Thursday, October 31, 2013

All Dressed Up and Several Places to Go

 Another October come and gone, and the kids made good use of their costumes this year. They wore them to a Gymnastics party last night, a walk around the town square this afternoon, and trick-or-treating this evening. I was reminded that I really don't like Halloween; it seems like a fairly dumb holiday, but the dressing up and the free candy I'll take, particularly the dressing up part. Society can have the rest.

Once again we scavenged our home, the local thrift store, and the internet for props and pieces. I finally remembered to ask them about their costume desires early in the season. While I can scrounge up what I need to at the last minute, it was nice to have the luxury for accuracy.

Mim wanted to be Professor River Song this year. For the uninitiated, River Song is the wife of The Doctor, the title character from the TV show Doctor Who. She is a no-nonsense, time-traveling archaeologist who makes good use of hallucinogenic lipstick, a good blaster, and her vortex manipulator to travel the universe, occasionally saving the Doctor, and occasionally being saved herself.

We were trying to re-create this specific outfit. Did we succeed? You be the judge, but don't tell me if you think we failed. I couldn't take it. We did curl her hair as well, but it would've taken a lot more hairspray and a lot more time than I was willing to put into it to get those curls.

Zaya dressed as Dr. Erwin Schrodinger, the quantum physicist who famously postulated the Schrodinger's Cat thought experiment. If you want more details, follow the link to the Wiki page. His box there contains a "cat". (It's a plush lion because it was the only feline that fit.) He couldn't bear the thought of killing the cat, so he wore the vial of radioactive poison (glow-stick) around his neck in the evening.

His costume was occasionally mistaken for The Doctor (The eleventh Doctor, specifically.) and Harry Potter. It's understandable given the bow tie for the first and the round glasses for the second. At least one person thought he was dressed up as "a nerd". What can I say? Who am I to argue? He makes an awfully cute little nerd. I'm sure the real Schrodinger's mother thought the same.

We went around our little neighborhood with some next-door friends and another homeschool family. Most of the other kids were fairly shy, but good ol' Schrodinger came up with enough chit-chat to make up for the other seven quiet characters. At the very first house he yelled, "T-R-I-C-K to the power of treat," to the poor unsuspecting home-owner. River Song gave him a don't-embarrass-the-rest-of-us wallop, but I don't think it was effective. I decided to hang back with the other parents and let him be himself. River kept him in line, more or less, anyway.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Familiar Familial Faces

One of the best parts of our recent week of field trips in Oklahoma was the chance to visit with family. We didn't get to see everyone, but Grandma T (who avoids cameras, so I have no proof) joined us for a day at the zoo, and we met Grandma Lilibeth and Grandpa Turtle at my nephew's first birthday party in Norman. Isn't my mama lovely, and isn't little Blaze adorable? It was wonderful to see them- and Blaze's camera shy parents as well.

We spent the week staying in the home of my infinitely patient and hospitable Aunt and Uncle T. Can you imagine saying, "Yes, of course!" when your niece asked you if she could park herself and her two rambunctious young 'uns at your house for a full seven days? They did, though, and we loved every minute of it. There's nothing like returning from a full day of sight-seeing to visit with quiet, peaceful people. It was wonderful, and I couldn't possibly thank them enough. My Aunt played games with the kiddos for hours, and Uncle T and I read books, chatted about history, or watched a little TV. Ah! Bliss!

They took us out to eat at Pops after church on our last day there, and then we headed off on Route 66 to wind our way home. We walked past the Biker Gang to take a little picture that didn't include cars and gasoline pumps.

And yes, my son does pose like that on purpose. His plan is to keep me humble.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Electric Electives

 We went with our church to "Christian Skate Night" at the skating rink in a nearby town. (They play Christian music and there's a brief devotional half-way through.)  My kids did skate, but during one of the everyone-participates games out on the rink (for which Zaya and Mim were not ready) their Daddy gave them a few quarters and let them play video games. Joy of joy!! They were so excited!

I decided they might count as classes. What do you think?
Homeschool CLEET certification - The young cadet practices his accuracy with a hand-gun and learns to recognize "perps".
Homeschool Driver's Education - You get to drive a sports car that your parents will never buy for you and drive it with wild abandon. (While wearing skates, you'll notice. Take that Gene Kelly. [if you follow this link, skip to 2:20])
Homeschool Hunter's safety course - The young hunter gets to stand a mere two feet from his targets, but it all works out because he doesn't get to eat any of the turkey either. Bonus - it's a pump-action plastic shotgun, and what little boy doesn't love that?

Well, I guess that's probably not quite enough. We'll find the real thing in the future if that's something they want to do, either that or make a few more trips to the skating rink between now and college.

 All you drivers out on the road in about eight years time should breathe a sigh of relief. The turkeys and criminals weren't real worried to begin with.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Git Along!

 This is what the discerning cowgirl wears in the new millenium. You have sun protection, and a little help when you're stuck out with the doggies after dark. At the moment she is alternately exploring with and fighting with a wizard, who is, himself, wearing a hat. His is the blue mortarboard from his kindergarten graduation, and is "The Hat of Smartness."

When the cowgirl isn't having adventures, she has been known to do a little reading. Occasionally with the help of gravity. Do you think it's easier if the blood is all rushing to your head?

Monday, October 07, 2013

Curb Appeal?

Art has been doing some improvements outside. He's in the process of painting the house, but this hasn't actually included much paint yet. He's still in prep-mode. Part of his prep this summer involved completely re-doing the entrance to our home by taking down several brick pillars and laying down two truck loads of landscaping stones as porch and garden areas.

I don't know why he suddenly decided to do this, but what woman is going to complain when her husband gets a hankering for a little landscape work? I haven't actually done any gardening, as of yet, but I'm sure it's only a matter of time.

Speaking of landscaping, today, Art decided to "trim" the bushes along the side of the house. These bushes were all between three and four feet high a mere hour ago. Here they are now.

Where are they, you ask? Great question. Near the house are a few sticks poking out of the ground. Those used to be bushes. That man is lucky that his wife isn't too fussed about appearances.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Of Brassicas and Kings

Nothing says "kitchen chemistry" like making a few purple cabbage indicators and spilling a variety of household acids and bases all over your dining table.

For the uninitiated, I will set your wondering mind at ease, and tell you that we did not invent anything that indicates the presence of purple cabbages. That's really a pretty straight-forward proposition. Are there purple cabbages here? Yes, those big, round, purple things are purple cabbages.

No, the indicators of which I speak are used to show the pH of a solution. To make it, one does, indeed, use purple cabbages. You slice the cabbage head and boil it all in a pot of water (enough to barely cover the cabbage). The deep purple liquid is then strained and used to soak paper. We chose card stock, but coffee filters are a popular selection as well.

We used these indicators, as well as some standard litmus paper to test seven liquids, namely: milk, lemon juice,  vinegar, Sprite, baking soda solution, ammonia and bleach. And don't worry; I know at least my mother is thinking, "What! Ammonia and bleach? Don't you know how dangerous that can be?!" I assure you that they were only together on the chart, never at the table. I know my kitchen chemistry safety.

We do chemistry with some homeschooling neighbors, so there were lots of dripping purple papers on my table this afternoon, but it was worth it to see some real, hands-on science happening.

After we dipped all the papers, we recorded our findings in the science journals and decided to pour some of the leftover purple cabbage juice into the test tubes. An exciting variety of colors emerged. It goes, from right to left as indicated above, with the exception of bleach, which was kept separately at all times. I won't tell you which are acids and which are bases, because what would be the fun in that? You'll have to do a little kitchen chemistry yourself to find out.