Thursday, April 28, 2011

Creating a Microbial Biosphere

Grace and Jack loved, loved, loved making a microbial biosphere - which is a self-contained ecosystem in a jar. We talked about how microbes are living creatures that are so small that you can't see them without a microscope, but if enough of them grow together you can see their 'community.'

We also talked about how microbes can make us sick (and then we call them germs) but more often they help us! Microbes break down plants and turn them into compost and the microbes in our intestines break down food and can make certain vitamins. We also use microbes to make yummy food like yogurt, cheese, kefir, and some bread!

The ingredients needed to make a microbial biosphere are as follows: dirt, water, egg shells, cooked egg yolk, newspaper, and a large glass jar with a lid.

Here is how Grace and Jack made their microbial biosphere...

Step #1: Collect dirt from one source and be sure to use a container other than your jar. Remove any rocks, sticks, or leaves from the dirt.

Step #2: Add an equal amount of water to the amount of dirt you collected to make a muddy mixture. Stir together. If you collect dirt/soil from a water source like a pond or stream be sure to use water from the same source (in a separate container). If you collect dirt from your garden (as we did), you can use tap water.

Step #3: Shred newspaper and add it to your mud mixture. One page of shredded newspaper should be used per 1 liter jar.

Step #4: Add cooked egg yolks to your mud and newspaper mixture. You will need 1/2 teaspoon of egg yolk per 1 liter jar (usually there are 2 teaspoons of hard-cooked egg yolk in one egg).

Step #5: Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of crushed egg shells per 1 liter jar. One egg typically yields 1 teaspoon of crushed egg shells.

Step #6: Transfer the mud mixture to your glass jar, filling it about 2/3 full. Cover your jar tightly.

Step # 7: Place your jar in a well-lit place but be sure to store your microbial biosphere out of direct sunlight or lamplight. Your biosphere should be kept at room temperature.

This science experiment was fun for us to put together and it will be fascinating to watch our microbial biosphere change over the next several weeks and months. It typically takes at least 3 to 4 weeks to start seeing microbe colonies. There will be so much for us to talk about and to learn about what is happening inside of our jar (and why)!!!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Easter Sunday

We spent our Easter this year at Memere and Pepere's house. We had a beautiful day together surrounded by family. There are more pictures of our Easter to be posted over the weekend (I have lots to go through!). Thank you so very much to Memere and Pepere for such a special day.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Coloring Easter Eggs

Coloring Easter eggs is one of my all time favorite activities to do with my children! It is something that I look forward to every year. We have our Easter eggs displayed in the beautiful egg holder that my Pop-Pop from Delaware made in 1978. The egg holder brings back so many wonderful memories for me from when my brother and I colored Easter eggs together growing up. It is so very special to me and I am so happy to share it with my own children now.

Happy Easter

grace, jack & eve's footprint ducklings

grace's hand print bunny

jack's hand print bunny

eve's footprint duckling

Happy Easter & a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO PEPERE!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Mailing Plastic Easter Eggs!

Grace & Jack love to fill plastic Easter eggs with little treasures. As they were doing this last week I thought about the fun of discovering eggs during an Easter egg hunt and I thought it would be fun to discover one or two in a mailbox. Since we will be in Massachusetts with Bob's family for Easter we thought we would surprise our family in Vermont with some of Grace, Jack and Eve's Easter eggs as a special way to share a little Easter cheer with them too! Instead of putting the eggs in a box or an envelope we sealed up the eggs with stickers and hoped that our post office would mail the eggs as they were! In the pictures above Jack is filling one of the eggs with tiny treasures and Grace is sealing up an egg with stickers.

Eve held the eggs securely in her car seat all the way to the post office! During the ride there we all were talking about and guessing whether we could mail the plastic eggs... worked!!!!

The postal worker was quite surprised to see Grace, Jack and Eve come in with plastic Easter eggs to mail. We waited anxiously to see whether it could be done and we were all SO EXCITED when he said yes! We hope our family in Vermont enjoyed this Easter surprise in their mailbox! We had the best time with this project and it is something that will be doing every Easter. :)

Eve's First Easter

It is so hard to believe that this is Eve's first Easter because it feels as though she has always been a part of our family. It is also hard to believe that just over four years ago Grace wore this very same bunny hat from Uncle Adam! Click here to see Grace too.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Day 2011

Getting ready for our garden!
Happy Earth Day.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Making Easter Cards!



Eve's teeny tiny painted foot!


The finished Easter cards will be revealed on Easter Sunday! :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Very Special Day for Jack at Pineland Farms

We all had such a great time at Pineland Farms on Saturday that we decided to go back again on Monday for a special educational program that the farm was offering all about tractors. It was a dream come true for our Jack to be able to sit on and explore all of the farm machinery!

Got Gracie, Jack & Eve?