Monday, September 30, 2013

Renaissance Festival

The Renaissance Festival in our state has school day with reduced prices so our homeschool co-op went for the day.  Even all the dads took off of work and went with.
First thing we get there and right inside the door to the castle the kids get recruited to help in a fight.  This little knight isn't with our group but isn't he a cutie?!

The duel was this guy who wanted to stab -

this guy.  They were a pretty funny act and were able to get about 25 kids involved in the story.  In the end they feel merciful and let the guy go.

I don't remember mermaid at any of the job fairs I went to in high school or college.  How would one ever get such a job?

Dancer looks at this sign and says, "My name isn't Ye, I can go in there."
No top bar on the stocks so he got away.

Look at the size of that wind chime!  I would love to own one of those, they sounded so beautiful.
I thought he should totally get this hat, we would never have trouble finding him in a store.

"Uh, 'frah-gee-lay.' It must be Italian!"
It was $5.00 to ride the elephant around this ring one time.  Seeing as they ate non-stop, even when they were walking, and I know what the price of hay is, it didn't seem like a bad deal.
We finally found a place to sit down and have something to drink. 

This was the coolest thing we saw, a sheep dog herding sheep.  Those dogs are amazing.  I had only seen it done on things like the movie "Babe." which does not capture how well trained those dogs are.

Both the kids went on this when they were tiny.  When did they get so big?

The legend of Paul Bunyan must be true because who else would have this big of a skull.

So excited that our favorite restaurant is back in our state.  Oh, Fuddruckers how we love you.  It has been a couple years since we had a burger and shake from there.  They were as good as we remembered! 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Renaissance Sheilds and Catapults

Our co-op was planning a trip to the Renaissance festival and to get the kids excited they made shields.  These were pizza signs, nice and sturdy, the kids painted.  They spent a ton of time on these, some probably three hours.
They also made catapults.  No directions were given and they came up with some very successful designs. 
Shooting them off, they all worked!

All the shields, these were great.  The little girl in the white dress - the kids made that out of tissue paper.  It is amazing what they can do when left with craft materials and unlimited time.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

A Lovely Way To Spend The Afternoon

Get together with some great friends and find a few geocaches.  Enjoy lunch at a pizza place.  Then head over to a fishing museum.
Work on a scavenger hunt that helps you learn about the pieces in the museum.

Have fish envy - she caught that big guy, really she did.

Read a good book or two.
Visit a zoo with friendly donkeys.

Feed an adorable calf - Dancer had calf envy too, she wants a little brown Swiss to call her own.

Help a bear in a tree.

Feed and watch absolutely adorable prairie dogs. 
See a turtle lay on his tummy after he ran the length of his home.  Yes, we are sure he was running.
And there you have it, a lovely afternoon.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Pinterest Busters - Make Hardboiled Eggs In The Oven

Supposedly you can make hardboiled eggs in the oven and they turn out like you made them in a pot.  Making hardboiled eggs in the oven would certainly be a little bit easier than boiling them, and you wouldn't add to the humidity in your house during the summer but, does it work?  Let's see.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Place the eggs in a muffin tin.  Bake for 25-30 minutes.  Put the eggs in a cold water bath.  The eggs will have some brown spots on them when they come out of the oven but they washed off in the water.  Leave them in the bath until they are completely cooled.
The eggs peeled like a charm.  The only outward appearance that they had been baked instead of boiled was these brown spots where the shell touched the muffin tin.  Those dark spots can be quickly cut off so they aren't an issue. 

Did we bust the pin?  Nope, they were like a perfect hardboiled egg from the texture to the taste.  This is going to be our new way of hard "boiling" eggs, except from now on we will call them hard "baked" eggs.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Geocaching Events

Finding geocaches is a thrill but another part of geocaching is events.  Events are put on by a geocacher who wants to get together with other geocachers and says, "Come join me at these coordinates and lets have a party!"  We have only done a few of these events because where we live in the state doesn't have many and we aren't ones to drive many miles to attend them (although many die hard cachers do).
On Friday night we went to a pizza pie making event in a state forest.  This cacher, who is an excellent chef over the camp fire, has hidden over 4000 caches.  That number is about 500 more than he has found.  It is guys like these that keep the game going.
There was a little pie iron envy going on.  This other gentleman brought an original pie iron and there were offers to buy it. 
The best part about these events is hearing tales from other cachers, getting tips on hard to find caches, swapping travel bugs or dropping off dead batteries. 
No it's not, eating pizza is the best part :)

O Canada Maple Pecan Pie

We are studying about Canada and what more perfect way to learn about the maple leaf than with pie!  There is probably a proven fact out there that you can learn anything better while eating pie and if there isn't there should be. 
O Canada Maple Pecan Pie
1 pie crust
3 eggs
1 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup brown sugar
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon flour
1 3/4 cups pecans
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Evenly spread the pecans in the pie shell.  Beat the eggs for two minutes.  Add all the other ingredients to the eggs and beat for one more minute.
We used homemade Minnesota maple syrup and oh, it smells good.
Slowly pour the liquid over the pecans.  Place the pie on a baking sheet and put in oven.  Bake for 10 minutes after which you turn the oven down to 375 degrees and bake for another 30 minutes or until the center is not liquidy and top is golden brown.  Remove from the oven and let cool.

Cut the pie, grab a fork and enjoy!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Pinterest Busters - Cut Glass With String and Fingernail Polish Remover

 If you want to get boys excited, start something on fire - inside the house.  The next Pinterest Buster was to cut glass with a string and fingernail polish remover. 

Glass bottles are need for this and if you don't regularly have glass bottles you need to go and buy some.  We got a Starbucks ice coffee, a couple Snapples and a six pack of green, San Pellegrino water bottles.  Next you need to convince the lady at the check out that she can bag them because you aren't going to drink them now, they are for an experiment.  Our checkout wanted to leave them out so bad that we ended up explaining the whole string/fingernail polish remover process to her while holding up the rest of the line.  I wonder if she went home and tried this?

Also needed are fingernail polish remover with acetone, ice, matches, yarn and a non plastic dish.

Drink whatever was in the bottles (we found out Dad is the only one of us who like Pellegrino, thanks for drinking all those Dad) and wash them out.

Fill half the sink with cold water and ice.

Cut a piece of yarn to wrap around the bottle a couple of times.  Wrap the string around where you want the bottle to be cut.

Carefully slide it off and soak it in the dish of fingernail polish remover.  Slide the yarn back on the bottle. 
On the other side of the sink, because you don't want to get excited and drop the bottle in your dining room, light the string on fire.  Let it burn and then.....
set it in the cold water.  Instantly, from the extreme temperature differences, it will break where the string was. 
This was ultra cool.  We were able to get the bottle to break but, not cleanly enough to make the bottles useable for glasses.  Almost all of the bottles also had a crack of varying degrees down the side of them.  We did try wrapping the string around the bottle less times and letting it burn for different lengths of time before putting them in the water but we still didn't get the perfect combination.  I think that with enough experimentation this will work.  If you do get a nice clean cut around the bottle the edges supposedly can be sanded to be smooth. 
Did we bust the pin?  No, it worked, and on top of that, it was exciting! 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Pinterest Busters - Expanding Shrinking Gummy Bears

Hours can be spent looking through all the enticing pins on Pinterest but, do all those projects really work?  Set out to find the answers, the hmmmschooling mom and ourselves did some Pinterest Busting.
The first one we tackled was, do Gummy Bears really expand in plain water and shrink in salt water?
This one was easy, all we needed was two bowls, water, salt and Gummy Bears who were willing to jump in.
He is getting ready......
and he takes the plunge.
The Gummy bear in the plain water - he is full of bubbles and he did get a wee bit larger.  We were expecting gigantic so, while he did technically get bigger, we were disappointed.  All the other Gummy Bears were quickly devoured by the boys so we dug this one out of the trash who had fallen on the floor as our comparison.  Next time we will know to set one aside from hungry boys at the very start.

The salty bear.  He shrank, and he shrank much quicker that I had thought he would.  See the red water?  I think what really was happening was that he was dissolving.  By the time we went to bed he was gone.   The bear in the regular water was also shrinking by this time in a pool of red so he too started to dissolve, just took him much longer. 
Did we bust the pin?  Yes, and no.  They did get bigger and smaller but, not in the way we had hoped.  Shrinking and dissolving are really two different things.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Melted Record Bowls

We saw these at the fair and thought, "Hey, we have a boat load of old records, here is a project so they will take up even more room."  Actually, these are pretty cool.
Heat the oven to 400 degrees.  Making these after pizza is very convenient.  Find a bowl that is the big enough that the sides of the record won't hit the baking sheet.  Put the record so it is centered on the bowl and pop it in the oven.
These melt quite quickly so don't walk away.  They don't smell so great either.
If you don't like the way it fell when melting you can reshape it.  If it gets to hard just put it back in the oven to make it pliable again. 
To make a tall bowl we used a quart Mason jar.  The record label just happened to be the same size as the bottom of the jar.