Tag Archives: homeschooling science

What to Do With Rancid Crisco

Why, use it in a science experiment, of course.

That wouldn’t have been my first thought if I’d found it before this… but… no sense in wasting it.

Experiment it is!

Not the best smelling science experiment we’ve ever done, I tell you, but it did the trick. Plus, I didn’t feel so bad about throwing out that poor (nasty) ole’Crisco (that had been forgotten and pushed to the back of the cupboard), if I could get some use out of it.

After a couple of the big boys science experiments didn’t pan out 😦 , we tried one from Harrison’s book that was to illustrate how seals can survive in the very cold ocean waters.


Yes… we all have it. Some of us more than others. But FAT is what they need to keep warm.

We put Harrison’s hands in rubber gloves (and mine), then completely covered one of his hands in a thick layer of (rancid) Crisco. The rancid part is optional.

It really did smell bad. LOL!

Then the Crisco hand was put into a grocery bag (to keep the nasty smelling grease from getting on my pan or counter).

 Both of his hands were immersed into ice-cold water – with lots and lots of ice cubes – that had set for about 10 minutes.

The hand without the Crisco only lasted about 30 or 40 seconds before he had to take it out.

He said it was so cold it hurt!

After several minutes, I had to tell him it was time to clean up and remove his Crisco covered hand. And get this… it was WARM when we pulled off the glove & Crisco (right into the grocery bag – making for easy clean-up of that vile smelling stuff). His hand didn’t get cold at all. And the other one, that had been out of the cold for some minutes now, was still VERY cold!

So, the conclusion is… FAT is good!


Well… on a seal anyway.





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What an Awsome School Year!

Yes, I know. It’s only been five days, but if those five days are any indication of how the rest of the year will go… we’re going to have a great year! The boys were very cooperative and (for the most part) didn’t fuss about “having” to go back to school “already”. They all matured a great deal over the summer. They also seemed to grow right before my eyes in this warm, humid summer! Thankfully, I didn’t have to run out and buy all new school clothes for them – since they are in jammies for most of the school day. 

 We are doing a new Science program this year. It’s Apologia General Science and in a CD-ROM form. It’s been a great experience so far. (Actually, we have done some Apologia science studies before. Ones for younger kids. They were good too!) I know that it is way above Harrison’s head, but he is enjoying the experiments, and will glean some of the info, so that reviewing it in the future will be quite simple for him. All four of us are anxious for Science class every day!

I am still getting our system/rhythm down. We decided to split up History and Science into different days, since doing both is hard to get in everyday. I realize that it takes a week or two to find the groove – but really – it did go well for a first week. I am mostly nervous about Guy getting everything that he needs. I will soon settle down about it – but having a highschool student is really kind’a scary for me.

Here are some photos of our science this week.

Experiment 1.1 Learning about Atoms and density. This was very cool!

The boys each have a science journal to illustrate and document our experiments.

Experiment 1.2 Atoms in Motion

How atoms move more rapidly in hot water than in cold.

Very interesting!

Experiment 1.3 Chemical Reactions

Adding the baking soda to the vinegar mixture.

Harrison’s face says it all!

Now they’re coming up with all sorts of ways to use this new little tidbit of information! 🙂

Cheers to a great fist week of a new school year!








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Science Fun With Uncle Ron

After our visit at Elizabeth and Scott’s house up in the foothills, we drove down to Ron and Lily’s house in the Sacramento area – in the same neighborhood where we met 22 years ago! Their house brought back so many memories for me.

Harrison played a couple of songs that he’s memorized for them on the piano.

Then Uncle Ron took Harrison & I over to his classroom at the school right behind their house (he is a science teacher) and showed us all kinds of cool things. Oh how I wish my boys could be near enough to soak up all this wonderful science knowledge from him. It was a so neat.

Uncle Ron started him off with a few puzzles.

Those were cool and got Harrison’s brain juices going!

Then he showed us his pet snake Martha.

I wasn’t reeeeeeeal excited about her – and neither was Harrison.

But he was willing to stand next to Uncle Ron to get a picture with’er!

He even went so far as to “pet” her!

Martha is a python – don’t remember more than that. She has been in Ron’s classroom for many, many years and been in the hands of lots of kids. I think he said she was about 15 years old. (Don’t quote me though) I trusted him when he said she was very tame… just don’t need to “experience” her tameness – if ya know what I mean!

But then Ron asks Harris, “If your mom will hold her will you?” Of course Harrison wants to see THAT so he lights up and say’s “Yes!”


Of course I did it. I’m no wimp. (Actually – it was only because I trust Ron with my life that I could do it!)

She was neat. I kind’a liked her. I think Martha & I are now friends!

So… Harrison HAD to hold her!!! Heehee! And he did.

Then we got to see a bunch of dead remains of other creatures… like this Piranha!

…and this alligator… head.

… and this bull sharks jaws!

Silly Uncle Ron… that’s a dangerous way to comb your hair!

Then there was a bunch of petrified stuff. Like this alligator scale thingy. Weird hu?



A sand dollar.

 And check out this amber…

… can you see the tiny bugs in it? This was awesome!

So Jurassic Park!

Oh, and speaking of Jurassic Park stuff… check out this…

That’s a dinosaur egg!! For real! Petrified of course… don’t worry. Although Harrison wanted to try and hatch it!

And here’s some petrified shark teeth.

Those came from an awfully big mouth!

Here’s coal. And he held a chunk of copper and even some petrified poop! Hehe. He dropped that like a hot potato when Uncle Ron said what it was! That was funny – but I guess you had to be there.

Then of course there was the pyrotechnic show! Now we’re talking!! Flash paper and some kind of exploding cotton stuff. Fun. Very fun. A little too fun maybe. I kept missing the shot with my camera and asked Ron to do it again… and again…

Hee hee.

I know. I’m scary that way.


Then… off to his high school classroom for the grand finale.

A real elephant skull!

We learned all about this particular elephant and how it was shot because it was a rouge elephant. It was very dangerous and actually was coming after the man who shot it to kill him. The African government hired him to hunt down and kill this “bad boy”. This man had to make his one shot a good one or he was going to die. If you look close you can see the bullet hole in the upper right side of the skull. The meat was used to feed many villagers.

This was just fascinating to me… how their teeth grow and kind of meld into one big grinding tooth, how their brain is not much bigger than ours, how  HUGE their nasal passage is, how much room it has to have for muscles to lift its trunk and head because of the weight of the tusks. How when it runs out of teeth replacements (in old age) it will starve to death. And so much more. It was a very cool lesson about elephants that I wish I could have video taped and played it back here to my other boys.


 I’d like to have “Science with Uncle Ron” every week!

Thanks Ron – for taking all that time with Harrison. He will never forget it. Neither will I.



(P.S. Sorry Ron if i didn’t get all the info correct – was going strictly from memory – since I couldn’t take notes at the time due to the big camera in my hands and the fact that I’d already used the space on my hand to write driving directions! 🙂


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