Big Pumpkins, Waterways & Cannons, and Wildlife

Oh my goodness! Have you heard about the father and son that sent an iPhone 100000feet up in the air, recording, with a weather balloon. Awesome family fun inventiveness.  Check it out!!! We’re so watching this tonight.

What we’ll talk about tonight:   Erie Canal was opened in 1825 this day in history. It was the first man made waterway providing a route from Lake Erie to the Hudson River. Cost over 7.5 million dollars. Cannons were fired along the route for the opening.  That had to have been so cool standing and watching such a thing.  Of course if you were in a boat having canons fired at you, trying it out for the first time, not so much. The kids are going to have fun imagining that! (We hear a lot of giggles and see a lot of imagined reenactments at our dinner table.)

Today is also Give Wildlife a Brake. A catchy name for a reminder to start watching out for wildlife cause it’s dark in the morning and night.  In our subdivision, the wildlife are children, since I’ve had to brake suddenly for kids in the middle of the road or swerving bicycles on the way to school. It’s adrenalin-pumping, gripping the steering wheel, eyes-peeled experience taking Kat to school.

Last night, we carved jack o’lanterns, in preparation for our lil pumpkins to roast marshmallows.  I hate taking projects in steps. I’m so impatient! But, alas, that’s what we’re doing.

We’ll add the little green leaves on vines of the lil pumpkins. Some will be greedy with big marshmallows and some will have lil marshmallows, so they won’t get tummy aches. ( ;

Spy Games

Who doesn’t want to be a spy at least once during childhood? I know I wanted to be an FBI agent there for awhile. Today, in 1972, the first female FBI agents joined the ranks. So I thought it’d be fun to do some family spy games.
I didn’t realize, though, that the FBI has a FBI Kids website.

So we’ll do some spy school things tonight, as well as keep working on our Trick or Treat costumes. Katarina has decided to take this and modify it with some cross stitching skills on the wings to make it look like colorful designer wings for a cool fairy or butterfly.

Anabelle will be the queen of cats, but has changed her mind several times on what exactly that will look like. Sam is joining his sister in changing his mind several times after seeing some of the cool costumes for boys. I had to give a deadline. “You will choose a costume and stick with that costume by tomorrow or this mom will self-destruct. And then it will be impossible for her to help you.”

Yes, I refer to myself in the third person when I’m done discussing things.

Like after Anabelle really wanted a haircut and then decided she really didn’t.

AFTER the haircut was done.  Because after cutting off several inches her hair has more bounce and more curl. And she wants it straight.  Her sister has long straight hair and wants it curly and bouncy.  Isn’t that always the way?  I admit I can relate.

She’s adjusting. Mike & I  remarking frequently on how cute she looks doesn’t hurt.

Costumes, iPods, the UN, and Making a Difference–WEEKEND EDITION

So the iPod was unveiled in 2001 on this day.  We’re thinking about Halloween costumes, and we usually make our own costumes.  I thought this iPod costume rocked! Kat’s unsure.

Sam wants to be a ninja, and for awhile he was utterly convinced we needed to go to the store and BUY a sword and all the accessories.

If you’ve ever watched The Middle, you know what I said. “Sorry. Wrong family.”

We don’t buy our Halloween Costumes.  We make them. Because we’re creative.  (*ahem* and cheap)

I tried to get Sam to use a vacuum attachment instead. He balked. “No one will think that looks like a ninja?!?”

“Oh yeah?” I said.  I wished that I could whisk out a photo of Katarina dressed as a ninja for Halloween years ago to prove my point.

Instead, it took me 48 hrs. Kind of loses its ‘aha’ moment that way, but still.

Katarina made an awesome vacuum-accessory wielding ninja.  She knew how to sell it.

This is also the first time I had ever used the scanner feature on my new printer.  I can’t believe that you can get a scanner, printer, copier for under forty bucks! So, then I got distracted and had to scan something else.

Another homemade costume, cropped from a scanned scrapbook page.  I love the scanner!

Then I remembered that it’s Make A Difference Day so I can’t spend the whole day in front of the computer, scanning!

Make a Difference Day is a day designed for the nation to do good.  The cool thing about the whole thing, is that over 143,000 organizations have registered their activities for today, and if you go to their database and enter your zipcode it shows what’s going on in your area.  We found out about a cool organization we’d never heard about before and they’re doing something we can easily join in today.  See what’s going on in your neck of the woods.

If your town is like ours, there is a lot of school activities going on as well, so combined with the family creating halloween costumes, carving pumpkins, and celebrating that the United Nations was founded in 1945 (no, I haven’t actually come up with a family activity celebrating that), it promises to be a busy weekend.

Need help making your costume? Here’s some links to help:

Family Fun Magazine Gallery of Homemade Costumes

Parenting Magazine’s 100 Homemade Costumes

Scholastic Homemade Book Character Costumes

Martha Stewart Costumes for Kids and Adults


So, this is almost the end of National Chemistry Week – aside from pumpkins, it’s pretty much been our focus of the week.

Perfume.  Apparently the first chemist in history was a woman in Mesopotamia who in the 2nd millennium BC started a filtration process with flowers and oils and other things to make perfume.

The more I read about the chemistry of perfume, the more my head spun, so we were not going to try to make it. Instead, we got some free samples in the mail and decided to do some smell tests to see if they lived up to their claims.

In other words, silliness.

Mike and Katarina beat Sam and Anabelle home. So I started with one that was designed for men.  The ad would have you believe that women would swoon for any man wearing this particular scent.

Mike put it on.

Kat and I both agreed he smelled like a hotel bathroom that had just been cleaned and needed to go change his shirt.

Another scent claimed that the wearer would be seen as unresistably feminine with a hint of floral.

I put it on.

Katarina screeched, “Oh my gosh! You smell like an old church bathroom!  Not good!”

Mike agreed.

Sam and Anabelle walked in.  Anabelle froze. “Something smells unusual.”

We burst out laughing, and agreed to chase the smell out by baking cookies.

For older kids:  If you want some more chemistry that fits with the national theme of behind the movie scenes, Steve Spangler just released a how to make blood science video and recipes. It’s intended for teens who want to do the vampire thing, but if your kids want to know how movies do the blood thing, this will take the mystery out of it. I didn’t post the video because I’m too squeamish.