Thursday, January 31, 2013

Potential Art Project Plans


I've long considered myself a creative-type person, one with lots of ideas swirling around in my head, and lots of clutter in my house. [Creative types tend to accumulate clutter -- everything looks useful, so why throw it away! ::sigh::]

However, the truth of my past ten years has been that, combined with an accumulated sense of being buried in my clutter, I just avoid art in my home school like the plague! Why? ...Because I don't want a mess! I don't want to have to clean up the project, let alone any unexpected spills...

But every year I seem to come back to this point of wanting to retackle our art program with new vigor, particularly now -- at a time of year when there are so many months ahead for my son to accomplish things to that he can enter them at the County Fair, which he loves to do. So I have come up with some possible activities for us to direct our energy toward for 2013:

  • Ceramic Mosaic - I originally saw an art idea about a ceramic wall mural. It wasn't exactly what I was looking for, so I looked again using different search terms and came up with a ceramic art project that looks close to what I am trying to accomplish. There was a real good "how to" at this link. There was a pretty idea for a garden stepping stone as well. I also really liked the clay-tablet method of mural described on the Deep Space Sparkle blog. I wonder if I can think of a way to make the mosaic out of small clay squares...
  • Koi Fish Art - For the Koi Fish Art Lesson you want to start with a sheet of paper either 8-1/2" X 11" or 9" X 12 ". Using chalk pastels, have the artist draw either one or two koi, using the sample illustrations from the Deep Space Sparkle lesson page. The student will then paint in the fish using either water color, tempera, or acrylic paint. Let dry, then mount to mat board.
  • Chalk Bird Art Project - The Chalk Bird Art Project starts with  letting the student see some black and white bird photos (I wouldn't mind color, either). Then, using a standard sheet of art paper, the artist draws a black outline picture using black oil pastel. Then the student uses chalk pastels to color in. It is helpful to have a sheet of paper to set on the artwork for the child to rest the drawing hand on so the oil pastel doesn't smear. After coloring in, a fixative needs to be applied to keep the pastel from smearing.
  • Abstract Acrylic Painting Project - This is one I think we can do, that I found on a website called Art Made Easy.   It's a link to a page called My Cool Homeschool for Abstract Fun. I found searching about Abstract Painting to be very helpful, because I wasn't sure what that fair catelog entry was asking for. It can be anything from art where you blow the paint with a straw, to splatter painting, painting with the wheels of a car driven through paint... Lots of possibilities...
  • Calligraphy Art Project - I was looking for lessons on calligraphy so we could maybe do a project for the fair.  I found one five-day caligraphy lesson page here, but it didn't give real concrete ideas of what to caligraphy...  But it gave some suggested links which I followed.  The first link led to Calligraphy Lessons On-Line, which may give more calligraphy information than the average homeschooler would ever want... So I finally found some samples of framed calligraphy art here.  That looks achievable. I'm just not sure if it would still be considered calligraphy if it were like a painting of a geisha girl (to the right on the link), or only if it is the words. I think only the words. Like one could do a trio of faith, hope and love...
  • How to paint Portraits in acryllicon e-How - this is excellent! A video series! She instructs you to paint this one on canvas, so I did a little more research and learned you are supposed to prepare your canvas. I had no idea! So there is something called Gesso that you paint the canvas with before you do your painting. Then Jacklyn LaFlamme teaches you about different types of brushes. If your child is interested in painting, follow through this woman's series. She is a professional artist, and these videos are well done.
  • Charcoal Drawing Project - I really loved this reverse charcoal technique. Look low on the page to where it talks about starting with a simple subject to draw, like an egg. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tuesday Tidbits

I've been wanting to post about our Adventures in Wonderland for a couple of weeks now. Since I didn't post it last week, I'll have to lump it all together.

Last week, we were strolling through Wonderland with Alice. (I love this classical education we're getting!)  We were with Alice, when we came to this lovely, funny, "Ha! Ha!" that we might not have understood a year ago. Alice was swimming in a pool from her tears, that she had cried a few moments before, when she was a giant, but now she was only several inches tall. She heard a noise in the pool, and found it was a mouse. She tried to speak to the mouse, but it didn't respond. 

"O Mouse!" -- Alice thought this must be the right way of speaking to a mouse; she had never done such a thing before, but she remembered having seen in her brother's Latin grammar, "A mouse--of a mouse--to a mouse--a mouse--O mouse!"
Which, in case you are not studying Latin (which we are), is a take off on the first verb declensions studied: "Amo, Amas, Amat, Amamus, Amatis, Amant".  That doesn't translate exactly, but it is clearly what Lewis Carroll was implying. It was so funny!

She thought, "Oh, maybe it only speaks French!" So she said to the mouse the only French she could remember, "Ou et ma chatte?" (which means, "Where is my cat?"), which was the first lesson in her French book. The mouse reacted by suddenly leaping out of the water and quivering with fright. I'm so glad the mouse, at least, understand French... heh! heh!
So this week's funny (today's funny, actually), was from later in the book when Alice was chatting with the Gryphon and the Mock Turtle. Alice asked the Mock Turtle what he studied in school. He answered, "Reeling and Writhing, of course, to begin with," ("Reading and Writing"), "and then the different branches of Arithmetic--Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Derision." ("Addition", "Subtraction", "Multiplication", and "Division".)  And then there was also "Mystery", "Mystery--Ancient and Modern, with Seeography, then Drawling--the Drawling Master was an old conger-eel, that used to come once a week: he taught us Drawling, Stretching and Fainting in Coils." (That would be "History--Ancient and Modern, with Geography, then Drawing...  ...he taught us Drawing, Sketching and Painting in Oils.")

All that word substitution JD really enjoyed understanding the implied and what was actually said. Later in the reading she learned from the lobsters that whitings (a type of fish) were for whiting boots (whereas Alice would put blacking on her boots), and that boots under the see are made of soles and eels (types of fish, instead of "Soles and Heels"), and that no wise fish would go anywhere without a porpoise. ("Don't you mean 'purpose'?" said Alice. "I mean what I say," the Mock Turtle replied in an offended tone.)

The nonsense in this book is so extreme that my son wonders if the author was in the habit of sharing that hooka with the caterpillar on the mushroom....

2nd Snow of the Year

The weather was cold outside. The new fallen snow was in a very thin layer outside. My son was having difficulty waking up.

He has started making home made whistles, lately. Yesterday he asked if we could hike over to the bamboo patch so that he could cut some bamboo to use for whistles.  "Get dressed," I told him. "We'll hike over to the bamboo. We'll get some exercise; we can call it P.E. We'll get your bamboo, and we'll enjoy the day and also call it a nature walk." He liked the idea of the bamboo, but barely tolerated the other ideas. "What? We're not taking the car?"

 I envy those blogs that have those "country" views. I can pretend that I live i the country, but the reality is that I live on 2/10ths of an acre in suburbia.
 So, can you see this light smattering of snow that we got? Can you believe the public schools were on a 2-hour delay when we took this walk? It didn't look necessary to me... Just sayin'...
 I told JD that we should look for animal tracks on our walk. (You know... foxes, deer, raccoon, opossum... rats, cats, dogs...)

 Found some people tracks...
 Like the picture of my shadow? I was really bundled up... like an Eskimo...
 There is a certain beauty to the urban spacing of trees along a street.

 It was hard to believe the schools were opening late.

 This was a nice snow on pine view.

 JD got his bamboo.
 And then I started noticing how some of the trees resembled Snow on Bush in Winter, by David Caspar Friederick.
 Hard to decide which looked most like that painting, the tree or the bush.
 Finally found some tracks -- someone walked their dog.
 Found another of those oak trees that hold their dead leaves all winter and don't drop them til the new leaves come out in the spring.
 We really liked the view of the tennis court unmarred by footsteps.

 JD covered in snow...
 after making snow angels!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Menu Monday #5

 Do you know what's for dinner at your house this week? Here are my plans:

Sunday: Boy Scout banquet--so I took a vegan dish so I could know I would have something I could fill up on:  Quinoa with squash and mushrooms

Monday: mushroom barley soup, salad, bread

Tuesday: oven-baked chicken pieces, broccoli, rice (vegan chicken patty)

Wednesday: beef stew, rolls (beefless stew)

Thursday: pork chops, noodles, green beans (vegan patty or leftovers)

Friday: Salmon, vegan rissotto, spinach

SaturdaySweet potato, corn, kale chowder

Found Fat Free Vegan's website this week. Love it. Though I would share it with you.

Black-eyed pea Masala looks good, but has ingredients I've never heard of that I don't know where to find (asafetida, garam masala, etc.)

Friday, January 25, 2013

January Hymn Study

The Ambleside Online selected hymn for January 2013 is  hymn called My Song is Love Unknown by Samuel Crossman.  

It's not a bad hymn, per se, but I don't know it, never heard of it, and am therefore not particularly drawn to it.  There are so many good hymns that have gone by that I haven't gotten to with JD that my inclination is to pick a different hymn for us this month.

Looking to a rotation that we will never do, for the years 2020-2021 (JD will graduate in 2018), I have decided I will cover I Sing the Mighty Power of God with him this month. I always like to find a version on YouTube that we can use:

December Hymn Study

My blog entry for November's Hymn Study sat in draft format for two months; and I never even blogged a December Hymn Study, so I thought I'd take care of that now.

In December my son does not want to do anything but Christmas songs. Nevertheless, I thought I would look and see what hymn the Ambleside rotation had for December. It was "Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow", also known as "The Doxology".

Now that is so interesting... That one song was recently done at my church (which mostly does contemporary music), and I remember getting personally bent out of shape because the song was, as per usually happens at my church, done in some contemporary format. I am SO TIRED of my church doing my traditional songs and hymns in contemporary formats. Please, TR, please play some of my songs and hymns in the traditional format! Please!

In the meantime, at least I can enjoy them in traditional format at home. So off I go to YouTube to find a presentation of "The Doxology" in the traditional format. This one came close to what I am looking for (not perfect in its timing, but it'll do for now):


So's cold outside!

Trying to get my guy through a school day when the windows are outside and it is snowing is kinda like trying to herd cats... or trying to hold a cup of waters in your hands, without the cup...

Got to 2:45, and trying to get through Lassie, Come Home!, and he's begging, "Please, can't I go out and put a piece of black paper down so I can see how much snow falls? Please can't I take pictures of the snow?" And finally relented, telling him he still had to finish Lassie, no matter what time it was when  he finished. He agreed.

So, with the new camera that Auntie gave him for Christmas, he went outside. And look at the results!

 I'm so envious! My camera doesn't focus on snowflakes like that...!

Before the snow, this morning, he also took these nature photos:

 He sure is taking great photos! He was upset with the cardinal for running away before he could get a good shot of it.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

November Hymn Study

The Ambleside Online Hymn Rotation has Anywhere With Jesus as the selected hymn for November of this term.

It's been difficult to find a nice arrangement of this song on YouTube to post here. I finally decided on the following. It as an arrangement sung by Amy Grant, kinda country-songish, but nice:

Hardly seems like a hymn when it is done that way -- more like a country music song for sure, but I think my son might like it. For back-up I am considering All Things Bright and Beautiful. It dovetails with the James Herriott book we are currently reading, All Creatures Great and Small, and I've wanted to introduce it to my son.  And I really think he'll like the YouTube video I found to go with it:

I don't remember many things from the church of my earliest childhood, but this song I remember. Because of that it is difficult to sing this song without tears coming to my eyes. I can remember sitting next to my Brittish gram (I miss you, Gram!) in the choir loft, singing this song beside her, listening to the lilt her tongue gave certain words. I picked up that lilt, and certain words in songs I always sing with that lilt ...a certain pronunciation of "thr" or "th"... I really have to think about them to pronounce them any other way than the way I learned to pronounce them while singing by her side. ::sigh::

Another song I remember fondly from those early childhood church days is "Onward Christian Soldier". I'll want to make sure I cover that one with my son as well. Sadly, that song means different things to me now than it meant to me when I was six. I now understand there were implications of the Crusades in that song that I now don't like to think about so much. All the same, I tend to straighten my posture and belt it out any chance I get to sing, "Onward Christian Soldiers!" I find it to be an encouraging song. And I still remember singing it on warm, late spring mornings, with sun streaming in at an angle through tall church windows, and dust specks filtering down on the air. Ah, memories.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Menu Monday #4 - 1/21/13

I have a carnivore, so I have to make a plan that is meat based with vegan options. When main dish does not include all I nead for my vegan selection, the additional vegan choice is in parentheses.

Menu Plan for this week:

Beef/vegetable cabobs, rice (vegetable cabobs, brown rice with black beans)

Nile River Lentil Soup, salad,  Wasa crisp bread
Oven baked chicken, Knock-out Kale Rice Bowl, broccoli

Cheeseburgers on rolls (veggie burgers/no cheese), green beans

Fish Sticks, French Fries (Oven baked yam fries), Spinach

Lentils and Rice, Brussels Sprouts (the carnivore will not be home... ;-)

Super Bean Burritos, refried beans, Tostito Chips 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

12 Letters That Didn't Make the Cut

I wish I had been smart enough or educated enough to have written this article, but I won't take credit for having known all of this stuff. I will direct you, instead, to the original article from the Mental Floss blog.

Letters that didn't make the cut (I cannot write them correctly, cause I don't know how to find them in the available scripts on my computer, but) are:

1. Thorn (looks a lot like a small letter p);
2. wynn (also looks like a small letter p, but shaped differently);
3. yogh (looks like the number 3, and makes the gutteral ch sound like in "Bach");
4. ash (ae joined);
5. eth (like a letter d that you cross like a t);
6. & (was a letter that came at the end of the alphabet and meant "and per se and");
7. insular g (resembled a g at the bottom, but was open at the top - difficult to describe; morphed through several pronunciations);
8. tht (seen in churches; like a p with a tall stem above the circle, that is crossed like a t);
9. ethel (oe blend);
10. Triond "ond" (like a 7, but with a straight stick, or a crossed stick);
11. Long s (looks like f, like when you see in an old book "Paradife Loft")
12. eng (an altered letter n)

I love articles like this that stretch my brain. I am a life-long learner, and this article was so much so fast that I can't wrap my brain around all of it so quickly. So I will have to go back and review the material several times so I can absorb it better.

There was also a link at the bottom of the article that I plan to check out, "You also might be interested in", about why I sneeze in the sunshine. I will want to read that, because I've noticed that since I was a little kid.

Hope you enjoyed this link to Mental Floss

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Inspiration for the day

So I followed a Facebook link posted by a friend today, and found myself spending time being inspired by Nick Vujicic videos. Sixty Minutes did a spot on Nick:

I knew Nick had gotten married in 2012 (in February, I learned). An interview (I don't know from when) revealed that his wife was now 21 weeks pregnant with a boy! How exciting!

 Then sixty minutes did another spot on Nick about his meeting and marrying his wife.

So inspiring. The last video said it was posted 11 months ago, so I can only imagine his son has been born by now. I look forward to hearing about it.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

100 Verses in 2003

So I am doing this challenge.  But I forgot to do it last week, so I am already behind. ::sigh::

100 Verses in 2013 Week 3

Romans 3:23 (NASB) - 23 for all [a]have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Romans6:23  -
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Playing catch up, Week 2 was:

100 verses week 2

John 1:14
14 And the Word became flesh, and [a]dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of [b]the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 3:16
16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His [a]only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 

How and Why to Menu Plan

 I am a planner. "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail."

Through the years I have come to learn that menu planning is important, and it sets your household up to run smoothly. (Well, not by itself; I mean, I have a plan for so many areas of life, and plans help the household to run smoothly. But this post will deal with menu planning.)
So, why is menu planning important. Here are a few reasons:
  • You save money. When I didn't menu plan, inevitably we would often end the day with fast food or a trip to the grocery store. That grocery store would sometimes have a goal ("Let's get what we need for spaghetti tonight..."), or it might be an unplanned meandering through the aisles of the grocery store, which would include expensive impulse purchases.
  • You save time and gasoline. Now don't get me wrong -- there were definitely days when I didn't even care what we ate for dinner, but I just wanted hubby to watch the kids for a bit while I got some time to myself where I could talk to people who could speek more than one-syllable words. But there were times when it got to be an hour to make a "quick trip", between traffic, crowds, meandering and trying to decide what sounded good...
  • Someone else can step in. It's been awhile since I had anyone step in, but there have definitely been times. There was a time when a doctor's appointment took longer than I expected, and I was able to call my daughter, who was able to find the food in the fridge, find the recipe, and get it prepared. There have been times when I was sick in bed and hubby was able to do the same. And I see hope for the future that my maturing son will do the same sometime soon, or even cook while I oversee.

Well, if you are convinced you are willing to give it a try, you may be asking how one goes about doing such a thing.  There are basic steps to go through, so I will enumerate them here.
  • First, decide when the shopping will be done. Then set aside some planning time before that to put together your menu plan and grocery list simultaneously.
  • Pull out the calendar. What happens when affects what you have time to prepare or so you'll have time to do dishes before you go out to an activity. We usually have, on Wednesday nights, a meal that can be prepared quickly,  so my daughter can get out the door early to her evening activity. Thursdays I want a meal without too much clean-up so I can get 'er done before I go out to my activity with JD.
  • In my home I try to rotate the main dishes, the starches, the veggies (so beef doesn't follow beef, or noodles follow noodles, etc.)  I even tried, for awhile, to have a different animal's meat each night, with a veggie meal for the 6th night, and maybe leftovers for the 7th (beef, pork, chicken, seafood, turkey, veggie, potluck). 
  • I put my plans on my calendar. I put the page of the recipe by the name of the dish (when appropriate). (When I was really organized I kept a FlyLady Control Journal with the printout of the recipe in a plastic sleeve following the calendar page listing the plans, but I am currently not that organized.)
So, last week I planned Gnocchi and Basic Red Sauce and kale for Monday. It is a dish that fixes up quickly, and I planned it for that day because we had an outside activity. For Tuesday I planned Creamy Cauliflower Soup, salad and rolls. I planned it for a day I expected to have time to make a home-made soup (cutting up lots of vegetables).  Wednesday we had Sloppy Joes, rolls, and cooked carrots (kids are allergic to raw) so my daughter could get to her meeting. Thursday we were going to have Lemon chicken (lime chicken option), rice, and broccoli (faux chicken patty for the vegans), but I couldn't find the lemon so I used lime. The rest of the week I'm planning:
Even with planning we often change plans, bump things, cancel things, have nights were we eat leftovers unexpectedly... Often, though, we eat any leftovers for our lunches during the week.

The types of food that we eat seems to change constantly, but I am hoping, eventually, to have a calendar full of potential meal plans to pick from. That will speed things up in the future. Sometimes I get a request for "BLTs" in January, even though I think of that as a summer meal. Often we have at least one evening of chili in August, even though that is more of a cold-weather meal choice. But, in general, there are certain foods we eat more often in certain seasons, and I'm working on getting an annual plan to springboard from to make things easier.

One last thing I also do to try to keep me on track to do my lesson planning each week. That helpful item is to link up to a website where people post their weekly menu plans each week. That item, alone, seems to really help me a lot.

So those are my reasons and tips for menu planning. Go give it a try! Meanwhile I need to go -- I have to go finish my next menu plan. If you are curious about that, check out my last Menu Plan post.

Thanks for reading! To read more "How to" Crew Blog entries, visit the Homeschool Crew Blog.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Nature Study #2, 2013 (1/9/13)

I was feeling under the weather, but thought I was well enough for a walk. I knew our vague goal was going to be rocks and minerals... sometime soon... But if our walk did not come to that today I was okay with that. JD was just ecstatic to get out for the walk. I think he sees these nature walks as opportunities to "not do school".
 Early January in MD, and the weather so mild JD was in shirt sleeves! Not me, though. I was in my long sleeve shirt with a polar fleece jacket over it.
Our first stop was at the chirping bush. I know they are hard to discern, but the bush is winter shelter to chickadees, sparrows, goldfinch, and many other birds. It is hard to know exactly what, as it is difficult to get any closer a look that my camera can give with full zoom. These birdies are so skittish that they quickly flit to a different bush when I try to get closer.

JD stopped next to check on a family geocache. It is hidden in the nook of an apple tree. You can barely see JD hidden behind the tree below.

 We also discovered some acorns, and then we decided to collect some to take home for the squirrels in our back yard.
 Then I asked JD to see what rocks he could find, and he dug one up.
 Milky Quartz, if I am not mistaken.
 While he was working on that I had noticed that the oak tree I was standing under had retained its dry, dead leaves, but the tree next to it was leafless. 

And the crowning finish to our nature walk was the pair of squirrels that were chatting with each other as we got back to our house. They saw us coming and ran for it, but I was able to snap a shot as they ran away.