Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, March 29, 2010

Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head

This mornings spring showers brought a welcome excuse to get wet and muddy!  While T was finishing up school O did a hands on weather study:) She merrily laughed as she jumped from puddle to puddle.  The grey skies certainly didn't put a damper on her spirits.

Later, T joined her to perform buoyancy experiments in our newly formed backyard lake. First we collected various yard objects: twigs, pinecones, leaves, barks, and stones. We then hypothesized which would sink and which would float. Objects that float are considered positively buoyant and inversely objects that sink are deemed negatively buoyant. The idea of buoyancy was summed up by Archimedes, a Greek mathematician, in what is known as Archimedes Principle: Any object, wholly or partly immersed in a fluid, is buoyed up by a force equal to the weight of the fluid displaced by the object. From this principle, we can see that whether an object floats or sinks, is based on not only its weight, but also the amount of water it displaces. Next we built craft stick rafts to further explore buoyancy.
We then added various objects to the rafts in order to determine how chaning an objects mass affects it's buoyancy.

I love how homeschooling allows me to turn even the most mundane object (puddles) into learning opportunities. We all had a blast and were amazed by how educational a good rain storm could be!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Bulbs, Bulbs, Everywhere...and Corms Too!

Outdoor Hour Challenge-Winter Series #10  Early Spring Bulbs

While it is now officially spring we completed this challenge last week when it was still "winter". We walked around our neighborhood searching for the welcome sight of spring bulbs and corms. These bright flowers seem to shout out "hooray for spring", it is a much needed reminder that spring will indeed return again. We were able to find crocus, daffodils (jonquils), and hyacinth.

"Daffodils" (1804)

I wander'd lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretch'd in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed -- and gazed -- but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

By William Wordsworth (1770-1850).

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, March 22, 2010

Streamer Eggstravaganza

Today O and I used up leftover party streamers to make some colorful spring crafts. Our theme of the day was most definitely EGGS...I tried to branch out but O was very adamant about our subject matter! To create our collages we used a paintbrush and applied watered down white craft glue to our cut out images.

O needed a little help cutting out here collage pieces but was able to adhere them all herself. The results were beautiful.  At first we just did eggs.

Later we experimented with pictorial scences.

Finally, we used up our paper scraps to craft this beautiful egg. 

We twisted each scrap tightly around the end of a pencil, once firmly attached we dipped it into glue, and then applied it to our template.  This was a time consuming project but it was the perfect way to spend a rainy Monday afternoon.  We were able to chase away the gray skies with our colorful masterpieces.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Glass Beach

I know spring has finally arrived when I find myself once again strolling down glass beach.  We are lucky to have our very own treasure cove just around the bend. At low tide this small strip of sand reveals it's bounty.

  The sea loosens it's grip and the beach is awash with the fragments and trinkets of days bygone.  Each piece holds it's own secret history.  I wish I could exhume these stories, instead I must revel in their beauty alone.  Time and the sea have transformed these discarded objects into some of my most prized possesions.  I have amassed quite a collection.

Here are a few of my favorite items:

I know this spring and summer will include many more trips to glass beach and I can't wait to discover what the sea returns to me.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spring Equinox

On two days each year, the fall and spring equinoxes, day and night are of equal lengths. The earth is tilted neither toward nor away from the sun. Today is the day, spring has finally sprung! The children and I spent most of the day outside celebrating the return of spring. We visited our local playground and walked down main street reveling in each ray of sun.  Today I took my children's hands and step lightly into the joy and beauty of springtime.

The spring equinox is also the first day of the Persian New Year. Each family celebrates the New Year by preparing a special table filled with seven items that begin with the letter "S". These items represent happiness and good fortune for the New Year. Tomorrow we plan on packing a picnic with seven "S" items and celebrating the return of spring Persian style!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Sew Much Better

My foray into sewing is showing vast improvement!  It has required all the tenacity I can muster and a whole lot of four letter words.....but here are a few pics to highlight my success story. 

This is my first pattern sewn dress...boy was that a learning experience!

Next up is a darling sundress based on this tutorial from Lil Blue Boo. I was using up my scrap fabric and this is the result.

Here is my skirt trifecta all sewn with the beautifully detailed tutorials provided by Ikat Bag's blog.

Finally something for me...this GIANT tote bag was created using the excellent tote tut on the Sew Mama Sew blog.  I love that blog!
It has been refreshing to discover that you really are never to old to learn something new.  My next venture will be woodworking...I'm getting the itch to build bookcases...wish me luck!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Childhood Delight...The Joy of the Open Road!

The World's Fastest Bicycle

My bicycle's the fastest

that the world has ever seen;

it has supersonic engines

and a flame-retardant sheen.

My bicycle will travel

a gazillion miles an hour --

it has rockets on the handlebars

for supplemental power.

The pedals both are jet-propelled

to help you pedal faster,

and the shifter is equipped

with an electric turbo-blaster.

The fender has a parachute

in case you need to brake.

Yes, my bike is undeniably

the fastest one they make.

My bicycle's incredible!

I love the way it feels,

and I'll like it even more

when Dad removes the training wheels.

--Kenn Nesbitt

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Donated 11 inches of hair today to locks of love:)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Mammals in Winter

This week challenge was to focus on winter mammals. During the winter many mammals become elusive. We are fortunate to live near a National Wildlife Refuge which provides an excellent locale for our weekly adventures. Today we were able to hike a trail and drive through the preserve on a "mammal hunt".  The children were very excited to discover multiple sets of deer tracks. Our area is heavily populated with white-tailed deer and this particular refuge is also home to an introduced Asian species the sika deer.  Based on the size of our tracks we were able to identified them as white tailed deer.  In addition to these tracks we spotted squirrels, and the scat of wild horses.  We also found these tracks but were unable to identify them due to their degradation.

We plan on continuing our mammals study throughout the spring in hopes of discovering more animals.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Mazes, Minotaurs and Minoans

This week in history T studied life in early Crete. He was especially taken with the myth of King Minos and the Minotaur. He built a maze out of legos and used a string to mark the path out just like the hero of the myth Theseus. We used the suggestion in the SOTW AG and built a Minoan ship. To construct our Minoan sailing ship we used this wonderful tutorial from Ikat Bag. Our Minoan sailing ship is even complete with a black sail. According to legend Theseus was supposed to put a white sail on his ship if he had successfully slain the Minotaur. Alas, poor Theseus forgot to change his sail and returned home donning a black sail. His father King Aegeus was so distraught over his son supposed death that he flung himself into the sea. To honor his father’s death Theseus named this sea the Aegean Sea. We have had a blast reenacting this myth. All week I have overheard T engaging in fierce battle against the Minotaur and sailing home victorious....there has even been a dramatic suicidal death plunge scene using a lego mini-figure. T is enthralled with this period of history. We have begun reading D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths and it is a hit so far. This history smitten Mama is thrilled to see T so engaged in the stories of the past.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Finding the Pot o' Gold

Yesterday I created a St. Patty's Day scavenger hunt for the children. I started the endeavor by crafting  mischievous leprechauns for each child. I used this tutorial from the wee folk arts blog.

Next I made fabric "sacks" of gold from black fabric squares filled with Rolos and tied off with shamrock ribbons. I found this great pot o'gold idea from the make and takes blog.

I then hid the leprechauns with their gold pots in my closet in front of a beautiful rainbow crafted by O.

Next I wrote out 20 clues for finding the gold and hid them throughout the house.

T had to read the clues aloud to O and then they searched for them together.

To say this was a hit would be an understatement.  My home was filled with squeals of delight as the children ran from clue to clue.  At last my little treasure hunters discovered the gold.  

The pot's of gold did not last's hard to be frugal when there's chocolate involved. This activity was a wonderful way to get T to practice his reading without him realizing it. On each clue I tried to include words that T needs to practice or words which correlated to our recent phonics lessons. You have to love homeschooling subterfuge.  I have many more St. Patty's Day activities and crafts planned...I love St. Patty's Day and I'm not even Irish:)