Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Over-Indulged Youngest Child

Here it is, the post you've all been waiting for!

Mr Butler, Cap'n and I are all the youngest members of our respective natal families, and trust us, it sucks!

Top Ten Reasons Why it Sucks to Be the Youngest:

10) Being the smallest- though not for long in Mr. Butler's case

9) Never being able to get a word in

8) Having parents who have seen it all before and are non-plussed by anything I can come up with

7) Mama will forever refer to me as her baby. Even when she is 100 and I am 66, she'll still be calling me the baby.

6) I will never, if I live to be 100, be considered an adult by my older brothers.

5) Getting the smallest portions at the dinner table

4) Everything I do is compared to how my brothers did it

3) Being my parents' last hope

2) Watching the big boys do things that I know I could do if Mama would let me

1) Always being last

But the number one best thing about being the youngest child is knowing in your heart that you are Mama's favorite!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Overburdened Eldest Child

Looks like pure, unadulterated joy, doesn't it? It's an illusion. It ain't easy being the oldest.

Top 10 Reasons Why it Sucks to Be the Oldest Child

10) Sharing my bedroom

9) Sharing my bathroom

8) Sharing my toothpaste

7) Sharing my parents- who are no doubt just practicing on me and will do a much better job with my younger brothers.

6) Sharing my auntie

5) Sharing my toys

4) Sharing my books

3) Sharing my name

2) Sharing my wisdom, by beginning all responses to statements by my younger brothers with "actually."

1) Never sharing the blame

But the number one best thing about being the oldest child is knowing in your heart that you are Mama's favorite!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Jan Brady Syndrome

Big D circling the sun four times!

In honor of my middle child, who is celebrating his fourth birthday today:

Top 10 Reasons Why it Sucks to Be the Middle Child

10)Hand me downs from an older brother with an entirely different style asthetic

9) After every statement you make, your older brother begins with, "actually."

8) No one notices how freaking awesome you are because your older brother is casting such a big shadow over you.

7) No one notices how freaking awesome you are because they're so busy doting on your baby brother.

6) Being "old enough to know better" but too young to stop yourself.

5) Never having had a single day in your life when Mama and Papa weren't preoccupied with thoughts of your older brother.

4) Adoring an older brother who doesn't always want you around.

3) Being adored by a younger brother who you don't always want around.

2) Being the second to do everything.

1) A-Train, A-Train, A-Train!

But the number one best thing about being the middle child is knowing in your heart that you are Mama's favorite!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

So Long, Suckers!

Tomorrow is the first day of school! I love, love, love my boys, but I am so excited for tomorrow that I can hardly contain myself!

And while there are lots of things that I wish we had managed to pack into our summer, we did a whole lot together (more posts on that coming soon) and had a whole lot of togetherness. We all laughed, we all cried, we all ate way more snoballs than any human should.

I will not miss the fighting, the whining, the complaints of boredom and brotherly abuse. I will not miss that stretch between 4 and 7PM when the lose their minds and run around like crazy people. I will not miss bedtimes that come after 8PM. And I will not miss my children.

I'll think about them lots, but I will not miss them one bit.

He's starting first grade tomorrow.

He's starting his second year of preschool.

And he's stuck at home with me for at least another year.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Quickie Science Experiment and a Dud

As summer has started to wind down, we've been overwhelmed with a list of things that have to be done before school starts- haircuts, doctor appointments, trips to the zoo- and haven't had a solid week to do another Science Camp. But we've managed to fit in a few experiments here and there.

The first of the two I'll show you here was super simple and the kids really liked it. The second was, um, well, you'll see.

Today's experiments both come from this book. A-Train has had this book for a couple of years and occasionally gets a little obsessed with it. Now that he's old enough to read and actually help out with the experiments, rather than watch me do them, it's become a lot of fun to get ideas from the book.

Here's what you need for our first experiment. We actually ended up using a second can of Sprite, but I don't think that's absolutely necessary.

First, have your minion pour the clear carbonated drink (I'm guessing seltzer or tonic would work as well as soda) into a tall clear glass. Then put in a few raisins.

If, like me, you are working with a heavy-handed preschooler, you may end up with a few more than a few raisins in your glass.

And then you watch! I used my phone to make a video of what we were watching, but for the life of me can't get it to upload to this blog, so you'll have to make do with a few pictures. Just scroll through them really fast and it will seem like video!

The science here is that the raisins sink to the bottom of the glass where the bubbles of carbonation attach to the them and they begin to rise. At the top of the glass, the bubbles burst and the raisins sink and the whole process starts again.

This was pretty mesmerizing to A-Train and me. Big D was all done watching after about 12 seconds. After 10 minutes or so we put the glass aside, but when I checked back an hour later they were still rising and falling. And when I checked back about six hours after that, it was still happening. By the time we got up the next morning, all the raisins were still- no more free rides!

Experiment #2 was not nearly as successful. But, in case you want to try it for yourselves and prove me wrong, here's what you need:
That's a couple of balloons, some sharpies and a sweater.

The first step is blowing up the balloons. If you've got little kids, you know the amount of spit that one kid can get inside a balloon before he hands it to you so you can tie it for him. If you don't have little kids, let the idea of a handful of someone else's spit serve as birth control for you.

Next, decorate the balloons with the Sharpies. (This part is optional, but if your experiment turns out like ours did, it may be the highlight of the whole affair.) Big D and I drew faces on ours.

Great picture of me, huh?

A-Train drew a Yeti.
I know, I didn't think so either, but that's what he said it was.

Next, have an unwitting assistant don a hand-me-down sweater.

Then, commence rubbing your decorated balloons on the sweater for one minute.

Now, according to The Big Book of Science Things to Make and Do, you can put your balloon against the wall and it will be held in place by the magic scientific powers of static electricity!

Because it's hard to hold a balloon up to a wall and take a picture of yourself doing it at the same time, I only got pictures of what happened when I let go of the balloons.

Yeah, that's my floor.

We tried again, but instead of rubbing the balloons on the sweater, we went with A-Train's idea.
I don't even want to talk about the tangles that had to be combed out after 180 seconds of rubbing latex orbs on The Boy's head.

And there's the result. On the floor again.

This experiment was a dud!

Now, I'm no sciencetitian, but if I had to guess, I'd say this experiment didn't work in August in the South because it's so darn humid. If memory serves, dry weather makes for better static cling.

Now you'll excuse my while I go wash A-Train's hair with Downy.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

It's in the Genes

See that sweet face up there? That's a face that makes strangers stop to tell him how handsome he is- not cute, but handsome. Kind of an unusual compliment for a three-year-old.

And there's no question where that face comes from. That is 100% Cap'n's face. That mop of unruly, thick, dark brown hair- that's Cap'n's hair. The way the eyes close up into tiny slits when he gives a big smile- just like Cap'n's. Even the eyebrows are Cap'n's.

If A-Train is my mini-me, Big D is Cap'n's.

But if my memories from high school biology serve, he must have inherited something from me! Sadly, it wasn't his boyish charm, but rather one of the qualities I'd most like to change about myself.

He's a worrier, just like his mama. Mama is the type of person who, if she sends someone a text and hasn't heard back within 10 minutes, imagines the worst! Mama gets that from Grandma Jinx.

He carries the weight of the world on his almost-four-year-old shoulders.

We both have our birthdays coming up, so aging is on his little mind. Last week he told me that on my next birthday I would die. Because, according to him, I would be turning seven and when you turn seven, "you get died."

Yesterday, he worried that Mr Butler would get "runned over" as we stood in an empty parking lot.

And today, when asked what he wanted for his birthday he said he wanted "a pink bunny that is so, so cute." And then worried aloud, "but what if you can't find a pink bunny that is so, so cute?"

He worries about the dark and zombies and vampire bites. (I attribute all of those to having an older brother.) He worries about touching anything red- because it might "explode you." He worries that nearly every bug he sees is poisonous. He worries that his friends will get sick and won't be able to come to his birthday party. He worries that Dinah the cat will get stuck outside in a rain storm. And on and on.

I'm still trying to keep him away from the real worries of the world- turning off NPR whenever he gets in the car- so that I don't have to explain about war and famine and hate and disease. He's not ready to have to deal with those things at almost-four, and neither is his mama at almost-thirty-six.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

It's Tricky

It's hard to believe that the same little boy who wanted to carry this pencil bag
into his first day of first grade

also chose these
for his classroom shoes (My apologies to the diminutive grandpa who can't find his bedroom slippers!)

and these for his outdoor shoes:
I'm pretty sure he picked those up at Rev Run's estate sale.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

On Top of Mount Washmore

**WARNING: This post contains graphic and highly embarrassing pictures of my laundry room. If you're unable to hold back judgment, please click that little X up in the corner.**

**And also, this post has almost nothing to do with parenting. Except that if you're a parent you've got kids. And kids wear clothes.**

Ah, laundry. It comes with a whole host of problems, not one of them the actual washing part. The washing is easy, seeing as how a machine does that job for me. It's all the other stuff that I hate- the sorting, the folding, the putting away. Oh, and the remembering to move the clothes from the washer to the dryer. I tasked Cap'n with figuring that one out- more on that later.

And it doesn't help that, until recently, I despised my laundry room. It's a small(about 5"x6")windowless room painted in dingy Builder's Beige in an upstairs corner with just enough space for the machines, a little trash can and standing room for two average-sized people. And because it's so conveniently located in an out-of-the-way spot that guests and visitors never see, it had also become a place to toss things when you didn't know where else to toss them.

Then one day about a month ago, I'd had enough of the laundry cave. I knew I wanted to make some changes, but really had no plan in mind other than a fresh coat of paint. I went into the room to really look at it and see what I had to work with. What I had was a mess! Not just a less-than-desirable space, but a huge amount of stuff that had to come out.

Here's what I was dealing with. Again- NO JUDGMENT!!

A new washer and dryer were not in the plan. Yes, I may be the only person alive who still has a top loading washer with an agitator, but I'm kind of fond of the ol' gal. I like to think of her and the dryer as an old married couple who bicker a whole lot. Besides, they work just fine and I take a certain sense of pride in using things (from shoes to appliances) until they lay down and die.

And there were no plans for structural changes or for hiring anyone to do anything. Any changes in this room were going to have to be done by me and me alone (with JBB holding a flashlight as necessary).

Oh, and did I mention that I'm cheap? Yeah, I'm cheap.

After removing every piece of trash, uselessness and ugliness from the room, it was pretty much empty except for Ma and Pa Washer-Dryer and a big pile of stuff that was going to have to get itself organized before I could wash another load.

Off I went to the home improvement store where I picked up a quart of paint. (By the way, one quart was not enough. It would require approximately one quart plus 1/1000 of a quart to cover the laundry room walls.) Because the pictures in this post were taken in such a tiny room with such poor lighting, it's hard to tell, but the color is a dark grayish purple called Silver Service. Whoever named it should be fired. If my silver were this color, I would not be amused. That is, if I even had silver!

Next, I had to find a way to corral all of those linens you see on the shelf in the picture up above. They couldn't move into the linen closet because that's chock full o' towels we aren't using. So I tossed any sets with missing pieces and kept only what we really need.

Here's our sheet situation now:
Those baskets used to sit on a beautiful changing table we bought when I was pregnant with A-Train. We used it to change approximately four diapers before we realized that the floor is the ultimate changing table.

And a closeup of one of the baskets:
I just printed the sheet size on card stock, cut them out with my paper cutter and laminated them with my new handy-dandy laminator. (Thanks Grandma Jinx!)

No more digging through a precariously perched mountain of sheets in search of a matching set in a particular size!

In the before picture you can also see that there's a wire shelf on the right side from which I used to hang anything that couldn't go in the dryer. There were a couple of problems with the shelf. First of all, it was too high. It was just low enough that I (as a pretty tall person) was able to fling stuff up there in unruly piles, and just high enough that I was never able to get anything down.

Now the idea that I could hang things there to dry was a good one. And hang them I did. Put them away once they had dried, I didn't. This led to a whole lot of mornings of standing in my closet wondering what on Earth had happened to that blue dress. And why I could never find a nightgown. And what kind of weirdo had broken in and stolen my underwear.

The system was not working.

So the shelf came down. (Digging out wall anchors with a pair of old pliers is not glamorous work.) And I decided that all hanging-to-dry would happen in my closet. That way when my clothes dry they're already almost-away and I can get dressed without wandering through the house looking for my clothes.

Then a new shelf went up.
This one is the right height for putting things on and getting them down! Now all detergents have a place to live that isn't on the floor! This shelf is my favorite part of the makeover because it's so darn functional.

The next picture is awful, so remember not to judge.
That's a super-el-cheapo shoe hanger that I got at, where else?, a discount grocery store. It's hanging on the back of the laundry room door holding things like measuring tapes and notions and the manuals to Ma and Pa and other random stuff you need to keep in there. Sure, it ain't pretty, but who sees it anyway?

This thing makes me happy in a way that only a sarcastic, eye-rolling, ten-loads-of-laundry-a-week-doing mama can understand.
It makes me scrunch up my face and mumble "yeah, right" and then it makes me smile and put in another load.

And speaking of another load- I've always had this general idea that if I could do one load of laundry- from start to finish- each day, everything else would fall into place. My kids would be well-behaved, my legs would be shaved, a dinner featuring at least two of the food groups would be on the table each night.

And I've frequently made a mental schedule for accomplishing my load-a-day-to- happiness goals. But, it's hard for me to do anything that I haven't put on a physical list. Even then, the odds that I'll be able to find the list are not good. And so I made this:
A piece of foam core, card stock, scrapbooking paper and Modge Podge. I plan to frame it, but for now it's just stuck on the wall with some poster tack. And it actually seems to help keep me on track. Though, sadly, it doesn't keep my legs silky smooth.

And that's it for the Laundry Room Makeover.

But wait, what about that other problem- the one with moving the clean laundry from the washer to the dryer?

After some extensive research, which is to say, asking four or five of my mom friends, I learned that I'm not the only one who sometimes finds fetid, once-clean laundry hanging out in my washer. It's easy to get distracted and forget that you put those towels in until it's too late. And then you have to wash them all over again, this time hoping you remember to move them to the dryer.

Since Cap'n is an A #1 software developer and all around nice guy, he built an app for me! Well, for anyone who wants it and also owns an iPhone. This app is beautiful in its simplicity! There's a one-time set up feature where you tell it how long your washer cycle is and from then on, you simply tap the app (as if to open it) and a timer is set for your pre-selected wash time.

Forty-five minutes (in my case, because I have the dinosaur washer) later, an alarm sounds reminding me to put the clothes in the dryer! If I can't do it right then, I tell it to remind me again in 15 minutes. It's freaking awesome! (Not that I'm biased or anything!) Check it out HERE!
Hopefully it can solve your stinky towel problems, too!

Happy Laundering!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Fluffy Kitty or Silent Assassin?

When you're expecting a baby, everyone tells you how having a newborn changes your life. Most of this wisdom revolves around sleep and the lack of sleep.

Sleep now, you won't be getting any rest when the baby comes.
Sleep when the baby sleeps.
You'll never get another good night's sleep until the baby goes off to college.

And it's true, raising infants, babies, toddlers, and even preschoolers is a physically exhausting job. The parent's body is rarely at rest in those early years. But, demanding as it may be, parenting of such small people isn't exactly rocket science. Child is hungry, parent feeds child. Diaper is dirty, parent changes diaper. Cup is empty, parent fills cup. And on and on in an endless list of baby minutia.

What no one ever mentions is how hard it will be to parent an older child. Once a child can meet most of his or her physical needs, the parent's body gets to rest. But the parent's mind and heart are just beginning a gut-wrenching journey.

And that brings us to last Saturday afternoon.

A-Train had recently received the list of school supplies he'll need when he starts first grade in a few weeks. Most of the items are very specific and pretty boring- not a lot of room to express one's six-year-old individuality. But, on the list was a pencil bag or box, and I wanted to let A-Train choose something that he liked and would be excited to bring to school.

We entered a large office supply store whose name rhymes with an Italian city. After getting the boring supplies: scissors, pencil sharpener, erasers- it was time to move on to the pencil bag/box. The first few we saw were fine, but nothing special. So we headed to the seasonal school supply section, and that's where A-Train spotted this:

And quickly declared that this was the pencil bag for him.

I should tell you that I wasn't all together surprised by this. Since A-Train's birth Cap'n and I have made a concerted effort to not impose gender roles and stereotypes on him. (Except for washing dishes. Washing dishes is man's work.) He has always had dolls and play kitchens as well as balls and trucks. When he's asked, I've happily painted his finger nails the shade of pink typically reserved for the lips of Barbie dolls. And he can throw a baseball with startling strength and accuracy. As for hairstyles, here he was a few months ago awaiting his first big haircut.

All of this is to say that A-Train couldn't see any reason why this would not be the pencil bag for him.

Standing there with him, my heart started to ache. This is first grade he's going into, not preschool where things are fun and kids are quirky and no one really seems to care, but FIRST GRADE-where kids are aware of differences and exclusionary and sometimes downright mean!

And this mama had to make a quick decision: hurt him with the truth right now or let him hear the truth at school from someone who doesn't love him like I do. The conversation went something like this:

Me: Are you sure that's the one you want?

A-Train: Yeah!

Me: OK, if you really want it, you can have it.

A-Train: OK! I really want it!

Me: But first I have to tell you something.

A-Train: (Looking wide-eyed and expectant) What is it?

Me: (Trying to lead him to the conclusion) Who usually has pink stuff with kitties on it?

A-Train: I dunno.

Me: Usually it's girls, right?

A-Train: Umm, I guess so.

Me: Yeah, usually it's girls. I don't care about that at all and it's great if you don't care either. But other people do care. So if you chose to have that bag, some of the kids might think it's weird that a boy has a pink, kitty pencil bag and they might make fun of you and tease you.

A-Train: (The joy having escaped his eyes) Oh, OK.

Me: So let's look at all the choices they have here and if you still want this one, I'll get it for you.

A-Train: OK.

And as I turned to lead him away, the tears started streaming down my face. Tears of doubt in myself, not knowing if I'd said and done the right thing- afraid that I'd persuaded my sweet, innocent six-year-old to give up a piece of himself in order to please his peers and escape their taunts. Tears of pride in myself for having raised a boy who doesn't see gender the way his peers do. And tears of sadness that we live in a society that doesn't allow people, even the littlest ones, to be themselves.

And then it happened, the tears dried up when we both spotted this:
It was perfect! (OK,it was actually a little on the small side and it may well violate the classroom rule about not having any characters on your school supplies, but in that moment, it didn't matter.) My boy was happy, the pink kitty pencil bag fading from memory as he opened and closed the clasps on his LEGO Ninjago pencil box.

And while I was happy in that moment, I carry with me the knowledge that more moments just like it, and some that will be much, much more challenging, lie ahead of us.

Monday, July 30, 2012

They Live on Drury Lane

For the past few weeks I've been flirting with the idea of freezer cooking (also known as once a month cooking, or OAMC). The basic idea is that you set aside a single day, or a portion of a day and cook lots of meals that can be frozen. Then, for the next several weeks you can just pull something out of the freezer, heat it up and dinner is on the table.

This type of cooking has been on my radar for well over a year, and in theory it sounded great, but I wasn't so sure how practical it would be for me. Heck, I have a hard enough time getting the kids out from underfoot so that I can spend 30 minutes cooking one dinner, let alone an entire day in the kitchen.

There were some other concerns as well. The main one being that we have a side by side refrigerator freezer, and no extra freezer in the garage or basement or wherever people with extra freezers keep them. If you've ever owned a side-by-side, you know that it ranks pretty high on the Useless Inventions list. Ours can hold the rough equivalent of the freezer in a dorm fridge.

There were also the questions of what I would cook, how I would reheat it, how I would shop for this kind of cooking extravaganza.

And yet, there was something appealing about spending an entire day cooking mass quantities of food. I grew up with six siblings, so I'm undaunted by the idea of cooking in bulk- but back then all of the food was consumed at one setting. I also liked the idea of only having to plan meals once a month rather than once a week. And I sure wouldn't miss those nightly half-hours of attempting to cook while keeping a toddler away from the stove.

So I did what any Domestic Engineer of the 2010s would do, I turned to the internet! I read lots of blogs by women (and maybe a guy or two?) who freezer cook and were kind enough to share their knowledge with the world. Danielle over at Blissful and Domestic had some great info on OAMC and also on OAM Shopping! Frugal Mom has also been a great resource for organizational ideas. And I found that Food.com has a ton of recipes. You just type OAMC into their search tool and you'll definitely find something appealing.

With all of this information, I decided a slow start would work best for me. I didn't want to dive in head first, get overwhelmed and give up before I really got started.

I kicked things off yesterday by baking a batch of pumpkin muffins that The Boys can eat for breakfast. I used a pumpkin bread recipe that I've had for ages and just baked them in muffin tins.

I should mention that at least one of my kids is what I like to call Breakfast Phobic on any given day. One or the other or the other of them will decide that he doesn't want to eat anything, doesn't want to eat what you've given him or only wants to eat one bite of three different things. So I was a little skeptical as to how things would proceed this morning.

Because I am the luckiest woman in the world, I'm still asleep when Cap'n feeds The Boys breakfast, but because of the aforementioned phobia, I am often awakened by the screaming of one child or another or another as he reacts to his daily breakfast. But this morning I just got to sleep- no screaming, no crying! All accounts confirm that I missed a perfectly lovely breakfast experience!

Here's the recipe, which you can tinker to meet your personal nutritional tastes:

Pumpkin Muffins

1 1/2 Cups Sugar (you can reduce this to about 1 cup if you like)
1 Cup Canned Pumpkin (or fresh if you prefer and have the time)
1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
1/2 Cup Water
2 Eggs
1 2/3 Cup Flour (you can use all or part whole wheat flour)
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon Ground Cloves
1/2 Cup Walnuts (optional-- also yummy with Chocolate Chips instead)

Combine sugar, pumpkin, oil, water and eggs in a large bowl. Beat until smooth- you can use a standing mixer, hand-held mixer or a whisk.

In a separate bowl, combine all dry ingredients except nuts. Add dry mixture to pumpkin mixture and combine. Fold in nuts.

Spoon* into greased muffin tins (or use cupcake liners) and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes**.

Cool in pans on wire racks for about 15 minutes then turn the muffins out onto the racks.
When completely cool, set muffins on a pan (or plate, whatever will fit in your hopefully-bigger-than-mine freezer) in a single layer and pop in the freezer for about 20 minutes.

Then move muffins into freezer zip top bags and toss them back into the freezer.

When breakfast rolls around, take out as many muffins as you need and defrost them in the microwave for about 1 minute. If you've got a six-year-old, he or she can do that part, leaving you to sip coffee or doze at the table.

*Whenever I make muffins or cupcakes, I spoon the batter with one of these things:
I think of it as a melon baller, but a friend once told me that it was an ice cream scoop. Who the heck eats such little scoops of ice cream?? (If you look closely, you can see me and my camera in the scoop!)

** My oven is wonky and cannot be depended upon to cook anything at an even or accurate temperature. So, 20 minutes is how long it took in my oven, your experience may vary!

Later this week I'm going to be adventurous and make a double batch of BBQ Chicken so I can freeze some for later!

If you've got any tips on OAMC, please leave me a comment!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Science Camp- Part III

By now you know that I'll do anything in the name of science. That is, of course, anything except that 10th-grade Science Fair project that I never turned in. But that was nearly ten years ago- water under the bridge. (For the record, I was never very good at math!)

Our third science experiment was comprised of a series of mini-experiments. And it took a loooong time. You could probably do it in less time if you're not limited to experimenting during your toddler's nap time.

I didn't take a picture of the necessary ingredients since I didn't know just how far we'd be taking this one, but here's a rough list- note that I used two of everything since I was working with two little scientists:

Cups/glasses/bowls- whatever you've got to hold an egg with room for expansion
Food Coloring
Corn Syrup
An Iron Stomach (yes, you'll need two of these)

Step One is easy enough.
That's an egg in each glass with enough vinegar to more or less cover the egg.

Step Two is harder- especially if you're a kid. That's because Step Two is waiting. There are no pictures of Step Two.

Step Three wasn't much more exciting.
Step Three is peering into the glass to see if anything has changed in the last 24 hours. You can see that there's a foaminess developing on top of the vinegar. Not much else was happening at that point.

Step Four was more waiting. Another 24 hours of waiting.

Step Five was the same as Step Three.
Those eggs don't look too exciting, do they? Hold on, let me remove them from the glasses so you can get a better look at them.
Pretty grody, huh? Those eggs are nude, naked, undressed, in their birthday suits (though I'm not sure that idiom applies to eggs). And they are very rubbery; they feel like super balls. But don't try to bounce them! It's not easy to see in the picture, but the eggs expanded while soaking and the membrane holding everything together is stretched really tight.

So we all learned that vinegar will eat the shell off an egg. And make it swell up like a tick.

But we couldn't stop there. There were so many more possibilities. What else could we do with naked, bloated eggs? We did what anyone with an over-abundance of food coloring in her cubbard would do.
I have completely lost track of what step we're on, but whatever number it is, it was to fill the glasses with water, stir in some food coloring and put the eggs back in.

After another full day of Step Two, we checked back and found this:
As you can see, the water level has gone down a bit. A-Train hypothesized evaporation. Not a bad guess for a six-year-old, but still wrong*.

Then I carefully scooped them out and put them on a plate for closer inspection.
Still rubbery and more swollen than ever. And check out that deep coloration-wish I could get my Easter eggs to look like that**!

You're probably hoping we're done now so you can get back to doing whatever you were doing before you started reading this post. Sorry, we're still going strong!

Next step- put the eggs in clean glasses and add corn syrup. Yes, corn syrup***.
You won't be able to completely cover the eggs because the corn syrup is too dense, but make sure you've got plenty in the glass.

You guessed it, more Step Two.
They're starting to look as weary as you are! And yes, I did brush Big D's hair that morning. And no, there's nothing that can be done to prevent him looking like a rooster.

Check back in about a day to find something like this:
The only word that truly does these things justice is flaccid.

Then, because you love your kids more than life itself, stick your hand in there and pull those eggies out and put them on a plate.
Again, some things are hard to tell in the picture. The yolks in these eggs were rock hard. I'll wait here while you go lose your lunch.

Guess what The Boys wanted to do next. Yep, make them expand again.
Back in the water they go.

And the next day:

The Boys wanted to shrink them again, but a mama has got to draw the line somewhere. This experiment had been going on for a week and my house had gone from smelling like I'd read too many Pinterest pins on how to make all-natural household cleaners to smelling like an Easter egg had gone undiscovered.

A few notes:

I used Wilton gel colors when coloring the eggs. I'm not sure if your colors would be as vibrant with standard grocery store food coloring.

The moving of the eggs in and out of glasses is best handled by a grown-up, or at least a big kid. I did all of the transfers very carefully with my bare hands rather than a spoon and we didn't have any casualties, but it seems like you could break one of these guys open pretty easily. If you do tear one, please leave a comment to let me know what it's like on the inside.

I don't recommend eating the eggs, mostly because they've been sitting out for a while. And also because they've soaked in vinegar and corn syrup- two mediocre tastes that I'm certain taste less-than-mediocre together.

That said, if you do eat the egg and live to tell about it, please leave a comment!

*Absorption, not evaporation.

**I don't think that could actually happen since in this case the color has crossed the membrane of the egg and it's colored on the inside and the outside.

***Corn syrup only has a little water in it, so the water will flow out of the egg and into the corn syrup.

And that concludes our rundown off Week One of Science Camp. There's another week coming up and I'll be sure to include you in all the fun!