Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Fall Science Experiments and a Trip to the Art Museum

We are beginning to get into our school routine, finally. We are "hybrid" homeschoolers - Gabriel goes to an alternative school in our district for part of his learning, and I take care of the rest. It is working out well for us, and Gabriel has some really neat classes this year.

Last week we tried a science experiment out at home. It had mild success - I think it needs some tweaking, but I'm not sure we'll do that this year. First we read the book Why Do Leaves Change Color? by Betsy Maestro and Loretta Krupinski. It does a good job explaining the scientific reasons for the brilliant colors of autumn leaves. Then we went for a walk in the beautiful afternoon sunshine. We collected a few leaves, and found some other treasures, too.

Annika examines the remains of a paper wasp nest

Tracks in the mud - raccoon or possum?

Most leaves in our area are just starting to change; perhaps in a few weeks we would be able to get more to use for our experiment. Then we came home and prepared the experiment, using the instructions from this website.

Leaf Chromatography Experiment

The next day, we were able to see some faint lines where the pigments from the leaves separated out. The kids thought this was interesting, but Gabriel had a hard time destroying the leaves. He is so sensitive!

On Saturday I took the kids to the Seattle Art Museum. It has been years since I have been there. Gabriel has been asking to go for some time. We enjoyed some of the crazy stuff we saw there. Gabriel is into abstract art, and enjoyed the sections of the museum covering the more modern art. He also liked the cars hanging from the ceiling in the lobby.

I was inspired by the ancient glass objects on display. It is hard to believe that people 2000 years ago had the skill and technology to be able to blow glass into such delicate bottles.

Annika found it too boring, though, and 2 hours was a bit too long for her taste. Thankfully they have a nice play area for children, and that helped to make the trip worthwhile for her.

We ended the day at a birthday party for a friend. Legos everywhere! What a great idea!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Another Busy Saturday

The University District Farmers Market

We are back home now after spending part of the summer away, and though most of our house still looks like this:
A Sea of Boxes

we are trying to get back into a normal routine. We enjoyed one of the last warm, sunny days of the summer last week and went for a hike in the mountains with a friend. Although we brought swim suits, a chilly breeze kept them in the pack. It was fun to explore a new lake, though, and the kids are eager to get out on the trail again.

Twin Lake

Gabriel crawling on a log at Twin Lake

Hubby's new work schedule has him working from home on Saturdays now, and to keep the kids out of his hair, I have been trying to get them out of the house for most of the day. Today we went to the Farmer's market in the U-District. I can't believe I have never been to this one before! It was so wonderful! Fruit and vegetables all around, gorgeous flowers, meats and cheeses, and all kinds of people to watch. We got some juicy, sweet peaches, some amazing ripe and flavorful tomatoes, and some other veggies. There were even some strawberries there, totally ripe and delicious. I kind of missed the strawberry season this year, so I had to have a carton of red, shiny berries today.


Wonderful variety of tomatoes

Annika wore her unicorn costume (Grandma made it!) to the market, and got many compliments and smiles. The attention makes her shy, but she was able to answer peoples' questions.

The Unicorn

The costume came off for the second stop of the day, an outdoor event sponsored by The Mountaineers. We enjoyed the kid activities there, including face painting and flower pot painting. The three of us were pretty tired at the end of the day, but couldn't resist eating some of our loot from the market for dinner.

Painting Pots

Gabriel asked for a peacock

Annika got a unicorn. No surprise there!