Thursday, March 05, 2009

I'm on a roll

Three days in a row. I really am trying to be more devoted this poor ignored blog and more cognizant of everything we are doing on a daily basis.

We had a very fun Wednesday! We started off by making some homemade play dough to hopefully occupy the little ones for a while. I gave Mary and Katie the task of actually making the dough, and told them to double the batch. Which led us to reviewing how to double measurements. After the first batch was made we ran into our first problem when we realized that we were out of food coloring, except for yellow. And, according to Mary play dough isn't any fun unless it is colored.

We got creative and found some old packets of kool-aid from last summer. First we tried adding a little of it dry, which made a really dark pink but was hard to mix in. Another ball we added some kool-aid after it had been mixed with water and then topped off with a bit more flour. And, the third ball we just used the yellow food coloring. They had so much fun they decided to make another double batch and this time the liquid was all kool-aid. It was a blast and the red is slowly wearing off our hands.

After all that work Katie and Mary had to play with it along with Emily & Robbie, whch gave me a chance to clean the kitchen and transform it into our science lab for the day.

Katie has been wanting to grow crystals for awhile. I generally do crystal growing experiments in the summer to get the full sun to help, but we are going to try to grow some sugar crystals in our window. The recipe is easy to follow and allowed for us to talk about mixing and dissolving.

Mary and I had no 'real' recipe to follow and worked on determining how to make a 30% salt water mixture. Then left it on the stove to boil. Using plastic wrap we collected some of the steam and tasted it to show that the steam escaping had a very low salt content. In about 15 minutes at a boil we were left with a salt sludge at the bottom of the pot. I really want to do this experiment again the next time we go to the beach to visit my family and use actual sea water from the Atlantic Ocean.

By the time we finished up our lab work it was time to clean the kitchen again and make lunch so Emily could get ready for my friend to pick her up and take her to dance class. While making lunch Mary and Katie used YouTube to listen to their favorite dance songs. They asked me for a song and I suggested "We Didn't Start The Fire" by Billy Joel because it has been on my mind a lot recently. I think it would make an awesome tool for studying the late 20th century, but unfortunately my kids are too young right now for that unit study. Anyway, they enjoyed the song, even if they didn't understand it. Later that afternoon I got on YouTube and found this guy who had added events from 1990-2007. He can't sing, but it was very cool to think back to the important events over the last couple of decades.

During quiet time, the big girls played outside, since they could finally be out there without freezing. I was able to sit down and get some miscellaneous work done. Mary's soccer practice was cancelled, again, as the fields are still trying to dry out from two days of rain followed by 3 inches of snow. Another night with another sit-down family meal. Gotta love it. We did math with Mary and Katie after dinner clean-up. DH started another fire and the kids picked out a movie to watch with him, while I got a little me time.

And, today the temps will be inching into the 60s!!! Goodbye snow!



1 comment:

kitten said...

Have you tried this recipe?
Here's a the recipe:
Kool-Aid Playdough
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup salt
1 pkg unsweetened Kool-Aid
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup boiling water
Mix the dry ingredients. Add the oil to the water, then pour into the dry ingredients. Stir well, kneading until smooth. Store in an airtight container in the fridge when not being played with.
It's really good. Here's the link where I posted this.
Crystals: Hope this helps.
Something hard but porous: a piece of brick, lump of charcoal, charcoal briquets, or piece
of cement. (Charcoal briquets are best if they are not the quick -start type, with added
Table salt; 2 Tbsp.
Water; 2 Tbsp.
Laundry bluing; 2 Tbsp.
Household ammonia; 2 Tbsp.
1. Put the charcoal briquets into a shallow dish or pie pan.
2. Mix the four chemicals. (The pre-mixed chemicals are in the rubber balloon in this
package. Do not splash on clothing, as it may stain. Do not drink, as ammonia is
3. Pour the mixture over the cement. Add a couple drops of food coloring onto briquets if
desired. Crystals will begin forming in just a few hours, and will continue to grow over
several days. Don't touch or bump, as crystals are very fragile.
4. If you wish to, you may add the same amount of the chemicals every few days to keep
crystals growing. Pour gently into dish (not on top of crystals).
Why do crystals form?
As the water in your solutions evaporates, the molecules of solid substances in the liquid
(solute) link back together in patterns that reflect the shape of the molecules. (For instance,
salt crystals are cube-shaped, because salt molecules are cube-shaped; sugar crystals are
oblong and flat, because sugar molecules are oblong and flat; bluing crystals are feathery,
etc.) Solid materials in which the molecules are arranged in repeating patterns like this are
washing soda (get at grocery)
hot tap water
foot-long piece of string
2 baby food jars
two washers
small dish
Tie a washer to each end of the string. Fill the two jars with hot water and stir in washing
soda until no more will dissolve in the water. Place the ends of your string into the two
jars, with the ends of the string touching the bottom of the jars. Put the dish between the
two jars so you have a loose, drooping string "bridge" hanging over it, from one jar to the
other. Let sit for 4 or 5 days. A cave-like stalagtite (formation that grows down from the
ceiling) and stalagmite (formation that grows up from the floor) will start to grow over the
dish at its lowest point.
1 T epsom salt
1 T water
1/4 t food color (any but yellow)
2 2" jar lids
Pour epsom salt & water into saucepan. Stir & cook over medium heat until salt dissolves.
Remove from heat and stir in food coloring. Pour into first jar lid until almost full. Pour
any extra into second lid. As liquid evaporates, crystals will start to form. Over several
days, they will grow up and over the lid. They will last for months.
Make the Creeping Crystal formula given above. Add an extra 1/4 t of food color to the
mix. Brush onto paper, cardboard or glass -- as it dries, frost-like, feathery crystals will
appear on the painted surface.
1/2 cup table salt
1 cup water
cotton string
paper clip
Mix salt and water until salt is dissolved. Pour into drinking glass. Tie a paper clip to one
end of a short piece of string and tie the other end around a pencil. Lay the pencil across
the top of the glass and suspend the string and paper clip in the salt water solution. Put in a
place (a sunny window is best) where it will not be shaken or disturbed and observe for
two or three weeks. As the water evaporates, salt rock crystals will form on the string and
paper clip. The longer you wait, the bigger the crystals will get. The salt crystals will be
cube shaped, which reflects the molecular structure of salt.
(For colored crystals, add a few drops of food coloring when first mixing your salt
ROCK CANDY (aka: the experiment you EAT)
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup hot tap water
cotton string
food coloring
Mix sugar and water until sugar is dissolved. Add 2-3 drops of food coloring if you want
colored candy. Pour into drinking glass. Tie a knot in one end of a short piece of string and
tie the other end around a pencil. Lay the pencil across the top of the glass and suspend the
string in the sugar water solution. Put in a place (a sunny window is best) where it will not
be shaken or disturbed and observe for two or three weeks. As the water evaporates, sugar
crystals will form on the string and paper clip. The longer you wait, the bigger the crystals
will get. Sugar crystals will have long, flat slanted sides.

A family of six living and learning. You might catch us outside in the mud or working on crafts. We always seem to be on the go, come on and join us.