...and they all lived happily ever after...

...and they all lived happily ever after...

Friday, February 5, 2016

That's the night that the lights went out...

So the other night we got an impromptu emergency preparedness drill.

Ok, actually, the power just went out and our kids panicked and you might have thought it was the end of the world around here for a little while.

But we opted to treat it as an emergency preparedness drill so there you go.

We lit our handy dandy oil lamp (kids thought that thing was just for show...nope...actually I don't much care for how it looks, but it is super helpful in a blackout) and the panic level edged down a notch or two.  Despite what the picture shows, the oil lamp does light a room really well and does NOT need batteries (which is fabulous because we can never find those things when we need them because our kids tend to pilfer them for toys and such).

Round two of emergency preparedness 101 had us concerned about the temperature our kids would face as they tried to sleep.  We piled them all into one bedroom (which conserves body heat and eases tiny dark-terrified minds with the comfort of company) and pulled out our brand new from Christmas propane powered space heater (thanks Mom and Dad).

Um, yeah, I am in love with this baby.

We had it on low and it was pumping out heat like nobody's business.  We didn't even have the fan turned on (mostly because that requires batteries and we couldn't find any...see note above).  The kids were almost too warm (which is a good problem to have in the winter when the power is out).  It was comfortable and cozy and lovely.

Aaaah the glow of a freshly set space heater.

Really, we came through this whole power out for a couple hours thing in pretty good shape.  Our biggest problem was our bed.

You see, Josh and I recently purchased a new bed (since the previous one had supported our aging bodies for 16 years and was tired and sagging and no longer willing to put up with us) and we bought an adjustable bed that can lift the head an feet up and down hoping to help alleviate someone's back pain (and maybe someone's snoring as well).  

The problem comes that during the day I set the bed into almost a sitting position with feet high because as I read or work on the computer while sitting on the bed it is more comfortable.

But that position is not actually great for sleeping, and with no power we couldn't make the bed lie back down.

I love sleeping sitting up...on my bed...in the cold.

It wasn't the most comfortable start to a night of sleep ever.

But, the power fairies smiled down on us and we'd only been in bed about 20 minutes (staring straight ahead because heaven knows you don't roll around much when you're in a bed shaped like a letter "s" that fell over) when the lights all came blazing back on and everything was back to normal.  Just to be on the safe side I didn't put he bed up so high today just in case we had a repeat tonight.  I'm a planner you know.

Sometimes it is good to be reminded that we can manage without the fripperies of life (like power, and wifi) and it was good for our kids (and their parents) to have to think around the problem and see that all was well despite the dark.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

A Day Trip to the Provo City Center Temple

Yesterday we went on an adventure.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is currently holding an open house for the newest temple here in Utah, the Provo City Center Temple.

Tickets to tour the temple are free, but we had a hard time getting them...especially because we were trying to book a spot for eight people sometime after school but before bedtime on a day when we didn't have lots of other things going on.

It just wasn't working out.  We tried and tried and there would always be no tickets available for our group or times that just wouldn't work for us.  It was frustrating.

So I decided to scrap the whole plan and approach it from a new angle.

Instead of working around schedules I booked tickets at 10:00 in the morning on a Tuesday and informed the kidlets that they would be missing school for the day.

They weren't exactly disappointed.

And it may have been the best playing hookey incident we've ever had.

The temple was gorgeous (of course) but what I loved best was watching my little sweethearts discover the beauty and intricacy of the work inside.  I loved hearing them ask what "what happens in this room" or "why are those there" as we walked the immaculate halls.  I think this temple tour really touched them and that was something I could not have forced...and something I'm glad they didn't miss.

It was quiet and serene and peaceful and just fabulous.  We were very grateful for those who helped guide us on the tour and those who volunteered time and effort to make our day such a wonderful experience.

After our tour it seemed appropriate to make it a day and stop for some lunch.  We let the kids choose...so we ended up at Golden Corral.  Well, ok, that will do I guess.  At least everyone could get what they wanted, and plenty of it (and we may have even given in to seconds on dessert...ridiculous).  

Daytime trip to the temple:  highly recommended.

Friday, January 29, 2016

A tiny dose of force fed culture

Ok, I love art.  That should be said from the very beginning.  I have loved art for as long as I can remember.  I love all the different forms, but painting is maybe my favorite genre.  (Just as an FYI, Monet...aaaah...my very favorite of all time.)

When I went to Europe I eventually got tired of castle after castle and even (to a lesser degree) cathedral after cathedral, but I never tired of the museums.  Seeing the GOBS of thick paint on a canvas crafted by Van Gogh was ethereal to me.  Having only one day to tour the Louvre was disheartening to say the least (but the Mona Lisa...not so much impressive to me if I am honest).

Anyway, so when I heard that the art of Norman Rockwell -- another of my favorites -- was being displayed at the BYU Museum of Art, I knew I wanted to take the fam.  

After all, his works are a little more kid oriented than many other artist (seriously, those Saturday Evening Post covers are engaging and hilarious and heart string pulling if you give them a chance).

So I reserved tickets online (they are free, but you do have to reserve tickets), invited my parents to tag along, and off we went.

We got the added bonus that my parents also asked my brother, Joel, and his wife to come (Joel needed to see the exhibit for a class anyway) and they also brought two of my cutie pie nephews.  Bring on the fine arts fun!

My kids were impressed with the cool, wire rainbow in the entry of the building, but that was only an itty bitty taste of what they would experience.

Ok, I was totally enthralled by the exhibit.  I learned a TON about Rockwell in general, who was much more a historian than just a mere artist. 
 Image result for norman rockwell art     Image result for norman rockwell civil rights

I couldn't believe the notes he took on temperatures and times of sunset and what insects were in the area and the weight of people he painted so that every fragment of the image would be just right.  I loved that as he became more experience he moved from using professional models to pose for his pieces to instead using everyday people.  

I loved the texture of his works (tomatoes with three dimensional "seeds" and deep, heady brush strokes). 
 Image result for norman rockwell art  

This exhibit was incredible to me.  I love watching art jump off the pages of a book and come to life.

Image result for norman rockwell art
Probably my favorite of his works.

And my kids survived.  Some liked it more than others, most enjoyed pieces of the evening.  Many laughed and searched for one more silly picture with me in the hundreds upon hundreds of Saturday Evening Post covers.

It was a great experience for all of us...some of us just may not realize how great for a few years more.

We finished the evening on the food court (dinner out always impresses the peeps) and slapped a stamp of approval on the whole adventure.

Go Cougars!

And if you are interested in experiencing this exhibit for yourself, it runs until mid February, and I think you would really enjoy it.  Click here to reserve tickets.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

How water/surface tension won the science fair

This is Parker.

He is in sixth grade this year and sixth grade mean science fair.
(for real, that's not even me being sarcastic)

I love the science fair.  I love watching my kids explore the wonders of nature and scientific stuff.  It is wonderful to watch them learn.

Parker decided early on that he wanted to do a project involving the surface tension of water.

And so we did.
Now, while I often work WITH my children on their projects I am a HUGE believer in making them do pretty much EVERYTHING.  I am happy to guide and encourage them, but I think they should be the one to choose the topic, do the work, type up the information, create the board, etc.  After all, it would be weird for a 38 year old to enter the sixth grade science fair.

Here's how it went:

1. We got three identical containers and filled each with 1/2 cup of water.  To one container we added two tablespoons of salt and stirred for two minutes to let it dissolve into the water.  To another container we added two tablespoons of dish soap and stirred that for two minutes.  We left the third container alone as our control group (plain, tap water). 

2. Next, we got a syringe and a quarter.  Our plan was to push one drop of water at a time onto the quarter and see how many drops we could add to the ensuing "water bubble" before the surface tension could no longer hold the water and the bubble burst.  We would do this three times for each of the water types we created (control, salt water, soapy water).

3. We set to work dripping water drops onto the quarter.  The surface tension of the ensuing bubble actually held a lot more water than we had expected.  We kept a chart with tick marks for each drop that landed on the quarter.  It was pretty cool to watch.

Wow, look at that fabulous surface tension!

4. We noted each time that the "water bubble" burst and counted the number of water drops it took for that bubble to erupt.

5. We then put together our information and sorted it into sections including:

*Introduction (what is surface tension, etc)
*Hypothesis (what did we think would happen, which water type would perform best, guess at how many drops would break the surface tension)
*Procedure (a step by step log of what we did)
*Results (a chart and paragraph about what happened and what we learned)
*Conclusion (how did our hypothesis play out)
*Picture (super important, we took LOOOOTS of pictures)

6. Finally, Parker shared his findings in a fancy science fair board and I think he did a great job...

...and the judges thought he did a great job too, because he managed to come away the winner of the school science fair.

Not too shabby for a few afternoons of science fun.

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