Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Project 365/60

Is it just me, or are you shocked as well that it's March already??
Well, it would be if it wasn't a leap year. :)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Project 365/59

My dad alerted us to the Jupiter, Venus and crescent Moon conjunction going on the last few nights. We're at the tail end of it now, but it was still clearly visible in our western sky this evening.

Viewing was spectacular; capturing the spectacle was not exactly successful. :)

To see great photos, click here and here.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Project 365/58

I've given up on winter this year. It's not coming.

So today I packed away the winter decorations -
the snowflakes, the snowmen, the snow scene village -
all gone.

It was nice to see the orange robin again.
I had missed this little guy.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Project 365/57

More of my mad stacking skillz. :)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Project 365/56

We've taken advantage of an unusually mild winter in Maine this year to do some letterboxing. Our most recent find was wedged under a metal clip sticking out from a cement post, and the metal clip had cracked the box's lid. The plastic box was frozen and it crumbled when we tried to force it out from under the clip, which revealed a large block of green ice. I've seen some unusual things in letterboxes, but this was a first.

There was a green ink pad inside the box, and apparently water trickled in through the crack in the box lid, mixed with the green ink, and froze into a lovely tinted ice sculpture. We put the whole mess (sans ice sculpture) in a grocery sack and brought it home to do the necessary repair work.

Come to find out, a hitchhiker in the box was the source of the green ink, and the primary box was unscathed. It took almost a week for all the pages of the hitchhiker's logbook to dry out enough to be handled, but finally today we were able to look through its green pages, dyed by the ink pad no doubt, and we were tickled to find out it's been in circulation since 2006. I hope the owner is as pleased it's still around as we are. Albiet, missing a green ink pad now. :)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Project 365/55

I've been feeling a lot of angst lately about the state of our school room. It's been a complete disaster area, full of unfinished projects and books stacked everywhere. Today I put the books away and tucked all the unfinished projects into a drawer and I'm amazed at how much better I feel. Clutter is exhausting.

As evidence of my new-found energy, I actually spent this evening working on next week's lesson plans. For a teacher who has been known to plan the next lesson while her student is doing another, this is real progress. :)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Project 365/54

I've never been very interested in politics, which means I've never been very knowledgeable about what's going on in our country, beyond the headlines at least. Mostly because I never really wanted to know. Ignorance is bliss, right?

I decided to become a more informed voter this year. It seemed the reasonable and responsible thing to do.

But the more I read, the more I feel like my head is about to explode.

How in the world anyone could make their living in the world of politics is beyond me. What a mess.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Project 365/53

At the beginning of December, our homeschool group offered the kids a chance to do some Christmas shopping with their own money, earned by doing chores around their homes. The items for sale were donated by the families that participated, and it was great fun watching the children decide what to buy for their loved ones.

Jed's not much for dilly-dallying around when it comes to shopping, and his was completed in record time. When the others were finished too and all were busy wrapping their gifts, I meandered over to the tables to see what was left that hadn't been purchased. That's where I spied this nifty little address book. I love that it has pockets, and I knew it would be easy to type up my addresses on blank business cards with a template from Avery. Now I can keep my addresses in alphabetical order even when I add someone new. Which is good, 'cause I'm kind of OCD that way.

So here's to another project checked off the to-do list. Yay! Oh, and here's to finding the perfect gift for your child to give you for Christmas! :)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Project 365/52

This is a pretty basic astronomy experiment,
but any schooling done in the dark
is exciting to an 8 year old boy. :)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Project 365/51

This has been the worst winter we've spent in Maine.
Hardly any snow on the ground.
Above-freezing temps.
Lake ice not solid enough to trust for snowshoeing.
It's sad when your son gets excited about a little
patch of ice on the ground with frozen leaves in it.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Project 365/50

Jed has been spending his sick time daydreaming about summer.
Which mostly involves drawing schematics of the trenches
he's planning to build in the sand at the lake.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Project 365/49

When I was in my twenties I inherited quite a bit of furniture from several different family members. I'll never forget my first attempt at refinishing and how amazed and thrilled I was to find beautiful wood hiding beneath an ugly, blackened finish. I was hooked.

I've probably refinished 25-30 pieces of furniture altogether, most of it using a chemical stripper. I shudder to think how careless I was with that toxic brew, especially when I first started, and I am now a die-hard sandpaper user.

I took the opportunity this week while Jed was sick to work on a little shelf I've been meaning to strip for years, and it went much better than I expected. I had to make a hardware store run today for more paper, but I think it'll be ready for the first of many coats of tung oil by the end of the weekend.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Project 365/48

This is an excellent childrens' book, but, like so many before it, one I would have thought little of after reading it to Jed. That is, were it not for Five in a Row. I can't tell you how exponentially this curriculum has increased our enjoyment of Jed's books. An in-depth study makes such a difference!

With this book, we studied the geography and culture of Cambrai and Calais France, the English Channel, the White Cliffs of Dover, the history of aviation, the art of inventing and perspective in art, among other things. It's no wonder to me that the FIAR books become treasures to the kids who have used them in their schooling.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Project 365/47

Since Jed's been sick this week, I've used some of the time we would have spent schooling to work on my Sunday School lessons. The kids in my class are each making a book chronicling our studies in Genesis, and part of my preparation includes splitting the chapters up into smaller sections appropriate for a page in their books.

The three chapters covering Noah have turned out to be richer in content than I realized, and it looks like I'll end up with 10-12 weeks of lesson plans by the time I'm finished with them. I can't tell you how that excites me! If I could get that far ahead in our school lessons we'd be all set. :)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Project 365/46

We had a Jesse Tree this year for the first time, and Jed and I both loved it. So much so, in fact, that I've been looking for real ornaments to replace the paper ones we used. I've run into some trouble, though, with the star.

I found a metal 8 pt origami star on Amazon that was the right shape, and inexpensive, and available for free economy shipping. Perfect, right? Not exactly. The day it arrived I opened the package to find...a 12 pt origami star. While beautiful, it wasn't what I wanted or ordered, so I contacted Amazon. They said I could keep the 12 pt star, and offered me a refund as well as one day shipping on a reorder. I took them up on their offer, and the day #2 arrived I opened the package to find...a 12 pt origami star. I contacted Amazon, they said I could keep the 12 pt star, and offered me a refund as well as one day shipping on a reorder. I took them up on their offer, and the day #3 arrived I opened the package to find...a 12 pt origami star.

I wrote Amazon and asked them how many 12 pt origami stars they intended to ship me (overnight, no less) for free before they decided to send me the 8 pt origami star ornament I ordered. I haven't heard from them yet.

Anybody want a 12 pt origami star? Maybe I'll do a blog giveaway if you're interested. :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Project 365/45

For a boy who's been sick for three days,
a taste of chocolate must seem heavenly.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Project 365/44

This little gem is quickly becoming my best friend. I've used it more in the past few weeks than I have in the past few years, probably, and I am loving it. It's one of the sweetest feelings to have dinner cooking all day long while I'm working on other things. Almost as good as having a personal chef.
Well, not really, but it's good. :)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Project 365/43

One of my favorite memories is attending a Valentine card-making class with my friend Carmen many years ago. She was so much fun, she made everything we did together fun. Her merry spirit alone was enough to make the class a delight, but we discovered a treasure that day - the joy of making something beautiful - and we were both amazed.

We each made four cards, and I happily gave all mine away that Valentine's Day. It wasn't until later that I wished I had kept at least one, particularly the one that had a little frame in the center with confetti in it. I was enchanted with that little creation.

Fast forward several years, and another favorite memory was made - the Valentine's Day my dear friend Carmen gave me that card, the one with the confetti, the one she had made. She had kept all her cards because she loved them, but she knew that one was my favorite and she loved me more.

Thank you, Carmen. I miss you.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Project 365/42

This was a day for organization.
I spent hours in Jed's room,
weeding through toys and puzzles and Legos.
I rewarded myself for that hard work
by getting my file drawers color coded.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Project 365/41

Well, Jed's Valentines were a bust.
At least in his opinion.
There's a clue in the Valentines shown above,
which Jed received today in the exchange.
Notice a repetitive theme?
Candy. And Spiderman pencils.
No matter that we spent hours working on them.
They didn't have candy.
They had magnets, but no candy.
Magnets last longer than candy.
My logic was disdained.
I've already made a note on my calendar for next year -
just buy some candy and let Jed write his name on the wrappers.
Everyone wins.
Especially me. :)

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Project 365/40

School is consuming us lately.
So much so, that we just started working on Valentines today,
and tomorrow is our homeschool group Valentine's Day party.
I don't like being behind,
but at least it's for a better reason than the normal one. :)

This card design is so cute...
the flaps open up to reveal the message inside.
The orange dot holding the flaps together has a magnet hidden inside,
and the little heart on top is mounted on a magnet as well
and covered with a page pebble.
Even Jed had fun making these!

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Project 365/39

Another little gift from our friends in Paraguay.
Apparently armadillos are desirable pets in that part of the world...
at least to four beautiful little children we know and love.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Project 365/38

Another science experiment today, this one trying to coax the separating of colors from a black ink mark. We never saw the range of colors we were expecting; however, we're blaming that not on the failure of our scientific method but rather on our cheap markers. :)

Monday, February 06, 2012

Project 365/37

Our friends in Paraguay sent us a piece of their paper money recently.
Have you ever seen a bill with little peep holes before?! :)
2,000 (dos mil in Spanish) guaranies is worth not quite 50 cents in US dollars.
The money isn't actually paper - it's polymer, like Tyvec.
Muy cool! :)

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Project 365/36

It's beginning to look a lot like Valentine's,
Everywhere you look...

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Project 365/35

See this sad, sad corner?
This is the corner that, until today, held the most beautiful Christmas tree ever.
This is a sad, sad day.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Project 365/34

This has been my view the last couple of nights. It's making my head spin. :)

Our 45,000 photos are organized chronologically on my hard drive, but years ago we didn't upload them as often as I do now, so there were occasionally a few weeks' worth of pics in one file folder. This has made finding a specific photo difficult, so I got the idea to separate all our pics (all 45,000 of them) according to the day they were taken, which has meant creating a ton of new folders and moving the pics into them.

My memory is pretty hazy, but I think I used to have fun on Friday nights. :)

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Project 365/33

Tracy told me a long time ago that I need to consider homeschooling my job. As in, "No, thank you, I would not like to volunteer for that - I have a job." It's taken me a long time to grasp that concept, but I'm finally beginning to, now that our school days last all day sometimes (albiet, with a long lunch break, to keep both our sanities intact). The cool thing about that is, we're both enjoying it, and we're getting closer to what I always thought homeschooling would be like. Of course, being home more is paramount to that's hard to homeschool when we're not home. I've tried it...carschooling does not work so well for us. :)

Now that we're home more, I've had time (during those long lunch breaks) to tackle some of the household projects I've been putting off. One of them is pictured above - revamping the clock my son Brad made years ago for a school project. A while back I was actually considering finding it a good home because although I loved that my son made it, I never liked the light finish, the gold clock face, the fancy clock hands, the loud ticking of the second hand or the wood knob on the door. Then recently it occurred to me that I could fix all those things, and I got to work.

I stained and polyed the wood, replaced the wood knob with a metal one, used alcohol inks on the clock face to tint it a light green, clipped the fancy things off the clock hands, and clipped the second hand off the metal post that holds the hands onto the clock works. Voila! A new (quiet) clock that my son and I both made. :)

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Project 365/32

Rainbow boy strikes yet again :)
Only this time, it's a scientific fact...
his shirt appears white because it is,
in fact,
actually every color of the rainbow
and every color of the rainbow combined
makes white
"What We Learned in School Today"