Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Quiz: Art Quiz

Your result for What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test...

Balanced, Secure, and Realistic.

10 Impressionist, 10 Islamic, -6 Ukiyo-e, -10 Cubist, -12 Abstract and -6 Renaissance!

Impressionism is a movement in French painting, sometimes called optical realism because of its almost scientific interest in the actual visual experience and effect of light and movement on appearance of objects. Impressionist paintings are balanced, use colored shadows, use pure color, broken brushstrokes, thick paint, and scenes from everyday life or nature.

People that like Impressionist paintings may not alway be what is deemed socially acceptable. They tend to move on their own path without always worrying that it may be offensive to others. They value friendships but because they also value honesty tend to have a few really good friends. They do not, however, like people that are rude and do not appreciate the ideas of others. They are secure enough in themselves that they can listen to the ideas of other people without it affecting their own final decisions. The world for them is not black and white but more in shades of grey and muted colors. They like things to be aestically pleasing, not stark and sharp. There are many ways to view things, and the impresssionist personality views the world from many different aspects. They enjoy life and try to keep a realistic viewpoint of things, but are not very open to new experiences. If they are content in their live they will be more than likely pleased to keep things just the way they are.

Take What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test at HelloQuizzy

Watercolor Spider Webs

This is the spider web painting that Mymy made. We don't usually paint on Tuesday, at least not for school, but we needed to start things off with something really fun and unusual this morning. I woke up really cranky, fed up with naughty boys climbing all over me and not minding, and I made Mymy cry by shouting at him first thing when he tried to follow me into the bathroom. One minute! Some things you just want to do alone once in a while, you know? So we painted as soon as the table was cleared from breakfast (and I was done yelling at them to EAT and stop playing for crying out loud!) It wasn't a good start, I think I already mentioned that?
And here's ABCD's. He was very careful about drawing a spider web with black crayon, and thinking about how a spider web would really look, but he insisted on painting the whole thing brown. He only wanted color around the outside, though he wanted that all to be brown, too. But I wouldn't let him, Lord knows why. I MADE him use color. It looks pretty cool, in real life, but I feel lousy every time I see it, because I was so awful this morning that I couldn't even let him paint a spider web in one solid color, just to see what happened. Ugh! Poor kids.

Meal Plan 10/26-11/1

SUNDAY~ church, groceries $52.00
Breakfast- baked oatmeal, milk, fruit
Snack- church (caramel apples, candy corn, cake, chocolate chip cookie, cocoa! yikes!)
Lunch- quesadilla
Snack- fruit leather, carrots
Supper- roast chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, salad
MONDAY~ to Seattle and back
Breakfast- farina, milk, butter, raw sugar
Snack- canned peaches, milk
Lunch- mac & cheese, tomatoes, black manukka grapes
Snack- pretzels, carrots
Supper- awards supper (chicken, polenta, asparagus, green & yellow beans, salad, panna cotta)
Breakfast- oranges, potatoes, eggs
Snack- applesauce, toast & honey
Lunch- peanut butter sandwiches, pears
Snack- cookies, cocoa
Supper- chicken & dumplings, salad
Snack- popcorn
Prep- soak bread dough, oats
WEDNESDAY~ playdate
Breakfast- baked oatmeal with apples, raisins, milk
Snack- cinnamon toast, tea
Lunch- chicken & dumplings, apple sauce
Snack- snickerdoodles
Supper- split pea soup, bread
Snack- pomegranates
Prep- bake bread, freeze dough, make broth
THURSDAY~ homeschool gym
Breakfast- baked oatmeal, milk, butter, raw sugar
Snack- yogurt
Lunch- grilled cheese sandwich, oranges
Snack- snickerdoodles, celery with peanut butter and raisins
Supper- tortellini soup with spinach, salad
Snack- popcorn
FRIDAY~ Halloween!
Breakfast- toast, eggs, fruit
Snack- yogurt
Lunch- split pea soup, oranges
Snack- apples, cheese
Supper- pizza, salad, bread sticks
Snack- popcorn, CANDY
Prep- bake bread sticks,
Breakfast- blueberry pancakes, sausage, fruit salad
Snack- applesauce, yogurt
Lunch- pizza
Snack- bread sticks, red sauce, candy
Supper- chicken soup with rice, salad
Snack- popcorn

Monday, October 27, 2008


Here's ABCD at the Pumpkin patch nearby. He insisted on pushing around the ancient, rickety wheelbarrow full of pumpkins, and he took his job seriously. Hard work. He found the biggest pumpkin in the whole patch, he's pretty sure, and I think Mymy found the smallest, so it all evens out.
Grandma came to visit for a few days and we had a busy time. She arrived on Wednesday afternoon and first thing Thursday morning she went out to the land where our cows were pastured all summer to witness the slaughter and cleaning. There are three sides of beef at the butcher's right now, curing and waiting to be cut and packaged for us. IT was sort of a fiasco, though, with misunderstandings and tension that carried over all the rest of the weekend. What is that saying about mixing business and friendship? I always seem to forget until its too late.
Friday was the ultrasound of the baby, and everything looks good, though by the size of the thing I think I'm due right when I always thought I was, almost two weeks earlier than the doctor thinks. It was fun for Mom to get to see the ultrasound, and the boys, though I can't imagine that Mymy really got anything out of those grainy weird ultrasound images. And no, we don't know if its a boy or girl- we don't want to know. Although I have my suspicions....
Saturday we went to the pumpkin patch, our favorite one, for the pumpkin cannons and the funny personality of the old farmer who owns the place. Its full of antique farm equipment in various stages of restoration, you can feed the chickens, take a great hayride, pick pumpkins, gourds, apples, get lost in the corn maze, warm up by the wood stove outside, drink apple cider, eat popcorn, pumpkin doughnuts, look at the first blacksmith shop in the area, recently moved intact onto the farm, and if you're little enough, pedal a couple of old toy tractors around the place. That was Mymy's favorite part, ABCD says doughnuts were.
Last year we went with The Rising Star's parents, and it was overcast, cold, and really really fun. This year the weather was beautiful, but everything seemed off. The farmer was a little grouchy, the doughnut machine kept breaking, Mymy had an accident and I somehow hadn't packed any extra clothes for him. It was fun, but not AMAZING like last year.
At least the kids' costumes are done, and they wore them to church on Sunday for the annual costume-pumpkin walk. They're pretty simple, but cute. I'll put pictures up soon.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Rising Star

This is a little brag about my husband, formerly known as "Barackstar" or "Our Favorite Delegate" because, of course, he was a delegate for Barack Obama to the Democratic National Convention in Denver. Not just any delegate, either. He was the chair of all the delegates from this 3/4 of the state, and he was chosen out of 200 people in the whole country to sit in the special section right next to the stage during the final day of the convention. He's taken those honors as responsibility, and has been working hard before work, after work, during lunches, on weekends, in his sleep, instead of sleeping, and probably even in the shower for Mr. Obama as well as local Democrats. He doorknocks, writes checks with our grocery money, organizes fabulously successful fundraisers at the drop of a hat, helps write ads, prepares candidates for speeches and debates, talks to everyone about the cadidates, all as he has been doing for years- its just this is the first year I haven't been doing the same thing. I'm using being pregnant and having two kids as an excuse, not because I don't love Barack Obama, but because I really can't imagine what else in the household can give- someone's got to occasionally wash dishes, change diapers, do laundry, cook, teach, pick up, do the yard work, and give kids a bath and story, right? Giving up The Delegate in the name of Change and Democracy is fine, though, its a cause we all believe in, passionately. Besides, the election is almost over. Almost.
But this isn't about me. This is about HE. And last week he got a call. It turns out he is getting an award from the state democratic party, an award called "The Rising Star". So guess what his new name is? That's right, he is now officially "The Rising Star". As in, "There's some mail for The Rising Star." "Let go of Papa, he has to go to work. You know you can't keep a Rising Star to yourself!" "Just wondering when you're coming home. Its getting dark and without the light of a Rising Star it'll be hard to eat supper." I think you get the picture. Maybe if he were married to someone else the honor would have a chance to get to his head, but here I am, surrounded by kids and dirty laundry, keeping him grounded (well, you might say mocking him-that's your own opinion). Really, we're all proud and take every opportunity to tell everyone about what and how he's doing. And besides, we all know a Rising Star just has to SHINE!
So Monday he'll get his day of glory, an we'll all be there cheering for him with love and pride, happy to see that others appreciate his fine qualities too! Because he is a star, in our eyes, and you know you just can't keep a Rising Star down.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Meal Plan 10/19-10/25

SUNDAY~ groceries
Breakfast- puff cake, fruit
Snack- church
Lunch- cheese, crackers, apples
Snack- fruit leather, carrots
Supper- Turkish lentil soup, carrots, spinach, yogurt sauce, whole wheat pita
Prep- buy 2 boxes apples, 1 box pears

MONDAY~ play date
Breakfast- farina, milk, butter, raw sugar
Snack- puff cake, pluots
Lunch- mac & cheese, tomatoes, black manukka grapes
Snack- peanut butter cookies
Supper- roast chicken, mashed potatoes, broccoli, salad
Snack- popcorn
Prep- start bread dough, slice and dry apples, turn yogurt into cream cheese, soak beans, rice

TUESDAY~ homeschool gym or gymnastics
Breakfast- multigrain crockpot cereal with milk, butter, honey, apples
Snack- apple slices, pretzels, pumpkin caramel dip
Lunch- salmon salad sandwiches, veggie sticks, grapes
Snack- pluots, peanut butter granola bars
Supper- black beans, brown rice, cheese, tomatoes, cilantro, citrus salad
Snack- tortilla chips, salsa
Prep- soak oats, finish bread dough, freeze all but two loaves, bake those

WEDNESDAY~ Grandma arrives
Breakfast- baked oatmeal with apples, raisins, milk
Snack- cinnamon toast, tea
Lunch- chicken pot pie, apple sauce
Snack- carrot & spinach dips, pita chips
Supper- chicken shepherd pie, salad
Snack- baked apples, whipped cream
Prep- make applesauce & dry to leather

THURSDAY~ cows, homeschool gym
Breakfast- rice porridge with milk, butter, raw sugar
Snack- pears, pretzels, pumpkin dip
Lunch- egg salad sandwiches, veggie sticks
Snack- granola bar, apple
Supper- black bean chile, corn pie, fruit salad
Snack- tortilla chips, salsa
Prep- dry pears

Breakfast- baked oatmeal, yogurt
Snack- toast, peanut butter, tea
Lunch- chile, corn pie
Snack- pita chips, dips
Supper- pizza, salad
Snack- popcorn
Prep- bake bread sticks, make sausage

SATURDAY~ pumpkin patch & pumpkin cannons!
Breakfast- sausage egg muffins, orange juice
Snack- granola bar, sunflower seeds, pears
Lunch- egg salad sandwiches, veggie sticks
Snack- apples, pumpkin doughnuts, popcorn
Supper- frittata, salad, bread sticks
Snack- peanut butter cookies, ice cream

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Anti-Schoolers

This is an article about some modern, hip New Yorkers from the New York Times. It is not about me, or even the way we homeschool, but closer maybe than the stereotype of the beaten-down, exhausted, denim jumper wearing homeschooling Mom of silent, obedient stair-steps. Maybe. Except for the exhausted part. And I haven't even in been in a bar since the last millenium, so maybe I'm WAAAAY less hip than I think I am....
Anyway, here's the link: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/16/garden/16unschool.html?_r=2&ref=garden&oref=slogin&oref=slogin. Enjoy someone else's life for a moment. And who the heck gets free rent in New York City, anyway? Please.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

This is the "Times Clock" we made, based on the directions from Robinsunne on her blog at http://www.robinsunne.com/robinsunnes_multiplication_clock . ABCD thinks it would be good to do it again, since our lines aren't straight, but I'm not convinced. Mymy already got us to make two, by decorating the first one with his own artwork. So, here it is, at least for now. The cool thing about this multiplication table is that the connection between the numbers is really easy to see, and you can see each table two different ways- around the clock, or radiating from the center. And it was kind of fun to do an art project instead of working in the math workbook.

Friday, October 10, 2008


We've gathered buckeyes in the fall for as long as ABCD could walk. They're so cool- smooth and rich brown and oddly shaped. They come in such dragon's egg looking covers, and inside is this fairly glowing lovely thing. We've always just kept them in a basket and used them as math manipulatives or pocket treasures or just pretties. But this year ABCD and I decided to make conker dragons, by stringing them and looping them. It looked like an easy enough craft in the book. So we tried it. For a really long time. It involved hammering a big needle and pulling it out the other side with pliers. I think we may try cooking a few to soften them, and seeing if they dry out nicely after. We didn't manage even one dragon, though we did end up with two conker chains, 15 units long. And a couple of really sore thumbs.

Autumn Nature Table

We finally have our nature table up again. We've been collecting things on walks this week- its the first week of falling leaves and buckeyes and walnuts and other little treasures. Tonight will be the first below freezing night and all of the sudden it feels like fall. So Mymy and I finally dug through and found some cloths, sorted acorns and buckeyes into baskets, and made a little nature table in the living room. It will, I'm sure, change as the season does, and as Mymy's interest does! Right now he loves filling his dump truck with buckeyes, and pulling the caps off of the acorns. What fun! The boys and I have been talking about the pumpkin patch, and going back to the one we discovered last year with pumpkin cannons and fresh-made pumpkin doughnuts, hayrides and a corn maze small enough for kids to go in by themselves. The house is bursting with all of the garden produce we pulled in to keep from freezing- a huge box full of tomatoes to take care of tomorrow, there's delicata and acorn squash, pumpkins, bell peppers, zucchini and yellow summer squash, cucumbers and broccoli. My Mom brought over quarts and quarts full of home canned pears and the prettiest pinky applesauce. We turned on the heat for the first time this morning, but I love the feeling of waking up with the air cold and the bed and layers of covers warm and heavy all around. I love crisp air outside and crinkly leaved walks and crystal clear blue skies and the faint smell of woodsmoke. I love the house stocked full of food for winter and I love autumn.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Just cute, that's why

These are pictures of the boys at the beginning of the summer, helping out at our friends' property, getting the escavation done for their new house. Fun! ABCD drove the excavator all by himself, and went on a long ride in the huge dump truck with the excavation company owner. Whew!

Friday, October 3, 2008

What Passes For School Around Here

This is called the "Snotty Slime Clock". It comes in a kit from the Horrible Science people who also publish all of these fun science books- this year we have"Disgusting Digestion" which promises to answer all kinds of questions, like~ How much pee can your bladder hold before it pops? ~What disease makes your eyeballs bleed? ~Why can't astronauts eat beans before a space flight? Totally gross and fun, perfect for an 8 year old whose bedtime chatter last night was whether anacondas continue strangling their victims for so long after they are dead because they're really crushing their bones so the animal (or person!) is malleable enough to swallow hole, and exactly how big an animal can an anaconda eat? Of course, we haven't gotten to digestion yet- that'll be much later in the year. But I decided to mix things up a bit this year, instead of trying to follow a strictly Waldorf curriculum, or following in the classical footsteps of so many of our homeschooling peers here.

So... so far we've completed one Waldorf style block on farming-harvest, we learned about local agriculture, followed the pear cycle, and the life cycle of the honeybee, an important agricultural partner around here, for sure! For the bee bit we worked out the components of a sort of lap-book kit, which looked fun, with all kinds of little booklets to make and paper-cutting and folding and staples and brads and everything. ABCD was not impressed. "Its just a lot of filling in the blanks kind of writing, just on little pieces of paper instead of big ones. Boring!" And really, to have all of those preprinted funny things in the middle of his hand-made looking Waldorf style lesson book is a little jarring, just from an aesthetic side. So, no more lap books, at least not for main lessons, and not for awhile.
This week we started a block on time- clocks and calendars- telling time and history of- but we've been sick and not really gotten much done. Except he made the green plastic slime clock. I have to say, I bought two of the horrible science kits hoping they'd be worth the money, and they are, definitely. Some kid science kits are so flimsy and have such awful directions and boring experiments. After all, how many times can you find vinegar and baking soda interesting? (Well, unfortunately, quite a few times, it seems, but still, I don't need to pay $30 for a kit about THAT!) These kits seem quite sturdy and nice, with funny experiments that teach science between the giggles. Also for this unit we are enjoying the book "The Story of Clocks and Calendars" by Betsy Maestro, which is quite informative and very readable and pretty much covers everything we're going to talk about in this block, so there you go! We will be practising telling time and making a calendar for 2009, and doing the experiments in the slime clock kit and some others as well.

So far our school days look a little like this: light a candle, circle, harmonica (1/2 the time or so we get to it), oral reading (Old Testament stories mostly), puzzler/story problem/maze/paper folding exercise. Main lesson- Monday is Math, with a story from "Number Stories of Long Ago" or some other Waldorfy type math lesson story, then working out the story with manipulatives or figures or drawings. Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday is block lesson time (3 farm, 2 building, 1 clothing, time, money, 2-3 measurement). Friday is sort of our fill-in time right now. Snack, then 15 minutes or so for latin (Lively Latin, we LOVE it), oral math/math drill (grammar on Friday), cursive practice (copywork from OT stories on Wednesday). Tuesday is msnucleus science lab day, Wednesday is an extra math practice (Miquon workbook), and a local history story, Thursday is Leonardo da Vinci, and Friday is form drawing and another Math practice period. Lunch. And so far we're pretty much done at that point, but not for long....

We haven't started with regular nature walks and keeping a nature journal yet- that's this week, with a Waldorf style nature story first. We haven't started handwork up yet- its too easy to push aside for other things. I'd like to get ABCD to make another wood project for a Christmas present for his brother or the Grandmas, and I plan to have him sew himself a wool felt vest or something for the new baby. I haven't broken out the beeswax yet- not sure why. We haven't even done play dough in ages. Like, since spring! Guitar hasn't started yet either- we're still trying to work it all out, schedule wise and $ wise. Gym and swim at the Y is two days a week, two hours each, and Thursdays we go to the library after. Gymnastics starts Tuesday, so we'll probably do that instead on those days- it's only an hour and more fun,less hassle. But ABCD was moved up to the highest level swimming class at the Y, so we're a little torn. They're so disorganized and have such a variety of teachers its a little off-putting, added to the general atmosphere of world's most family un-friendly YMCA ever. And he has soccer team- U-9 is a bit more intense than last year, and ABCD is not competitive, so its a bit much at times. His coach is great at trying to keep it fun, but most of the boys on the team are feeling competitive and paying more attention to how the other's play, and demanding to know the score all the time (though officially its no-score still, for some reason all the Dads keep and tell the points). We're waiting for Rosetta Stone Spanish, Artistic Pursuits modern art, some more science kits, art supplies, and the nature journal still.

I started writing this post feeling like we were not getting much done school-wise, but I feel pretty good, actually, about how well I planned out the schedule, and what we're learning. Its pretty good, and fitting in the things we're waiting for shouldn't be too big a struggle. Good.


What school?
Well, this week we're all kind of knocked flat with a stomach flu- we've just been hobbling along trying to survive on chicken broth, yogurt, Tummy Comfort tea and Coca-cola. Yikes, I know! But we've become convinced that Coca-cola when you have an upset tummy is a good thing. Really. Well, so the kids think its medicine, and now Mymy is running around clutching his tummy and saying "Need CoCaCoLa MaMa." Like a little song. All day long. Maybe more than one bottle of the stuff has ruined it for us as a get well trick. I don't know-I'm too tired to deal and besides, I have to go throw up again. Here kid, drink up. Ugh.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Okay, okay, I like it here....

Kris Holland from the Yakima Herald Republic is a great photographer. A lot of the media personnel here are kind of in training, actually, lots of people move here for experience and to use this town as a stepping stone in their careers. But Kris is one of our favorites- and this photo, while I'm not personally prone to cowgirl fantasies, is a lovely picture of The Western Experience. Wild horses, right outside of town, running along the highway. Jeesh! We never saw anything like THAT when we lived in Cleveland!
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