Monday, April 30, 2012

Eggs

As Easter approached we made sure to continue the egg dying tradition. I enjoy coloring eggs and went a little overboard with all of the color options this year. I had purchased several egg dying sets on sale in previous years and I combined colors and expanded my selection. Bee is still a little young to really appreciate egg dying. Benjamin, however, really got into it this year. He even printed out pictures for inspiration. I love color and enjoyed this immensely.



Here she is waiting for the eggs to dry. Egg dying really is meant for older children, like me. :)

So many pretty colors.
Drying.

I did not want all of my beautiful paints to go to waste, so we pulled out some brushes and paper. She kept herself happily entertained painting masterpieces.

The Nauvoo Star

Nauvoo Sunstone

Once the eggs were dry, our little organizer played with them and kept them in line. She also dropped most of them at various points between the dying, drying, and organizing process, so we had lots of cracked eggs. The Easter Bunny still hid them and we still ate them.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

One Minute

One of Bee's chores is to unload the silverware. It is a simple task and it is perfect for her. She loves to organize things and to put them in their respective spots. Sometimes she fights me and will take this one minute chore and turn it into an hour of procrastination. This time, though, I was pleasantly surprised. Instead of whining, she headed to the kitchen to complete her chore. I listened to hear her begin and unfortunately did not hear the corresponding clinks and clanks. She was not whining either so I did not pursue it further. I heard her sweet voice happily playing for the next forty minutes as she imagined that each fork, spoon, and knife were part of her little world. She played and played. It was not what I had expected.

I am always surprised by the things that amuse her and that capture her interest. I love that she can imagine. She eventually understood that it was in her best interest to put the silverware in their proper place. In retrospect, maybe we should have washed them all again.


Friday, April 27, 2012

Braving the Crowds

 I really wanted to see the Indianapolis children's museum, but the entrance fees were pricey. I could not justify paying full price and I figured that my friend would not want to either. However, I knew that they had a free day for the public on the first Thursday of every month. They opened to the public after 4:00 p.m. and we decided to go. My first mistake was bringing in my stroller. I was worried about her blister and thought that a stroller might prevent further injury. It was so crowded that the stroller was really in the way. I tried carrying it on my shoulder, but it made a very wide load. Elda eventually helped me out by putting my stroller in hers. My greatest success was to bringing a bag of Keebler cookies with me. Yum. They were 90 calories a piece, but we could not stop eating them, especially since we had forgone dinner in lieu of seeing the museum.

The museum crowded, but very well done. The timing was perfect for Bee's current obsession with dinosaurs. The dinosaur exhibit was large and impressive. She was ecstatic. So happy! The girls were especially interested in all of the touch screen displays. 


Bee described how this dinosaur must be dead and she was observing the entire scene to hypothesize about what might have happened. 
 My favorite part of the day was when we went into the paleontologist area. The scientists keep their window open and they have several there who just talk with the museum guests. They let Bee touch several fossils and talked to her about some of the fossils they had found. She was in heaven. The scientists were actually pretty quiet, because Bee talked their ears off. She told them all about wings, about the pteranodon family, and about how she was a paleontologist when she was little. She went on and on and they were all entertained by her. She was so happy. The scientists were laughing and asked her lots of questions. They even joked to me about how my ears must hurt at the end of each day.



My favorite exhibit was the blown glass. The exhibit was in the basement and the entire ceiling was a transparent glass case that was full of blown glass in a variety of colors, shapes, and designs. This photograph shows only a small fraction of the entire ceiling.

The girls loved playing with these plastic globes and moved them from position to position on the "trees"

In the middle of the room there was a round, reclining sofa that  rotated slowly. Bee even sat on it. She enjoyed it, but did not understand that the purpose was to sit back and look up at the ceiling as the sofa moved. The glass was so beautiful. I loved it. Above this glass ceiling was a 40 foot statue made out of blown glass. This statue is in the center of the ramp that connects all of the floors.
 Little E. was so excited about the Mr. Potato Head exhibit. We decided to head there next. We arrived only to find out that there was a line, a long one. The line snaked in and around and then back out of one room that was designated just for that purpose. This is where the yummy double stuff cookies came in handy. Bee was in a great mood for some reason and entertained herself while we were in line. She made up a song and dance about how she could "stomp like a T-rex." She cracks me up.


The good news was that the number of persons in the exhibit was well controlled. When we finally made it in, it was not too busy to enjoy. We stayed here for a long time and the children happily explored all of the fun exhibits.
This must be Mr. Household Item Bug. Pretty creative idea, I thought.

This board wobbled and simulated snorkeling. In the big orange goggles there was a movie playing of fish and underwater life. I saw many a parent shake the board and startle their children while they were on it. No, I did not.

Again, she loves order and anything that has spokes that can be stuck into a hole. She organized these coral beautifully. She played alone in this exhibit and often picked activities where there were no children around. She wants to do things her way and she does not want anyone to change what she has done. She's an only child, enough said.

This exhibit represented coal mining. The children loaded the 'coal' onto the conveyor belt and the patient child in the white turned and turned and turned the wheel. She provided the manpower for quite a long time. Then the little pieces would run down another belt into another container. My child was inefficient and collected the 'coal' with her hands. There were not buckets available.

E. was smart and grabbed a bucket as soon as one was available.

Then we were off to the Lego exhibit, can you say crazy? There were people everywhere. It was too much for me.

Bee made up a story about the volcano and kept warning E. to get down. She warned her that the smoke would get her and that the volcano would burn her. E. was oblivious to Bee's ramblings and continued building her Lego creations. This was the toddler sized table. There were six or seven more tables, of varying heights, crammed into the area.

While E. waited in line to get a picture in the race car made completely from Legos, Bee preferred racing cars down this ramp.

Then Elda treated us to a ride on the carousel. Bee was thrilled and wanted to go again as soon as it ended. However, by that time I had had it with all the people and I was ready to get away from crowded rooms and from mean kids who grabbed toys right out of my daughter's hand. We eventually escaped the madness and headed safely home. Bee was flying high. She was so happy.
Thanks Elda for letting us come and crash with you. We had a great time and I loved seeing your growing family. Best of luck with everything and maybe we'll see you again when you're settled in Texas.

In retrospect, this museum is definitely worth the money. There was so much to see and do and the exhibits were educational and kid friendly. Everything was designed to be convenient to parents and children. I loved it. It would be worth the money just to go when it was not so crowded.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Political rhetoric in campaign season

As campaign season is now upon us, some in our blog-o-audience may be interested in glancing at the long and boring introduction to "socialism" that I posted over at my other blog earlier today. It specifically describes what socialism is (and is not) and to what extent popular American politicians might qualify. Enjoy!

http://informationknoll.wordpress.com/2012/04/26/is-president-obama-a-socialist/

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Her Only Chance...

Our daughter's only chance of learning how to do outdoorsy things is to have other people teach her. Luckily, we have friends with these skills. 

After dinner, Elda's husband Jason took the girls fishing out in the backyard to the pond. 
Father duck with two faithful ducklings.

Here they're watching him put the worm on the hook.

I packed spring clothes, since it has been so warm here. I did not even bring a coat or a jacket for her. Luckily Elda had an extra one.

This mother goose was close behind us sitting on her eggs. She was very overprotective and kept hissing at us. Luckily no one got bit, although we did get chased away several times. We learned to give her a wide berth.


They caught at least ten different little fish.

Bee helped reel this one in. She loved to touch the fish and thought it was funny when he threw them back in.

Here she collected a whole bunch of sticks and gathered them into a pile. Then she played goose and sat on her eggs.
It only took an hour, but it was so fun to see the girls' excitement over something so easy and simple. Oh, and I loved how green they keep the grass at this complex. It was beautiful. It was also cold.

"Stuff Centre Students Don't Say"

From some of my creative students:

Monday, April 23, 2012

My thoughts on political discourse

For anyone who's interested, I posted up on my other blog a few paragraphs on my current philosophy on interpersonal political discourse in an age of hyper-partisanship and polarization. Enjoy!

http://informationknoll.wordpress.com/2012/04/23/im-a-conservative-but-im-not-mad-at-everybody-over-it/

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Indianapolis

I headed to Indianapolis during my spring break. Benjamin still had to work, but I had the week off from school and seminary. I went to visit my college roommate one more time before they finish their dental registry. I wanted to let E. and Bee play and I wanted to meet their new daughter, A. It was one of the more economic trips that I have ever taken. We packed, got in the car, drove three hours, and were there.

This was so quick and easy compared to the previous trip to DC. The girls played well together and it was so much fun to see Elda again. Her baby is so perfect. She rarely cries, she sleeps well, she is extremely happy, and she loved me. 




Both girls are SO beautiful.



We took the girls downtown to the State Museum.

They enjoyed all of the hands-on activities, as did we. They  were happily entertained for hours.
 
This train exhibit reminded Bee of her favorite TV show, the Dinosaur Train.

This activity showed how much force was required to grind corn. She stayed at it for a few minutes.

They sat in the tractor and watched footage of a corn field being harvested. It must have been very interesting.

Another tractor.

If you think she looks like a natural, it's because she was born in Iowa.
We somehow managed to fit all three car seats in my car and safely get to and from the museum. Baby A. was content in the stroller and the two girls ran from exhibit to exhibit. Bee ran so hard that she got a blister from her new shoes. She changed into a whimpering child and her "boo-boo" made it impossible for her to do anything from then on. She didn't want shoes and fought a band-aid. She wasn't happy again until later when I finally tricked her and got a band-aid on her. Then I put socks and shoes on and she was fine again for the fun evening activities.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Pinterest

I have not spent much time on Pinterest because it is too overwhelming. There are too many cute things, too many crafty ideas. I just cannot handle looking at it. I have pinned a few things and I get on there once or twice a month, but that's all I can emotionally handle. There are so many creative  ideas out there. I prefer to go there when I am looking for something specific, instead of just browsing for more things to occupy my time.

A few months back I found this idea on there and decided to try it. I saved it and read through the instructions. I am glad I did because when I went back recently to re-read the instructions, the links no longer worked. http://thisthriftyhouse.blogspot.com/thisthriftyhouse.blogspot.com/2011/11/cheap-diy-photo-canvases.html

Inexpensive, good looking photo display
The author created this photo display using styrofoam, black fabric, spray glue, and photo prints. I tried to copy the process as best as I could remember.
Here's one of the first of many template designs.

 I bought the Styrofoam sheet at Lowe's and had them cut it into smaller pieces that would fit into my car. Styrofoam is hard to cut and the employee did a horrible job. I had to avoid all of his edges as I was cutting my squares. Luckily I had more than enough Styrofoam to work with. I tried to cut it first with a razor blade and that was not successful. The original author had her husband cut hers on his saw. I ended up using a handsaw with relative success.

Then I wrapped them in black fabric which I stapled on. A professional grade stapler would have worked better than the grade-school one that I had did. I used an iron to make the corners lay nice and flat.

I bought picture hangers from the store and attached them with hot glue.  High-tech, I know, but I did get the idea from the author of the original post.

One of the hardest part was choosing which pictures to use.

We have plaster walls and I was not willing to deal with that, so I attached them to the wall using Command  hooks with the removable sticky. Genius. I even removed some and then re positioned them to make it blend better.



The angle on our stairway makes it difficult to get a good picture of the final product. It looks pretty good, as long as you don't look too close. These are some of my favorite pictures and I love to look at them everyday. The good news is that I can glue a new picture on top of the old one any time I want to replace them.

Thank you Pinterest. Now that I can check one project off of my list, I can go back on Pinterest and pick one, and only one, more project to work on.