Friday, February 22, 2008

dissecting owl pellets

Why would you want to dissect owl pellets? After all, owl pellets are dried up owl poop. Sounds gross, right? Well, owl pellets are actually really cool (and they don't stink)! They are fun to dissect because they contain the skeletal remains of small mammals. You can dissect them to find animal bones and then "build" a skeleton from those bones. And owl pellets are pretty inexpensive. Check them out here. You don't need to buy all of the dissection equipment. Just get some toothpicks and tweezers. Needles work well too for older kids. Pick out the bones and then glue them to a piece of construction paper to make a skeleton. Have your child guess what animal the bones came from (probably a mouse, but to be sure, google "mouse skeleton" when you're finished and see if the pictures match your skeleton). This activity is a good way to introduce and discuss the topic of food chains and/or ecosystems.

The owl photo was taken by allspice1 and posted on Flickr: Creative Commons.

Friday, February 1, 2008


Okay, I know I haven't posted in a while, and I know this is totally off-topic, but I just HAVE to blog about favorite TV show. The new season of LOST started last night, and all I can say is WOW. I think this show is brilliantly written - I can say enough about the talent of these writers (please tell me the season is already written and will not be affected by the strike.....) And the thing is, there's nothing else like it on the air. If you're not a watcher, you may think to yourself, "What's the big deal, it's just a TV show. Why are there so many crazy fans out there with message boards, magazines, etc???" Trust me, I know it sounds ridiculous to be such an enthusiastic fan of a TV show, but I am one of those crazy fans. If I had the time, I could, and would, spend hours reading the message boards. It's hard to explain why unless you're a devoted watcher. My mom had never watched LOST until she spent last evening with me, and now that I've caught her up on the general story lines, she is HOOKED. So if you need to catch up, rent the first few seasons and spend the weekend preparing yourself for next week (Thursday night on ABC). You WON"T be disappointed.

PS - A note about the logo pictured here. It's found all over the internet in all kinds of places, and I'm not a copyright expert, but I'm assuming it's up for grabs to download. Is this copyright infringement? I hope not...after all, this is just a little blog....

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


We took this picture from our deck about a month ago. I like it because you can really see a little cloud of fog sitting over the valley. There are different types of fog, but they all form in basically the same way. Like clouds, fog forms when the air cools to a point (the dew point) at which water vapor begins to condense into tiny water droplets. Making fog in a jar is pretty simple and fun!

Black paper
Gallon jar
Colored warm water
Gallon size bag of ice

1. Tape the black paper on the back of the jar, so you can't see through the jar.

2. Fill one third of the jar with colored warm water.

3. Light the match and hold it over the jar opening.

4. After a few seconds, drop the match into the jar and cover the top of the jar with the bag of ice.

You should see a small cloud of fog form. The particles of smoke from the match act as nuclei - tiny particles on which the water vapor can condense when it cools.

You can read more about fog here. It's a pretty detailed description about different kinds of fog, but it's accurate and informative.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

daydreaming of the tropics

As you may have guessed, I hate cold weather. This time of year is hard for me. The holidays are over and spring is a long way off. So yesterday while I was working out on my elliptical machine, I came across a show on HGTV called House Hunters International. The theme was the tropics and they had back-to-back episodes of people looking for homes in the tropics. It was a wonderful hour of daydreaming and now I'm hooked. Plus, it made the 30 minute workout fly by. If you like looking at beautiful, interesting homes around the world, and you have access to cable channels, check it out. You won't be disappointed. You can get a list of HGTV programming here.
The photo in this post was taken by my hubby a few years ago when we visited Aruba in early 2005. The beach was littered with cute little huts, the pools had swim-up bars, massages were offered in cabanas on the beach....This was my kind of vacation!

Monday, January 21, 2008

getting work done

If you work at home and have a little one like me, you know how hard it can be to sit at the computer and actually accomplish something. So I decided to let my little one play office when I really need some time on the computer. I set up an area for him so he can sit at the desk and I gave him the organizer tray that I had inside the desk drawer. He can sit for close to an hour just playing with all the office goodies in the tray. And I like having him next to me while I work - I find it comforting, plus I can make sure he isn't tempted to put something small and dangerous in his mouth. Fortunately, he seems to be out of that stage for the most part. So here's to a productive day for everyone!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

fake snot

Here's an activity inspired by my recent illness. It's a recipe for fake snot. I made this a few years ago with my nephew and we had a lot of fun!

To make borax solution

* Place 1/8 cup of borax laundry booster into a 1/2 liter of warm water.
* Shake until most of the borax dissolves
* Let cool

To make fake snot:

* Place 2 spoonfuls of Elmer's glue into a cup
* Add 3 spoonfuls of water
* Stir
* Add 2 drops of green food coloring
* Stir
* Pour into a baggie
* Measure 1 spoonful of borax solution
* Dump into baggie
* Squish the baggie to mix
* Remove your snot
* Fake a sneeze

Some gross facts about snot, also known as mucus:
*We swallow about a quart of snot each day.
*Snot catches bits of dirt and germs as they enter your nose when you breathe.
*When you have a cold, the linings of your throat and nose swell. Mucus forms to wash away germs. The mucus builds up and blocks air passages, causing a stuffy nose.
*Boogers are dried up balls of snot. They are filled with dirt, pollen, dust, germs, smoke, fungi....yuck!

The image at the top of this post is from the "Grossology" exhibit which travels among science centers nationwide. If it comes to your area, I highly recommend a visit - it's really cool.

Friday, January 11, 2008

coming back soon!

It seems as if a small case of the sniffles has bloomed into a full-fledged sinus infection, so I haven't had the energy to post this week. My head feels cloudy. I received an acupuncture treatment yesterday and started herbal therapy, which includes these amazing tiny pills that act like an antibiotic (they are so small, they look like poppy seeds!) Many people seem to be intrigued by acupuncture, and I have found much success with it, so if you'd like to hear more, leave me a comment. :)

I'm already feeling better, so I expect to return with lots to blog about in a few days. Please check back!!