Friday, February 8, 2019

Stella School Play

First graders performed several short plays for their parents this morning. Stella was in the play Anansi. She was the python Usebo.

The kids were adorable and they all knew their lines so well!

I hate snakes so I had to do my best to look through images to come up with one for her mask. Stella was very particular that it had to be a python mask, not just a regular snake.

Emilia's science project advanced to Region!

This time Emilia got the chance to present her science research at the district level, where she competed against students from 13 other elementary charter schools in the county (76 elementary projects total).

She had to stand by her board for five hours, ready to answer judges interview questions. The interviews lasted 15 minutes each. Because of the duration of the interviews, the judges were able to gather an in-depth understanding of her research process and offer suggestions on how to improve her study.

One thing we found out is that as long as she doesn't change her hypothesis and conclusion, Emilia is allowed to run the study again before her state competition based on the constructive advice provided by the judges.  How I wished I would have been allowed to listen in on what they said!

Emilia ran her experiment three times on different days. One feedback was to run three experiments concurrently to keep the variables more consistent. Which we will be doing before we go to the University of Utah Science and Engineering Regional Fair (USERF). USERF is the highest competition level for science in the state at the elementary school level.

Emilia's science teacher is on maternity leave, so we have had to learn as we go by looking at what other students have done at the competitions and adopting those practices we thought would improve Emilia's presentation. 

For example, we included a UV light that Emilia uses to show how her beads change color when exposed to the sun.  People who walked by would stick the bag of beads and see them change color instantly. That was a great conversation starter about her study.

At the award ceremony, the MC explained the scholarship opportunities available to students who pursue scientific research and advance to compete at the national and international level. He compared their work to what athletes do to compete for sports scholarships.

I love the opportunities and enthusiasm he showed the kids. My only objection to his point is that there are no official science classes, training and leagues readily available to kids like there are for sports or even music. Or, if there are, they are expensive and not community based.

What I have loved most about this unexpected opportunity Emilia received, is the growth and learning she is experiencing. As an eleven year old, presenting and explaining her research to adults she doesn't know, is something that would have brought me stress. Instead, she is excited to talk about what she has discovered and is already talking about what kind of study she wants to conduct next year.


There were seven other APA students who advanced to the next level, which will make USERF a lot more fun for Emilia.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Stella's 7th Birthday Party

This cutie pie is turning 7 this month. How did she get so big and adorable? She was just a baby when we moved into our current house and now she does things not even her older sister dare to do, like piercing her ears.

For her birthday theme Stella chose a pancakes and pajama party. I made her cake to look like a stack of pancakes and we served breakfast food to all of her friends. Todd kept busy making pancakes for 17 hungry kids who devoured the food as fast as it came out.

Our friends Claudia and Jordan were great help in getting everyone settled and assisting with toppings and drinks. Andrew wasn't really interested in the food. He just wanted to play with his cousin Bennett.

Our first game was a pancake relay with each time racing to stack layers of pancakes and butter on
the top without knocking over the stack.  It was so fun! You can totally tell who had a competitive streak. They were the first to line up and to cheer their team on.

The kids also made necklaces out of fruit loops and decorated their own pillowcases. The pillowcases were a hit with everyone, regardless of gender and age.  I had some breakfast-theme decorating ideas that some of the kids used, but some of them just made their own masterpieces.

After opening presents and singing happy birthday the group went outside for one final activity, the donut pinata. I've made one for the last few parties and they are always fun for the kids.

The one activity we didn't get to do was to pin the butter to the pancake on the plate of the pig from the book "If you give a pig a pancake." Emilia, Claire and Eden worked really hard at painting the pig and even though it was used primarily as decoration, I deserves a mention on the blog.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Stella's ears pierced

Stella's birthday wish was to get her ears pierced. With our upcoming trip less than two weeks away, I decided it would be best to do it now, instead than closer to her actual birthday.

Emilia, who has also being considering getting her ears pieced came with us also. She wanted to see how painful getting a piercing would be.

Stella did amazing. As you can see from the video she just blinked, but that was too much for Emilia who cannot see the point of inflicting undue pain on herself.

Stella has been super diligent in reminding us to sanitize her ear three times a day. I was surprised by her consistent responsibility.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Laundry Room Makeover

One of the things that sold me on the house was the laundry room. In Texas our laundry room was the size of a closet the width of a washer and dryer side-to-side. The spacious room and cabinets on both sides meant I would have plenty of room to wash and fold laundry.

Over time the space has also become a staging area for projects, gifts and crafts. The laminate counter tops have taken a beating as has the sink. So in January I decided to give the room a makeover. It was one of the last spaces we have not touched since moving into the home 6 years ago.

The paint and cabinets were the original color. I chose to make the room lighter and cheery. Somewhere I would want to spend time doing laundry. I hired a local painter to paint the cabinets light blue and the walls bright white. A second company replaced the counter tops with white and gray quartz.

It took just over a week, but the results were astounding. The space is completely different and inviting.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Skiing at Brighton

This year we got Carson and Emilia season ski rentals. We wanted them to lean to ski and going once a year, like they have done in the past is not sufficient exposure to the sport.

Sally Davis has been great enough to offer to take them up whenever she goes with Claire. So they have already been up twice this season.

The second time was on December 27th, when they drove for more than an hour trying to find parking to no avail. Finally, they left discourage but resolved to try again the next day.

Kevin Davis went up with Todd the following morning. The day was really cold, gray and snowing. Not ideal, but they were able to graduate from the kids runs and go up the beginner lifts.

Every time they go, they learn something new. We have purchased better gloves for them, and change a few things to make it more comfortable for them to be out there.

 We have enjoyed several snow storms over the past few days and even the kids at home are playing in it. Andrew and Stella have gotten pretty good at gathering all of the gear required for them to play in the snow.

Just yesterday, Andrew insisted in going outside dressed as a princess so he loaded up with snow pants and boots, coat, gloves and hat and then put her Belle dressed on top. He was a happy kid playing in the snow dressed like a minion princess.

Monday, December 31, 2018

New Oven

Our double oven finally gave up on us on Saturday. It was as old as the house, and not my favorite appliance. Little by little the kitchen appliances have died requiring us to upgrade them. All that is left in the kitchen from when we moved into the house is the gas stove. I imagine it will be a while before we replace it.

I like the idea of updating the look of the kitchen from white to stainless. On the other, I don't like the expense.

We knew the day was coming when the electronic display starting to fade and became really hard to read. So we went to the traditional home improvement stores to see what they had in stock. Their products were super expensive and the ones I was willing to buy left a lot to be desire.

I happened to be looking on KSL for a used oven when I came across an ad for a company that sells directly to contractors but that will sell to the public as cash and carry.

The price and brand of the product were right, and the reviews for the company were positive also. Paul, the salesmen responded to my email the next day and we arranged to meet at his warehouse a day later.

He was knowledgeable, very friendly and not push at all! We chose to buy a 30" oven to replace the 27" we had since they were both the same price.

He helped us load it and strap it to our trailer and emailed us that evening to ensure that we had made it home allright.

Once home, our neighbor came over to unload our oven from the cabinet. Ryan, our wonderful home teacher also came and stayed for a while while we figure out how to hook the new one into the electrical system (The new oven did not come with a plug just to wires).

Todd spent sometime measuring the cabinet and cutting the wood to fit the new ovens.  Afterward, Ryan came over one more time to help lift up the 300 lbs oven into the cabinet.