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SNOWFLAKES

Cindy Maddera

The Cabbage likes science, which is great and awesome. It makes me feel very good about my life choices, but we don't do any science like stuff when she's at my house. She'll ask me what I did at work that day. I always try to tell her something in simple words. It's just that it is really hard for me to explain something complicated in simple terms. I'm just not good at it. Ideally, I'd like to do silly science related craft projects with her all the time. Like make sugar crystals or swab the house to streak on agar plates to see how many kinds of things will grow. I'd really just like to do that with her hand. Press her whole hand into an LB agar plate and see what kind of grossness grows on the plate. She will never forget to wash her hands again. The reality is that I lack the energy to deal with all the things involved with crafts, particularly the mess. I'm good at keeping my own mess under control, but keeping my mess under control while containing the mess of a seven year old is why people drink.

I came across this craft for making snowflake Christmas ornaments and thought we could give this one a try. It looked relatively easy and the mess is contained in Mason jars. I bought some Borax and pipe cleaners. Then I cut the pipe cleaners into lengths that allow them to fit into the jars without touching the sides. I got the jars all ready by adding the Borax and I put together a couple of snowflakes so I had an example to show the Cabbage, who was excited about the project until she had to twist pipe cleaners together. Then came the complaining and whining and the "ugh! I don't even know what you're doing!", because twisting pipe cleaners together is hard (?). Finally I looked at her and said "This was a bad idea wasn't it." She replied with a "what?" and I said "asking you to do this with me." She shrugged and I said "Why don't I twist together all of the pipe cleaners and then I'll come get you when it's time to add food coloring to the jars." She was happy with this plan and came back to the project to add three drops of food coloring to each Mason jar of boiling water and Borax. 

The snowflakes were the first thing she wanted to see when she woke up the next morning. We all stood in the kitchen oohing over the crystals that had formed on the pipe cleaners and in the bottom of the Mason jars. Now I want to dip everything in Borax solution. I've thought about making enough crystallized crap to make into a new Christmas wreath. Sure, my snowflakes didn't turn out as nice as Martha Stewart's, but I learned enough from this attempt to do better on the next. I'm thinking big bowls of Borax solution for the next go around so I can make larger snowflakes. And what if I make snowflakes out of something other than pipe cleaners? Will crystals form on paper or cardboard? What if I twist red and white pipe cleaners together and make candy canes? The possibilities are endless! 

Who cares about entertaining the seven year old. I'm entertaining myself!