Rocks (Weekly Unplugged Project) – Petroglyphs

By , March 30, 2008 7:29 pm

It has been a week full of rocks during Spring Break at our house in Albuquerque: a trip to Petroglyph National Monument, climbing over big rocks on a mountain hike, choosing pretty tumbled rocks to buy at the Natural History Museum gift shop, collecting rocks in the courtyard.

So, although I didn’t realize that we would be so into rocks this week when I chose the Unplugged Project theme last Sunday, it has been an excellent week for a rock project.

My son was too busy with his new Legos this week to care much about projects, but my oldest daughter wanted to make her own petroglyph. The children have both recently studied petroglyphs at school and I think that Petroglyph National Monument made a big impression on them.

We found what we thought would be a suitable flat rock (note: if you try this, make sure you choose as soft a rock as possible), and used a hammer to break a piece of it off to use as a chisel. We were trying to be authentic!

My daughter drew her design on the rock with a pencil. She was trying to reproduce one that we had seen at the Monument.

She then scraped the rock with the other rock to engrave the design.

Well, this proved to be slow going (the rock was not soft enough), so she got fed up and moved on to authentic Native American method number two: the Dremel Tool! My husband supervised this step and the petroglyph was quickly completed.

In case anyone is interested, here’s another fun rock idea that we once did: cracking open a geode!

Other petroglyph resources:

+ Draw your own rock art printable

+ Hawaiian petroglyphs to print and color

+ Info about petroglyphs:

+ Fun art project: Sandpaper Petroglyphs


If you joined us for the Unplugged Project this week, please leave a link in Mr. Linky, as well as a comment in case Mr. Linky fails at his job. If you didn’t join in, please consider taking part next week!


Next week’s Unplugged Project theme will be:


Hope to see you then!

“#&*@” Spelled Backwards

By , March 28, 2008 9:36 pm

My friend Wishy and I had a good laugh one day when we discovered that a classmate of our daughters was teaching the other children “bad words” by not actually saying the word itself, but by saying it backwards. Wishy’s daughter said to her in hushed tones: “Mom, did you know that “tish” spelled backwards is a bad word?” Further parental inquiry revealed that she knew that “cuff” spelled backwards was bad too.

A recent NPR piece entitled Why Kids Curse, brought this rather amusing memory back to me. Although we wish our children would never learn the “bad words,” it does inevitably happen. Unfortunately when it happens, is commonly sooner rather than later. Many parents seem to have a funny or embarrassing story of a precocious child and inappropriate language. Of course children might pick up bad language at home, but often it is from schoolmates or friends.

The NPR piece relates the funny tale of Yale psychologist Paul Bloom, whose 6 year-old announced one day the words that he had “learned” from overhearing the babysitter on the phone. He and his wife then decided to create an experiment in which they would invent some family swear words to see if their kids picked them up:

“So one of them was ‘flep,'” says Bloom. Whenever someone would bang their foot or hurt their toe, they’d scream “flep” as if it were an obscenity.

The experiment was very short-lived.

“It was a total failure,” says Bloom. “The children looked at us as if we were crazy.”

The reason for this failure? Kids are more influenced by their peers than their parents, according to Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker.

As I am interested in both parenting and linguistics, I found this story to be fascinating from both standpoints. There is more to the piece than what I mention here, so I encourage you to give it a read or a listen if you have a few minutes to spare.

And what on Earth does all this have to do with TV? Well, read on:

A study by the Parents Television Council found that about once an hour children watching popular children’s networks will hear mild curse words such as “stupid,” “loser” and “butt.” The scope and frequency can rise immeasurably with exposure to adult programs and popular music.

That’s the connection!

Link: Why Kids Curse – transcript and audio link (7:07)

(Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Another Thank You!!

By , March 28, 2008 8:01 am

I have been so behind on my regular blogging schedule, that I have not yet had a chance to thank Yarrow for her very sweet little gift to me: a wonderfully pretty “You Make My Day” award. Thank you so much Yarrow! If you have never been by Yarrow’s blog, you should pop in. Yarrow of Witchwood is a potpourri of crafts, nature, paganism, green living… all sorts of interesting topics!

Now it’s my turn to pass this along. A few people who make my day are:

+ Jenny of Wildwood Cottage because she seems like such a nice person and I love reading her thoughts on books and life;

+ Jen at Never a Dull Moment because her blog is so very real and she always makes me laugh;

+ and finally my best friend in real life, Wishy of Wishy the Writer, even though she dislikes being “tagged!” -You can just ignore it if you want Wishy!-

Too Wired?

By , March 27, 2008 9:06 am

I have been unusually silent this week. We are in Albuquerque for Spring Break and between stomach flu, running errands, and trips to the zoo, the aquarium, and Taos, there has not been much time for blogging!

Of course in Albuquerque there are stores more exciting than our Walmart, and children’s activities more novel than the local playground, but one of the most unusual things (for us) that is in Albuquerque, is television. Amazingly, apart from some early-morning fascination with PBS, the kids don’t seem to care much about watching it. Running around catching bugs in the courtyard is much more in keeping with their usual lifestyle.

I haven’t watched much TV either, however I did happen to catch most of this Today Show segment yesterday morning on “overly-wired” families and the benefits of unplugging. In typical Today Show format it was pretty rapid-fire without a lot of substantive information, but it could be worth a quick look for anyone interested in the subject.

Is Your Family Too Wired?

TV Turn-Off Week Blog Challenge (2nd Annual!)

By , March 25, 2008 11:26 am

First of all, thanks for all the kind comments wishing me well on the last post. I am not 100% right yet, but am definitely on the mend. Now my oldest has it. Ugh.

What a nice Spring Break we are having here in Albuquerque! At least we are staying at our house here and not in a hotel somewhere. It’s even less fun to be sick in a hotel.

Anyhow, today I will try to get back to business with a “real” post:


It’s hard to believe that my blog is over one year old now (the UPYK Blogiversary was back in February) and it has come a long, long way! There are even now actually a few people besides my sister and my best friend Wishy who seem to read my words from time to time. Amazing!!

Most of you probably weren’t around last spring to take part in, or even read about, my TV Turn-Off Week Blog Challenge. Well, April has been very sneaky this year and has arrived on quiet little mouse feet. I only just realized that it is almost here!

Since National TV Turn-Off Week is just around the corner (April 21-27, 2008), I’d better get going with the Unplug Your Kids TV Turn-Off Blog Challenge!

During TV Turn-Off Week, any interested bloggers, or non-bloggers can join the challenge. Can you turn it off for one whole week? If you have been lurking about here, considering the possibility of unplugging completely or partially, then now is a great time to give it a try. I am getting a lot of Google hits at the moment related to TV Turn-Off Week, so there must some interested people out there.

The way it works is this:

1) You and your family decide if you want to attempt to turn off the TV from April 21-27. Since we don’t have TV, my personal challenge will be to reduce time with that “other” screen and spend less time online (my addiction). I plan to be online just long enough to post a few times and keep the challenge going. So feel free to tailor your Turn-Off challenge to your family’s personal needs.

2) Next week, when I have returned to Arizona, I will put up a post containing a Mr. Linky, a repeat of the instructions, and a button.

2) Once you have decided to join in, write a post about the TV-Turn-Off Week Blog Challenge linking back to Unplug Your Kids. If you want, you can also copy the button and place it in your sidebar with a link back too. The idea is to spread the word so we have as many participants as possible. Once your post is up, put a link to it in Mr.Linky.

3) Turn it off from April 21-27! Try to stick to your plan, but don’t be frustrated or discouraged if things don’t work out perfectly. This is supposed to be a fun, learning experience, not a week of family torture and self-loathing!

4) After the week is over, I’ll put up a final post with a new Mr. Linky. Write a post about your week: how it went, the ups and downs, what you would try differently in the future, etc. That way, we can all learn from each other’s experiences. Link to your final post in Mr. Linky.

5) And if the worthy nature of this endeavor itself is not enough to convince you to try it, please take note that I will be offering the bribe prize of a $10 Amazon gift certificate to a randomly selected participant who completes the challenge and writes a final post.

6) Finally, if you are a blog reader but have no blog yourself, you can still join in via email. I had one person do this last year. I will post your plans beforehand, and then post your final summary at the end too (plus you will also be eligible for the bribe prize!).

So with this post, I have hopefully “planted the seed.” The next step is to think about it all and discuss it with your family. When I get the Mr. Linky post up next week then you can sign up and commit yourself to the challenge!

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