Reading List Summary, July 2012

Mom's List
Lizz Free Or Die (Lizz Winstead)
From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (E.L. Konigsburg)
Does This Baby Make Me Look Straight? (Dan Bucatinsky)
Flush (Carl Hiaasen)
Frindle (Andrew Clements)
The Great Gilly Hopkins (Katherine Paterson)
When You Reach Me (Rebecca Stead)
Scat (Carl Hiaasen)
Bunheads (Sophie Flack)

Jack's List
The Boy's Body Guide (Frank C. Hawkins)
Snowboard Maverick (Matt Christopher)
From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (E.L. Konigsburg)
Smile (Raina Telgemeier)
Flush (Carl Hiaasen)
Frindle (Andrew Clements)

EJ's List
Dinah Like To Eat (B.G. Hennessy)
What Will Fat Cat Sit On? (Jan Thomas)
Picnic (Phyllis Root)
Purple Is Best (Dana Meachen Rau)
Monkey Eats Worms (David Martin)
Wait, Skates! (Mildred D. Johnson)

Family List
My Name Is Elizabeth! (Annika Dunklee)
Yoko Learns to Read (Rosemary Wells)
The I'm Not Scared Book (Todd Parr)
Ballerina Dreams (Lauren Thompson)
Amelia Bedelia's First Vote (Herman Parish)
A Dictionary of Dance (Liz Murphy)
Dancing Feet! (Lindsey Craig)
The Summer Olympics (Bob Knotts)
Swimming and Diving (Christin Ditchfield)
Wake up, Sleepy Bear! (Christine Morton-Shaw)
Stars (Mary Lyn Ray)
The Biggest Animal on Land (Allan Fowler)
An Edible Alphabet: 26 Reasons to Love the Farm (Carol Watterson)
Dinosaur vs. Bedtime (Bob Shea)
Dinosaur vs. The Library (Bob Shea)
Sitting Duck (Jackie Urbanovic)
Track and Field (Bob Knotts)
The Best Cat in the World (Leslea Newman)
First Pooch: The Obamas Pick a Pet (Carole Boston Weatherford)
Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku (Lee Wardlaw)
Thank You, World (Alice B. McGinty)
Lola at the Library (Anna McQuinn)
Dolphins (Kate Riggs)
China (Ann Heinrichs)
England (Michael Burgan)
USA From Space (Anne-Catherine Fallen)
Kittens! Kittens! Kittens! (Susan Meyers)
Big Bug Surprise (Julia Gran)
Cool Cats (Beth Adelman)
Badgers (Patricia J. Murphy)
What Is A Cat? (Ron Hirschi)
I Want To Be A Librarian (Dan Liebman)
That Pup! (Lindsay Barrett George)
Tom's Tweet (Jill Esbaum)
Splish, Splash, Splat! (Rob Scotton)

Packing It In

Our weekend =
cupcake competition judging
auntie sandy
splash pad fountains
lava lamps
corn roast & burgers
opening ceremony bingo
zucchini bread
Olympic crafting
ice pops
ping pong
reading time (alone & together)
car naps
pizza with cousins (our kids' cousins & matt's cousins)
falling into bed exhausted

It was awesome!

Zoo Classes

Yesterday, the kids took classes at the zoo and they had so much fun!  Grandma wanted to gift each of the kids a class (she even went all out and got them their cute Zoo Camp shirts...which they promptly changed into before class even started) and I'm very thankful that she did.  I thought they would be good, I had no idea that they would be awesome.  Liv's was a parent-child class (she was not happy that I would be joining her, but actually did let me work with her on the crafts...a little bit) and the big kids were on their own.  So, I thought I'd let the kids do the blogging for me and tell you about their classes in their own words.

My class was about the veterinarians at the zoo.  We got to see our cheek cells on a slide under a microscope.  We also got to make a skeleton with popsicle sticks and sun-prints.  My favorite thing was when a pachyderm zookeeper came in and told us about how they treat the elephants, hippos, rhinos and giraffes.  We did observations in the cat house and up close & personal with the goats.  I got to see a lot of interesting things today.

I took a class about giraffes.  I made a puppet and camera and a leaf hat.  We played games likes Moms blowing bubbles and kids hitting them with our tails (flyswatters...the bubbbles were supposed to be flies).  In the tv, there was a talking giraffe.  I saw two real giraffes.  I learned all the stuff about them.  They have good names.  The class was really cool!

I liked when I felt the baby chicks.  I got to clean their cage.  I liked making the horse bed for Bandit and I got to wear a Zookeeper jacket when I did it too.  I can't wait to take another class at the zoo.

The days fly by...

We just spent the weekend away with Matt's family and all the cousins were there!  My youngest nephews are getting a lot bigger and it was fun to make one get the giggles.  The other (older) one gave me the giggles...I could talk to that kid for days!  Cousins are also really good friends in this family and so they all paired up and kind of took off.  As I tucked EJ into bed Saturday night, I told her that I hadn't even seen her that day (and it was a pretty accurate statement).  Basically, a ton of fun was had by all.  What didn't happen was photos...I didn't take a single pic.  And it wasn't that there weren't super cute pics to be taken (I was so mad to miss capturing a couple moments), it was just really nice to be in the moment and enjoy everyone.  Sometimes that is even better, right?

So, I don't have any swimming or playing or fishing photos for you, but I will leave you with a couple highlights from this week at home (you've already seen pics of swimming lessons and tball and sports class).  We went to a presentation at the library with animals that the kids got to touch and we spent the morning at the Children's Museum with EJ's friend too (getting to see Auntie Alice there was a big bonus)! So glad to have fun ways to escape the weather (one day was super hot and one was very rainy).

May I Have a Volunteer Please...

{"I look fabulous because I am wearing fabulous things!" - Liv}

Olivia. This kid has moxie.  She has her own opinions about the world around her, and she approaches everything with enthusiasm and great spirit.  She does what she wants when she wants (often to her parents dismay) and she is truly up for anything.

Drum circle? Yep!

Volunteering for an African dance demonstration (when both your siblings say 'no way')...of course!

Sports class? I can't begin to tell you how badly this girl wanted to join her own "team."

The high-flying swings? Well, this one goes without saying...I think she talked EJ into doing this one (girl never met a swing she didn't like).

But, of course, with all this determination comes frustration when something (parents and their darn rules usually) gets in her way.  She is a 3-year-old red-head after all.

And when the day is done (well, whenever Livie decides it is done), she crashes hard!

I love watching this little girl and can't wait to see how she decides to rule the world.

Simple Science Times Two

Our summer has been all about keeping things simple and so far our science projects have been just that. We set up the walking water experiment (shown above) so quickly...two glasses, food coloring in water, a strip of paper towel and a raised surface.  It took about a week for the water to completely change glasses, so I was glad that we kept the experiment on the dining room table as it made for easy observation during meals.

The other experiment I wanted to share is our fizzy exploding bags.  Still an easy one, but it takes a little more prep time.  Jack and I got the time-release packets ready while the girls were napping and then we blew up our Ziploc bags when Dad got home.  They didn't give as much of an explosion as I had expected, but the kids loved setting them off.  Make sure you do this one in a place you can hose afterwards as it left a nice white powder everywhere.

Reading List Summary, May 2012

Mom's List
You're Not Doing It Right (Michael Ian Black)
Happy Accidents (Jane Lynch) 
An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination (Elizabeth McCracken) 
Talking To Girls About Duran Duran (Rob Sheffield)

Jack's List
Dinosaur Cove: March of the Ankylosaurus (Rex Stone)
Dinosaur Cove: Attack of the Tyrannosaurus (Rex Stone)
The Greatest Football Records (Terri Dougherty)
Valentine's Day Disaster (Geronimo Stilton)
Soccer Spirit (Jake Maddox)
Harriet the Spy, Double Agent (Maya Gold)
Field Trip to Niagara Falls (Geronimo Stilton)
Christmas Catastrophe (Geronimo Stilton)
Archaeologists Dig For Clues (Kate Duke)
The Raft (Jim LaMarche)
Ralph S. Mouse (Beverly Cleary)
Poetrees (Douglas Florian)
Are You a Ladybug? (Judy Allen)
Are You a Dragonfly? (Judy Allen)
Big Tracks, Little Tracks: Following Animal Prints (Millicent E. Selsam)
Geronimo Stilton, Secret Agent (Geronimo Stilton)
Mr. Popper's Penguins (Richard and Florence Atwater)
Jupiter (Gregory L. Vogt)
Song of the Water Boatman & Other Pond Poems (Joyce Sidman)
At Grandpa's Sugar Bush (Margaret Carney)
Earthdance (Joanne Ryder)
Zipping, Zapping, Zooming Bats (Ann Earle)
Zoo in the Sky (Jacqueline Mitton)
Under the Snow (Melissa Stewart)
Cloud Dance (Thomas Locker)

Family List

The Boy Who Cried Ninja (Alex Latimer)
I Don't Want a Cool Cat! (Emma Dodd)
I Had A Favorite Dress (Boni Ashburn)
We March (Shane W. Evans)
There's A Tarantula in My Homework (Susan Clymer)
Odd Bird Out (Helga Bansch)
I'm Fast! (Kate & Jim McMullan)
The Obstinate Pen (Frank W. Dormer)
I Want My Hat Back (Jon Klassen)
Diego Rivera: His World and Ours (Duncan Tonatiuh)
The Summer Olympics (Bob Knotts)

Naked Eggs

A couple eggs, vinegar, and patient observers...that's all you need to do the Naked Egg experiment.  The photo above is two of our eggs right after we put them in the vinegar (just enough to cover the egg) and a day later, they looked like this...

The foam at the top is actually the shell residue (probably not the right term, but you get my drift) and the bubbles on the egg shell are part of the reaction.  At this point, we dumped the old vinegar and added fresh vinegar for another 24 hours (we repeated this a third day as well as our shells needed a little more time).  Of course we took some close up photos as we handled the switches...

After three days, we had some big holes in our shells, but I still needed to rub (easily) the remainder off of the naked egg.  The "insides" probably could have used a little more time in the vinegar, but my observers were in fact losing their patience.  Here are our naked, right?

Seeing as we had made three naked eggs, we decided to try three different things with them.  We put one in corn syrup and it deflated a little bit, but nothing like we thought it would (and the results didn't photograph well either).  The second went into water and red food coloring.  It got huge...and bright red!

The final egg was taken outside and submitted to some drop-testing.  We started out at 3 inches from the ground and increased the height incrementally.  That egg bounced pretty darn well, but met its demise at Jack's knee level.

This was such a fun (and easy, no-cost) project!  It also inspired a lot of conversation about the science behind the fun (like why was only the outer layer of the egg changed by the vinegar?).  If you have some extra eggs in the fridge, this is a great way to use them!

Road Trip

We went on a mini-vacation/road trip this weekend (just Friday & Saturday, which was perfect for a day to recover on Sunday).  Our Mother's Day present for Matt's Mom was a visit to her hometown (she lived there until she was 5 and her parents grew up & retired there) and the kids had a lot of fun exploring alongside Grandma.  Then, we headed to another city and visited a lot of great places (all recommended by our dear friend Nellie).  It was awesome!  We saw animals, fed ducks & geese, ate some yummy burgers, visited the amusement park (Jack rode his first roller coaster with Grandma), and just had a great time together.  We were not without injury though...Liv fell and hurt her knee pretty badly (the swelling was crazy) and Jack had a stomach issue (to say the least) on the way to lunch (we told EJ to watch out so she stayed healthy).  I'm still going to say the good outweighed the bad big time!

Scenes from Our 4th

We are hot and tired, but very happy!  On the 3rd, we cheered our team to victory.  Well, in full disclosure, we cheered our team to a tie, then left to drive to fireworks and all but gave up on them while we listened in the car.  They pulled out a win though and we were very happy!

And then even happier to hang out with our awesome Uncle (who saves us a primo spot for fireworks every year).  Liv was not a fan of the fireworks, but after Matt helped her out by covering her ears, she fell asleep quickly.  EJ loved them (and even sat with the big kids to watch), but the finale was a little intense for her taste.

The morning of the 4th brought an early wakeup and a parade!

And then after a quick lunch, EJ had a performance...on a very hot field with no shade...she was a rock star!  And the other sibs (Jack moved to fast to get pics of though) had fun during her practice time too!

And we went home...and took long baths...and got in jammies at 4pm...grilled burgers for dinner...and watched a movie.  Liv was asleep 8 minutes into the 6:50pm.

Birthday Weekend Photo Highlights

Matt had a birthday this weekend (not the big one until next year, but we did note that I have known him for 20 birthdays...yikes), so that meant another fishing outing and a lot of yummy food too!

Fishing with Dad

Hates bugs, loves to play with the worms...

The only fish caught (a bullhead) by Miss Olivia

He didn't catch anything, but he hung in the longest actual trying to catch something (the girls moved on to find & name 11 different pond animals).

Then it was time for the real fun...cheers!

And lots of group photos...

Totally blurry, totally them...

Have a great Fourth of July!