Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Summer Living

It's hard to believe that the girls have been out of school almost two weeks now.  My Golden Weeks are but a memory. . .

While the girls were still in school I spent most of my time running around town, getting lots of errands run, and getting to have several lunches with friends old and new.  I got to spoil myself by going for an end-of-semester, yea-I-passed-comps lunch with a school buddy at the Cheesecake Factory.  I had an appetizer AND a dessert, and tried not to feel too guilty about spending as much on myself for one lunch as I would normally spend for our family of four to eat at Chick-fil-a.  Of course, discovering the Lemoncello Cream Torte that is now my new favorite dessert EVER makes it easier to take.  Yum-o-licious!

Another thing I splurged on during my Golden Weeks was a spa day for myself.  I had received a gift card to a local spa for my big 4-0 and still hadn't gotten around to using it, so I scheduled a whole day of spa services - massage, mani-pedi, and haircut.  The day before my spa day I realized that it was also Gracie's science fair day, and if I missed that, I'd be relaxed, but I'd suffer from Bad Mommy Guilt for an undetermined time.  So I rescheduled the haircut and got two half-days at the spa - spreading out the relaxing over a couple of days. 

Gracie's science experiment was fun.  She came home and said she was going to do an experiment that sounded remarkably like the one that Maggie did a couple of years ago (see here and here).  I told her that she needed to do something different, and she said, "Well, I wanted to do the baking soda and vinegar volcano, but someone else already took it!"  I suggested that we do something else with baking soda and vinegar, so we put on our thinking caps to come up with something.  She decided to see what happened to the volume of gas produced when you changed the ratio of baking soda to vinegar.  We gathered the necessary supplies:


Gracie labeled the bottles with their ratios of baking soda and vinegar:


First we tried putting the vinegar into the bottle and then put a balloon on top to catch the gas because I did not realize how quickly the reaction would take place - we made a big mess, luckily right into the kitchen sink!  After that we put the vinegar in the balloon, then put the balloon on the neck of the bottle, and then Gracie tipped it up so the vinegar dropped into the baking soda.  That way we got all the gas! 

Once the mixture stopped fizzing Gracie measured the balloon at its largest point:


We found our results so interesting (and NOT at all what we had expected) that we did it again, keeping the amount of baking soda the same across all bottles, and changing just the amount of vinegar. 


Gracie had to think up a title for her project - her first try was "Making Gas," but Daddy was all over that like a duck on a June bug.  He figured he could make more gas than any of those bottles!  (Gracie and I conceded that point, but attaching a balloon for gas capture was . . .  um. . .  unthinkable.)   Instead she went with "Fizzy Fun."  (And yes, it just about killed this scrapbooking mom not to straighten her pictures, but I did not interfere with this project - it's all hers!)


By the time she had to show her project at school the balloons had deflated, but she still made 100% on her science project (and had lots of fun too!) 


 
So, now school's over, and summer vacation has begun.  The first day after school let out, I was looking forward to sleeping in, and I thought that the girls would be too.  That's why, at 6:37 AM, when I heard them up and at 'em, I thought, "Are you SERIOUS?"  I can't get them out of bed at 6:37 AM on any school day!  I was still in bed at 8:26, not even two hours into the first day of summer vacation, when Maggie came into my bedroom, plunked herself on the side of my bed and declared, "I'm bored!"  This could be a long, long summer. . . 

Except, of course, they didn't have the opportunity to be bored for long.  We had six days until our first scheduled activity, so we packed up and headed to Texas to see GGma and play with goats.  I ended up being the only one to see GGma, since Gracie was under the weather, but we all saw goats, goats, and more goats.  In fact, one of them had triplets while we were there.  There were also four kids being bottle fed, so the girls were in high heaven.    Here's The girls goat-sitting two 1-week old goats while Nana attends to their pen: 


This year all baby goats born at the Mini Hoof Farm must have names that begin with the letter "F", so the little black doe is Franchesca, and the little white buck is Franco.  Both girls take goat care quite seriously - here's Gracie helping the new goats learn about jumping and playing, since they are still separated from the herd and don't get much goat interaction yet:

  video

Here's why the goats love the girls and follow them around constantly (besides their winning smiles and bubbly personalities!):


No matter how many times you go out there and bottle feed, those goats always want more.  And if you stand too still, for instance, to take pictures, this is what happens:


Everything is fair game to goats. 

Another thing that there is in abundance at the moment at the Mini Hoof Farm is little bitty frogs.  Gracie had a five gallon bucket that she set up a habitat in, and she was so happy whenever she caught one.  She named them all Fred.  She likes that name.  It starts with "F" and Gracie would really like to name a boy goat Fred, but Nana just doesn't want to name any goats Fred (but she's running out of options and it's only June.  We'll see if there isn't a Fred by the end of the year!)  Anyway, we had Fred 1, Fred 2, Fred 3 . . . I think you get the picture - if not, here:



Now you have the picture!  So, I'm in the house, doing something in the utility room, and Gracie comes in looking very dejected. 

"Why the sad face?" 
"Fred DIED."

My mind races, trying to think whether there's a goat named Fred.  After all, there were triplets that morning, and I don't know that I know all their names yet.   Finally it clicks - "Oh, your frog!  I'm sorry sweet pea.  What happened?"

"He got squashed or something in the bucket.  I buried him." 
"Really?  Where?" 

She drags me out and shows me the little grave in the flowerbed, covered with honeysuckle blossoms. 

"Are you really sure he was dead?" 
"MOM!  I can tell the difference between a live frog and a dead one!" 

I resisted the urge to exhume Fred to be sure.  After all, if he were alive, he could dig out.  In the next two seconds Gracie found Fred 3, and her mourning was over.  She did re-do her habitat to prevent future squashings. 

The frog in the photo is a toad, but Dad and Terri also have tree frogs, and there's one that likes to perch on the dinner bell mounted on the front porch in the evenings.  He had been there so long that Terri thought he might be dead, so she poked it.  It promptly jumped off the bell (which is taller than Terri) onto Maggie's arm, into the house, only to be greeted by an enthusiastic beagle.  Fun times!  I think that frog (rescued from the beagle and put back in the yard) may find himself a new lounging place from now on. 

We had a great time in Texas - the only damper was Gracie's cough and fever.  I took her to the doc when we got home - she had pneumonia.  The doctor said it was walking pneumonia, but as you can see from the video above, it was more of a running, jumping, playing pneumonia.  She's much better now. 

This week the girls began String Camp for our violinist, and Kids Just Want To Have Fun science class for our budding scientist.  We also have Girl Scout camp in the evenings, and VBS in the evenings next week, so there will be no boredom opportunities anytime soon, and (unfortunately for me), no sleeping in opportunities either!  In the meantime, I'm spending an hour at McDonald's with free wi-fi every afternoon during the time between string camp pick-up and science class pick-up.  It's not promising for my waistline, but it does make time for blogging! 

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