About 13 years ago, I met Matt at Vanderbilt University. We actually had a couple of classes together, but we didn’t know that. We actually met each other because we were both part of a volunteer organization called “Vanderbilt Students Volunteer for Science” where we would take cool science experiments into Nashville inner-city schools and get the kids revved up and interested in science. That’s where we met and the rest, as they say, is history. But throughout our time at Vandy, we were always involved with VSVS and when Tabby started school, Matt wanted to bring some of the magic of science to her class. So he took the most favorite VSVS lesson plan about states of matter and adapted it to kindergarteners. This lesson plan hinges on the use of dry ice and liquid nitrogen and he found sources for both in Denver and got permission from her teacher and principle and then took his show on the road.
Well not quite. First, we had some friends and their kids over for a trial run. It was a success and he learned some things … more importantly, our friends loved it!
So Matt and I went to Tabby’s class last Friday to give the states of matter lesson.
First he taught them all about atoms and the states of matter (in a kindergarten level way of course). Here they are being a cold solid, all huddled together for warmth.
Then he demonstrated changing matter from one state to another, first with water (an ice cube melting in your hand) and then with CO2. He let dry ice melt into a balloon and fill it and then he poured liquid nitrogen on it to
Re-freeze it. We cut the balloon open to show the kids the dry ice dust.
We froze lots of things… like a flower an a banana. Matt showed the kids how to hammer a nail in with a banana. You can do it if you freeze it rock solid first. The big finale was ice cream making. At school we used the kitchen aid mixer to keep from having to stir and stir.
At home we used a bowl. Either way, this is about what it looks like: kinda soft servy. But very tasty.
The kids had fun and I honestly think they learned quite a bit. Tabby had retained most of what she’d learned from the demo at our house and I heard some other kids talking about the different states of matter. It was fun for us too and I know Matt would love to give it another go!
I need to sit down and write a real post pretty soon (er go this is a fake post). Lots of cool things have been going on, but all those cool things have been taking time and energy. So I haven’t been able to sit down, pull photos off the camera and reflect on things. Maybe tonight. For now, teasers. Just a sampling of things going on at Casa de Nichols:
- playing with liquid nitrogen
- running races
- getting our art on
- school stuff, including …
- grocery shopping
- me going insane and signing up for a big race
…. and much much more. Stay tuned.
I am taking a half day today in order to play assistant to my awesome hubby’s mad scientist. Should be a good time! Fridays are fun.Favorite Daydream: Loooove me some treehouses. This is a very cool collection with a few I’ve never seen before.
Favorite Craftiness: Look at this great light up constellation! A fun piece for your wall and so adaptable to other ideas.
Favorite Savory Delight: Grilling season is upon us and I cannot wait to try out these mushroom crusted turkey burgers with Havarti. Bring it on!
Favorite Purchase: I bought a new skirt at Athleta this week … this one in black. It’s super cute and great for everything from work to play!
Favorite Adventure: And speaking of play, I saw this amazing swimming hole not to far from us, Guffey’s Paradise Cove. Can’t wait to explore it. It never ceases to amaze me how many amazing places are right in our backyard.
Favorite Sweet Treat: SkinnyTaste’s Unfried Ice Cream. Tasty and lighter. Yum.
Favorite Workout: 7-minute, research-based workout that exercises your whole body. We do a lot of these in bootcamp.
Favorite App: This is fun … Pocketbooth does photobooth style photos on your phone.
My main squeeeeeze and numero uno Dad of the Year is turning 33 today. I truly appreciate him EVERY DAY, even when I’m giving him crap about not rinsing off his plate of mustard (don’t ask), but especially on this day, I want to reflect on his awesomeness.
We have had a crazy month or four. Big decisions. Extra work. Crazy schedule. He has been there right by my side, my equal in every way (probably my superior, honestly), supporting, picking up slack, working hard and doing it with his cute Matty grin (most of the time anyhow). Just for fun, I’m going to list 33 things that are awesome about Matt:
- He is always thinking of cool things to show the kids and wants them to learn and experience.
- He can seriously rock a woodshop.
- He likes good TV.
- He is an excellent date.
- He is a super hard worker.
- He cleaned up two episodes of puke in the middle of the night and didn’t wake me up.
- He can knock out an IKEA build in record time.
- When I leave him with the kids, I have no doubts that they will be well taken care of and happy.
- He does laundry.
- He gets along well with my family.
- He is responsible with money.
- He is tall dark and handsome.
- He is an excellent friend and I love spending time with him.
- He always goes the extra mile.
- He loves Colorado.
- He is a grill master.
- He is very social and loves to have people over.
- He never begrudges me a girls night out.
- He researches every purchase to the nth degree.
- He loves to travel.
- He takes and picks up the drycleaning … there are donuts involved, but he still does it.
- We have a great time talking together.
- He is an excellent teammate and partner.
- He has loads of enthusiasm.
- He is very generous.
- He loves a good road trip.
- Ben and Tabby adore him.
- He has the dubious task of taking the kids to school every morning.
- Even without training, he can usually beat me out in a race.
- He is always keen to try something new.
- He is always keen to learn something new.
- He places no restrictions on Tabby because she’s a girl or Ben because he’s a boy.
- Life with him is never dull or ordinary.
We don’t tend to do major gifts for each other and since he recently got his mountain bike fixed and bought a new mobile phone – both of which were big ticket items – I’m doing something smaller.
After school and work today, Ben and I will be making him a lovely Victoria Sponge cake, filled with lemon curd along with a nice dinner. There may also be one or two other little surprises in there.
I like this quote. I like that we are in the age of the geek. I like that it is cool to be excited about things again. I like that my kids are growing up seeing people getting into things … and I don’t mean TV and popstars. I mean cooking great food, making amazing and beautiful creations, reading wonderful books, learning to play the hell out of the bassoon. And there’s nothing wrong with getting into TV and popstars. I’m just glad that it’s (mainstream) cool to be into OTHER things too now.
This has changed since I was a kid, I think. It’s a good change. I would be happy with some more changes. Strong and fit can replace skinny. Tolerant can replace narrow minded. Home cooked food can replace fast food and junk food. Recycling and conservation can replace mindless consumerism.
It could be awesome, right?
Friday was a bit of a bummer. Poor Ben was down for the count. He’s had a cough but Thursday night he threw up three times over night and was feeling terrible. Matt took the kids for their yearly checkups in the AM and then Tabby went onto school, but Been laid in his bed practically all day and slept and watched movies on the Kindle.
We cancelled dinner with friends and on Ben’s insistence tried to go to dinner, but he just laid in my lap and wouldn’t eat a bite. We went straight home.
Saturday I took off bright and early to do a race with a couple of girlfriends – Shape’s Diva Dash. It’s a pretty darn tame obstacle course, but lots of fun. Just three miles and 8 obstacles … running through hanging balloon/ball things, over a pile of tires, over a canal, under a net, up a rope wall, over a wall, through some spider-web kinda bungees, monkey bars, and a teeter totter. We made good clock time and had a great time.
Meanwhile back at home, Matt asked my sister to watch T and he and a much-improved Ben took off for a b’day party at a roller rink. For 4 year olds. A bit weird, but they had a good time.
I picked up T at my sister’s and then met up with Matt and Ben. We had lunch and Ben went down for a nap and Tabby and Matt went off to soccer.
After soccer, we packed everyone up and the kids went to stay with my parents. Matt and I went on a date … a quintuple date …? Us and 4 other couples, well actually 3.5 other couples – one hubby ended up staying home. Drinks, dinner, trivia and more drinks. We got home at a very respectable hour and watched a movie and crashed. This AM we grabbed some breakfast and headed to my office so I could get a few things done. We weren’t there long but it was quality time. Then we ran errands and cleaned up the house. I thought we’d see the kids around lunch time, but they ended up staying with my parents until dinner time! They do love their grandparents.
We had Sunday dinner and a little homework and again … weekend is done.
Favorite Printable: Tabby has been really into wanting to learn to sew – think she might get into these cute sewing practice cards!
Favorite Savory Delight: We are having quite a few people over on Tuesday and I think some pulled pork in the crockpot is the perfect dinner solution!
Favorite Funny: I do love Grumpy Cat and I saw this great painting on Etsy … I’m very tempted. It makes me laugh.
Favorite Daydream: This is actually a bit more in reality than the normal – we’re hoping to head to Utah next summer for a family road trip and this looks like a great book of hikes to do with the kids!
Favorite Sweet Treat: Look at these nutella popicles – just three ingredients. YUM.
Favorite Photo Fun: Owling? Planking? Move over – Vadering! Think I could get the kids to do this.
Favorite Workout: Moves for below the bellybutton … surely I don’t need this? Nah.
Favorite Purchase: I bought this guy a couple of months ago, but it wasn’t really smoothie season then. Now it is (sorta) and I’ve been using it every day to make awesome spinach smoothies. Very happy with it. Favorite App: The latest installment of Cut the Rope is great! It’s one of those apps that everyone in the family loves – cute graphics and fun problem solving.
Another month has come and gone!! It was a great one, a crazy one. One filled with much fun and loads of changes, big and small. I instagrammed them all! Except the third. Don’t know where the third went.
Favorite Ben Photo: love him hanging with his chalk b’day art (21)
Favorite Tabby Photo: Tabby playing chopsticks (20)
Favorite Other Photo: I love the photo of Hedgie because that is precisely her cute look (and she’s hard to photoraph!).
A key for posterity’s sake – Read More
It’s been nice having some more typical weekends … weekends where you work and play and even spend quite a bit of time at home. Yes, quite nice indeed. Friday the kids had their last swim lesson, an hour-long makeup. After that, we went to dinner and then spent a quite night at home.
Saturday was soccer, followed by grocery shopping and some blissful naps. Then the family came over for some grilled out dinner – the weather has been awesome!
Today was ZOO day. The kids were invited to a b’day party for some family friends. The trick was getting there. Unbeknownst to us (and our hosts!) the zoo had scheduled Dia de los Ninos and there were about a million Ninos and their families at the zoo. Parking was impossible – we parked about 6 blocks away and walked – and the lines were NUTS. Fortunately since we were with the bday party, we didn’t have to endure the lines at least. But about 4 families gave up altogether and it was a bummer.
But for our troubles, we got a behind the scenes look at some cool animals that the zoo exhibits on visits to schools and other field trips. Salamanders, parrots, a giant rabbit, cockroaches (seen with the kids above) and a hedgehog. He was huge and made us feel much better about Hedgie’s size.
The zoo put on a nice do and I’d definitely think about having a bday party there ourselves – but not on Dia de los Ninos. After the bday party stuff, we rode the carousel and checked out some elephants and by that time it was after 4 and we headed out to get some dinner with friends.
I’m always astonished at how quickly the weekends go by.