A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Learning About Norway

Last weekend, when I was lesson planning, I fell down a rabbit hole, and now I am looking forward to a "day trip" to Romania.  One of the books we use, Window On The World (affiliate link), talks about various people groups.  Our reading in that book for this week was supposed to be about Romania.  Hmm, Romania, Transylvania, Dracula...  So I ordered up some books, and when they get here, we'll be doing some reading and a little vampire craft.  And a couple worksheets.  Because when I Ms. Frizzle, I tend to go a little overboard.  

A pile of not-Romania books.  Starting to see some Norway books come through now.  It's hit & miss what we'll get quickly, and what will take literally months to arrive.  I went way overboard getting black history books in February, and...

...they're still trickling in, 8 months later.  Which reminds me.  I need to return that book about the Port Chicago 50.  

So, terrible lighting, but what you see here is Grumman on the chair, and Bertie on the floor.  This was the closest they ever got.  I had hoped that Grumman would get used to the kittens, like he did the ones we had earlier this summer, and we could keep pretty Bertie.  This was not to be.  

A dessert I saw online.  S'mores cups.  Chocolate and marshmallows in little pie crusts.  They were pretty messy.  It's a cute idea, but I won't be doing this one again.  

Jack and Paul have been working out together.  They were planking the other day, and I kinda laughed at Jack's noises.  "Well you try doing it, then!"  Only, I knew that I can plank.  So I had Paul time me, and I did the same time they did, without the I'm-going-to-die noises.  

It's funny the things that are "hard" for my students.  Sometimes, something that I assume will be fun ends up causing tears.  Such was the case with this cartoon strip.  Someone who has no problem following step by step drawing instructions, completely freaked over coming up with their own plot and sequence.  

Even though we don't do every single project, I appreciate the variety of learning experiences offered in these notebooks.  Lots of stuff I wouldn't have thought of on my own, like cartooning.  

Jack had a science experiment involving plain water, colored water, and Jello.  Something about light particles.  I asked him to let me take a picture, because I hardly get to mention him here any more.  

Toy egg shaker.  Best. Kitten. Toy. Ever.  I was sitting in the sewing room when I heard "rattle, rattle."  I looked over, and Bertie had found the egg shaker, and was rolling it around.  He played with that thing for a good 10 minutes straight.  I even got video, in which he does a somersault.  

But baby Bertie reached two pounds, and headed back to the shelter for surgery and adoption.  I'm a little sad, since I hoped he would stay, but I've been working on putting away/packing up all the supplies, and cleaning/washing everything they contacted.  Grumman still hasn't really forgiven me, even though I've tried to make the kitten smells go away.  

I mentioned the attempted School Pictures.  We spent some time drawing at the park, too.  

Nice to get out in the fresh air.  I'm hoping to manage the pumpkin patch next week, but I keep making excuses.  

More books & movies.  

The most fortuitous thing happened!  We hit bats in our Flying Creatures science in October.  Because October is the time when all the bat crafts, bat worksheets, and bat drawing instructions are floating around.  So we made these cute, simple coffee filter bats the first day of the bat chapter.  And I reserved some bat books.  And I downloaded some bat puzzles and such.  

And we did bat guided drawings.  Because I tend to take an idea and run with it.  

The center drawer of my desk is a mish mash of staples, binder clips, paper clips, paper fasteners, pushpins, and assorted nonsense.  I was looking for suction cups to hang up our bats and I found rulers.  Lots of rulers.  13 rulers in one drawer.  This does not include the rulers that Hannah and Katie have in their school buckets.  The boys used to sword fight with them when they were little.  And I'm pretty sure the big kids used to hide rulers from me, because (pre-adoption) I may have utilized corporal punishment from time to time.  I'm guessing the Westcott rulers were a 5 cent loss leader in the school daze sales at Staples.  But still.  That's a lot of rulers.  I kept one in the drawer and put the rest in our school supplies bucket.  I'll donate the best of them to the next backpack drive I run across (along with several crayon boxes that I'm not sure why we have).  

I went into JoAnn's to get some faux fur for a gnome craft, and I found it amusing and slightly dangerous that the Perler beads and the baking sprinkles were right next to each other.  

Eli had a box shipped here.  When he asked for a picture, Grumman photo bombed.  

Autumn is in the air.  It's in the front room, too!  Time to dig out the hoodies just in case we leave the house in the morning.  

I used Crikey to make the girls autumn t-shirts.  While I was at JoAnn's getting fake fur, I noticed the 5 for $10 t-shirt sale, so I picked up a few blank t-shirts for crafting.  

There you have it.  We have one more week in Norway, then we'll be heading to France.  This coming week should include Romania, and possibly time travel (Vikings).  

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

School Pictures, Take 1

I've been feeling guilty for not getting to the girls' school pictures yet.  I bought the outfits over the summer so I'd be ready when September hit.  Only, much of September, we were stuck inside, due to smoke.  And my motivation failed me, the few green air days we've had.  

But not today!  Today I told myself it was time!  After all, I wouldn't want to be taking pictures of Katie in a sleeveless dress when it's cold outside, which it will be at some point.  So off, we set.  

When I checked the weather, I just looked at the temp, I didn't pay attention to the WIND at all.  That turned out to be a mistake.  We have 17 photos of Katie's sleeve (and hair) blowing the wrong way.  

It's all so very 2020.

Doesn't this look just sum up the year?

One good thing to come out of our mini photo shoot was when I asked Katie, "Do you climb trees?"  She said no, but amended that to, "I've never done it before."  Well, she was game to give it a shot, so I helped her.  "What happens if I fall?"  "The ground is right there.  It will catch you."  I'm a horrible mother.  

But she didn't fall.  We got her up there, and wedged in place for a few pictures, and I got her back down again without dropping her.  She seems pretty happy to have had a new experience.  

What's better than wind blowing your hair off your forehead?  Transition lens glasses that hide your eyes.  Sigh.  

One of the girls was making weird faces, so, to get her to smile, I said, "Say 'Jack got detention!' "  It made her laugh, but she was like, "Did Jack really get detention?  But you said he got detention."  She's very literal.  When our curriculum had the kids fill out fake passport applications, it mentioned an $80 processing fee.  She perseverated on it, "Does it really cost $80 bucks?  Were our passports really $80 bucks?  But it said $80 bucks."  The brain is an interesting thing.  

And the 2020 look for Hannah.  

Except in true 2020 fashion, the child sized mask popped right off while I was shooting.  

In the end, this was the best shot of Katie, which I'm okay with.  

This ended up being the best shot of Hannah.  Not happy with the dark glasses.  We'll probably retake these at some point.  

Monday, October 12, 2020

Wrapping Up Brazil

Our curriculum had us spending 3 weeks in Brazil, instead of the usual 2 weeks for most countries.  

We did our South America geography game, and I gave the girls cola bottle candy made in Brazil as a treat afterwards.  Katie was placing one bottle on each country.  

Since we were in Brazil so long, we decided to take a couple of "day trips" into other South American countries.  The first was Argentina, home of the tango.  We appreciated the beauty of Iguazu Falls, on the border of Brazil and Argentina via YouTube.   

We colored the flag of Argentina, while listening to Argentine music, and we took a quick look at Argentina's provinces.  We watched an interesting video explaining why so many German officers fled to Argentina after WW2.  

The girls have been reading about Nate Saint, one of the 5 missionaries killed in Ecuador by the Waodani tribe.  They built small yellow planes like his.  

Katie and I were drawing bees, and Grumman was right in the middle of the action, of course.  

Here's Katie's bee.  

Back in Brazil, we learned about artist Romero Britto, and drew pop art cats imitating his style.  

The cat instructions came from Art Projects For Kids, and I've got an idea from there for our next country, too.  My problem at this point isn't coming up with enough to do; my problem is remembering it all for countries that we're not at yet.  

We made Brazilian brigadeiro.  It looked simple, because there's only 3 ingredients, but the instructions we had were vague, and I'm not sure we cooked it long enough.  We stirred long enough for our arms to get tired, though.  

It's hard to see in this picture, but they're little rolled balls (those are mini baking cups, not muffin tins) coated in sprinkles.  We had them for dessert, and they were a hit with everyone--although, they're quite sweet, and I couldn't eat more than one.  

So, we named one of the foster kittens Cleo, after Cleopatra.  I got a library book so the kids could learn more about her.  Only, funny thing... the kitten they told us was a GIRL turned out to be a BOY.  So I got an email telling me, "Your foster kitten, Cleo the Boy, has been adopted."  

Anyway, this book has projects in it, so I had the girls each choose one to do.  

Hannah picked a guided drawing.

Katie picked dissolving an egg shell in vinegar.

Bertie misses Cleo (or whatever his name is now that he has a new family) so he spends a lot of time glommed onto me like a toddler.  He's really going to be a gorgeous cat when he gets a bit bigger.  

Next, we're off to Norway!  

Friday, October 9, 2020

Our Paint-y Week

Books, books, books.  I'm glad the girls are strong readers interested in many things.  

If you notice the "new" stickers on a couple of these, it's because I requested a few books I saw in Paul's World magazine.  Always looking for things to add to our library list.  And it's fun when the girls tell me little tidbits that they picked up in a book.  "Mom!  Did you know that hummingbirds....?"

I mentioned the color wheel, and got two blank looks, so we went back to the second grade Home Art Studio DVD and did the color wheel segment.  

We reviewed Home Art Studio 5 years ago, and I liked it enough to purchase a couple more of their DVDs.  

Grumman seems to be attracted to wet paint.  

This is the printable Color wheel we used.  The video instructs you how to make your own circle, but this was easier for me.  I printed on cardstock, for durability.  The color mixing didn't go as well as I hoped.  

Miss Katie had a birthday!

She's 10 now!  A little bittersweet for me, my last baby being double digits.  

Katie has been playing Nintendogs lately, so Buddy & Grampagino sent her the Sims Pets game.

In honor of the changing seasons, I fired up Crikey, my Cricut machine, and made a few things.  

I had green glitter vinyl from a St. Patrick's Day shirt I made for Hannah, so I only needed some orange.  

Shirt for Hannah

Shirts for both girls, from the Hello Kitty design I bought to make a mask a while back (I don't think I showed that).  I changed the colors and used more glitter green for these.  

Although, when they were in progress, I decided I like the look of monochrome Hello Kitty, so I'll probably do a project like this at some point.  

Cleo has always been the bigger of the two kittens, so it was no surprise when she hit the 2# milestone needed for surgery first.  I contacted the shelter to get her scheduled for altering.  

We did the next project from the Home Art Studio DVD, watercolor watermelons.  

The girls fashioned rain forest animals (and a tree) from clay, and baked them.

Grumman had to check out the new smell, of course.  

Hannah had a little piece of clay left while we were working on math.  So she made a noose.  Because math.  

Our Eat 2 Explore box for Brazil has 3 recipes.  We tried the moqueca with chicken instead of shrimp.  My family was not impressed, but they're not familiar with coconut milk, so I'm sure that was part of it.  Also, I'm not the greatest cook, so that may have been a contributing factor.  If I were to make it again, I'd cut the chicken and the onions into much smaller pieces and add garlic.  

Action shot of Katie, concentrating on painting the clay animals.  

In flying science, we learned about nests, and had a notebook project to make little flip up descriptions of various kinds of nests.  

These projects are a great way to practice following directions.  

In fact, I'm only showing one completed project because following directions can be a challenge, and gluing the wrong things together and then trying to tear them apart doesn't work out very well.  But we'll keep practicing.  

This is the book from which the clay rainforest animal idea came.  The girls are starting to cringe a little when they see the word "projects" on the cover of a book.  Getting them to use problem solving skills and build independence is something we're working on this year.  

Books, books, books again.  A couple times now, I've gotten a book from the library, only to have Hannah tell me, "We have this book."  Oops.  But I'm glad she's read it, either way.  

After we finish Brazil this week, we head to Norway.  I'm a little disappointed that the reading list for Norway is so short!  In fact, they put several books set in other European countries on the list.  If you know of any good books set in Norway, let me know.  

Miss Cleo is the sweetest.  She was always the first to come running when I opened the door and squeaked, "Hello babies!"  Here, she cuddled up, put her nose on my foot, and went to sleep.  

She was also fond of napping with Bertie.  They most often slept in a heap, but this was too cute not to share.  

It was fun watching them tussle and play and explore together.  Two kittens together are the best!

But all good things must come to an end.  And Miss Cleo went back to the shelter yesterday for surgery today.  

My furry ferocious friend will be at the weekend kitten adoption pop ups soon, and hopefully will find her new family quickly.  

She's a spunky girls with a great purrsonality.  I miss her.  (I missed her even more when Bertie was crying for her last night!)  

The finished rainforest scene.  We used a paper bag from library pickups to make the background trees.  And we added a couple of Animal Toob figures.  

Poor Bertie!  He misses his sissy.  He's gaining well, though, and he'll most likely be leaving us next week.  I'd secretly hoped to keep him, because he's going to be such a beautiful cat when he's bigger, but Grumman is adamantly opposed to the idea.  Oh Grumman.