Microplastics in Tampa Bay

This weekend Mom and I attended a program at Eckerd College on Microplastics in TampaBay. It was hosted by two college marine biology teachers (Dr. David Hastings and Dr Koty). I was eager to volunteer, but not so eager to enter, the water to collect a sample of water.

We learned what micro plastics are and how, presumably, they are entering our waterways. I was shocked to know that many of the fabrics we wear put off 1900+ particles of “lint” per wash. Many of the fabrics contain plastics!

I quickly grasped the effect that micro plastics can have on sea life and beyond. I really like zooplankton and enjoyed a video they showed of the zooplankton eating the micro plastics as they filter fed.

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We brought the water samples to the lab and the college kids filtered the water and then we looked at the filters under the microscopes. I got to count up the pieces of plastic on my filter. I had 16, 2 of which were possibly microbeads! Microbeads come from exfoliating products and possibly from other broken down larger plastics in the oceans and waterways. The government is working on phasing out the use of microbeads by making them illegal in beauty products.

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I thought it was awesome that the professor was willing to sit and answer my questions and spark my interest.

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In Tampa Bay alone they estimate 23,000,000,000,000 (23 trillion!) particles of micro plastics!

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Next we switched to a different lab. I quickly volunteered to collect the sample with the plankton net.

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This time we were looking for micro organisms in the microscopes. I found lots of little things moving around and noticed the size was similar to the micro plastics. I can easily see how they can be consumed.

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Another spark? Yes! I now want to tell all my friends about single use plastics and why they are bad. I don’t think I am going to remove plastics from my clothing but will think about that as Mom gets me new clothing int he future. I want to collect products and learn how to safely dispose of them. Maybe I can do a drive at the community center or a project for 4-H on micro plastics!  Hmmmm… my mind is running.

Back to School

We started back to school this week but Mom made sure the transition, after being off for such a long time, was easy. We played outside and met friend for park play. We made a giant hopscotch course and had fun hopping with friends avoiding lava, touch squares and other obstacles we dreamed up.

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I am enjoying a break from FLVS classes and trying to focus on my math and writing. I am loving the last and final pre-algebra book in the series I am doing. Mom lets me use a calculator now but I have to be able to explain verbally what I am doing and why. It is making math less stressful. We are really focusing on writing and getting me faster and neater. I want to take some classes at the local college but I can’t until mom feels I can confidently take notes, answer written questions and stay on track a bit longer. I am really trying.

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It is finally getting chilly outside. Thunder and I curled up to watch Avatar in 3D while Mom went out with some friends.

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Paynes Prairie Preserve

We loaded up the motorhome and headed to the woods for New Years. It was the most quiet place to spend the holiday! HONEST! The place was like a ghost town by dark. The people camping were quiet and respectful. No fireworks allowed in the park or campground.

I love riding up front in the motorhome. Mom and Emmerson take the sofa and I play co-pilot.

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After we got settled we enjoyed an evening of yummy pizza at Satchel’s and then bats at the UF Bat Barn.

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At dusk 300,000+ bats fly out of the houses. It is quite a site to see!

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We had a great time playing in the woods at the campground. We climbed trees, play with ropes and other toys. We enjoyed a few really long hikes. We learned about the preserve and how once it was a giant lake that suddenly disappeared as oddly as it appeared!

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Dad chilled outside and worked on trip planning in the shade while we made up adventure stories and played in the dirt.

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We visited the Florida Natural History Museum in Gainesville. We love the butterflies.

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The weather turned icky and started to get drizzle and chilly. We had a few camp fires and then check the weather for the next day. We opted to pack up a day early and drive home. We were glad we did because it apparently rained the entire next day in Micanopy.

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I found a fully intact snake shed and managed to bring it home in a box to keep…forever!

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Merry Christmas 2015

We only made one bath of cookies this year and they were not very holiday-like. We had a fun time decorating them nonetheless.

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I made my gingerbread house on my own. I wanted to eat more of the royal icing then i used to glue the house together.

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I think it came out awesome!

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Santa came, the elves left and we were left with a little pile of gifts to go round. The elves left us some butt photos and other randomness they took on the copy machine. Silly elves.

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We were up early but not to eager to start.

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Hugging E for my awesome Lego set he bought me!

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I got a few Lego sets, lots of games and a Sphere SPRK (robotic ball toy).

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We spent a quiet day building Legos, spending time with Grandma Susie adjust relaxing.

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We have made lots of playground trips. We got a new basketball and I made 4 shots in a row!

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Even Grandma Susie played for a while!

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Pre-Holiday with Grandma and Grandpa

We went to see the Nutcracker at Ruth Eckerd Hall with Grandma and Grandpa. We loved the ballet. It was amazing! It was really impressive to see all the little kids and adults dancing. I enjoyed the story that was told through music and dance. I recognized a lot of the music.

We had a little family gift exchange before Grandma and Grandpa had to head back down to Venice.

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I LOVED my gift. I got some cool hybrid skates. I have been asking for skates for a long time.

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We strapped on the skates and headed outside to try them out. I needed a hand for stability but  quickly was able to move on my own.

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We have been practicing a lot with the skates. I wear a helmet and now wrist guards too!

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Busy Times Never End- But Fun is Being Had by All

We have been busy painting, crafting, playing and being generally non-school-ish.

The back patio has become an art studio lately. We are busy working on holiday gifts.

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I am enjoying time out with Mom for errands and leaving E with Dad at home.

We were looking for Santa hats and I liked this one but thought it was too hot. (Don’t worry it was fresh from a box, so no lice!).

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We saw two santa plays in two weeks. This time was at the Largo Cultural Center for a musical play about holiday traditions around the world.

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The elves have been up to no good again. I was upset they ruined three good rolls of toilet paper.

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We were invited to participate in the holiday parade in Safety Harbor with the Clearwater  Threshers.

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We had a great time decorating the golf cart and tossing candy to kids on the parade route.

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Mom stayed at the end of the route to pick us up when he parade was over.

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We also went to the Suncoast Brotherhood Motorcycle Run for Toys for Tots this weekend. It is loud! But there are so many motorcycles all decorated. We guessed there were between 3000-4000 this year! The parade lasts a long time.

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Mom is driving me NUTS with puzzles. We have to solve the puzzles to earn our iPad time each day. This week has been word scrambles.

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I sit and think and guess and rearrange letters. I am getting faster so Mom keeps making the words harder.

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I finally figured out one that stumped me for a long time! YAY!

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Star Wars is consuming the house. Everything is Star Wars. Mom just has to sit back and shake her head as we engage in epic lightsaber battles.

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And ribbon dancing?

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Even the elves are into it!

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We had a great time playing with the dry ice from a package we got in the mail.

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Christmas is just around the corner. We all need a day off!

Dunedin Holiday Parade

 

We had a fantastic time at the Dunedin Holiday Parade. We had parking karma and got a spot right behind Kelly’s off of Scotland. We walked 2 blocks to Mom’s friends house, Miss Gail. We sat with her and watched the parade and said Merry Christmas 10 billion times! We got all sorts of candy, beads and other goodies.

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We always love the bag pipes! A neat bonus to living near a town who’s sister city is in Scotland! We have some amazing bag pipe bands.

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Santa ended the parade with a nod and a wave.

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We were asked if we wanted to participate in the Safety Harbor parade and throw out goodies for the Clearwater Threshers! We said yes and are very eager for that opportunity.

 

Disney Getaway

We headed over to Disney before Dad and the motorhome. We spent some time at Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney). We love Disney Quest and this year it was included in our passes. E and I played the Star Wars racer game for a long time.

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I am awesome at ski-ball.

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Our first night we went to Mickey’s Backyard BBQ. I really enjoyed the rope guy.

He was amazing !

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We visited EPCOT the next day and said goodbye to Captain EO. A new attraction will be coming soon in its place.

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We did the precessional package and ate at the German buffet. I liked spetziel. IMG_4092

We had front row seats for the show and Whoopi Goldburg was the narrator. We really enjoyed watching the percussionist and all the moving around that they had to do.

Dad had to work from the campsite in the mornings so Mom kept us going different directions. The pool was empty and the line for the slide was almost nonexistent.

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We visited the Osborn lights to say goodbye as well. It was SO crowded that we really didn’t enjoy ourselves. It will be a shame to see it go but it is a logistical nightmare for the crowds and traffic.

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We checked out some of the new things for the upcoming Star Wars area. They have a new Launch Pad that features Star Wars characters and all sorts of movie props. We were over the moon!

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Our late show was Fantasmic. It is always a favorite.

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Some Magic Kingdom fun with 4 rides in the week on the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. We also spent a lot of time with the Sorcerers of the Kingdom trading card hunt. We are only missing one card now! #22. well we are missing the ones you have to pay for too but we don’t care.

Mom rode with tea cups with me and I went easy on her.

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We got a new stuffed animal. I got Nala from the Lion King. IMG_4135

We waited to meet Santa.

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He is an awesome guy and we told him we wanted lego lets for Christmas.

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Hanging out at the campsite was a blast as well. We had our scooters and made lots of laps. There weren’t many other kids around but we had each other…and MOM!

Mom and Dad scootered around too. Dad ordered himself a scooter for our next trip.

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We went to the campfire and played Bingo and sang holiday songs.

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EPCOT was empty one morning. We walked on Soarin’ and then The Land (totally empty!).

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The Mexico ride welcomes back the Three Caballeros after nearly 30 years! They just arrived this week back from their world tour!

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We met a group of homeschoolers (Disneyschooling Orlando) at the world Showcase to listen to stories around the world about the holidays.

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We heard about Kwanza.

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Hanukah.

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La Bafana.

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Norway.

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I wanted this cool peppermint trifle. It tasted like toothpaste. ICKY! IMG_4217

Off to China to learn about the lion.

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The troll who uses magic.

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Pere Noel.

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Some of our local friends we met through Disney Schooling many years ago! We are all still good friends.

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We did a carriage ride at Fort Wilderness. We requested Miss Laurie Lynn as usual. It has been tradition for 9 years now! We missed one and she wasn’t working another but pretty good track record. She remembers me as the one who sung “Jingle Bells all the way to Africa” when I was barely 2.

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The elves managed to find us and create havoc int he new motorhome. Thank goodness they couldn’t find the lighter. Another night they had a marshmallow snowball fight!

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Tired of waiting in lines.

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We had finner at Wilderness Lodge at Boma and they had some neat crafts for donations. We made ornaments out of ostrich egg shell. Then we decorated cookies. Mom and Dad were very impressed with the detail I put into my giraffe and hippo.

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Our last hurrah was at Animal Kingdom. We did all our favorites and then Kali River Rapids a few times. We got soaked. But that was the goal!

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One mad (The Castle Guy) had a neat display at the campground. It danced and was set to the Wishes firework music. It was beyond spectacular! We went by a few times to see the display.

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Final scooter ride as Dad wrapped up a conference call. We returned the cable modem via scooter then took a few laps through the loops to say goodbye.

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