Experience Level

Current events are discouraging, disheartening, frustrating.

I’ve turned to fiction for happy endings and characters with empathy.

This was a good read.

Yup. That’s a cat on the kitchen table. I moved her before she got in my coffee.

I’ve added that one to Ellie’s future reading list.

I’ve been pre-reading loads of “middle grade” fiction lately since Ellie has hit an interest-level/reading-level conflict (meaning: her reading level is higher than the books written for her eight-year-old interest level). It’s becoming difficult to find material that challenges her reading skills (because sometimes you need a challenge and not another book about fairies) without challenging her experience.

My Rule of Thumb for Picking Books for an 8 Year Old (based on anecdotal evidence not science)
If the main character is 11, it’s almost always OK about Age Appropriate Topics and Situations.
If the main character is 13, it might be OK.
If the main character is older than 13, forget it. That doesn’t mean it’s not a good book. It’s just not a good book for the moment.

Everything is Neat Again

I’ve only got three tabs open in my browser. I can see the top of the table in my office for the first time in months. Science camp is over.

We made one last contraption in the living room before I put the rest of the stuff in its place (Physics was Friday). Take 3 was the best recording, but the final car didn’t launch so Michael decided to put in Take 14’s ending (this way you can watch one video instead of two):

We did some really great stuff this week.

I want to buy April a cupcake for saying, “Let’s do a science camp.”

So I don’t Forget: Monday-Botany, Tuesday-Electricity, Wednesday-Meterology, Thursday-Chemistry, Friday-Physics (simple machines, laws of motion)


Wait for it…

Want to try it? You’ll need:

a Mini M&Ms canister – cut the lid off the body
a little bit of clay or gum
Alka-Seltzer tablets – break into quarters
decorations if you want them (washi tape, stickers, Sharpie markers, foil for a shiny nose cone)

Decorate your canister (I didn’t because I was just trying to make sure it worked first). My nose cone is a semi-circle of card stock taped together to make a cone and hot glued in place. Stick the little bit of clay in the lid. This is to delay the reaction of the Alka-Seltzer so that you can take your time. I wish I could remember where I saw about the clay. Thank you, Mysterious Blogger who is probably also a Homeschooler!

Ready to go, Alka-Seltzer in place.

Ready to go, Alka-Seltzer in place.

When you are ready to launch, stick 1/4 of an Alka-Selzer tablet into the clay, put about a tablespoon of water into the canister, and put the lid on top. DON’T FLIP THE ROCKET OVER until you are ready to start the reaction!


Flip it over, set it on the ground (top down) and move away. Pop!

Troubleshooting: Go easy on the water. Too much and it just leaks out as the pressure builds – you need space inside the canister for the CO2 to build up.

Film canisters also work (the Fuji kind especially since the lids sink into the canister) but Mini M&Ms are much easier to come by these days.