Blogging How to(s)? Science

Banana Bread Kids

So starts the second week of Summer Vacation, and it is raining…

Since vacation has started, my kids have eaten more bandwidth than food!

What to do?

Well, being the frugal person that I am, and seeing that we had 5 ripe bananas…

I Googled three recipes, printed them up, and had the kids review the recipes, and create a common ingredient list:

5 Ripe Bananas
2 Cups Flour
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
2 Large Eggs
1 Stick Melted Salted Butter
1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Vanilla

Preheat Oven to 350ºF. In large bowl, mash the bananas; Mix in the Eggs, melted butter, brown sugar, baking soda/powder, cinnamon and vanilla. Pour mixture into buttered loaf pan, and bake until center is cooked and crust is deep brown (60+ mins).

This helped Logan with this reading, while Madison learned more about units and measurement conversions!

What was also fun, was to comparing ingredients, such as white vs brown sugar, and deciding which one to use.

They also gotten to use a mortar and pestle to ground the fresh cinnamon, which was finished off in a coffee grinder.

I encouraged them to taste it, and explained why it was not a good idea to try the fad trick of trying to swallow a tablespoon!

And let us not forget the mashing of the bananas!

During clean-up, we also had the chance to “test” the classic Baking Soda vs Power with vinegar trick!

As I set up and measured, the kids kind of knew what was going to happen, but they were still very eager to see what would happen!

Finally, as the bread pan went into the oven, we used some of the leftover flour, to test our drinking glasses for fingerprints!


I have since started this post, and the lights in the house flicker off and on because of the storm passing over us.

The house is beginning to smell good!

Update 2

The loaf is out and the smell!

The kids don’t seem to understand ‘cool down on a rack’…

Homemade Banana Bread
Homemade Banana Bread

Update 3

“I like the taste, but the texture is weird…”

All the more for ME!

A belated Father’s Day ‘gift’ to myself!

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Blogging Games Ideas Note to Self

Killing Time with Kids 01

While waiting for our food today, Logan and I played a little game of “I Spy” with our menu!

It is very simple, Open the menu to a page, say to the other player(s) “I Spy…” and pick a word, if the children are younger, pick a shape or color, and allow them to find it, and then they get a turn.

Good for about 5-10 minutes… maybe…

There are endless variations on this, and with the summer travel months ahead…

What variations have you played?

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Blogging Chester County clouds Equipment Filters Gadgets Lionville Nature Photo Journal Photography Tone Mapping

First Day with ND 3.0 10-stop filter

As part of “Daddy Day Camp”, I took the kids up to Lionville Elementary School to practice their biking riding, in prep for taking off the training wheels.

We first started in the upper play ground, and after parking, I unloaded the bikes, and the kids were gone. I had to coach them a little, but with the follow-up tweaks after Sunday’s outing, both kids were doing much better.

Now I was able to grab my tripod and camera and set up for some shooting.

The wind was rather gusty, and was really nicely formed white clouds against a very deep blue sky, and I had my new filter… Tee hee! wink… wink…

With my first few shots, I felt like a complete amateur, because as I would set one thing that, I’d forget about something else, and the shot would be blown, but I got into a rhythm and finally began to click off some shots.

Most of these pictures were taken at ISO 100 f22 for 30 seconds to 1 minute, the tennis practice image was around 3 second, using the B+W 58mm 3.0 ND MRC 110M Filter.

At one point, I could hear Logan asking me why I was taking pictures of cars, as I set up for my shot looking north on Route 113 with the Devon Rd. intersection in the background.

He was very puzzled, and even more so, when I showed him the pictures later during proofing. The cars just disappeared!

While playing with my new filter, it became very apparent to me, that I was going to need to recalibrate my water shots, and how to do my HDR work with so much potential ghosting issues during processing.

But as they say no gain without pain.

So come back again, and see what new things I’ve done with this new filter of mine!

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Blogging Science

A Basic Ant Lesson

Anatomy of an Ant -
Anatomy of an Ant –

In today’s mini-science lesson…

After lunch, I asked Logan to go check the mailbox, and within a few seconds, he came running back screaming “Sissy, Sissy, come see this!”.

Madison darted out the front door, and after a few seconds, in the distance, I could hear “Daddy! Daddy! Come see this!”.

I exited the house, and see both kids at the end of the driveway looking down, still very excited.

When I got to their location, and looked, I could see a big cluster of small ants that had swarmed for some reason, and I started to explain to the kids, that ants work as a group, and explain the various functions of each group, and what they provided to the colony.

The scout ants go out first, and explore for food, and when they do find food, the scout ants return to the colony, leaving a scent trail for the foraging ants to follow, back to the found food, and with each back and forth from the colony to the food, the scent trail is built up.

In this case, there was no visible reason why the ants had swarmed, but there were two  very distinct tails going in opposite directions, which I followed, and show the kids where the ants where disappearing into the ground.

I also explained that both entrances where most likely part of the same colony, because ants where smart enough to do so, just encase one entrance got destroyed, the ants could escape out the other side. (Being a home owner, the concept of the main colony being in the middle of my driveway entrance was not the most comforting.)

Returning to the main swarm, I asked the kids if they wanted to see something cool, and I proceeded to gently blow on the group, and as I expected the ants started to scatter, to the delight of “That’s cool!” and “Let me try!”.

It was from here I said “I have an idea!”, to which Madison responded, “I don’t like when he says that.”

I went back inside the house, and grabbed a small container of crackers, and returned to the driveway edge.

Breaking the crackers into smaller pieces, I placed the first piece in the center of the main swarm, and as expected the ants started to scatter, but soon where crawling and biting the cracker, trying to break it into smaller pieces to be carried off.

We watched for a few minutes, and because the crackers were orange, it was easy to see some of the ants heading back to the colony.

I also explained that ants were capable of carrying things may times their own size. We also saw several ants working together to carry off larger pieces, and I explained how ants work together for the good of the colony.

After a few more minutes of watching, we went back inside the house to get ready for some soccer, but before we left, Logan insisted that we take another look at the ants.

When we got back to the foot of the driveway, the kids noticed that several of the larger cracker pieces has moved several inches since we had last looked. I was able to point out that their noticing the movement of the crackers was a good observation, and good observations are very important when doing science.

Here is a perfect, innocent way to introduce your kids to the wonders of nature and science.

What started as a routine trip to the mailbox, turned into a basic lesson on ant colonies and how they function, as well as the importance of good observations.

Logan is now obsessed with checking on the ants!

Additional Reading

Ant colony – Wikipedia
10 Fascinating Facts About Ants –

– Andrew
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Announcements Blogging Ideas

Daddy Day Camp Opens!

Welcome to the first day of “Daddy Day Camp” 2012!

I am starting this blog segment in an effort to exchange ideas with other Parents that might be needing some ideas for what to do with their kids this summer!

Over the past couple of days, I have been working with my kids to come up with a list of things they would like to do during the course of the summer on Monday’s and Tuesday’s, and here are a couple of ideas to start off with:

  • Arts and Crafts
    • Make Official T-Shirts
      – Every camper has to have one!
      – Very simple, just grabs some white t-shirts and markers and let them make their own!
      – Let the kids design the logo!
  • Education period
    • Reading or Blogging
    • Math
    • Science!
  • Library Time
    • Both my kids have library cards, and we are going to take advantage of our great local library!
  • Outdoor time
    • Nature Walks
    • Sports Play

We also plan to mix in chores (weeding, pick-up the lawn, etc.) and little projects (clean basement, paint mail box post, etc.) that are a benefit to the “Camp”.

There are plans to also visit local parks and museums!

So stay tuned for more details!

– Andrew, Madison and Logan

Possible Ideas

20 Creative DIY Project Ideas

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