Thursday, November 18, 2010

sorry folks we seems to be expericing some technical difficulties

No, I have not fallen off the planet, been kidnapped by the Russian Mafia, or finally been institutionalized......My lack of posting is actually the result of a faulty PC.   It seems my USB ports have malfunctioned and are no longer "recognized" by windows.  This brings me to a conundrum to post sans pictures or not at all.  Let's face it folks we all look at blogs for the pictures.....well except for those really witty political/philosophical blogs (of which this is not).  So unless I am struck with some profound revelation which I must share with the world this blog will  temporarily be on holiday.   Let's hope I can resolve this problem quickly....I have so many cool things I want to share!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Let Them Eat Cake

Friday, October 15, 2010

Fiber Fest

Over the weekend we attended a local Fiber Fest.  It was full of beautiful hand spun fibers, handwoven baskets and yummy wool! 

The merchants and artisans were amazing and inspiring!  T and O each got to try their hands at weaving and spinning.  T has decided he would like a spinning wheel for Christmas. 

We enjoyed watching the sheep shearing.  They all looked so skinny once they were shorn

I was amazed with the silk weaving.  It is hard to believe that such a beautiful fiber can come from such humble beginnings. 

To spin the silk cocoons they must first be soaked and degummed.  Then the magic can begin!

 O was especially taken with all the animals.  She made fast friends with the angora bunnies and the alpacas. 

How cool is this?  My friend is spinning the angora's fur as he sits patiently in her lap!

This festival was such a learning experience for us all.  I love that my children are seeing all the work that goes into the materials they use everyday.  So much of the world is oblivious to the countless hours and resources it takes to make just one t-shirt.  I'm sure we all would be less wasteful if we could see the human chain behind the products we buy and discard so nonchalantly.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Autumn 2010 OHC #3: Horses

Yesterday we completed the OHC# 3: Horses.  We are blessed to live near the Chincoteague wildlife refuge which has wild horses.  We traveled through the preserve yesterday observing the horses in their natural habitat.   Their graceful beauty was stunning.  The origins of the Chincoteague ponies is shrouded in mystery. There are two theories of how the ponies came to live on Assateague Island. The legend is that a Spanish galleon wrecked off of Assateague Island and the surviving ponies swam to the island. However, there is little evidence supporting this theory, and the more likely origin of the ponies is that early 17th century colonists let their animals loose on the island to avoid fencing laws and livestock taxes. Whichever theory is true, the free-roaming ponies of Assateague have been living there for hundreds of years.  According to Wiki the breed varies greatly in physical characteristics since there is no true breed standard. Chincoteagues are known for being easy keepers and often do not require shoes. Most are between 12 to 13.2 hands (48 to 54 inches, 122 to 137 cm) high, but when raised under domesticated rather than feral conditions, some have been known to reach 16 hands (64 inches, 163 cm). Chincoteagues come in a variety of colors and patterns, with pinto being common.  The Chincoteague Pony was made famous by Marguerite Henry’s 1947 children’s novel Misty of Chincoteague.

After we observed the wild ponies we traveled to a local horse farm to study the ponies more closely. 
We compared the lengths of horse and dog necks and observed how each was suited to facilitate their eating habits. 
We also studied the horses tail. The tail functions to help the horse balance and the long tail hairs are used to swish away insects. Horses also express themselves with their tails. While running in a pasture you may see a horse lift its tail over its back signalling high spirits. A floppy tail may mean a relaxed horse. An irritated horse may swish its tail in a cat like manner.

As usual we had a wonderful time with this week's nature study and can not wait to complete next weeks study of apples. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Fun at the Firehouse

Today, in honor of fire prevention month our pre-school co-op took a field trip to the fire station.  The children learned about fire safety from a wonderful volunteer firefighter...and then he started up the truck and let them explore!  They had a blast...O particularly loved pretending to drive. 

After the children stopped using the firetruck as a jungle gym the fireman let loose a torrent of water.  The air was filled with the squeals of delighted children.  It is always an added bonus when education becomes joyful!  I love the real life experiences the children get with homeschool!

Friday, October 8, 2010

An Autumn Hike to The Beach

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Outdoor Hour Challange-Autumn Series #2 Geese

This weeks Outdoor Hour Challenge was to observe and study geese.  Part of this study included a comparison of ducks and geese.  We once again ventured to our local wildlife refuge to perform our observations.  Luckily this refuge is a major resting stop for migratory birds; duck and geese included.  We found a large Canadian Goose population but only a few ducks (mainly Mallards).  The children were able to make a few comparisons; most notable the difference in the length of the animals necks, and the difference in their bird calls.

We wanted to delve further into this weeks challenge so we decided to continue our study at our local zoo.  This zoo has a very diverse population of waterfowl.  We were amazed by the vast difference between all of the different duck subspecies.  The colors of some of these birds were breathtaking.   Each of the children chooses a different type of duck to further study  once we returned home.

 T choose a Mandarin duck .

O choose the Red Headed duck.

While this week's study was supposed to be about geese I must admit we were much more taken with the ducks:) 

Friday, October 1, 2010

Handmade Holiday 2010 Update

Whew, it's October already!  That leaves only 12 weeks until Christmas.  Ack!!!!! It is time to kick it into high gear.  I have begun compiling my ideas for gifts and am now shopping for the supplies.  Here are some links to the cool projects I plan on trying this year.

City Windows Table Runner
Dog Leash
Ribbon Key Fobs
Painted Fabric Silhouettes
Letter Pillows
Quiet Books

These are just a few of the ideas rolling around in my head....who knows what I will actually complete:)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Harvest Houses

We made harvest houses today in celebration of the Autumnal Equinox.  Who said gingerbread houses were only for Christmas?  I started by making this gingerbread cookie recipe. While the dough was chilling I drafted a simple house template out of cardstock.  Here is one I found online if you just want to print it out and use it.  Using the cardstock template cut out two of each piece. 

Carefully place the house pieces on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees until lightly brown around the edges...11-15 minutes. 

Next use the remaining dough to cut out the accent pieces...having fall themed cookie cutters really helps out with this:)

Bake the accent pieces on an ungreased cookie sheet 8-11 minutes until the edges are lightly brown.  Let all the cookie pieces cool and harden for 24 hours before beginning house construction.  To construct the house first select a base; we used watercolored cardboard but really anything sturdy will do.  Next mix up the house cement...AKA Royal Icing.  I used Alton's recipe and it was perfect.  I did add food color to achieve this awesome orange color:)  Place the icing in a pastry bag and prepare for piping!  Liberally pipe the icing on the back sides of the front house piece and attach a wall segment to each side.  Let this harden and then attach the back house piece using the same technique.  Let this set for at least 20 minutes before attaching the roof.  Next liberally pipe each house peak with icing and carefully attach the roof pieces.  Let house sit for at least 1 hour before attaching the remaining decorations. 

After 1 hour, I filled two pastry bags with the remaining frosting and let the kids go wild piping and decorating their houses.  These are the end results.

Happy Fall go make a house:)