Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Atomic Bomb and WWII

My explanation of the famous equation. That's what it all comes down to, right? Anything x Very Big = also Very Big? :)

Every single day of this unit, the boys were saying, "Is TODAY the atomic bomb? Is TODAY the atomic bomb?" Finally we got to it. Having lived in Los Alamos while my dad worked at the lab there, I've always had a special interest in the Manhattan Project and the people who worked on it. My mom has lots of good books on the subject from our time in Los Alamos---just the portraits of their daily lives there (even the wives and children who were there with their physicist husbands) are really fascinating. I have pictures of me at the Trinity site when I was 3, but I don't remember it. I think I have some trinitite too. (I used to think my Uncle Hale worked on the Manhattan Project, but he didn't. He helped develop Radar, though.)

Anyway, I don't know what's more interesting, the history or the science! We had a unit on the Holocaust earlier this year, but we didn't cover the war with Japan at all, so we needed a brief recap of the timeline of World War II and an overview of Pearl Harbor, etc. This site has some interesting before and after pictures of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (before and after the bombs were dropped). I wouldn't get too far into this page with kids as there are some very disturbing pictures of people and their injuries; we stayed away from those. (They are behind a link at the bottom of the page, though, so you shouldn't run into them by accident.) Whatever your feelings on the bomb (another reason I wouldn't get too far into that site), it's very sobering to see the pictures and think about the destruction caused. 

I liked the story of Lise Meitner, one of the discoverers of fission and a very interesting woman. I've always liked Marie Curie but I'd never even heard of Lise Meitner before. There's an element named after her now (Meitnerium)! (I liked this whole book, though it wasn't all pertinent to this unit: serendipitous discoveries are so cool!)

Of course we also listened to Manhattan Project, one of the best Rush songs ever. :) This one made a deep impression on me as a teenager and I've liked it ever since.

There are videos all over online that show atomic bomb explosions. The boys loved those. They are pretty awe-inspiring! This video was one of the most interesting, about the largest thermonuclear bomb ever detonated.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Chain reactions; Enriching Uranium

When we started talking about fission, we needed to understand chain reactions, and of course the obvious example is with dominoes. We tried several different configurations and experimented with putting rulers in to simulate control rods.

Here's how I demonstrated the enrichment process for Uranium. This was all new to me, although naturally I'd heard of "enriched Uranium." Here's a good explanation of how the Uranium centrifuge works. By the way, there were some really terrible books about nuclear power at the library. I feel that Atoms and Molecules by Molly Aloian deserves special dishonorable mention for its reversal of U-235 and U-238 (it repeatedly referred to U-235 as the most abundant isotope, and U-238 as the one you need for fission----which is exactly WRONG), spelling errors (e.g. "canon" for "cannon"), and general hysterical tone (YOU DECIDE: "Is radioactive waste going to KILL US ALL?"). I really hate pseudo-scientific books like that. Nuclear energy seems to be a hot subject for it, unfortunately. But generally, I could get what information we needed from the books and leave out the other stuff, so it was okay.

Anyway, here's how it works with getting Uranium ready for fission.
First, the Uranium ore is in deposits all over the world. The yellow beads represent U-235, the rarer isotope, and the wood beads are U-238, the most abundant natural source. (U-235 is disproportionately represented here, actually. I think it's only 1-2% of the world's uranium.)

They mine the ore and gather it. (Um, this is a simplified explanation of the process. :))

Then they add chemicals to make it into a gas. The U-235 is sliiiiightly lighter, but gravity alone won't separate the two isotopes. They have to use a strong centrifugal force, which they do by spinning the gas in a centrifuge. The lighter U-235 tends to stay in the middle while the heavier 238 spins to the outer edges. You actually have to do this thousands of times before the separation becomes pronounced enough, so the gas goes from centrifuge to centrifuge, becoming more concentrated in U-235 each time.

Finally you have a solution that is mostly (or, MORE than before) composed of U-235. This is the enriched uranium----the pile of yellow beads. And you also have depleted Uranium, the U-238 left over. Both have their uses, but the enriched Uranium is what's used for nuclear power plants and for nuclear weapons.

And this video from The Onion is just for your enjoyment. :)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Radiology Field Trip

When I called the Hospital to schedule a tour, I asked if we could specifically see the radiology department, as that was what we were studying. I also told the lady the ages of the kids, but evidently she didn't remember them, because when we got there, the radiologist's face kind of fell and she said, "Oh, I wish someone had TOLD me they'd be so young!" So it was sad, because they ARE young, but people underestimate them, because they are also smart. And we'd been learning about this stuff already, so they had a lot of background and would have been ready to learn probably a lot more in-depth than she imagined. I tried saying, "It's okay, just try us, we'll stop you if we don't understand!"---but some people just don't think kids are capable of much, I guess.

So, it was a great field trip, and we loved what we did get to see, but we felt like it was way more dumbed-down than it needed to be. The lady talked in this high, kind of babyish voice and said things like "And THIS is the X-RAY machine! It's like a big . . . CAMERA! Like your mom and dad's CAMERA that takes cute pictures of you! Only pictures of your INSIDES!" I could see the kids kind of tapping their feet and thinking, "Okay, when are we going to get to the ionizing radiation?"

We did get to see a bunch of interesting x-ray pictures showing swallowed objects and nails that had gone through people's feet and so forth, and everyone liked that, despite heavy moralizing from the radiologist ("And so THAT'S why you should always let your mommy put you in your CARSEAT!"). A little moralizing never hurt anyone where broken bones are concerned, I suppose---the children were duly sobered and impressed. :)
One funny moment came when Malachi raised his hand and asked why the cords and tubing above the machine were so large. The lady began to explain ("You see, there's something called ELECTRICITY in there, like a plug in the wall---you know there are plugs for your TV in the wall, and you must NEVER stick your finger in because you might get a SHOCK? . . . ") and then Malachi understood what she was trying to say and kind of cut her off: "Oh, it's extra insulated because of the large current. Okay." She seemed rather taken aback, but at that point the tour was nearly over so it didn't do any good. :)

Naturally, in the days that followed, Sebby made several of his own x-rays (each one a cautionary tale) showing horribly fractured arms and legs, as well as people who had swallowed saws, staplers and open safety pins.

Friday, January 25, 2013


Radioactivity is such an interesting phenomenon. We loved learning more about it. I highly recommend this book, not for reading aloud (it's way too long and on more of a high-school level) but just for a fascinating (and unbiased) overview of the subject. I learned so much from reading this.

Here's a nice little animation to demonstrate half-life and radioactive decay.

This is a really interesting chart showing radiation dosages for various things. The children thought this was the most hilarious sentence in the world:
"Using a cell phone* does not produce ionizing radiation and does not cause cancer. (*Unless it's a bananaphone)"
Bananas, you see, contain potassium and thus give a small dose of radiation (more than a cell phone, evidently). Now the children are obsessed with holding bananas to their ears and saying, "Hello?" They think it is THE FUNNIEST JOKE.

No, actually, I take that back. They think this video contains the funniest joke: when Robert Krampf says, "Does radioactivity turn you into some horrible monster?" and then suddenly appears wearing a big bunny suit. We love The Happy Scientist! This is a good, concise explanation of radioactivity and the cloud chamber looks like a really cool project to try. We didn't attempt it this time because it seemed like it would be so much better with a radioactive source, and we didn't have one. :) But it's really amazing to see the "trails" left by alpha and beta radiation!

Along with naturally occurring radiation, we learned about the uses of radiation in medicine. We had a field trip to the Radiology department of the hospital planned, so in preparation for that we learned how X-ray machines and CT Scans work, and about radiation therapy for cancer. We also really enjoyed this picture gallery of interesting x-ray pictures. The photographer took x-ray photos of unusual things like jet airplanes and football players in uniform. So cool!

Here is a video about CT scanners
And here's one about radiation therapy for prostate cancer

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Paper plate atom models

I thought of various ways we could build models of the atom, and finally decided on this one as the simplest. I saw some instructions for doing this with M&Ms, but as you were supposed to be gluing them to the plate, this promised to be either wasteful or futile. So we used beads. The main point of making a model, in my mind, was to cement the concept of which subatomic particles go where, and which ones determine the properties of an element---and this accomplishes that sufficiently.

I told the children they could choose any element to model. I helped Malachi and Daisy, of course (it was a good counting exercise for both of them---Malachi chose Gold, so he had to go up to 118 for the neutrons) and Abe and Seb were able to do this on their own.

Here's a simple, printable periodic table if you need one. I remember when I was in 6th or 7th grade, my dad brought home a periodic table for me that was colored and detailed (with the full mass numbers and such), printed on heavy paper. I was so proud of it and felt like I was SO lucky compared to everyone else in class that had to make do with their ugly Xerox copies. I kept it in my binder for years and always felt special when I brought it out during classes. It was such a simple little thing, I'm not sure why I loved it so much, but I think I just loved that my dad gave it to me. Anyway! This one isn't as nice, but it will do. :)
Abe wanted to do the lightest and the heaviest naturally-occurring elements.

Sebby wanted his to be shaped "right" :)

Isotopes (or, as we called them, eggotopes)

Regular Hydrogen with its isotopes, deuterium and tritium

I've always thought isotopes were a little tricky to visualize. But the concept is critical to understanding radioactivity and the uranium enrichment process! Luckily I found this great idea from a junior high science teacher online. You use colored eggs to represent elements. Each isotope of an element is in the same color. Inside, you make a nucleus with beads, showing the number of protons and neutrons in each isotope. The model leaves out electrons altogether, as they aren't relevant here.

(One thing the children were SO interested in was half-life---specifically, how some elements have such a short half-life that they decay almost immediately. Protactinium, for example, would have been totally gone from the earth only hours after it first appeared. They loved that idea, for some reason.)

We really liked doing this, and we also used the eggs later on in the unit for reference. I had really small plastic eggs, so we only did some of the lighter elements, but it would have been fun to make an egg for U-235 and U-238 if we'd had one big enough to hold that many beads! I just looked up a list of common isotopes (some radioactive, some not) such as Carbon-14 and of course the three isotopes of Hydrogen. (That knowledge would be necessary for learning about nuclear fusion later!)

Here's a simple online explanation of isotopes.
Also, stringing beads is fun!
Sulfur-32 and Sulfur-35 (radioactive)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Nuclear Energy Unit Lesson Plan

We decided to plan a nuclear energy unit after we went to the Museum of Nuclear Science and History in Albuquerque a few months ago. There was so much information at the museum, and the children were curious about it all, but there was too much to really absorb in a few hours. They asked if we could study it in more depth later, and I said we could, though I wasn't really sure how it would go. I wondered if the subject was maybe too complicated for me to cover (as, alas, I'm not a physicist. If only Grandpa were still alive!). But, I forged ahead and checked out a bunch of books from the library about atoms and nuclear energy.

Luckily (as seems to happen every time!), after reading so many books and trying to absorb so many explanations, everything began to make sense and I felt like I would actually be able to teach it! Not on a college level or anything, but well enough. I have wondered if this is perhaps the only post on "Nuclear Energy Homeschool Unit for Children" in the entire world! I certainly couldn't find anything no matter how much I searched online. However, there were some good resources on the individual sections of the unit---some for older students that I could adapt for a younger audience, and some that were a bit advanced but I thought we'd try anyway. The children loved our studies about hydropower, so I knew they'd be able to understand the basic model of a nuclear power plant once we had a good basic understanding of atomic structure and radioactivity.

Okay, that meant starting with atoms. We learned some about atoms and elements in our fireworks unit, so this wasn't totally new. One activity we did was to help answer this question: how do we learn anything about atoms if we can't even see them? I gave each of the children a paper bag, stapled shut, with something inside. They had to figure out what was in there without opening the bag. They could shake their bags, throw them, crumple them, feel them, etc. to determine what was inside. They did pretty well (though only Abe actually guessed his object correctly, I think) and I think it did a good job of conveying how, by doing things to atoms, we can learn about their properties even when we don't see them.
Another thing we did that ended up being really memorable was a demonstration of just how much empty space is inside an atom! I read in one of our books that if the nucleus was the size of a golf ball, the electrons would be rotating around it about 2 miles away! I showed the children the way we usually draw atoms (the nucleus with electrons hovering nearby) and then explained how it was just a convenient representation, but didn't show the actual scale of an atom. I put a golf ball on the table and asked them, "If the protons and neutrons are here, where would the electrons be?" We then got in the car, started the odometer, and drove until we'd gone two miles. Then I stopped the car, told them to remember where the nucleus was, and said, "The electrons would be clear out here!" They were amazed. :)
I usually put up butcher paper on the windows or walls as a place I can draw examples when we're learning about something. These are some of the terms we learned about as we reviewed atomic mass, atomic number, how to read a periodic table, what ions are, etc. We also talked about the four forces in the universe and their relative strengths and influences. All this was good background for what was to come.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Bread Unit field trips

We didn't really find a satisfactory field trip to go on for this unit. There's a really cute little bakery in our neighborhood, and I really like the ladies that own it, but they don't have a bread oven so I tried to find somewhere else. (Someday we'll ask if we can visit their bakery, though.)

I emailed Great Harvest Bread, and they said they'd do a field trip for us, but then never got back to me to confirm our time, even after multiple calls/emails. Lame.

So, I asked Harmon's if we could come---they have a bakery in the store near us, and they make great bread. They said they could do a tour focusing on just the bakery. But then they didn't even let us behind the counter! The customer service guy was pointing vaguely back into the back ("You can see the mixer back there!") and the children were jumping up and down trying to make themselves tall enough to see. Malachi and Daisy couldn't even SEE over the counter. The baker in charge did come to talk to us briefly, but she clearly didn't think the children knew anything ("Did you know bread has something called yeast in it?") so it wasn't very interesting. We DID really like seeing the steam-injection ovens---from afar---and one of the other bakers showed us how the racks slide up and down and what buttons you push to inject the steam. So that was pretty cool.

Then there's another Harmon's in Draper with a bigger bakery and a cafe and pizza bakery in it, so I called there and asked if they did tours---hoping they'd be more equipped to let us back into the actual bakery part. But when we got there, due to a mixup in who I thought I was talking to on the phone, they sent us to the other Draper store---which is exactly like our own store. There, the customer service manager walked us around the whole store telling us how much better their food is than every other store's and advertising their products. So THAT was also really lame. I feel sort of bad criticizing him because he was really nice to us, and he gave the children little tastes of things along the way and they had a fun time, but honestly, as a field trip, it was a waste of time. He mostly was talking to ME (advertising) and when the children asked him good questions he didn't even usually have answers to them. Plus it wasn't focusing on the bakery which is what I'd asked for in the first place. So . . . it's not something I'd do again, for sure (unless we were doing a unit on Marketing Through Schoolchildren).

Oh, and they did get balloons. :)

Friday, January 18, 2013

Soft Pretzels

I love soft pretzels! My friend Rachael and I made them for our 11th-grade book report on The Scarlet Letter. In the shape of letter A's, of course. We also made homemade "wine" that sort of turned into real wine over a long weekend in our teacher's office . . . but that's another story. Anyway! These are SO delicious. They turned out even better than we anticipated. And the children got really good at making the pretzel shapes (or other shapes . . . Daisy kept making shapes that looked exactly like those "awareness" ribbons you see for breast cancer or what-have-you. They were actually quite nice. And Sebby made a tram which he was very proud of). I chose to make pretzels during this unit because they allowed me to teach the children a new technique: the alkali solution "bath" to improve browning and gelatinize the crust. Bagels are the only other bread I know of that uses this technique, although they use a malted sugar bath instead. I hear pretzels are really good when you use the original solute: lye! We didn't attempt this . . . :)

We read this book about pretzels (cute) first, and then we referenced the recipe from here. Since we ended up modifying it and combining it with this recipe, I will reproduce our version here to save you the trouble.

Soft Pretzels

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 T sugar
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 T yeast
22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups

2 c. boiling water
1/4 C. baking soda

4 ounces butter, melted

Combine the water, sugar, salt, yeast, and flour in a stand mixer and beat until they form a soft, not-too-sticky dough. Knead the dough for 5 minutes in the mixer or by hand. [We always do the last couple minutes by hand; I love to knead and so do ALL the children, who each have to have their turns]. Then let it rise for an hour. [The KAF recipe says just to let it "rest" for 30 minutes, but we went ahead with the longer rise.]

*NOTE: Some recipes have you immerse the pretzels in a boiling water/baking soda solution for a minute or two, and others use just hot water---but the KAF recipe is the only one I've seen that actually calls for a "soak" in the soda bath---not boiling, just lukewarm.  I've used the boiling-water-dip in the past, but with kids helping, the soaking option seemed easier, so we gave that a try. And I was very pleased with the results! So I think I'll use that method from now on.

While the dough is rising, prepare the soda bath. Mix 2 cups boiling water with 1/4 c baking soda, stirring until the soda is totally (or almost totally) dissolved. Set the mixture aside to cool to lukewarm (or cooler). Then pour it into a cake pan or other shallow pan.

When the dough is puffy, divide it into pieces and roll out each piece into a long snake. Let the "snake" rest for 5 minutes (to let the gluten relax) and then twist it into a pretzel shape.

In batches of 6-7 at a time (however many you can fit in the soda-bath pan), put the shaped pretzels into the soda bath. Spoon the solution over them so their tops and bottoms are covered, then let them sit for 2 minutes. Remove them from the bath, place them on a greased baking sheet [they say use parchment paper, but that didn't work well at ALL for us---it stuck to their bottoms terribly!], and sprinkle them with kosher salt. Let them rest for 10 minutes, and then bake them at 450 for 8-9 minutes or until golden brown.

When the pretzels come out of the oven, brush them immediately with melted butter. Then eat them while warm. They are SO GOOD! You could make dipping sauces too (mustard? flavored mayonnaises?) but we loved them so much just plain, we had no time for such nonsense. :)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Challah, Pita, Cinnamon Rolls, Amish Friendship Bread

Challah is a bread I've never made before, although I did have a great Home Ec class at BYU where I learned how to make some fancy braided breads. We went with the simple three-strand challah so the older boys could do it themselves (Abe and Seb both know how to braid) and it looked very pretty, we thought! We used the challah recipe from this book (which was fine---though I've never been a fan of the cumulative-type of rhymes---like This is the House the Jack Built, you know---) and we liked it, but I wouldn't be opposed to trying other recipes (there are a million of them online). The best part of the bread was the pearl sugar on top (the same type we used for our lussekatter). It's an eggy bread, not very sweet, and reminded me of the lussekatter in taste as well, actually. We made the leftover bread into French Toast the next day, and it was really, really good. The children loved it, and they loved making it.

The pita are not nearly as pretty, but I wanted a picture of how they (ideally) puff up in the oven

You can't talk about the history of bread without making pita, and it's been years since I've made it, since I always get so frustrated with pita that doesn't puff! We had a book called Pita the Great (ha! get it?) which promised "pita that puff every time!", so we tried one of those recipes. It had a pretty good success rate. I would say about 65% of our pita were puffy enough to use as sandwich pockets, which was a good ratio because we were eating sandwiches on some of them and using the rest to dip in hummus, so we didn't mind some flat ones. I'm still baffled as to what makes the difference, though. The lack of a second rise, and the super-hot oven temperature, are supposed to create a big air pocket that forms quickly and bakes before it has time to fall. If most worked, then I feel like we should have had ALL of them work right, since they were all handled the same way. Hmmph.

We got up early on another day and made Cinnamon Rolls for breakfast, which is always fun. So nice to start the day with warm bread.

And we also greatly enjoyed making Amish Friendship Bread, which is a batter bread that uses a starter. It takes 10 days to sit before you can make it (although I think I could modify the recipe to make fewer starters to share, and therefore take less time . . . but then it wouldn't be friendship bread, would it) but it was worth it, the children assured me. They liked sharing the starter with their grandma and they LOVED the sweet cinnamon-y bread! We used the recipe from Loaves of Fun (which can't be authentic, as it calls for Instant Pudding Mix---or can the Amish use Instant Pudding Mix?) but a similar one is here.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Sourdough starter

Sourdough bread is one of those things I've always been interested in. I was experimenting with it (or, just starting to learn about it, really) way back when Abe and Seb were tiny, and I sometimes wish I could have a real bread oven and unlimited time/resources so I could REALLY get into it. But then I find SO much information and SO many opinions online and I think, "hmm, maybe I'm not THAT interested. . ." :)

But still! I think the idea of wild yeast---just waiting around in the air to be captured!---is so fascinating. The children found this equally fascinating. But sourdough is tricky, too. I don't think I've ever been completely pleased with a loaf of sourdough I've made purely from starter. Maybe I just don't quite have the knack yet.

During the week, we had two starters going---one made with a pinch of commercial yeast to get it started, and one that was just buttermilk and flour. I also have a dried sourdough starter my mother-in-law brought me from San Francisco a long time ago, but we didn't break that one out---we'll do that another time. Anyway, the buttermilk starter had problems. It it never really started bubbling and it totally dried out eventually. I'm not sure what went wrong. But the other starter came along pretty nicely and we were ready to bake with it after about 5 days.

The bread we made with that second starter surprised me with its flavor. It was really quite strong, but in a sort of unfamiliar way---which I suppose means it had attracted some local yeasts and bacteria to make it unique. We all really liked it. The texture wasn't perfect, which is where I've had problems before---it did rise nicely, and it was soft, but just slightly denser than I like it. Almost like a soda bread or something? So I'm not sure what we could have done differently there. We gave it plenty of rising time, and it looked soft and pillowy when it went into the oven, so I don't know how we could have done that part differently.
It did make a very nice-looking loaf.

I really do love having starter around to use for pancakes and breads, so I may get back into working with sourdough sometime, if I can figure out a good system to keep it fed and contained. (Back when I was using it more, it would drive me crazy to always have the jar of starter surprising me from dark corners of the fridge. I need a better labeling system, maybe? :)) And I'd like to learn more about how to keep a whole-wheat starter happy.

We watched this (rather self-congratulatory, but it comes with the territory from these foodie-types, I suppose) video:
and this one:

A site about how sourdough works
And here's a good explanation of using steam to bake bread.

Bread Bowls

The children were quite intrigued by the idea of eating on bread "trenchers" (a common practice in the Middle Ages), so one night we made the modern equivalent: bread bowls. I've made these many times before, but I guess not much recently, since everyone acted like they were the novelty of the century. I must say, using the no-knead artisan bread recipe rather than ordinary white bread was a good choice---the bowls were soft yet crusty, and held up nicely to the potato chowder inside.
These pictures are terrible (dinnertime is too dark! especially if you're eating at 7, as we always are) but look how happy Abe is! He was the dinner helper on this night and SO proud of our yummy bread bowls.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Bread Unit and Lesson Plan

Bread! Could there be a better subject to study in the cold, dark depths of winter? Behold, I answer for you: there could not. We baked and baked every day. And we loved it.

My favorite two books were The World in Your Lunch Box (there were only a few parts specifically about bread, but it's just an interesting book all around!) and Loaves of Fun. The history in Loaves of Fun was really comprehensive and well-written---lots of interesting facts I didn't know before!

The children were so AMAZED with yeast and what it can do (and that it's aliiiive!). Though I know I've told them how it works while we've been making bread in the past, I guess doing some of the experiments/demonstrations this week really brought home the point in the way me telling them hadn't. This book had a few good experiments to try, and I also found several good sites online:

Red Star Yeast had some interesting projects
Here's a simple one (members only, but let me reiterate how much we LOVE The Happy Scientist---WELL worth the $20 subscription fee)
This experiment with gluten was kind of messy and interesting. There are some others on this site too.
It would have been fun to go to a grist mill for this unit if we hadn't already done that---actually I would have considered visiting again, but they aren't open in the wintertime.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Bird Nest Cookies and Bird Matching Game

Practically every Bird Unit I looked at online had a Bird-Nest Cookie or Bird-Nest snack associated with it. I wasn't planning to make any of them because I don't really love no-bake cookies (I prefer to save my stomach space for really GOOD cookies, so I never bother with ones I consider mediocre) and most of them were those chocolate-coconut no-bake kind, or the ones you make with chow mein noodles. But on our last day, we didn't have an activity to do, and the boys were asking if we could cook something, and then I ran across a recipe for making macaroons (not to be confused with macarons) into bird-nests. I've never made macaroons before but I like them pretty well, so we decided to give it a try.

Here is the recipe. It's an easy one. These would be good with melted chocolate drizzled on top, or for Easter. I wouldn't make them instead of . . . any other cookie, really, but if you want bird-nests, they're great. :)

And by happy coincidence, I had a bag of Easter M&Ms (yes, from last Easter season) in the pantry, so we even had robins'-egg-colored eggs.

A good kindergarten-age activity that Malachi really enjoyed was this matching game. (We also played memory game with these same pages cut up, with the older boys.) It's just the sort of thing he feels proud of himself for being able to do. 
He's been going around wearing this one pink glove lately. No one knows why.
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