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.

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Our What Day Is It? Week

Because last week was not a regular week for us, the day of the week and the day of our curriculum are not currently in alignment, and it's making it even harder for me to know what day it is.  So tomorrow is Monday, but we'll be working on Wednesday/Thursday stuff.  No worries.  Fridays tend to be light days, so I'm sure we'll adjust to synch up with the correct days soon.  

While I still wouldn't call Grumman a lap cat by any stretch of the imagination, he does deign to grace me with his presence occasionally.  Generally when I'm cozied up to the space heater, but sometimes just because.  I'm hoping this is a glimpse of what he'll be like as an old man.  He's still plenty feisty most of the time.  

I forgot to mention earlier, we finished 2 books roughly around Christmas break.  One was our Health text, which was a pretty thin book, with only 7 chapters.  

The other was Flying Creatures.  I had lofty ambitions that we were going to become avid birdwatchers because of this book, but smoke and fear and cold have kept us indoors more than I care to admit.  

We've moved on to Swimming Creatures now.  I wish we could do a field trip to the aquarium while we're in this book, but field trips just aren't a thing now.  

I don't like to say this out loud, but I didn't really enjoy the music we listened to from India.  We're in China now, and the music is much more pleasant.  I did really enjoy the music from Turkey, though.  

Grumman stuffed himself into a crevice in the sewing room and was very curious about the fake fur that I bought to make gnomes when we studied Norway.  Somehow, we never got around to actually making them, so the fur hangs there, reminding me of my over ambitiousness/lack of follow through.  

Perhaps at some point, I'll have a project that needs fake fur, and be glad to already have it on hand.  Or, my kids will shake their heads at silly old mom as they box up the sewing room after I'm dead.  It could go either way.  

We survived the week with our local library branch closed.  I'm looking forward to it opening up again (just for curbside) on Tuesday.  

Hmm, I should have cropped this.  If you've ever been on a military base, you know there are often outdated pieces of equipment "sprinkled" around as d├ęcor.  Our family calls these sprinkles, and when I took Sam to the VA this week, I snapped a picture of one that we saw to share it with Eli and Jack.  

Between having our branch closed, and books undergoing quarantine upon return, our library account is pretty scary right now.  There are currently 115 books checked out to us, although I know we've returned at least 3 bags that have not yet been checked back in.  Since the "limit" is 60, I'm a little afraid of getting cut off the next time I go to pick up more books.  

I picked up a Family Meal Deal and a free kids meal from Panda Express one day after picking Josiah up from work.  Hoping to score Chinese food a few more times while we're studying China, and then we'll roll straight into Chinese New Year, which means more Chinese food!  Yum!  

The girls made whale and dolphin mobiles from their Swimming Creatures book. 

We watched a documentary about the ancient origins of the Great Wall (it's older than you think!), and I shared pictures with the girls of my two trips to the Great Wall, and they read library books about the Great Wall, so it seemed fitting that they also draw the Great Wall.  

It's chilly out there!  Sam wanted to come back in before Grumman did.  

With Josiah working [Hallelujah chorus], he needs to mask, obviously.  He's pretty picky about what he'll wear, so a few months back, I made him a special mask from a different pattern than the pleated ones I've been churning out (737!) all along.  We tweaked it until it was Just Right, but now it's time for Goldilocks to have a couple more, so I made two for him in this Hawaiian print.  My camera shy boy elected not to model them for posterity.  

I introduced the girls to a new medium in the art world:  watercolor crayons.  

The red lanterns were done with watercolor crayon, the blue was done was done with liquid watercolor, and the sharpie was added after everything was dry.  

We have been doing so many of these Art Projects For Kids guided drawings that our markers are drying up.  

Katie mentioned being completely out of working blue markers, so I ordered a pack of art markers that's heavy on blues.  I considered getting a pack of blue Crayola markers, but I feel like the kids are old enough now to use real art materials.  Hannah has a nice set of Prismacolor markers that are almost used up.  I think it's time for me to suck it up and share my markers.  

Back to our Chinese zodiac animals, rats.  

A friend on Facebook inspired me to be more intentional about being creative this year.  Instead of just assigning art, I want to make things, too.  January has gotten off to a good start with 5 Crikey projects, 5 days of mask sewing, 3 pillowcases made, a little paint pouring, and some drawing.  

Temple of Heaven, on which happens to be the obverse side of the panda coin Brianna gave me for Christmas.  We saw it from a distance in China, but didn't visit it.  

Another of Josiah's cooking projects was meatball sandwiches.  I absolutely love that he's on a cooking kick lately.  

To go along with my wanting to art more (can I use art as a verb?) I picked up a book called Art Before Breakfast, and it talks about keeping pen and paper close and using random moments to draw.  I am more comfortable with colored pencil than pen right now, so I'm thinking about getting a little pouch to cart my supplies around in.  

Last night, I sewed a few masks, and then I paused for a bit to draw one of them.  It's hard to see the "white" elastic loops, and I only drew a few of the shamrocks, but it's recognizable.  I'm looking forward to seeing what else ends up in my little sketch pad this year.  

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Flying Paintings #readyourworld

One of the reasons I love participating in Multicultural Children's Book Day each year is because I get to learn new things, too!  This lovely book couldn't come at a better time, since we're learning about China in our homeschool right now.  

Even though I've been to China, there are still so many interesting things there that I have not yet seen.  This year's book, Flying Paintings - The Zhou Brothers:  A Story of Revolution and Art gave me another place to add to my China Bucket List.  Zuojiang Huashan Rock Art is in Guangxi province, the same province that Katie is from.  It's a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and I had never heard of it before reading this book.  

Flying Paintings, from Candlewick Press is based on a true story.  Author Amy Alznauer weaves the story of two brothers, born in China during tumultuous times, who go to extremes to learn to be better artists.  They have a unique process for their artwork, much of which was inspired by the ancient cliff art their grandmother told them about.  

What's not part of the story, but is mentioned in the author's note in the back of the book is that the brothers eventually move to the United States, and even meet President Obama when he commissions one of their paintings.  

I love giving my Chinese girls another real-life example of people from China who succeed here.  

Although the publisher recommends this book for ages 5-9, Hannah is 13 and Katie is 10, and we enjoyed it and found it interesting.  

The paintings in the book are done by the Zhou Brothers themselves.  After reading this fascinating book, we looked up pictures of the cliff paintings online.  

Then we busted out the liquid watercolors and made some cliff painting copies of our own.  

I love the way they turned out.

You can learn more about the Zhou Brothers, and the Zuojiang Huashan Rock Art online.  Flying Paintings is available on Amazon, or directly from Candlewick Press, or check your local library (ours has it).  

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2021 (1/29/21) is in its 8th year! This non - profit children’s literacy initiative was founded by Valarie Budayr and Mia Wenjen; two diverse book - loving moms who saw a need to shine the spotlight on all of the multicultural books and authors on the market while also working to get those book into the hands of young readers and educators. Eight years in, MCBD’s mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves continues. Read about our Mission & History HERE. 

MCBD 2021 is honored to be Supported by these Medallion Sponsors!

FOUNDER’S CIRCLE: Mia Wenjen (Prgamaticmom) and Valarie Budayr’s (Audreypress.com) Platinum Sponsors: Language Lizard Bilingual Books in 50+ Languages, Author Deedee Cummings and Make A Way Media Gold Sponsors: Barefoot Books, Candlewick Press, Capstone, Hoopoe Books, KidLitTV, Peachtree Publishing Company Inc. Silver Sponsors: Charlotte Riggle, Connecticut Association of School Librarians, Author Kimberly Gordon Biddle, Pack - N - Go Girls Bronze Sponsors: Agatha Rodi and AMELIE is IMPRESSED! , Barnes Brothers Books, Create and Educate Solutions, LLC, Dreambuilt Books, Dyesha and Triesha McCants/McCants Squared, Redfin Real Estate, Snowflake Stories, Star Bright Books, TimTimTom Bilingual Personalized Books, Author Vivian Kirkfield, Wisdom Tales Press, My Well Read Child  

MCBD 2021 is honored to be Supported by these Author Sponsors!

Poster Artist: Nat Iwata Authors: Author Afsaneh Moradian, Author Alva Sachs & Three Wishes Publishing Company, Author Angeliki Stamatopoulou - Pedersen, Author Anna Olswanger, Author Casey Bell , Author Claudine Norden, Author Debbie Dadey, Author Diana Huang & Intrepids, Author Eugenia Chu & Brandon goes to Beijing, Green Kids Club, Author Gwen Jackson, Author Janet Balletta, Author Josh Funk, Author Julia Inserro, Karter Johnson & Popcorn and Books, Author Kathleen Burkinshaw & The Last Cherry Blossom, Author Keila Dawson, M aya/Neel Adventures with Culture Groove, Author Mia Wenjen, Michael Genhart, Nancy Tupper Ling, Author Natalie Murray, Natalie McDonald - Perkins, Author Natasha Yim, Author Phe Lang and Me On The Page Publishing, Sandra Elaine Scott, Author Shoumi Sen & From The Toddler Diaries, SISSY GOES TINY by Rebecca Flansburg and B.A. Norrgard, Susan Schaefer Bernardo & Illustr ator Courtenay Fletcher, Tales of the Five Enchanted Mermaids, Author Theresa Mackiewicz, Tonya Duncan and the Sophie Washington Book Series, Author Toshia Stelivan, Valerie Williams - Sanchez & The Cocoa Kids Collection Books©, Author Vanessa Womack, MBA, Author Veronica Appleton & the Journey to Appleville book series

MCBD 2021 is Honored to be Supported by our CoHosts and Global CoHosts!

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Check out MCBD's Multicultural Books for Kids Pinterest Board!

FREE RESOURCES from Multicultural Children’s Book Day

Diversity Book Lists & Activities for Teachers and Parents 

Join us on Friday, Jan 29, 2021, at 9 pm EST for the 8th annual Multicultural Children's Book Day Twitter Party! This epically fun and fast - paced hour includes multicultural book discussions, addressing timely issues, diverse book recommendations, & reading ideas. We will be giving away an 8 - Book Bundle every 5 minutes plus Bonus Prizes as well! *** US and Global participants welcome. ** Follow the hashtag #ReadYourWorld to join the conversation, connect with like - minded parts, authors, publishers, educators, organizations, and librarians. See you all very soon on Twitter! Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use our official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.

I'm excited to check out the other diverse kid books in the linkup and see which ones might be available at our library.  

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Our Inauguration Week

We did end up taking things easy this week, and it was good.  Josiah started a new job, and Sam needed help with some of the transition to civilian life issues, so it was nice to be available for my big boys.  

It was also nice to extend our "stay" in India a little bit longer and fit in some of the things we hadn't gotten to yet.  

Months ago, I was Pin-surfing, looking for TP tube crafts, and I saw one for a peacock.  I put a post it on India's planner page to remind me to make it when we got there.  

Grumman liked this one because it involved feathers.  

I told Hannah she might as well let him have that one until he got bored with it, because taking it away was going to be painful.  

I thought they turned out cute.  Mine sits behind the monitor and I smile when I see it.  Grumman tried to teach my peacock to fly by knocking it off the half wall over the staircase.  

Library book project that rapidly became cat toy.  

We talked about how India is known for it's spices, and so I got a bunch of spices out for the girls to smell.  

Katie rightly identified one as smelling like essential oils.  I tried to connect the dots by asking, "Okay, so where do spices come from?"  The grocery store?  India?  "No, like, what are they made out of?"  Eventually we got to "plants."  

Then I asked, where do essential oils come from?  "Out of the ground!"  Because oil (petroleum) comes out of the ground.  No, essential oils also come from plants.  So if there's a spice (that comes from a plant) and an oil (that comes from a plant), and they smell the same, maybe they're...  [blank looks]  From. The. Same. Plant.  Okay, let's move on to our experiment.  

With each country we study, I pull "extras" from a variety of sources.  One of those is the website Twinkl.  When I typed in "India," one of the things that came up was this Turmeric Experiment.  

We talked about the difference between a solution and a mixture, as we blended turmeric and water in a glass.  

Katie poured the lemon juice for us.  

The idea was that we would add two different things to the turmeric mixture, and observe the changes.  

 Turns out, lemon juice has no effect on the color, but baking soda changes the color.  As experiments go, it really wasn't all that impressive.  

I did finally make it to the Indian market!  After sniffing various spices, we were able to taste some of them in our spicy Indian dinner!  The base layer is naan (which was already a favorite around here, thanks to Trader Joe's), the kabob is mutton, the round things are potato based, with other veggies and spices, and the meat that burned our faces off is lamb curry.  

Grumman, who still swears he's not a lap cat, has been hopping up in my lap rather often recently.  I think it's more due to my relation to the space heater, than any desire to snuggle.  

I did a little more paint pouring.  

Then I fired up Crikey to add stickers, making them more like conversation hearts.  

These will get mailed off to the adult children.  

I found the wooden blank on clearance for less than a buck, so I decided to make another little something for Zach and Heather's baby.  

What's that?  I hadn't mentioned The News here yet?  

They called to tell us in November, and this was the first thing I made and sent to them.  (By the time I entered Brayden's life, he already had a few grandmas, so all the usual names were taken.  He calls me Nai Nai, which is "paternal grandmother" in Mandarin.)  

Grumman, you're not helping me correct Katie's math.  

Gah, sorry about the flash.  We've got a huge pile of China books now.  I'm very excited about getting to teach the girls more about China.  

One of Hannah's projects.

The new rubber duckie in the van inspired our rubber duckie library bags.  I hope they make the staff smile.  

Speaking of library, our usual branch is going to be closed for a week, boo hoo.  I've started reserving things to be sent to the branch across town, so we don't go through withdrawals.  

Educators, check out the Cub Club at Panda Express!  

In addition to some free kids meals, we got a bunch of bookmarks, which is great, because we go through a lot of them around here.  

Growing crystals from the Star Wars project book.  

Hannah's curious cow.  Just put some China craft/project/activity/art books on hold at the library.  I'm sure she'll be thrilled.  

I opened the dryer and found a bullet.  It made me smile, because it's one more reminder than my Marine is HOME.  

Katie made a crown for Grumman.  

Who was delighted, of course.  

Yeah, I don't think that's going to work.  

I wish I'd noticed how washed out Hannah's picture was.  She used colored pencils.  The girls drew the White House and read books about it on Inauguration Day.  I was the only one at our house who watched the event.  

A little Crikey on a plain dish towel will be going in the mail to brighten someone's day soon.  

Our "henna" project, inspired by our Global Kids deck.  We used multicultural construction paper for the hands, and I just love the way it turned out.  

We had a great time learning about India, and were able to take things further and learn about how the region became India and West Pakistan and East Pakistan, which eventually became Bangladesh.  We learned about the forced Muslim/Hindu migration, and compared it to our Trail Of Tears.  I'm glad we were able to spend a few extra days finishing up all I wanted to get in before moving on to the next country.  

And now, I'm excited to get started on China!