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, February 28, 2021

Our End of February Week

Tomorrow will be March!  My birthday month!  I'm so happy to see daffodils popping up and trees bursting into bloom.  It's like nature is decorating for me.  

Sometimes I feel like there's never enough time to learn all that I want to learn, or teach all that I want to teach.  I'm aware of the vast amount of information and knowledge that's out there, and the reality is, I know only a little sliver of it.  

The pandemic has taught me to be even more grateful for our libraries and librarians.  To have access to so many free books is such a blessing.  

Josiah and I collaborated to Crikey up some iron-ons for his new apron.  I think they're video game related things.  I'm kind of just tech support while he makes his ideas come to life.  

I'll just lay these tops out and get a quick picture...  Oh Grumman.  

pastel rainbow bunnies

Last week, I said I wouldn't show these until I was done with all four of them.  Only, I didn't finish the other two.  So I'm showing them now, and hopefully next week, I'll be able to show the others.  I stacked the fabric and cut out all four tops at the same time.  "Stack & Whack" was introduced to me as a quilting technique, but I quickly realized that cutting out 4 pairs of size 4T bike shorts for Brianna went faster if I used the same principle.  

pandas and bamboo

These are for Hannah.  I feel bad always making stuff for Hannah and less often for Katie, but the reality is, Katie has all Hannah's hand me downs, so she doesn't need as many new things.  

We watched a YouTube video to draw Russian nesting dolls.

Here are the colored versions.

The next day, we painted wooden matryoshka dolls

I'm so grateful for the sunshine.  People in the curriculum group I'm in have been mentioning the February homeschool blahs, and I think part of the reason those haven't hit here in our house is that we've had some lovely spring weather lately.  I'm glad our school room has such great natural lighting.

Our finished matryoshkas.  Hannah was playing peek a boo behind them.  

We thought we might have lost a book.  The girls were sure we'd returned it, but we tore the house apart looking for it, anyway.  Finally, I wrote a note and stuck it in the book drop with more returns, and they did, indeed, find it on the shelf, having not been scanned in.  While we were in panic mode, I slowed way down on new library acquisitions.  This was my sole pickup one day this week.  Now to fill our hold list with books on Australia, our next country.  

WE WENT OUTSIDE!  Sorry for shouting, but I think it's the first time the girls have been out since September.  It was a very brief sketching trip, but it felt very good to be out of doors again.  The photo above shows our muse for the day.  

Hannah included some info from the plaque on her drawing.  

You can really see Katie's perspective here, as she's closer to the ground than I am, and she included fence posts in the foreground.  She goes for speed in most things in life, so while Hannah and I were still sketching our schoolhouse building pictures, she finished and drew the school bell on a separate page.  

You can tell from my wiggly jiggly doors that this was a brief, standing, rough sketch.  But it was wonderful to get out, and I'm glad the girls' clipboards are seeing some action again.  

The girls have been learning about sharks this week in Swimming Science, including drawing them, of course.  They're working on shark reports now, which will be read at the dinner table.  

One of Katie's projects this week was paper cup dinosaurs.

Eli sent a picture of a coin he found at work.  Makes me so happy to see even just a little bit of him.  Miss my boy!  

We learned about the last imperial family of Russia, and made faux Faberge eggs.  

These sharks were a cut & assemble printout from Twinkl.  I used cardstock when I printed them to make them sturdy.  

Sturdy does not equal Grumman proof, however.  

Katie's shark regularly eats glue sticks and other school supplies.  

This was my stab at getting pictures of us doing something other than art.  

We watched Wild Russia, from Disney +.  Grumman took on a bear.  

Another of Katie's projects.  This one features the ancient Chinese art of papercutting.  

She also did a dragon puppet.  

And this is Grumman attacking her dinosaur magnet.  

We had Panda Express for the last night of Lunar New Year.

And we celebrated with cupcakes topped with Chinese zodiac animals.  I actually got the animal toob months ago and set them aside for this very reason.  I'm glad Lunar New Year is a 2 week long holiday, because we just barely managed to accomplish it.  

Hoping we can make it outside again next week.  The fresh air and sunshine is so good for us.  Our neighborhood just got a new Little Free Library, so we'll probably donate some books there.  

Friday, February 19, 2021

I Promise We Do More Than Just Art Projects

Not that you can tell from my posts lately.  But it's so much easier to take a picture of an art project than a picture of a discussion on the Russian Revolution, or of listening to Russian folk music, or watching Anastasia.  All things that we did this week, with nothing to really show for it.  

I also did some (not mask!) sewing this week, but since the total project is only 1/4 finished, I'll show those when they're all done.  

Happy to report our book flow is back to normal amounts again.  See the book Adventures in Asian Art?  That book inspired the vase project shown in our title image above.  

We had a birthday this week.  

Painted plesiosauruses

Origami fish that were harder than one would think.  

Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of the turtles before Someone used marker on the backside of hers.  


Our Asian vases project.  Notice Grumman the Curious.  

I used Crikey to cut out a couple vases from white cardstock, and had the girls draw Asian designs on them in blue marker.  (Blue marker again.  We go through a lot of blue.)  Then they drew branches on their background paper, and finger painted cherry blossoms on the branches.  

I'm kind of surprised that Grumman didn't end up pink in the process.  Afterwards, they glued the vases on.  

Grumman kind of likes to be right in the middle of whatever we're doing.  He's giving the new pile of books a sniff to see what sort of smells they have at the library.  

Our "St. Basil's Cathedral inspired" Russian buildings were from a video lesson on YouTube.  We really like the Home Art Studio DVDs, but I hadn't seen this one before, so I was glad to stumble across it.  

I ended up throwing away the sticky blue acrylic paint I used for my background and having the girls do tempera paint for theirs.  Not really delighted with either option, honestly.  Many of our art supplies have been around for a long time and have degraded over the years.  The building part would have been fun to do in watercolor pencil, too.  

We watched a video about the Trans-Siberian Railway, the longest rail line in the world, so I had the girls jot down some facts about it with their train drawings.  

Swimming Creatures turned into a discussion of reproduction when Katie asked what fertilized meant.  The conversation leapt species from fish to humans, of course, and when Jack popped out of his room and realized there was elaborate Birds & Bees talk going on in the school room, he turned around and went right back in and shut the door.  

Signs of spring happening all over the place right now.  It's a welcome antidote to all the SNOW pictures I'm seeing on Facebook.  I don't like to be cold, so the sight of daffodils (one of my favorite flowers) is a huge encouragement to me.  

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Our Start of Lunar New Year Week

We're back on track, as far as days of the week go!  I'm celebrating that almost as much as the Year of the Ox!  I do love that Lunar New Year is a 15 day festival, so we're bound to continue to have Chinese themed projects and decor for the next two weeks.  

I've been helping Sam with various aspects of adulting, and we're making real progress in his transition to civilian life.  He needed to upload a photo for his veteran ID card (which we can do online right now, #thanks2covid) and this is what we came up with.  

For the first night of Lunar New Year, I picked up a feast at a local Chinese restaurant that we hadn't tried before.  

I was going to take a picture of each dish as it came by, and put them together in a collage to share with you, but after the amazing wonton soup, I stopped caring if I documented anything and focused on snarfing.  

The leftover dragon cutouts from the CNY cards I made to send the adult children turned into a banner for over the table.  We had Chinese music playing in the background while we ate, too.  It was quite lovely.  

The girls got new t-shirts for Lunar New Year.  I realize Katie's is more Japanese, but I'm okay with that, since we just wrapped up our study of Japan.  

Have I mentioned I dislike transition lenses?  I'd love to be able to see Hannah's pretty eyes in outdoor photos.  Note to self:  tell Paul NO transition lenses next time he takes her for new glasses.  

Someone wrote on my calendar, while they were scheduling an appointment on the phone.  I don't know where I'm driving them, but I appreciate the amusing heads up.  

One of Hannah's projects this week is a nod to the ancient Chinese art of papercutting.  This is actually the second attempt.  The first one was somewhat lacking in effort and following directions.  

This is what happens when the library is closed 2 weeks, instead of the one week we were expecting.  A few stragglers came in to the branch across town.

Hannah got a book in German, because she wanted to see if she could use her 5 language dictionary from Christmas and read it.  I suggested she start with a board book.  

I'll just lay these bags here for a picture real quick...

Oh Grumman.  

One of Katie's projects this week was faux wheat painting, using toothpicks.  It's a compass.  

Other, unphotographed projects this week include something about squid ink, and something involving blowing across bottles.  

Hannah was unavailable for a photo, so Sam stood in holding her kimono drawing.  

This is what happens when the library has a week's worth of incoming holds that we weren't allowed to pick up.  


Grumman instructs us on the finer points of origami.  

Fan drawings.  

Origami penguin, I believe.  

And origami grasshopper.  

This is the project I alluded to at the end of last week's post.  We drew koi, then we used orange and green watercolor crayons to trace our drawings.  Then we brushed water over the tracing to activate the watercolor.  After that dried, we used watered down blue liquid watercolor for the water background.  After that dried, we outlined out drawings in Sharpie.  It was a little time consuming, but I love the way they turned out.  

We learned about the famous Japanese wave paintings.  Oh Grumman.  

And in Swimming Creatures, we learned about plesiosauruses.  

So, of course we had to make origami plesiosauruses, draw them, paint them, write a plesiosaurus haiku...  I like to take a theme and run with it.  

I picked up the Draw Write Now ocean book, and decided to step away from Art Projects For Kids for a moment and have the girls do something different.  I let them choose any drawing of sea life in the book.  Notice the blue backgrounds have a bit of "sunlight" streaming in from above the water?  Sigh.  Our new markers are already dying.  Katie got about 6 blue backgrounds, and now we're back to where we started.  Color me unimpressed.  

A rare moment to catch on "film."  Jack looked cute hanging out with Grumman, and actually let me take a picture.  Generally I get photos of Jack's palm any time I point a camera in his direction.  

We're going to start learning about Russia in the coming week.  I'm looking forward to having the girls watch Anastasia (after some actual documentaries and more factual videos, of course).