Today in Camp Sweatshop:

Wildlife Rescue

We had rain last night so we found a new crop of frogs and toads in the window wells this morning. Even though we planted ivy near the window wells so that it would grow down into the wells and the frogs could them climb out of the pit, and even though the ivy has finally grown far enough into the wells that this might be possible, the frogs are still too stupid to use it. So much for my brilliant idea to help the frogs help themselves. And now I have a life long fight with ivy which will try to tear down my house.

We've been pretty diligent about checking after each rain for new mentally challenged frogs to rescue, mostly because when a drop falls from the sky, The Dormouse begins with "Can we go on a frog hunt? Huh? Can we? Can we? Canwegofindfrogsnow *pause for a breath* canwegocanwecanwe?" And this is what we listen to until the very last raindrop falls from the sky and then I usually yell at The KingofHearts, "Will you please so outside and get me two of those frogs SO I CAN STICK THEM IN MY EARS AND NOT HEAR THE REST OF THIS?"

So like I said, we're diligent about checking for frogs. But it must have rained some time in the past couple of weeks during the night when we didn't notice it because there were a few dozen decaying frog carcasses in there. I chose to do the rescuing of the few live frogs that were there today because there would be questions and Circle of Life was not on the curriculum for today's lesson plan.

Laundry, however, was.

Home Economics

I'm not saying we haven't cleaned the house in awhile, but I did three loads of dishes in the dishwasher, pulled all the sheets off all the beds for the first time in I don't know how long, got out a crowbar and cleaned whatever it was that was stuck to the kitchen counters, and ten (10!) loads of laundry.

The Dormouse folded enough socks to outfit the Chinese Army.

Then, she wanted to learn to vacuum. Who am I to thwart my child's dreams?

Hey remember when I bought a kitchen table? You probably don't, because I never posted pictures of it. That's because I never took a picture of it. And that's because it was never clean enough for me to actually take a photo of it and show that it was anything other than a flat surface storage place for all the crap in the house. So we ate on the floor in the living room. Here it is.

I'd say that we'd be able to now eat every meal on the kitchen table, but I know us too well and two days from now, this will be full of papers, computers, crayons and junk mail again. Plus I really like to watch tv while I eat.

The kitties got into the spirit of cleaning too.

Then, we had Chemistry

I have wanted to do this for ages, but then the other day I saw this on tv and it sealed the deal. The very next day I went out and bought the biggest container of cornstarch I could find. Unfortunately I don't have an appropriate speaker, so I'm gonna have to get one of those too. But we had fun just the same.

Take two parts cornstarch.

Mix with one part water.

If you're into doing this with a five year old, you're gonna have to add dye.

Then you get something like this:

It's kind of hard to see in the video, but if you smack the mixture really hard, it feels like you're hitting a hard surface and your hand doesn't go through to the bottom. The molecules all line up when it's struck and it responds like a solid. But when you slowly put your hand through it, it responds like a liquid. There's a much better representation of the phenomenon here:

I could have put both the kids to bed and just played with this stuff for hours all by myself. I do believe that I enjoyed this more than The Dormouse, but it was a close race with The Caterpillar who was totally into the tactile experience.

Seriously, you owe it to yourself to try this. I am now going out to find a big speaker.