butterfly and how beautiful and delicate it is, and how they help pollinate the flowers and help the plants grow. What a wonderful way to learn about the life cycle of the butterfly and metamorphosis.

Peace and love.