Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Camo Artist

Art by Lui Bolin:

Monday, July 30, 2012

Picking Cherries

One of Greg's greatest loves at Green Bluff (not counting his wifey by his side) are the pie cherries.  We've missed them some years, so it was a blessing when our spur of the moment trip found them ripe for the picking.  We went to Cherry Hill, very appropriately named, #25 on this map.  If you forget to bring cash (like we did), you can get some at #6 Harvest House.  It's a great place to stop for browsing their cute little gift shop, purchasing fresh-from-the-farm produce, or grabbing a bite to eat.  Same place I broke my camera, BTW, but I don't hold that against them!  =)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me!

Chocolates appeared on the table as if by magic . . .
Friends and family called to sing or express their love . . .
We had dinner with my parents, brother, and grandmother . . .
Lots of gifts and cards to open . . .

Friday, July 27, 2012

Green Bluff

The lovely drive to Green Bluff is always worth it, no matter how short the stay.  This trip we only had time to buy a snack before heading home, but the frozen cider was enjoyed for days.  Wow! - that is one PERFECT drink for hot weather!!  TOTALLY hits the spot!  Greg said his blueberry pie was the best ever, and my doughnut was yummy with the cider.  Kylen opted to skip having something, preferring a coffee drink on the way home.  Greg kindly shared a few bites of pie with him.

The last shot is the one that broke my camera!  I dropped it on the cement, which caused it to jam.  They said fixing it could take three weeks, but it came back fairly quickly.  Greg chastised me for rarely using the strap while taking pictures.  (I always use it while walking around in between shots.)  I told him I'll be better about that.  No matter the problem, they charge a minimum $150 fee, so nope!  That shot was not worth breaking the camera!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Beach in a Bottle

I thought this craft had a lot of potential but didn't like the "cheap" feeling of the plastic bottle, especially with older students in the class.  I wanted something more classy and decided to try using a glass bottle with a cork.  It worked well, although a couple boys pushed the cork in too far.  Thankfully, I had a few extras.  I found the bottles at Michaels.

The first step is to remove the cork!  Using a funnel, pour 1 tbsp of course sand into the glass bottle.  Students were allowed to choose white or black.  Most picked white sand, and there are other colors available at craft stores.  Be sure to use course sand!!!  Fine will mix with the oil and produce an ugly, goopy mess that will have to be thrown out.

Students had the option of adding a small glass white or blue marble and 7 small shells.  Mix 2 drops green and blue food coloring into 2 cups of water to get turquoise.  You could mix other colors such as blue or red.  Tinted water will lighten in the bottle, so go darker than you want.  Fill the bottle half to 2/3s full using the funnel, put on the cork, and swish around.  Carefully dump water out, so most of the sand stays inside.  Pour in fresh tinted water, and repeat.  It will "clean" the sand, getting rid of some of the smaller particles that make the water cloudy.  I figured this out during class when a student noticed my example was clearer than hers.  While experimenting at home, I had emptied my water out several times to try different tints and inadvertently cleaned my sand in the process.

Next, students could add a pinch of glitter.  I had silver, gold, and red to choose from.  Fill bottle almost to the top with mineral oil, again using the funnel.  Rub tacky glue around inside top of the glass lip, just a few millimeters deep.  Press the cork in securely, and wait for glue to dry.  Turn the bottle on its side, and gently rock to create a "wave." 

The glue a little further down the cork may never dry completely and may mix with the water, but I don't think it's a problem.  The cork does a good job keeping the contents inside.  It's more of a precautionary step and probably wouldn't be needed if the students handle the bottle carefully.  Speaking of which, I can't even fathom what a big chore it would be to clean up should one of these break.  The combination of oil, dyed water, and sand isn't good for a carpet!  I emphasized to both students and parents that this isn't a toy.  It should be treated more as a breakable decoration.

Some students opted not to use the oil and instead filled the bottle all the way with tinted water.  This eliminates the "rolling waves" look but still looks pretty.  Another variation is to skip both oil and water and just use sand with the shells on top.  A small piece of paper rolled and tied with a piece of twine would make a fine addition: message in a bottle.  For that version, the shells will stay on top better if fine sand is used.

Tip: test experimental items in the water before adding the oil to make sure you like how they look.  One of my shells floated on the water instead of sinking, which was annoying.  Once the oil is added, you don't want to pour anything out or things get very messy.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Permanent Marker Artist

It's astounding what can be done with a permanent marker.  Art by Heike Weber:

Art vs. Calligraphy

I love the way Margaret Shepherd mixed art and calligraphy in this horse and cat picture:

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Library LEGO Classes

I never pictured myself doing a big photo shoot with a LEGO model, but here you have it. In my mind, any project Greg devotes half the summer to deserves decent pictures, especially if it looks all super cool techy with wires sticking out and stuff.

He's taught five classes at local libraries, including two on this tic tac toe robot. Kylen and I don't share the same level of enthusiasm for Mindstorms, but I have to admit this one is pretty neat! Plus, it makes Hubby happy, which makes me happy! For those interested in more details, here's a link to Greg's LEGO blog.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Weekend Window Washing

Sandwich in a Can

Kylen and I were so excited to see Candwiches in Wal-mart after having watched a video about their invention.  We couldn't resist trying them!  Honey BBQ had the meat mixture in the center, which made it feel more like a novelty.  Whereas, the peanut butter and jelly needed to be squeezed on the bread from plastic pouches.  Both kinds were pretty decent tasting considering their shelf life (Nothing beats fresh!).  It would make a great sample food during an inventions class!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Manito Park

Click here for a post I did on Manito in 2008.