Friday, October 28, 2016

Conclusions on Conductors and Current

Inspired by the memorable science experiments my mom did with us as kids and the encouragement of my fantastic and inspiring evaluator to put time into the things they'll remember, I've been doing weekly science experiments with our Blossoms. 

Thus far, most of them come from the Backyard Scientist series by Jane Hoffman, which I previously featured in this post.

In this experiment we were studying conductors. 

I have to say, there's just something about making a tiny light bulb light up. 

After the initial experiment, the search of our entire house for other conductors commenced. 

The pile of objects to try cluttered the counter. 

Everything from dog tags to gummy bears.

Blossom1 exclaimed, "This is SO interesting!"

Blossom2 and Blossom3 discovered that your conductor can be threaded through the gummy bear and still conduct a current, but the gummy bear itself cannot conduct a current.

Though following the directions explicitly achieved the (impressive) desired results, the most excitement was generated when the Blossoms tinkered with the batteries, different conductors. 

After doing this kind of lab work, the girlies had much more respect for electricity, currents and all Mama's cautions about how "water and electricity don't mix." 

Mamas remember:
A little tinkering, a little mess and
more than a little learning can happen!
And it just might be memorable.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Doing the (Rope) Walk

Two of our co-op moms put it together. 

As one mom was a Marine and the other lived the rustic life in Alaska, I should've figured this wouldn't be your average obstacle course.  I appreciate when people do things with excellence.  Since I know all the demands on a mom's time, especially a homeschooling mom, I was thoroughly grateful for their time.

The low crawl was particularly impressive, with its maze of stakes and strings.  Unfortunately, all my pics were head-on shots. 

The kids were timed and worked to beat their times in following runs.  We are teaching our kids about friendly competition and sportsmanship, so we were pleased to hear their chants and shouts to cheer each of their pals on. 

I was surprised; Blossom3 and her pals even wrangled the tire rather well. 
The Blossoms loved the course so much, they ran it several times!  Blossom2 was very tickled to share with Daddy that she had the top two times, mostly attributed to her fancy rope walk footwork. 

I got to sprint from station to station as acting photographer, which was so enjoyable.  Blossom2 also manned her pal's camera, while he ran the course.

I also helped keep an eye on the Littles, while the rest of the moms stayed at their station posts. 

The Little Camo Guy cracked me up with his Daddy emulation.  His bow stance is prime!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Autumn Cabin Trip

There's just something about the cabin in the fall.  I even said to the Rugged Mountain Man, "It doesn't even matter what the weather's like, we have fun there no matter what." 

While packing a few games, I rediscovered an old favorite, Clifford Alphabet Bingo. I used this game a lot when I was teaching Blossom1 and Blossom2 to read.  I was surprised to discover they loved playing with their younger sisters, even though it was too easy for them.  I guess they're as nostalgic as I am. 

That same rainy afternoon, as we were lounging and listening to the Penn State football game, we heard a crash and shattering glass. 

Out on our screened in porch, this bird had swooped through the window, broken its neck and died.  As its neck was broken and its head was tucked down, we originally identified it as a hawk and the Blossoms argued as to the kind of hawk.  Of course, this sounds impressive and we have hawks on the brain given the several near misses we've had with all the migrating hawks lately.  However, we later learned that our enthusiasm to see a hawk meet its just end was a bit much; this bird is a ruffed grouse.  Um, duh.  In our defense, the spots and stripes are similar.  The shards of glass were scattered across ten feet of our favorite sitting spots on the porch.  I'm so thankful we were sitting inside when it happened. 

One of my secrets for easy cleanup at the cabin is to ask the Rugged Mountain Man to do the bacon over the fire.  It's a win-win situation.  No grease to clean up AND if you've never tasted bacon grilled over an open flame, I adjure you to stop by Walmart today, snag yourself some bacon and tomorrow morning, send your kids out to build a fire in the yard.  Grill it up and you'll never go back to frying it in a pan. 
At this point, I must also add, that I built that fire pit.  Daddy took a solitary fishing break earlier this summer and the girlies and I dragged those rocks out of the creek, up the bank and wheeled them over to the pit in the heaviest prehistoric wheelbarrow you ever saw.  I like to find productive things to do when Papa Bear is away.  This project took about an hour of heavy manual labor.  There is intense satisfaction in building something yourself, I must say.  There is also comfort and safety in this fire pit.  After Blossom4 burnt her hand severely last year when she tripped and braced herself against the hot metal fire ring, Mommy thought this might be an improvement. 

The Blossoms always spend time chopping up apples to roast over the fire, just for fun or just for one of their famous "deer hash" concoctions.  When it was gone in the morning, there was high glee.  I'm still not sure if it was a deer or a curious chipmunk.

I spend a lot of my time at the cabin here, just thinking, reading, humming, looking and again, more thinking.  My mind is calmer, even clearer here.

While the Big Blossoms were on a serious hike with Daddy, I meandered down the lane with the Little Blossoms.  I had to snap this shot for my sister in law, who has informed me that camo is a neutral and leopard is a neutral.  Apparently, it is so neutral that Blossom4 decided it worked together.  The pink shoes are a nice touch, wouldn't you agree?

You've seen a shot of the "ford" before.  Its long name is the "Ford of Beruna" from a favorite Narnia story, of course.  It's shallow here.  We like to pick up pretty pebbles and chat about the swimming hole just around the bend of the creek to the right. 

I was mesmerized by that golden beauty of a tree and snapped a pic of a neighboring cabin. 

On our walks, I love checking out the flora.

I am also blessed with lots of wildflowers, painstakingly picked by loving hands. 
We also like to check out other spots of the creek.  This one is a favorite, as it has natural rapids that lead to another swimming hole.  On hot summer days, it's perfect for inner tube play. 

Blossom4, like any 3 year old, has a tendency to touch everything.  I was amazed by what she discovered by doing so.  These pink bubbles appear to be just your average fungus.  Not so; Blossom4 waltzed up and started poking them, only to discover that a pink, paint-like substance squirted out.  Throughout the weekend, we made several trips to show family members the "pink things."  At home, we learned that it's not a fungus.  It's a plasmodial slime mould in its immature statue.  It eventually hardens.  Who knew?!

We learn so much on our walks.

The shadows are long on a chilly autumn day.
Along the way, we always have to check out the swinging bridge by a neighboring camp. 

Everything seems so picturesque in the fall.

Even though it's too cold for swimming, the creek is such a drawing card for our days at the cabin.

Blossom4 discovered the sheer childhood pleasure of throwing miscellaneous items in the water. 

I believe black walnuts were her particular favorite for their especially satisfying ker-plunk.

Crossing the creek can be precarious business.

We all made it across dry. 

But, we laughed uproariously when Jake, our water-loving fiend of a golden retriever, slipped and fell in the water backwards. 

When Rory, who isn't as adept with deep water swimming, fell in, Mommy hurried back across the log, took compassion on his near panic and yanked all 120+ pounds of his water-logged self out of the water.  I like to think that all that beam-walking in my gymnastics days paid off.  I was just thankful he didn't panic on the bank and knock me in.

Upon seeing the entire family on the other side of the creek, it should be noted that Rory was loyal enough to attempt the log again after being rescued.  He made it further, fell in again, but was able to swim to shore. 

We do love our faithful hounds. 
Home sweet cabin. 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Littles, a Little Overwhelm and a Little bit of Grace

These two little cuties were doing what "Littles" do while their older siblings are occupied.  In this case, all of the older siblings were busy on an amazing obstacle course that some of the moms in our co-op put together. 

Blossom4 and her pal, the Little Camo Guy, who rivals her in bedhead wonder, had quite an agenda of Littles' Business to attend to. 

Every time I look at these pics, I think, "Just git 'er dun." 

I was busy snapping shots of all the kids tramping through the obstacle course, so I missed the Littles' conversation on what they were loading and why.  Both the Little Camo Guy and Blossom4 speak very well, so I'm positively sure there was a conversation.  They diligently loaded the Gator together.  Then, they jumped in and tried to drive off.  Unfortunately for them, the Gator had a low battery.  #nomattertheyjustwenttoplaywithsomethingelse  #busylittles
There are so many demands over here in our neck of the woods.  My guess is that isn't unique to my position as Mom here.  I feel like this week and weekend, I've been fighting the overwhelming feelings moreso than usual.  And I want my attitude to be right.  I want to be happy as I work. 
If you fill your time with what God wants you to do,
shouldn't it be a joy to plug away at those tasks? 

I'm preaching to myself lately.  Humbly and honestly, I feel like I need an attitude adjustment.  So, I'm just gonna keep preaching to myself.  #preachitsista

My tasks may or may not be easy.  They may be simple.  They might be messy.  They might be long.  But, I'm feeling comfort flood me even now as I lean back into the rest and assurance of doing what God wants to me to do.  Today.  Right now.  This weekend.  This coming week. 

And for every one of those tasks He wants me to do,
He gives me enough grace for that task. 
Right when I need that grace. 

With His grace, I'll hit the mark.