31 January 2013

Game Day

We are loving going to game day with our local homeschool group. We meet at a library meeting room or a cafe and bring our favorite games to share with our friends and hang out for a couple of hours.

It isn't as effective as park day in getting the wiggles out, but we sure wouldn't pass up an opportunity to hang out with friends. Even if we have to remember to share the space with others and keep our voices down.

22 January 2013


With temperatures yesterday topping out at a balmy 11°F (and that was at midnight, it just fell from there), we've been thinking about snow and ice.  We had tried making ice marbles once earlier this winter, but it didn't go well.  We got our water balloons food colored and set out and two of the four froze overnight, but by the time we went out to take the balloons off, it had warmed up to the mid 30s and they were back to water.  Then we had a warmish week or so where our nice big snowfall gradually melted off the lawn and the liquid water balloons looked at us reproachfully every time we went by in hoodies rather than parkas.  It did eventually get below freezing again, but with daytime temps hovering around freezing and bright sun, they didn't stick around very long.  So we decided to try again now that it is cold and will hopefully stay that way for a bit.  It went much better this time:

The blue one is tiny since it was the first one filled.  I took it off the faucet to see if it looked full enough.  Since there was plenty give left in the balloon, I tried to put more water in and promptly learned that it isn't a good idea to put a water balloon with food coloring in it back on the spigot.  Fortunately, it cleaned up pretty easily and I managed to evade the nickname "Smurfette."

Before we got in the kitchen to make our marbles, we had been watching Arthur on Netflix and saw an episode where Francine tried to make rock candy.  Miss Bean perked right up and wanted to try herself.  I Googled madly for a few minutes and determined that we didn't have all the supplies to get rock candy started last night, but while I was looking, I recalled an interesting project I had pinned on Pinterest a while back.  We did have everything we needed for borax crystal snowflakes so we started those instead.  We diddled with pipe cleaners, borax and boiling water and the next morning we woke up to these:

After they dried, we hung them in the front window so they can sparkle in the sun and sparkle, they do.  This was a quick, easy, and fun project.  We even read about crystals on the web for a while and saw how the smooth facets reflect the close-packed internal atomic structure.

So after we did our grocery shopping (and got some clothes pins), we were ready to make some rock candy.  We had planned on making four jars, so I did four times the quantities in the recipe we used, but it ended up with enough super-saturated sugar solution for six 12 oz. canning jars.
This one is going to take a lot more patience.  Most of the directions say 3-7 days for crystals to form, so we'll be checking them regularly.  Good thing we have lots of other fun stuff to keep us busy!