Welcome to homelifescience. This is a fun blog where we talk about science, our travels, and neat house ideas we like to do. We are so excited to share with you the ideas that we have found.

Monday, July 2

Quick House Update with White Paint!

It all started with the Garage Door. I had pulled into the driveway and did not like the matchy-matchy brown of the door with the house. On several of our walks we had seen other homes with nice fresh white garage doors. It made the house color stand out. Our house really needed some updating on the outside. Since we have a new baby at home though, projects must be quick and easy. I got the bug to go purchase some paint and update the front of the house.

Before painting the garage door

Before the door matched the house and nothing really stood out, but our front door. Our house blended in with out yard really really well. I guess that is kinda our fault because we always forget to water the yard in the summer time. Thanks heavens for Oregon rain to water it in the Fall, Winter, and Spring time! :)

After painting the Garage Door
It took about 4.5 hours to paint the garage door. I did three quick coats, 30 mins to paint, and about one per hour with an hour to dry in between. I used a roller on a handle, and one paint brush. I was big on convenience, so I used an old paint brush I could just throw away.  This was a super cheap project. Home Depot was running their paint sale, so I got a rebate on all of the paint. All told I only spent around $60 to update the front of the house! That is a deal to me!


  • Put plastic down under the garage door before you start to catch an drips. I did not and have a couple of spots of drips. I put it down after the first coat and it was  a big help!
  • I did all the trim with a brush and used the roller for the centers of each square.
  • Make sure to open the garage door a couple of times and in between coats so nothing dries to the frame.
  • Take breaks to let the coast dry.
  • 2 Buckets of Behr Paint and Primer White Outside Paint. We used semi-gloss to help with dirt stains.
  • 1 2 inch Chip Brush
  • 2 Rollers
  • Roller Brush with Handle
  • Paint Tray
  • Tarp or plastic to put down under the door

Monday, January 15

Literary Themed Party Part 3- Pennants String

So one of the easy but really impact highlights of the decorations for the party was the book pennants. I used brown grocery bags as the pennant material and glued triangles of book pages to the top. I then sewed up the top of triangles with my sewing machine and traded twine through the top. It took me about 2 hours to make 3 pennants. I spent: $2.99 for Twine at Home Depot, about $3 on bulk books at the GoodWill Bins, and used grocery sacks I already had for free!
Above the dinning room
Close-up of the pennants
Above the sliding door
The pennants had a great look hanging up all over the place. They fit in well with the books and had a nice subtle touch.
I used my sewing machine for a quick nice looking seam.
Cutting out triangles
Gluing the triangles

More shots
Close up
Super close up
Some of the books I got at the Bins
Overall this was a quick and easy way to make some really nice decorations for the bridal shower. Plus, afterwards, I liked the pendants so much, I used them in my own classroom for a nice school touch.

Sunday, July 31

Literary Themed Party Part 2- DIY votive holders, vases, and food trays

So it has been a crazy year and I am super behind on posts, but finally, here are some of the instructions on how to make some of the great decorations that we used at the Literary Bridal Shower. For the final pictures go look here: http://www.homelifescience.com/2015/12/literary-themed-bridal-shower-part-1.html

All of my supplies together prior to work time!

So the first decoration that I pulled together was a simple food tray. I found the glass tray at a GoodWill and then picked a book with lots of text but not any text that really stood out. (Don't want to reach for a snack and see a bad word :))

Here is the step 1 in the food tray
I cleaned the glass tray bottom and then using decoupage glue, fanned the pages out along the bottom. I actually wanted the pages to stick out around the end. I just made sure to cover both sides of the pages well with the glue so they were nice and stiff.
I added book pages to the bottom of a party tray to add to the theme. 

The finished tray ready for food!

I took some old clear class votives that I already had and decoupaged the pictures from a science text I picked up at the local GoodWill Bins for a dollar. I just ripped out the pictures and then layered them onto of the glasses in hopefully a random order. This was such an easy project and went super fast. 

Some of the pages with interesting pictures on them. 
I decopaged the pages from a science book onto small votives. 

For vases I wanted to have something that would not ruin the vases themselves, but still it the nice literary theme. 

To make the vases, First rip out the pages from a book or use a hobby knife to cut a straight edge
Second, tape the first page down to the glass. Third and so forth, tape a page about an inch over and wrap around the vase until all of the glass is covered. You only need to use a small piece of clear scotch tape on the inner edge. I then tied a piece of twine around the outside to finish up the look.

On the left we have the clear glass vases, while on the right we have the finished project. 

These were some simple projects that took maybe an hour all together to complete. The longest part was waiting for the glue to dry. Also, making sure that glue was all the way dried prior to me touching it. :) Ok, so I got excited and kept picking things up and getting glue everywhere. 

I still have the candle holder votives from the party and they look great as accents in my house. I even have people compliment me on them. I love the little touch of nerd with the science photos. When I was making them, I also made a few using old sheet music that turned out great. If you wanted to go a musical route, that could be a great option. 

Thursday, December 31

Literary Themed Bridal Shower Part 1

So my lovely friend Josalyn was getting married! Now she has 3 bridesmaids and two events that needed to be planned. Both of the other bridesmaids really wanted to throw the bridal shower and the bachelorette party. I was OK with it since, I am prettified of hosting a bad party. :) However after much discussion, it turned out that my house was the optional location for the bridal shower since it was in the "middle" of where everyone lived. Since it was at my house I wanted to help out and make sure that Josalyn had a really special day. The other bridesmaid came up with a great idea of a literary themed party. I had never heard of it before, but I got swept up in  all of the ideas!

After looking around on Google, I found a whole bunch of ideas for things we could use as decorations for the party! I really like the look of pages from books being reused. For this post, I am going to give a quick overview on the decorations, then I will link to the how-to posts.
I made votive candle holders with book pages, sheet music, and scientific drawings. 
This was one of the food platters.
Some of the vases using pages and twine. 

We put together the votive holders and and vases using pages from books. 
I got glassware used from Salvation Army. One of the other bridesmaids brought these lovely blue scarves to use as table runners. 
I made a paper runner from an old German book and hung it above all the windows and door ways. 
This is a dark photo of the runner.
A better photo. I just used paper bags as the backing. 
We took shredded book pages and placed them in glass jars. To go along with the blue accents, one of the bridesmaids cut out blue heats and pasted on heats made from book pages. It looked so nice.
So keep an eye for the tutorials on how to make all of these things. It was such a great party and looked so nice using not very expensive materials. I have a ton of books at my house so we piled them up around as a nice accent.

Thursday, October 15

Summer Happenings-Why Professional Development Matters

Ok, so I know its October, but school started and hit me like a Mac truck. It has taken me a while to get caught up. :)

So, Whew what a summer we had. We traveled, we napped, we experienced nature, and we learned science. I had the opportunity to go to a couple of different professional developments. What struck me was how much importance we place on the educational language in teacher training and the  lack of content. I was super lucky to find some great development that focused on content knowledge for teachers. But, how do we change what professional development looks like? Why is this important? What should teacher professional development look like?

For me, the answer to why teaching content is important is found by comparing two of the training's I did this summer. In July, I got to travel Milwaukee Wisconsin, to attend a biology training given by the Center of Biomolecular Modeling at the Milwaukee School of Engineering. It. Was. Amazing. We spent a week learning hands-on modeling,speaking with top researchers, and learning content. Sometimes it was over my head, sometimes I knew it all, but it pushed me to learn and grow as a teachers.
One of our fabulous leaders giving us some quick info before we model it

So at CBM, they give you instruction on the concepts and then help you model it. You lead yourself in the teaching and then share that knowledge with your co-teachers. They brought in the leading researchers to let us know the most up-to-date information. As teachers, to be respected and treated as a peer of these researchers was such a different experience from the normal PD where someone in the front tells you how to fix your classroom. I think teachers need professional development where we are trusted to teach and given the deep content knowledge to help extend our students knowledge. 

Mapping out the neuron
One of the great activities we did was to connect our prior knowledge to help each other understand how neurons work. Each table was given a large sheet of butcher paper and asked to write out how we each individually thought neurons worked. Then we worked together as a group to correct misconceptions or share what we all did not know. We were given a little bit of content knowledge and then some modeling tools to actually map out a neuron. It was amazing and allowed us to really understand the process. 

A community of learners and now connected professionals
We ended the week with a community of professionals that we could turn to during the year to ask questions, support each other, or just remind each other that we are knowledge seekers and professionals in our field. We all keep in touch with an email system that is a wonderful reminder of the week an our content knowledge.

Hey, if you want to know more about CBM, head over to http://cbm.msoe.edu/ to learn more. :)

Now let me tell you about the other professional development I took this summer; I was offered a great opportunity to learn about systems thinking and how to integrate it into our classrooms. I was excited to learn more about how to teach a great idea. However, it quickly became a big lecture on what to do better. We did some great hands-on activities, but we listened to a lot of talking. I can't remember a single thing from it. Sorry, I tried. I took good notes I thought, but not a thing to do in my class. However, ask me about my CBM training. Let me tell you about my knowledge on membranes and how drugs work. Let me tell you about the stories I learned to tell my students about. Let me tell you about how drugs affect your brain. I could go on. 

To be truthful, I think I rambled on a bit in this, but I think its a big problem of our education system in how we train and respect teachers. We need teachers to know more about the content then what we even tell the kids. It allows us to see the bigger picture The more knowledge that you have, the better you can see the bigger picture. So as teachers, we need to ask for PD that gives us content and does not just lecture at us. We need to support and spread the word about the good PD so other teachers can do it too. So here is the list of great some free professional development I know about. I hope that it has some good resources to help you!

Advanced Biology and modeling: http://cbm.msoe.edu/

Elementary Oceans info: http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/okeanos/edu/collection/hdwe.html

Free Graduate Level ocean/atmosphere/climate change classes: https://www2.ametsoc.org/ams/index.cfm/education-careers/education-program/k-12-teachers/

Soil Science: https://www.nutrientsforlife.org/