Monday, April 30, 2012

Coffee Ground Fossils

So, I actually used one of the activities that I had listed and even took a picture of it for you all! The original recipe didn't say this, but I added a little bit of vegetable oil so that it wasn't as sticky when handling the dough. I don't much like it when my hands are dirty anyway, but slimey goo is even worse, so that was a definite improvement. The directions are as follows (copied directly from the "indoor activities" portion):

One cup used coffee grounds, ½ cup cold coffee, 1 cup flour, ½ cup salt, waxed paper, mixing bowl, tin can, natural objects
1. Stir the coffee grounds, coffee, flour and salt until well mixed.
2. Knead the dough and flatten onto waxed paper.
3. Use the can to cut out circles.
4. Press objects firmly into the dough and then lift off.
5. Let the fossil dry at least overnight.
Activity Analysis
Delay of gratification waiting for the fossils to set.
Frustration tolerance if the fossil does not look how they want it.
Muscle strength to flatten the dough and press out circles.
Bilateral integration to press down with both hands in the dough and on the tin can.
Smell processing with the aroma of the coffee.
Tactile processing for the wet texture of the dough.
Problem solving to determine how to place the object into the dough.
And here's what they looked like when they were done:
I think it actually took about 4 days for them to properly dry, but I didn't measure the amount of liquid I poured in, so I can't say if that's normal or not! It has an interesting texture and a fantastic smell and look, so you should definitely try it out!

Sunday, April 29, 2012


     So this isn't really worthy of a blog post, but I was proud of my pancakes.  Saturday morning the girls asked for pancakes. Then Bria proceeded to request a flower and Nadia a horse. The last time I attempted to make shapes the results were disastrous!  This time, however, I had a griddle, and it really made a difference.  Bria saw Nadia's horse, and then decided she needed a horse instead of the flower. I was so happy the first few turned out that I just kept making them!  We ended up with quite the variety; can you tell what they are?

     In case you couldn't tell from top to bottom: horse (one of them), butterfly, seahorse, dolphin, elephant, dinosaur, flower, whale.  I made others, but just chose a few to add!  Maybe the next ones will be better!

Pet Jellyfish

     After visiting the aquarium last week, we decided to make pet jellyfish.  I apparently cannot follow instructions, so ours did not turn out nearly as cool as the one online. The girls had fun though. Here are the instructions I glanced at (I would say used, but I obviously didn't):

     Like it says we started with a transparent plastic bag and cut off the handles. This is where I didn't read (well one place) and I just cut up the sides and across the bottom. Then we used 1 half of the bag for each jellyfish.

     We picked up the center of the bag to make a head and tied around it with string. We did make sure to leave a hole where we could add water to the head.  Unfortunately I think this is where most of our problems were.  I think the heads were too small compared to the rest of the bag. But the opening of our bottle was too small for any of it, so while pushing it in to the bottle all the water seems to come out of the head.

     We cut the rest of the bag to make the tentacles. I think we made too many and should have cut away more of the bag.  The girls liked playing with them out of the bottle, so they did that a little while.

      Then we filled our bottles, and added food coloring. We put some water into each jellyfishes head, and pushed them into the bottle head first.  As I said before, most of the water spilled out, and then our jellyfish wouldn't sink. The girls still liked them.  I am tempted to drag one out and try to redo it a bit or maybe just start over. If I do I will let you know how it turns out.

     To stick with our fish theme I made some octopus hotdogs for lunch.  Nadia got excited when i asked her what they were and squealed, "Jellies!" Close enough. I showed her the 8 legs, so she knew it was an octopus. They sure weren't around long!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Prayers needed

     I received some shocking news from a good friend, Shannon, yesterday; her daughter was diagnosed with leukemia. I know the shock and sadness I felt when I heard are nothing compared to that of her mother, father, and brother. I would appreciate everyone praying for Jillian and her family during this time.

      This is Jillian. She will be 4 in June. Yesterday (April 27), she was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). In recent weeks she had been hospitalized a couple times with MRSA.  This time she had a fever, some bruising, and an enlarged spleen. A bone marrow biopsy confirmed ALL.  ALL is most common in children and thankfully, has a high remission rate. At this time results of a spinal tap are still pending to make sure there is no neurologic involvement. Jillian is scheduled to begin treatment Monday (April 30).  Shannon says the first 28 days will be very critical, so if you think of it please say a prayer for them anytime this next month.
At the hospital 

      I will continue to update as I get information; in the meantime I will continue to lift this entire family up in prayer for strength, courage, and healing.

Jeremiah 29:11... For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, I don't not plan to harm you, but to give you a hope and a future.

More information on ALL:

Sign up to be a marrow donor:

Jillian update: She is officially in remission and undergoing her 3rd course of treatment (she will get 4 total).  After a few set backs, she is doing well.  Of course treatments can still cause her to have bad days, and she did lose her hair, but everyone is so thankful for how well she is doing! Such a strong little girl!

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Secret Garden

I was encouraged to edit my little expo book and submit it as an article to an occupational therapy magazine, which I have officially done, as of ten minutes ago! (We'll see what come of it...) However, it was sadly too long for their writing specifications, and I had to cut out some of my favorite (albeit extraneous) ideas, so I thought that this would be the perfect venue for me to discuss them. I have a rapt audience, I know (ha).

The book The Secret Garden by Frances Burnett, has always been one of my favorites, but since starting OT school, the story has begun to strike a new chord and makes me excited all over again about the benefits of occupation as therapy. In the book (or musical, if you are thus inclined), the recently orphaned Mary Lennox finds herself in a manor house abandoned, for the most part, to her own devices. She is sad and serious, but as she spends more time outdoors, making friends with a local robin and finding her way into a long abandoned garden, she gains both physical strength and emotional stability. When she meets her infirmed young cousin, Colin, who has been relegated to being a cripple and seems to be facing imminent death, Mary brings him into the secret garden, he makes miraculous strides – literally; he begins walking. So what did it take for these two characters to make these physical, cognitive, and psychosocial gains? A little bit of nature and some purposeful activities!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Another Animal Adventure

     Nathan was off to St. Louis with work again this week, so we decided to spend a little time with family in KC.  The girls were so excited to go to Mimi's that they didn't even worry about Nathan not coming with us.  Everyone slept decently Sunday night (much better then in a hotel), so I was hopeful for happy kids Monday morning. After all we had things planned!

     We started with a trip to another zoo! That's right, now we got to visit the Kansas City Zoo.  Luckily my sister had a pass, so we all got in free! That was a nice start to the day. The first thing Nadia wanted to know was if we would see elephants; guess she hadn't forgotten about missing them in St. Louis. We started off  at the polar bear. All the kids enjoyed watching him swim.  It was funny how he would follow the same path most of the time.

     We went onto the tiger trail. The girls weren't to enthused about anything there, but the we rode the train, something they always ask to do. Bria giggled most of the ride. Eli was fascinated by the holes in the seats.

     We toured Australia after that. Eli was especially fond of the sheep (they seemed to like him too).

     We saw some cute little monkeys and played in the treehouse (Bria was scared to come down the slide) before lunch.

     Lunch was certainly entertaining. The girls made ballerinas out of carrots and cucumbers, and Eli made friends with the geese.

     After lunch we got to ride the carousel (Bria was tall enough to go on her own). Nadia chose a giraffe, and Bria just wanted a horse.As we were getting ready to move on, a zoo employee came and asked if the girls wanted to feed the lorikeets. They both freaked out when the birds landed on them, so I ended up holding the nectar while they watched the birds.

     The next stop was the sea lion show. Bria especially liked watching them jump through hoops.  We even got to see one paint!

     Then the big moment, the elephants! Nadia was happy to look at the and move onto the rest of Africa.  Eli was already napping, so he missed out on most of Africa. We almost made it all the way through before the girls started fussing; luckily, we just had to get back to the parking lot at that point.

     We did stop at the gift shop where Nadia chose a monkey, Bria chose a meerkat, and both girls got a tiny giraffe and even tinier baby giraffe. Eli "chose" a snake because he kept sticking his tongue out at it. He then decided the entire snake was a good chew toy.

     All three of them fell asleep in the car.  The favorites for the day were meerkats and sea lions for Bria, giraffes for Nadia, and I would say polar bear for Eli.

     Tuesday my Mom, Abby, and all of us headed to Crown Center and the new aquarium.  We window shopped until I was tired of hearing all the things the girls wanted and until Eli was hungry, then we had lunch. Abby (and Eli) had never been to Fritz's.  I can't speak for Abby, but Eli loved it! He would just watch every time he heard a train headed down the track.

     He seemed pretty distracted a lot of lunch, but got his fill.  Bria kept yelling, "zinga, zinga, zinga," at the train that travels through the windows. We never figured out what it meant.

     Then it was off to the aquarium. It was time for a very tired Eli to nap, but there was no way he was sleeping through the aquarium. The zoo, sure, but not the aquarium. He LOVES fish! He got so excited about them that he really wasn't even fussy!  The girls favorite part, well, I am pretty sure it was the fake treasure chest.  As always, I liked the sting rays and the jellyfish.

      We finished up and headed back to crown center for some ice cream and a visit to their current kids exhibit (not sure of the name, but it was about animals).

     The girls had a good time playing there. They could travel by camel or lion, swing like a monkey, slide like a penguin, and a lot more! Eli liked the bald eagle nest; I don't think he really wanted to come out, but he was also a fan of the bear den where their was a big, stuffed bear to love.  Nadia said she was a good penguin when she slid down the slide on her tummy.  I think Bria's favorite was jumping on the mini trampoline like a kangaroo.

     When they seemed to be wearing down a bit we headed for my Mom's, got everything packed up and got on the road again.  It was a quick trip, but at least it kept me busy, and the kids enjoyed themselves!