Thursday, April 26, 2012

Curious George and the Make-your-own Metal Detector

My oldest is home with the sniffles, so today will probably be filled with coloring, reading and PBS.

While flipping channels for an early show, we found an episode of Curious George. I won’t go into detail as to why we don’t normally watch this show, it might take too long, but I will say we were surprised by what we saw.

George lost his toy robot in the sand and a scientist friend of the man in the yellow hat helped. She suggested they make a metal detector out of stuff you can find at home. I’m part geek, so watching it work was super cool.

Here’s what she suggested:

Find an AM/FM radio. Does anyone still own one? Yeah right, we do. Psst, I think you can find them at Radio Shack.

Get a handheld calculator and some tape too.

Tune the radio to AM. Turn the dial to the highest channel and make sure you hear only static.

Tape the calculator to the back of the radio and voilá, a metal detector (read it with French flair). It beeps when it gets near something metal.

We haven’t tried this, but you can bet we will as soon as I find our radio, wherever it’s hiding. Since I love this stuff so much, thanks to my mom, teachers and husband, we’ll have a series of experiments you can read in upcoming blogs. You won’t have to be a scientist to understand them, I hope, and they should be easy enough to try with your kids if you choose. I’m tagging them Mom’s Mad Science or something catchy like that.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I now present...Swiffer Bubbles

The unseasonably warm weather has brought some areas early buds and blooms. Around here, if it's above freezing, my kids want bubbles. 

I managed to find a multi-pack of bubbles on a recent hula-hoop run. But, didn’t realize until we went outside one warm day, they didn’t have the sticks in them. What’s a parent to do?

Well, I’m nothing if not resourceful. So, I did a quick scan and found the tool I thought could handle the job. A Swiffer. Yes, you read it right. I grabbed the duster and turned that thing into a bubble-making machine!  

Here’s a quick clip of us making Swiffer Bubbles.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

So long, sirloin, Ta ta, tilapia (Stuff moms worry about)

I’m dreading the talk. You know, the one where you explain to your children that you not only use your purchasing power to support the slaughter of countless chicks, cows, even fish, but you also cook and serve them to their hungry mouths every day and night. Grinning about how great they taste.

Hey, I never got a talk or a choice. We ate what we had. Maybe it was because of the economy, or because we lived near the family farm and granddad probably would have scowled or laughed at all this vegan talk. I don’t know. So why am I making such a big deal about it? Because, I can see the gears turning. Connections are going to be made between favorite animal characters and what we eat.

A few weeks ago while watching a cooking show, my kid noticed the hosts say they would be making lamb. I’ve been thinking about this, but it became clear I’m not the only one when my kid looked questioningly at me and said, “That’s silly, they aren’t going to make lamb?” My articulate response was, “They’re cooking stuff you can eat,” and I quickly changed it to a kid-friendly channel.

What the heck am I supposed to do? Every meal we get asked that complicated question, “What’s for dinner?” Only this time, or sometime soon, our oldest is really going to want to know, “What, or rather, what animal are you feeding me?” I can’t take it!

What do I say to a child who doesn’t grasp the concept of lean proteins and brain building fats? “Um, well, tonight we’ve got Elsie-the-cow-burger, rack-of-Mary’s Little Lamb or Nemo-the-fish-stick. Your choice, sweetie,” I could say, smiling politely.

So, I’ve decided we’re going vegetarian. At least, I’m looking into it. Milking a cow for butter, I can explain. Butchering one’s a different story. Don’t even get me started on eggs.

Which leads me to the question, “What do vegetarians live on?” I’ve heard bread, vegetables and beans. But have you seen, or smelled what a person on a bean diet does? I gave up red meat, and most chicken once in high school. It wasn’t pretty.

Now, I know there are lots of meatless options out there, but where do I start? Can you grow a healthy kid on sprouts and tofu? Are they happy?

What should I do about my husband? I think telling him we’re cutting out the turkey cold turkey could start WWIII in our house. Should he keep eating any animal he wants? That just wouldn’t be fair. Mostly to me.

On second thought, as parents we’re already on the hook for countless creatures we’ve already consumed. Plus, how the heck are we supposed to bake cookies and cakes without eggs? Kids would definitely not want to give those up. Maybe we can bribe them with baked goods and convince them our way of life is acceptable, although I’m starting to wonder.

Does it even count that we usually buy humanely raised meats? It almost sounds oxymoronic raising them humanely only to have them end up baked, broiled and fried.

Maybe things would be better if we just stop calling our food by name. Can we be a little less obvious? You don’t normally say, “Wow, honey, that was some tasty cow,” right? So why not rename the other animals we eat? Let’s call it re-branding. I’m sure the marketers would get on board for this.

We could go with something like cheech for chicken, “Who wants some fried cheech?” We could change fish to fizz. Everyone loves a good fizz. How about turkey? What should we call that? Maybe, Tofurkey? Nah, that’s already taken. You get the idea, though. If we re-brand the meats, maybe it wouldn’t be such a big deal.

Seriously though, my family really enjoys cooking and eating good food, meat included. But, if I’m starting to wonder about some of our choices, shouldn’t I expect my kids to question them too? I can make small changes, but everyone should be included if it’s going to involve a lifestyle change. We’ll just have to wait until we’re ready for the discussion and see where it takes us.

Vegetables are our friends

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Sometimes you're the windshield...

Sometimes you're the baby giraffe run over by the two-ton baby hauler. 

Still smiling :)

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