Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Project 365/31

We're studying astronomy in school, which has proven to be great fun for both of us. We started a lesson on the sun today, and in order to bring home the fact that the sun is more than a million times larger than Earth, I had Jed pose like he was holding the Christmas tree (yes, it's still up, sans ornaments) in his fingers. It helped him understand how something so large could look so small.

I love this photographic technique, but the focus issue has me puzzled. I think the key is to have the subject a bit further away, but no time to experiment today...we were too busy learning. :)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Project 365/30

I've been trying for several years to make it easier to decorate for Christmas without having to remove everything in the house. Green is my favorite color and I use it extensively, so those things work well to span the different seasons easily. Then all I have to do in December is remove the orange accent pieces and replace with red, which I leave up till the end of February, since it works for Valentine's Day too.

This picture is a good example of that. The two red squares are mounted with removable tape over orange handmade papers. The beginning of March, I'll simply remove the red squares and welcome a bit of spring back into the house.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Project 365/29

Before embarking on this year-long photo project, I determined that I would not cheat by posting pictures taken on previous days. Unfortunately, as a result, tonight it is a toss-up between cheating and posting a terrible photo. This is the only picture I took today, and it's too late and I'm too tired to try taking any more.

Honesty won the toss-up, which means the viewers suffer. Sorry about that! But at least I still have my integrity. :)

BTW, not that it matters since you can't really see anything, but the photo shows Jed's latest Domino creation waiting to be knocked down. And in defense of my (lacking-but-not-totally-incompetent) mad photog skills, I thought I had the camera turned to video, hence the non-attempt at focusing.

Okay, so maybe my skills are lacking in more ways than I would care to admit. :)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Project 365/28

I spent some time last night getting our art room cleaned up/straightened up/organized. It's a tiny room, and when it becomes the place for temporary storage like it did over Christmas, it doesn't take long for chaos to rule.

While getting things put away, I found this little jewel nestled among some of my favorite decorations. It was a gift from my friend Lin in Malaysia, handmade by her aunt. It has a delicate feel, a zipper closure and a handsewn lining, and I think it's exquisite.

You can see the beautiful quilled card Lin included with the bag here. She has a handmade card business and is extremely talented, and I am extremely grateful. :)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Homeschool Science Experiment #1

I'm hoping to work in more hands-on science experiments into our curriculum this semester, hence the hopeful title. :)

We've been studying steam power this week, and today we tried an experiment in harnessing that power.

The idea was that the pressure from the steam in the tea kettle would push the pinwheels we made around.

It would have worked, too, if it hadn't been for those meddling kids. haha

Actually, the problem was the steam was wilting the paper we used to make the pinwheels. So Jed contented himself with blowing on the steam instead. He thinks there's a scientific principle in that somewhere. :)

Project 365/27

I am so excited about this sandwich!

While Mom and Dad were visiting over the holidays, a sweet friend of ours in Florida sent us a gift package full of gourmet English muffins. I never knew there was such a thing! So I decided to experiment with something I've been wanting to try: replicating an egg McMuffin.

I'm not much of an adventurer in the kitchen, however, and they didn't turn out very well. The tricky part is the egg. I think they're poached, so I tried heating a bit of water in a pan, putting my wide mouth canning jar funnel in the pan, and cracking the egg into it. The concept seemed pretty reasonable, but the execution was not.

Then I had a brainstorm - biscuit cutters! I bought a 3" cutter and tried it out this morning. Success! Now I'm off to the store to buy more biscuit cutters so I can make more than one egg McMuffin at a time. :)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Project 365/26

One of the things I've always enjoyed about eating at Chinese restaurants is reading the characteristics of each animal on their paper placemats. The fun is enhanced when my tablemates have what seem to be less-than-desirable animal representatives. :) Mostly because I'm a Dragon, which is universally acknowledged as the most desirable. :D

Monday marked the beginning of the Chinese New Year, welcoming in (roll drum, please) the Year of the Dragon.

My friend Kitten is also a Dragon, and to celebrate this, our year, she sent me a beautiful little card and a very cool magnet.

Here's to a great year, Kitten - may it be your best one yet!

*you can see a much better picture of the magnet here
*you can see more of Kitten's art here

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Project 365/25

Rainbow Boy strikes again

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Project 365/24

If you read last night's post, you'll know why I was feeling a bit under the weather yesterday.
Jed tried to cheer me up by wrapping up yet another Christmas present for me.
Worked like a charm. :)
The best part? He read the whole book to me.
The boy is finally starting to enjoy reading!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Project 365/23

If the saying, "Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door" is true, I expect we'll be getting some company real soon. Apparently in Maine, at least the part we're living in now, it's the norm to have little, um, shall we say, visitors, during the winter months. So Jed set about creating a humane mousetrap with a bit of clever engineering...he propped open the lid of this plastic box with a popsicle stick and weighted it down with a container of rocks to keep the lid closed if the popsicle stick was knocked out. Then he attached an alarm he made with his science kit which would be triggered by the closing of the plastic box lid.

I thought the whole thing was pretty funny, until last night. I was awake till the wee hours of the morning with a stomach bug, and thought I was suffering from delirium as well when I heard the faint sounds of "Happy Birthday to You" playing on an electronic device in the stillness of the night. It was pretty creepy. Then I remembered that song is one of the choices Jed's alarm can be set to, and then the awful reality set in, which was even creepier. Something had triggered his mousetrap alarm.

I'm not happy about needing a mousetrap or catching a mouse, but it was fun to see how excited Jed was to find that his invention worked. The fun lasted all day, too, until Daddy got home and the business of disposing of our visitor was at hand. :)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Project 365/22

And this would be my new dream boat house,
to go along with my new dream house.
Lighthouse design #2, Grandpa & Grandma!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Project 365/21

I love the incongruity of a square plate on a round placemat. :)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Project 365/20

It's probably a sure sign of not always standing upright
when there's ice on your gloves while skating. :)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Project 365/19

He's got mail!
Thanks, Grandpa & Grandma
You made his day

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Project 365/18

We learned today that a child Jed's age
who has been battling cancer for five years
gave up the fight this morning.
If you have little ones, love them well.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Project 365/17

I took Jed and Grace to see Hugo last week.
There is something so deliciously pleasurable about seeing a movie in the middle of the afternoon.
This being one of the best movies I've ever seen was just icing on the cake.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Project 365/16

I did something pretty freaky today.
I bought baby clothes for a doll.
Definitely didn't see that ever happening...
at least not until this past Christmas, anyway.
A dear friend of ours in Missouri passed away this summer.
She had an extensive doll collection, and her daughter-in-law
sent me one of her dolls for Christmas.
To my delight, it wasn't one to put on a shelf and admire,
but one that feels like a real baby.
Except for the dirty diapers and round-the-clock feedings.
I think I'm going to enjoy this. :)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Project 365/15

At first glance the temperature may appear to be 64.
If so, look again, dear friends. It's 6.4.
We finally got some decent snow and now we finally get some decent temps! :)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Project 365/14

After running errands this morning, I spent the rest of this day preparing for my Sunday School class tomorrow. Having the responsibility of teaching someone else is a great motivator for studying!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Project 365/13

The ice skating lessons continue.... :D

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Project 365/12

Our first snowstorm of the year. Finally!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Project 365/11

Trying to get this child to pose for pictures is like trying to nail Jell-O to a tree. :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Project 365/10

I was going to use today's post to bemoan the fact that we never have enough time to tackle all the schoolwork and activities that I'd like to each day (that's a picture of our schoolroom worktable, complete with *almost* all the curricula we're using this year), but a much more urgent need presented itself while I was taking the photo - I think something's wrong with my autofocus. I put the camera on manual and it did fine, but everything on autofocus is fuzzy. Ack!!

Monday, January 09, 2012

Project 365/9

I cut out a magazine picture years ago of this arrangement and finally had time this Christmas to try making it. Inside the glass cylinder are pinecones, glass baubles filled with pine boughs, and branches to which are tied more pinecones. I have really enjoyed this bit of the outdoors in.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Project 365/8

I may still have my Christmas tree up, but I couldn't pass by this beautiful Valentine's Day decoration at TJ Maxx this afternoon. The lighting in the picture doesn't do the colors justice..deep reds and multiple shades of green. I wonder if I can make that big balsam fir a Valentine's tree? :)

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Project 365/7

I know the neighbors probably think we're crazy,
but we don't take down the Christmas tree till the end of January.
I might remove the ornaments sometime during the month,
but white lights on a balsam fir in my livingroom?
Can't be beat.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Project 365/6

Today is Epiphany, an ancient celebration of the arrival of the Magi to worship the Christ-child. It comes at the end of the Twelve Days of Christmas, which is a useful reminder that it took quite a while for them to travel to the birthplace of this new King - upwards of two years.

The gifts they brought with them speak of Christ's offices as prophet, priest and king. Gold was the usual gift for a king. Frankincense was used by the priest in temple worship. Myrrh was used in preparing a body for burial, which brings to mind the prophecies regarding the suffering of the Messiah.

Last year I purchased a small amount of frankincense and myrrh, along with gold organza bags, and shared them with my Sunday School class. Jed was excited to get his out again today and move the wise men to the Christ-child in our nativity set.

We don't have a lot of traditions in our family, but this, along with the Jesse tree we started this year, are two of the best ones we could have, I think.

Christmas Crafts

Our Christmas preparations went well this year, so we actually had time in December to do some fun stuff. In addition to seeing the Nutcracker ballet and participating in a homeschool group Christmas play, we made some cute things for friends.

These little votive holders sparkle like snow even when they're not lit. We applied snowflake stickers, then painted them white and sprinkled white glitter on the wet paint. The original idea was to remove the stickers and let the candle flame show, but that didn't work so well so we decided to leave them on instead and were happy with how that turned out.

Jed has been making an ornament each Christmas for several years now. This year's wood cut-out was in the shape of a vintage ornament, so I spray painted them a shiny gold and then Jed glued down braided gimp ribbons to mimic the wavy lines seen on the real thing.

This was probably our favorite project - altered matchboxes. We prepped these the same as the votive holders: white paint, then white glitter. When that was dry we glued on white pom-poms for the snowman's body, then added construction paper eyes, buttons, nose and top hat, and stick arms. They're filled with red and green M&Ms for a sweet treat.

I've been baking for our neighbors every Christmas as long as I can remember, and I've never enjoyed it much. Last year I decided to find an alternative, and cookies-in-a-jar fit the bill nicely. I love this idea because the recipients can bake them to enjoy whenever they like, most likely after all the other holiday goodies are gone. However, I heard from several folks that made them with their children or grandchildren before Christmas and appreciated not having to measure out all the ingredients, especially with little hands "helping." :)

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Project 365/5

My mom and dad give the best gifts.
This year it was a new mattress pad and blanket for our bed.
We tried it out last night and felt like we were sleeping in a hotel.
The pad is poufy and quilted and when we got up this morning,
I was struck by the design of the pad coming through the fitted sheet,
as if it recognized the luxury too. :D

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Project 365/4

My parents left today to make the long trek back to Virginia.
While cleaning up the house I found this note mom wrote to dad during their visit with us.
I about fell out of my chair when I read it...it is almost as funny as my dad's jokes.
You're a good sport, Mom. :)

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Project 365/3

My new dream house. :)

Project 365/2

We usually stretch out our Christmas celebration over a week or more.
Today was the last hurrah, and Jed is happily once again our rainbow boy.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Project 365/1

Our traditional New Year's Day celebration.
The way life should be. :)

Like a Bad Penny

After a very nice break from blogging, I've decided to resume with a new format. The thing I like best about blogs is the brief glimpse into another life they allow..."brief" being a key word there. Hence, Project 365. One photo a day, a brief caption, and then we can both get back to our real lives. Deal?