Monday, August 4, 2014

How we've spent our summer vacation - AKA the Worst.(and luckiest) Summer. Ever.

This is an update post for those of you who have sent emails wondering where we've vanished to since the start of the summer. (Thank you all for caring enough to ask! It means a lot.)

There is a rare and sometimes fatal fungal illness called Blastomycosis, which grows in decomposing matter such as dried leaves, sand piles, and the like. The spores are only released when it is disturbed, and are only caught at the time they're released, not passed from one animal or person to another. The scariest thing about it is that it shows up differently in each of its victims, and it's almost impossible to pinpoint its location here in Northern Ontario.

Can you see where this is going?

Not one, not two, but 3 of our family members - both dogs and our 6 year old D- somehow ended up with it. Our beloved retriever T died in my 21 year old's arms (as he frantically performed CPR) within 3 weeks as it went all over her body inside; our big goofy Border Collie Mix may lose his eye; and in D, it went straight into his lungs.

We have the vet's quick-thinking action to thank for D's survival - no exaggeration.

On one particularly horrible day at the very beginning of July, we had both dogs at the vet and D at the hospital, literally next door for yet another x-ray for what the doctors thought was pneumonia. When the vets were telling us that tests had confirmed Blastomycosis, I happened to mention where D was. The vets dropped everything,  stayed with the dogs, and sent me running to the hospital to tell the doctors to run a test on D. I didn't even know that people could catch it. He was admitted on the spot.

If you have ever had your child vomiting 24/7, passing out, and spiking fevers of 42+ degrees in less than 10 minutes, you know the fear we were experiencing.

This was followed the next day by a rush by ambulance to the nearest hospital who could handle the illness, a 3 hour trip which we made in half that time, lights and siren going while I watched over my unconscious little boy. 

 A month of IV medication with terrifying potential side effects, during which I slept on a ledge in his hospital room while my parents and husband and other kids held down the fort and made endless trips to the vet back at home, a loss of more than 10 % of D's already small body weight in one week, and days where he didn't recognize me due to fever and pain,  days where he was screaming from pain, and a slow return to himself, and I finally, FINALLY, was able to bring him home a few days ago.

D and our surviving dog will be on anti-fungal pills for up to a year before they will be considered cured. D is more himself again, gaining weight but still very low on energy compared to his usual self. His lungs are permanently scarred and he will have to have regular kidney and liver checks for the rest of his life. We will be burying our dog T next to her sister who we lost to cancer last year.

After a summer like this, I hope you all understand that our focus is very intently on family time at this point. I'll post as and when we do stuff and have some time to put up some pics.

Hug your kids, watch them with an eagle eye, and have a good rest of the summer.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

A Fun Density Science Experiment!

It's time for Saturday Science again - I really look forward to Saturdays now! This link party is co-hosted by P Is For Preschooler, Lemon Lime Adventures, Suzy Homeschooler, The Joys of Boys, Little Bin For Little Hands, Stir The Wonder, and myself.

A somewhat random discussion this week led to this fun density experiment I threw together. I was trying to explain about density and I thought that the classic oil and water experiment but with a twist might illustrate the point best.
oil and ice density fun science experiment
This post may contain affiliate links for books or products that we use and love.

We've all seen the lava-lamp version of this, but I wanted something a little different so I froze colored water overnight before we tried it out.

Here's what happened when we floated the colored ice on top of some inexpensive cooking oil and let it melt.

oil and ice density fun science experiment

oil and ice density fun science experiment

oil and ice density fun science experiment

Saturday Science Blog Hop 2

Don't miss the great posts this week by my participating co-hosts this week:

Exploring Seeds with Preschoolers from P is for Preschooler

Link up your science posts below!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Spring watercolor art lesson for kids

We saw a terrific and very easy spring watercolor art lesson that we couldn't resist trying out!
spring watercolor art lesson
This post may contain affiliate links for books or products that we use and love.

You'll need:
A straw
watercolor paints
watercolor paper
tissue or paper towel
cotton swabs

I've taken photos of our progress, but I won't share all the steps - you should check the original post for that.

spring watercolor art lesson

spring watercolor art lesson

spring watercolor art lesson

Admire your finished product! Ours are now hanging next to the back door for a nice touch of spring.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Science of Seatbelts: Car Crash Physics

The theme for Poppins Book Nook this month is Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (Grab your free lapbook for April from Enchanted Homeschooling Mom).

The Science of Seatbelts: Car Crash Physics
This post may contain affiliate links for books or products we use and love.

In the wake of a very scary accident my friend Christine had with her daughter, I thought that a good topic and experiment would be this one to show my kids exactly why we wear seat belts in the car. With summer coming up, I also wanted a reminder of why we don't leave rock-hard Nalgene water bottles all over the car after swimming lessons!

We borrowed the books below from the library. Max Axiom was a particular hit but they were all excellent reads! They gave explanations about forces and motion that satisfied both my 13 year old and my 6 year old.

I got this car crash physics experiment from our Supercharged Science curriculum. Here's what you need:

A car
A licensed driver
A tennis ball

Have your child sit in the back seat and put the tennis ball beside them (don't put it on the floor, as it might roll forward under, say, the brake pedal).
The Science of Seatbelts: Car Crash Physics

See how it moves on the seat as the car moves? Can they feel themselves moving the same way?

Drive along, not too fast, then stop suddenly in a safe place - warn your passengers first. What does the ball do? (The reason you don't go too fast is that you're probably not fond of tennis-ball shaped holes in your windshield!)

Explain to your child that everything in the car is moving at the same speed (for older students, that means it all has the same inertia.) When the car stops, everything in the car continues forward at that same rate of speed until it hits something that stops it. If the car turns, the ball keeps going in the same direction it had been going until it hits something that stops it.

We had trouble capturing the tennis ball in full flight, so we also repeated this with a stuffed animal at kid-head level.You can see it in the cover image.

Ask your child what happens if they are un-seatbelted and moving at 100kms/hr on the highway. Now imagine that the car stops. What would happen to them? Yep. That's why we wear seatbelts.

Don't miss all the great and varied posts along the Planes, Trains, and Automobiles theme from my co-hosts! And link up your own posts below.

Enchanted Homeschooling Mom ~ 3 Dinosaurs ~ To the Moon and Back ~ Planet Smarty Pants ~ Farm Fresh Adventures ~ Growing in God's Grace ~ Chestnut Grove Academy ~ Learning and Growing the Piwi Way ~ The Usual MayhemPreschool Powol Packets ~ Monsters Ed Homeschool Academy ~ Adventures in Mommydom ~ Teach Beside Me ~ Life with Moore Babies Kathy's Cluttered Mind ~ Are We There Yet? ~ Our Crafts N Things ~ Hopkins Homeschool ~ ABC Creative Learning ~ Joy Focused Learning ~ P is for Preschooler ~ Laugh and Learn ~ A Mommy's Adventures ~ Inspiring 2 New Hampshire Children ~ World for Learning ~ The Kennedy Adventures ~ Ever After in the Woods ~ Golden Grasses ~ Our Simple Kinda Life ~ A glimpse of our life ~ Journey to Excellence ~ Happy Little Homemaker ~ Little Homeschool Blessings ~ Simplicity Breeds Happiness ~ Raventhreads ~ Water on the Floor ~ Learning Fundamentals ~ Tots and Me As We Walk Along The Road ~ Stir the Wonder ~ For This Season ~ Where Imagination Grows ~ Lextin Academy ~ The Canadian Homeschooler ~ School Time Snippets ~ Peakle Pie ~ Mom's Heart ~ A Moment in our World ~ Every Bed of Roses ~ Finchnwren ~ At Home Where Life Happens ~ Suncoast Momma ~ The Library Adventure ~ Embracing Destiny ~ Day by Day in our World ~ Our Homeschool Studio ~ A "Peace" of Mind ~ Thou Shall Not Whine ~ SAHM I am ~ eLeMeNo-P Kids ~ Simple Living Mama

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