Archive for February, 2010
When I think of swans, I think of them in posh ponds surrounded by manicured lawns, ornate fountains and brightly colored perennials.
Last Saturday, Ryan, the dogs and I were hiking on the White Oak Trail in Newport News Park and I discovered swans are not the snobby waterfowl I thought they were. At “Swamp View Point”, we saw this:
The best part about this sighting is I get to indulge my love for alliteration. Swamp Swans Swim in Swamps!
I need to try to work “Swamp Swan” in next time I play Scattergories. : )
Ryan and I now have 30 days until our wedding on March 20th. Going into this, I heard account after account of girls trying on a wedding gown and instantly knowing that was it– that was their dress. Although I feel like a pretty, pretty, ecstatically happy, princess in the dress I selected, I didn’t quite have that instant click the other brides described. (My clicking moment may have been dampened by me knowing exactly how many Computer Literacy laptops the dress was equivalent to).
I did, however, have such a moment with our centerpieces! Over the course of the last six months, we pursued many projects. We still have a box full of origami flowers sitting in the living room. We did architect some super cool floating origami lotuses that were lit by DIY LED lights (I’ll make a blog post with instructions on that), but when a serendipitous 75% off sale at Lowe’s presented itself, Ryan and I secured a whole army of succulents. Succulents teach about green roofs, leaf propagation, patterns in nature and survival techniques in drought conditions. But most importantly in our household, succulents are hard to kill! 🙂 Now we just needed something to plant them in!
We found instructions on DIY Bonsai Pots. I wasn’t particularly wowed by the project, but decided to try it out anyway. So three months ago, two of the teenage girls and I extracted a couple of containers from the formidable recycling pile. We used sand paper to rough up the surface. We painted the outside with craft glue and then rolled it in sand. When the glue dried, the container had a nice stony texture. The concept is very similar to the rustification technique George Washington used to make Mount Vernon appear to be made of stone. At this point, I was still pretty indifferent. Painting the pots is when the tide turned.
I watched my teenage companions paint, laugh and smack talk each other’s designs. Meanwhile the kids that weren’t painting voted on which design was best (mine didn’t win). It was right about then I knew we had it. It wasn’t the end products that convinced me, it was all the smiles.
Another serendipitous sale hooked us up with super cheap Christmas tins and the past few weeks, we have been pulling together the centerpieces. It’s truly been a group effort– so far we have had nine different painters ranging in age from 7 to 18. The centerpieces are still a work in progress, but here are some shots of the process so far:
Vicky Sanding Christmas Tins (Photo by Ryan Somma)
Vicky Rolling Glued Up Tin in Sand (Photo by Ryan Somma)
We still have a few pots to finish up. Once all the succulents have been assigned to a pot, we’re covering the soil with white rocks. Each pot will be placed on a 12″ circular mirror and each pot will also be accompanied by a little sign acknowledging who designed it. With that in mind, I put a sticker on the bottom of each pot so I wouldn’t “get them confused”.
Yeah… those stickers turned out to be completely unnecessary.
Each pot is a reminder of the community I call home. Each pot is sentimental. Each pot makes me smile. I know exactly who did which one…and I suspect I’ll never forget.
What couple could ask for more meaningful centerpieces?
Over the holidays, a number of our friends and families gave us items for the neighborhood kids. I’m going to try my absolute best to snag shots as they are distributed.
Thank You to Brandon and Becky G!
One of the most impressive shipments of items for the neighborhood kids came from our friends Becky and Brandon. They shipped us a *giant* box full of goodies:
As if this first shipment wasn’t enough, Ryan and I received a second package with headsets and gum.
If I was accurate in my note taking, then Brandon and Becky sent along 4 keyboards, 2 monitor/TV adapters, 5 ethernet cables, 4 mice, 3 sets of speakers and 3 headsets.
Generosity above and beyond. Thank you!
At Science Online 2010, Blogger Mama Joules told me about OneMillionGiraffes.com. Inspired by wager between friends, the website is trying to collect one million pictures of giraffes in one year. At the time of this writing, they were up to 580,143 giraffes.
It took me a while, but I finally recruited a young artist from Elizabeth City to help! Ryan and I were babysitting a friend’s seven year old this past weekend. She arrived with a fondness for drawing dinosaurs. That enthusiasm translated well to giraffes. She used markers I got in college (~16 years old!) to make this giraffe:
I was able to snag a shot of it on OneMillionGiraffes.com before it was circulated off the front page:
It wasn’t as tasty as making Pi and Space Invader Chocolates, but it significantly less messy and just as much fun. 🙂
P.S. If you happen to submit a giraffe, let me know– I’d love to see it!
Ryan’s post on the Computer Literacy Program is up over at ideonexus. It includes the slides for all the classes, observations and lessons we learned along the way. I love how Ryan explains the lesson we learned about headphones:
Headphones are important in off-class hours. Children view the laptops as their own personal entertainment centers, and will get into an arms race of elevating volumes when two are listening to music or movies on separate laptops in a room together.
There is a best practice I uncovered that I don’t see included in Ryan’s write-up. When you are assisting the kids, you do a lot of bending over as well as a lot of managing of plugs on the floor. I learned this best practice the hard way:
DO NOT WEAR LOW-RIDER JEANS 🙂
Other than that, Ryan’s account is quite complete! Read the full post here.
The last six months, our little household on Hunter Street has been conducting a lot of proofs of concept. It’s part of our wedding brainstorming process. Although most of the projects won’t make an appearance at the wedding, it’s been incredibly fun trying them all out.
This past weekend, we ran an experiment aimed towards “geeky wedding favors”. Chocolate is a safe favor bet, right? Well, we tried out using two Ice Cube Trays from ThinkGeek as chocolate molds– Pi and Space Invaders:
As with most of our trials, we had a helper! Thirteen year old Risha showed up just in time to do the dirty, but delicious, work.
We’re going to need more practice with the Pis, which I’m sure no one is heart broken about (more end products to ingest). Those little Space Invaders, on the other hand, are ADORABLE!!!! I love the determination on their faces. They look like they want to be so mean… but they are so dang cute.
Regardless of whether or not these little guys show up at the wedding, it was definitely a fun project for a rainy afternoon. The ice cube trays have already paid off! 🙂
|I’m a little late, but the January edition of the Diversity in Science Carnival is up at Urban Science Adventures. This month the focus was on the Science Online 2010 Conference.|
The science blogger community is PROLIFIC when it comes to Science Online posts (Bora Zivkovic keeps a running list of Blog/Media Coverage of ScienceOnline2010 if you need to see for yourself). Bringing all those voices and perspectives together was most certainly challenging, but this month’s editor, DNLee, does an outstanding job!
The February Edition of the Diversity in Science Carnival is going to highlight Black History Month! Submit any related posts here