Friday, May 30, 2014

Good Clean Fun

Because my house is a mess and I have nothing prepared for supper, this afternoon I decided to try a science experiment I saw on the internet somewhere.

First, you need a bar of Ivory soap (ONLY Ivory!) and at least one goofy child.

Pants are optional.
Put the soap in the microwave, and just cook for one or two minutes. 90 seconds seemed to be just about perfect for us, but, you know, all microwaves are different, yadda yadda.

Woah! I didn't tell the kids what was supposed to happen, but I'll admit I was impressed myself.

The resulting cloud wasn't at all hot to the touch, although the paper plate was a little warm. Again, this ONLY works with Ivory soap, according to whatever blog post I got this from. I'll take their word for it, even if I do want a new microwave at some point.

One of my messy science tips: use something that needs to be cleaned anyway, so you really aren't doing any extra work.

Please disregard specks of BBQ pork. Everything wiped right off with a wet rag. And my kitchen now smells wonderfully clean, even if the microwave is the only thing that looks it!

Take the clouds to the table, to show your oh-so-impressed baby brother.

Then drop into a bowl and start playing. 

I'll admit to doing a little of this myself. Crumble any chunks up. Rub bits between your fingers up in the air, and make snow. Squish bigger pieces, they feel like foam.

Then, add a little water - maybe 1/4 cup - and mush it into a paste. Use the paste to fill cookie cutters...

And, when they dry, you have special soaps to take a bath with!

Science and a bath motivation for the price of a couple bars of soap!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Library Re-carpeting Part 4: Brother, Can You Spare a Box?

The Children's Room is pretty much cleared out, now. There are a few chairs and toys, and LOTS of open space. Amazing how much room there is once you get rid of all those pesky books! The old carpet is scheduled to be ripped out Monday, but (with permission) we have already taken several squares out...

so kids (and adults!) can write their names!

Many have paced off the location of their signature, so that in thirty years they can show their kids exactly where their name is immortalized.

Now it's time for the adult side! The idea is to box up things that aren't used very often, first. The problem with that is, everything gets used! We have been so cramped for space, we have done a lot of weeding, so no matter what we do, some patrons will be inconvenienced - temporarily!

The library has been filled with the sounds of ripping tape - remember all those boxes we had broken down and stacked up?

Those piles are disappearing quickly, as they are put back together and filled with books.

Those boxes of books (carefully labelled) are appearing down every aisle,

and around every corner.

Clearly, there was not going to be enough room to stack all the boxes AND the shelving, while still keeping the library open - because, yes, folks, we are going to try to do this whole thing without closing! The multipurpose room is already full of children's room furniture: 

so we weren't going to fit much more in there.

Our salvation arrived Wednesday morning:

Within minutes of it being placed, staff and volunteers began wheeling boxes of books out by the dolly-full. This had the added benefit of giving the workers across the street something to watch:

If you look closely, the guy in the yellow at the very top is staring us with a very confused expression. Trust me, it's there.

Only fair, since we have been watching them (and taking pictures) for a couple months, now.

One row down, 99 more to go!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Library Recarpeting Part 3: or, the Demise of the Desk

When I last posted, I was suggesting a match and lighter fluid to help get the children's room desk out of the way. I continued to be unsuccessful in convincing anyone that was the way to go, although I think the custodian came close once he actually started to move it.

At first glance, it doesn't look too awful.

Of course, it's cramped, the half-walls block visibility, it's not very customer-friendly, and there is a safety/convenience issue in that, when two people are sitting at it, the inside person has to squeeze past the outside person to get out.

Then you start noticing things that don't quite line up - like the cork tiles glued on to cover bare plywood.

The water stains on the non-laminate top.

 The heavy use of glue...

...and wood putty...

to cobble unrelated furniture units together.

And then you try to take it apart - because it can't be moved in one piece. You have to peel back the lovely 1960's covering to find screws in random places,


then crawl underneath and look for more there.

Some parts just have to be pounded loose - those that are glued, tacked, or puttied together.

Should I be concerned that the hammer is next to the computers?

In trying not to chip things, you start noticing chips that are already there.

I didn't do that! At least, I don't think I did.

Hey, it's in two pieces!

Now, three! So much for the cork, but it was covering screws and a seam.

It took three people and 8 slides to move the first part out, but this smaller piece should be easy, right? We just have to get these cables pulled through the hole.


Someone from Facilities Maintenance came by and disconnected everything so we could finish moving this piece. While he was on the last wire, all the power in this part of the city went out. I'm SURE it was just a coincidence!

Once it was moved, I collected several pieces of detritus:

I don't know how old this is exactly, but old enough that this young lady - one of my Facebook friends - is now going by a different last name!

When it was all said and done, someone commented that it looked like someone's husband had cobbled it together in the garage. Not my husband, thank you very much, he does nice work! But, I knew what she meant. We have an estimate for a new desk from an area woodworker who has done other work for us, just looking for funding. In the meantime, my desk area looks like this:

And, in a very few days, will be a table in the hallway across from the vending machines. Could actual carpeting be on its way? Stay tuned!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Wasn't That a Party!

Christopher turned EIGHT earlier this month, but with crazy schedules, we couldn't have a birthday party right away. He graciously agreed to share his day with his niece Gracie, who turned ONE, and we finally got it scheduled for this Saturday.

Another major hurdle turned out to be picking the theme. What fits both an 8-year-old boy and a one-year-old girl? He finally decided he wanted Spiderman, so we made Gracie (who I always call "Bug") his sidekick, Ladybug Girl.

Cupcakes are so much easier than a cake:

without frosting

and with.
I knew the kids wouldn't sit long for a craft, but it's nice to have something available for those who get there first, so we had the makings of superhero masks. 

We also had "Hello My Name Is" name tags, and a superhero name generator, in case you didn't already know your superhero (or supervillain) name. I went with "Mom". I'll let you decide if that's hero or villain.

The kids all love playing outside, so it was struggle to pull them in to eat. The promise of cupcakes and ice cream helped!

Will she make a mess?

Was there really any question?

One friend brought bubbles for Logan and Sheridan, too, and Logan just could NOT wait to use his!

I don't remember what J. was telling me so earnestly, but I remember it was very important.


Gracie, of course, taste-tested everything.

This was from a teaching assistant at Christopher's school - I think she's looking forward to summer break, too!

They both had lots of help getting everything open.

SOMEbody kept trying to steal my baby, even though she has four very cute ones of her own. 

Finally back outside! I am SO glad we live where they can just run around in the shade and be kids.

Bubbles and squirt guns, of course, help keep it nice and cool.

This is the first of three outfits Sheridan went through.

Logan kept telling people sweetly, "Come here, I have something for you!" - and then shooting them.

This is probably my favorite picture of the day: Loving mother using her oldest child as a human shield.

I think everyone had a good time. At least one was as exhausted by the end as I was:

Happy Birthday Christopher and Gracie!