Saturday, May 18, 2013

Field Trip: Center for Wooden Boats

I braved another trip into Seattle yesterday to participate in a fieldtrip at the Center for Wooden Boats on Lake Union.  Sometimes I still marvel at all the cool things there are to do around here. Even after living here for more than seven years, I feel like there is still so much I don't know about this area.  It makes living here fun when I keep discovering these little treasure spots.

It was a gray, blustery, drizzely day.  SURPRISE!  It is Seattle after all.  For one fleeting moment I considered not going.  But then I reminded myself that if I stayed inside every time it rained here, I'd never get outside again! So off we went.

We first met under a pavillion to learn just a tiny bit about canoe carving from huge cedar trees.  The gentleman in the center of the picture is Native American. I forgot the name of his tribe, but he sang us a "thank-you-mother-earth" song. 

Our group then split in half. Half the kids got to build tiny wooden boats. And half went out to paddle onthe lake. Then we switched.

  Here we are making our boats.
Drilling a hole for the mast

Embelishing with bottle caps and corks.
sanding and putting on the sail
Decorating with markers, crayons, and stickers
Then it was time to head out on the water!  First we got some lessons on proper paddling.
Here's our littlest sailor
Big kids in the back
Younger paddleres up front
Enjoying the sites and sounds

These old ships are being restored. And that's MOHAI in the background (Museum of History and Industry).  We haven't been to MOHAI yet either!  That's probably our next trip.
 After returning to the dock and collecting our belongings, we headed over to the pond to test our our wooden boats.  It was such a classic childhood activity. I had to get lots of shots.
This was a great field trip except for two things:

1. The Center for Wooden Boats staff told us that one of their main missions was to preserve and share the history of wooden boats.  But I don't thnk they ever did that!  They did have some cool old boats hanging from the cieling and sitting on the docks.  And if you asked, they would tell you something about a particular boat. But other than that, there was no effort to help the kids understand that boats used to ALL be made of wood and now they are made of lots of thigns...etc.  No connection to history at all.
2.  When I got back to my car there was  a $47 ticket on my car!! AGH!!! I was not happy at ALL.  Apparently, I did not back my car into my spot.  No, I did the absurd, unheard of act of actually pulling into my stall forwards, as is done in nearly 99.% of all  other parking situations.  GASP.  How dare I?  I searched for signs warning me not to commit the unpardonable sin of parking forwards, instead of backwards.  Yes, after searching, there was a sign at the end of the parking lot, smallish, and far above my field of normal vision. So there you go Seattle.  One more reason to dread a trip into the city.  GRRRRR!!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Nail Art Badge

My oldest daughter received nail polish for her last birthday and for Christmas last year.  Who knew that she would love it so much? Her interest in polish has really exploded!  We have induldged her interest by buying her a few tools and gadgets that make doing nails more of a challenge and more fun!   We've also been scouring the net and getting books from the library to learn new nail art techniques and designs.

In fact, she's enjoying it so much, that she plans to open a small business doing nails for little girls' birthday parties.  She hasn't had her first gig yet. We're still working on practicing some of the techniques, setting up the marketing and developing a business plan.  But she's raring to go!

In the mean time, I created a Frontier Girls badge to accomodate her budding interest in nail art.  I love that Frontier Girls is so flexible this way!  This is the second badge I have written to suit my kids interests.  The 5 week KinderBoys class that I did for my son resulted in a Career Exploration badge for him.  The owner of Frontier Girls (Quest Club for the boys) is more than willing to add my badges to the main list and create the badges themselves.  I love it. It means I can create a badge for any unit study or interest we may have, which is super fun for homeschoolers.  Or anyone else!

Anyway, so here's the badge I wrote.  Maybe it will spark some ideas about how to turn your kids' interests into a real learning experience that they can receive recognition for.
Nail Art
Otter: Do the 2 starred and pick 2 more.

Dolphin: Do the 2 starred and pick  4 more

Butterfly and Eagle: Do the 2 starred and pick 5 more.

*Learn how to keep your nails healthy and well groomed, including proper nutrition and personal hygiene  Be sure you can handle nail clippers safely. 

*Learn how to safely use nail polish and polish remover.  Remember to use a well ventilated area. To avoid over exposure to fumes,  some suggest that you avoid changing your polish more than 2-3 times a month.  Consider using acetone free remover.  Remember to wash hands after using remover.  Acetone can weaken your nails if it enters the nail bed.
1.  Check out several books from your library about nail art.  Study the various techniques.

2. Search for blogs and Pinterest boards that teach various nail art techniques.

3.  Learn about and describe some of the tools used in nail art such as brushes, pens, stencils, stamps, decals, glitter, gems, etc.

4. Nail art brushes can be purchased inexpensively at a beauty supply store or online.  Consider purchasing some brushes and trying some of the techniques you have learned on friends and family.  If friends and family do not wish to have their nails done, you can also purchase a manikin hand or fake fingers, or a wheel with fake fingernails to practice on for not much money.

5. Learn about and/or experiment with magnetic nail art.

6.  Arrange a visit to a nail salon and ask the nail technicians about the training and education they needed to get their job.  If possible, watch them perform some of their tasks on the job.  Note their attention to cleanliness.

7.  Learn about nail fungus and how to prevent and treat it.

8. Provide service to the community by offering to share your new skills with the elderly, home bound, or possibly a women’s shelter.  Avoid using any sharp tools or objects on others, unless you are a trained nail technician.  Stick to just polish for now.

9.  Share what you have learned with your family or troop and do their nails. 

10. Some polishes contain Formaldehyde, Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP), and Toluene. Research these chemicals and their possible side effects. Identify at least 3 brands of polish that do not use these chemicals and compare their prices to brands that DO use them. Discuss possible pros and cons of using nail polishes without these chemicals.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Story of the World Vol 2 Chapters 37, 38 and 39

I cancelled history club last month because we had just returned from our Spring Vacation and I was still feeling very unsettled and overwhelmed.  So after a 2 month break from the club, it felt good to get back into it again.  We had gorgeous weather for our meeting and we had a ton of fun.

Chapter 37 was about Galileo and his impact on the religions of his time.  Sadly I have no pictures of our "Pisa Drop" activity, where we learned that objects dropped from the same height at the same time will hit the ground simultaneously regardless of weight.  Thank you gravity!

Chapter 38 was all about Good Queen Bess. We learned the Queen Elizabeth was so loved by her people that they even made buildings in the shape of an E, with gardens in between the arms of the E.  So we set to work using a variety of blocks to make a large E on the living room floor. The kids got creative with colored dominoes, bristle blocks, play mobiles and actual flowers from the yard to create the gardens and impromptu farm life too.

During Elizabethan times the people had some very interesting home remedies.  Here are a few that we tried today:
1. Eat molasses covered spiders (cooked spaghetti) to give you a quick pick-me-up. I tried to make little bundles of noodles that were tied together with another noodle. I put them in the fridge over night so they'd be a little stiff. It kinda worked.  The kids said they were gross.  Yeah.

2.  Egg yolk, flowers and vinegar to make a salve for "boo-boos".

"Ok, mom, now what?"  

3.  Get rid of your cough with cherry tree bark and maple syrup made as a tea.  We used cinnamon sticks instead.  The kids actually really liked this.  Some of them mixed it with milk and really loved it! And the house smelled great.

4. Can't sleep? Drink some sleeping potion made from wilted lettuce leaves in hot chicken broth.  I actually used cabbage, so it didn't wilt much.  The kids said this was super gross.  And nobody fell asleep! Dang it!
 Chapter 39 was all about Shakespeare.  We acted out a scene from McBeth when the three weird women make their Eye-of-Newt Soup.  This was by far the most fun activity. First I had the kids dress up as weird witches and wizards.  Basically I just gave them my bucket of dress up clothes and let them get creative.

The activity book by Susan Wise Bauer

 suggests putting each of the soup ingredients into separate labeled jars that are dumped into the cauldron one by one as they are mentioned by the weird women.  I adapted her idea by making it a "lower-sugar" version of the recipe.  Here's what we added to our Eye-of-Newt soup:
Fingers = Red Vines cut in half (instead of tootsie rolls)
Eyes of Newts = Red, bumpy coated peanuts (instead of chocolate chips)
Tongue of Dog = Dried mango slices (instead of red licorice)
Lizard's Leg = Pretzel sticks (I kept this idea since it was non-sugar)
Owlet's wings = mini marshmallows ( I kept this idea too since I have no idea what owlet wings are supposed to look like)
Scale of dragons = Banana chips (instead of smarties)
Tooth of Wolf = pumpkin seeds (instead of candy corn)
Gall of goat =  raisins (again, I kept this idea since it wasn't candy)

Cup of Baboon's blood = unsweetened cranberry juice.  That's right! NO SUGAR BABY.

So I put these items in jars and I gave each child a jar to hold.

I taught the kids to say the lines "Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn and cauldron bubble" as they marched around the cauldron (large plastic bowl on the floor).   Then as I continued to read the poem/spell/recipe/ they each dumped in their jar of ingredients when indicated.

The best part was drinking the baboon's blood. Like I said, it had no sugar. So I only gave them a teeny sip to try.  Here's how most of them reacted.
Don't worry, they each got a baggie of snacks from the cauldron of Eye-of-Newt Soup to make it go down a little easier.

I think the kids enjoyed the 20 minutes of free time with friends best of all. They took advantage of the beautiful sunshine today to jump on the trampoline, ride bikes and play on the swing set.  It was a great morning!