Saturday, January 15, 2011

Growing Bacteria, Part Two

Once the Agar was solid, the search for bacteria began! I let the kids choose what we swabbed and actually let them do the swabbing. This probably means that we had some cross contamination and certainly would not work in an actual lab, but seriously, this was for fun. I wanted them to have an enjoyable experience, not a perfect science experiment.

We swabbed Maggie's mouth and then our cat, Fireflame's mouth. Everyone (except Fireflame) thought it would be fun to compare the bacteria growth. Then we moved on to the plate in the microwave,

The laptop mouse pad and keyboard:

A door knob:

 the TV remote.

We labeled each dish, taped them shut and put them on top of the fireplace to grow.

What did we grow? Find out in Part 3… coming soon to a blog post near you.


1. Don't press too hard on the agar when rubbing it with the swab. The agar will tear. However, the culture will still grow.

2. Too warm is not a good idea. We had our dishes too close to a heat source and the agar melted. Again, the culture still grew, so all turned out ok.


Friday, January 14, 2011

Fit Mommy Firday 2011 - Week 2

It's Friday again! Here is my report for week 2:

Friday: 1 hour Wii
Saturday: nothing
Sunday: Snow day, short walk in the woods
Monday:1 hour Wii
Tuesday: 1 hour workout with trainer
Wednesday: nothing
Thursday: 2 mile walk

I haven't set a new goal since the end of the 10 Week Challenge and I think I need to. I am still trying to exercise a minimum of 4 times per week, but I haven't added anything to that. So by next Friday, I will have a new goal to announce (that's my goal for this week ~smile~).

Check in with the other Fit Mommies or join in the fun at Got Chai.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Growing Bacteria, Part One

Today is day one in my little three part series on growing bacteria! I simply have too many pictures to make this a one post activity!

We ordered sterile petri dishes, liquid nutrient agar, and sterile swabs from (Definitely bookmark worthy, by the way!).

The gloves were more for effect - they aren't sterile - but don't they look scientific?
 It doesn't take much to make me happy and I guess my excitement was contagious - so we threw the agar in the microwave, heated it through and made 8 petri dishes right away. Then we had to wait an HOUR for them to solidify!

The potholder is not for effect - that bottle was hot!
 You however, have to wait a day or two to see what we did with them...


1. Liquid Nutrient Agar is well worth purchasing. Although slightly more expensive - it is already sterile and only requires heat to liquefy. Powdered Nutrient Agar requires addition of distilled water and boiling to sterilize.

2. Open the petri dish as little as possible when pouring the agar in to avoid contamination.


Monday, January 10, 2011

TOS Review: Easy Classical Early Modern History Schedule

There are hundreds of homeschooling resources available to parents today. Sometimes the hardest part of schooling is finding a way to use those resources in a cohesive way. Easy Classical is a company that makes it their goal to help you do just that. They have created various schedules to help parents teach their children with the Classical method. They provide Complete Curriculum, History, and Science schedules.

I received a copy of the Easy Classical Early Modern History Schedule to review. Early Modern History covers the time period from the discovery of America to 1815. This schedule is aimed at the K-6th grade level and is designed for a 36 week school year. It is written from a Classical Education standpoint.

First, I want to say that I did not use this with my children. My review was based on reading the schedule and viewing samples of related materials online to determine if it was something I could or would use in my home school. I did have a few of the resources scheduled and I referred to these as I reviewed the schedule. Second, I do not use the Classical Method, but am more of an eclectic, with Charlotte Mason leanings type of homeschooler. I say these things now because I think they have a direct impact on the way I conducted my review as well as how that review may apply to my readers.

The schedule itself appealed to me because of the clear, easy to read layout. I liked the blue bars that divide the subjects and the icons to remind the parent of mapping exercises or summaries that need to be done. A" yellow sticky note" on each week's schedule identifies supplies needed for the next week.

The weekly schedule included History readings, Writing activities, Geography lessons, read alouds and a project. The weekly schedule page also included explanations or questions for discussion or comprehension. Each week also includes a comprehension quiz with instructions to administer it orally or in writing depending on your student's abilities.

The final portion of the schedule consists of a series of art instruction pages. These correlate with specific lessons and offer a step-by-step plan for a line drawing of an object related to the lesson.

The schedule is based on recommendations found in Susan Wise Bauer's book The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home. I have not read this book and therefore do not know how the reading of this book might change my perception of this schedule, but I felt that the schedule is very adaptable. Easy Classical encourages the use of notebooking, reading living books aloud, dictation, and copywork - all methods we use in our home school.

The Early Modern History Schedule includes a list of scheduled read alouds, a list of supplemental reading books , and a list of picture books, all related to the time period. Easy Classical maintains a list of recommended resources with links to store with the best prices. You can see that here.  We found that although our small local library had very few of the books, we do have several in our family library and most are available through our favorite homeschool store.

Easy Classical Early Modern History schedule is available in a 3 hole punched notebook form for $35.95 or a digital form for $29.95.

Read what the other Homeschool Crew members thought by clicking here.


**Any products reviewed by me as a member of the 2010-2011 TOS Homeschool Crew have been given to me free of charge in order for me to provide you with an honest review of the product and/or how we used the product within our family. I do not receive any other form of compensation for the reviews posted on this blog.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Let It Snow!

This was a definite surprise! We have been hearing about a cold blast headed our way for a week or so, but the weather reports have been saying that very little precipitation would be involved, with only a slight possibility of sleet early Wednesday morning. Dad and I haven't watched the news in a few days and apparently we missed some updates to that weather forecast. Yesterday, Dad had the Weather Channel on and the forecast showed 90% chance of precipitation today with a high temp of 36 degrees. They were predicting sleet and freezing rain, but the sleet quickly turned to snow - Yay!

So, although I really do enjoy the warm outside days (even though I complain on occasion ~grin~) I love getting a snowy day too! I am hoping this won't be our only snow of the year. Last year we had two snows in February, so maybe this early snowfall suggests more snow coming soon!

We spent a lot of time outside this afternoon enjoying the snow. We came in for a snow ice cream break, then headed back out for more snowy fun!