making bismuth crystals for tucker’s birthday

Well. We did a FEW things for Tucker’s birthday, and he got very thoughtful gifts from these kids — including a new stainless steel ring from Béla that is in itself a spinning fidget.

Claudia worked hard to make a special ball filled with her wishes for Tuck, a photo of them together, and things that represented Tuck — coffee grounds, glitter (the world’s glitteriest glitter), and a small optic lens from a microscope.)


She had been pointing out for days that there was a full moon two nights after Tuck’s birthday, so the ball is now charging for maximum mojo in her windowsill.


Homeschooling hack! Want to make sure you REALLY Do The Project You Said You Were Going To Do? Make it a Facebook event and invite people over.


But first we did our shift at Cradles to Crayons.


Best t-shirt ever. Thanks Janet.

Once home, Tucker made his favorite birthday dessert, Cup O’Dirt, which he makes with homemade chocolate mousse, whipped cream, crushed Oreos and gummy worms.

We sugared up, and suited up.


Can’t be too careful.


Bismuth, if you didn’t know, is REALLY heavy.


Jill came by, with an origami bismuth crystal for Tuck.


Yup, molten metal.


It took quite some tries to get anything approximating crystals. Unlike the videos we had watched indicated, the crystals did not start to cool from the surface, downward — the seemed to cool from the BOTTOM of the pan, upward. Made it a little harder. But…


They happened!

After trying to make a bismuth “geode” in a porcelain dish (which exploded), Ben figured out how to mold them in foil, and this was the best piece of the day:


Our friends Bebe, Stephen and Hank came over too! Everyone got a little bismuth crystal (I think) (They all certainly got Cup O’Dirt) and we had meat pies from Stargazy (Thanks Bebe) before the kids went to Blues rehearsal… whew.

Not a curriculum day, as Claudia said. But Happy Burns’ Night to all!