Category Archives: Projects

Maker Time!

As one of our final end-of-the-year projects, we’re learning to create 3D PRINTS on our MakerBot!!! How cool is that?!?! We’ve been making “simple” things on the computer on a professional design program called SketchUp. We’re designing all kinds of things.

For her first print, Olive created a yacht for her minuscule Polly Pockets complete with outdoor seating, a kitchen and guest bedroom! I started by designing a cute character for my ‘cute character collection’. I have since started working on prostsetics for dolls with lost arms or hands. We are learning so many things about math… scale is a big one (no pun intended!)… when we built our first models, we had no idea that they were actually 64 FEET tall! We reduced them down to a size that would actually work with our toys. Can you imagine a 64′ tall Polly Pocket yacht !?

The fact that your own designs can magically appear in a matter of hours is so impressive! As we learn more about the complex program to create things, the next challenge is to create something that ‘fits together’. More on that when our project gets further underway.

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This is the MakerBot in action!

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This print took about 3 hours to print.

This is Olive’s Party Ship for her Polly Pockets!

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This little baby took over FIVE hours to print!

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1..2..3…..Hatch!

As many of you may know, about a year and a half ago we hatched chickens and gave them to a friend who wanted them for eggs. You can see that post here. That was so amazing that 20 days ago, we started a new project as part of our Life Cycle and Biology area of study….

QUAILS! Fourteen eggs – set, incubated, turned and finally after 17 days development time, they were ready.

As of Tuesday afternoon last week, they began to hatch. First one, then the next, then it seemed like popcorn, one after another, after another. The first one came at 1:37PM. The last one emerged around 8:35PM. 11 baby chicks out of 14 eggs. We had 2 that didn’t pip but were fully developed and sadly died in the shell, another wasn’t viable and the last one which strangely, was the first one to pip, couldn’t make it out of the shell, so a recovery mission was set into motion to get it out of it’s shell.  The membrane had started to ‘shrink’ around the baby quail which happens when the air from the original pip opening starts to dry out. Without help, the baby will get stuck and die. Here’s the thing. The last part of a healthy chick’s formation is once it gets outside air, it begins to absorb the blood and all the nutrients in it from the vascular system in the membrane. It’s final process is to absorb the yolk, (which will serve as a protein pack for 2-3 days) into it’s tummy. If you help a chick too soon, those things can’t happen and some tragic results can occur. We waited about 10 hours and saw the lining of the shell drying up before we decided to start a rescue mission. Happily, it was a success and that last chick out into the world is fine!!!! WHEW!

The quails are TINY!!! The chicks only weigh about 6-7 grams when they hatch. It’s like holding air!

So! We have 11 babies in the house. :0) We love every single one of them and they are little pooping machines! Their wings are growing by the day – time for a cover on the brooder so they don’t start flapping their wings and take off… This week they will fly our coop (brooder) and head to their new, forever home a few miles away at a friend’s farm.

Another awesome adventure here on Water Street. Thanks for checking out our post to learn more about the amazing world of quails!!

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This is the quail development chart we referenced each day.

On the 14th day, the egg turner is removed from the incubator, the humidity is raised and the eggs are set on a cloth for hatching. We color the water in the channels blue so we can see when it is running low. A duck family offered to oversee the hatching since they were familiar with the process ;0)

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The first pip! This was the chick that had to be rescued from it’s shell 10 hours later.
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The first one!

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Many friends and neighbors came by to meet the new chicks and see them hatch.

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It was a busy afternoon having all those eggs hatch over 10 hours time! The next morning, after spending the night in the incubator, we saw the rescued chick needed help getting the now dried membrane off. Under a heat lamp, a little water, a towel and a gentle touch was about all it took to get this little guy to fluff up like the rest of the crew. Once it did, it was time for the brooder box.

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What fun nature can be!!!!

 

Happy New Year!

In early December, Olive and I were asked if we would be interested in coming up with a design ideas and a proposal for the home of our friends to decorate their space for a big New Year’s Eve Party! Of course we said YES!

We immediately went online to get inspiration. We decided on using silver, gold and lots of candles, birch wood and bit of tasseling here and there. We then created the proposal. Here’s a look at it:

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They agreed to hire us and we began SHOPPING – every decorator’s favorite part! We started at Target. It was hard to know how much stuff we would need, so we found a fairly empty shelf and started mocking it up in the store. We were armed with a calculator and a lot of patience. It was hard to get everything we needed and stay in budget. We had so many IDEAS!!!

After returning from our travels for the holidays, we cut the birch platforms, packed up the decorations and headed to their home to begin the decorating. We were happy that we had the perfect amount to create a festive space for them to party in! One of my favorite parts was the fortunes we made. They were hilarious and really pretty. We heard they were a hit. :0)

Check out some of our handy work. It was great fun and awesome to see what we could accomplish! Happy New Year to one and all!!

 

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It was meant to ‘bee’!

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Funny right? We found it while looking for bee puns because… DUN DUN DUNDA DUN DAAAAA!!! We are becoming backyard beekeepers! We have bee suits, hives, frames, soon to be honey and honey combs and some borrowed land to put them on (thank you amazing neighbors, Tom and Joanne! As a family, we paint we decorated the hives all with our own little touch of magic!

We started preparing for the bees by building the wooden brood boxes. Those are the deep boxes that the queen layers her eggs in. Did you know that she can lay over 1,000 eggs every day!? She never leaves the hive once she starts laying. What a job!  All the other supplies Mom was lucky enough to buy from a person we know in town that was no longer beekeeping.

We prepared the hives a few days before and had a fellow beekeeper (thank you awesome Sam!!) come over and check them out to make sure we had everything we needed in preparation for the colony’s arrival. Check out a future post when they arrive!!

We are so excited it is un’BEE’leiveable! :0)

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Kids Food Basket, Paper Bags and Friends!

Kids’ Food Basket is a nonprofit organization attacking childhood hunger to help young people learn and live well. They began over ten years ago by serving 125 kids each school day through our Sack Supper program and now serve nearly 7,000 kids each weekday in West Michigan. Sack Suppers are evening meals that provide a well-rounded nutritious meal —nutrition that’s critical to the development of kids’ brains and bodies.

Our family supports this amazing group of people through donations but also through volunteering to pack the sack suppers. Every so often they have a special event. An auction, Runs, and a few weeks ago they asked for people in the community to help decorate lunch bags. Their goal? 70,000. You read that right – SEVENTY THOUSAND decorated bags. Last year, our family of 5 decorated 100. This year we decided to have a “decorate a bag party” at our house and invited friends to join us. After many hours of intense coloring, we had created 227 bags! It was a fun-filled afternoon and we offer up our thanks to the super creative, funny, and positive spirited people we are lucky enough to call our friends!!!

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This is a link to the Kids Food Basket website. If you happen to be reading this post and you are in the West Michigan area, they work mostly on volunteer support and gratefully, have jobs for kids as young as five. What a great way to spend a few hours supporting kids in our communities!

http://www.kidsfoodbasket.org

Our Newest Student….. Milton!!!!

St. Patrick’s Day brought a new furry student to our school! Milton is our ten week old puppy and is completely adorable. He is a mixed breed of poodle and Coton de Tulear. The Coton breed originated in Madagascar and they feel like cotton! We call him our newest student because he is learning too!  We are teaching him to: sit, stay, come, down, place, leave it, find it and obviously fetch. He is a super funny guy, very relaxed and loves his cuddles!! Of course, potty training is the highest priority, but not as much fun as fetch!

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Which Came First – The Chicken or the Egg?

In our case, it was the EGG!! Last August, we hatched our first group of chickens! We got our eggs from Townline Hatchery in Zeeland, Michigan. After 13 days of daily charting, adjusting humidity and watching the temperature of the incubator carefully, we candled the eggs (this is when you shine a light into the egg to track its development). It was a shock to see the little embryo moving around inside the shell!!!!! On the 21st day, we woke up to the quiet sounds of peeps! We looked in, and incredibly, during the night, several of the chicks had hatched. Of the 12 eggs, 10 hatched. We moved those sweet baby chicks to our home made brooder and watched them grow over the coming weeks. Every other day, we measured their weight, wing span and foot length. We couldn’t believe how FAST they grew! Gerald was the biggest, Sweet Pea was the smallest. Check out Gerald’s picture at about 2 weeks old… When they were about 3 weeks old, they became harder to cuddle and play with (and boy those little sharp nails and feet are powerful!) and we brought them to our friend Cathy’s house who would be taking them as layers. After many months, she called to tell us that first eggs had been laid (they didn’t come with the smiley faces – Mom drew them on – but wouldn’t that be awesome if they did come out that way?!).  This spring, we are hoping to try hatching ducks or quails!!! Check out these coooool pictures!!!!

Some links to other information on hatching your very own chickens:

http://www.backyardchickens.com/

http://www.mypetchicken.com/?gclid=CLD5uJbvmcQCFUk2gQodmakAAw

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Our biggest boy!
Our biggest boy!