Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Science and Sink Clogs

We made a mud pie yesterday for science. We're studying fossils this week, so the experiment was to make a mud pie with some seashells, rocks, sticks, etc, mixed in with mud. Then we let it dry for a day (no problem with that, here in drought-stricken Texas), and today we broke it apart and looked at the impressions we made. The seashells made the prettiest "fossils," with their finely detailed lines etched in the mud. The instructions said that soil with heavy clay content worked the best. No problem with that either. Our soil is probably about 90% clay!

All 3 kids loved this experiment, though my little boy refused to stick his hands in the yucky mud as we mixed it up yesterday. My middle child poked around in it a bit, but my oldest, princess-y girl dug right in and got mud almost up to her elbows!

The problem came during clean-up time. I was washing off the middle child in the kitchen, so I sent my oldest to her bathroom. She came back in a few minutes to tell me the sink wasn't draining. Must have been that clay soil. I poured almost a whole bottle of Liquid Plumber in the sink, and let it sit for about 6 hours - still completely plugged. It looked disgusting too, with half-dissolved mud, gel-like liquid, and soapy water all mixed together. My husband eventually got the toilet plunger out (though I know the Liquid Plumber bottle says not to do that), and got it flowing again after just a few minutes. That sink has problems anyway, and is connected somehow to the air conditioner as a drain, so I think some sort of vacuum had built up and it wasn't really the Liquid Plumber's fault. But at least it is fixed now, and running smoothly!

My oldest and youngest worked well together uncovering the "fossils" too. The middle child stayed inside with me, as it was way too hot and humid outside, even at 11am. My oldest carefully picked apart the mud pie and found all the fossil impressions (and showed us through the sliding glass door), and then gave the leftover pieces of dried mud to my youngest, who proceeded to throw them all over the porch to watch them crumble to pieces. Great fun!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Back from Vacation

Well, we've been back from vacation for almost 2 weeks, and this is my first post since then. We've been a bit slow getting back into a normal school routine too. Mostly, this is due to all the annual/biannual doctor and dentist appointments that come due this time of year. With 3 kids and me, that takes quite a few appointments. We have 3 this week (one down, 2 to go). After that, we should be good for a long time. Except I need to set an eye doctor appt. for me, and the 2 little ones' annual check-up is due in November....

But we had a fun time in Washington. The weather was absolutely perfect - I think we hit the best week of the year for Seattle. The girls loved seeing a temperate rain forest, going hiking, exploring beaches, finding seashells, climbing inside giant trees, feeling the spray from a big waterfall, visiting an aquarium and a zoo, driving across floating bridges, riding a city bus, and walking around my old school (the University of Washington). Their favorite part was the airplane ride, though - especially the landing. When the pilot hit the breaks to slow down, they felt like they were sliding, and they both just started giggling. They were wonderful travelers, but we were all glad to get home too.

I'm just glad to not have little girl feet kicking my face in the middle of the night any more.

We have done several days worth of school lessons so far, but Rebekah has been protesting a bit. She has so many new role playing ideas after everything we did on our trip (airplane ride, bus ride, hiking, etc.) that she just wants to play with her brother and sister! Hopefully we will get back on track soon, and into a better routine (and with a better attitude).

Saturday, September 3, 2011


Tomorrow morning my 2 girls and I are going on vacation! One of the wonderful benefits of homeschooling is being able to go on vacation just after everyone else goes back to school, when the attractions are less crowded and possibly even cheaper. I'll consider it an extended field trip, learning about travel, airplanes, the environment, and cultural differences within the United States.

Unfortunately, we're not taking my son or my husband. We had just enough frequent flyer miles for a trip for 3. We've had the miles for several years and I keep thinking they're going to expire or something, so we decided we better use them. So, the girls and I are flying to Seattle to go visit my brother and other friends up there (I lived there for 10 years earlier). It's still miserably hot here in Houston, but the Pacific Northwest should be perfect this time of year.

My oldest has flown a few times before, but she doesn't remember any of those trips, and my younger daughter has never flown, so it should be an experience for them! They are both old enough to make traveling fairly easy with them, unlike my son. There's no way I could handle him too by myself on such a trip. He'd probably end up escaping from me, pushing open emergency-alarm doors, and running out onto the runway or something.

I will report back on our trip in mid-September, but for now, I will be taking a break from blogging!