Tuesday, December 19, 2017

My Handcrafted Christmas Tree

This year, my Christmas tree was almost completely decorated with homemade ornaments!  
I do not have one of those houses that will win me points with interior designers... but everything in my house has a story.  The things I keep have their own energy and life to them and I love that my tree has joined in to that spirit of my living household.  Here are a few of the ornaments we have made:

For the last 10 years we have spent a day during advent making an ornament.  I select them carefully because I want them to last.  We have done all sorts of things, from making mice and hearts out of felted wool sweaters to spray painting beautiful pine cones gold to wood burning.  It is a favorite winter-time tradition of mine and it makes the season that much more bright to have these wonderful crafts and traditions to look forward to.
This year we added in dried oranges.  They seem to be all the rage in the DIY world and I wanted to see if I could make them too!  I think they turned out lovely! 
 Some people say they turn black after a while so I am not sure how long they will last but they sure are beautiful now!

Hope you all have a Merry Christmas! 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Autumn Nature Study

Thanksgiving is fast approaching.  It's a good time to reevaluate where the year is going and what we want to have more of.  This year, we had a lot of art and nature study.  We don't do this every day, nor do we have a set schedule for doing it.  We often take a hike and make 4 nature journal entries that week, then don't make any at all the next week because it was rainy and yucky outside.  It's an art.  Like any other art, it is dependent on mood, weather, season, etc.  But after a few years, the books fill up, and wow!  What an incredible hobby it has turned out to be!

Here are a few entries for this autumn:

One nature study subject came quite out of the blue... he was in our Costco shopping cart!

We learned that the Praying Mantis changes its color during its molt based on the colors around them.  They are not like chameleon, where they can just change at any time, but in years where there is far more yellow than green, the mantis will change during a molt to adapt to its surroundings!  Because this spring was so wet and this summer so dry, we had a lot of very tall, very yellow grass.  I believe the mantis adapted to that environmental change and many of them turned yellow!

It was a very cool subject, because none of the Mantis in the books were yellow.  Not one.

It has been so fun to do this beautiful art with the kids.  It has always been my favorite subject!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Halloween 2017 - Hogwarts Edition

A Hogwarts Halloween!  We love fantasy and this series is so beautifully written that I have read it several times.  This year we allowed the kids to watch the first couple movies of Harry Potter and Logan was hooked.  So we all decided to have a Hogwarts Halloween!  
This owl costume caused a bit of controversy.  Just days before Halloween, Luke watched a Wild Kratts on Snowy Owls and discovered that the boy Snowy Owls are not speckled like Hedwig, Harry's owl from the movies.  In fact, Hedwig was a girl.  So about half way through the making of this costume, he changed his mind and wanted to be pure white.  "Because I'm a boy!"  Can't argue with that...  ;) 
It took some doing but by the end of the week we had a beautiful boy snowy owl costume.
We all chose the Hogwart's House that fit us best.  Cyan, with all her many animals and plant loves, chose Hufflepuff!
Logan, my extrovert warrior, chose Gryffindor!
We all had a great time trick-or-treating with friends and handing out candy!


Friday, September 8, 2017

2017-2018 School Interviews

Each year, on the first day of school, I interview my kids.  I ask the same questions so that I can look back on previous years and see how they change and grow.  It is a favorite tradition of mine and I look forward to it at the close of summer every year. 

Luke - Age 6
Favorites: Color - Green and gold.  Well, every color except white
Food - hot dogs and quesadillas
Animal - Tiger, Bengal Tiger
Season - Springtime, I like it just warm
Music - the music on Just Dance - Scream & Shout by Will-I-Am

What do you want to learn this year?
I want to go to the zoo.  I love the zoo.  The zoo is my daddy... hahahahahaha!  
What I really want to do is play Just Dance because it is really fun, it's really fun.  One other of my favorite musics is the Minecraft Station.  I love that one.  Sometimes I hum it and sing it.
(We were in a very silly mood this day.)

Logan - age 10
Favorites: Color - Purple
Food - Chicago style pizza with stuffed crust
Animal- Cats, but and small.  Or a raccoon.
Season - Winter.  I like snow.
Music - Hat Trick by Jonathan Thulin

What do you want to learn this year?
The thing I want to learn is to make your own You Tube channel and how to get a G-Mail account to make skins for Minecraft.  Yeah.  That's what I really want to learn.
Also how to make desserts and pastries, I've only made one dessert before, beside cookies.  It was a cake.  Oh! Oh!  I've made three - cupcakes.  I forgot about cupcakes.  I really want to cook.  I like cooking.
I like nature study.  The only part I am really excited about is drawing.  Looking up facts I don't know already is hard, and not as fun.  But the drawing is fun!  
Um... donuts?  Did you put that down?

Cyan - age 16
Favorites: Color - Orange, rusty orange
Food - Potatoes, duh
Animal - red panda, oh and a dog
Season - Late spring, I love late spring!
Music - Showtunes, Musicals, really into 60-70s music right now

What do you want to learn this year?
I really want to catch up in math.  I'm almost there.  I want to keep getting better in singing and maybe dance because I know if I want to pursue musical theater I need to do some more dance.
I want to bea a teacher but I want to be a preschool teacher and I already do that so I don't know.  I am not sure what I want to do.  All I really know is I want to be a farmer.
I want to learn more about history.  Like, I knew about Mt St Helen's but when I looked it up there was so much more I didn't know!  And I know about the Romonov's but I want to know more.  There were things about Mt St Helen's that I had never even thought of.  Like how all the ice melted and ran down the mountain.  Just so many things!  I didn't even think about that before!  And I had no idea there were two eruptions.  I really enjoyed going deeper into it...  I loved (the movie) when they brought people in and told their own stories.  It really made it real to me.  I'd like to watch more documentaries like that.  They really make (history) super interesting.  They are fun to watch.
I am looking forward to having a job and working more.  I am having a lot of fun working.  I want to get a summer job next year or something....  

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Our Eclipse Adventure - Solar Eclipse 2017

What an incredible day!  We woke at 5:30am and headed down the coast of OR after staying the night with a friend in Northern Oregon.  I learned a new term "socked in", it means 'nothing but fog', which is what we saw as we drove down the coast to the totality zone.  Due to the unpredictable weather, there was no traffic at all.  For miles and miles, we were the only cars on the road all the way to the totality zone. We were about to turn inland to try and get up out of the fog when the sun broke through and we saw a road-side pie stand, at about the same time.

We saw this little pull-off area just after that, so I made The Man turn around, I bought two large pies, and we went back to the pull-off just as the eclipse got started.  For over an hour we sat on blankets, threw rocks into a nearby stream, and ate pie with plastic forks while watching the sun disappear.  What an incredible experience!

As the light disappeared and the sun was covered, the temperature dropped dramatically.  A kingfisher, who had been screaming warning about so many people in their remote space (us) quieted and perched in the trees along the stream.  I watched the totality come about and at the same moment, I saw two confused bats fly across the sky picking off confused bugs, just as if it was really dusk!  It was magical!

After the eclipse was over, I got to talking with a gentleman and his wife who shared our epic viewing spot.  They were kind enough to share some of their camera shots with us (above picture) before we headed back into town. 

Here is the nature study pages that came from the trip:
Our family has spent the last two weeks talking about the eclipse.  I am SO glad we took the chance and actually went to totality.  It was truly impressive and all of the kids will remember it for their entire lives!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Disney Sweet Sixteen Birthday Party

Once upon a time there was a beautiful princess who's dream was to have an enchanted Sweet Sixteen with all her friends in the kingdom...

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Summer Babies

These sweet babies will be ready for their forever homes on July 7th!  

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Gold Star Birthday Party

Welcome, Space Cadets!  Come and join us in celebrating Luke's 6th birthday!  

Thursday, February 2, 2017

In the passing of my mother

I hope you remember mornings like this. Mornings where I covered you in kisses as the sun came up just because you were still enough, and close enough. Mornings where I shockingly climbed into your second story bed to sing "happy birthday" in your ear. Mornings where you got out of bed and said it was freezing and climbed right under my blankets with me for 20 more minutes. Mornings where we watched the sun rise through my thrift-shopped, lace curtains and sang nursery rhymes with our hands in the air doing the motions to"twinkle-twinkle". I hope you remember. Because moments like that with my mother sustained me. Through abuse. Through loss. Through abandonment. Through anger. It was moments like this that overpowered every other moment she and I had. Moments where I slept by her side and I tucked neatly under one arm. Moments where I knew, no matter how broken she was, deep down she desperately loved me.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Book-Based Percy Jackson Birthday Party

In honor of my son's 10th birthday we turned our house into Camp Half-Blood from Percy Jackson and the Lighting Thief! 
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