Adventures, History, Science

Cancelled Plans – It’s Okay

Well, we were GOING to go to Tug Boat Story Time aboard the historic Arthur Foss, but apparently the 200 year old tug boat needed repairs. Still, we have visited the story time a few times in the past and it has most often been very engaging and lots of fun. If you have littles in the Seattle area, I would encourage you to check it out.

Well we had already parked the car before we found out about the cancellation, but we didn’t cry and pout. We walked around and looked at the other boats at the Museum for Wooden Boats. We discovered that the whole South Lake Union park was a large construction site, and the monkeys just ran around and climbed on things.

Honestly, sometimes I forget how little these kids need in order to be entertained. The world is a beautiful playground!

Did You Know that we didn’t make paper from wood fibre until 1885? And the first Western Mill to do so was in Washington on the North Bank of the Columbia River, mashing the wood to pulp with big stone wheels like the one pictured above.

This stone was in front of the Museum of History and Innovation. In case you were wondering what paper mills had to do with boats, its really just that these museums are right next to each other.

Well, we had a good time, and after some coaxing and cajoling, I finally got the 3 year old to take a nap. The one year old was asleep before we even made it back onto the highway.


This morning, Mr. 3 asked me where glass comes from. I found an interesting and short video on YouTube that explained the process of turning Sand into glass using heat. They use Soda Ash and Limestone to lower the temperature at which the sand melts, but it still takes a hot hot hot 3090 degrees Fahrenheit. They pour the molten glass over melted tin to get it to cool flat into giant panes of glass that are later cut down to size. The glass and tin have a water and oil relationship and the glass hardens much sooner than tin because tin has a much lower melting point.

Really fascinating.

Mr. 3 also asked me if horses have boogers, but I have not researched that. My guess is that, yes, they do have boogers.

What have your kids asked you lately that’s made you think?

Geography, History

A Mystery in South America

My 3-year-old wanted a granola bar, some nuts, and 2 waffles for breakfast. As he was picking through our container of nuts, he would ask me what kind they were. When he came across the Brazil Nut he asked me where they were from and I told him I guessed they were from Brazil.

I then looked in our Amazing World Atlas book to read about South America and Brazil. I did not find any information about nuts, but Brazil does produce over 3 Million tons of coffee every year.

The thing I found most interesting was the Nazca Desert in Peru. According to the book the Nazca lines were scraped into the desert sand 1500 years ago. Some of them are pictures of animals and plants (“biomorphs”) and some of them are just shapes and lines (“geoglyphs”). The surprising thing? These pictures are so large that you can only see them from the air. How did they get there, and what do they mean? No one truly knows, but there are some interesting theories described in an article written by the UnMuseum. According to the article, the glyphs are actually dated to 200 BC and 300AD, and these are not the only breathtaking large-scale phenomena in South America.

I don’t know about you, but aliens was definitely the thing that crossed my mind first.

History, Science

Museum of Flight (Seattle, WA)

According to their website, the Museum of Flight (located just south of Seattle) is the “largest independent, non-profit museum of air and space in the world”.

I don’t doubt it, but the only other similar museum we have been to is the Frontiers of Flight museum near the Dallas/Love-field airport.

Well, we have a membership to the Seattle one and we usually go every few weeks mainly because we like to eat at the nearby Factoria Mall. They have a Moctezuma’s there which is the best Tex-mex restaurant we have found. We’ve decided we even like it better than the Chuy’s we used to go to when we lived in Dallas.

Anyways, the 3-year-old is almost always super excited to visit the museum, and the one year old hasn’t complained about going either.

We usually just stick to one or two parts of the museum and stay for an hour to an hour and a half. The kids are little and need to eat and get home for nap time.

The kids really like the outdoor pavilion where there are at least 3 large airplanes you can board and learn about.

They also love going to the control tower and listening to the chatter while watching airplanes go by. Sometimes you can even see trains.

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They like the two kids areas.

Today’s visit was on the pretext of visiting the new Apollo exhibit. My kids don’t like it when I stand around and read the placards, but in between chasing them around I was able to learn some interesting facts.

The Apollo missions are primarily for going to the moon, but I think there was a trip or two to Mars as well? I will have to try to finish the tour next time.

Here is what I know for sure:

The moon is 200,000 miles away. (We learned before that it only takes 3 days to get there.)

If the earth were a basketball, the moon would be a tennis ball and would orbit about 24 feet away from the basketball.

After NASA made it to the moon, they wanted to build a reusable space shuttle that would theoretically save them money on future missions. This shuttle only flew for 10 trips (instead of the projected 50) and cost between 450 Million and 1 Billion per trip versus the projected $7.7 Million per trip. I guess I always suspected space travel was expensive, but geez!

Finally, I learned that the model of the moon landing including the command module, 2 astronauts, and a lunar rover took 2500 hours to build. The guy did a good job, but that is a lot of work.

What is your favorite museum to take the kids?

 

History, Projects

Make Your Own Flags

In honor of Independence Day (USA) on Tuesday, July 4, I am sharing an easy craft with you today.

You will need:

  • Tape
  • Index Cards
  • Straws or Sticks
  • Color : I used oil pastels because they are very bright. Crayons, Markers, Watercolor would all work well.

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Here’s how it works:

Color the index cards, and tape them to the sticks!

I told you it was simple!

Both my kids enjoyed this craft, and when the little one got bored I brought out some stickers to extend the fun.

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My three year old made “American” flags for himself and Daddy. And we very briefly discussed why we celebrate Independence Day. I also made a German flag and we talked about where Oma and mommy come from.

You can make this as educational or as free form as you like. I hope you enjoy!

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By the way, I stuck our old play dough in a little dixie cup to hold the finished flags.

 

History, Music

Violin versus Fiddle

Wednesday is the day we go to our Music Together class. Normally I really like this class, but today was extra awesome.

First, the little one is officially walking now! That means I didn’t have to pick him up and carry him as much when we dance around the room. (And that also means I don’t have to pick up and dance with his 39 pound brother, either!)

Second, the teacher brought her violin with her and played one of the songs on it. Only, it’s not a violin… it’s a fiddle! Actually, they are the same thing and the big difference is the style of music played on them. A violin is more classical music, and the fiddle is country or folk music.

Honestly, I don’t know why I am so shocked by this revelation, but I think that it is super cool. It is one more example of how not everything is as simple as it seems. (I don’t mean to imply the violin is simple, because I certainly couldn’t play it!)

I found some more cool facts while I was researching the truth behind the claim.

  1. Davy Crockett at the Battle of the Alamo would play the fiddle for his troops to keep up morale. (Source)
  2. Stradivarius is known as possibly the best violin maker of all time, and one of his  violins lovingly constructed in 1707 was sold in 1998 for more than 3.5 million dollars. There is a belief that violins sound better with age. (Source)
  3. It can take over 200 hours to make a good violin… or fiddle! (Source)
  4. The fiddle is sometimes associated with the devil. This can be traced back to the protestant reformation when most forms of entertainment were associated with the devil. A good example of a fiddle song is The Devil Went Down To Georgia by (Source)
  5. Playing the violin or fiddle is good for the body and mind. It uses both sides of the brain and can burn up to 175 calories per hour. (Source)

Wow.

History

DB Cooper

We spent this morning at the Museum of Flight south of Seattle. We have a membership and visit this museum often, and Mr. 3 says it is his favorite museum. It is very large and we never stay long enough to see it all. Today we walked briefly through the space center where they were having an R2D2 builders convention. Mr. 3 was unreasonably frightened of all the cute little R2D2s so we couldn’t stay and learn about them.

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I am not a Star Wars fan. I don’t dislike it, but to me its just like any other franchise. Still, seeing these little robots in real life twirling around and beeping was REALLY cool. And I applaud all the smart people that can craft those creatures from scratch. Truly incredible.

Then we went to the museum’s Aviation Pavilion. Here we walked around (Mr. 1 was assisted but he insisted on walking most of it himself) and went inside the British Airway  Concorde which once flew across the Atlantic Ocean from London to New York in only 2.5 hours. We also went through one of the Dream Liners they have. Then the kids played in the play area for a while. IMG_6342

Generally the kids go too quickly to read any of the huge information placards that are spread around the exhibit, but I did get to read about an interesting man named DB Cooper while Mr. 1 was hugging the mannequins leg.

DB Cooper is an alias for a man who hijacked an airplane 1971 and escaped with $200,000 by parachuting out of the back of the plane. According to the museum placard he was never seen or heard from again.

In January of 2017, there was a Washington Post article stating that this is the only  skyjacking case never to be solved by the FBI, and that after 45 years they have decided to use their resources for more pressing cases.

I thought this was a really fascinating story!

History, Science

Trains, Trains, Trains

Me: What’s your favorite thing to do in the morning?

Three: Play with TRAINS!

Me: What’s your favorite thing to do… in the afternoon?

Three: Play with TRAINS!

Me: What’s your favorite thing to do in the evening?

Three: Read a book… and play with trains!

Does that sound familiar to you? Is your child obsessed with particularly fond of trains?

We check out a great deal of train books at the library, and he was lucky enough to receive a train table and train set from his Oma for Christmas. (That’s german for “Grandma”).

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The latest train book we have read is Whoo! Whoo! Goes the Train by Anne F. Rockwell. We have read a lot of train books, but I have never seen the word Semaphore before. Also, this book is full of bright pictures and has special emphasis on identifying colors. Mr. 3 and Mr. 1 both really like it and want to read it again and again.  (Amazon)

Semaphore: One of the earliest forms of fixed railway signal is the semaphore. These signals display their different indications to train drivers by changing the angle of inclination of a pivoted ‘arm’. [Wikipedia]

Basically, the trains use it to send messages like “Stop”, “Caution”, or “Clear”. Apparently it’s been around since the 1840’s and hasn’t even changed too much over the years.

Steam TrainOne of my personal favorite train books is Steam Train Dream Train by Sherri Duskey Rinker. The reason I like this one, is not only does it rhyme, but it names all the different types of freight train cars. Now if we see a big freight train go by, I can remind the kids what they are called. (Amazon)

 

Autorack – I have never seen one of these, but that would be awesome! They are used like an auto carrier/car transporter.

Box Car – General purpose – I think these are the most common

Flatbed Car – Just like a flatbed truck… it’s flat and used to carry large things.

Freezer Car – Used to store cold goods

Tanker Car – Used for transporting liquids and gas, such as oil and gas.

Well Car – This sits a little lower than the traditional flatbed car and allows for double stacking shipping containers.

Gondola Car – A train car that has short walls but is open on the top, it can carry loose items.

It has been a while since I read that book, so I might be missing a few from the list, but it is very interesting.

Now I’m going to reward your continued reading with some interesting facts about trains. Links to original source are included.

  • The first railways in Great Britain were made between 1603 and 1604 as a simple “wagonway”. Modern railways came in the 1800s. (Source)
  • The U.S. embraced four time zones only after trains enabled fast travel across the continent. (Source) They are not to be blamed for day light savings time, though.
  • The word “train” dates back to the 14th century. Its original meaning, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, was: “Treachery, guile, deceit, trickery; prevarication.” (Source)
  • Ore trains in Sweden traveling down to the coast generate five times the amount of electricity they use, powering nearby towns and the return trip for other trains. (Source)
  • You can ride the Hogwart’s Express (movie version) in Scotland, although they do not call it that there. (Source)

Hopefully you have some new train facts to share with your kids.

Feel free to share your favorite train fact or train book below in the comments!