Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Olympic Learning and a Pizza Box Solar Oven

Now that the Olympics are over and the outdoor pool is closed for the year, I might actually have some time to blog...

We absolutely love watching the Olympics around here. I am not normally one to watch a lot of sports on TV, but there is something so irresistible about the Olympic spirit. We spent many hours in front of the TV together in the last couple weeks (and I spent a few nights up by myself until 1:30 a.m. to catch the gymnastics competitions!)

It's fun to reflect on all the learning that occurred as we enjoyed all those great Olympic moments. What a perfect, real-life illustration of time zones - the kids were quite fascinated by the fact that when we were watching something on Wednesday night, it was Thursday morning in Beijing! We had our atlas sitting on the coffee table during the entire duration of the Olympics as we were regularly looking up where countries were located. It really amused us to discover that there were a number of countries off the coast of Australia with populations far smaller than our city. Solomon Islands' population (441,000) is very close to that of our city. It's fun to think of our city being an entire country, LOL! The kids picked up quite a few different country's flags during the course of the Olympic coverage, too. We also had lots of great conversations about the rules of different sports, sportsmanship, why Michael Phelps is so much faster than all the other swimmers, and many other things I've already forgotten!

In between all our Olympics-watching, we also found time to build a pizza box solar oven and test it out.

This was a really fun project - I got the instructions from Family Fun magazine. Here's the oven construction in progress.

Testing out the finished product! We measured the internal temperature - it got up to 139 degrees Fahrenheit (59.6 degrees Celsius) in 20 minutes. The air temperature was 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius).

Yum! Melted cheese on crackers - very tasty! The cheese was thoroughly melted after 15 minutes but didn't bubble and spread the way it normally would in the oven. We want to try making s'mores in the solar oven next.

If you want to try this project yourself, the instructions are here.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Where Did July Go???

I am sitting here in that rather fuzzy-headed state I always get into around this time of year when I start hearing all the back-to-school ads (blech) and realize that we're well into August already. Although our standard "schpiel" is that summer doesn't end until Thanksgiving when school is not part of your family life (that would be mid-October here in Canada), there are certain things that will only be around for a couple more weeks this year (like our outdoor community pool and most of my kids' friends). Of course there is plenty to look forward to in the fall - in September alone there's my wedding anniversary, a trip to visit unschooling friends in New York State, an Abraham-Hicks workshop (for me) and Nathan's birthday!!

But I'm still wondering where July went! Lots of lazy afternoons at the pool, a couple of nights a week on the soccer field, a family camping trip, and BAM! There she goes!

We did manage to acquire a new camera in July as well, so I suppose it's about time I posted a photo or two:

Noah and I chilling out on the rocky shores of Awenda Provincial Park (on Georgian Bay)
This is approximately the 3rd photo of us together in Noah's entire lifespan as I am the unofficial family photographer. Okay, there might be upwards of half a dozen, LOL!

We're pretty sure this is a young plainbelly water snake that was slithering along the beach.

We located what is possibly the last teeter-totter left in North America at our lunch rest stop on the way to Awenda.

One Happy Dog!

Noah lounging in the pool at our friends' house!

Nathan reading to Paige (to whom I am unofficial if not biological Auntie)

I guess we did do a few things in July after all :)