Monday, March 18, 2013

No more smelly dog!

Bob and Noah gave Lucky a bath tonight, the stench just was too much to bear, nobody could stand it for another minute. Clearly, Lucky was in agreement, as she complacently stood in the tub as Bob and Noah showered and shampooed her black coat. Noah gently rubbed and dried her shiny sweet smelling coat as best as he could before Lucky had had enough and was ready for to resume her after dinner position - supine in the fire place. 

Anyone looking at the bath tub after this event would think we had a bald dog...

I must be dreaming..

Saturday morning, no major things on the calendar, and the dog decided to sleep in, so we lingered in half slumber in bed... only to be completely woken up by the sound of...? No, that cannot be... It sure sounds like.... Yes, it really is the vacuum cleaner! Who is using the vacuum cleaner so early in the morning?

I stumbled out into the hallway and was greeted by a big sign, and Lukas working the vacuum cleaner diligently on the other side of the sign. What is happening? I must be dreaming! Our 11 year old son, up at the crack of dawn, sweeping, dusting, vacuuming... It turns out Lukas wanted to attend a Ham Radio Net at 9 am and wanted to make sure that no chores stood in between him and this Net.

Motivation is a wonderful tool for getting things done. Our house cleaning was complete in record time.

Friday, March 15, 2013


Lukas enjoyed his math lesson today as it involved building interesting pure tessellating polygons using colorful cardboard and rubber bands. Compare to his lesson yesterday, where he studied the sine curve this seemed like a piece of cake or rather piece of cardboard?

Famous Men

The library research project that Lukas and Noah worked on culminated in an evening celebration where the children, dressed up as their character, delivered a 1-2 minute monologue. Lukas and Noah worked diligently to turn their third person research paper into a first person monologue and labored all weekend over their costumes. Their speech class teachings came in handy and both boys felt comfortable standing in front of the audience performing, Lukas so much that he went completely off script. It worked out, since only Mamma knew what the script was, and Lukas knew his character, Pythagoras inside out and could speak extemporaneously about him without missing a beat. 

Look three pages!

Noah and Lukas are participating in Essentials, the afternoon part of  Classical Conversation where we dig deep into English grammar, have fun practicing and drilling math facts and learn the intricacies of excellence in writing.

Noah is one of the youngest students in the class but clearly is holding his own, creating attention getting sentences as well as imaginative and clever clinchers. He dutifully and carefully completes his assignments and just could not contain himself when his most recent paper, a library research paper on King Tut,  was three pages.

Preparing for presentation

On Monday Lukas had to do a five minute presentation to his Classical Conversation class, preferably demonstrating something. He set out to make a borax crystal lamp that he wired himself. He had to figure out how to get several different sizes of crystal rings to make up his cone lamp, and for a few days our kitchen looked more like a chemistry laboratory than a cooking place - liquid filled containers that if moved, would  disturb the crystal growth process.

Execution and concept did not quite match up, but overall Lukas was well pleased with his project and the class found it entertaining, especially when Lukas allowed each one to touch and regulate the lamp colors. The fascination with buttons and things to push apparently reaches into the tween years for sure.

Edible art

Dear friends brought us a wonderful gift - eggs from their chickens.  I am not sure we can go back to store bought white, boring, pale yellow yolk eggs after experiencing these colorful, almost orange yolk eggs. Maybe ignorance is a bliss... these free range organic eggs do not come cheap :-)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Sour dough

Once there is a sour dough starter in the fridge, one is somewhat committed to make in perpetuity items based on the sour dough - sour dough bread, sour dough pancakes, sour dough waffles (not in this household, the perfect waffle recipe belongs to Bob and nobody messes with it). The starter grows, we bake, yet there does not seem to be any less starter in the bowl...

This weekend, in an attempt to make a dent in the starter, we made sour dough pretzels. The boys had fun forming various shapes and thoroughly enjoyed the warm, salty pretzels right out of the oven. However, the dough made too many pretzels to consume in one day, and the general consensus was that the pretzels tastes best fresh. Next time, we will make some, and keep the rest of the dough in the fridge for another day.


In preparation for our move, I am sorting through boxes and storage containers, weeding out what we no longer need. I found several balaclavas tucked in with our winter gear and the boys were off on a Ninja mission. A broken drying rack and two balaclavas equals full ninja war in the back yard.  It is probably good that we do not have any neighbors behind us,,,

Car Talk

Saturday morning favorite radio show is Car Talk, and no matter what is happening the radio must be turned on to listen to Click and Clack, and the troubles of car owners across the country.

Maybe it is the radio show that has ignited in the boys an interest in cars and car repairs? Noah happily and proudly replaced a filter earlier this week and on Saturday the boys pulled out the wrenches, the instruction manual, watched a YouTube and set out to change filters. It was probably the first time for Bob as the maintenance supervisor - now if he can entice the boys to clean and vacuum the car with the same fervor....


We try to keep Fridays open for science. The preferred type of science experiments of course those that blow something up, where something makes a noise, and/or involves fire. This week we worked on identifying gases, primarily carbon dioxide. Noah and Lukas both tried to fill the water jar with air by blowing in the straw, and then pouring the gas into a solution for identification. We did not succeed but it was not for lack of trying and there was a lot of water splashing and giggling in the process. It is good to refer back to the giants who have long lists of failed experiments in their lab books before the BIG one.

The second experiment involved 'dangerous' chemicals, always a draw and changing liquid's color from brownish yellow to purple blue - another method to help in the identification of unknown chemicals.

Part two of the lab had to wait til the next morning as the solution had to sit. I am sure that the reasons the Saturday morning experiments were so successful was the presence of Diet Coke... The boys really enjoyed having their Dad do the teaching and mixing, and were even willing to record dutifully all that happened without much griping. I wonder if Iwould get the same results if I drank Diet Coke?