Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Photo Effects

(Original photo above)
I can't believe how angelic my little man still looks at 19 months old (especially considering the horrific sounds that can come from his mouth when he's told "No!" - lol!). Those eyes just melt my heart!

A special thanks to Darcy (my photography and Photoshop hero) at Life with My 3 Boybarians for recommending picnik.com (free software) for photo editing. I haven't the talent to invest in Photoshop but didn't have enough options with Picassa and Paint. It was fun giving him blue eyes and trying all kinds of other strange effects on this photo (while I should have been doing *insert.any.daily. motherly.task.here*)!

For more Wordless Wednesday, see 5 minutes for Mom.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Baby Chicks - Fun project!

I love the little things that God brings to our home school experience to make it more interesting and exciting for the kids (and me too)! At the end of our hs co-op, we got an email from a hs acquaintance asking if anyone wanted to try incubating some chicken eggs. Sounds interesting but I didn't think I had time to figure out how to make an incubator.

Thankfully someone at co-op offered to lend us one! Awesome! I mean - how hard could it be to turn some eggs a couple times every day, right?

So the kids helped me to label the eggs so that we could remember to turn them and then they learned that we needed to keep the incubator between 98 and 103 degrees while keeping water in it to maintain humidity. Someone also told us to keep the eggs slanted with the big end slightly upward - haven't figured out if that was needed but we did it.

The egg part was easy (although it has taken us a huge part of my kitchen counter space for 3 weeks) but I worried about them getting turned when Jefferson and I went to Phoenix for a week. But dh turned out to be a good egg turner - even with 3 kids, 2 hermit crabs, a garden/flowers, and a fish to take care of also!

Jefferson and I got back from Phoenix just in time for them to start hatching - 21 days exactly! They waited until evening to do it so I had to video much of it for the kids (and you!) to see. It took each chick about an hour to get itself our and start flopping around. I stayed up late to wait for them to dry before I moved them over to our brooder. We somehow managed to throw it together last minute (typical of me!) with one of our heated lamps, a box and aluminum foil.

Hatching Chickens from DNAC on Vimeo.

We hadn't been looking at the calender closely enough and weren't ready for them to hatch. So we had to wait until the next day to run to a friend's farm to get feed for them. It has been harder to keep the temp in the brooder steady for them since it is an open box but using aluminum foil on top helps.

The baby chicks are very cute and fluffy! They peep and peck and hop and then spontaneously sleep. The kids love to watch them in their box and keep asking me to keep them. It stresses them to be handled but it is hard to resist doing so. Unfortunately, we let some little friends hold them and one got dropped! I was hoping with would be okay but it seems not to be using it's right leg. :-( Future reference for anyone else - chicks ARE breakable!

Here are some cute pics! Glad to have been able to do this project but now that they are smelling up my kitchen, I'm ready to get them back to the farmer - lol! Don't think my neighborhood association would care for any livestock in our backyard (not that I wouldn't mind the healthy, soy-free eggs!)......