Thursday, January 28, 2010

Matching/Memory Game

Last year we bought this great Charlie Harper memory game at Old Navy for maybe $4. I love, love, LOVE the images on the cards. This set is all birds and bugs and oddly (yet wonderfully) enough one chimpanzee! My girls LOVE memory games and always have. It is also a good way to keep Bijou busy while the older girls are doing work that requires my attention. I give her a few pairs and let her find the matches. We are still working on the rules of taking turns during the game, but more often than not, she would rather play by herself.

Confucius say....?

The girls and I are wrapping up our unit on ancient China. Yesterday we finished our biography of Confucius and to reinforce some Chinese inventions, the girls made their own books. Nothing too complicated (or even really true to the era), just a simple accordion book bound with yarn. In their books, they created some simple text and illustrations about the life of Confucius. Next up, India...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, January 25, 2010

Really big kid art

I came across this great post over at U N Journal and thought it was a great project. So having the artsy little tribe that I do, we made it our weekend project. Our space here isn't nearly as nice the one over there, so we used the garage (fortunately it has been pretty mild the last few days). The kids did a great job and it was a good lesson is limitations, patience, and purposeful actions. The older two worked on theirs yesterday, so theirs are already hanging in their rooms. Bijou just did hers this morning so I will post pictures of it hanging after it dries.

This is Bijou's. I enjoy painting with her because she is still young enough to not be attached to painting "something". There's a freedom to preschool painting because there is more focus on the act of painting rather than the act of making something recognizable. She was perfectly content to see how the colors interacted with one another on the paper. Her biggest concern, though, was making sure she used every last drop of paint in the container. I think she succeeded.

I gave the bigger girls two more constraints. 1.) They had to leave some white paper showing, but it had to be a very small amount. 2.) They could only use the broadest side of the brush (they had two large and one small), no skinny edging. Ashni said that hers was a house with a weather vane on top and a large black snowman.

The older girls' paintings are about 5 feet tall and 2, maybe 2 and a half, feet wide. Bijou's is about 3' x 3'.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


I'm sure it's the cold weather or maybe the gray sky and rain, but I've been feeling really homesick lately. It's not that I don't like Mississippi or that going back to St. Croix is even an option, but I miss it. I miss 365 days of summer. I miss painfully blue skies and mountains so green that they look black in the distance. I miss horses and chickens running freely along the road, in my yard, in the parking lot of the local Kmart. I miss pastel houses dotting the horizon. Turquoise water and cobalt water and navy blue water full of fish that swam around my feet. I miss sun cradling my face as I floated on my back in the sea and the sun kissed cheeks of my babies and their friends running around without shirts. This move was the only logical option for us at the time, but logic isn't a cure for homesickness.....

There are good things about living in Mississippi. The people are friendly and the cost of living is WAY less and we live in a much roomier house. We are closer to our family and friends and their are more things for the children to see and do. Those are all of the reasons that we left, but it's hard to readjust from the warm, laid back island life style. AND there, we lived in a little pink house and it was totally acceptable. Lots of people lived in pink houses! Our pink house had a huge cactus that would bloom with red and orange cactus flowers, lots of mango trees that would drop them like heavy bowling balls onto the grass, and little green lizards that would cling to our screen door at night to eat the flying bugs trying to escape into the house. There was a clothesline where I could hang my cloth diapers to be bleached and freshened by the sun and tropical breezes.

Now we live in a brick house. And our brick house is very nice, but our trees only drop acorns and leaves. We are lucky enough to have deer in our yard on a regular basis, but they don't keep the bugs out of the house. And the girls have lots of friends in the neighborhood, it's just not the same.....

Friday, January 22, 2010

Today's Bijou-ism

I haven't posted a Bijou-ism in some time. It's not that she hasn't been saying humorous things, I just haven't been keeping up with them lately...

Today she ran into my bedroom and slid across the floor giggling:
Bijou - "Mommy, I just dashed into your room!"
Me - "Dashed?"
Bijou - "Yes. I dashed into your room"
Me - "Where did you get that word from?"
Bijou - "Out of my mouth."

Ask a silly question.....

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Monday, January 18, 2010

The kids and I spent the afternoon at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis today. It was a great experience for the kids. Jena, I think, is the only one old enough to really grasp the concept of inequality and injustice. I could see how much the images and information pained and confused her. She kept saying, "but I don't understand why anyone would treat people that way". She's very sensitive, so this may have been a lot for her. She did well though and I think they learned a lot. We couldn't take pictures inside the museum (and I forgot to bring my camera anyway) so we don't have any pictures from inside. We will plan another field trip to the museum on a day when it's not so crowded. The line was blocks long, but we didn't mind the wait...

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Magnetic paper dolls

It was probably two years ago that I printed a million vintage Betsy McCall paper dolls for the girls. Shortly after that we moved and the paper dolls got packed away. Recently, I decided that I wanted to make some magnetic paper dolls for Bijou. I had grand plans of drawing some elaborate dresses and artsy dolls, but that meant that they wouldn't get done for another two years. Then last night I remembered the paper dolls that I printed and packed away. I dug out the binder that they were stored in and discovered a treasure trove that I'd completely forgotten. I had a million little Betsy McCall dolls and clothes, but I also had some larger paper dolls that were a better size for Bijou. They turned out pretty nice (once I figured out how to stick them to the super smooth magnet sheets that I had - I know that there are adhesive magnet sheets, but I already had these and I'm cheap). I will do the McCall dolls, but because they are much smaller and more delicate, I will make them for the older girls who may take better care of them.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Today's awesome Goodwill find...


A glimpse of our last school year

As we embark on a new year of homeschooling, I though I would take a look back over the 2009 school year and share some pictures of past activities/lessons. Enjoy!

Some big measurements with a small ruler. She was measuring a baseball field!

Painting watercolor landscapes that were folded into Chinese paper fans.

While we were discussing prehistoric man, we did a fun lesson about archaeology/archaeologists. A friend, who is an archaeologist came and talked to the kids and we had a mock dig. I painted some cheap clay pots in different pattens, then broke them and buried them. The kids dug them up and tried to piece them back together. Then they classified them by shape, size and design. This is Ashni reassembling a pot.

Jena's pot is almost complete. Notice the fancy digging tool there to her left.
The kids digging for pieces.

Being shown some real artifacts.

Science experiments in the park.

Making bean mosaics

We made bread a LOT last year. The girls also had school in costume a LOT. Here's a picture of bread making in costume (and in underwear). They also made butter, which is in the salsa jar.

We talked about Egypt twice last year. Once for geography and then again for history. We did lots of Egypt inspired projects. Here, we were mummifying apples. It served as both history and science. Jena's record of her findings.
Ashni recording her findings.

Our "mummies" after five days. We left them for seven days, but checked their progress on the third, fifth and seventh day.
I guess I'm posting these pictures backwards. Oops! This is the day we started the apple mummies. They learned about the natron, the salt solution that Egyptians used to mummify the dead. Our natron is a mixture of salt and baking soda.

Ancient Greek artifacts and a great museum tour led by museum educator (and auntie/cousin) Chandra.

Picking blueberries - we had blueberries for DAYS.

Jena and Ashni's presentation about Egypt for geography. I'm not sure what Ashni is doing. We made paper pharaohs, sugar cube pyramids and wrote their names in hieroglyphics. I wanted to make papyrus, but we didn't have the supplies on hand.
This was Ashni's birthday party, but all of their homeschool friends were there. We made tie dyed t-shirts. The kids loved that. I still see some of those shirts on kids when we all get together.
We all went on a field trip to the Pink Palace Museum in Memphis. This is the Lichterman Nature Center where we had lunch, went on a hike, got to touch some snakes and lizards and looked at some lake wildlife. We also gathered huge lily pads and made them into hats!

Most of the kids looking for fish in the lake. There are more kids than this in our group, but the rest were on a bathroom run.

Geography presentation about Senegal. We made paper "batiks" discussed food, clothing and traditions of west Africa. We also did a presentation about the Ndebele tribe in South Africa, but sadly, there are no pictures from that one.
So that is a little snapshot of the 2009 school year. I'm looking forward to seeing what 2010 has to offer.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Chalkboard Calendar

I'm not sure where, but recently I came across a wall mounted, weekly chalkboard calendar. I wish I could remember where I saw it, but alas.....
Anyway, I am an avid collector of scrap wood (I always feel like I can come up with some project that will require wood) so I have a small pile of lumber collecting dust in our garage. A few months ago, when the girls and I were refurbishing the cedar chest and drop leaf table, I found a hideous red coffee table on the side of the road. It was missing, what I assume, was a piece of glass from the top. We sanded it and got a piece of wood to replace the glass and painted it a nice chocolate brown. It looks great in our living room now, but we had some pieces of wood left over in the garage for the top of the table. One piece was about 6 inches wide and 49 inches long. I took it over to home depot and had it cut into 7 pieces. I gave them a couple of coats of some leftover chalkboard paint (that I had from a desk that I painted for Bijou) and used the letters from our mostly defunct Scrabble game to spell out the days. Now I just need to figure out where to put it. Total cost for this project? A whopping $0!!!! My kind of project!

Monday, January 11, 2010

A big ol' thanks to the folks over at Ohdeedoh for sharing my cardboard dollhouse!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Yesterday's thrift store score

Yesterday we took a little trip to Tupelo for a big indoor flea market. It was fun. Who knew that so many people could have 15 dozen ShamWows and Snuggies to sell for $4 each? Ashni came out of the market one pair of purple striped toe socks richer! Before making the trek back to Oxford we decided to stop off at City Thrift. We pass City Thrift all the time going to the mall, but we hadn't stopped there before. It was definitely well worth the stop. My favorite find from yesterday's thrifting? This awesome Cardboard Carpentry book. It's a sweet little vintage (1966) how-to book full of projects that the kids can do by themselves. And yes, that yellow 45 sticker is the price - hours of childhood fun for a whopping $.45.