Category Archives: Family Life

Weird Science: Experimenting with Borax

This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series Weird Science

Borax Crystals:

  1. Make a shape with a pipe-cleaner, making sure it can fit in the jar.
  2. Fill jar 3/4 full with boiling water.
  3. Slowly add 4 Tbsp of borax, stirring after each tablespoon. (Add borax until you see it a small amount collecting on the bottom of the jar)
  4. Tie a piece of string to the pipe-cleaner and hang it from a pencil in the jar. Make sure it is completely submerged.
  5. set the jar in a place where it will not be disturbed, such as a window sill, and let it stand for 24 hours. Check progress periodically to see how the crystals are forming.
  6. When it is done, you can hang the crystal in the window and watch it sparkle!

Weird Science: Experimenting with Spinach

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Weird Science

Extract Spinach DNA

Blend 1 cup water, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/2 spinach at high speed

Strain and add 2 Tbsp dishsoap. Let stand 10 minutes

add a pinch of meat tenderizer, and add equal volume of rubbing alcohol

pour into a jar and let stand for 3 minutes

After 3 minutes, you will see the DNA separating from the liquid

 

Weird Science: Experimenting With Cornstarch

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series Weird Science

Liquid & Solid at the Same Time:

Mix cornstarch and water

Have fun!

Weird Science: Erupting Volcano

This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series Weird Science

Zee has been busy with his science kit. . . here are some of his recent experiments:

Exploding Volcano:

Add 2 Tbsp water and 1 Tbsp of baking soda

Stir until dissolved and add 2 Tbsp of vinegar

Dreaming of a Homemade Christmas

Our kids had a lot of fun this year making gifts for each other.  Alex helped Bee make play dough, which she scented with essential oils, and she also helped Zee make bubble blow and shaped bubble wands out of coat hangers. She also helped the two little ones make coupon books for me and their dad.

She made a tin with three kinds of candied popcorn for Dad, activity coloring books for both Bee and Zee, and a little pocket sized book of games and puzzles for J. She made Bee a ballerina tutu and we picked up a leotard and ballet slippers to go with it at WalMart. She also made Zee a science kit with several experiments all measured out and ready to go, but the best part was that she gave Zee her time and helped him complete several experiments, including an erupting volcano, experimenting with cornstarch, making borax crystals, and extracting the DNA from spinach. She made me some lip balm, and she made gifts for her cousins — I’ll update this after she gets a chance to deliver them.

J made a chess board for Zee, and an army fort with catapults out of craft sticks with toy soldiers from the dollar store. He spent the last two months knitting a teddy bear for Bee, and he made her several hair clips — her favorite have jingle balls on them and she bobs her head and says “listen! My hair rings!” He also made a set of homemade barbecue seasonings for his dad, and put together a bath kit for Alex out of items from the dollar store – a back scrubber, a cleansing cloth, some bath gel and body spray, and some pretty bars of soap. I helped him make gift baskets and they looked really cute.

I made Alex and J each a two booklets, one with how to draw techniques, and another with origami folding instructions. I bundled J’s with a book on how to fold napkins that I found at the goodwill for .25, which he has been asking how to do for a while now, and a package of origami paper to practice with. Alex got a beading kit with tools for making her own jewelry, and some starter beads and findings, and I made Zee and Bee each an “I Spy” game out of felt and clear plastic vinyl.

I love this because it gave each of the kids a chance to really focus on something special that they could make and give to each other rather than what they were going to GET, and I am still not quite sure which part they enjoyed the most!

The 10 Natural Laws of Parenting

  1. Murphy’s Law: If anything can go wrong it will.
  2. The parenting law of invisibility: If your kids want something they can see you. If you want something, they can’t.
  3. The Law of Increasing Disorder: The closer it gets to the hour of some important event, the more chaotic things get. This is directly proportionate to the level of importance of the event in question.
  4. The Law of Regularity: If you ask a child to do something, he/she invariably need to use the restroom. The converse of this law is that your child will never need to use the restroom unless you are in your car at least 20 miles from the nearest restroom.
  5. The Law of Inverse Hunger: The more excitement, dessert, etc. the less hungry a child will be.
  6. The Parent’s Four laws of Motion:
    • Parental Inertia: If you want your child to do something, you will have to prod them along every step of the way. If you do not want your child to do something, this fact in itself provides all the needed inertia for the task to be done without any prodding whatsoever.
    • f=ma: If your child is running away from you, the speed at which they travel is directly related to your body mas multiplied by the speed at which you are traveling in their direction. The best way to catch up with them is to stop running, or to run in the opposite direction.
    • Every action has an equal and opposite reaction: This is why kids retaliate in kind after being hit, bit, scratched, etc. If you want it to stop, you have to step in and stop them yourself or it could go on forever.
    • If you have several children and you are moving toward them with the intent to capture, they will all move away in separate directions. (Please refer to the Parent’s Second Law of Motion)
  7. The law of Parenting Relativity: If you sit down with a child on your lap, all of the children in the house will gravitate toward you and it will not be long before all of the children have dog piled on you, with the smallest child somehow on the very bottom of the pile. This invariably results in kicking, biting, and screaming about who was there first or who should be the one who should be allowed to stay for whatever reason. This will continue until you get up and throw All of them off.
  8. The Parenting law of Conservation of Mass-Energy: Matter is neither created or destroyed, therefore missing left socks, missing keys, and other mysteriously vanishing objects have either been: a) sucked into a black hole, b) transformed into another form of energy, or c) have been buried in your child’s sandbox.
  9. The Parenting law of thermodynamics: your child’s desire to play outside and get healthy exercise, fresh air, and sunshine is directly related to the temperature. They will not want to go out because it is a) too hot, or b) too cold. The temperature will never be just right unless one of the other laws has influenced him/her in one way or another.
  10. The Electrostatic law of Parenting: Teens will only want to venture forth to any activity if there is a satisfactory electrically charged particle to with whom to join with to create an electrostatic force field (i.e. a “hot” member of the opposite sex). Be very wary if they are excited to go ANYWHERE!

Cursed!

This morning, as I was getting everything to go to a Christmas party at my sister’s house, I dropped a plate of 2 dozen hot coconut macaroons on the floor. I had just gotten my kids in the van . . . an ordeal in itself! Child#1 changed clothes 3 times, because she couldn’t wrap her brain around the fact that this was a breakfast PAJAMA party. Child 2 screamed for at least a half hour because he wanted to go to the church primary party that was also that morning and since we had to choose, family came first. Finally after he realized that the family party would be longer (more games, more treats, etc.) he got in the van, quite happily too. (grrr) I on the other hand after trying to get them going, had not quite been able to get it all together and I was still trying to round up cookies for the Christmas cookie exchange. So now the kids are waiting for me while I am scrambling to get the cookies out of the oven and onto a plate, which I then dropped on the floor . . . lovely!

So, I scooped them up, all mashed and broken and left them on the counter to cool. (We fed them to the chickens when I got home — I hope they don’t die . .)

When we got there, we were short on graham crackers for the little gingerbread village the kids were making.  So I went to the store to get more. And as I am waiting for someone to back out some hot guy in a red fire bird swoops in between me and the row of parked cars and steals my parking space!  It wasn’t even a packed parking lot. I mean there were plenty of available spaces, that one just happened to be opening up and was a little closer to the door, so I was like hey! maybe something will go my way this morning! (because it really was super cold outside) BUT NO! So I rolled down my window and yelled “Merry Christmas! I Hope it’s an emergency!” and he looked at me and said “It is!”

Well I didn’t buy that crap for a second! So when I went in the store and saw him there I walked right up to him and looked him in the eye and said “So, what’s the emergency?” He said something lame about getting a money order for his wife and I said, well there were lot’s of other open parking spaces. He looked uncomfortable and I just turned around and walked off. Maybe there was some kind of emergency that required a money order, sure, I can see that, but how much longer would it really have taken to park the next row over? It’s just that I was already quite obviously in position to take that spot. It’s like a plate of cookies sitting there, and I reach out to take one and he snatches it up off of the top of the pile just because he can. What a JERK! I thought of so many good things I could have said later of course — like “Thank you for reminding me what a great husband I have. I hope that money order keeps your wife happy, ’cause you don’t have much else to offer.”

So, I’m really fine with it. Maybe his wife is really horrible. Maybe I should feel sorry for the poor guy . . .

Did I mention that I had also toted along a casserole for the church Christmas dinner? I took it with me so I could bake it at my sister’s house and have it ready to drop off at the church by 4pm.

Again I am trying to round up my kids so I won’t be late dropping off the casserole. Again, I am invisible. I say get in the car, and they are out jumping on a snow covered trampoline 2 seconds later. Is what I am asking really that horrible? Because I am looking at the snow out there and that is not my idea of fun! By the time we are actually on the way, it is 3:45 and we are a good 45 minutes away. I drove fast and made it there only 15 minutes late. And someone had put their hand in the casserole. There was a big dent in one end where the foil had been completely mashed in.

“Who did this?”

“Not me!”

“Not me!”

“Not me!”

Three innocent pairs of eyes are staring at me.

“Come on, it was hot. There is no way you could do this and not notice!”

“Not me!”

“Not me!”

“Not me!”

blink, blink, blink.

So I pull out the guilt trip.

“An honest person would tell their mother if they did something like this.”

“Not me!”

“Not me!”

“Whaaaa ok, it was meeeeee!”

Now it’s my turn to feel bad for yelling. But I don’t. Not really. Ok, maybe a little . . .

I told the lady I handed it to to just stick the serving spoon in there and maybe no one would notice, and then I left. very quickly.

I took the kids home and had them change. We went to the church for dinner — No way I was going to try to cook after all that. And my casserole was already out on the serving table, and there was only one serving left.

I guess it wasn’t such a really bad day . . .

Mom’s Twelve Days Of Christmas

Here is a really cute version of the 12 days of Christmas that I think any parent can appreciate! Thanks Mindi 🙂

Mom’s Twelve Days Of Christmas
Lyrics thoughtfully revised by Mindi K. Flowers at B.A. Bookworm

On the first day of Christmas, my children gave to me
A chance to be a referee.

On the second day of Christmas, my children gave to me
Two hugs with love
And another chance to be a referee.

On the third day of Christmas, my children gave to me
Three accidents
Two hugs with love
And another chance to be a referee.

On the fourth day of Christmas, my children gave to me
Four joyous moments
Three accidents
Two hugs with love
And another chance to be a referee.

On the fifth day of Christmas, my children gave to me
Five handmade things
Four joyous moments
Three accidents
Two hugs with love
And another chance to be a referee.

On the sixth day of Christmas, my children gave to me
Six temper tantrums
Five handmade things
Four joyous moments
Three accidents
Two hugs with love
And another chance to be a referee.

On the seventh day of Christmas, my children gave to me
Seven children’s pageants
Six temper tantrums
Five handmade things
Four joyous moments
Three accidents
Two hugs with love
And another chance to be a referee.

On the eighth day of Christmas, my children gave to me
Eight hairs-a-greyin’
Seven children’s pageants
Six temper tantrums
Five handmade things
Four joyous moments
Three accidents
Two hugs with love
And another chance to be a referee.

On the ninth day of Christmas, my children gave to me
Nine ornaments crashing
Eight hairs-a-greyin’
Seven children’s pageants
Six temper tantrums
Five handmade things
Four joyous moments
Three accidents
Two hugs with love
And another chance to be a referee.

On the tenth day of Christmas, my children gave to me
Ten songs-a-singin’
Nine ornaments crashing
Eight hairs-a-greyin’
Seven children’s pageants
Six temper tantrums
Five handmade things
Four joyous moments
Three accidents
Two hugs with love
And another chance to be a referee.

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my children gave to me
Eleven presents peeking
Ten songs-a-singin’
Nine ornaments crashing
Eight hairs-a-greyin’
Seven children’s pageants
Six temper tantrums
Five handmade things
Four joyous moments
Three accidents
Two hugs with love
And another chance to be a referee.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my children gave to me
Twelve smiles heartwarming
Eleven presents peeking
Ten songs-a-singin’
Nine ornaments crashing
Eight hairs-a-greyin’
Seven children’s pageants
Six temper tantrums
Five handmade things
Four joyous moments
Three accidents
Two hugs with love
And another chance to be a referee.

Milestones for Mommyhood

I am hitting some mommy milestones this year . . . I just turned the big 4-0 in November. That is taking me some time to adjust to, but it’s not so bad now. Also, in November we celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary. That sounds so long to me, but really it seems like we were still just starting out, and technically, I suppose that 18 years of marriage isn’t really a milestone, but it sure feels like one to me.

Some other milestones — J just turned 12 on Wednesday! He will be ordained as a deacon tomorrow, which he is really excited about — he really is looking forward to passing the sacrament in church. Also, his teacher in school has recommended that he test for the gifted and talented program this upcoming week so he can take honors classes in Jr. High next year. Jr. High! (help me!) He is really excited and is crossing his fingers to get back into a good chess club again. It’s been nearly two years since he has had a good chess program, and he misses it a lot. I think it will be really good for him. I really do . . .

And Alex is turning 15 in January . . . this is a milestone because, as she has been reminding me since last year, she will be able to learn how to drive. YIKES!! and next year, dating . . . but . . . deep breaths . . . one thing at a time . . . breath, breath, breath . . . OK. I’m OK now . . . I think I am OK now. Can you please hand me that paper bag?

A Thanksgiving Feast

2 Turkeys, one injected with teriyaki sauce and lemon juice and deep fried (Man Style), and the other roasted with butter, garlic, and rosemary

1 Ham

Traditional Stuffing

Rice Stuffing

Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

Sweet Potatoes

Green Bean Casserole

Broccoli Casserole

Little Smokies in BBQ Sauce

Green Goop (green jello powder mixed with cool whip, cottage cheese, and canned pineapple and oranges)

Yellow Jello (lemon jello with cream cheese and fruit)

12 Pies: 3 pumpkin, 1 chocolate pecan, 1 pecan, 1 apple, 1 peach, 2 lemon meringue, 1 banana creme, 1 chocolate creme, 1 coconut creme (This doesn’t count the pies that Denise brought that never got taken out.)

Sparkling Cider (4 gallons of cider and 2 lbs of dry ice)

11 adults, and 21 kids