A busy week and forgotten birthdays

A busy week and forgotten birthdays

Last week was a busy week here in the Science Wows household, as I am sure it was in many homes across Ireland. We had the back to school for the older two children and the “starting school” for our youngest. It went really well for him, he practically ran in the door without a backwards glance, but let’s just say his parents needed a lot of extra TLC!

In fact it was such a busy week that other little milestones were completely forgotten. One was Science Wow’s 3rd Birthday! I can’t believe it has been three years already. I have learned so much in those three years and still have much to learn! Each year as I renew my work Insurance and order another set of children’s lab coats I like to reflect on how the year has gone and plan what I would like to achieve for the year ahead.

Dr. How's Science Wows is three years old
Dr. How’s Science Wows is three years old


I love how the last year has gone for Science Wows. Some highlights for me have included...

…being asked back to do birthday parties for the same families (it is a lovely affirmation for me as well as the pleasure to get to know the family a little more and the fun of preparing new experiments to excite and entertain the children)

…working with Cell Explorers on a new project called “Little Cells” , bringing cell biology into classrooms for children as young as four

… working with The Galway Science and Technology Festival which saw Science Wows bring “The Science of Sound workshop” into 16 different primary schools during the two week festival

… joining in the Galway Food Festival with an interactive workshop with lots of food related experiments; the workshop was scheduled for 10 am on Good Friday (Easter) so we were unsure if anyone would turn up. I was delighted when families after family arrived to join in the fun

…. bringing science to children in Summer Camps this Summer; I particularly enjoyed a recent trip to Birr to join the children of SPEAK Ireland; their enthusiasm was infectious, their knowledge impressive, their energy inspiring (I would have happily stayed all day)


I have many aspirations and ideas for the next year for Science Wows… and I am always open to new ideas and suggestions!


It would seem that this three year anniversary was not the only milestone I over looked this week; I just realised that I posted my 200th blog post last Monday. A small milestone but a significant one non the less. The blog is not three years old yet but it  is certainly a project that I hold dear. It has provided me with a platform to develop, explore and express my love of science communication in the written and visual form. The blog too has some highlights for me, this year in particular, so, while I am in a reflective and sentimental mood, I thought I would share a few.

Some of my blog highlight for this year are…

…in February I finally took the plunge and merged my blog and website to a brand new site on word press. It was an exciting and creative project but certainly came with lots of glitches and problems. Some of which I am still ironing out. It has taken me a while to get used to this but finally I can say that I am glad I made the move and love how much I have learned and all I still have to learn.

… I have stopped some regular slots on the blog (Such as the weekly Mystery Creature post) and started some new ones. I have to say, one that I particularly love is the Simple Slice of Science series. I have had great fun creating the graphic side of Dr. Simple and really love the questions from the young and the “not so young” that have come pouring in. The response to the series has been uplifting and I plan to keep writing and developing the series for a long time to come.

… one of the reasons I set up the blog was to create a portfolio of writing and communication and I was delighted that this extended to features on other platforms such as The Journal and even an interview on the radio discussing an article I wrote on “Our earliest memories”

… another highlight of the blog in recent months is finding out that I was nominated in three categories in the Blog Awards Ireland 2014 (Science and Technology, SME and Education) and that I was short listed in all three categories after the first round of judging. Fingers crossed for the next round


All in all I think it has been a great year for Dr. How and my brain is churning in overdrive at the moment planning lots of new projects, ideas, experiments and milestones for the next year ahead.

 Thank you all for your support in so many ways, from reading these blog posts, to sharing your comments, ideas and feedback and of course, for inviting Dr. How to feature at your party, school or event.


For those of you who only know me through the blog, I leave you with a little insight into what else Dr. How’s Science Wows is all about!

Dr. How's Science Wows
Dr. How’s Science Wows




Our family celebration of Bealtaine (May Day)

Our family celebration of Bealtaine (May Day)

We were delighted with the arrival of Bealtaine (May Day) as the Sun was shining, the air was warming up and we had the hope of warmer days and garden growth.

We have been observing the “unfurling” of nature as a family… the first call of the cuckoo, the arrival of our beloved house martins, the scents and perfumes in the air as the gorse blossoms and our familiar hedgerow plans arrive one by one. The season was bursting upon us and we wanted to mark the occasion, together as a family.

The lovely Rowan Tree
The lovely Rowan Tree


Bealtaine has long been an important event in the old Celtic calendar. The Festival of Fire… it marked the beginning of Summer. We decided it was an event worth celebrating so I gathered the clan and we discussed what we wanted to do to mark the day.

The Rowan tree played a very important part in Bealtaine ceremonies and customs, thought to hold magical powers of healing and protection it was used to protect families, livestock and produce. It was an ancient practice to bring sprigs of the tree into the house on May Day eve and place some at the windows and doors to keep the house safe and bind it in the Rowan’s protective magic.

We have a beautiful Rowan tree just outside our kitchen window. Planted as a young sapling we watch it mark the passing of the seasons as it grows tall and proud. In fact we have such a liking for this tree that it inspired our third child’s name! The flowers are just emerging on the tree at the moment, soon they will delight us with their heady scent. We felt we must include it in our little celebration.

It is also customary to tie ribbon to trees on May Day and it is a good day to make wishes for the season ahead. We decided to combine the Rowan, the ribbons and the wishes into our little ceremony.

For the wishes….. I found some pretty wooden heart shapes and ribbons in a local discount shop.

It was simple to punch holes in the heart (well simple for my husband once I recruited him!) and thread them with the pretty ribbons.

These would serve as our little wish tokens.

Our little May Day "wishes"
Our little May Day “wishes”


We decorated the Rowan tree with our little tokens, each making their own wish as we did so. Obviously nobody wished for good weather, because it has been raining ever since!


Decorating our "May Day Tree"
Decorating our “May Day Tree”


We then gathered sprigs from the tree to decorate and protect our home. This part really upset our youngest who did not appreciate us cutting bits off HIS tree. He was only mildly placated when he was allowed place a sprig on the windowsill of his bedroom!


Rowan to protect our home
Rowan to protect our home


It was a short and simple ceremony, but I am so glad we did it. It was lovely to get the whole family involved in deciding how we wanted to mark this special day.

If you would like a lovely craft project for Bealtaine, check out this post on the beautiful “Where Wishes Come from” blog.


Did you do anything special to mark Bealtaine? If so let us know in the comments below!