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Halloween Paper Twist Trees


@mvemother Halloween Paper Twist Trees

In an effort to shake off a creative slump I’ve been purging my crafty stash and this is the first project using the piles and piles of paper twists that have been sitting on the floor since the day I bought them, for a steal I might add.  I used black, keeping in the spirit of Halloween, but you could use any color to create a holiday theme or to match your décor.

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Summer of Science: Hole In Your Hand


Summer of Science @ www.myveryeducatedmother.com

Despite the fact that I almost forgot to post this Summer of Science experiment, it was one of the most fun ones we’ve done so far thanks to it’s simplicity. 

So here’s how it goes, the next time you’re sitting on the toilet with an empty roll, yelling for someone…anyone to bring you a full one, look through it.  Yes, put it up to one eye and look through it like you’re a pirate scouting out distant treasures to loot.  Just make sure you keep you’re other eye open at the same time. 

Now hold up your opposite hand.  i.e. If your holding the roll to your right eye hold your left hand up in front of you.  Place your hand close to the roll and near, if not past, the end of it. (Really a paper towel roll would do better but we don’t use paper towels.) 

With both your eyes open you should see a hole in your hand (as if you were looking through it). 

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Why do you see a hold in your hand? Simple.  Usually we see with both our eyes at the same time but we’re not aware of this because our brain takes the images from each eye and puts them together.  In this experiment when your brain puts the images together you end up with the hand from your left eye and the hole in the roll from the right.  Put that together and whatya get?  A hole in your hand.

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Summer of Science: Optical Illusions


This week’s Summer of Science experiments are all about playing tricks on our eyes.  So after spending too much time Googling and trying different optical illusions the kids and I tried to replicate one on our own, the Cafe Wall illusion exact.  If you squint your eyes it totally works! 

We used a regular piece of lined paper as a guide and then added little tabs like this all the way across the page.

My Very Educated Mother Optical Illusions

Once your done it should look like this. 

www.myveryeducatedmother.com Summer of Science Optical Illusions

Yes, we messed up the first couple of rows but it was still fun trying to recreate this illusion that depends on the shift from light to dark to create the impression that the lines aren’t parallel. 

Here’s a little homework for you….how many different types of optical illusions are there?

*Check out my latest review of AboutOne.com a great online organizer that even I like!*

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Copycat Craft: 2x4 Halloween Decor




About a year ago I started pinning, and then I pinned some more, and even now when I can’t sleep I’ll pin.  The problem, as most pinners know, is that pinning is not the same as doing.  This is my first documented attempt to share with you something I’ve pinned and actually MADE.

While my husband and oldest are spending the weekend finishing up a major project, the two little ones and I wanted to make something of our own and it was imperative that it include paint.  ‘Cause it ain’t a real project if you ain’t painted anything. No we don’t talk that way, sorry, Honey Boo Boo advert has me thinking and typing red-neck.  Anyway, I found this cute, quick and fun project from Keeping It Simple, via Pinterest, and thought it would be easy to turn it into a kids craft.
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Summer of Science: The Magic of Flipbooks




Who doesn’t love making a flipbook?  Apparently my kids, after a few failed attempts I’m completely cheating and just sharing a couple of links for making a flipbook while also offering an alternative that’s easier for the little ones to figure out.

Here’s Two Great Flipbook Links 
Here’s My Alternative

When we made cameras we were looking at how to create ONE image, with a flipbook we’re drawing multiple images, ‘flipping through them quickly giving the appearance of animating our drawings.  In essence we’re making movies –this was what my kids got, but instead of drawing they just wanted to take pictures and flip through them on the screen real fast.  We had many more images in our final ‘movie’ but hopefully these will give you an idea of what we did.
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Summer of Science: Making a Camera…Seriously



www.myveryeducatedmother.com Making a Camera

Yes, we sincerely made a camera. Don’t believe me…keep reading, follow along, and make one yourself!



www.myveryeducatedmother.com Supplies for Making a Camera 
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Tips To Get Your Kids On-Board With Household Cleaning From Dr. Jana


During the chaos that is BlogHer I had the great pleasure of taking a moment to sit down in the Lysol Recharge Station and talk with award winning author Dr. Laura Jana about kids and cleaning.  

www.myveryeducatedmother.com Dr. Jana InterviewAs a board certified pediatrician and American Academy of Pediatrics Fellow, Dr. Laura Jana knows the many reasons why children need to be included in our household cleaning routines.  It’s her experience as a mother of three and owner of an educational childcare center that’s taught her how to turn these dreaded tasks into rewarding family time.

Teaching the importance of cleanliness and hygiene go without saying, but my first question for Dr. Jana was if there were long term benefits to having chores?  Turns out there are and you might be amazed at just how big those benefits are.  A study conducted by the University of Minnesota found that the best predictor of a child’s success is the age at which he or she begins helping with household chores.  It went on to show that children involved in regular cleaning routines had a sense of responsibility, competence, self-reliance and self-worth that stays with them throughout their lives.

I’m busy, you’re busy, we’re all busy, sometimes it just seems easier and quicker to do the work myself rather than try to explain how to do it or worse, have to re-do work.  That’s were Dr. Jana recommended setting aside a special time each week dedicated to cleaning.  You can’t expect any lessons to be learned or good habits created while you’re doing a quick sweep of the house before company comes over.  Designate cleaning time as family time so that it is a time to be enjoyed together and not dreaded. 

Little ones WANT to help and a great way to get them involved is to turn cleaning into a game, explained Dr. Jana.  Form an assembly line, set a timer, or implement a game of “hide and seek,” just be sure that your kids know the rules and their limits when it comes to handling cleaning supplies.  Assign ambitious jobs like vacuuming, scrubbing and disinfecting for older kids while the younger ones handle simpler one-step tasks like dusting or picking up toys.  In our house my two little ones are the designated ‘runners,’ running everyone’s toys, books, shoes and miscellaneous items to their respective bedrooms.
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BlogHer ‘12 Recap: What I’ll Do Differently Next Year


www.myveryeducatedmother.com Martha at BlogHer 12

This time last week I was knee deep in New York City taking part in the largest blogging conference known to man. There were 5,000 people in attendance, private party lines of 200 + women, keynote speakers who are big deals OUTSIDE the blogging world (see above), satellite addresses from President Obama, and fuzzy uteri in the expo hall, I should still be on a high…right?  Yet here I sit, outside the swag (that I’ll be getting to in a moment) littering my table and a handful of e-mails last week could have been any other week of the year for me and I’m feeling sad about that.  So, because you know I love a list and pointing out all the things I’ve learned the hard way, I’m going to share with you what I WILL be doing in Chicago at BlogHer 2013, should I brave this event another year.

  1. I will not choose to wear anything other than my $1 Old Navy flip-flops from the get-go!  I don’t know about you but I spend the majority of my day at home and barefoot.  The slightest bit of a heel makes my shins ache and by Saturday I was saying a prayer with every step.  I only compounded the problem when I chose to slip on a pair of new (but they’re loose it’ll be okay, I told myself) flats without socks, booties, or panyhose.  I’m still dealing with the blisters. 036
  2. I will bring a portable fan and/or towel with me everywhere I go!  Sure, the session rooms got a little chilly but the expo hall was too much for this sweaty girl.  Take a bunch of hot air and add shopping bags to lug around and I was in crazy sweat mode.  If you see the pictures please take pity. (Yes that’s me looking sickly with This Full House’s Liz, the poor thing was kind enough to take a picture with this wreck of a woman!)
  3. I will only room with one other person.  I absolutely LOVED my roommates and being able to discuss stuff with them every night was great.  However, I’m a talker so that meant when I should’ve been going over my plans for the next day and scheduling out my time I was um, talking.  I think had there been only one roomie I might have been able to shut my mouth more often!
  4. I will have a smartphone.  Now, don’t go crazy!  It’s just not in my nature to pay monthly for a smartphone plan that I’ll never otherwise use, but I am thinking of spending the money for a pay-as-you-go phone that I can add/delete a data plan without much drama.  Seriously I have NO IDEA about this but I saw someone else mention it in a facebook group and it would work perfectly for me!  WHY?  Because the wi-fi provided by the hotel was willy-nilly, most of the sponsors had giveaways going on that needed to be tweeted on the spot (otherwise you’d probably forget), and during the sessions it’s nice to spread a little love to the speakers when they really touch a nerve!  -and I mean that in a good way!
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Summer of Science: Making Spectrums


No matter if you’re a homeschooler or not this month is always filled with anticipation for the next school year.  There are books to be bought, schedules to be made, and field trips to be planned  so I’m thankful that I saved some of the best (in my opinion) science experiments for this last month to keep me motivated and moving forward!  For this lesson we’re flip-flopping things to look at the ‘explanation’ before we actually do the experiment.

What is a spectrum and what does it have to do with light?  Like water, light travels in waves that peak and dip.  The distance between peaks is called a wavelength and different colors travel at different wavelengths.  Why is this important to know?  Because around 1665 Sir Isaac Newton discovered that white light, like sun light, wasn’t made of just white light wavelengths, it was actually composed of all the colors of the rainbow (blue, indigo, violet, red, orange, yellow, and green).  He made this observation with the help of prisms (triangular blocks of glass) that filter sunlight to create a spectrum of colors.  Thankfully we don’t need a prism to create our own spectrums.

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Summer of Science: Spinning Color Wheel


 www.myveryeducatedmother.com SOS: Color Wheels

This month is marks the beginning to the end of our Summer of Science series and I’m super excited to be wrapping things up with experiments in the field of Light and Color! These are fun classic activities that let your children get creative with science and I love getting creative!

When I was in school we made color wheels, put a string through the middle, spun it around, and watched the colors blend.  Instead of using string, my kids preferred using pencils as spinners, not that it makes that much of a difference.  No matter how you spin it you’re kids will still get a kick out of seeing the colors blend…but what color will they create?


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Ketchup Free Meatloaf Patties


What's for Dinner?  Ketchup-Free Meatloaf Patties
I hate ketchup, the way it smells, the way it tastes, the fact that it’s basically sugar water with a hint of tomato; I hate it.  My disdain is only intensified when I read recipes calling for it (Sincerely, it’s almost as bad as recipes that call for the use of a microwave-so annoying!) because there are so many more flavorful substitutes (tomato paste or sauce) that actually have nutritional value.  Anyhow…I hate ketchup.

Cooking without this, ahem, condiment is actually quite easy except when it comes to one item, meatloaf.  Rarely will you find a recipe that doesn’t include it, some even go so far as to coat the meat with this fast-food staple.  But I’m offering you a recipe today that will kick your meatloaf up a notch and give it a little bit more sophistication.

meatloaf patties without ketchup

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Summer of Science: Acid Rain


I know I just said this a couple of days ago but it bears repeating…Being aware of your potential to impact the world is an important lesson to learn and one that continues well into adulthood. In this week’s experiments we’re broadening our ecological awareness and exploring how pollution impacts weather in the form of melting polar ice caps and acid rain.  I think it’s important, and necessary, for children to understand and realize that the same things we’re studying in our experiments are happening in the world RIGHT NOW and eventually the end result of the experiment is going to be the end result for Earth if we don’t start changing our ways.

air bubbles coming out of the chalk

Tuesday we melted ice caps and today we’re looking at the effects of acid rain.  I found a few great links to learn more about acid rain so that I could explain it to the kids.  I liked this one from About.com because it mentions the effects of acid rain on architecture and art which is exactly what we’re looking at in this experiment.

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