If We Were Having Coffee…

*I originally stumbled across this concept at Part Time Monster, and I love, love, love the idea of having a chatty post once a week. I do hope you enjoy my ramblings.* ;)




I would tell you that this week’s manicure was actually suggested by John. I was talking about how much I adore all of the wee tree frogs and toads about the place when he came up with the idea of frog and toad inspired nails. It was a short leap (See what I did there? Because frogs.) to selecting some greens and browns and yellows…with some gold and green glitter for sparkle, of course. That husband of mine…he’s pretty clever. ;)

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I would tell you that I am so totally done with people who can’t make a simple plan without causing chaos. Pick a time. Pick a place. Then show up at that place at that time. It’s not hard. :/

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I would tell you that I’ve begun the long and winding process of watching Supernatural on Netflix. I must admit, I don’t think the show is that great, but Grace is super into it, so I figured I’d give it a go. It’s not awful or anything…it makes for decent background noise. ;)

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I would tell you that I am currently in love with this song:

Careful: There are a couple of grown up words/actions in the last couple of minutes of the video…and the song doesn’t actually start until about a minute in.

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I would tell you that I’m still really behind on my reading. I haven’t finished the first book since last we chatted. But in brighter reading news, I have to get my car inspected today, so I’ll have some reading time. :)

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I would tell you that I’m really excited for a family field trip we’re taking tomorrow. It’s technically for school, but it’s one of those things we would have probably done even if we weren’t home schooling. :) Of course, we’ll be leaving NEDs all about the place. John will act like NEDs are the goofiest thing ever, but then he’ll be the first one to point out good spots for leaving them. He’s like that. ;)

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I would tell you that I miss my BFF. We talk on the phone often, but I haven’t seen her in person in two months. It’s time to remedy that, I’d say!

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I would tell you that my 40th birthday is officially within the month that we’re currently living in…and I could not be more excited. 40! Could there be a greater age? I’ve been promised a piñata. :D

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And, of course, I would tell you that I hope you have an absolutely wonderful week until we meet for coffee again next Friday. :D

This Is How We Science: Bubbling Galaxies, Batman!

*a weekly look at how we’re getting our science on* ;)

Last week I showed you how we used our lovely friend the cabbage to do some pH testing of various household substances. (Click here to learn how!) Well, after we determined what our acids and bases were, we thought it would be fun to add some fizz and bubbles to the whole experience. Of course, this also gave a lovely demonstration of an acid and a base coming together to be nice neutral friends. :)

Supply Gathering:

  • vinegar (How large of a sample depends 100% on big you bubblin’ mess to be.)
  • baking soda dissolved in water (Use the same size sample as you used with your vinegar. Make sure that your baking soda sample is in a container that is much larger than the sample…unless you enjoy cleaning up overflow.) :)
  • cabbage pH testing juice



Do the Science:

  • Discuss acids and bases with your student(s).
  • Tell student(s) that cabbage juice can be used as a pH indicator. Acids will turn pink or red when combined with cabbage juice and bases will turn blue, yellow, or green when cabbage juice is added.
  • Add cabbage juice to your baking soda sample. (We aimed for roughly equal parts baking soda sample and cabbage juice.) Observe what happens and discuss what it all means.
  • Add cabbage juice to vinegar sample. Again, observe and discuss.
  • Now for even more science magic! Slowly pour the vinegar sample into the baking soda sample. Whapow!
  • Observe what happens to the color of the liquid. And the fuzzy, poppin’ (but safe) craziness going on.
  • Yell, “Science!” really loud for added drama.
  • Now see if you can tinker with the baking soda and vinegar samples until you get back to the original color of the cabbage juice. Can you neutralize your acid and base???
Here we thought it looked we created some sort of magical fairy beverage. ;)

Here we thought it looked we created some sort of magical fairy beverage. ;)

And this is my favorite...it looks like we've created an entire galaxy! :D

And this is my favorite…it looks like we’ve created an entire galaxy! :D

Dig deeper:

  • Discuss the actual chemical reactions happening between the baking soda and vinegar. What’s happening with the hydrogen atoms in particular?
  • Use different acids and bases. Do they all fizz and go bubble crazy? Why or why not? Can any acid and any base be tinkered with until things become neutral? (You, parents! Make sure no one is combining anything that’s going to create a lethal gas or anything. If you’re not sure, don’t do it. Stay safe!)
  • What are some practical applications of the bits of knowledge you’ve gathered here?

This, for the most part was the end of our cabbage juice fun, but don’t fret! We did a couple more activities with the acid and base concept. I’ll share those with you next week. (One of them is actually practical, believe it or not.) ;)

What about you? Any fun experiments with acids and bases going on in your world? Are you planning to make your own galaxy in a cup this weekend? (Kids and home school are not required to make this bit of nifty happen.) If you do perform this activity, super-please with molecules on top send pictures to nerdinthebrain@gmail.com. :D


What The NEDs Are Up To These Days

Grace and I decided it would be a fun addition to our Social Studies activities to leave NEDs (Nice, Encouraging Dinonsaurs) about the place on all of our history adventures.

While on our first quest to soak up information from historical markers in our town, we continued our mission to leave happy, encouraging messages for strangers in all sorts of nifty spots. Since we’ll be leaving these dino friends outside, we decided putting them and their messages of encouragement in little bags would keep them protected a bit.

Check out the ones we left last week:


Will a passerby find this dino or will it be the UPS worker???


Dino in a tree! (This is what happens when you let an 8-year-old decide where to put the NED.) ;)


On a bench for someone resting to find.


And another bench.

We’re looking forward to leaving more NEDs for unsuspecting strangers this weekend when we take another field trip. :D

What about you? Have you been leaving any NEDs around? Have you found one? Do you want to leave some for others to find? (If you do, click here for more information.)

The Puzzle of Life: Take Chances

*part 23 in a series about life…for Grace…based on an actual puzzle*

Sorry some of the circles are impossible to read in the picture. They're hard to read in reality, too. ;)

Sorry some of the circles are impossible to read in the picture. They’re hard to read in reality, too. ;)


Well, the Puzzle of Life has finally decided to step away from its run of bad advice. Woot! Today the puzzle is telling us to Take Chances.

Do I think you should take chances? Absolutely!

Now, I do think it’s worth taking a moment to have a think about the worst case scenario that could result from the chance you’re taking. If that worst case scenario is something you’re ready to deal with, chance on, little one!

Sometimes those chances, even when they’re super-scary, can turn out to be just all full of the awesome.

For example, when I left my job teaching to home school you and work on personal projects (Nerd in the Brain among them), I was terrified. How would we live with one income? Would your daddy resent that I wasn’t bringing home any bacon? What if the reasons I detested my job were all inside me and not in that building at all? How would I deal with that? What if my personal projects failed? What if home school turned out to be a disaster? As someone who has worked outside of the home since I was 14, would I be restless and antsy staying at home?

Scary stuff.

But I took a chance. (As did your Daddy by open-mindedly going along with this plan.)

And it turned out more than okay.

Money’s tight, but we have food and a home. All those worries I had about not making money? It turns out that it didn’t matter. What we’ve found is that we’re tremendously happier with me being at home. I have time to do what I love and value…home schooling you, taking care of my family, working on various and assorted projects, volunteer work. Because I’m so much happier, Daddy’s happier. (That’s a thing that happens with married people, by the way.) Of course, I think he’s also happy to have dinner cooked for him every night and a clean house to putter about in. Oh, and he never has to mow the lawn or go to the grocery store. ;) It turns out that all of those icky issues that filled me with grumpiness and dread really were tied to my job. I quit, and they evaporated. Some of my personal projects absolutely have failed, but that’s okay. Live, learn, move on. ;) And home school has turned out to be about the furthest thing from a disaster that a person could imagine. And it turns out that I’m the type of person who has no problem filling my days with things that matter to me, so restless and antsy has not been a problem at all.

We took a chance. A big chance. It all worked out.

That’s not to say that taking chances always works out. Sometimes your chances will fail…sometimes comically and sometimes disastrously and sometimes both. As long as no one was killed or anything, you’ll be able to bounce back from whatever it is. Failure is always an option. (The Mythbusters said it, so you know it must be true.) ;) When you take a chance, and it blows up in your face, slurp up the lessons available from the experience. You’ll be that much wiser when the next chance comes along. :)

It’s interesting how making those scary choices can lead us into some of the most fabulous situations and adventures.

I can’t wait to see what kind of chances you take. :D

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Want to keep up with the whole series? I made a page for that! ;)

What do you think? What sorts of chances have you taken in life? Did any of them turn out fabulously? Or tragically bad? Do you have chances you wish you had taken, but fear of failure kept you from doing it? What chances are on your horizon right now?

Three Things Thursday: July 31

*three things that make me smile: an exercise in gratitude – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog with the happy*


I love the Banjo-Kazooie looking tractors that drive around our part of the world. :)


78 degrees? In NC? On the 1st day of August? We won’t know what to do with ourselves while we’re not melting. :D


John and I don’t drink a lot of soda, but he asked me to pick one up while I was out yesterday…and these put themselves right in front of my face. :D


So, what made you smile this week?

Reading Challenge Feature: Graphic Novels

This week we’ll be taking a peek at Reading Challenge #17: Read a Graphic Novel. :)

To get us started, let’s have a look at Hannah reading an X-Men graphic novel:



And here are just a few of the giggledy-jillion choices for graphic novels out there for your reading pleasure:



There are graphic novels out there for tons of topics and genres…they’re not just for comic book lovers or kids. :) There are graphic novel adaptations of classic literature, graphic novels about science and history (making them graphic not-novels, I suppose), graphic novels that extend beloved TV shows, and, of course, graphic novels about our usual superhero friends.

Just for fun, I thought I’d show you some of my favorite graphic novels lined up on my shelf:


Enjoy your reading!

Need help finding a book that suits you for this challenge? Let me know in the comments, and I (and my trusty crew of book-loving family members) will try to help you out. If you’re bashful about leaving a comment, you can email me at nerdinthebrain@gmail.com or use the contact page. :)

I’ve been getting some more great submissions for the Reading Program challenges!  (Don’t forget that Tuesday night at midnight is the deadline for Round 4!)

Already tackled/tackling this challenge? We’d love to know what you’re reading! (Even if you’re not participating in the Reading Program, we want to know if you’ve read any good graphic novels recently.) :)

One more thing! It’s not too late to sign up and join in the fun with Round 4 of the Summer Reading & Writing Program!

Word Scramble Round 1

Yes, it’s time to add some word scramble fun to the Wednesday line up. :)

I’ll start off with an easy one to get everyone practiced up for more challenging ones in the future. ;)

I’ve been trying to think of ways to keep this fun and fair for everyone as a competition kind of thing, but, so far, I’ve got nothin’ that doesn’t involve adding a form or a poll or something. If you have any ideas on how to make this a fun and fair contest type thing in the future, I’d love to hear your suggestions! Until then, just go nuts with it…how many words can we come up with using only these six letters? Of course, there is a six-letter word in there. Word Scramble 1

  • Words should have at least two letters. (I think we can all spot “a” pretty easily.) ;)
  • Let’s only use real words that we can define, please. No freaky I-use-that-in-Scrabble-but-I-have-no-idea-what-it-means type words. :)
  • For simplicity’s sake, we’re going to have to stick to English words for this.

Have at it, my little word geniuses! :D