Thursday, April 24, 2014

Easy Dyed Wooden Easter Eggs

Syd and I fell out of the mood for Easter crafting early this season. We didn't even make the toilet paper tube Resurrection scene that I had SUPER wanted to make, if only for Matt's absolute "WTF?!?" look when I showed him the project.

Ah, well... I never did score an empty tissue box for Jesus' tomb, anyway.

But last week on Good Friday (we should at least have done the toilet paper tube Jesus on the cross! Shoot!), while Will spent the whole entire solid afternoon at the library, Syd did finally put down her horse and Barbie fashion design work for long enough that we could make one last Easter craft that we'd been wanting to do, and fortunately it was a super quick and easy one.

You will need wooden eggs, liquid watercolors, and small Ziplock bags.

Just as we do to dye other unfinished wooden objects, Syd popped a wooden egg into a Ziplock bag, added in a couple of squirts of color--

--and massaged the color into the egg, all safe and tidy inside the bag: 

As she always does with color mixing, Syd had a ball with this project. She experimented with design and color, ending up, of course, with lots of brown-that-we're-choosing-to-call-golden eggs:

For extra shine, you could rub some homemade beeswax wood polish into them, but we usually like them just fine just the way they are (well, those "golden" ones might get redecorated next year...). 

The egg hunt was EPIC this year--52 eggs hidden for these two kids!





So there was an epic egg hunt, the Easter bunny brought us candy and books, and Matt baked lamb for dinner.

Festive enough, I'd say, even without TP Jesus...

Monday, April 21, 2014

Work Plans for the Week of April 21, 2014: Actively without a Plan

It's Trashion/Refashion Show week! Syd will be walking the runway wearing her original design, Upside-Down Orange, at 7:00 pm on Sunday; they also make all the designers walk at the end of the show, so I need to buy some jeans that fit before then. And figure out the kid's hairstyle. And her make-up. And her shoes. And practice, practice, practice!

We've got a busy week even without fashion show business. We're heading up to Indy tomorrow, where the public tour department of the Indiana Statehouse has invited us to jump into a schoolchildren's field trip tour of the building, and then I'm hoping to head from there over to the Eiteljorg to enhance the Native American portion of our Indiana history unit.

On Thursday, Will's been asked to participate in the filming of some promotional/marketing material for the IU Art Museum, so Syd and I will work puzzles at the Lily Library, tour the Jordan Hall Greenhouse, and perhaps bowl in the IMU bowling alley while Will is learning more about art, advertising, and the film industry.

Over the weekend, both kids have 4-H workshops on geology and recycling, and then Will has an additional workshop on bottle rockets (must remember to arm her with a plastic 2-liter soda bottle from somewhere) while Syd and I are at Trashion/Refashion Show dress rehearsal.

And that's not to mention, of course, a full week's worth of volunteering, extracurriculars, play dates, Park Day, and chess club.

So the academic plan for the week is to bow to these activities, really immersing ourselves in them and allowing ourselves to focus on them. When we're home, the children should be steadily working on their International Fair project (I need to make an assignment sheet for this today, with a list of the required components), and Will has some work to do today concerning state government, so that she really understands the information in our tour tomorrow. I've also got three written assignments that they'll need to complete each day:

  1. Two units each in a Kumon math drill book--word problems for Will and geometry (which also covers measurement and time telling, oddly) for Syd. The subjects are pretty much review, because the kids will need to be able to complete these assignments independently on a couple of days, but they'll reinforce concepts and keep them thinking mathematically.
  2. One page each in A-Z Mystery flags--Syd happily does cursive copywork, but Will can't be forced into it, so I bought this book, with her pre-approval, as an attempt at mediation. I'm going to start one kid in the book back-to-front, so they can't tip each other off about the answer to each day's mystery flag. 
  3. One page in their journals--The kids each have this journal, and for now I just ask them to write *something*. Syd does like to draw a picture and write about something that she's done that day, but Will mostly does lists--books she's read that day (a shocking number, every time), items received in a package from a pen pal, gifts in her Easter basket, etc.
With a few hands-on projects strewn in, plenty of outdoor play, and always more gardening to do, that will be our week!

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Best Way to Hike

Leave your mother and the trail far, far behind:

Get frightened by a goose, find a beaver dam, collect an unidentified skull, make sure lots of briars get stuck to your pants:

Go to the water:

Ensure that you will absolutely, "accidentally" immerse yourself:


Because if you don't come back so wet and muddy that your mom makes you strip before she lets you into her car--

--are you totally sure that you had enough fun?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

My Latest over at Crafting a Green World: Kids Can Upcycle

an article about NBA Green, which encourages kids to upcycle

and a round-up of upcycling projects for kids

In other news, we're again deep in the middle of fashion show season. The masking tape runway is on the living room floor, the giant chalk runway is on the basketball court, Syd and I are spending hours at rehearsals, and make-up, modeling, and dress-up play occupy much of that kid's free time. Seriously, I wouldn't be surprised if the mom of Syd's bestest little buddy doesn't allow her to come over here anymore if I send her home one more time wearing eyeliner. 

It's a lot of creative expression, though, and the processing of a big event--Syd's inspired, clearly, and gets a lot of enjoyment and fulfillment from the process (even if so much of the rehearsals involve so much tedious waiting around!). And my little fashion designer keeps leaving surprises like this one around for me to discover:

It's a very elegantly refashioned pony outfit, don't you agree?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Stop Motion Animation for Kids: Little Horse that is Walking

Cartooning is one of the elements of the Girl Scout Entertainment Technology badge for Juniors. This is why Will built her thaumotrope, and why she spent one happy morning creating this tiny little masterpiece of stop motion animation:


Both kids have played with stop motion animation their entire lives at one hands-on science museum or the other (off the top of my head, I could give you a list of the exhibits that seemingly EVERY hands-on science museum owns: stop motion animation station, fog tornado, giant bubble making, coin funnel, building block earthquake demonstration, etc.), but the ipad app, MyCreate, that Will used for this project is much more versatile and ripe with creative possibilities. Will did this particular project independently, while Syd and I were playing elsewhere, so I definitely need to set aside a few moments to teach Syd how to use the app, as well. As much as she plays with dolls and toy animals and building blocks, I think she'd LOVE this!

Other activities and resources that we've enjoyed while exploring the science and art of animation:
  • We watched all three Toy Story films films. The first one was part of activities for the Birthday Week fun patch, as the first full-length computer-animated film. As we watched that one, we made a point to notice and evaluate all the details of the animation. We watched Toy Story 2 directly after, and were immediately able to notice the improvements made in those details, and in other effects the animators were now able to achieve. Toy Story 3 didn't offer much visible improvement over Toy Story 2, but again, its improvement in animation quality over Toy Story was drastic.
  • We own a little zoetrope. Drawing the images for it is a little tricky, but if you do it just right, you can pop it into the zoetrope and watch your animation! 
  • The kids and I watched Nightmare before Christmas as an example of real stop motion animation done to perfection. 
  • We utilized the following books:


I'm actually not that pleased with the resources that I found; I would have liked something on the history of animation, and some more modern works about animation for children, perhaps with more hands-on project tutorials, biographies of cartoonists other than Disney, and something fictional.

Ah, well... at least library research is one of my favorite hobbies, so I'll just have to keep at it!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Work Plans for the Week of April 14, 2014:

MONDAY: Will's got her multiplication tables memorized well enough that I'm letting her move on with her math this week--I think she'll appreciate having the facts down, since she's immediately moving into multiplying large numbers. Syd's been tagging along with the multiplication memorization, even though her own math curriculum was more focused on weights and measures at the time, but now that I'm ready to plan a hands-on math activity that's NOT multiplication for her, she's finished that unit and has moved into multiplication! So today's hands-on math is once again multiplication in disguise; the kids have both done areas and arrays on graph paper before, but didn't love it, so for today I'm going to see if I can make it into a game and make it more fun.

Inexplicable car trouble (which comes, of COURSE, on the heels of inexplicable plumbing trouble and trying-to-buy-a-new-house trouble) means that we're missing our volunteer shift today, and normally I'd be stoked about the unexpected free time, but it's stormy outside, so that's a lot less fun. The storms also hint that we won't be waking up at 2:30 am tomorrow to watch our total lunar eclipse (or rather, we will be waking up, but then we'll be going back to bed, sorely disappointed, five minutes later), but we're still going to do our phases of the moon project and I'm still going to send the kids to bed early tonight. Little more free time for me, at least!

Keyboard with Mr. Hoffman and Latin with Song School Latin should finish off our work day nicely.

TUESDAY: Tuesday was a gorgeous day last week--you can always tell the gorgeous days of the previous week, because a couple of their school assignments always reappear this week! So although we did do a lot of basketball and pogo stick and climbing and flower picking and bird spotting last Tuesday, we've still got that Phylo deck and the penny experiment to do this Tuesday; at least it's not supposed to be gorgeous outside tomorrow, so perhaps they will indeed get done.

The kids are doing a project on Iceland for their homeschool's International Fair next month, and there's still a ton to do: report, map, perhaps a recipe or two, perhaps some glacier and geology science, perhaps an essay about the Icelandic horse, etc. My own personal chore for this project is to see if I can make a dry-erase tri-fold display board. Wouldn't that be handy, to use for every single fair the kids do every year? I certainly think so!

Math Mammoth and First Language Lessons (and our regular evening swimming date with friends, of course) should finish off that full Tuesday!

WEDNESDAY: Math Mammoth, horseback riding, aerial silks.

THURSDAY: The kids are trying out 4-H again this year, to see if they like it better now that they're a couple of years older. I like the idea of 4-H, but it all seems to revolve around the county fair, and since we'll be out of town for most of the county fair, I'm not sure that the program will end up appealing to or seeming relevant to the kids... we'll see, I guess.

Draw Write Now, Math Mammoth, Park Day, and the 4-H Horse Club meeting will give us a full Thursday.

FRIDAY: I should have switched art with one of these subjects, because as I look at Friday's schedule, I'm just now realizing that there's too much work to do. At least the kids enjoy all those subjects!

I've been sussing out some of the resources that the public schools use to teach Indiana history, so we'll be watching one of their documentaries on Native Americans for our Indiana unit. Behind the scenes, I'm working on figuring out a weekend trip to Serpent Mound, about four hours away from here (but only about two from Cincinnati!), for sometime in the near-ish future, but we will be visiting Cahokia next month, on our way back from watching my baby cousin's graduation, so I'm already excited about that.

Math class (fractions and pi were last week's topics), more work for the International Fair and Girl Scout badges, and The Story of the World (Hello, Assyria!), will finish off Friday's work.

SATURDAY/SUNDAY: Syd's not thrilled about having to miss the kids' monthly all-day nature class for Trashion/Refashion Show rehearsal (Matt and I are also not thrilled, since we like our once-a-month Saturdays without kids quite a lot), but she knew going in that it would be part of the deal. Will, however, will be happily grubbing around the woods all day Saturday. The weekend also holds a Roller Derby game, perhaps a trip to the indoor rock climbing facility, perhaps a hike, certainly basketball and garden work, and definitely a Family Movie Night.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Small Engineering

This may explain why Will is always injuring herself.

This is what I walked into the living room to find the other day:

Apparently she had slowly, with much effort, jacked our beaten-up yet very heavy couch up, book by book, until she could stick her head underneath it to look for a lost marble.

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