Thursday, August 27, 2015

Science Week

I am just now getting around to blogging about this, and I kind of wonder if there's a point to it, but I think it could be useful for future science weeks, so here we go. 

We ended the summer with science week, which was also informally "Slime Week" because we made lots of different kinds of slime, among other cool science things. 

We started out by learning about the weather. 
We made it rain in a jar
We also tried to make lightning with static electricity, but we couldn't get it to work. It just made our hair frizzy.
Then we reflected light off a CD to make an indoor rainbow
And we caught sunlight outside with a prism to make another rainbow.
Before lunch, we gazed at the clouds and talked about what they looked like.
Then we used the sun to make art on special paper.
This day's slime was color changing heat sensitive slime, and we had a blast making it change from green to yellow and back again.
The heat of their hands turned it yellow.
A box of frozen waffles and then ice cubes turned it back to green.

Our next day was rocks and minerals. We read from a National Geographic book about rocks and minerals, then we made magnetic slime. Super cool. My favorite slime. Kind of messy on the hands though.
We used a crystal growing kit to make some crystals.
We painted rocks, and we also painted with paper clips and magnets under the paper.
That afternoon, we chalked outside. Chalk... it's a rock!

Our 2 next days we learned physics. So we tested the laws of physics at JumpNJungle. Haha. Some of these activities are a stretch, but we had fun, and that's what counts!
We talked about Newton's laws of motion, and we made a balloon rocket.
Anthony loved chasing it.
Then we did a "parlor trick" science experiment. The pencil in a plastic bag of water. The kids were amazed that the water didn't leak out.
We made some rainbow loom bouncy balls to test out some more laws of motion.
And we learned about centrifugal force with spin art.
Build-your-own crazy straws taught them teamwork and water pressure.
Anthony got in on the action too.
Then we made marshmallow shooters... and shot goldfish crackers.

Our last day was "random experiment day." They love mixing things to see what happens.
I gave them cornstarch, vinegar, oil, water, food coloring, dish soap, tapioca maltodextrin (from our molecular gastronomy nights), peanut butter, and a few other ingredients. They made a huge mess, but they loved every minute of it.
Lastly, I made one more kind of slime...

Now school has started, and they are learning in a more formal setting, so I will have to start planning our themes for next year!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Katie's Octonauts Party

I wrote all about the cake, but what good is a cake if there is no party? I got a lot of help with the decorations and food prep since the cake consumed so much of my time and energy, and I am so thankful for my parents and Paul who made it all come together for our precious Katie.

I made her Octonauts dress with tie-dye spray and iron-on transfer paper. My mom taped the crepe paper "seaweed" on the walls, and the inflatable fish that Paul hung all over the house were reused from her first birthday party (Rainbow Fish themed)... I'm so glad I saved them! We had balloons all around as well, but that was all. Not much decorating is needed for a pool party.

I made her a Captain Barnacles hat with craft foam and a sticker that Paul made for me with my Silhouette Cameo cutter.

It was a lunchtime party, so we had sandwich trays, fruit, veggies with hummus, shells and cheese, goldfish crackers, and "crabby crescent rolls".

An orca attacked the hummus.

Oyster Nilla wafers with icing and a large pearl sprinkle. So easy to make.

A fruit bowl shaped like one of the Gups.

I had a fish craft for the kids in case they got tired of swimming, but it was completely untouched, and I'm ok with that! Better to be prepared and not need than to run out.

We spent most of the party outside.

I was even prepared with outside games, like an inflatable dolphin ring toss game, but the pool was enough entertainment for everyone.

Birthday girl had a great time.

I think our guests had a great time too!

Then we had some cake.

We ended with present time. Katie got a whole army of Octonaut toys and other awesome gifts.

We sent our guests home with some Peso "medical bags" which contained stickers, shark fruit snacks, a squirter fish, sea creature sponge capsules, a nautical band-aid, and a fish ring pop.
Thank you to everyone who came and made Katie's day so special!

Katie's Octonauts Cake

Katie finally (yes, finally... it seemed like she would be three forever!) turned four, so we celebrated with an Octonauts-themed pool party, which was a lot of fun, and has yielded a lazy pajama day today to recover from the weekend. Not to mention the fact that I started working on the components of this cake several weeks before the party (and then made another large cake at the same time). So I have been living, breathing, and, yes, eating cake for a long time now. But the outcome was so very worth the effort.

Like I said, I started several weeks ago with just a bunch of drawings and a little Tunip.

Then I made little tiny furniture.

I poured gelatin repeatedly over silicone domes (and a metal ball pan) to make the "glass" for the pods. I am still amazed that gelatin will dry completely hard like this!

Then it was time to put the little pods together. Here's Tunip's garden. I forgot to take a close-up picture of the games room. Oops.

And here are the bedrooms of the Octo-crew. Barnacles and Kwazii share a pod, and Dashi and Peso share another. Making all the tiny furniture reminded me of our gingerbread house from last Christmas.

Next up, the HQ.

And Professor Inkling.

The small details are the most fun to make.

Once the furniture and contents of the pods were done, it was time to focus on the characters: Barnacles, Kwazii, and Peso!

I let everything sit and dry for a few days, and I went to work on another cake before coming back to the Octonauts.

Paul helped me with the structure again. We used the same board as the wine cake, but it had a thicker center post and additional supports for the arms.

Paul also helped by making sea creatures with a silicone mold.

He got creative and made a few without the mold too... totally awesome. He always likes contributing to our kids' cakes in whatever way he can.

I airbrushed waves onto the bottom cake and then covered the bottom and the center with rice crispy treats. Then I used candy melts to get a smooth surface before covering the whole thing in fondant.

This took a lot of fondant to cover!

I added the characters, sea creatures, and the final details to the Octopod and finally finished around 1:00am. 

Katie saw it first thing when she woke up, and I heard her exclaim "Thank you Kwazii! Thank you Peso!"

She was so happy, and THIS is why I make cakes. 

Happy Birthday to my Katie!