Science Sunday: Mississippi Steam Boat

Science Sunday
I really wanted for Mississippi to look at Steam boats and how they work. I found a great lesson for high school, but it was way too complicated for my group of guys.

I found a few great books, and then after a quick youtube search, found the perfect video about how a steam engine works (as described by a 9 (?) year old boy):

Afterwards the kids drew their interpretation of how a steam engine works.
This is Batman’s interpretation of how it works.  I thought the drawings were pretty accurate.

Then I made and they demonstrated (I didn’t want to cut out the pieces necessary for 8 kids to make it) how it would work as a steam engine.  High Hill Homeschool has some great instructions on making this.
We first tried it with my steam kettle, but it didn’t produce a focused enough steam source to turn it.  So, we poured water on it, and used that to demonstrate how the steam engine works.
All in all a fun lesson on steam boats.
<a href=””> Widgets</a>

Let’s see what others did this week:

Almost Unschoolers made and explored the science behind Resurrection Rolls.

All Things Beautiful made their own batteries.

Almost Unschoolers attempted to recreate a battery from a book they read.  It apparently was the week of batteries.

Enchanted Homeschooling Mom created a ball and socket joint and a great lapbook.

No Doubt Learning had a super cute amazing shrinking leprechaun hat.  I’m thinking this could also be for Dr Seuss unit or for our brownie, who needs a hat.


Science Sunday button Science Sunday

Jan Brett’s The Easter Egg Widgets

Jan Brett writes some of the cutest stories, and this book is no different.  Hoppy is excited to make his first ever Easter egg to show the Easter bunny and he asks all of the different bunnies how they make theirs.  He has all sorts of wonderful ideas and then he sees a robin’s egg that has fallen out of its nest.



I had grand plans I was going to make suncatcher eggs.  It was going to be so cute.  We got out the paper and started tearing.  I went to the closet to get out the contact paper and it wasn’t there.  But there was wax paper.


So I traced an egg on the wax paper gave them a glue stick and let them have at it.  My intention was to iron it closed and tape it up.




Well, they had a different plan.  They each wanted to make two and they didn’t want to fold it over.  So, they happily made eggs, cut them out and we taped them up to our windows.  Well some of them.  The others disappeared upstairs into their rooms.




Muppet movie fun

I LOVE the Muppets.  Back when Jeff and I were first married I got the Muppet Show on DVD.  Every year at Christmas we watch the Muppet Christmas Carol.  I love ALMOST all of their movies (some of their more recent ones have not been kid appropriate, cough cough Muppet Wizard of Oz or that stupid Christmas movie a few years ago, cage dancing?).

But, I digress.  I picked up the movie, because I wanted it.  Then to bribe them I let them make Muppet sandiwches:
muppet sandwich


Supplies (we used): bread, crackers, coconut, peanut butter, butterscotch chips, chocolate chips, cream cheese, sprinkles

Then I let them have at it.  There was much giggling and laughter to be had.

And in the end we got things that didn’t look so much like Muppets, but sugar delivery devices.

Either way, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

learning ALL the time!!

Going on a ???????? hunt

learning laboratory at mama smiles
 Sometimes it’s fun to take a break from learning and have some fun that isn’t related to learning at all.

The other day we found these mysterious footprints.  What are they, who put them there?

“Oh no!”  said Superman (I really should have written down who it was when I first took these pictures).  “Some kind of scary animal has invaded our yard.”

“We will defend you from the terrible monster, Princess” her brothers declare.

So Princess happily played and rode her bike while her brothers hunted down the terrible monster.

They practiced sword fighting, so they could defeat it.  It was hard work.

Finally they found the viscous, viscous monster (I think that is spelled wrong, I think I’m spelling a different word than I intend……).
It lay there with its prey and dared them to come attack him.  They ran in and……

vanquished the poor thing.  He collapsed happily and demanded scratches and left the kingdom alone.


Science Sunday: Octopus Colors

Science Sunday

I just heard about a linky sponsored by Apologia Science, so I’m gonna link this up to Homeschool Science Show and Tell!

I had planned to share with you what we did with your suggestions for starfish (unfortunately they weren’t as intrigued with starfish as I am), but sadly I LOST MY CAMERA!  So that post will have to wait until I find it again.  Please be praying it pops back up sometime soon.

We read in our Swimming Creatures text that octopuses change color not just because of where they are, but also because of their mood.

This was fascinating to me, and demanded an art project.
First we painted the different colors octopuses have been seen to change.  Afterwards we painted our own idea of different emotions.

Simple, but to the point.

Did you ever have a science project lead to an art project?  My kids LOVED this!

Let’s see what others did this week (or in the past several weeks):

Over at Homegrown Learners they learned about Louis Pasteur, I’m linking to this partially because of the cool movie clip she found and partially because it was such a blast from the past to see this book series, which I had and LOVED growing up.

Spell Out Loud has a great post about the human heart.

Fit Kids Clubhouse had a great post about her son’s experiment with a lava lamp.  I really encourage you to take the time and read it, not skim, but read.  It’s a great testimony about taking the time to follow your child’s lead.

Little Wonder Days did a whole series of egg experiments.  This is part one.

Raising Lifelong Learners has a great post on making your own compass.

And finally here’s a fun suggestion of a series of books to read with your kiddos about different animals.

Science Sunday will be on a Saturday next week, and on Sunday I’ll be sharing the next country for Around the World in 12 Dishes: Sweden!  Anyone have a fun Swedish inspired craft they’d like to suggest?


Science Sunday button Science Sunday

Our Saint Patrick’s Day Celebration


We have a house brownie.  His or her name is Periwinkle.  Depending on who you ask, Periwinkle is a boy or a girl.  I’ve noticed the answer matches the person answering the question.


Periwinkle lives through the door there.  It’s a magical door.  From what we can see it’s just a normal door, there’s nothing behind it.  But inside that door is her house.  She comes out from time to time and encourages my kids to clean.  She has been known to give candy for clean rooms, or encouraging notes.




Princess spent Saint Patrick’s Day morning creating all sorts of wonderful pictures for Periwinkle.


There are also various sewing projects in works.  Actually, now that I’m looking over at Periwinkle’s door, I’m noticing a small stash of blankets and pillows she made there.

Small might have been an understatement……..


Periwinkle got the news he was going to join us last Saint Patrick’s Day.  So we celebrate his Joining Day on that day.  It takes a long time to travel from Ireland, so he didn’t arrive to our house until late July.



Periwinkle wrote Princess a lovely note to thank her for the present and gave her a small toy which he had found while cleaning up our house the other night.  Apparently, one of the charms from my charm necklace as a kid was found in my closet.  Periwinkle thought Princess would love to use it for her dolls.


If you’ll excuse me, Periwinkle needs to write another thank you note to Princess for the lovely blankets she made.  After much hard work she was able to carry them through her very small door.

Bluebonnets 2012

The Texas rite of passage every spring is to take pictures in the bluebonnets.  This year, thanks to a miracle from God, and the random rains we’ve gotten, bluebonnets are in fairly good shape.
Since I took A LOT of pictures in a short time, I opted to do a quick collage with Picassa, really loving that.

First up is Superman, both the boys wanted to show off their fighting poses.

Next is Batman, and for some reason this is showing up as a link……..2012-03-142

And finally Princess, who was not in the mood to get her picture taken.2012-03-141

And then group pictures.  Sigh, I love bluebonnets.
Sigh, bluebonnets make me so happy.  I want to go and get one more round and get a shot of me with just each boy  Oh and a better one of me with the kiddos.  This was an unplanned photo shoot, so none of us were really dressed well for the pictures.

50 State Study: Ohio

<a href=””> Widgets</a>
We completed all of our activities for Ohio in one week, but there were several books I wasn’t able to fit in that I wanted to do something with, but I didn’t have quite enough for a full second week, so we moved on.  I’ll probably talk about those more in my post at ABC & 123.
What’s included in the lapbook:

My Great Invention– Ohio is the home to the Invention Museum, and I found a great book about inventions taking place in Ohio.  The kids designed their Lego creation and then wrote about it in their book.

Covered Wagon– Anything that is a cut and paste is a hit around here.  This was no exception.  The boys loved figuring out how to best protect people and what they REALLY needed.  The girls loved filling their wagon with kitchen stuff.

Neil Armstrong, what I want be when I grow up– After reading about how hard Neil Armstrong worked to become an astronaut we talked about what we need to do to get the job we really want when we grow up.
State Symbols pages – another ladybug.  I really wanted to do something with the trilobites, but couldn’t think of a good activity.  Anyone have a good trilobite activity?