2016 Care Package

Camp careWell it’s that time of year. Kids all over the country are cheering because it is time to go to summer sleep away camp. That means care packages. Here are some of my favorite finds for this years care packages.

Pug Pillow

This little face is sure to bring smiles to your camper.

Nature Mandalas Coloring Book

This coloring book is perfect for rest time.


My daughter had grown board coloring until I bought her a fresh set of sharpies. I would only recommend sharpies for older campers.

Tassel Necklace

Who doesn’t love jewelry?

Sports Pre Wrap

Sports pre wrap is thin, flexible, foam like fabric on a spool. Kids can make bracelets, headbands, necklaces, decorate their bunk. The possibilities are endless.

Grape Ball

These are so much fun to play with.

Fake Poo

This is sure to bring laughter to any cabin.


I don’t know which is more fun planting the fake cockroaches or finding them.


If your camper is in a warm climate this just might be their favorite gift. Make sure you include batteries.

National Geographic

Most kids I’ve encountered love “National Geographic”.

Nail Dryer

Nail painting seems to be very popular at camp. How fun to receive a nail dryer. Once again don’t forget the batteries.

Life Lately

13533100_1031687370213432_7279680169382254350_nHow sad? I have not blogged in awhile! The last month has been a complete whirl wind. As most home school parents will tell you their life is non stop. In my case, if one little wrench is thrown my way it is a complete nightmare. My wrench was a kidney stone Memorial Day weekend. I had no idea I had a kidney stone. The morning I was released my best friends from college arrived then it was non stop getting two kids ready for camp. Yikes!!! Of course on the way to camp my three year old car broke down…at 11:30 at night. To make a long story short it needed a whole new engine. Fortunately, Buick covered the repairs and the rental car. Yeah, Buick! After dropping the kids off at their two different respective camps in two different states on the same day….relaxation.

For the past few years we have celebrated our anniversary weeks before, weeks after, or not at all. Why? Our anniversary was not only a great day to have a wedding. It is the perfect time of year for our Boy Scout troop to go to summer camp. Not this year, they are going in July. This year we decided to celebrate by checking in to the most delightful bed and breakfast in Virginia and relax.

I love my children, I love home educating, I love my house, I love scouting BUT I needed a break in a big way. My husband and I had such an amazing time hiking, lingering over breakfast, reading, etc… Most people who teach whether it be in a school or your living room are giving people. It is easy to loose sight of yourself. If you fall in this category ask yourself when the last time you did something for yourself. I was reminded this month how important it is to take a break.

If you need a break and are any where near Christiansburg, Virgina I highly recommend The Oaks Bed and Breakfast. It is an absolutely beautiful property. Linda and Bernie the proprietors are absolutely delightful. The breakfasts are delicious. There are great restaurants and things to do in and around Christiansburg. If you do visit The Oaks I would like to recommend 622 North in Blacksburg for dinner.  I would also like to recommend the Davis Winery and Distillery. It was a fun adult thing to do. Their apple pie moonshine is something special. Now that I am back from vacation back to all the things I love!


WW II Vet Wisdom

The kids and I heard this commentary on NPR by WW II vet Larry Kirby. There is so much to be learned from the “greatest generation”. There is much wisdom to be gained from someone who has over ninety years of life experience.

Direct Current (DC) Experiment

fun with physicsdc expertitleNow that we have studied the differences between DC (direct current) and AC (alternating current) and Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla it was time to get hands on with our knowledge. We decided to start chronologically with direct current. Homopolar motors are really fun and easy to make. All you need is:

dc exp suppliesI bought the magnets and batteries at Radio Shack. The wire and tools can be purchased at Home Depot. If I was going to do this experiment all over again I would have purchased thinner wire that was more pliable. The needle nose pliers were very helpful.

To make your homopolar motor use a blunt nail to make an indention to the cathode of your battery. This will help the wire stay in place. Place the magnet to the bottom of the battery. Allow the kids to create shapes with the wire. Just remember one end of the wire needs to be touching the cathode and the other needs to touch the magnet. Once you achieve success its really fun to watch your wire design spin and spin.

Why does it spin? Well the electrical current flows from the positive terminal of the battery to the negative in the magnet. The short answer is the current in the copper wire and the magnetic field kind of work together to create a force that creates the spinning motion.

Field Trip: Fort Lauderdale Air and Sea Show



If you have a child who loves military jets this is the time to be in Fort Lauderdale. It is fleet week here and it is a wonderful week. It is so fun to see sailors everywhere. The port is filled with ships. Starting on Wednesday jets are overhead. It’s a little scary if you happen to forget this is Air and Sea Show week. Your first thought is “we’re under attack”. Each day there are more and more jets as they practice for the big show on Saturday and Sunday. My kids this week have tried to quickly complete their school work in the morning so they could spend their afternoons in the pool and watch the Air Force Thunderbirds go over our house. It has been such a fun week. You can’t help but swell with pride and admiration for the amazing skills of our men and women in the military.

If you are planning to go to the Air and Sea Show there are usually trams that will take you down to the beach. The Galleria Mall is a popular place to park and catch a tram. Make sure you bring lots of food and beverages to keep yourself fed and hydrated. The restaurants down on the beach are usually jam packed. Another great way to see the Air and Sea Show is to stay in one of the many hotels down on the beach. With a little pre-planning this is probably one of the most comfortable options. AC, bathroom, pool, and food all at your disposal.

If you are not a big fan of crowds there is another great solution. Usually, they publish the practice schedule for Thursday and Friday.  If you are going with young children I highly recommend going on Thursday or Friday. Saturday and Sunday is amazing but it is a complete zoo.  With that said it is worth a little inconvenience it is an amazing event.

Another Experiment for Newton’s First Law

newton titleHere is another really fun way to demonstrate Newton’s first law of motion.

Newton’s First Law: An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.

All you need is several strings of Mardi Gras beads, a hot glue gun, a vase, and scissors. Cut the necklaces so you have long strings of beads. Glue one end to the next so you have one super long string of beads. Place the beads in a vase. Take the end and let it pour out. The beads will keep going with out any help which demonstrates Newton’s first law. We shot in slow motion so you can really see the force creating this great arching motion.

Newton’s Third Law of Motion

newtons third lawNo surprise that we would be learning Newton’s third law. Newton’s third law states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. I had (past tense) a great video of our experiment for Newton’s third law.  Rocket experiments are a great way to demonstrate Newton’s third law. We have done a lot of rocket experiments so we decided to try something a little different. We made balloon cars. I equipped each of my children with life savers, cardboard, bamboo skewers, duct  tape, a balloon, and a straw.


They came up with some pretty creative designs. DSC_1726


No surprise, my son the master lego builder rather effortlessly built his car and it worked perfectly. My daughter probably learned more. She had to tweak her design numerous times before her car moved forward. This is a great lesson not only for Newton but problem solving. Sometimes the learning outcomes are far greater from our mistakes than our successes. Happy Monday!

This entry was posted in Science.

Newton’s Second Law of Motion

Newtons second law titleYesterday, we talked about Newton’s first law you probably guessed that today we would cover his second law! You would be right!

Newton’s Second Law: Acceleration is produced when a force acts on a mass. The greater the mass (of the object being accelerated) the greater the amount of force needed (to accelerate the object).

We found this great video that illustrates Newton’s Second Law really well. Bravo to this science teacher. I did not have a bowling ball lying around so I am grateful for her illustration of Newton’s second law.

Newton’s First Law of Motion

newton title

Who would have thought Newton’s Three Laws of Motion could be so fun. I was probably just imagining it but when I informed the kids we were studying Newton’s Law’s of Motion I could have sworn I heard sighs and groaning. There are some really fun and easy experiments that illustrate the laws really well.

Newton’s First Law: An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.

The kids loved performing this experiment. They were absolutely thinking there was going to be some serious egg clean up in the kitchen. All you need is a raw egg, glass of water (we dyed ours for fun), a toilet paper roll, and a pie plate. I bought my pie plate from the dollar store.

We also shot the video in slow motion.

A Little Help From the Kids

This past year has been a difficult one for our family. My mother in law and my husband’s grandmother passed away three months apart. Our house has felt a little bit like it was falling into physical disrepair. Projects which we would usually spread out and tackle here and there were completely thrown on the back burner. Each day last week felt a little warmer than the last. It was a reminder that the outside projects needed to be completed ASAP unless I wanted to complete them in sweltering heat. Not to mention my best friends from college arrive in a little over a month and I would like the house spic and span. I am horrible at asking for help.  I usually have to be going down in flames for me to reach out to a few really close friends and ask for help. However, this weekend I did it. I asked my kids for help. Not paid chores but good old fashion, “I need your help around the house”. Don’t get me wrong my kids help around the house weekly as part of their chores and have responsibilities that are unpaid as members of our family. However, I had them help with things that were home maintenance projects. They helped sand and refinish the patio furniture and pressure wash the back porch and driveway. It felt great! They actually seemed to enjoy the pressure washing.  I think they liked the feeling of helping and knowing that they made a difference. I am still a little shell shocked how much got done this weekend. Yeah! I have such great kiddos!

On Saturday afternoon our wonderful piano teacher held a small recital. Normally, I would have had the grandparents down and made a big production out of such an event. Honestly, I wasn’t too sure how the kids would do. We have had a very busy second half of the school year and the kids have not practiced the way I would have liked. However, at the end of the day they played well…not perfect..but well and continue to become more comfortable playing in front of a crowd. We of course celebrated with a trip to Hoffman’s Chocolates for their favorite ice cream. I love going into the week after a productive weekend. Happy Monday everyone!