Sunday, March 31, 2013

Baskets and Eggs

The Easter Bunny came this morning!  Both kids seemed to think that they knew exactly where they would find their baskets this morning.  I guess the Easter Bunny heard them because they were a little harder to find than expected.


They were both excited about their goodies which each included a small LEGO set, Easter toys, and a few pieces of candy.


Later we colored Easter eggs.


Rachel was fascinated with the basic dye.


Then I pulled out a special kit I bought that created colorful textured eggs.  It included some glue and packages of different colored sand.  

 

Nicholas painted the glue on then placed the egg in a cup that contained the colored sand.


The sand stuck to the glue and really did look neat.  Rachel got into it too but she preferred to sprinkle the sand on her egg rather than roll it around in a cup.


Once we had dyed all the eggs we were going to dye, Nicholas asked if he could combine the colors.  


Of course he knew he would get a dark sludgy color....and he did!


Rachel laughed at his antics but she was quickly back to her egg work.


Every one of them was a little masterpiece.



This one was my favorite of all her eggs.  I just like the way the pink and yellow blend and then the yellow and green blend.  It looks cool!


She sprinkled sand on every one of her eggs and sometimes added sand on top of sand just to see if she could make them even more beautiful.


Our little artist at work!


Friday, March 29, 2013

Community Helpers: Fire Fighters

Today for preschool, I talked to Rachel about fire safety and fire fighters as community helpers.  

Outside, I used colored chalk to make some fires on the sidewalk.  I let Rachel play the role of the fire fighter who had to put out the fires with water from a squirt bottle.  


What kid doesn't love playing with a squirt bottle?!



I loved watching her at work.  


She put out all five fires.  Yay, Rachel!  You saved the day! 


She quickly realized that the wet chalk could be smeared around and could decorate her hand.


Finally, we played hopscotch on the fires.


As we were heading back inside, she was drawn to one of my rose bushes in the front yard.


She absolutely loves flowers and she enjoys checking on my flowers, smelling them...and occasionally pulling off their petals.




Sunday, March 24, 2013

Fossil Hunting in Fort Worth

I've been following the Dallas Paleontology Society (DPS) on Facebook and there has been some talk of a place  near Lake Worth in Fort Worth where fossils, particularly ammonites (which I love), can easily be found.  We were running errands today in the general area of the place so we stopped by to check it out.

We found a few cool things just walking towards the lake.  The ground is very rocky on the path and as we came to a steep slope, we decided that without their hiking boots on the kids should just stay with me and Stuart would venture down on his own to explore.  None of us ever made it down to the actual lake.

While we were waiting for Stuart to come back, I found this amazing piece...a mold and cast of an ammonite.  The piece on the left is an cast of the actual part of an ammonite and the piece on the right is a mold of the real thing.  I saw the other side of the ammonite on the surface of the ground.  I dug it up and then noticed the mold underneath.  So cool!  My first ammonite fossil!!


Someone on the DPS Facebook page suggested that it is an Oxytrpidoceras ammonite. We also found this piece of an ammonite.


Stuart and Nicholas found cool fossils of Echinoids (sea urchins). 


This is a big hunk of rock with a large smooth round piece protruding from it.  We aren't sure what it is but we didn't have the heart to leave it behind.  Someday I'll get a rock hammer and so a little more exploration on this piece.


Here is a cool shell.  This was not near the lake but I can say for certain that it is a fossil but it certainly could be since the whole area was under the water millions of years ago.


This picture is of an oyster shell, again this was not found near the water.  Someone on the DPS page suggested that it is ostrea which is an ancient genus of the oyster family.


I'm not sure what this little guy is.


Some little oyster shells.


These fossils were all easily found scattered through rocks or slightly embedded in the ground.  It was a fun place for the kids to explore but we were limited because of the steep slope.  We'll come back with hiking boots next time!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Cavanaugh Flight Museum Homeschool Day

We took a field trip today to Cavanaugh Flight Museum in Addison for their special Homeschool Day.  In addition to the awesome planes that we usually see, they had some special activities for the kids to enjoy.


We studied this plane last year in school as we learned about the Red Baron.  I wish I had thought to come see it in person at the time we were studying it but it was cool to see it today.


There was a scavenger hunt for the kids to find answers to questions.  There were prizes for winners so Nicholas worked hard on it and read the plane information looking for the answers.


We found this military version of a Piper Cub which I believe is the kind of plane my Dad flew at one time.



We learned about the USS Hornet aircraft carrier that headed to Japan during WWII.  Rachel loved the small scale model that included planes and little bitty people.


We all got excited to see the model of the children's learning center that will be coming to the museum in the near future.  Rachel loved the control tower with the tube slide coming down the side of it.


While Nicholas worked on his scavenger hunt, Rachel pretended to do the same as she drew on the scavenger hunt questions and map.


I liked this cool Air Force plane and tried to get Rachel to pose in front of it for the picture.


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She just crinkled up her face and whined "no".  What a stinker!


Rachel was fascinated with the pilot mannequin.


There was a panel of pilots who talked to the kids about how they got interested in flying and a little about their jobs.  One was airline pilot, one was a private instructor, and the other was a corporate pilot.  They answered questions from the kids after they talked.


Nicholas liked the Sherman tank.




We got to climb onboard a "deuce 1/2" military vehicle and go for a ride around the airport.


On the ride we saw the control tower.


The kids had fun looking at all the cool planes that we drove past.


We hopped on a shuttle to check out another hangar.  I think the kids enjoyed the shuttle ride as much as they did seeing the planes.


 In the south hangar, we saw the oldest known B-24 in existence....


...and some bombs!


Rachel wasn't as impressed with the bombs.  She preferred to use the open space near the door to fly around like an airplane.


I loved seeing one or more American flags in each hangar that we visited.


Rachel enjoyed "taking care" of the smallest friend that was with us.  She kept her arm around him as he walked "to catch him if he fell down".


Everyone seemed to enjoy playing with this demonstration of how a prop spins.


One of the mechanics talked to us a little about this plane engine and let the kids take some parts off an on.


They had a wrench attached to the display and certain pieces were removable while others were apparently welded on to keep kids from totally dismantling the engine.  Great idea.


Even Rachel really enjoyed this.  I think I'd like to set up a little activity for her that has a board with holes, some nuts and bolts, and a few wrenches so she can practice.  She enjoys it but it is also good exercises for muscle development in her hands as well as hand-eye coordination. 



This was an experimental shot looking at Nicholas through a piece on the top of the engine.


Nicholas and Granddad have matching Flying Tigers P-40 Warhawk t-shirts from an earlier visit to Cavanaugh several years ago.  Nicholas made sure to wear his shirt today and got excited when he found the actual plane in one of the hangars!


I enjoyed watching Nicholas laugh and run around with his friends.


And then there was some wrestling.  Believe it or not, Nicholas is in this pile somewhere.  I could hear his giggles as he was wiggling out to escape. Boys will be boys :)


I personally loved finding the Sopwith Camel replica which was the plane used to shoot down the Red Baron in WWII.


Nicholas found this cute model of a Pan Am airliner that shows cut outs into the cockpit and cabin areas.



We also stopped at the paper airplane table.  There were instructions and supplies for making several different styles of planes.  

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Nicholas made some of them but then made a few of his own design.


There was a board with two holes in it for kids to throw their paper airplanes through to score points.  Rachel and her friend posed in the holes for this pic. How cute!


We had a great time visiting the Cavanaugh Flight Museum for Homeschool Day.  Both of my kids enjoyed looking at the historic planes as well as participating in the special school activities.

The Cavanaugh Flight Museum is located at 4572 Claire Chennault in Addison, Tx.  They are open Mon - Sat 9:00 - 5:00 and Sun 11:00 - 5:00.  Prices: adults $10, seniors/military $7, children 4 and up $5.00, children 3 and under free.  For more information, please call 972-380-8800 or visit the Cavanaugh Flight Museum website.