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Friday, November 30, 2012

Winter Theme Homeschool Art Class

I finally took pictures of the items we painted on Monday. We do a lot of Christmas crafts, this time of year, and I wanted a general theme this time. So, I picked Winter, as the theme. Each child could choose whatever they wanted as long as Winter was somehow incorporated into it. DJ, with his ever humorous self, drew the Abominable Snowman having a snowball fight with Rudolph. He used colored pencils to fill in the color. Caitlin, who seems to always focus on animals, painted a white wolf playing in the snow. As for me, I got this silver tray at a garage sale, and I painted on a Winter scene, with of course Santa and his sleigh. I still have one more coat to apply to the accents on the house, the snowflakes, and the writing, then it has to be sealed. The reindeer were extremely difficult, and I actually ended up lightly drawing them in pencil, then painting them in with a very fine script liner painting brush. I believe painting on objects is referred to as Tole Painting, and I very much love it. Better than art paper or canvas. I am currently working on upcycled jars that I am painting on and turning into candles, as Christmas gifts for friends. I will share them soon. Hopefully I will finish them Monday.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

We Got Toads In Odd Places!

Well, I was going to share with you today our Winter theme, art projects, from Monday. But, either I forgot to take the pictures, I highly doubt that, or someone accidentally erased them, I don't have pictures. But, don't worry I will get some. We have started doing some kind of Art project each Monday. Now Art at my house can mean, drawing, painting, crafts, jewelry making, cleaning, gardening just about anything. But each Monday we do something. So, you will just have to wait. Next Monday is about the only normal school day we will have. We will be on vacation from school books next week. All unschooling, well except for FLVS Science. DJ does have to do at least three assignments, but that is no big deal.

So, anyways, since it is obviously never going to rain again here in Florida. I have to water our garden every day. We have roses, hibiscus, banana tree, tomatoes, carrots, lettuce, broccoli and peas. So far the winter garden is going much better than the Summer one did. I bring the tomato plant in at night, to the garage, so hopefully it will survive and maybe even give me a tomato or two over the Winter. I moved two of the broccoli plants today, because they were not doing nearly as the one that was in a different location. So now they are all together. It was freezing the other day, and even though I covered the banana tree, hibiscus and poinsettia plants, the poor banana tree still got some freezer burn. But, it should survive. We have peppers growing too, but they must not take kindly to the cold either. They look a little wimpy today. Anyway, it warmed up nicely the past two days, and the toads have decided it must be Spring. I recycle or reuse old plastic containers to plant small plants in. This one has carrots trying to grow in it. I went to water it this morning and I thought a leaf was in there. So, naturally I stuck my hand in to take the leaf out and much to my surprise it wriggled at me. It was a big old brown toad in the container sitting on my carrots. They go in the silliest places. Well Caitlin didn't like him in there so she moved him, and he went under the house. Hopefully he won't come in the house. Do you have a Winter garden? I want to try herbs too, I just forget to buy the seeds. I do have some Garlic trying to grow. Garlic and Onions are easy you just throw the ends of your fresh garlic and chopped off onion end into some dirt and they pretty much grow on their own. I forgot about the onions. Maybe someday we could actually live off our harvest. Right now it is mainly just a once in a while snack, LOL! We do have flowers on our pea plants though, fingers crossed.

I watched the Dust Bowl, last week, from PBS. I am convinced this will be Florida soon if we don't get some moisture. Of course I have no idea, but it has not rained here at my house in over a month.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas!

OK, so I am late for one and early for the other. I was so tired yesterday, that I didn't feel like doing much. Sleep has not been my friend lately, not sure why, but I am miserable when I don't sleep. I slept awesome last night though.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving, as I hope everyone else did as well. It was warm, and everyone was peaceful, full and happy. Thanksgiving night, instead of washing dishes, we always put up the Christmas trees. Yes, I finally have two trees, and still had ornaments left over. This year I decided to make the small tree into an Angel Tree. All the ornaments are angels, except our dog's name tag, who is in Heaven so technically an angel. There are small pink ornaments to add color. I love it! The big tree the kids decorated this year, pretty much by themselves. They are getting pretty good at it now. In years past, all the ornaments they hung were all at the bottom, or clustered in just one spot. I would always have to go back and rearrange when they weren't looking, LOL! We have watched several Christmas special already, and it isn't even December yet. I swear it starts earlier and earlier. There are not many new specials that I like. I pretty much love the classics. Do you have a favorite Christmas special?

The other picture is of the Turkey cake the kids and I made. My kids don't care much for pie, though we are supposed to make one Wednesday of next week, so I always come up with a cake to make. This year I did a turkey cake. The kids do a lot of the work, and I frost. I made two round cakes. Then when cool cut out a circle for the head. Then using DJ's hand we cut out fingers on the second cake, inserted them where the head was cut out, and voila you have feathers. Then I frost a light layer, freeze it, then frost again in the morning. Note if you need to move the cake, so it has better presentation than mine, frost and then move before it thaws too much. I couldn't move mine because I needed something from the store, and it thawed too much by the time I finished frosting. The cake will break if it thaws too much. Anyway I learn something new every time I do a cake. Sorry for the messy demo shot, it was delicious though.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Butterflies, Rudolph and Fingerprints

This is a different kind of school week for us. Because we are getting ready for the big holiday, and I still want to do school. We will be doing half days of traditional school, and then half days of fun stuff.

Today, the kids both had to do Math, and Caitlin did Head of the Class, and DJ did his Virtual School Science. If I had my way they would do Math everyday.

The second half of the day was dedicated to Arts and Crafts. DJ and Caitlin designed their own Advent Calendar this year. Drawing and coloring Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. They then made 25 circles in the center of his nose. Each day a colored pom pom will be glued to a circle, so his nose won't actually be red, LOL! Then I wanted to make thumbprint reindeer ornaments. So, DJ went first, and for some reason he put his thumbprint at an angle instead of straight up and down. So, I decided to add another thumbprint and make those their ears, then paint on the faces and horns. You can see the results below. It is actually hard to see the thumbprints in the pictures. My one eye ran so my reindeer is crying, or her makeup got smudged. O got the idea from Pinterest, and you can find it on my board with the original website and project there on my Artsy Fartsy Board.  There is a thumbprint Christmas Tree craft too, and lots of other adorable crafts. The final project was getting out all the Christmas decorations from the closet. Caitlin had a good old time arranging the stockings and various Santas I have collected over the years. We don't actually decorate until Thanksgiving night. That is our tradition.

The few minutes that it was warm out, and the neighbors were not burning, Caitlin went out to play in the backyard. Since she is doing a butterfly book for 4H, she has been doing a lot of observing of butterflies. Today she saw the one shown below. We have never actually seen one of these in our yard, or anywhere else. It is an Eastern Comma Butterfly and it migrates south for the winter, or hibernates up north. Habitat is said to be with Elm trees, deciduous trees and wet swampy areas. We definitely have none of those things in our backyard, LOL! So, I guess he was just taking a rest on his journey elsewhere. We do have a Cypress tree that does shed its leaves, but not technically deciduous I don't think anyways.

What did you do today? What traditions does your family have on Thanksgiving? Please share.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Advent Calendars, Crochet and Bowling

Every year the kids and I do an Advent Calendar. Last year we did one with ornaments we painted. This year, I was having a hard time finding one we had not already done. So, I challenged the kids to come up with one. I think we have finally decided on one. A few months ago my mom gave us a tin full of stuff you might consider junk. There were some of those fluffy ball things in there, a whole package of them. DJ decided he would draw Rudolph's head, with an over sized nose, make 25 circles on his nose, and then each day glue on a different colored ball. He will be Rudolph the multi colored nosed reindeer, LOL. We are supposed to work on that tomorrow, but Friday's don't always go as planned.

Now that my online job has dried up, I find I have lots more free time to do things I was always too tired to do before. So now I am re-teaching myself to crochet. Since I don't follow written directions well, they just make no sense to me, I frequently make up my own patterns and then by trial and error I get something done. I have already completed 2 baby snuggies with hats, and am working on a third. Plus I started a after bath baby blanket and wash cloth that I am excited about, and have another pattern in mind for something very useful in cool. This dress shown below, was made for my daughter. She asked me if I could make a Leopard print dress. I tried to find patterns, but really had no luck, unless I wanted something extremely hard, which I didn't. So this is my own pattern, and if I do say so myself it is pretty darn good. She was very happy and can't wait to wear it. I continue to paint as well, at least once a week, sometimes more, read, and of course there is all this homeschooling and teaching going on. We are also doing a winter vegetable garden, which so far is going good. No veggies yet, but I am optimistic. It is super dry here, no rain in three weeks, so that always poses a problem.

I am hoping we are joining a homeschool bowling league. We have been members of this one homeschool group well over a year, but we never can fit their schedule into ours. But, once a month, on a Thurs. I hope they will be going bowling, and the fee is cheap considering. We do have to drive a bit to get there, but not too far, and I think for DJ especially this will be awesome. Pray it all falls together nicely.

We shouldn't tell tall tales, right? Well unless it is a writing assignment by your teacher. DJ had just such an assignment from me this week. Hop over to his blog to check it out. Now, I have not checked his spelling and grammar yet, but what he read to me was really awesome.

Friday, November 9, 2012

First Quarter Report Card

The first quarter of school is complete, already! Argh it will be Christmas before I know it. Each year we do an Advent Calendar, and I am trying to find one for this year that we either have not done yet, or that I like. There is one for the Story of Christmas, that I really like, but it requires a lot of printing. So not sure yet if I am going to use that one. Caitlin did not want a paper report card, so I didn't make her one. She will be aggressively doing harder math, plus more math, and Language Arts which includes Writing. She is coming along nicely and her Spelling has already improved immensely.

Here are DJ's report card results:

Math: 83,this is a good grade for the harder Math he is doing, but he still makes silly mistakes on the basics.

Science: 91, this grade includes his FLVS Science, plus other Science he is assigned by me.

Health: 100, not a lot of graded work here. Most of his Health this year is being done on Plus we are doing First Aid with our 4H group.

Language Arts: 91, I am very happy about this grade. Language Arts includes Grammar, Spelling and Vocabulary.

Social Studies: 85, Somehow DJ has lost his third Story of the World book. I can't find it anywhere and I don't want to buy another. So for now he is just doing The Story of US book one. I really like this series and intend to buy book two next year. I still have to decide on World History, but I may have him do that through FLVS.

Reading: Very Good, no number grade for this one. He has already read two books, one chosen by me, the other himself. Plus other books he has read on his own. Reading is not a problem and his comprehension has improved so much. We are using Reading Vistas, the red book, and it is going quite well.

Writing: Very Good. He continues to grow in his writing skills.

Since I feel there is always room for improvement, for DJ I would like to see him bring his FLVS grade up to an A. I feel he can do this and he just needs to take a little more time and apply himself a little bit more. Since the FLVS uses a completely different type of teaching than me, it is taking a bit of adjusting, but I know he can do it. I would like his Math to be a B+ I also know he can do this. He is grasping it well, and just needs to be more careful when doing the actual work.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Busy, Busy, Busy!

After today we will be back to a more normal school schedule. One week after Superstorm Sandy, and still so many people are suffering, and pets too. If you can donate to the Red Cross, it would really be awesome.

My husband took vacation days on Friday and Monday, so school was sort of interrupted. The kids can't concentrate well when he is home, so we took Veteran's Day holiday today. It does not appear our small town is doing a parade this year, so we won't be going to that.

Friday was our first day volunteering at the local food drive. It was a lot of hard work, but very beneficial to all. They do this once a month and we hope to be able to help each month.

It warmed back up over the weekend, and the weather was just beautiful here in Florida. Only problem is we have had no rain at all in a whole month. We might get a bit tomorrow, but the drought needs much more than that. It has been a rough year for water here in Florida.

Don't forget to vote tomorrow! We have our Earth Kids meeting tomorrow eve as long as it is dry outside. If it rains we usually postpone it because we have meetings outdoors.

I decided I was going to paint on recycled jars and make them into candles, for some of my friends for Christmas. This is my first attempt at poinsettias, and they came out pretty good. I will continue to perfect them as I go along. I hope everyone will love them as much as I love making them. Have you started to think about Christmas yet? It will be here, unfortunately, before we know it. I do love Christmas, my favorite holiday by far.

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