Monday, February 27, 2012

Oobleck Anyone?

Tenderheart's oobleck looks like Bartholomew's!
We love Dr. Seuss around here!  Since his birthday is Friday, we are celebrating all of his funtastic stories and reading a children's biography of him this week.  We will end our celebration on Friday with some other homeschool friends and some very Seussical foods!  (Followed immediately after by a celebration for Smiley, since her birthday is Thursday!)  Today, we read the first two chapters of his biography.  It has 10 chapters...perfect for 2 a day for a school week!  We also read two of his books today, If I Ran the Zoo and Bartholomew and the Oobleck.  We, of course, had a discussion about magic words and how they don't really exist, (except "Please", as Little Man was quick to remind me), and how only God can make things fall from the sky.  We then proceeded to go outside and make oobleck.  It is a glorious day here!  Shorts and t-shirts in late February!  The kids have made oobleck before, but they do not remember.  Genius that I am, I thought it would be a good rainy day, cooped up in the house activity a couple of years ago.  WRONG!!!  It created such mess that I have not ventured to make it again since, until now!  It was something I enjoyed immensely as a kid, and so, weather being what it is, we took our oobleck outside.  The Bru Crew is loving it too!  What is oobleck, you ask?  Well, I can't really say what Bartholomew's oobleck was, but ours is a simple mixture of cornstarch, water (that's what's in the orange soda bottle) and food coloring.  Mixed to the right consistency, it will resist pressure and be a solid when a force acts upon it, and turn back into liquid as soon as the force is released.  What is the right consistency?  I don't measure the ingredients, sorry!  I just put some cornstarch in a bowl, add water and stir.  Then we add more water or cornstarch based on how it stirs.  If it's barely a liquid even as we swirl, it needs more water.  If it doesn't clump when we stir, it needs more cornstarch.  You can probably google how to make it, and find someone's site with measurements.  It is quite fun to roll it into a ball, then let the ball sit in your hand and run through your fingers back into the bowl.  The Bru Crew struggled to mix in their food coloring.  How do you stir something that turns solid and breaks into chunks every time you stir it?  Well, they figured out that if you swirl the bowl, there is no force acting upon the oobleck and it remains liquid.  It takes a while to get the colors mixed in that way, but it works.  Ms. Quality Time is most perplexed!  "How does it do that?" she wants to know.  You can tell by her expression in the pictures that she's trying to figure it out.  :)  I spent half-an-hour working with them and it, and then I came in to post and take care of household responsibilities.  They are still at it, and having a blast!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

My First Quilt

My first dabble in the world of quilting turned out differently than I expected!  BruCrewDad had strongly encouraged me to quilt, maybe even to sell them.  I struggled at first to figured out why.  I came to realize that my children are abundantly blessed in the clothes dept. and sewing clothes for them when I think we have too many already would be aggravating.  I do, however, find the hum of the sewing machine to be soothing, and the sense of accomplishment when a project is finished is incredible.  SO many of the things I do are LONG term projects (like raising children) or continuous projects (i.e.-dishes and laundry) that it is immensely satisfying to finish a project and for it to be complete and not need redoing!  When I'm stressed, I find concentrating on my seems fills my mind and blocks out all other things.  I will have to guard that this doesn't turn into an obsession.  For my first quilt, I bought precuts from my local shop where I get my sewing machine serviced.  There were tons of 5" squares for $10!!!!  It turns out that the quality of fabrics was not great, and the quilt has been quite frustrating at times.  I was also struggling with who my first quilt recipient should be.  BruCrewDad suggested donating it to our local thrift store.  Since I occasionally visit the local thrift stores looking for fun things to repurpose, I didn't think I could handle that.  What if they want to sell this quilt for $25?  What if it sits there for 3 years and no one wants it?  I began to pray about what to do with this quilt and for whomever would receive it as I pieced the top, and then, as I purchased the batting and the backing and began quilting it.  I feel led to give this quilt to my closest center for abused and battered women.  I figured they could use it, and I wouldn't have to wonder how much value had been placed on it at the local thrift store.  There is also a local crisis center for pregnant women to help them choose life for their unborn babies.  Maybe my next quilt will be a baby one!  My local craft shop has some cute pink and chocolate brown precuts, and I know just the project for them!  These fabrics are all the same quality, as opposed to what I bought before.  Before that though, I have some gifts I have to quilt, and I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of my fabrics by mail!  One of the things I'm making is a wedding gift, and I saw that the wedding is only 16 days away, so I hope it comes together quickly!