Friday, November 24, 2017

Weekly Wrap- Up: The Week we Celebrated Thanksgiving

I promised my boys they could have the week off from school.  With Thanksgiving on Thursday and our annual tree decorating day on Friday it was going to be a short week anyway and I really wanted to focus on cleaning the house, making up some family favorite recipes, and just having fun together.

Friday we had a brunch planned with our hiking group.  Each family brought a dish or two to share and we had a wonderful time visiting with one another.  The kids played games and went outside for a bit.  One of the girls we hike with made up a Dungeons and Dragon type role playing game all themed around Minecraft she brought it to play with and taught the other kids to play too.  They had a lot of fun.  We had some really yummy food to eat too and planned out some general ideas for what we wanted to do with the group for the next few months with the winter weather on it's way.

Isn't this fruit turkey just darling?  These moms are so creative. 

Ian headed off to work on Saturday and the younger two boys hung around the house playing video games.  By early afternoon Alec, myself and my husband left to go see a play.  We watched Mulan Jr; a play about the story of Mulan with a cast of children.  We had no idea when we bought the tickets that it was an all child cast but they did a phenomenal job.  It was one of the first live productions we can ever remember seeing that had an actual orchestra pit.  The costumes and scenery were great and we really enjoyed our time together. Since my husband had never seen the movie Alec asked him to watch the movie that night after dinner.

Sunday morning the boys played around the house and even outside in the rain.  The sun came out by lunchtime and we worked together to stack wood. By the time we finished it was time to get supper going and Alec asked my husband to watch Mulan 2 with him.

Since we had no schoolwork planned for Monday, the boys enjoyed a lazy morning.  We got the groceries done and Ian offered to make pancakes for everyone.  He made some dark chocolate and white chocolate chip varieties; they were quite tasty!  The boys and I watched The Bee Movie during breakfast and then worked together to clean the whole upstairs.  Ian worked on his model for a bit painting some of the parts and gluing others together.

Alec had karate Tuesday morning and we had a few errands to run afterwards.  Ian bought himself a new Lego set and spent most of the day working on putting together his new bus as well as modifying his police boat into a three decker yacht complete with Lego bathroom.  The younger two boys spent a couple hours outside playing in the cool sunshine.  We worked together to clean most of the downstairs and watched Lego Batman during dinner.

Lego bathroom (the yellow ring is the toiler.  The faucets with blue under them are the sink and the faucets near the red base are part of the shower)

We had plans to meet up with our hiking group on Wednesday but woke to pouring rain.  We cleaned the basement and the kitchen and then set to work making some yummy desserts for Thanksgiving.  Alec and I made a few mini trifle desserts and then I made a chocolate chip pecan pie. Ian and I played a few games of rummy and rummikub.

Since my husband had Thursday off for Thanksgiving he talked the boys into working together to take down our climber/swing set.  They each got a few tools and set to work dismantling the whole thing while the turkey was cooking.  Alec was not thrilled that we were taking down the swing set but the boys rarely use it and we need to get some equipment in behind it to take down a very large tree that has been steadily shedding limbs in the wind and rain this fall.  Alec and I took a break from working on the swing set to go and cook the rest of the meal while Evan helped set the table.  We sat down to a huge turkey dinner with all the trimmings around noon and then Evan, Ian and my husband had a huge Nerf gun war before heading back outside to finish the job we started. We wrapped up our day with a nice fire and watching Elf. 

Thursday, November 23, 2017

G is for Gutman; Dan Gutman

I was originally going to write about the Genius files books series when I remembered that they were written by Dan Gutman and my boys LOVE all of his books.  The author writes with the purpose of hooking in kids who don't like to read and it sure worked for my two reluctant readers .

They fell in love with his humorous style of writing and his wacky schemes.

We first started reading the Genius Files series when 12 year old genius twins Coke and Pepsi set off with their parents for a cross country trip to their Aunt's wedding.  Stopping at all the weird but true tourist destinations (like the mustard museum) Coke and Pepsi are constantly trying to dodge evil villains who want to eliminate all the geniuses from the United States.  The 5 books in the series have fun names like Mission Unstoppable, Never Say GeniusYou Only Die Twice, From Texas With Love, & License to Thrill and they deliver.

My boys then started reading through the My Weird School Daze books.  We laughed at how crazy AJ's teachers and school personnel from the Ella Mentry School were. Falling in love with his classmates, catchphrases, and antics in each story. 

From there they also read all the My Weirder School books.  When AJ's school starts to get just a bit weirder with a new history teacher who builds a time machine and the martial arts teacher that does everything in slow motion.

And now we're working our way through the My Weirdest School books as they become available.  Even though my older two boys can read these books in just a day or two they LOVE them.

There are lots of fun holiday themed Weird School series books too-- Halloween, Easter, Christmas and Valentin'es day themed editions.


The author has started making non- fiction fast facts books that we just had to read too.  We've only read one of them so far but I figured a book called Fast Facts Space, Humans, and Farts would be something most any boy would enjoy.  They also have geography, Explorers Presidents and Toilets, and sports.

We've read the Homework Machine too in which 4 unlikely school kids become friends when they create a machine that does their homework for them.

We've just requested book one of his newest series: The Flashback Four where four kids are chosen to travel through time and photograph important historical events.  I love when we can learn about history while laughing along to a silly story.

He has a few other series that we have yet to try out:  The Kid Who Ran for President series and the Baseball Card Adventures.  Knowing his other books I bet we'd love these too (though none of my boys are big fans of baseball).

Kid Who Ran for President (2 Book Series) by  Dan Gutman

Have you read any of his books?

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What to Read Wednesday

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Virtual Refrigerator-- Rubber Stamp and Glitter Ornaments

Thanks for stopping by and joining us again this week as we host another virtual refrigerator arts and crafts link up. 

I participated in a blogging ornament craft exchange this past month and it was so much fun to get all my crafting supplies out and create.

I made some rubber stamped glitter ornaments; a craft I hadn't tried in YEARS.

I was so thrilled with how they came out I just had to share!

You can click on this link to see how I made my ornaments and learn about ALL the ornaments that were crafted for this huge ornament exchange.

Now without further ado I invite you to grab a "magnet" and link up your arts and crafts or how- to posts below and visit some other bloggers to see what they shared on their refrigerators.

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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Love to Learn Linky-- The Week I Share TWO Science Activities

My boys and I have been having so much fun with science lately!

Our DVD/VCR player finally bit the dust and I let the boys completely dismantle it one afternoon.  We had so much fun seeing how all the pieces came together and the millions of parts inside that worked together just so we could watch movies.

We also put together a quick and simple science experiment one day that demonstrates how wind blowing between buildings in a city can cause tall skyscrapers to bend and flux.

You can read all about our DVD/VCR findings here and learn how to set up your own wind experiment here.

But enough about us and what we've been up to!  This is a linky party and I want to hear about what you've been up to.

While you're here, I hope you'll join us!

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100 Days of Science #9-- Wind Tunnel

We tried another fun science experiment that shows how wind can create a tunnel through two tall skyscrapers and cause them to want to pull towards one another.

We talked about how architects would need to keep this phenomenon in mind when drawing up plans for city buildings.

For this experiment we needed:

2 balloons
some water
some string
a pole
two matching chairs
empty paper towel tube (optional)

We put a bit of water in our balloons and blew them up.  Then we suspended the balloons from our pole (we used a broomstick) and made sure they were spaced just a few inches apart.

We only added enough water to keep the balloons somewhat weighted down and steady (you can see in this photo that it didn't take much water).

Once we were happy with our balloons we tried blowing air through the middle of them, sometimes using a paper towel tube. 

I honestly thought this experiment was going to be a failure. Both Evan and I could not get the balloons to move at all when we blew next to them.  Then Alec came over and gave a great big blow and we watched the balloons pull so close together they actually touched a time or two!

I had to take a moment to laugh like crazy over the faces Alec was making as he was blowing!  They were cracking us all up but I was so happy to see the experiment working!!

Here's how it works:  the wind going through the balloons is at a higher speed and when gases move at higher speeds that they loose pressure.  BUT the air on all other sides of the balloon have the same air pressure they always had and since the outside forces have greater air pressure they push inward when the air is moving quickly through the gap in the balloons and that forces the balloons together.  

It was pretty neat to learn that architects have to take this wind tunnel effect into account when designing skyscrapers because changes in air pressure can put added stress on city buildings.  

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