Saturday, April 7, 2018

Weeeeird Science

 Miss V is turning 8 this week, and she very sweetly requested a Mad Science party. It was meant to be a small party, but, as usually happens with this child, it accidentally ended up huge. Even at 17 children, we were not able to invite every child she would have liked to, and it hurts her heart to leave ANYONE out, but I can't fit everyone she knows into my house. I tell you, I cannot.

It was a fun party. One and one half hours of very structured science experiments, snacks, a little Bill Nye the Science Guy, and some mass hysteria.

I had two tables set up with a kit for each child. The numbered containers held the various things needed for each experiment. The children were so attentive and did such a great job following directions. James helped me with this party. We did four experiments, and each was a great success.

 For our first experiment, the kids spooned baking soda from Container #1 into the balloon in their kit. Then, they stretched the balloon over the neck of the bottle they were given, which contained vinegar. When we said, "Go!", they tipped the baking soda into the vinegar and watched the chemical reaction blow up their balloons.

For our second experiment, we poured milk onto plates, and James and I dropped food coloring on. The kids dipped cotton swabs from their kits into dish washing liquid (container #2) and touched the milk to see a hydrophobic reaction.

We microwaved some Ivory soap for experiment 3 to see it expand exponentially after being heated.

Experiment 4 was Elephant Toothpaste. I went around with a funnel to help them tip the peroxide in Container #3 into their (rinsed out) bottles. They added their leftover dish soap and a drop or two of food color and swirled. In Container #4 was some yeast. I went around with warm water, which we added, and they dutifully stirred. Once that yeast and water was combined, they poured that container into the bottle, and we watched the reaction!

Science completed, it was time to eat. We had pre-scooped and frozen ice cream with Magic Shell

Make a Molecule fruit

Too much candy

And chocolate cupcakes with vanilla cream frosting and pop rocks.

My girl had a very big, special day with her sweet, lovely friends.

We sent them all home with their safety glasses, whatever candy they were willing to take, and a test tube of bubbles.

My precious, precious baby is turning 8, and it blows my mind. Seeing her surrounded by this loving community of amazing kids is a really beautiful thing. I'm so happy for her that she has that. She draws it to her. After the party, the friend she has known the very longest - since she was born - stayed for a while, and they went upstairs and just had some quiet time together. I think they were ready for it after all that hubbub.

I love you, Miss V. You are confident and strong and brave and kind. You are thoughtful, creative, smart, and funny. I like you. I respect you. I'm looking forward to seeing who you are as an 8 year old.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

It's Been A Big Day

Today, we celebrated Easter. That's a big deal every year, but it was particularly meaningful this time around, because our Miss V asked recently if she could be baptized, and, after meeting with our pastor and talking it through, they set the date for Easter. That's pretty neat, because the J-bird chose to be baptized on Easter two years ago.

First things, first: the kids (and James) woke up to Easter baskets from me and a fun surprise scavenger hunt from the Easter Bunny.

Once they'd found their treats (one big egg apiece from the Bunny), we all got ready for church. Miss V received a Bible from her dad and I - in pink, natch.

This is our pastor, Jennifer. She is moving on from our church at the end of May, and we are going to miss her so much. She has baptized both of our children now, and she's been such a wonderful friend and light.

Our Beckers came to stand up with us as V was baptized. Kristy stood with us as well. I do not have any photos of the actual baptism, because I was participating.

 The J-bird did the Easter reading. He loves reading in church.

On Easter, we do something called Flower Communion, where we add flowers to this cross. It's a lovely thing I've never seen done at any other church I've attended. I love it.

After church, there's an egg hunt - about 15 minutes of total mayhem.

And then there's this:


Inevitable outtake:

Lunch was necessary after all of that. Luckily, I had thought ahead and made a reservation.

It was a wonderful, wonderful, meaningful day.

(Inevitable outtake)

Happy Easter!

Saturday, March 10, 2018

The Boy Who Turned 11

 The J-bird turned 11 this week, and as any Harry Potter fan knows, that's your Hogwarts birthday! Since he had a huge party last year, he needed to keep his guest list tiny this year - three kids from his class, plus his three close neighborhood friends that he's loved since forever. He wanted his sister and her bestie there too, so they joined for the first part, but then they jammed out to my neighbor's house, because the big kids watched a movie (Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them - too scary for little kids) for the last two thirds of the party.

Just because it was a small party did not mean it needed to be boring. I love to throw parties, and this one was so fun!

The J-bird waited for his guests outside. They threw a quaffle around until everyone had arrived, and then we all stepped through the barrier at Platform 9& 3/4

There are so many free Harry Potter printables online, and for the ones I couldn't find, I just made stuff up. I've seen lots of ideas for a wizard wanted poster, but I went simple and used this mirror that already hangs in my entryway.

Window crayon worked well for this message on the bathroom mirror.

I laminated Moaning Myrtle with packing tape...for obvious reasons...

 The little cauldrons held (chocolate) galleons to take home

Hedwig watched the proceedings from this cage I scored at Goodwill

Of course, a Harry Potter party needs sweets from Honeydukes. The J-bird and I had a great time deciding which candy got which name. has handy lists of all that stuff, like all the sweets mentioned in every book. All we had to do was get a little creative.

We used golden plates, of course.

To sort everyone into Hogwarts houses, we did a quiz, and the kids all got a broomstick pen to keep.

We also decorated edible wands!

The most fun thing we did - in my opinion - was Potions class. All the ingredients were set out and labeled (again, check online for lists!). I used different kinds of pop, drink mixes, and water flavoring add-ins. Each child got to take a turn choosing what to put in their potion. We mixed it all together in a beaker, stirred it to make it bubble up, and then they got a cup with a lid to drink it out of. They were INTO this.

 You can't have a Harry Potter party without wands, so I made one for each child and set up a little Ollivander's Wand Shop. The kids lined up and took turns letting the wands "choose the wizard". It was pretty sweet how willing they were to play, and each kid got a unique wand to take home. They played with them the entire time they were here.

To make these wands, I cut dowels of different widths down to different lengths and then narrowed down the ends using my belt sander. I made the designs on the handles using hot glue and different beads. Once that was set, I spray painted them different colors. Once that was dry, I added detail by brushing on and wiping off other colors of paint until I was happy with each one.

Each child took home a bag of loot and - hopefully - some fun memories.

Happy 11th birthday to my sweet boy. The years are flying by, and I like and respect you more with each new milestone you reach. You're a good kid, J-bird. Your heart is kind. You are a great friend and a loving brother. You have a quick mind and a sharp wit, and I love spending time with you. Keep laughing. Stay kind. Don't forget how deeply loved you are. Here's to you, kiddo.