Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Summer homework in Japan...Branden's science experiment and Noah's experiment (Robo Bug) and handmade coin bank and 2 diary entries!

The weekend before school started. Branden's JHS shoes drying outside. And Branden running one last test with his science experiment. Science experiment on the right of the shoes but also on the patio.  : )

One chocolate chip inside the make shift solar powered oven. Think something along the lines of a tiny micro "Easy Bake Oven" : )
Noah meanwhile, had 2 diaries to write. Drawing or pictures had to be added. This particular diary was about our family vacation to Honolulu, Hawaii. Noah shared 4 pics and glued them on his diary. I noticed last year when the summer diaries were displayed along the walls outside of their classroom, lots of parents really enjoyed looking at the pictures of both Branden and Noah's diary entries, so we opted to add pictures again this year. Noah wrote about the Dole Pineapple plantation and boogie boarding on the island of Oahu. : ) 

Noah's 2nd and final diary entry was on our 2nd overseas trip of the Summer holiday... that we took to Guam. He wrote about the movie he saw, "Guardians of the Galaxy" and the delicious handmade pizza he ate, at our favorite Italian restaurant on Guam. Pictures also included and Noah did draw a little picture of an airplane on that diary entry also. : ) 
Noah's science experiment. Each 3rd grader and older at our particular school have an option of a science experiment or to draw a poster. Noah was excited to be able to do the science experiment this year. His Robo Bug, complete with Fanta orange can. : ) It moves and walks and is quite cool! Noah made this all by himself and he read all the directions in English. I think he did a pretty good job on this. : ) 

Science experiments of course, need a name sticker, that way there's no confusion...whose this belongs to. This is indeed Noah's science experiment. : )

Also, you could make a homemade coin bank...or write another poster yet again but this time on traffic safety. Noah opted to make the coin bank. The first week of August, both the boys brain stormed about Noah's coin bank. And they came up with a plan. The plan was to make a homemade Minecraft coin bank out of clay. Okay so that was the plan. So, I drove both the kids to the nearest place to buy some clay. And let them have at it basically... in the kitchen. However, the Minecraft block was actually harder to make than originally planned. The clay was meanwhile...hardening and getting harder and drier by the second. Becoming almost not able to move. I said, add some more water..make it more pliable. However it was nearly a goner. And as a last second..sort of by the skins of your teeth...type idea...they asked to have my omiyage onsen container, I had just received from the grandma next door. I was planning to save that cute onsen tub container... to put hair ties in it. However the kids needed me..the clay was hardening by each second...so long story short...this base you see right here...is/was the onsen container from the grandma next door (I did love that container, but I frankly love the kids more, so I gave them that cute onsen container no questions asked). They quickly formed the clay around the omiyage container. With probably seconds to spare... before it dried completely. And well...there you have it. This container bank was complete, before we went to Guam (but unpainted). Noah painted it, the day after we got back from Guam. So...not the original plan for the coin bank they had in mind...granted, but it is an acceptable coin bank nonetheless. Noah smartly painted the bottom...a nice summery watermelon design and the inside a watermelon design too. I thought he did a great job. : ) 

The inside of the lid, Noah painted yellow... every inch of this bank was painted. It came our pretty nice, in the end. : ) 

And the lid...with Noah's name. It's very colorful, very cheery and perfect for a summer coin bank. Slot for coins also fits up to a 500 yen coin, we tested it! : ) 

I think it came out really really nice actually. Not the original coin bank they both have envisioned (Minecraft bank). But nice nonetheless. : ) Noah took this to school, yesterday/Monday September 1st, first day of school. Same with his Robo Bug! : ) And his diary entries and all his finished homework. : )
This was the final test day for Branden's science experiment (Saturday). He tested first at the start of August...1 chocolate chip, 2nd he tested a marshmallow (my idea) and our nearest drugstore only had Calpis stuffed marshmallows, hahaha, so we conducted test #2 with a Calpis marshmallow. 3rd test we used a tiny bit of that Kraft processed cheese, you know...the kind you make grill cheese out of. lol. And this final day, we concluded with a chocolate chip yet again. Sort of full circle on his test ingredients. We also used a new piece of tin foil on the bottom each time. Branden went outside, and left each thing outside for 20 minutes, took notes of his findings and then left for an additonal 20 minutes.. so for 40 minutes total...meaning what was the current temperature that day, was it sunny or overcast. Did the ingredient melt fully? Partially? That sort of thing. He also wrote 4 pages on his science experiment...with diagram and findings and conclusion at the end. Also, Branden put this gray tape over a lot of his science experiment...really tried to not show it was from a kit. I mean granted..he won't deny it's a kit...but he didn't want it to SCREAM...kit kit kit, either though. : ) His dad and I thought that was a great idea especially now that he's in JHS. And for the record our JHS, same as our elementary does not say...kits are not allowed at all. 

Really attracts the sun rays with this piece, right here. 

Again trying to give it that...homemade look. Even though..it is not. : ) 

Saturday, we had gathered up all Noah's stuff and put it into his nice fresh clean elementary school bags, got him all nicely packed up. That's what you see right here on the table in the background. We also made sure Branden had all his stuff all nicely packed up too. Oh and this other piece goes to Branden's experiment also. 

All summer long, we stayed up late and later and woke up also later and later. Branden was going to bed around 11pm-ish during Summer break. Noah was going to bed around 9:30pm, sometimes 9:45pm which is super late for Noah. So all last week, I made sure Branden was in bed by 9-9:30pm and Noah was in bed by 8:45pm. And made sure we all woke up last week by 7:30am. Sometimes 7:15am. I just didn't want a huge time shock for us all. Because...before last week, we were sleeping and snoozing in until 9am most days. However...when September 1st rolled around. OMG! Waking up for me at 5:15am, was so unbelievably hard yesterday. The sun wasn't even all the way up yet! @.@  I had shuffled myself down the stairs. Had a nice hot coffee. Turned on my computer, read my emails...didn't reply but that's only because my brain didn't kick in 100% yet...and forming sentences that actually made any sort of sense would have really been pushing it around the 5:25am mark. Went to the kitchen started scrambling some eggs, frying up some breakfast sausages that I keep in the freezer. And went and warmed up some pancakes in the microwave. The boys had been packed up since Saturday (2 days before) so no real mad rush Monday morning. Just everyone in our house was superly sleepy. It rained Monday, so I drove both boys to school. I worry on rainy days Branden will skid on his bike and be killed or something, plus the 2 schools are like literally a 1 minute drive difference.. so almost no difference at all. Plus Branden could lug all his stuff in my car versus his bike. Same for Noah. Dropped the both of them off, where they both needed to go. I went home...I was wearing, house shorts, a house shirt, and a headband and flip flops. It was not cute Monday morning, I tell ya. : ) I did brush my teeth though and combed my hair at least. I went home, washed my face, put my makeup on, very simple, primer, concealer and powder foundation. Some EOS lip balm. I did flat iron my hair, looks so cute flat ironed and it's such a wreck all wavy and lion-like. I put on normal shorts and a normal shirt. Did some light house work. And I was tired...I was seriously exhausted and it wasn't even 10am. Me waking up that early was just...kicking my butt. I wasn't used to it.. at all. Noah was to get out of school at 11am, usually about 5 mins earlier, since I know this school already. So, I needed to stay awake...keep the eyelids open until I could pick up Noah. Branden on the other hand had undokai practice until 4pm, which worried me, because he swims Mondays and Thursdays and the bus picks them up at 4:22pm, so while he did make the bus on time and all, I was worried. I picked up Noah at 10:50am...we went to the bakery, to pick up 2 loaves of bakery bread for ham sammies. We also went to a DIY house goods store to buy some plastic boxes. And then home. I fixed Noah a ham sandwich and myself one too. Noah had no homework. I told Noah..."honey let's go take a nap" He's very easy to get along with so he did...we both took ourselves a 2 hour nap. And boy did I need it. I woke up and went and picked up Branden. I did make Branden a sandwich so he could eat on the swim bus, and also packed them some chocolate chip bread sticks. They went to swim school. I know they were both exhausted. Me too. 
I made dinner while the boys were both at swim school Monday September 1st. Again...I was just going through the motions of cooking. Semi sorta like a zombie cooking a meal. I was wide awake just...really dragging butt all day and evening long. I definitely didn't feel like my usual self. Made the rice to go with supper. The boys came home and we ate. Branden had 4 math pages to do (homework). And he has a big test September 2nd. Today. How weird to be given a big test 1 day after school starting, hahaha. After dinner, I sent Noah upstairs to shower, Branden meanwhile did homework and I meanwhile put the dishes in the dishwasher and wiped down the stove. After Noah came down, I said...go upstairs to sleep kiddo. Noah asked if he could wait for Branden to finish his homework. I said okay. And I went and showered 2nd. When I came downstairs with night gown and towel on my head the pictures below are what I saw. : ) 

Noah had tried very hard to stay awake for his brother. But he was just exhausted, physically and mentally. At school all day, and then 2 hours of hardcore, competitive time type of swimming. I watched Noah for a bit while he slept. I felt so badly for Noah, trying so hard to stay awake for his big brother to be done with his homework. Branden meanwhile finished his homework, but he went and showered.

Noah also sleeps usually with his little tongue almost popping out. Mouth wide open. : ) Noah was dead to the world, poor kiddo and Branden went to sleep in his room after he showered and was out to the world too... shortly there after. Noah, I carried to his bedroom, so he could sleep. MeanwhileNoboru was at work...but I was exhausted...so I went to sleep, must have been dead asleep too, because I don't recall when Noboru came home or went to sleep. In short...I think this week will be a week for us to get used to this new school schedule. Yep...this week will be our adjustment period. Time to get used to waking up super early and going to bed early too. 

These are the 3 plastic boxes I bought to help me finish my closet once and for all! What's happening in my closet is...I have 2 different sizes of clothes in there. I can't tell you how many times this past year, I have been in a mad rush and pulled out a pair of size 6 jeans (US size) and  had to fold them back and find my size 8's. I'm also stubborn and so, I didn't really want to put those size 6's away. And I really do see me using that size again...so throwing them all away permanently would be a waste of money too. So, Instead today and tomorrow, I will go through everything in my closet and I will put everything size 6 in a plastic box. There is a whole lot to pack away. And while it kills me to pack it away. It drives me nuts to pull out pants or jeans that are the wrong size. So...this way...I can pack everything away and put these boxes in the attic. So, when I finally do size down...I can swap sizes and stuff just a whole lot easier. Hence all the salads and stuff lately. Still doing my morning lap around my housing community and stomach crunches 3 times a week too. So....until then. These clothes have to go away....it will certainly make grabbing an outfit much easier. My closet will be done by next Monday or else. And the only reason I say next Monday, versus this Friday...is because I have a hair appointment all day Thursday. And I have undokai prep Friday...so I am just trying to be realistic...and I think as long as I make a promise with myself that it will be done by Monday, September, 8th, I can actually achieve my goal without feeling strangled by said goal either. So a realistic for me date/day. : ) 

Pic from this morning...stripey Ikea bath floor mat. Branden and Noboru's bath towel (Noah's and my towel went into my nightly load in the washer that I toss in the dryer at night, I usually do a load every night and since Branden was in the shower while I started the laundry last night his towel had to be washed this morning versus last night, same with Noboru's towel)...Branden white JHS shirt and his PE gym shirt. And 3 pair of jean shorts of Noah's and 1 Uniqlo navy house shorts of Branden's. It was brought into the house around noon today and then I went and hung both Branden and Noah's comforters outside from 12-2pm...just chilling under the sun. : ) First sunny day in a week. : ) So wanted to take advantage of it and toss out both of the boys comforters, while the weather's nice.

Anything else to add...not really. I did call and make a hair appointment for myself for this coming Thursday to get a hair straightening...Japanese thermal reconditioning hair thing and a tiny trim, since I just got a nice cut recently anyway. So that is this coming Thursday. Friday, like I said, I have sports day/undokai/field day preparations. Basically get the lunch stuff bought and prepped. Chicken for karaage cut and marinated, macaroni salad made or potato salad made, whichever I decide. Just that type a thing. Most of all...I'm looking forward to my hair appointment because my hair has been so wavy and puffy and just...not behaving at all. The Japanese thermal hair straightening makes my hair like totally different hair, super straight and sleek and not puffy at all. So...I am really looking forward to that, this coming Thursday. My appointment is at 10am, first appointment of the day and I need to pick up Noah at 3pm Thursday so...I do have a set time I need to leave the hair salon by (2pm)...to head back to my town. : ) Which is why I need the first appointment of the day. : ) Alrighty...that's enough for now. : )

Also, Branden was given a math workbook, an English workbook, science and social studies workbooks too... to be completed during the summer break, the amount Branden was given was like double if not triple the amount he was given in 6th grade. Noah was also given a workbook containing Japanese, math, and various other subjects to be finished during summer break as well. Plus Noah was expected to write daily tweets on a big paper, jotting down what he did each day. Branden also had daily tweets to jot down too. : ) So anyway...it just gives those of you... not living in Japan, a round about idea of the crazy amount of work load the kids are expected to complete in summer. Not to mention you need to log how many times each day you brush your teeth. Did you complete your daily goal, if so... give yourself a double circle. And at the end make a graft as to how well you think you did. Have your parents write a summary about how you did. : ) It is a lot...an awful lot of homework kiddos get here. It's almost like...break? What break? Hahaha. The main subjects part of homework...the kids knocked out in July. Meaning Math, Japanese, English (for Branden) and those types of core subjects were knocked out in July. The tweets they did daily. And the experiments they did at their leisure...meaning when we were in Japan and could do it. Anyway...hopefully this just gives you all...living outside of Japan... a peek on summer homework here in Japan.: )