Monday, March 28, 2011

Homeschool Fun

We have been having such a great time with the schooling since the conference a couple of weekends ago - I must have really needed that shot in the arm!

All of these fun activities are ideas from the Five in a Row lesson plans.

In the book A Pair of Red Clogs, Mako and her friends play a weather-telling game with their clogs. This was an opportune time to get the weather ball Jed received for Christmas up and running. It acts as a barometer, with the water level in the spout reflecting changes in air pressure and predicting impending weather. Jed started a weather journal, and so far it's been pretty accurate.

Mako and her mother go shopping for new clogs, so for our math lesson Jed opened up his own small retail business. His toys were going for bargain-basement prices! :) The challenge was making change for all the customers he had that day.

The Rag Coat features a girl named Minna who can't go to school because she doesn't have a coat. Her mother's quilting friends decide to make a coat for her, using fabric scraps and rags from their own stashes. There are stories behind each piece of fabric in her coat, and she knows them all, which makes for a delightful tale. To reinforce the geometric shapes used in quilt-making, we got out the tangrams.

Minna's dad is a coal miner, so we learned a bit about coal and mining it, and then we did a little mining of our own. Mining for chocolate chips is a great way to capture the interest of a 7 year old boy! But the reclamation part was not so do you put a chocolate chip cookie back together, minus the chips, so that it is a sustainable cookie once again? The world may never know. :)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Jedini The Magnificent

Look at this poor, poor flower...I forgot to water it again.

But no fear - Jedini the Magnificent will restore it to full, vibrant life once more.

By his magical powers, he will pull an invisible string to draw the blossom upright, tall and proud in its undersized pot.


He'll be here all week. :)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Paint Chip Art

How cool is this???

It probably doesn't fit in well with my new (wanna-be) minimalistic aesthetic, but I love, love, love all the color, and how it covers the entire wall space.

Now I'm wondering how many paint chips a person can lift in one shopping trip. Is there a limit? :)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Pair of Red Clogs Comes to Life

I came back from the homeschool conference chomping at the bit to make our school time more interesting, relevant, hands-on and fun. The Five in a Row curriculum we're using makes it easy to do just that.

We've been reading A Pair of Red Clogs this week, written by Masako Matsuno and illustrated by Kazue Mizumura. The setting is Japan, which is amazingly relevant considering the historical events occurring there right now.

To celebrate a little bit of Japanese culture, we invited Jed's friend Grace to join us and we had a "traditional" dinner while seated on cushions, using our laundry hamper as a makeshift table, skewers as makeshift chopsticks, and bathrobes with necktie sashes as makeshift kimonos. Pretty much everything was makeshift, including the cooking method...but the experience was fun and the dinner was delicious.

As for the cooking method, I am beyond excited to have discovered a way to cook fish that doesn't involve breading and frying but actually results in a nice texture and taste. I placed a piece of fish, onions, mushrooms, sugar pea pods and a splash of sesame teriyaki sauce in a foil pouch, one for each person, and baked for half an hour.

The best part? The kids actually liked it - and the FISH was their favorite part!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Annual Homeschool Conference

I just got home from 3 days at the Samoset Resort in Rockland. Tired in body but refreshed in spirit and ready to go for another homeschool year.

I still can't believe I live 15 minutes from this!!

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Homegrown Art

I wish I could say I've been incredibly busy working on some fabulous project and haven't been able to spare a moment to write.

I have been busy, but none of it has been particularly fabulous.

Except - I did make this little piece of art yesterday.

I helped host a wedding shower last weekend, and while shopping for that I found a framed piece of contemporary art at TJ Maxx on clearance for next to nothing. I brought it home with the fireplace niche in mind. The size worked well, but not the art so much, so I got out my stash of handmade (but not by me) paper and started playing around.

I lined the background with a piece of ivory paper that has pine needles enmeshed in it. For two of the squares, I used brown and dark green papers with a bleached fern pattern. The light green paper has a dark green abstract pattern printed on it, and the orange paper has bits of wood fiber embedded in it.

I love these papers, but my favorite part is the little robin, the creation of Etsy shop Mirthquake. This post card features the English Robin design. It was the perfect size - no trimming necessary. As if the little girl wanted to be perched on my mantel before she even arrived.

I think I'm ready for Spring.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011


The sun shines directly into my eyes when I sit at my desk in the afternoon, so I've taken to wearing a baseball cap to shield my eyes a bit so I can see the computer screen.

Jed told me I look charming. :)