Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Back to School Fun at Dove Park

The Coppell Home School Association had a fun back to school party at Dove Park in Grapevine.  It's been a while since we've been to this park.  I was surprised to find that they have completely redone it and there is even a splash pad now!



CHSA even provided popsicles for everyone!



When they got bored of the splash pad, the kids decided to explore the new playground.  They found this cool climbing wall.


It was really kind of tricky to get up but at least they didn't have to climb back down that way.  There was a slide on the other side.


There are lots of fun things to climb and do for big kids and little kids.


There are fun signs all around like this "Do not press the button" that you just can't resist.  Nicholas found the other one in the picture that says, "Do Not Enter.  Or enter.  I'm a sign not a cop".  How fun!


My kids loved this little air powered elevator to come down from the giant fort.


But our FAVORITE part of the park was the zip line!  Yes, I said ZIP LINE!!




Of course, Nicholas the Daredevil asked me to take this video of him going backwards on the zipline!




Dove Park is located at 1509 Hood Lane in Grapevine.  There is a pool, splash pad, pavillions, and this cool playground!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Fizzy Foamy Science Kit

We are starting the morning off with some fun science using this Fizzy Foamy Science Kit (affiliate link) by Scientific Explorer.  It comes with supplies and equipment for 7 cool experiments including oil, citric acid, yeast, baking soda, cups, bag, measuring spoon, magnifier, and color tablets.  I love that I didn't have to run around buying all of the supplies! 


They have completed several of the experiments already.  This one I captured on video is where they were testing how citric acid responded different when added to cold water vs hot water.





They enjoyed making lots of foamy messes.  Fortunately I keep several of these little baking trays from Dollar Tree on hand for such a time as this.


The kit is recommended for ages 4 and up.  The instructions for the experiments are easy to understand and my kids were able to complete them entirely on their own but I was present to supervise.  There is even a log in the instruction guide where they could record their experiment results.

My kids loved this kit.  It entertained them while they learned and then they even expanded on the ideas in this kit to create new experiments of their own.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Bye-Bye Braces (for now)

Nicholas got his braces off today!  Here is his picture before we went in to the orthodontist's office this morning....


And here is the final result!  He is so excited.  He immediately asked to get some popcorn and bubble gum since he couldn't have those while he had the braces.


Unfortunately, this is only the end of Round 1.  There will be a Round 2 once the rest of his permanent teeth have come in. 

He also has a wayward permanent tooth that isn't coming down into its proper spot.  It can be seen on the xrays and it is possibly at too much of an angle to make its way down.  He may end up having to see an oral surgeon to fix this problem but for now we are going to give it a little more time and see if it figures out its rightful place in his mouth.

Our Intro to Fiber Arts at Dallas Makerspace

Rachel and I took a class at Dallas Makerspace on using a drop spindle to spin our own yarn.  We learned about different types of fibers that you can spin, how to care for the fibers, and different ways to spin.

We started with separating the fibers into more manageable size.  Then we pre-drafted the fibers so they are pulled out and thinned a little and make sure all the fibers are going in the same direction.



We used a easy to make drop spindle made with a dowel, old CD, and a hook.  Rachel learned how to draft the fibers and spin them on the spindle.  She was so excited to learn this new skill!


We also learned how to use a spinning wheel but we weren't actually brave enough this time to try it out.  Maybe next time.  The fiber arts group gets together every Tuesday night to teach a class, help newbies, or just work together on various projects.


We usually spend our time at Dallas Makerspace using the 3D printers but I've been trying out new activities there and it just makes me excited to learn more!  Check out my recent tour of Dallas Makerspace.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Dallas Makerspace

There is an amazing place for artists, makers and tinkerers in the Dallas area.  It's called Dallas Makerspace and you've got to check it out! 


DMS is a non-profit organization based on collaboration.  Artists, inventors, and tinkerers share a building space.  Monthly dues of $50 go towards building and utilities expenses as well as equipment and supply costs.  As a member you can go to DMS 24 hours a day and use any of the equipment, usually with no additional cost to you. Members can also teach classes here to help others learn about different hobbies and crafts. 

Here is a basic layout of the building and I'll show you some pictures of just what all you can do at DMS.


We mostly come to DMS to use their 3D printers.  Today Nicholas is making a puzzle box on the printers.  He uses a website called Thingiverse to find plans developed by other 3D printer users and uses those plans to create the items on the 3D printers at DMS.  You can bring your own filament to create your item or pay a very small price per pound to use the filament available at DMS.


Here is part of the 3D printing room.  There are several nice sized 3D printers around the room.  They work well and are very popular.  Unfortunately we often have to wait for one to come available.  And once you start your project on a 3D printer, you can't leave the building - even if the project takes 10 hours to print!


This is the electrical room.  I'm not really sure what all happens here but there is a lot of electrical stuff in here.


And lots of small electrical supplies like wires, clips, LEDs, resistors, etc.  Nicholas loves working with electrical circuits but so far we haven't done anything in this room yet.


My favorite room is the Creative Arts room.  Here is a cabinet of sewing machines and sewing supplies.


I love the leatherworking supplies.  We have a few basic leatherworking tools at home but here we can experiment with lots of other tools and supplies.


There is even a whole cabinet on fiber arts complete with spindles and looms.

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A big wide-format printer.


Drawers full of different kinds of art paper and cutting mats.


Pens, paper cutters, stamps, sticker makers, clay tools.


So many fun art supplies!  Paint, button makers, laminator, and more!


More supplies...pastels, colored pencils, hot glue, stencils, engraving tools, wood burning tools.  It's like paradise to a craft-a-holic like myself!


See this cool picture of Marilyn Monroe?


It is made up entirely of lines drawn by a robotic pen contraption!  It's always fun to see what amazing creativity can be found here at Makerspace.


On to the workshop area.  This is aquaponics...plants growing up top, fish in a water tank down below.  Fish waste products are broken down by bacteria and transformed into nitrates that are beneficial to the plants then the water drains back down into the fish tank.


They actually have 2 levels of plants growing in this system.  I signed up for a course here that someone was teaching on how to get started in aquaponics but once I realized that we really don't have space for a set up like this I decided to back out of the class.


There is a whole corner dedicated to pottery including these 5 pottery wheels.  Someday the kids and I will take a class and make something on these cool things!


Now we get into some of the bigger tools in the workshop area.  Many of these I don't really understand but Stuart is excited about having them available to use.  This is a sandblaster.


A CNC mill.


Bridgeport manual mill


They even have an ammunition reloading station.


They have a giant laser cutter that can follow a program to cut out wood and foam board to your specifications.


A CNC plasma cutter


Welding tools and blacksmithing forges.


 CNC router


Dallas Makerspace is an amazing place where creative minds can come together to learn and create cool things!  What would you create here?


Dallas Makerspace is located at 1825 Monetary Lane #104 in Carrollton, TX right off I-35 E.  Check out their website at www.dallasmakerspace.org.  They offer monthly tours for people interested in finding out more about membership.