Tuesday, April 26, 2011

FOCI - Minnesota Center for Glass Arts

 A couple of weeks ago, AH and I were lucky enough to make a visit to a local glass blowing studio and watch a demonstration of this ancient art.  We learned a little physics along the way, too!

AH and a friend holding a small glass thread.

We watched while our host made a glass horse in 2 minutes.  After it had cooled, the kids got to handle it.
We watched a wine glass being made.

AH holding colored glass.
We also watched them make a vase.
Here they are adding polka dots to the vase.

The vase is removed from the rod.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Watt Munisota

Tucked away in a small farming community about 45 minutes south of Minneapolis-St. Paul is a beautiful Buddhist temple, Watt Munisota.  I was told it is the third largest Buddhist temple in the U.S.  Last Saturday they were celebrating the Cambodian New Year so Doug, AH and I had planned on attending the festival.  We woke up Saturday morning to a cold, biting wind and quite a bit of snow on the ground!  We debated whether we wanted to spend the morning outside, but decided that we are tough Minnesotans and up for the challenge!  After a few wrong turns along the way, we finally found the temple sitting at the top of a large hill.  It is breath-taking and unexpected in the middle of all that farmland.  We parked our car and made our way on foot up the long driveway.  The grounds were filled with smiling, welcoming people.  After finding our friend, he immediately took us over to a food vendor, a friend of his, and bought us what looked like beef satays.  There were quite a few food vendors selling traditional foods.  We tried the beef and it was seasoned and cooked deliciously! In addition to the beef, Doug and I tried stuffed chicken wings.  Those were also delicious!  AH was happy to find a bubble tea vendor since it is one of his favorite beverages.  If you have never tried one, think smoothie with large black "bubbles" floating in it.  The bubbles are large tapioca pearls.  Despite the cold conditions, there was quite a line for the cold drink!  After eating and drinking we made our way up the hill to the temple.  When we got inside we were asked to remove hats and shoes.  Families were sitting together on the floor speaking quietly, others were in front of the statue of the Buddha, and still others were in the middle of the room giving rice as an offering.  All along the walls, above the windows, are painted panels depicting stories about the Buddha.
Doug and AH are at the top of the steps of the temple.
AH and I inside the temple with Buddha behind us.  Notice the beautiful paintings?
A close up of the Buddha statues.
We spent the rest of the time taking in the sights and sounds: music, languages and traditionally costumed women.  It was a wonderful morning spent together!

I loved this basketball backstop. This was one of the festival games!
A close up of the detail of one of the pillars

Thursday, April 14, 2011

It Worked!

AH and I have usually have very bad luck when it comes to science experiments: they usually don't work for us.  Today we tried one I've read about in quite a few books and blogs.  Since Easter is right around the corner we thought it was fitting to try an experiment that included an egg.  AH is learning to use our video camera, so I asked him to record the experiment for the blog.

What we did:
In the microwave we heated water until it was boiling.  I poured the boiling water into the bottle and let it heat for a moment, then emptied the bottle (an adults job!) and immediately put the cold, peeled, hard-boiled egg on top.  Then all you do is watch and wait! 
The hot air inside the jug is less dense than the colder outside air.  This creates suction which pulls the egg into the bottle.  Have some fun and try it!  If it worked for us, it'll work for you!!