Science Sunday: Invisible Ink






My button makes me so happy. Yes, I know it’s silly.



So, as I mentioned yesterday we read Invisible Inc Mystery of the Missing Dog. In the book they write secret messages to each other using invisible ink from lemon juice, and they used all sorts of things to reveal the ink. They used the steam from a hot dog to reveal it and I forget what all else, so that got me curious if this would really work.

Materials needed: lemon juice, paint brush or q-tip, matches, candle, hair dryer, burner from your stove.

Here’s the theory: if you draw with the juice when it is exposed to heat it will turn brown and reveal your secret message. We’re going to see which way works best.

Oh, and all documentary pictures taken for this experiment were taken by my kids today. So, they’re sometimes interesting…..

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1. Cut your lemons in half and squeeze all the juice out of them into a bowl. Honestly we could have done this with one lemon, but each kid wanted their own lemon.

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2. Take some pictures of your head. While you’re at it why not take pictures of the light and the wall?

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3. Paint your picture. While you’re at it make sure to completely saturate the paper. I’m sure it’s a better message if the paper is completely soaked.

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4. First we tried it over the candle. Sorry for the blurry photo. It worked somewhat. I’m beginning to think it might have worked better if the papers were slightly dryer. It would reveal the ink for the area directly over the flame, but that’s all.

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5. Next we tried it over the burner on our stove. Very important, make sure the adult is doing this. I’m sure that goes without saying, but the flame is very hot, and the other important thing is to make sure the flame is on low. You have to hold it over for a little bit and it does get hot very quickly. This worked best.

science,science experiment,science sunday,invisible ink

6. On the last ones we tried the hair dryer. According to National Treasure (and I tried to find a clip of this from the movie, but no luck) if you blow a hair dryer over it then the picture will be revealed. Well, maybe I don’t have a hot enough hair dryer because all it did was dry out the ink. Again, I’m wondering if the paper was less saturated if that would work better.

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Here’s Batman’s picture. Can you tell it’s a space guy with a gun fighting a monster? Good, I could too.

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This is either Superman’s or Princess’, I’m not sure which. They both went for the cover the page approach on most of theirs. Though I was amused as Superman sat there explaining that his lemon juice was rain that was coming down……

For a scientific explanation and for some other invisible inks go here.  I really wanted to find a video, but it just wasn’t happening.

For more about Science Sunday and participating go here.


Trying out some photography tips

So, at our MOPS meeting this Monday we had a photographer come and talk to us about how to get great shots without buying a super expensive camera.  Which considering I’m not likely to buy an expensive camera anytime soon because I don’t really baby my current one……..  I needed these tips.  So, here’s what I got from this with my practice shots from today.

1.  Take lots of pictures.  After, I’d deleted all the ones I didn’t like I still had 31 pictures from the hour or so we were there.

memories

memories,Jum N Climb,field trip

2.  Turn off the flash.  I’ve tried this one before and it’s worked in other situations, but this time it didn’t work.  It did make a kind of cool blurry effect.  This is my previous attempt at turning off the flash.  I found one that worked from today.

3.  Don’t have the subject back lit, unless you want a silhouette.  Not really a problem in here, no real windows.

memories,Jum N Climb,field trip

memories,Jum N Climb,field trip

memories,Jum N Climb,field trip

3.  Zoom in, zoom in, zoom in.  You don’t need the whole body in every shot, and when you zoom in you can get the cute expressions.  You can almost see the fly-away hair from the static in the first one.  I love Superman’s grin on the second one.  And that little head in the midst of all those balls, cute as a button?

memories,Jum N Climb,field trip

4.  Don’t always get them smiling.  Their pouts are cute too, I mean who wouldn’t want to give her what she wants?

memories,Jum N Climb,field trip

memories,Jum N Climb,field trip

memories,Jum N Climb,field trip

5.  Look for unusual angles.  Superman was very cooperative for this.

memories,Jum N Climb,field trip

memories,Jum N Climb,field trip

memories,Jum N Climb,field trip

6.  Don’t always have the subject of your picture centered.  It is more visually interesting if occasionally the main person to be looked at is off center.

memories,Jum N Climb,field trip

memories,Jum N Climb,field trip

memories,Jum N Climb,field trip

7.  This one’s from my Mom: Take a series of pictures that tell a story.  I remember my Mom having a set of pictures of my brother and I and some of our friends on the front step as we gathered for an excursion.  It was the funniest set of pictures.

memories,Jum N Climb,field trip

memories,Jum N Climb,field trip

8.  Get them in action.  Staged shots rarely work, someone always looks away.

memories,Jum N Climb,field trip

9.  Get the catch light in their eye.  If you notice in this picture of Princess there is a little white light in her eye. That is called a catch light.  Don’t I sound all professional?  Well, this is part of what makes us look lively in a picture or in real life.  The way to get this is to ask your kids to look up at you, and you should get it in your picture.

What we read this week: dog

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If you go according to this picture: Scooby Doo comics………  And that statement makes a lot more sense now that I’ve added in the picture.

Market Street Dog– We all loved this one and were on pins and needles waiting to see what happened.  This was a good reminder to me that I really should make sure I know what’s going to happen in the end, because for a minute it looked like the dog was going to die, but it all ended up good in the end.  So, this is another book by James Herriot about a dog that was wandering down Market Street and how he ended up finding a home.  Big hit here.
Pinkerton Behave, and A Rose for Pinkerton– both of these are by Stephen Kellogg and are very cute.  The words aren’t that complex but part of the fun is looking at the pictures and seeing how much the words enhance the story.  The kids had a lot of fun with both of these pointing out what is silly and the different details of the pictures.
Dear Mrs. LaRue– this is really aimed at older kids.  It’s a super cute book, and I loved reading to my kids in elementary school when I was teaching, but it went way over my kids heads.  They weren’t getting the difference between what the dog was writing to his owner and imagining and what was really happening.  I’m sure I’ll try this one again in a few years.
Invisible inc and the Missing Dog– This is a beginner chapter book and probably could have been read all in one sitting fairly easily, but I was also wanting to see how well they did at remembering what happened earlier in the book when it’d been a while since we read.  All in all a fun read, and I’m thinking of finding other books in this series.
Clifford and the Spring Clean Up– I think this is one of my least favorite Clifford books and I’m not really sure why.  I think it’s partially because I recognize elements of a Clifford episode in this, but the episode did the story better.  This is one of the older books where it’s more capsules of different things and no real story.  So Clifford tries to shake out the rug, and breaks it.  Then Clifford tries to lay on the couch and breaks it.  You could almost read these bits out of order and it would make no difference to the story.  Frustrating to me.  But, the kids like it.
Carl Goes Shopping– I think we were all vaguely indifferent to this one.  I didn’t glance through it before checking it out, and it’s a wordless book.  But, we did have fun looking at the pictures and talking about what Carl is doing.  I suppose if I’d wanted to I could have made this into a chance to tell me a story, but it was bedtime and I was trying to get them calmed down…..
To see what else people are reading head over to “>Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns.

Taking off a cast, or how to make a Mom REALLY happy

So, we went to the doctor’s yesterday to get her cast off, as I said at the end of the post.  Now the entire process for getting it off was fascinating.  So, I’m going to share it with you.  I’m odd I fluctuate between being absolutely fascinated by medical procedures and totally grossed out and not wanting to know anything about it.

science,memories,cast,Science Sunday

First the nurse, or technician, I’m not sure of her title, came in and showed Princess the thing she would use to take off the cast.  She made a big deal about how it wouldn’t hurt her.

science,memories,cast,Science Sunday

Then she carefully cut the casts on each side for each foot.  At first Princess thought this was absolutely fascinating, but after the first side on the first foot she started freaking out.  We think it was because the machine was loud, like a vacuum cleaner.

science,memories,cast,Science Sunday

Next she used tongs to pry the two sides apart.  This part was really interesting, and I could see Princess being really fascinated by it.

science,memories,cast,Science Sunday

Then she pulled each of the different halves off.  This left only the cotton batting on Princess’ leg.  I’m sure they use a different term than batting, but I don’t know what it is.

science,memories,cast,Science Sunday

Then they cut off the batting and the edges of the cast at the top with some scissors that I didn’t think looked like they could cut anything.  They looked very dull to me.

science,memories,cast,Science Sunday

Of course you have to examine the now castless foot and leg to see if they look any different.  She was very amused at the writing the doctor had to put to identify where to operate.

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A better view of the writing.  Apparently this is a legal requirement.  If she was old enough to write they would have required her to verify it as well, instead we as the parents verified.

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And of course now that the horrible casts are off they make fun toys to play with.

science,memories,cast,Science Sunday

The casts.  Doesn’t it seem like there’s something we should be able to do with these?

My original plan to celebrate the casts being off was rather thrown off by the weather changing from wonderful sunny 70s to cold dank rainy 40s.  So, instead we went out.

memories

We ate white noodles at the grape place.  Also known as going to Olive Garden and getting Fettuccine Alfredo.

memories

Batman was not as amused, I don’t know the picture amused me.  I was laughing just this Monday at MOPS we had a photographer come in and give us all these great tips on getting wonderful pictures, and I was thinking this day would be a wonderful opportunity to practice these.  What did I do?  Leave my camera at home, so all I had was an Iphone.  That does not let me fiddle with settings and such stuff.

Oh, and poor Superman.  He had spent all week talking about getting Daddy soup, we’re going to get Daddy soup, and then he discovered no one was going to eat it with him.  Poor boy, I learned that for him part of the fun of eating the soup was having someone else eating the soup with him.  Everyone else was eating Mommy soup, and he was not happy about this.  I think I’ll have to make soup some night soon, and then he can happily have someone else eat soup with him.

memories

We finished off up at Dairy Queen with blizzards.  My kids must not be true Texans because they did not like the blizzards and declared next time they just wanted ice cream in a cone.  Oh well, I happily ate mine.

memories

Does anyone else have kids that argue their pajamas are perfectly fine to wear out in public?  Superman was quite insistent this was not pajamas and it was okay for him to wear these.

Silly boy.
And as you no doubt noticed, this is not a Preschool Corner post.  I’m being lazy this week, and not posting one.  Besides the week I just finished posting about I was lucky the kids all survived…….

Finally finished Little Boy Blue

It’s kind of sad it took this long.  But we got it all done.

To read about the first part of this project go here.  That also has material needed and a the blackline masters you need if you want to do the same one.

stART,nursery rhyme,paint,farm

First you cut out your pictures.  It is absolutely necessary that you cut it out in large blocks.  Or so I learned from my kids.

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Now use LARGE amounts of glue to get everything on the paper.  Then complain when Mom says you have to put on the words.

stART,nursery rhyme,paint,farm

Cut yarn, actually this time I used embroidery floss, and think I will from now on for projects I want specific colors.  Then it’s 20 cents for a skein, and it doesn’t take up as much space.

stART,nursery rhyme,paint,farm

I just love the studious look on her face.  Actually, I think that’s because she’s trying to figure out how to put back together the paper that tore from too much glue.  But, we’ll pretend it’s because she’s being serious.

stART,nursery rhyme,paint,farm

Now shred a bunch of cotton balls and glue them on the sheep.  This and cutting the yarn for the haystack was the favorite part of today’s part of the project.  Hmmmmm, that might have been a little bit of a convoluted sentence.

And here’s the finished projects:

stART,nursery rhyme,paint,farm
Mine, I’d like to claim my kids are these amazing artists…… but, then I’d by lying.

stART,nursery rhyme,paint,farm
I think this is Batman’s.  Yep, looks right when I compare the picture at the top of Batman with this.  So, this is Batman’s project.

And apparently I don’t have a picture of Superman or Princess’ completed projects.  Weird.

stART,nursery rhyme,paint,farm

And is it just me, or do I look like a chipmunk in this picture?  Superman loves to take pictures with my camera, and this is one of the more normal ones.  Really, he takes unusual pictures.

Okay, I no longer have a kid napping in my room, PRINCESS GOT HER CASTS OFF!  So, I’m off to take a bath.

I’ll post about the cast taking off process later today once I’ve uploaded the pictures.  It was really interesting to see.

Quick Mommy craft: Dave Ramsey wallet

I’ll tell you right now, this is a quick and dirty craft that you could easily make look much nicer, but I was making this for 36 people, and completed all of them in 2 hours (minus the part they did at the MOPS meeting).

Now, into my rambling intro.  I’m sure this totally shocks all of you, but I’m the creative activities director for our local MOPS group (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers).  Our topic for the night was budgeting, and I suggested making a wallet for the different categories of spending you would use cash for.  And that’s the genesis of the craft.  Okay, it’s not as interesting as it seemed when I first thought of this.  I think I had something else I was going to tell everyone.

Supplies needed: felt (either 2 sheets of felt or 1/4 yard), zipper sandwich bags, sewing machine or stapler, yarn, felt scraps, embroidery thread, buttons, address labels, or stickers

1.  If you’re using yardage of felt cut a rectangle of felt 7 by 14 inches.  If you are using the 8×11 sheets cut two 7 inch squares.

2.  Gather as many sandwich bags as you think you have categories.  As a side note, you could also use this to create a homemade book for your kids where they could take the pieces out to tell the story.  We have some leftover that I’m going to use for this sometime.

Mommy craft,felt,Dave Ramsey

3.  Stack the bags on top of the felt.  Make sure to have the bottom towards the middle of your felt, and they need to be carefully aligned.

Mommy craft,felt,Dave Ramsey

4.  Fold the felt in half and pin it closed.  This is super important, these bags are slippery and otherwise they will slip out on you, or only be partially enclosed in the seam.

Mommy craft,felt,Dave Ramsey

5.  Sew it.  I figured out that a half inch seam allowance was just about perfect.

Now you have your basic wallet.  This is all I did for in preparation for the craft.  Here’s what I left to them as ways to decorate it themselves:

1.  You could use scrap felt or other fabric and appliqué something cute on it.

2.  You could put a piece of yarn on the back and a button on the front and make it close.  For the Moms that night we had them cut a small hole on either side and put some yarn through it to be able to tie it closed.

3.  You could put stickers on the bags inside to “make it pretty.”

Really you’re only limited by your imagination.  Oh, and I put stapler as an alternative for if you don’t have a sewing machine, because I don’t think this would work as a hand-sewing project.

Linking this up to Treasures for Tots, a super cool blog I found last week that has lots of felt ideas, and just cool sewing projects, and I think I’m going to start drooling over the felt food they’ve featured.

Our Review of Math U See

I had this review mostly written, and then realized there was some introductory statements I wanted to make.

First, the three main curriculum I was thinking about was Math U See, Saxon, and Singapore Math.

Saxon, I have taught with.  The school I student taught at used it, and I loved it.  My two concerns with it were: 1. cost- it looked to be much more expensive, costing about $100 per year per student, and I have a friend who uses it and just buys it off Ebay used for much less.  2.  In reviews they said when you got to later years the weakness was kids didn’t do as well with problem solving if they’d been raised using Saxon.  So, I was a little worried about that.

Singapore Math- I was really interested in this one and really looking at it.  I saw a couple of people who didn’t like the cartoons and stuff, but I didn’t really see any negative reviews.

And then the other I was seriously looking at was Math U See, well I had a friend who was using it, and she LOVES it.  She hates math and loves this one.  Her sons loved it, and liked watching the videos.  And I got to look at the actual stuff.  That’s a big deal for me because anything can look good if you don’t actually look at the materials.  But, this I got to look at the stuff.

So, here’s what you get when you buy Math U See, each part is sold separately, but this is what you would need for the Kindergarten level.  Man, I’m not spelling well today.  I’ve had to go back and correct two words, that’s sad.

math,math U See

First thing you get is a set of blocks.  This is the starter set.  It comes with 20 tens, 4 hundreds, 4 each of 2-9, and then 24 ones.  I like the fact that you can double check if you have everything by looking at if it’s all built up right.  I can just look at it in the box and say “we’re missing a one, everyone look for a green piece.”

math,math U See

They really emphasize doing lots of hands on stuff.  And for my kids right now it’s just perfect for where they are.  They love to sit there and count out the ones they need to make five.  So far I’ve only had them working with ones in their lessons.  Later on they’ll use the color coded blocks that are 3 units long, or so on.

To me the blocks kind of remind me of a combination of cuisenaire rods and base 10 blocks.  The cuisenaire rods were made to different lengths and colors, but they weren’t supposed to be specifically 8, so the red block was just a red block and you could use it for comparison and such, but it wasn’t specifically intended as 8.  Where as in this it is 8 (and I know I have the colors wrong, I’m just making up an example).  It’s like base 10 in that there is a set size, you can very much see how 10 units make a 10.  I also like that you can snap them together.  So, if you wanted to demonstrate that 10 units make a 10, you would just pop the 10 units right on top of each other and there’s a 10 for you right there.  You could do the same with the 7 and the 3 to show that those added together make a 10.

So, that’s the blocks.

For teaching the lessons.

farm,science,science sunday

You watch a video, and yes I know this is a picture of watching Dinosaur Train, but I don’t have a picture of them watching their lesson.  Oh, and Superman saw the picture and said “Yes, that’s Batman, because (and he looks down at his shirt), I’m wearing a blue shirt.”  The video lessons are very short, maybe 5 minutes.  My boys usually will ask to watch the video again.  Which to me is very amusing because he’s not doing anything really interesting, just telling you how to do the pages.  But, they like the videos a lot.

math,math U See

The workbook itself.  It’s not super colorful, so if your kid needs lots of color, then this is probably not for you.  For my kids I sometimes think having plain black and white is actually better and less distracting.  As you can see on this page it’s a simple one to one matching and then finding the numeral that corresponds.

Two other things you can buy:

1.  A Cd of songs to help you master skip-counting, some addition tricks, and other stuff.  I go back and forth on the CD.  On the one hand it’s got some useful songs, and I like that after each song he goes on to repeat the actual numbers involved.  But, sometimes if you’re not paying attention because it’s kids singing it’s a little harder to understand.  So, we’ll see how we like this long term.

2.  Completer Set- that’s for the blocks.  There’s another set of blocks you can buy for later years, and if you’re teaching more than 3 kids, I think is when they suggested it.  I went ahead and bought it figuring if I don’t stay with this, they’re useful for pretty much any math we use.  That, and my kids love to build with them.  In case you can’t tell from the pictures.

Here’s the PROS as I see them
1.  It’s very thorough.  They believe you teach one skill, and teach it to mastery.  So, the next year teaches addition, and they teach all the different types of it, solve for the missing number, double digit, so on and so forth.  Which to me makes more sense than in first grade learning 1-10 facts, then in 2nd learning 1-18 memorized and able to do double digit with carrying, but not mastering it (these are what I taught when I was teaching in public school in Texas, your state may have different requirements).
2.  It’s hands on.  I like that.  My kids need hands on.
3.  They encourage you to understand the concepts fully before you teach it to your kids, and so they have a lot of information in the teacher manuals.  Including tricks for you to remember.

Here’s the CONS as I see them
1.  If you might be transitioning back to public or private school it teaches in a different style then those schools do.  So, it’s not going to introduce fractions in 1st grade.  They wait until you’ve mastered other skills and are able to do everything with fractions.
2.  It’s not colorful.  For my kids I think this might be a plus, but I could see how some kids might struggle with it.
3.  There’s not a lot of show.  He pretty much just presents the materials, and that’s it.
4.  They think slightly differently from how I’m used to.  They teach 0-9, not 1-10.  Do you see the difference?  I’m still trying to decide if I like that.  I understand the point they’re trying to make, but it makes they’re hundred chart different from everything else.  I don’t know.

So, that’s my thoughts on the matter.  We’ll see if they’ve changed after I’ve been using it for more than 2 weeks.

Well, I was originally going to put links for all of the different products, but I’m tired.  And, well………  I’m feeling lazy.  I couldn’t sleep last night.  Instead I spent large portions of the night not sleeping and just thinking and thinking and thinking.  It was rather frustrating.

Linking this over to Joyful Learner.