Sunday, August 30, 2009

Costume Party

Today I took the day off from working in the pottery studio which is almost always where you will find me If I can get in there. I decided a little cultural adventure was long overdue. I packed up the girls along with a laundry bag stuffed with old tights, fuzzy bath mats and any odd piece of clothing or fabric I didn't need anymore. We also packed up a laundry basket full of sculpture materials like broken toys, cardboard tubes and anything else odd. Why did we need such provisions....for "The Parade of Peculiar Pets" costume making street party of course. Karma was a big help...Ha! Lucky I knew the people in charge and they were friendly artists...they just laughed and let her at it. She is at this stage where she wants to help so badly. It's been great for clean up time at home but here it was chaos unleashed. She wanted to paint and draw and use the hot glue gun...yikes

Wouldn't you know it Karma headed straight for the wigs. She has also been wearing anything she can as a hat like a bowl lately.
If you have read my blog before you would know that this family has a proclivity to play dress up with wigs. This one is definitely one of the best pics yet.
Cammy however did not want anything to do with this wig!

Cammy jumped right on the stuff she wanted to use to make her costume. She saw some cheetah printed fuzzy fabric and instantly started making a cheetah mask to go with it. She did it all herself. Along with being an author she says she wants to be a fashion designer. She spends hours drawing dresses. Just today she asked me "If I design like two paper dolls with maybe four dresses to go with each of them and box them up could I sell them at your art show for five dollars?" Absolutely! I said.

Look at this beautiful Indonesian eagle kite. Cammy is so excited they said she could fly this one in the parade.
This enormous dragon kite is going to lead the parade procession and spans at least 15 feet wide and I have no idea how long?.
It was by far the most impressive and massive kite I have ever seen. Gorgeous!

Then there is me, a snail. It still needs a little work. There was no wire for the antennae but you get the overall concept at least. I just rolled up Karma's old crib bumper since we weren't using it and voila a snail shell. I actually let one of the local newspapers take a picture of me like this....oh well all you can do is laugh!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Our week in review

Our first week of homeschooling is at it's end though we never stop learning around here. To help me maintain my grasp on this new endeavor I am going to try to do a review of the week and list or write about some of the things we learned over the course of the week. I know it is already well into the next week and I have probably forgotten half of what we did last week but better late than never....spoken like a true procrastinator.

Monday: "Muffin Monday"
I teach in the morning from about 9 until 12 then we all eat lunch together and I put the baby down for a nap and go out to the studio to work until dinnertime. Mark gets to work in the mornings and he has the girls in the afternoon to teach and entertain. The plan is for the subject emphasis on Mondays to be math, mapping(for now) and music with Mark in the afternoons. A little bit of everything else is thrown into the mix as it fits.
1. Introduced the weekly routine chart( We are talking about one day at a time because it is still subject to change as we see how our week flows and we don't want anyone to get overwhelmed)On Monday mornings we will be baking and doing some measurement related math. By baking on Monday we will hopefully have a tasty snack like muffins ready for several days for the girls. We also prepared a crockpot meal ...enough for dinner and lunch the next day.
2. After breakfast we went for a morning nature walk and found some small sassafras trees and dug roots for tea. We made sure to identify the leaves online. We made tea and Cammy drew and wrote in her nature journal about the experience.
3.Talked about maps and globes(We have been mapping all of our Etsy sales this summer so Cammy was familiar with a map somewhat)
4. Read section 1 in Maps, Globes and Graphs workbook
5.Tried to draw a map(This frustrated Cammy quite a bit because she wanted to draw a very advanced map, her brain is about 100 steps ahead of where her actual skill level is at sometimes) finally calmed her and got her to draw just a simple map of her room.
6.Introduced weekly spelling words: map, globe, earth, land, ocean, where, compass, north, south, east, west and bonus words: direction, community, neighborhood
7. Listed the order of the universe form home to street to neighborhood to city to county etc.
8.Did a few simple addition workbook pages for review and started our grow a pony(one of those spongy things that grows in water)
9.Music didn't make it into the day but a trip to the beach with dad did.

Tuesday: "TV Free"
No television at all even for the grownups when the kids go to bed.
Luckily Cammy takes well to no TV most of the time and Karma seems to have zero interest in it so this was no problem in our house. Same game plan with me teaching in the morning, lunch together then I work in the afternoon and Mark works in the morning while I'm teaching. The subject emphasis for Tuesday is on telling time and reading and writing.
1. Cammy was a little resistant to start the day so I made her go and find the funkiest hat in the house to be her thinking cap. She immediately ran upstairs and grabbed this black and whit checker board patterned hat. Awesome choice I say! It worked like a charm she was into it now so I had her play a little word game with our spelling words. As it happens all of the weeks spelling words actually had a least one hidden word inside them, for example earth has ear and art inside or where has he and her hidden inside. Cammy got it right away even catching some that I had missed and I thought this game might be a little hard for her.
2. Cammy did some copy work of the list we had made about geography on Monday
3. Cammy copied her spelling words and put them in abc order
4. We built a tee pee in the back yard with some small trees that the power company had chopped down.
5. Cammy did some time oriented math worksheets

Wednesday: "Wacky Word Game Wednesday"
Again I teach in the morning while Mark works. Then I get to work until dinner time....Mark is a great cook. I'm loving this, he even does the dishes.
1. Cammy was a little resistant to start the day so I made her go and find the funkiest hat in the house to be her thinking cap. She immediately ran upstairs and grabbed this black and white checker board patterned hat. Awesome choice I say, now that is the hat of a genius! It worked like a charm she was into it now so I had her play a little word game with our spelling words. As it happens all of the weeks spelling words actually had a least one hidden word inside them, for example earth has ear and art inside or where has he and her hidden inside. Cammy got it right away even catching some that I had missed and I thought this game might be a little hard for her.
2. To continue with the wacky word game theme I distracted her with a little busy work of some math worksheets and writing in her nature journal. While she did this I hid some rebus puzzle note around the house and put some mail in the mailbox for her to find. It was a letter addressed to Special Agent Cammy and required that she help this family solve a series of mysterious images that have been popping up in the most unusual places. She figured out the rebus picture puzzles no problem. They spelled out I love you, but she was angry that I had tricked her into it and that it wasn't a "real" piece of mail.
3.Made a compass rose with some glow in the dark window cling paint
4. Did a couple of math review pages
5. Read some more of Maps, globes and graphs
6.The girls went to the beach with Mark again and talked about the horizon line out on the ocean and where you would be if you went straight out until you hit the next body of land....turns out on google earth that we are directly across from Morocco.

Thursday: "TV Free" no television at all again.
Mark works away from home on Thursday mornings so it's just the girls and I until after lunch.
1. We read a butterfly poem and talked about butterflies and symmetry.Cammy copied down the poem in her journal and drew a picture
2. Painted butterflies ink blot style: snuck in a little fraction math with paper folding and cutting
3. Did some claymation for Cammy's book "Karma Kong"
4. Cammy measure the grow a pony again and recorded the info into her math journal
5.Got out the slime chemistry set and made pseudo putty

Friday: ???
Mark works away from home on Fridays so it is just the girls and I until late afternoon.
1. We took an early morning walk and discovered a cicada casing in the driveway but Cammy refused to get too close to it or touch it. Visited the snails that seem to always be covering the neighbors driveway posts. Less than a block from the house we came across some vultures that were devouring something dead in the woods. Did a little math counting them as they flew away.
Cammy drew the cicada and the feather we found in her nature journal
2. Did some more reading in Maps, globes and Graphs
3. Did some writing in the Karma Kong story
4.Measured our grow a pony and graphed it's growth on a bar graph. Did a few simple math pages for review: Cammy tells me she is tired of this baby work! I was just trying to start her off easy since we didn't do any real schoolwork over the summer.

I am sure that I have forgotten tons because our days are full to the brim of questions and little side shows and projects. The learning never has to stop just because it's not "school time". I don't plan to do this review every week but for a while until we are settled into this new homeschooling routine I am going to try to keep up with posting a review so that I can keep myself oriented and focused.
Post Options
Labels for this post:
e.g. scooters, vacation, fall
Show all

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Finding our Place

Ok, so we are new to this homeschooling and routine is what we are trying for here but there is not always going to be a set curriculum exactly. When I taught in Wilmington for several homeschool families, what I loved most was finding that special something that really peaked a kids interest. You can tell the difference when you find what they are really diggin at the time. Teaching for me is a lot like going down a river...sometimes the flow is slow and smooth and sometimes it's like class 4 rapids. I must be a closet adrenalin junkie because sometimes I like the rapids more. Things are flowing smoothly in the Muddy Schoolhouse for now which is fine by me because my rapids are in the pottery studio right now trying to get ready for my fall show season and making enough to keep my galleries stocked for the end of the year....whew! I could use a few more people to row the boat with me right now.
So over the course of this week...we have been taking it one day at a time and really talking about how we want to have each particular day flow. To make the routine thing stick we have kinda themed each day with a fun name like "Muffins, Music and Math Monday" or "Wacky Word Game Wednesday". We have made Tuesday and Thursday "TV Free" that means no one can watch any television on these days. Thursday is slotted to be the day with an emphasis on science and nature so today we talked about butterflies. Cammy has been nuts about the butterflies in the yard lately....and this is where I am going with the flow ...I didn't plan on studying butterflies yet but it's what Cammy has a spark for right now. This week she has been screaming for me to get the camera everytime she sees a new butterfly. She is convinced that she has seen "that really rare one that flies to the mountains in Mexico every year" so we delved into the world of butterflies today. We greeted the day with a new poem on the chalkboard. I found this beautiful poem and wrote it down in one of my journals but do not remember where or when I found it, but it fit the day perfectly.It reads:

Come bright butterfly close to me
Your beautiful wings I should like to see
You fly like a bird, You sip like a bee
But you're really a flower the wind set free

After breakfast and reciting the poem I had Cammy rewrite the poem in her journal. We practiced folding paper in half and cutting and then painted these beautiful butterflies Rorschach ink blot style. We only painted wings on one side of the paper and then folded it in half so it would copy itself and print onto the other half. Cammy loved was so magical the way they copied themselves.
Karma could only watch for so long before she had to get her hands into the paint as well.
They came out so beautiful didn't they!
I told you she really got into it ....there were more than this...I didn't have enough clothespins to hang them all.

This one is one of my favorites. Cammy thought it looked like a praying mantis and insisted on teaching me how to paint this special design.
While we were busy painting butterflies Karma got into the bag of pipe cleaners that were intended to be antennas. Cammy offered to clean them up but she had ulterior motives ....
She was so proud of this butterfly that she constructed from the pipe cleaner spill.
Cammy fancies herself as an author and loves to write chapter books. Her current book in progress is called Karma Kong and features her baby sister as the main character. Today just for fun and a break from writing in her story journal we got out the clay she was to create a line of Karma Kong toy figurines. Great fun was had by all upon seeing Karma Kong change forms.
The work in clay inspired even more Karma Kong forms to reveal themselves. Here she has made Bouncy Karma Kong and Bluehair. We had a lot of fun learning today balanced with some old school style book work as well. Cammy wrote her spelling word sentences. We did some fun math with a timer seeing what kinds of things could be done in a minute ie. put on your coat? tie your shoes? write your name 10 times? say your abc's? count to 100? You get the picture. Maps are frustrating her right now because she wants to be able to draw a really complex map but just doesn't have all the skills she needs yet. I am going slow on this one and introducing one or two very basic concepts at a time.
Cammy has been begging to do a science experiment from a slime chemistry set that I found at the thrift store. Today was science day so we got down the set and made our own version of silly putty.

Here is a little glimpse of what Muddy Mama is up to in the afternoons. Most of our intense schooling is done in the morning by lunch time and then after I get Karma down for her nap promptly after lunch I get "Muddy Muse Time". This has been working out great for us. We are homeschooling and I'm getting more mud time. Mark does his work in the mornings...shipping and computer work or any sales calls we need to make and then he takes over on kid duty in the afternoon.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Compost Burgers

OK! so I know it doesn't sound that appetizing, that's just our name for them. My good friend Amber(she can't stand it when we call them compost burgers) taught me how to make them and they are actually called croquettes and they are delicious. My family loves them...even Cammy and Karma too. So far Karma hasn't rejected much of anything if it's food. She eats the tomatoes right off the vines if I don't watch her closely, she's a sneaky one. She always sneaks the cherry tomatoes and just grins at me clutching it in her tiny fist thinking it's hidden.
They are very easy to make and we lovingly call them "Compost Burgers" because we use the greens in the fridge that are wilted or just on the verge of being too old for a pretty salad....nothing actually rotten enough for compost. I saute garlic and onions in olive oil and add in some chopped up carrots and whatever greens we are using...lettuce, spinach....we like to add cilantro or chopped chives or fresh basil leaves. Saute until wilted down pretty well. I take this out of the pan and put it into a bowl and add 1-2 eggs depending on the amount of greens you have prepared and add some cornmeal until they will hold their shape loosely. I usually just spoon a small burger sized amount of this mix back into the pan of olive oil and fry on both sides until golden brown.....I season mine with curry, and a pinch of sea salt but you can experiment with any spices you like. Today our croquettes were mainly lettuce, carrots, onions, garlic, basil, chopped chives and curry powder to season. I served them with a vidallia onion sauce for dipping....YUMMY!
So go make some "Compost Burgers" for your family for lunch.

Monday, August 24, 2009

First Day of School

So it begins and it was wonderful! We started our first official day of homeschooling in the Muddy Muse Schoolhouse today. Mark and I stayed up late last night getting everything ready to surprise Cammy this morning (we were going to start when the public schools started which was only one days difference but we decided to go ahead and get our new routine rolled out with the start of the week.) Let me tell you halfway through the morning Mark and I were floored...we were amazed that instilling a little routine in the day can do beautiful things for your spirit. We are loving this homeschooling rocks!!! By lunchtime we were asking ourselves why we hadn't buckled down and done this before now...Mark's response "we're still learning"
How true, how true! I am finding that I am learning just as much from my kids on a daily basis as they are from me. To explain the picture above....I wanted Cammy's first day of homeschool to be magical, so I painted this beautiful picture welcoming her to her homeschool journey. It said
"Welcome to the world of learning in freedom. There are no limits to what your mind, body and spirit can explore. I look forward to being one of many guides that you may encounter on your journey for knowledge.
Love Mom"
I tied up two sparkle pencils with gold thread and laid them all across a handmade pillow that Mark got for her. The pillow has a beautiful African influenced face that the artist called "Superhero". The eyes on the pillow are closed and Cammy has been using the pillow as a medi tating pillow...she goes to it when she is angry and needs to calm down...which is often. The painting is symbolic with an earthen eye awakening and opening to all the possibilities that the universe holds for us. Cammy's response to seeing this in the morning was "Mom....why did you tie these pencils together ...don't you know I have a drawer full of magic pencils already."

Here she is still in her pajamas seeing the message on the new chalkboard.
Mark stayed up late with me and helped me draw some of the beautiful artwork on the chalkboard last night. I loved it, seeing his eyes and heart light up about this adventure into homeschooling. I found this amazing poem sometime last year when I spent my nights researching the whole concept of homeschooling. I regret that I did not notate where it came from but thank to whoever wrote it. It sums up how I feel about this completely.

Grab hold of a magic pencil
Open your eyes and mind
For now begins the journey
Of the most exciting kind
A journey into learning
A step...a start....a glow
And we will be there with you
To help and watch you grow.

Here she is busy working after breakfast. We are starting off the year learning about maps, globes and geography and basically our place in this world.

We have had a great big world map up on the wall all summer that we have been marking our Etsy art sales on.
I put some cubes under it and Karma can delight in shelved toys to play with while I'm teaching. It's working for now...that and the kitchen drawer full of sippy cups and tupperware.
We are book lovers in this house....this is just one of many bookshelves in our library. There are bookshelves in every room of the house...the bathroom and pantry included!
This corner of the living room is the main library for Cammy to pull from, but she reads anything these days. She loves to pull out my books and looks through them for hours. This kid takes the dictionary in the car for fun reading:)
This is my station. This is where I keep all the books that I am currently reading through and pulling from. It is occasionally where I make jewelry as well (mostly in the winter when the clay in the studio freezes the bones in my fingers).
All in all our first day of homeschool was awesome. I am even more excited about our year than I could ever have imagined. This first opening topic about maps and globes and geography with it's far reaching themes is helping to center me again in this world. I have really struggled with finding our place, our groove or routine and we are finally getting a handle on it. It has taken writing out many lists and calendars and trial and error and many scheduling mishaps along the way. Somehow taking on this new seemingly impossible task of fitting homeschooling into our lives has actually calmed it down and made it run more smoothly than before. I'm smiling through and through right now. I was so nervous all summer about how this would all work....How was I going to find time to make pottery and fill my orders? How was I going to be able to handle Karma while I'm trying to teach Cammy? and so many other pressing questions. It felt like the right thing to do in my heart of hearts and upon starting officially today I know this to be the ultimate truth for my family right now. We are happy when we are together, living and learning together. Why do we have children and families if we are just going to send then off to someone else for 8-12 hours a day? I love my children and want to be a part of helping them grow as whole people in mind, body and spirit .

Monday, August 17, 2009

My daughter Cammy has a keen eye for spotting insects. She is quite the detective and can spot a green baby cricket in the green, green grass. She is a huge fan of those Eye Spy books and it shows. Yesterday she spotted this amazing caterpillar. I have never seen anything like it in all my life. It had these squirming white egg sacs hanging all over it. I don't know if the relationship was symbiotic or if they were eating the seemed healthy enough. Now it was eating my tomato plants so it had to be removed, but this time we did not try to keep the caterpillar until it cocooned itself. We have tried that twice this summer unsuccessfully....both died after about a week. We housed them with fresh cuttings from the very plants they were devouring and had water for them as well. I need to do some more research on housing these creatures before we try again. As for this fellow....we tried to look him up and found out that the caterpillar is possibly a Luna Activis or a luna moth caterpillar. Sure enough, my husband spotted a Luna moth today. As for the white egg sacs, I couldn't find a picture of those online. If any of you nature lovers have a clue please let us know.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Nicotine Diaries

My husband Mark is trying to quit smoking again. I have never been a smoker, but I see him struggle so hard with this addiction. I always told myself that I would never marry a smoker because I thought it was such a disgusting habit....but alas love overpowered that and I am very happy to be with him. He has tried many things to help him quit....going cold turkey, chewing on licorice sticks, a nicotine patch, gum, his latest attempt was to eat hot peppers(jalapeno, habanero, etc.) every time he wanted a cigarette to satisfy that craving. It was kinda working. Mark writes, draws, paints, makes puppets name it, to express his own loathing of this smoking habit. He even has an online nicotine diary. His most successful attempt yet was about two years ago and he was able to quit for about a year almost. We actually hired a friend who specialized in video documentaries to come and live with us for a month and document his struggle with quitting. He was also here to do some music video work for my husbands band. Having to talk about it on camera did the job. The documentary was never completed though because the "friend" flew home and never completed editing and has never called us expensive but worthwhile lesson I guess. It got him off the death sticks for a year. But the habit has crept back into our lives and it is really frustrating him that he can't seem to kick the habit again. He is respectful of the children in that he never lets them see him smoke and he absolutely never smokes in the house. I do make him change his shirt sometimes before he holds the baby.
His latest project has been making puppets out of cigarette packs. They are some pretty creepy looking characters. I wouldn't want to tangle with them. I just pray that his newest project will help him get the strength to quit again and for good this time.

He often refers to his smoking addiction in his songs as the "Devil" on his back or the monkey on his back.
Cammy thinks that this puppet is the creepiest in the whole gang. She says that"It's a good thing he makes them scary enough for people to quit smoking."

Gross! Yeah I know....this one is vomiting up all the nasty chemicals and filth that the cigarette companies put into their product.
Look at this gang of evil characters. Mark calls them the "Evil Nicoteam". It speaks loads that he can create these. At least he is using the cigarettes in his art instead of smoking them.
Going out to the garage studio these days is like peeking into some kind of freak show carnival...I never know what new character will be sitting on the bench.
This one by far is the scariest to me. He looks like he could really take out a lung! So I hope that this little blog campaign will help to motivate him even more in his struggle to quit smoking.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Fairy feeding time

So, the other day the girls and I had one of those "best day ever" kinda days. We started out the day doing a little yard work....which you can see Karma joined right in on. This kid is only one year old but she has some serious determination to do just what the big people are doing. She actually raked up that pile. Meanwhile her big sister was catching fairies.
Disappointed because all she caught was a stink bug. Yuck!
We decided that maybe if we left the fairies a special treat, then maybe they would come around. So off we went to find the rarest and most delectable flowers and herbs to prepare our special offering. Through the enchanted forest with it's tickling trees and onward.
We had to climb this impossible twisted massive beanstalk to get the magic beans to put in our soup.
We know where the fairies like to the spotted orange mushroom house that Cammy made for them. They love to sit on the little brown bench and watch all the bugs.
Cammy made a wonderful soup with a broth of rainwater and tender zinnia petals and a sprinkling of butterfly bush flowers accented with a few chives. She was so proud of her soup..."but it smells poop" she says to me. I took a whiff and boy it did!!! Apparently along our enchanted forest trek she had picked up something the cat or some other animal left behind. This made for a most unpleasant discovery. So we did a quick dump of the beautiful concoction and a quick wash of the hands and opted for some leftover banana bread instead. She was convinced that the fairies would be satisfied with the bread. It was all gone the next day so they must have liked it.

Magic Peace Kids Band

Magic Peace Kids Band

The Magic Peace Kids Band giving their first concert under the Willow Tree.

Cammy has started a new band. Since there aren't any girls around to play with Cammy has decided that her band name needed a change. The Butterfly Girl Band is sadly no longer in existence and being diplomatic she decided that she should be all inclusive (allowing boys into the band). The new band name is The Magic Peace Kids Band....they still need a little more practice before they can play out but they have been working on it. Sadly Mark accidentally sat on Cammy's strawberry guitar the other day(it was under a blanket on the couch)....boy was she mad!!! She has gotten over it for now but he has to buy her a new one for sure.

Just for nostalgia's sake I had to put in a few pics of the original Butterfly Girls Band. These are from their first live performance ....complete with spotlights per Cammy's request. I just wish I had an audio tape. The songs were so great, something about a field of flowers and fairies of course.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...