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Life Sciences Extravaganza!

Fresh ideas from the Pacific Science Center

The best science fair you’ve ever experienced!

We are all really tired, but my whole family had a lot of fun at the Pacific Science Center today. There were scientists from all over Puget Sound presenting hands-on activities as part of the Life Sciences Research Weekend.

Extracting strawberry DNA

Extracting strawberry DNA

Touching a real sheep's brain!

Touching a real sheep’s brain (up at the top)

I wish I had the energy to share more inspiration from today, but I’m pretty zonked.

Here are a couple of projects I’m tagging to look into later:

Sing about Science and Math was there from the University of Washington. I really want to find out more about them, because their project sounds interesting.

There was also a booth from the Seattle Science Foundation’s Kids in Medicine program.

The Pacific Science Center is awesome to begin with. So the Life Sciences Research Weekend was like icing on a very good cake. No wonder I’m exhausted!

Only one section of the many exhibits.

Only one section of the many exhibits.

Christmas gifts for grandkids (that won’t make moms scream)


It’s that time of year where Grandmas everywhere are asking their daughters and daughter-in-laws what to get the little ones for Christmas. Inwardly, moms are thinking “Not another video game! Not another junky plastic toy from China that I’m going to trip on!”

I’m sure Grandmas are thinking something too. Maybe it’s “I want to get something good! This year I’m going to be the favorite Grandma. First stop, Toys R Us!”

So much hope… so many good intentions…so much money–and so many toys all over the ground.

Well, here are my suggestions based on personal experience and my background in teaching. These are my top ten ideas that won’t make moms scream:



I love Baby Signs!  For our family, they really worked. Full story here.



Selective Leap Frog videos. Most of them are sub-par, but The Letter Factory and Talking Words Factory are both really great. Why I think that here.

Do-a-dot art stampers.  I LOVE them. Find out more here.

Place Setting Placemats. We haven’t gotten these yet, but I want them.

We love our Yoga Pretzel cards for kids. More info here.


Elementary School



The “Beethoven Lives Upstairs” audio CD series is excellent. More ideas for educational CDs here.

Another great idea is Snap Circuits, a Lego-type way to introduce kids to electrical engineering. More info here.


If you’re thinking of books, Tom Angleberger’s Origami Yoda books are very popular.

Tweens and Teens


My first idea for tweens and teens is to take them out to lunch at Sky City, on top of the Space Needle. Sometimes experiences are the best presents of all.


365 New Words-a-Year 2014 Page-A-Day Calendar

If you aren’t afraid of being “lame”, another idea is to buy them a word a day calendar. It’s never a bad idea to get a jump start on the SATs.

Purple Sunrise Cereal

If you’ve got a gluten-free, or health-conscious teen on your hand, then Purple Sunrise cereal from Camano Island Mills could be a surprising idea that says “Grandma’s pretty with-it”.

My last idea for your grandkids?


But them a puppy!

JUST KIDDING! Their mom would hate that!  😉