Tuesday, March 29, 2011

3/29/11: Things You Thought You Never Could Do

There are many things I never thought I had the ability to do. Being an analytical, left brain type of person who is very scientific and mathematically driven anything creative seemed to be a challenge. Once I had kids I think I have been able to overcome this challenge a bit.

In my previous post "She's Crafty" I also explained that I was really in to scrapbooking since having the kids in addition to making crafts and cake decorating. These are things that don't come naturally to me, and you can tell an engineer did them as everything is so symmetric. I took a Wilton Class at Michael's that was well worth the money. I only took course 1 but was able to learn how to make leaves, flowers, and the basics of cake decorating. So far I have made many cakes for the kids birthdays including, this Princess Castle (which a friend had for her party and paid over $100 for). I never thought I would be able to make these creations, but low and behold I was able to. I highly recommend a Wilton Course at your local Craft store if you have any interest.

My favorite, the Mickey Mouse Cake. This was only my second cake. I was quite proud of it. Dora. And another one of my favorites, a Tinker Bell cake.Fire Truck for Evan.

For my husband's birthday.

Graveyard for our Annual Monster Mash.

I am looking forward to other things I will challenge myself with due to the love of my kids and trying new things.

What things have you tried that have been a challenge to you? Comment and let me know.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

3/27/11: Mommy Guilt and the Green Shirt

Ok, Mommy Guilt is something we all feel at one time or another. For me it was most recently due to St. Patrick's Day. I looked quickly in both kids closets remembering it was St. Patrick's Day and checked for any Green. I didn't really find anything in Evan's closet so I put out a purple shirt and pants. At the time I did not know I would regret this decision so much later on.

Apparently St. Patrick's Day is a bigger deal than I thought at school. Heck we aren't even Irish. My husband is Italian and I am Portuguese. Yes we do eat Corned Beef and Cabbage at my Mom and Dad's house each year but this makes us far from Irish. Anyways, I digress. So Evan comes home and explains he was the only one not wearing Green and was made fun of by his friends. He goes on to state that even his teacher had Green on and he did not. He was not pleased with me at all. What really makes it sad is that he then asked my Mom, "Nana all I want for Christmas is a Green shirt to wear for St. Patrick's Day". Oh my! When a green shirt wins out over a Thomas Train or other toy that is sad.

Well I guess I have to accept (and so does he) that we are all human and make mistakes. I said it in my Slacker Mom post also. In my defense, or maybe why he reacted this way, I am the one to always have a matching outfit to whatever we are going to. If it is Toy Story 3 on Ice of course they have Jessie and Woody. If it is Day Out With Thomas, of course it is a Thomas Shirt. And of course in Disney World it is Disney Clothes.

So why oh why did I not search a bit harder and look for a Green Shirt, this question I will ask myself many times. Such a little thing for me, but so important to him. Live and Learn.

Friday, March 25, 2011

3/25/11: KinderCare Spring Camp - The Science of Dirt

Are you looking for a Spring Camp during your child's spring vacation week? KinderCare has a wonderful program, and some cool experiments. Get your kids excited about Science. The theme is "The Secret Science of Dirt". KinderCare's enthusiastic teachers and fun activities give young learners a chance to dig into the science behind “growing green” and create kids who are excited about the natural world. If you don't know already I also blog about my friend's non-profit Green Schools so this is a great match for me and it is always exciting to get kids excited about Science as I was.
For more information go to their Website.
Some fun facts about Dirt:
• Did you know that earthworms eat dirt?
• Did you know that rain and snow help to create dirt?
• Did you know that most dirt is made up of tiny pieces of rock?
• Did you know that dirt can be of different colors including red and yellow?
• Did you know that some types of monkeys eat dirt?
• Did you know that some of the dirt in your backyard may be about 1,000 years old?
• Did you know that there can be more than a million earthworms in one acre (little bigger than a football field) of land?
• Did you know that it can take hundreds or thousands of years to make just one inch of dirt or soil?
• Did you know that soil or dirt can be of different shapes?
• Did you know that one cup of soil may hold as many bacteria as there are people on Earth?
• Did you know that the weight of all the bacteria in one acre of soil can equal the weight of one or two cows?
Did you know that earthworms, gophers, shrew, deer mouse, mole crickets, and snakes are just a few of the many hundreds of animals and insects that live inside soil?

Here is a simple Experiment you can do with your kids. We did this at the Children's Museum in Boston and my son really liked it.

Science AdventuresTM: Take the Adventure Home
Fun hands-on science activities to engage your child in discovery learning.
By: Science Adventures’ Andy the Science Wiz

LEAF CHROMATOGRAPHYAs Spring causes leaves start to start budding out all over, it is the perfect opportunity to engage your young explorers with some simple hands-on science nature fun. This easy experiment combines a fun, outdoor leaf hunt with some simple chemistry to uncover the hidden colors of leaves.

What you will need:Plastic cup or water glass
White coffee filter
Rubbing alcohol (Should only be used with adult supervision)
A selection of leaves

What to do:Take your budding scientist on a field trip to collect green leaves from a variety of trees. Once home, encourage your scientist to carefully look at and sort the leaves they have collected. What is the same about the leaves, what is different? Have them look closely at the leaves with a magnifying glass if available.
Cut the coffee filter into strips about one inch wide. Have an adult carefully pour ¼ inch of rubbing alcohol into a cup. Place one end of the filter strip under a leaf. Help your child use the edge of a dime to rub back and forth on the leaf a few times. This will rub some of the leaf’s color onto the filter paper; you should be able to see a green line. Place the filter paper in the glass so the bottom of the filter touches the alcohol with the green line just above the alcohol. Use a piece of tape to hold the filter paper in place and leave everything undisturbed for an hour. After an hour, check the filter paper and discuss what you see with your child!
What is happening:Leaves are the food factories for plants. They use photosynthesis to turn light and carbon dioxide into carbohydrates. It is the chemicals responsible for photosynthesis that give leaves their color. Leaves are primarily green because the most common chemical found in leaves is green chlorophyll.
In your experiment, the alcohol dissolved the chemicals in the leaf and carried them up the paper spreading them out so they can be seen. Try different types of leaves to see if you can find different colors. Once dry the filter appears and some of the collected leaves can be used to make a collage.

Disclosure: KinderCare gave my family one week of Spring Camp to blog about this.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

3/19/11: Evan's 1st Town-Wide Art Show

Today Evan got to participate in the Town-Wide Art Show with all 6 elementary schools from Billerica. Here he is with his ribbon. Here was my post from the Ditson Art Show.
Here are all the Ditson kids. As the Emcee stated, these children are all winners, as they all won for their own schools to move on to the town-wide show. The Art was very impressive by all the children. Evan didn't win today, but we are very proud of the effort he put in.
Evan was the first one to be announced on the stage to get his ribbon. I helped line the children up for them to go on to the stage. There was one scared little kindergartener that I had to walk on the stage. She was adorable. I also setup the Art yesterday and transported it from the Ditson which was interesting with all the wind. The penguins almost flew away in Penguin Migration, and the Rocket almost blasted off in Blast Off!
Here are all the Ditson children for K-5.
Evan with his ribbon on stage.
Evan's Art with his ribbon.
The table of all of the Kindergarten pieces.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

3/13/11: Lauren's 1st Gymnastics Meet Performance

Lauren participated in her first Gymnastics Meet today. She had so much fun performing her floor routine with the "Squirts" Team. Here she is showing off the medal she got and the new shirt she got.

Again showing off the medal! Her and her team and the "Hot Shots" before going to start practicing. Getting ready to go on, waving to us. During her routine. Getting her medal. Her and the Squirts. Time to go home.
Here is some video of the floor routine.

And her getting her medal.

Some video of Practice:

And now being introduced, you can see she is excited:

And another video of the routine (different vantage point):

And the Medals a little closer up:

Sunday, March 6, 2011

3/6/11: Evan Shoots, He Scores!

Evan did Kindergarten Basketball this year - K-Ball. He had so much fun and got to play with lots of his friends from school. His team was the Tarheels. What a great season, and what a great way to end with a Basket in the last game of the season. See the video below. There is also an article on Billerica.org on K-Ball. Evan is in the left hand corner of the picture at the beginning of the article.

Here is his team.

And with his Water Bottle he got on the last day.

And here is the video - He shoots and scores!!!! We were so excited.

Friday, March 4, 2011

3/4/11: Evan's 1st Art Show

Evan was in his first Art Show at School today. He was one of the winners in his Grade for his category. He was beyond excited. Here he is with his art piece "Dreaming of the Beach". The full list of winners is now posted on Billericarecreation.org.
Dreaming of the Beach up close. John and I are very scientific minded and not very artsy at all, so we could not be of much help.
I did all the coordination and setup with volunteers to help me. Having Evan in Kindergarten meant this was the first time I ever went through this, so I wasn't sure what to expect. There was about 50 pieces of art total to setup in two categories - 3 Dimensional and Picture. I think it all went smoothly. Color coding cards for each grade I think helped a lot. I also saw an opportunity to document a process around it, being the Project Manager that I am. My process document includes samples, pictures of our setup along with helpful hints. Here is the Kindergarten table.
And Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd Grade.
3rd, 4th and 5th Grade.
Here was Evan after finishing his Art Work.
Here is a little video after he won the ribbon.