Blog Reflections, GIVEAWAY

GIVEAWAY: This month is my ONE year BLOGiversary!!!

Disclaimer: This GIVEAWAY is in no way supported by WordPress, Instagram, Facebook or Chick-Fil-A. See below for additional details on how to enter. This giveaway will only be available to followers within the United States.

This month marks the one year anniversary for when I started my blog. When I went into this year, I wanted to fulfill my love for writing and share STEM knowledge with others on my own platform / webpage. I really didn’t expect that anyone would read it or take notice except for my close circle of family and friends.

Instead, I gained over 500 followers combined on my social media sites and blog. I also was given the opportunity to write for a couple wonderful names in Cleveland – including the Great Lake Science Center and Northeast Ohio Parent magazine. Thank you to both organizations for believing in my work! I’m looking forward to more collaborations in the next year! In addition, I was asked to do book reviews directly from an author!

I’ve had so many people rooting for me along the way – thank you to my cheering section! Balancing life and writing has been difficult with small children running around. Most of my writing and planning happens either late at night or early in the morning when they are in bed. It was tiring and challenging at times, but I love it. It has actually been a lot more work than I originally anticipated and I see so many more possibilities in the future. I’m so appreciative of the connections I’ve made and the new people I’ve met just from starting this blog!

I want to thank several individuals for their continued love and positive support – my amazing family and close friends (you know who you are!) and fellow lady blogger, Jen at WhyCLE, who gently nudged me over the edge to get started blogging. She’s also been a wonderful resource / mentor in the blogging community of Northeast Ohio. I hope to find more time to continue developing more meaningful relationships and connections within the blogging community next year.

Most importantly, I want to thank all of my dedicated readers and followers! You have all inspired me in someway to continue pursuing, writing and following my passions. Thank you!

One of my final goals for this year was to host a giveaway. In honor of that, I will be hosting my very first giveaway to thank my followers. In honor of my one year BLOGiversary, I’m giving away two $10 Chick-Fil-A gift cards! I will gift one $10 gift card to one follower on Facebook and one $10 gift card to one follower on Instagram.

If you are interested in participating, please follow along my Momgineering the Future Facebook Page and/or Momgineering the Future Instagram Page in next couple days! Watch for a post with the image above (the one year cupcake with gift card) which will provide details on how to enter!

I have exciting plans for the year ahead. I hope that you will continue to walk this path with me!

Cheers to another great year ahead!

Engineer, STEM Careers

9/11 Reflections

Disclaimer: This article is based on my own thoughts and memories from September 11, 2001. The featured image of the flag was found on http://www.almanac.com.

Where were you on September 11, 2001?

I was in my high school homeroom and I remember that our principal came over the intercom system to announce that a plane had hit the World Trade Center Building in New York City. She asked us to offer prayers to all the victims.

I remember wondering – what is the World Trade Center Building and also how would a plane have hit the building in such a large city?

I continued to my first bell class – English Literature. The TV was on and we were all watching just completely stunned by the tremendous amount of black smoke pouring out of the building that had just been struck by a commercial airplane. I saw several emergency vehicles arriving to the scene and people waving outside the broken windows for help.

The second plane hitting the second tower. Image from Businessinsider.com .

Then I remember seeing a flying object coming towards the second tower – Was it an emergency aircraft? Was it a large bird? As it struck the second tower, I saw the aircraft wings and realized it was another commercial airplane. My heart sank into my chest. Whenever I think back on that moment, I still feel my heart sink into my chest. It was clear to me in that moment that these incidents were not an accident. I was in complete shock.

I remember seeing people running from the towers scared, more emergency crews arriving at the scene to try to save people and the worst by far for me were the images of innocent people jumping from the windows out of desperation and plummeting to their death. I couldn’t watch anymore. I put my head on my desk and started to cry and pray. I prayed for the victims and their families, the first responders, our countries leaders and I prayed for God to save our country from whoever was trying to attack and kill innocent Americans.

Those images and feelings from that day will never leave me. The emotions I felt are still so fresh and raw in my heart and mind just like it is for many of us that were alive on that day.

One thing that my engineering education helped me with (which I hope to pass on to my children), was knowing how to move forward through tragedy by problem solving. STEM education trained me to look at failures (or tragedies) from a technical and data driven perspective in order to prevent them from reoccurring. This training, I feel, has helped me think more clearly in emergency / survival mode situations.

As a country, we’ve learned and changed a lot since 9/11/2001. Someday, I will be able to share my experience from that day with my children and also help them understand how our country changed after that. I also want them to know and understand that many STEM professionals over the course of several years helped analyze what happened (i.e. building structural failures, emergency response plans, medical analysis and healthcare for survivors, etc.) to ensure that this same type of failure would never occur again.

I want my kids to know that good problem solvers and their knowledge in their STEM professions – engineers, scientists, architects, doctors, etc. – are extremely important and that in their lifetime they may witness an event similar to this one that requires several problem solvers to come together and work in teams to find answers and solve a large problem.

The National Construction Safety Team Act (NCST Act) was signed October 1, 2002 by President George W. Bush to mandate the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to determine the likely cause or causes of the three building failures that occurred at the World Trade Center buildings in New York City on that day. The final report was issued in September 2005. I recently realized that there are some groups that disagree and are requesting the investigation be reopened by the NIST, including Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth.

My heart, prayers and thoughts go out to all the victims, victims families, the remaining survivors and the first responders from that day. I know that the memories from that day are still fresh in their minds.

Please share your memories with me from September 11, 2001. I would love to hear them.

May we never forget. God bless America.

Animals, Art Crafting, Holiday, Lake MetroParks, Nature, STEM Careers, STEM Resources

Lake Metroparks STEM Programs for Children and Families

For those that live in Northeast Ohio, Lake County Ohio’s park system known as the Lake Metroparks has extensive STEM programs for children and families. They also have specific programs geared towards home school parents and children.

Our family has greatly enjoyed the convenient, educational and fun programs that the Lake Metroparks system provides – specifically, the young child story times / explorations through the parks as well as numerous programs that are provided by the FarmPark and Penitentiary Glen Reservation. We have learned a great deal about farming and agriculture as well as the natural habitats and animals / insects that live in Northeast Ohio.

During the story times, children listen to stories associated with a nature theme, make a craft, play games and (weather permitting) take a hike outside along the paths in the park with a guide. The last one we participated in was all about frogs and it was held at Penitentiary Glen Reservation. The educator that ran the program was absolutely wonderful with the children. She taught them about the lifecycle of a frog, they made crafts, sang ‘5 little speckled frogs’, went on a nature hike outside, went on a scavenger hunt to find their own (fake) frogs, and many other activities.

Some of our favorite family friendly activities at the Farmpark have been Working Dog Weekend, Sheep Sheering Weekend, Horse Fest, Halloween Hayrides and Christmas Country Lights. At Country Lights, children are able to build a wooden toy with an elf from Santa’s Workshop. It’s a truly magical experience but also gives young children the opportunity to use real tools, listen to instructions and take pride in creating a wonderful toy for themselves.

For more information on their available educational programs for teachers and schools, click here. For more information on their upcoming family friendly events, click here. For more information on upcoming programming and registration, view the latest Parks Plus! magazine here.

Have you participated in any of these programs? Which is your favorite? If not, what park systems or parks have you enjoyed the most that provide STEM educations?

Great Things about Space, Math and Numbers, STEM Resources, STEM toys

Sums in Space – Math Game

DISCLAIMER: I am an Amazon Associate and may earn from qualifying purchases made from the links in this post at no additional cost to you.

A fun game we recently purchased is called Sums in Space. I found it in my recommended list on Amazon one day and thought we’d give it a try! This game lets children blast off to space while practicing subtraction and addition as well as becoming familiar with even and odd numbers in a fun way.

It is recommended for kids older than 5 years old but I am able to play it with my 4 year old. I help her by doing subtraction and addition with our fingers. Even and odd numbers could be easily taught by making a chart for young children to reference. At each turn, the players roll three dice, which creates a subtraction or addition problem to determine how many spaces to move your astronaut. Along the board, there are various odd ‘duck’ and even ‘Steven’s’ spaces as well as ‘black holes that slow you down.

As your child grows and learns, the rules of the game change slightly for increased difficulty.

If your child is learning simple math or about to start learning simple math, loves playing games and has a good attention span, this might be a great game to play with your child!

Great Lakes Science Center

Exciting News and Thank you!

I am excited to announce that I am a new contributing writer to the Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland, Ohio. I am excited for where the journey will lead and all the exciting possibilities ahead for both of us!

Check out the two articles I wrote that are highlighted on their website in SPARK!

5 Ways to Nurture Curiosity in a Young Scientist

Engineer Mom puts VROOM to the Test

Thank you to all my readers and followers for your wonderful and always encouraging support!

This coming September I’ll be celebrating my 1 year anniversary on my blog – be sure to stay turned for a fun ‘surprise’ for all my Facebook and Instagram social media followers! If you aren’t following me yet on those feeds, just click the links above and the ‘Follow’ button on those pages so you don’t miss out!

Experiments, Inexpensive and Versatile, Nature, STEM Resources

Make your own Explorer Packs for Nature Exploration with the Kids

DISCLAIMER: I am an Amazon Associate and may earn from qualifying purchases made from the links in this post at no additional cost to you. Many of the items we selected for sample collection had fallen to the ground. I do not recommend teaching your children to collect live plants from the parks that you visit, especially if they cross state lines, as this many not be allowed or could cause disease outbreaks or infestations.

We packed an backpack for the kids full of ‘explorer gear’ and made our way to the woods nearby. We told the kids that we were going to go and explore nature. They were beyond excited!

Inside the ‘explorer pack’ was a couple blank notebooks (found in the Target bins), crayons, an empty peanut butter jar for sample collection, shovel, ruler, magnifying glass, two guidebooks to Ohio wildflowers and a camera (we have this pink one and here’s a similar one in blue).

(If you purchase the camera, don’t forget get the case – in pink or blue – and memory card too.)

We allowed the kids to explore whatever they wished. We looked for bugs, plants, seeds, flowers, leaves, sticks, etc. My youngest loved looking at several items with the magnifying glasses and making ‘notes’ in her notebook. My oldest drew items to find for a scavenger hunt in her notebook which included an orange flower, 5 trees, a stick, a lily pad and a piece of grass. She loved taking photos of the items that she found.

My husband and I pointed out interesting items along the way and facts that we knew from nature. We found interesting plants, pine cones, beautiful flowers and plankton, just to name a few. We also saw many bees, dragon flies, butterflies and birds. We also heard bull frogs.

When we returned home, we looked at each of the items that we had in our sample jar under our portable microscope. Take a look at the images below! We actually saw a bug climbing out of one of them!

This was such a fun family day and we all learned so much about nature. This is an activity that could be easily done in your own backyard.

What outdoor places do you love to explore with your kids? What other items can you think of that you would pack for your little explorer?

Museums, STEM Resources, STEM toys, TV Shows

Strong Museum of Play in Rochester New York

“…can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street?”

After 30 plus years, I can FINALLY answer that question. The address is 1 Manhattan Square Dr, Rochester, NY 14607 which is the home of the Strong Museum of Play.

What a fun place! I am SO glad that we chose to make the stop on the way home to Cleveland from the Finger Lakes in New York! This place was fun for the kids and us as adults! The message from this place was clear… PLAYING is LEARNING. This is a beautiful message for all parents and children. If it’s fun, we learn more.

The highlight of this trip for the kids was taking a stroll down Sesame Street. Sesame Street is one of my all time favorite young child educational programs. Both of my children have learned so much from watching it – numbers, letters, emotional / social growth and also how fun it is to explore and learn. All important early attributes for confidence and success in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) subjects.

Another area that was really fun was Wegman’s grocery store. Each child gets to push a cart or carry a basket through a replica of Wegman’s grocery store and select a limited number of items for check out. They actually check out at the register (look at the receipt below!), then return the items to their respective locations.

The History Place was a fun place to explore. Kids can have pretend tea parties with teddy bears (make food in the old style kitchens), play in a historical looking school house and check out the type of transportation that students used to get to school ‘back in the day’.

Reading Adventureland is a giant play ground where you can step inside common childhood stories like Bernstein Bears, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Three Billy Goats Gruff, many princess fairy tales, wizard stories, Dr. Suess stories, pirate stories, etc. The kids could explore the Bernstein Bears home town, create their own wizards wand and crown, become a giant and play in a pirates sandpit to name just a few. Books are scattered through out for reading if your child opts to read some of the stories. This area was also easily a favorite!

This museum is HUGE! If you plan to go, be sure to block off at least one whole day to be able to check out everything. We did not get the opportunity to see everything during our trip but we saw plenty to make us want to get in a return trip someday! Ohio (CLE especially – since we live so close…), check this place out!!!!