Yarn!

I’m almost as excited about this new yarn as I am about the eggs.  *Almost*

Yummy yarny goodness

It is Stylecraft Special DK that I ordered from Deramores in the UK.  Free shipping and only took a week to get here!  It is acrylic yarn, and such great colors.  I was inspired by all the wonderful color over on Lucy’s blog at Attic24.  Deramores also has a coupon that they advertise on Ravelry for 10% off.  Great service and I was so excited to open the package!

They sell it as a special colour pack – specifically associated with some of Lucy’s past posts.  The colors include the following.

From the top two/left: Shrimp, Aspen.  2nd from top row: Plum, Lipstick, Pomegranate, Lavender.  Third row from top: Spring Green, Meadow, Aster, Saffron, Magenta.  And the bottom row: Clematis, Cloud Blue, Sherbet, Fondant, Wisteria and Turquoise.

I’m going to have to double-check these colors in the daylight.  It’s hard to tell here in my nighttime office!  Funny how that is.  I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to make with it all, but I had some thoughts of a granny stripe blanket or pillow cover.  Then I thought that maybe I’d cover my rectangular ottoman with it.  But then I came across this great little cover for a short round footstool from the Crochet with Raymond blog in a mandala shape, and I’ve decided that I need to make it!  I love it!  Once I make the cover, Hubby is going to make a footstool that will fit it.  I’m thinking a short, round, three or four legged stool.  We’ll see how it all comes out.  I hope to get started with it this weekend.  I’m trying to finish one other project first.

Link to my in-progress Ravelry page:  

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Eggs!

Did I forget to tell you?  Look what I had for breakfast on Saturday!

Our first double-yolk egg

 

I love soft boiled eggs!  Flo started laying eggs last week (at about 19 weeks old).  They were pretty tiny at first, but have been getting bigger.  Now, some of the older Golden Comets must have started laying as well, as I found three today (they are 19 weeks old this week).  Unfortunately, there is this tiny little area in the back corner of the coop, and there were two there.  You can’t even see it because the egg laying box is in the way, so when the boys went out to look, they only found one.  I’m going to have to do something to prevent them from laying eggs there.  Might need to block it off.  Use the boxes girls!  It took me a lot of time to paint them!

I measured the two eggs that we got a few days ago, so you could see the size.  They are not yet the size of “large” supermarket eggs.  But they have gotten bigger in the last week.

Eggs after a week are about a "medium" size as compared to the supermarket eggs

A Mad Scientist Birthday Party

Happy Birthday J!

J turned seven in June.  My baby….seven!  J is an avid scientist and engineer.  He loves to build things, take things apart, and conduct mysterious experiments at the kitchen sink.  And he loves Duck Tape.  (Because doesn’t everyone?)  I still find it humorous to remember the time when he was two, and I discovered that he had taken apart our dust buster beyond the ability to ever put it back together again.  To this day, I still don’t have an adequate replacement for that.  I should probably add that to my Christmas list.  I usually give the boys the option to have a birthday party at home or an away location like bowling, swimming, bounce zone place, remote control race track, putt-putt, etc.  J was leaning towards the remote control car race track place (which is super cool), but when I suggested a mad scientist party complete with the diet soda/Mentos experiment that he had recently watched on MythBusters, he was sold!

First, I bought some super cute custom “mad scientist” invitations from Etsy.  I usually try to make my own invitations, but these were so adorable that I decided to focus on other stuff.

Initially, we did “research” into the activities that we might want to conduct by looking through some of J’s kid science experiment books.

* The Everything Kids’ Science Experiments Book

* Everything Kids’ Magical Science Experiments Book

* Naked Eggs and Flying Potatoes: Unforgettable Experiments That Make Science Fun (Steve Spangler Science)

* The Usborne Big Book of Science Things to Make and Do

We ended up doing three science activities: 1) suck the egg into a bottle, 2) make your own glow in the dark slime!, and 3) Mentos + Diet Coke = Geyser.  The last one we did outside in the side yard where the dogs couldn’t come over to lick the sticky grass.  Here’s the progress of events.  We had 10 kids, both boys and girls.

1. Arrival, make a mess in the house pulling out all the toys

2. Sit down around the kitchen table, where they had the following science tools:  lab notebook with their name on it, pencil, and eye protection.

Eye protection and lab notebooks ready!

3. We first demonstrated the egg in a bottle trick.  We used the technique described in the Steve Spangler book which has you put birthday candles in the peeled hard-boiled egg, and then let it rest on the mouth of a bottle (we used a glass milk bottle).  First, we tried one birthday candle and had the kids put down in their lab notebooks what they thought would happen.  (Answer: nothing!)  Then we tried two candles, umm…not too exciting.  Then….we tried three candles!  Voila!  Egg sucked into bottle as the flames from the three candles heat the molecules of air in the bottle, causing the molecules to move farther apart from each other, some of which escape from the bottle.  Flames go out, molecules cool down, move closer together making room for more air molecules, and a partial vacuum is created.  Air molecules from outside the bottle want to come in.  Push egg into bottle  and equilibrium is restored!

Egg in the Bottle Trick

3. Make glow in the dark, neon-colored slime.  The slime was tons of fun to make.  I used the instructions found here, and added some neon food coloring (which matched the cupcakes!) and some glow in the dark paint.  We pre-made the Borax solution and had it sitting in little plastic cups ready for the kids.  Popsicle sticks for stirring.  And some of those plastic Ziploc containers to take it home with them.

J shaking up the borax solution

J's slime test batch. No pictures of the actual slime-making at the party as I was too busy at the time helping the kids.

4. Time for cupcakes!

5. Now outside for the big finale – the Mentos/Diet Coke geyser.  The kids loved it.  I think we ended up doing it three times (the amount of Diet Coke bottles that we had).  I bought the Steve Spangler geyser tubes that allow 8 Mentos to all get dropped in at once, which allows for a taller geyser.  (At the same time, I also ordered some test tubes that I filled with mini M&Ms and Skittles as part of the goodie bags.)

Geyser!

And here’s a little movie of the experiment.  Tons of fun!  Notice the excessive amounts of screeching.  Definitely a sign of good-times.

Definitely one of the most fun birthday parties that I’ve put on for the boys.  Everyone had a great time!

Camping Shirts 2011 (Acadia National Park)

Lobster Shirts 2011

Our annual camping trip this summer was to an amazing place – Acadia National Park.  We are lucky to live so close to a national treasure.  Now, that may sound pretty hokey, LOL, but it really is a beautiful place….even in August when it’s overrun by tourists from all over the world.  To be honest, it didn’t even really feel overrun to me.  I think that might be part of the beauty of it.

In honor of heading to Mt. Desert Island for our camping trip, the boys requested lobster shirts this year.  I picked out bright green shirts, and red paint (of course!) for the lobster.  They turned out excellent!  I was going to go the easy route and find a template online that I would just trace, but it wasn’t as easy as that sounds like it should be.  I did find a nice looking stencil, but it looked funny to me.  What was wrong with it?  Oh yes, the poor lobster only had 3 sets of legs!  I’ve eaten enough of the miniscule meat out of those little legs that I knew that there should be four!  I just ended up freehand drawing my own lobster actually and they turned out great.  I only used two coats of red fabric paint.  I give instructions on how to make a freezer paper stencil in my prior posts from 2008 (bears), 2009 (moose) and 2010 (bald eagle).

In the picture above, the boys are also posing with their Harry Potter magic wands that the Hubby and I made for them.  A post on that later!  They are well-loved.

Early morning at the campsite

We camped at Mount Desert Campground and had a great time.  It’s in a wonderful, central location, and as tent campers, we appreciated the wooden platforms and the fact that they only allow trailers less than 20 feet.  Being located right on Somes Sound didn’t hurt either!  The boys really enjoyed fishing for crabs with hot dogs off their kayak docks.  We had an amazing time hiking up South Bubble (and an even more amazing time hiking down the cliff side!).  J, who just turned 7 in June, was a mountain goat and had more endurance than the rest of us.   The hike up to South Bubble (and Bubble Rock) was not that difficult and appropriate for most ages.  Instead of going back the way we came though, we decided to go down the opposite side facing Jordan Pond.  That was a steep climb down that involved quite a bit of two-handed rock scrambling (I think it’s called the Bubbles Trail).  The boys did a great job!  We then headed north around Jordan Pond, and went back up the Bubble Divide.  Then went straight up rock stairs to the ridge and then back down again before meeting back up with the original South Bubble trail.  Whew!  That one was a doozy!  Total was about 3.5 miles and the kids did great.  (Okay, I’ll admit it…it stretched my limits.)

Can they move bubble rock?! Glaciers are super-cool.

Top of South Bubble looking out over Jordan Pond. J is wearing his bald eagle camping shirt from 2010.

Down the Bubbles Trail

Back up the Bubble Divide. Only picture I took because I was huffing and puffing too much after this.

We also spent an afternoon biking on the carriage trails and did a 5.5 mile loop on the Witch Hole Pond trail.  There is a beautiful stone bridge halfway along where we stopped for some creek playing and a snack.  J just learned to ride his bike without training wheels a few months ago, and he did a great job keeping up.  He still needs to practice his gear shifting though.  Some of the hills were hard for him.

One of Acadia's famous stone bridges

On the touristy end of things, we did the Diver Ed excursion one morning.  It was awesome!  Diver Ed takes you out in his boat where he dives off the side and collects sea creatures which he brings up for the kids to touch in touch tanks.  All with some awesome video equipment and a 60″ LCD on the boat!  The kids loved it, and it was nice to take a ride out into Frenchman’s Bay.  We were lucky to have some pretty amazing weather.

Morning fog on Frenchman's Bay

Sea Star!

We only live two hours away, and can’t wait to go back for some bike riding for a day trip one day this fall.  If we can find time between K playing travel soccer and J doing the local rec soccer program.