Magnifying glass + sun + wood = A learning experience

The final result

The final result

With no friends around for the afternoon and me busy with weeds, I sent Bekah back in the house to grab a magnifying glass and try her hand at wood burning. When we were at the Mansfield’s last night we’d seen some of the work Matthew had done and it was quite impressive – he didn’t even hurt himself!

Well, I had to finish my weeding and come alongside her to do the ‘creating’ together, but we got pretty good results. I’d never actually done this before and had to figure it out a little by trial and error, i.e. we practiced on an ant to figure out if we were actually generating heat. We were! ūüėČ She asked for her name – I wrote “Bekah”, then she wanted the “Re” added. Then she started on the “M” for “Mom”. I think it turned out really cute. She then wanted to put it up somewhere and we decided that the aging play structure was a great place for it. So now, we’ve officially tagged the structure!

Getting the angle right was challenging.

Getting the angle right was challenging.

The structure with crazy Benny on the left and our board on the top cross beam.

The structure with crazy Benny on the left and our board on the top cross beam.


Bekah’s first diorama

We picked up a fossil dig kit a while back and stuck it in what we call the “bored box”. Last week, Bekah declared herself bored and headed to the box. Although I had plenty of other things to be doing, I couldn’t resist digging bones out of the clay with her.

Digging away the clay

Brushing the dust away

Look what I did!

Then, it seemed like the perfect excuse to create her first diorama. And since I have recently started saving all sorts of things ‘just in case’, I had a shoe box just waiting for this sort of day.

Moon Craters

Bekah loves her science through K12. The last unit of the year has been about the moon and an experiment was just the perfect way to enjoy it. She loves donning her goggles and getting down and dirty…

Making our \

A thick layer of sand, followed by a layer of flour, topped off with cocoa powder created a simulated moon surface for us to conduct our Moon Crater experiment.


Once the ‘moon’ was complete, the next step was to simulate rocks battering the surface…


Bekah learned that although God protects our Earth with an atmosphere that burns up almost all rocks headed for us, the uninhabited moon has no such protective layer and therefore ends up marred as rocks of varying sizes continually batter it.

The craters and \'moon dust\'

As evidenced by the cocoa powder all over the place, dropping the marbles and making the ‘moon dust’ go poof was a lot of fun. It would have been nice if we’d been able to get the marbles out each time by simply touching them with tape like the directions said, but we had to work at extracting them a little more than that! Another fun and learning science experiment!

Neck pillow sewing project


Ashley\'s 1st sewing project

Having read somewhere along the way that neck pillows can be a helpful thing to have on a roadtrip, the creative juices started flowing and before long the girls and I were busy at the project. A quick search on the internet yielded several patterns, the need to be thrifty reminded me of the box of fabric in the garage (for that day down the road when I learn to quilt – it’s all kinds of fabric scraps from my married life), and then we were ready to pin and cut.

It was interesting to me that I’d never taught Ashley to sew… but Willie reminded me that though I sewed FOR her when she was younger, by the time she was old enough to learn I had pretty much stopped sewing (3 kids, including Jordan, was a little crazy). So, she had to learn everything from pinning to feeding fabric into the machine so it would stitch on a curve. She did great; even learned that boo-boos in the seam allowance are easy to fix!

 Finished pillows

Fabrics included:

Bekah: squares, originally used¬†as gifts of dresses for girls¬†within our church (1996?); Ashley: blue & white pattern, originally used as curtains in one of our first homes (1993?); Willie: fish (of course!), originally¬†valances for a den area in one of our first homes (also ’93ish); Jordan: blue and gold stars, from curtains in his first bedroom (1998); Steph: pink floral, from a dress I made for Ashley (1997).

My worst fear is that one of the seams will give out and we’ll have a car-full of rice and beans!! We did figure out that they can be heated in the microwave though, so that’s pretty neat.