Monday, August 30, 2010
As of Saturday, I had the following options:
3 skirts and 1 cardigan, and 2 pair of hand knit socks.
Sooo not enough!
I do a lot of knitting and sewing but I realized while I was looking over my handmades that a good portion of that sewing and knitting is for other people even though I feel like I am a very selfish crafter. Maybe that's just because I have a lot on the needles and cut out for myself at the moment.
I may have panicked a little.
Over the weekend I sewed and knitted like crazy and I was able to add another 2 skirts, a shirt ( a recon), and a pair of wrap pants. I have another skirt cut out and another recon blouse that I'm hoping to get to before the end of the week. I am also 1 sleeve away from a finished cardigan, so that would be helpful.
Now I know what I need in my handmades wardrobe: Pants and shirts! Basically, the things that scare me to make. I still consider myself to be a beginning (but not new) sewist and I have yet to tackle any pants for myself. I've made plenty of elastic waist pants for my boys, but never anything fitted.
Now I feel the urge to pattern search.
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Friday, August 27, 2010
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Their emotions play out in identical patterns, 26 years apart.
It wasn't so long ago that I was able to redirect an angry toddler with a few words and a point in a new direction.
But now that he is older the emotions are bigger, as is the child, and it's so easy for it to explode into a big mess that falls on everyone. There are tears and rage and cries of "not fair" and I sit with a boy that is sad and angry and thinks he's alone.
He cannot see that we walk with him, that we are sad too, that we wish Daddy was home just as much as he does. I try to remember that these few weeks that seem to move slowly to me seem not to move at all for him.
I find myself quite continually on my knees for this child. While I pray for the lessons I know my son needs to learn, I grow more and more aware of the lesson God lays before me:
I am still shaping you on this journey, just as I shape him.
Sometimes I find myself wondering where that balance is: parenting is supposed to be about the formation of our children, but there are times where it seems like it is so much more about my own formation.
Ann Voskamp invites us to consider prayerful parenting this week. For more posts on this topic, visit Holy Experience:
Sunday, August 22, 2010
I am listening to... the Wicked soundtrack. We saw the musical on Broadway a few weeks ago and I have had the music in my head ever since.
I am wearing... A black tea-length skirt with white polka dots and a black peasant blouse. Bare feet to beat the heat, even at this time of night.
I am thankful for... a certain brother-in-law of mine who has found time in his busy schedule to come and wrestle with the boys when they're particularly missing Daddy.
I am thinking... about the work we have around the house in the next week before the fall schedule starts. The goal is to get a few key areas re-organized so they'll function a little better for us in the coming months.
I am reading... The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and another time through Knitting Around by Elizabeth Zimmermann.
I am creating... mittens (still in need of thumbs and lining), a baby sweater (an inch from the end of the body, then sleeves), and the shawl KAL (almost done with step 2, almost into step 3!). I'm in a finishing mood now, so I'll try to finish the mittens and and baby sweater this week, and maybe one of the socks in progress.
Always learning... We finished up learning about continents and oceans last week and this week we're starting to learn about the people and animals in Africa.
Around the house... the closets are all calling out for some attention again, so that is first up this week. After that? Well, I'd *really* like to get a new coat of paint on the studio walls, but we'll see if that happens or not.
I am planning... the next few math blocks. I love planning games for Ender.
I am hoping... for continued peace in the house while we wait for Daddy to come home to us.
One of my favorite things... after 2 weeks of my husband working out of state? Skype. It brings Daddy "home" to us every night.
A few plans for the rest of the week... I will be working a little here and there, but otherwise we're tidying the house, learning a lot and doing little things to keep little boys happy while Daddy is gone.
Friday, August 20, 2010
The boys and I are finally settling in to this new routine. Keep everything as normal as possible through the day to accomplish our chores and learning, have a special event after dinner (last night was "floor baseball" invented by the 3 year old), then Skype daddy to discuss the day and sing and say I love you 80 million times.
And now I jinxed it.
Oh, Ann Voskamp. You say the things I've been thinking but unable to articulate.
I've already set our plans for the year, but Sarah's post about Spreading the Feast for her kids gave me a lot to think about for future years. Her plans detail lovely ways to include all three of her children in the different themes. It won't be long from now that I will have a second formal student and we will want inclusive topics.
Now that we've been into our school routine for a few weeks I figured out that some of the re-organization of our spaces isn't working out. Our writing isn't happening at the kitchen table like I thought it would- it turns out Ender needs a little space of his own. His table is set up for him, but I'm still hunting ways to set up the materials he needs. I *love* this writing center! Compact, but still providing all the necessary tools. Have you seen a writing space you love or are you the owner of one?
I'm participating in the Pi Shawl Knit Along on Wendy Johnson's blog. I'm half way through the second PDF and I'm really enjoying the lace! I made a first attempt at lace work about 6 months ago and I ripped back so many times that I actually gave up, which is not really something I do. I was honestly worried that this would feel much the same, but it's been surprisingly easy to follow. I must be growing as a knitter.
I finished the second Lemony Snicket book last night. I'm wondering how these books are so popular with kids. The constant break outs to explain what words mean is really obnoxious and there are several per chapter, practically 1 per page. Maybe it's really funny if you're yonger- am I too old to get these books? Maybe that's the problem. I think for now I'm going to continue the Levin Thumps books instead.
I've been looking for a little inspiration concerning ways to include nature in our home environment, and Kara had a very timely Nature Table post yesterday! I think Ezra is ready to handle a few more fragile things in our own center now that he is three and I'm eager to try out some ideas. How do you encourage nature study in your home, especially if you have under-5's in the home?
Thursday, August 19, 2010
We're starting our continent study with a little mini-unit to introduce the concepts of continents and oceans.
Where Is My Continent? (First Step Nonfiction)
The ABCs of Continents (The Abcs of the Natural World)
The Seven Continents (Rookie Read-About Geography)
Earth's Oceans (Looking at Earth)
Melissa & Doug World Map 33 pcs Floor Puzzle (this puzzle will be used every day)
Map Outlines (We use the robinson projection with no labels for this project)
** Read "ABC's of the Continents p. 4-6.
** Read Earth's Oceans
** Color the map, continents brown and oceans blue.
** Read Where is My Continent?
** Outline North America, mark our hometown.
** Discuss these questions:
1. What kind of weather do we have in our city?
2. Do we live by the ocean? Near Mountains? On the plains?
** Read The Seven Continents.
** Label the continents.
** Read "ABCs" p. 7, 10, and 26 (about different habitats)
** narrate (verbally) and illustrate about habitats.
Looking for more continent studies? I'll add links as we add units.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
I finished the main portion of Ezra's mittens over the weekend, and now they're ready for thumbs and then a lining. The cream yarn below is the angora for the mitten lining.
My apologies for flash pics- it's been hard to get sunny pictures in the last few days!
The multi-colored yarn is the very beginning of a lace-weight pi shawl. I'm following the KAL on Wendy Johnson's blog for a Pi Shawl in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Elizabeth Zimmerman's birthday. This is my first work with lace-weight yarn, my first lace work and my first shawl. That's a lot of firsts, but I'm all about learning new skills this year.
Section 1 was released on Sunday and I finished it pretty easily in a few hours that day. I'm sure it gets harder (or at least takes longer) from here.
I *am* keeping track of the things I really need to get done before Brian comes home in a few weeks, so the next cast-on after I finish Ezra's mittens is for Ender's mittens, and then their hats. I'm trying to fight the urge to start my own winter set until I finish theirs.
I also have two socks in progress and I *really* need to finish the baby sweater for my neice before her birthday party in early September. Hopefully when I've cast on another 2-3 projects I'll hit the "finishing rush" that I get and finish all but 1 or 2 WIPs.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
The first stop was to Cooperstown and the Baseball Hall of Fame. Brian is a huge baseball fan and he has always wanted to see the museum. We spent most of a day there and I think Brian could have stayed another day or two if the boys would have been agreeable to it.
Ezra's favorite part? The "holy cow"! Ezra *loves* cows and he made us stop and take pictures every time we passed this cow. Almost half of my pictures at the Hall of Fame are of this cow!
We spent a full day at the American Museum of Natural History. Ender *loved* the planetarium and the IMAX movie about Hubble. We just finished up our little unit that was an intro to space and Hubble was part of our reading. The movie detailed some work astronauts did to repair Hubble and Ender watched so intently you would have thought it was some intense thriller! (Ezra slept through both by the way.)
Another special thing for Brian was seeing the new Yankees stadium. One of the things he would love to do is to see all the different major league ballparks, and this added another one for him. As a bonus we got to see A-rod hit his 600th home run!
What trip to NYC with children would be complete without playing on the big floor piano at FAO Schwarz? Ender totally came out of his shell even with about 2 dozen people around and he was BREAK DANCING on the piano! It was one of the funniest things I've ever seen.
Monday, August 16, 2010
The materials for our notebooks are as simple as paper and a 3-ring binder. I'm using cardstock so that the pages will not pull out easily.
The elements used on the pages for this week were from Homeschool Share.
It would have been easy to make pages like this on the computer as well, but the boys requested "silly letters" (as Ezra calls them).
I presented several different activities to the boys and had them choose things to include on their pages. Ender's only extra page requirement was to include some letter A copywork- just 1 word starting with A. He chose apple since he painted an apple for his page.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
1. Mittens for both boys. These will be my first lined mittens and the first time for me working from the top down on a mitten. I'm using the ideas in Anna Zilboorg's Magnificent Mittens book for the structure, but not the colorwork since I'm under specific orders for JUST red and JUST green mittens. I'm almost to the thumb on the first mitten already, and I have the yarn and needles for the other pair as well.
2. Work hard on the Summit Scarf [rav link] for my mother-in-law. I have everything, just need to get started!
3. Pajamas for the boys. I need to grab up a bit of fabric for this still, but I'll remedy that little problem this weekend.
4. Two skirts for me. It is still *blazing* (yesterday was 99F, heat index around 110!) and I only have so many shorter skirts. I've had the fabric since spring and just haven't gotten around to making them for some reason!
5. Start Ender's Christmas Sweater. I have all the materials, just have to do the math before I get started!
6. Ummm... If I were in the mood to finish some things, I still have 3 sweaters missing a total of 4 sleeves. And 2 different socks in progress . . .
*side note* I go through seasons of starting and finishing. I start like 10 different projects within 2 weeks, tinker on each of them til something is really inspiring, finish that item and then go on a finishing spree til I'm down to about 2 WIPs.
Any bets on how much I'll actually get done?
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
I am thinking… about making it through the next 4 weeks. Brian will be gone for most of it for work, and there is a lot to get done in his absence in preparation for the school year.
I am thankful for… very little working hours this month. With Daddy gone the boys will need extra mama love.
Always Learning… We spent last week in NYC and spent a whole day at the American Museum of Natural History. Ender didn't want to leave! Add in visits to the Statue of Liberty, the WTC site and learning to use the subway and you have a boy who thinks we should pick up and move to the big city permanently.
From the kitchen… We have plans for salsa this week, and an attempt at Peach fruit leather.
I am wearing… the comfy-est of pajamas- Brian's old coaching jersey and yoga pants.
I am creating… currently, mittens. 3 each for the boys, and then up on the urgent list is pajamas for the boys, a baby gift for a little one due in October, and work on Christmas gifts... and Ender's birthday is in there somewhere . . .
I am going… to make space for flexibility this month. Yes, we have things to do, but I want to be able to drop everything for sad little boys during Daddy's long absence.
I am reading… The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson, the Story of Dr. Dolittle by Hugh Lofting with the boys, and an assortment of knitting books (I'm diving back into Elizabeth Zimmermann)
I am hoping… that Skype makes his absence bearable.
I am hearing… my mind working overtime.
Around the house… I'm re-working the boys' rooms to try to make a little more space, and I'm doing another re-sort of the basement. Why don't boxes magically disappear when you need them to?
One of my favorite things… Cherry Limeades from Sonic. They put a Sonic in down the street from us and it is taking some serious will power to not hop in the car and go get one every. single. day.
A few plans for the rest of the week... I'm finishing up my summer work schedule this week and we have plans with family this weekend. Hopefully it keeps little bodies busy and little minds occupied.
Monday, August 9, 2010
As I was looking for ways to encourage Ender in a bit of writing when I came across the Alphabet Notebook on Homeschool Share and thought that sort of thing would be great for Ender to practice some writing without a lot of new material. He already knows all his letters and sounds, but he's ready to start writing a little more and this seemed like the perfect avenue for him. And when I really started to work on putting the material together I realized it would be a good way to include Ezra as well. He's doing every portion of this plan except for the writing. He's madly in love with scissors and cutting paper, so he's even doing all of the crafty portions.
We are going to use some of the elements from the alphabet notebook linked above, but I am creating some of my own components as well.
In order to have a schedule (which works for my very schedule-oriented son) but also maintain flexibility (which I need), I set up a plan for each week. We are planning to cover 1 letter each week, with occasional weeks off scattered in there to review. The plan for each day of the week will stay the same week to week to provide routine for Ender. Below you'll find our generic plans. I will share pictures of our finished work every week so that you can see how our alphabet books are growing.
Decorate the letter of the week (markers, paints, stickers, whatever strikes our fancy) and discuss the sound of the letter. The decorated letter goes on our display board that we will add to all week long.
** Trace the letter in rice or sand with a finger and pactice the sound.
** Think of words that start with that sound to add to the display board. (I will ask Ender to write these words on cards as he is able, but I expect that to be much later in the school year. I will have him write just the first letter until he is ready for full words).
** We will also make something for the notebook page for that letter.
** Practice the sound of the letter of the week and review the cards we made the day before.
** Illustrate the cards
** Make something for the notebook page for that letter.
** Painting, clay or a food for the letter of the week.
** We will review the cards and sound of the letter as well.
** Put together our letter of the week page for the alphabet notebook.
** Revisit any activity we did that week that the boys really enjoyed.
Ender will also have copywork each day that is just the letter of the week- tracing a few and writing a few of his own.
If you'd like to follow our alphabet notebooks, I will be posting our alphabet work as a series on Mondays. I hope you'll join us and share your own alphabet ideas!
Friday, August 6, 2010
On my Mama Home Education Inspiration reading list right now:
Laying Down the Rails
Jen's Considering Language Arts series
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Sometimes special orders that are impossible to fill (Ender: "Can you make me an elephant that fills my whole room?), but I do what I can.
It's especially important to me that they receive handmade gifts from us at Christmas. I love to make things for them, I love that it is something special and unique just for them. I love that they know and appreciate the time and work that goes into their gifts. And most of all, I feel like it's putting forward to them the very idea behind this holiday: it's not about the gift, it's about the heart and the love behind it.
This year I'm getting to work on Christmas things early so that I have a chance of finishing 75% of what I want to finish.
Ender and Ezra: (the boys like to match, so they're receiving a few handmade things that are the same item but in their own favorite colors or styles)
1. A sweater or vest (at their request- they've put in very specific requests! probably going to use Elizabeth Zimmermann's EPS to build these, but I'm still thinking that through.)
2. knitted slippers
3. new pajamas for Christmas Eve
4. Drawstring bag (for treasures)
A Transformers Hat [rav link]
Summit (scarf size) [rav link]
Also, a super-secret project for the husband that I can't mention here. You'll see pics after Christmas I'm sure!
I still have the annual mittens/scarves/hats to make for our family too, so I have to fit that in around the Christmas knitting and sewing. This is why that 75% mentioned above is a very lofty goal.
Monday, August 2, 2010
Below you'll find our objects, booklist and projects planned for this unit. I do not at all feel tied to doing every part of this plan and I will re-evaluate each evening to be ready for the next day since this is our first unit. He may surprise me and really love the crafting part or the notebook pages (or really dislike it all!) and I'm ready to make changes if necessary. What will not change is the reading. I already know he loves to be read to, (especially about science!) and I already have a good feel for how long his attention span is for a book.
Learn a few facts about the sun, stars, and Earth's moon
Learn the names of the planets
Learn about Neil Armstrong and his trip to the moon.
Books were chosen from the selections our library has to offer. Our library is amazing so we take full advantage.
Midnight on the Moon (Magic Tree House, No. 8)
Space: A Nonfiction Companion to Midnight on the Moon (Magic Tree House Research Guide)
Neil Armstrong (Explore Space)
One Giant Leap
The Stars: Revised Edition (Out in Space)
The Sun: Revised Edition (Out in Space)
Stars Above Us
See Inside Space (See Inside Board Books)
Living in Space, Level 2 (Beginners Nature - New Format)
The Moon Book
Home School Share: Space lapbook (HSS). We are only using small portions of this and using the pieces as notebooking page elements rather than putting it all together in a lapbook.
The Magic School Bus: Space Adventures
Melissa & Doug Solar System 48 pcs Floor Puzzle
** Read Midnight on the Moon ch. 1
** Read Space ch. 1
** Illustrate: What does space look like?
** Read Midnight on the Moon ch. 2
** Read The Sun by Rustad
** Complete "Sun Facts" from HSS.
** Read Midnight on the Moon ch. 3
** Read Space Ch. 4 p. 45-53. Talk about comets, meteors and the other "things" in space mentioned in this section.
** Read The Stars.
** Complete Star Facts Fan from HSS
** Use the "Shining Stars" (HSS) template and color the stars the 5 colors mentioned in The Stars.
** Read The Stars Above Us.
** Read Midnight on the Moon ch. 4
** Read Space ch. 4 p. 54-63;
** Read The Planets (up through Mars)
** Complete Planets- Special Facts from HSS for Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars. (I'm looking for him to remember 1 defining fact for each planet)
** Read Midnight on the Moon ch. 5
** Read Space ch. 4 p. 64-71
** Read the Planets (Jupiter through Neptune)
** Complete Planets- Special Facts from HSS for Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune (1 defining fact for each planet)
** Complete Planets- Distance from HSS.
** Read Midnight on the Moon ch. 6
** Read Space ch. 6
** Read The Moon Book and talk about phases.
** Complete Moon Phases Cards from HSS.
** Complete Moon Surface from HSS.
** Read Midnight on the Moon ch. 7
** Read Neil Armstrong, Narrate (verbally) and illustrate.
** Make a Neil Armstrong page for his notebook.
** Read Midnight on the Moon ch. 8
** Read One Giant Leap
** Read Owl Moon
** Finish any undone HSS work.
** Read Midnight on the Moon ch. 9
** Read Living in Space. Narrate (verbally) and illustrate.
** Complete Living in Space from HSS.
** Put Space Notebook pages together and add to science/social studies notebook.
** Read again any of the books the boys would like to hear again.
Pictures to come once we complete the unit!