We're Jason, Beth, Lee Anna, Sawyer, and Sarah Claire, a family of five living, learning, and laughing lots in Northern Africa.
We hope you can learn a little (and maybe laugh a little too) as you read about our latest adventures.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Mr. Avery, Part II

A couple of years ago I wrote a thank you note in this space to my 10th grade chemistry teacher, Bill Avery, for helping me learn to convert Celsius to Fahrenheit so Beth could set our oven here for baking cookies. Well, we decided more thanks were in order, since our little house has turned into quite the Chem Lab lately.

Most recently, we bought some antique silver bracelets at the old bazaar in town, and I wanted to polish them without paying $10 for silver polish. So I did a little Google research and found a recipe involving aluminum foil, baking soda, salt and hot water. The formula worked as well as it could, but these particular bracelets didn’t have a whole lot of silver plate left, so they didn’t come out all that spectacular.

We also read somewhere that if Sawyer’s diaper rash didn’t respond to the usual zinc-oxide cream, that maybe an antacid like Mylanta might take care of it. Well, being without Mylanta, I tried our favorite antacid—baking soda—on his little bottom, but it seemed to make him a little uncomfortable (I think that meant it was working) so Beth had to give him a bath to stop the itching (and the subsequent crying and whining). Then we read that yogurt might take care of it, so we spread some yogurt on him last night, but he’s not all better yet. Might have to break down and go to a pharmacy for this one.

But the most interesting Chemistry experiment was probably more a biology project (Thanks Mr. Hadd). We had a fruit fly infestation a few weeks ago, and I couldn’t seem to kill them as fast as they made more. We got all the fruit out of the kitchen and hid stuff in the fridge, but they just seemed to be everywhere.

So I went back to Google and asked about killing fruit flies. I found several trap designs, and made a few of them. The basic plan was to put some fruit or fruity-smelling vinegar in a container that they could get into but not get out of. So we cut a Coke bottle and turned the spout upside down, poured apple cider vinegar in the bottom and taped up the seam. The most effective trap, however, involved putting sliced-up lemons in a bowl, covering the bowl with plastic wrap and poking some small holes in it. They showed no interest in the lemons for the first few days, but once they turned rotten, they were all over them. They would crawl in to get the lemons, but they couldn’t get back out. We’ve been pretty much fruit-fly free for the past week or two!

The Traps

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