Thursday, February 25, 2010

Mad Science Birthday Party

Okay, I finally have a few minutes to post about the kid's birthday party. Above is Cadence on her 9th Birthday, this is sort of her birthday outfit, the shoes were from Dad, the skirt and shirt from Mom and the leg warmers from Auntie Becca (she felt very stylish). So on with the details of the science inspired party, which was my daughters idea, but I had a hard time keeping her on the science theme, I was a skeptic at first, but I think it turned out pretty cool and fun was had by all. Now I am again saying I kept the party pretty simple, and for those who scoff at me because it doesn't look simple, I have to explain how much editing I do in my head. There are so many ideas that I think up but then dismiss, so to me this is a simple version of the party. Sorry there are a lot of pictures, but I think those explain a lot better then words!

First of all, here is one of the goody bags, plain white bags from a craft store, then I cut out a beaker shape from flame fabric and ironed it on with stitch witchery. (super easy and made me think up all sorts of ideas for future) Inside I included some some science type stuff and ingredients that tied in to our experiments, like bubbles and mentos. There was also some candy and typed out instructions for the experiments.

So, here was our table - I covered the table with a plastic tablecloth, then I borrowed this cool centerpiece thing from work and filled it with snacks. Also I borrowed a bunch of beakers of various sizes; the ones on the table are filled with colored sand and scoops, the first thing we did was a craft with plastic beakers and test tubes that I bought from Oriental Trading super cheap, the girls filled them (with a funnel) with the colored sand to make cool designs. My example beaker is on the table between the purple and blue sand.

Close up of the snacks in a science type center piece borrowed from my work (catering company).

I bought bud vases from a florist shop for a quarter each (they look like test tubes!) and filled them with Nerds. The girls each got a vial in their bag and then I put some on the table and then hung the rest from the ceiling fan.

Then with their pizza, I had them make their own drink potions. I had tons of Juices, soda and milk. Each girl got their own beaker to drink from and I had different sizes to measure the liquids, and little droppers. The only rule is that everyone had to at least taste their concoction. They had tons of fun with this - and I have to say having all those glass beakers made the difference and made it seem authentic (I was just deathly afraid that one of the kids was going to break one!).

I love this picture of them making their potions, because Molly's face looks so disgusted!

This experiment was about testing the acidic levels in liquids using Red Cabbage juice, which I thought was one of the neatest experiments, but the girls did not care about the science behind it, they just had way too much fun changing the cabbage juice different colors (purple cabbage juice turns blue when baking soda is added, then the more acidic the ingredient the juice will go back to purple). And yes the juice did stink something awful here as evident by Joanie's hand over her nose.

We then did some experiments with dye and oil and what not, but this picture is of the girls seeing the effects of soap on dye with a fatty liquid, they made a ton of different patterns.

Here is a closeup of Cadence's (before she added like 5 other colors) the glue had a different effect on the dye then milk, this sort of looks like veins to me. Very cool.

Then of course we did a ton of experiments with baking soda and vinegar. This one is like a mini volcano in a water bottle. We added dish soap though (thanks Nancy for the idea!) and when the chemical reaction started it churned up the bubbles and made these fountain type bubbles that went on and on.

Of course, Pete had to show them how to shake up the bottles and then squirt them at each other and it turned into a big water fight, vinegar mess. We did this experiment over and over again, until we had no vinegar left, tons of outdoor fun in Feb. (thank goodness the weather was reasonable and sunny).

Here is my cute husband getting the mento, Diet Coke experiment ready. This was by far Cadence's most anticipated experiment.

At first the girls all got a wide clearance from the explosion, they were a little timid and did not want to end up with diet coke all over them (but vinegar is ok?).

But after the first one, they all swarmed in to take part and set off their own bottle.

This picture says it all. This is the results of our experiment.

What I didn't anticipate, was the girls swarming in to drink the Diet Coke, they were scrambling to get their own 2 liter to start swigging.

It kind of made me think of alcoholics rushing to get a drink and swigging it down, looked really hilarious to see a bunch of 8 and 9 year olds with giant sodas in their hands. Sorry moms! I did make them stop and throw the soda out, after they all got a drink.

Child after my own heart, knows how to eat and requested a Boston Cream Pie for her birthday instead of a birthday cake, and I guess she ended up with sugar and junk all over face after all.

Monday, February 22, 2010

California (with a stop over in Vegas)

Grandma Dee (my mother's mother) has not been feeling well lately, we think she might have (had) shingles. She is a holistic (i.e. nutty) type of lady who doesn't believe in aspirin or doctors. I used to sort of snicker at this, among some of her other beliefs, but I have to admit, the lady is 94, maybe that is the secret. Too late for me since I believe in pain killers and diet coke. Anyway, the point of that fact is that she will not go to the doctors, and we are getting reports from friends that she was/is really bad off. So Cadence, still had a week off from school, so I dropped everything (sorry to those whom I dropped the ball on!) and drove to LA to see what I could do for my grandma.

I took Cadence with me since we have not been to California in over 4 years. I knew this would be no vacation, but I was hoping for Cadence to have some kind of memory of her great grandma, before it was too late. I really wanted her to share in the magic of her house too. Growing up as a kid, I thought her house/yard was amazing. She was always an avid gardener and her yard was always in full bloom, she also had a waterfall and stream running through her yard, ending in a little pond that we used to splash around in.
When we first arrived, it was pretty evident that Dee needed a bit of help. She has been unable to really take care of a house of that size. I was really saddened at first because I instantly compared this view to my childhood memories, and thought "oh no the magic is gone". And let me insert here part of that "magic" I saw as a kid, was what we grownups call hoarding or pack rat. Not so magical when you are an adult and wonder why she has kept every glass mayo jar for the last 30 years. However it became obvious that to Cadence the magic was still there. She thought it was way neat to find one whole drawer filled with old glasses and sunglasses.
And although her backyard was not quite the former glory it always had been, there were still so many treasures to find. Let me remind you that we were there the second week of February! It was completely spring there! It was almost as if without any help or trying flowers were peeping up everywhere, these bulbs were blooming in an old pot in between the shed and a ladder by the backdoor. Dee is queen of the random knickknack, when overall it is very overwhelming but still very special to find a troll or a topiary hidden in the blooms. I was really happy that there seemed to still be some mystery to her backyard for Cadence.

While I was driving on the famous LA freeways, I was really questioning wither I could live in California again. I usually tell people that I grew up in California, but that I am a true Utahan now, which is absolutely true, but I really wondered how Utah am I? Seeing the commute and the traffic and the crazy (materialistic if I am allowed a gross summary based on cars and clothes) people (I mean the maid at the restaurant was better dressed than I was and she was hanging out in the bathroom, texting on her IPhone) I thought "no way - I could never live here again". But then we had a day like this.......

Where I sat on the beach and dug my toes in the sand and took beautiful shoots of the sunset on the water, and yea something surged inside me, something akin to home sickness, or maybe it was just a feeling of peace. I'm sure everyone feels this at the beach, but I tell you I certainly don't feel this renewed after going to the Great Salt Lake.

This picture is of my crazy child who insisted on getting in the water. Now let me tell you that when we left Ut it was 45 degrees (quite a warm for Feb.) this day in particular it was 80 degrees at Dee's house. yep. maybe I could get used to traffic for Spring and 80 degrees in February. By the time we got to the beach though the temp was hovering around 65 (ish). Imagine what the water temp must have been, but I could not convince my child of this and she insisted on getting wet. I know I am old, when I had to get a hoodie out of the trunk to bundle up a bit.

And of course she always has me make her into a mermaid. And I am still afraid of sand crabs.

I met my oldest friend at the Cheesecake Factory. The Cheesecake Factory has a long history for us, and I laughed that there was no discussion about where to meet, it was just what time to be at the Factory.

This is not my favorite picture of me, but for the sake of being a historian, I am putting it in. I am a big proponent of throwing away pics of me that are not flattering, but hey there really is no such thing as a flattering picture of me. Sad but true, I am not photogenic!

Then we stopped in Vegas for two nights to give us some relaxation and fun and to break up the drive. This is Kalena, Cadence's 5 year old cousin, who acts like she is 13. The girls had to dress alike and do each others toe nails and then proceeded to pose for the camera. These two are quite the loud, talking drama queens.

This shot was posed by them as well.

I had really set my heart on going to Disneyland with Cadence, since we had so much fun together when she was 4 - but alas it did not happen, Dee needed more attention and we could not get away for a full day. As a compromise I took Cadence to Circus Circus in Las Vegas, this was her idea and I am not really sure where it came from. She seemed to think we were going to a real Circus, but she felt like she was too old for the little kid rides and she was pretty terrified to go on the big rides (evidence on her face). Needless to say it was not a substitute for Disneyland.

They did have a very cool Sponge Bob 4D adventure. So that is that, a little adventure for the kid and I, I spent a lot of time in Ca in my pajamas, scrubbing on my hands and knees and Cadence watched a lot of TV, not too exciting, but we sure did appreciate the weather and all the flowers.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Road Trip

You know you are old when on a road trip you;
1. Get excited about what kind of Gas Mileage you are getting (38 MPG until St. George!)
2. Are overly concerned about what kind of "time" you are making.
3. And when your gas tank holds more liquid then your bladder.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Kid's Turning 9 (insert my freak out here!)

Cadence, my silly imaginative child turns 9 this weekend, (and yes this does install panic in me in so many ways, that we don't need to explore here). She has been thinking about this day, and in turn a party for quite some time. Now we don't have parties every year - I think we have settled on every other year, but this year she informed me that she wanted a mad science party.... hmm huh what? "A science party with cool stuff"


Now if you know me, or read this blog you would know that I am very good at creative crafty things. The dark secret is that I almost failed biology in High School - I don't do science, and I pretty much don't enjoy math, or technology, or auto shop (Almost failed that one too) for that matter. That is why my husband compliments me so well - I bet he thinks Monet and Manet are the same person. Anywho, my child felt the need to clue me in to what she was expecting for her party - here is the dialog as follows:

C - " First of all my friends will show up in mad science outfits and what not..."

Me - "Wait stop, are you expecting your friends to come dressed up or am I providing lab coats to all your guests?"

C- "um well, okay, maybe not dressed up, but maybe we can get them lab goggles to put on when they arrive."

Me- "can we bedazzle the goggles?"

C- "what? anyways, then we will have a competition with Diet Coke and Mentos outside and see who can get theirs the highest."

Me- "Okay, we can do that but I don't think there will be a good way to judge who's is the highest - we can just have fun with it."

C- "No it will be a competition, you can make like a giant measuring board like on MythBusters.

Then we will shove mentos into the diet coke and seal it off to make a bomb, and throw it off the back balcony to watch it explode."

Me- "It will explode right away, you can't get the lid back on."

C- "Okay, well then we will make other kinds of bombs and throw them off the back deck. We will just explode whatever we want. Then we will make clouds."

Me - "um like a craft with cotton balls?"

C- " no real clouds, that work and how do you make a cloud?"

Me - " uh I don't know if that is a possibility"

C- "Oh it is, and we will do that. Then we will make a volcano erupt, and then shove our faces in a bowl of whip cream."

Me - "excuse me? what does whip cream have to do with Science?"

C- "I dunno it's just cool."

So with that conversation to go on I have a party to plan. What I will do, still not sure and we are 2 days away. Just found out though last night that dry ice bombs are against the law... there goes the bomb off the back deck portion of our day. Sigh. My child is stretching my capabilities with this one, but of course I am up for the challenge. And yes there is a company here in Utah that do Science Parties for you, but no my Husband shamed me out of that for some reason, and I listened to him!

I will be sure to post more later on the results of the party - cross your fingers for me, I am sure some kids will leave totally confused, but oh well.