Thursday, February 26, 2009

Morning Light

I just love the morning and evening light in my home. Listening to the birds outside and soaking up the warm colors is such a gentle start to the day. So just now I snapped a few pictures and thought I would share that feeling...

Our dining table is a bit askew with all the Fairy Swap bits strewn around. I didn't tidy it last night, but it took on a magical look with the sunrise...

These two ladies came to life with the sunrise too, they are from Lucy's swap partner, Michelle at "The Studio at Crow Haven Farm". Isn't she creative (and speedy!)? Lucy was thrilled when she got home from school yesterday and found the box waiting....

I found this tiny treasure at the Renaissance Festival and couldn't resist. It is made of lily leaves and little dried flowers.

And here's my little Robin, just out of bed and catching the morning sunshine.

Monday, February 23, 2009

My Weekend

I know, this is a lot of posts for one day, but I have to take advantage of the time when I have it and I wanted to share what I did this weekend...

All day Saturday the girls and I crafted for our Fairy Swap hosted by my lovely sister Missy. Lucy thought I looked so cozy sewing away with little Sugar keeping my lap warm...

The three older kids and I couldn't resist heading back to the Renaissance Festival after church on Sunday. Our dear friends from Tucson met us there and we had another great day!


Remember those blood oranges? Here's the tree after we've been picking, eating and sharing all month. I guess it's time to make some....

... Blood Orange Marmelade!

(and there are still tons of oranges. I guess I'll make some more.)

More Math

Coincidentally last week Elsa and Robin had the same topic for math according to K-12. (note: I am really laid back about the K-12 Kindergarten with Elsa and am way more Waldorfy with her. K-12 is very advanced and academic so we are very careful not to push beyond her developmental level. I really strive to keep things magical and gentle for her still.) Also coincidentally, we had just read "Oxcart Man" to Elsa, so the two math lessons were easily taught together. I drew the pretend garden and they took turns counting and tallying the vegetables, then Robin graphed them in his lesson book and Elsa helped me color the sample graph. It's always fun when they can do things together, and many of our math lessons can be adapted for both.

Homeschool Math

I am making an effort to have a more integrated curriculum for Robin. It seems to make sense when the math, history and literature are coordinated. So, for the month of February, we have been reading "Little House on the Prairie" and then using the setting of a pioneer family to come up with story problems that help review his math so far. This was greatly inspired by Melisa Nielson's "A New Land" story in her Waldorf Math book. I love her math book, it really helps me see how to make the math lessons creative and interesting. I have been able to take the lessons from Robin's K-12 curriculum and then teach the concepts in a way that Robin eagerly accepts. It is such a great change from the boring worksheet type lessons and really much more relevant to reality, as in real life this type of math is always more like a story problem.
It's funny, because when you are actually connected to the story it doesn't seem like a dreaded chore. The story problems that we come up with revolve around characters and situations that Robin is already interested in (Ma & Pa, Mary & Laura) and so he really cares about the answer. Before, when presenting the story problems from the textbook, he wasn't interested at all and found it really hard. After all, why should he care about "Jimmy" and how many colored fish he can put in 5 different bowls? (And who has 5 fish bowls anyway?! Lol!!)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Renaissance Festival

Every year we attend the Renaissance Festival here in town. At least once. Sometimes several times. We all love to dress up, and I have made costumes for all of us. This year we went on Presidents Day. Unfortunately, not only did we not get a family picture this year, but when we all separated to do different things, I had the camera so we only got pictures of the girls.

This is Elsa's last year to ride the free toddler Butterfly ride. She just brushed the bottom of the sign, and wanted me to explain to the attendant that it was because of her tall boots.

Lucy bought a gorgeous parasol to match her outfit. A parasol is really a must as the sun can be very bright and the costumes don't really lend themselves to a practical hat.

Jill brought her Jared along, and she and I made him a shirt that matches her dress and cloak. Aren't they so cute?!

But for me this year, the main attraction was these lovely and talented ladies. I could hardly believe it when I found out they were coming to our festival! I love their music, and they turned out to be great performers and also very gracious about signing stuff and meeting people.

Valentine's Day

Valentine crafting.

The sweetest fairy from Natural Playgarden, and some heavenly almond blossoms from our neighbor's tree.

Most of the day was spent at Lucy's Wintergaurd competition, which was hosted by her high school. We helped sell tons of sweatpants and jackets to raise money for future competitions and equipment. Lucy's group performed so well! Their show is set to music from "August Rush" and is just beautiful. They have impressed the judges so much that they have been bumped up two divisions, so rather than competing against the other small schools, they are up against the really big competitors. In their new class, they placed 4th!! This is so exciting, because not only are they a small, new school, they are only in their second year of competing and they don't have any seniors. Just wait until next year!

Friday, February 13, 2009

My Boy

I just discovered this self-portrait that Jesse made a couple of days ago. He makes me laugh! Such a sweetheart still, almost 13, he's a great boy! I love all the details of this picture and what they say about him. Yep, another creative one...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Weekend Images

Blood oranges from our tree...

The closest thing to snow we will get here - hail on the trampoline...

Moonrise through the mulberry.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Creativity in Education

Everyone should watch this. It is so true. Now our schools need to get the message that they must change!!

Some Elves

Last fall my sister Missy came over and introduced us to the very fun concept of art paper dolls. Today I'm feeling a little magical, so I thought I would post this awesome picture my girls made for their best friend. Jill and Lucy and Katie have had an imagination game going for almost as long as they can remember, so for Katie's birthday, Jill and Lucy decided to make a paper doll collage depicting some of the characters. These were their favorite characters - the floating girl is Lucy, she's the "What", a kind of ghost girl who was killed by lightning while standing in a tree singing. That's her tree/home place in the center; her powers are vast (so I'm told, apparantly you really don't talk about your powers...). The middle elf is Katie, or "Mithrah" in the game. The winged girl is Jill's dragon elf, "Moonshadow."
I am always amazed at how creative these girls are, although I don't know why it would suprise me. They come from a long line of artists!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

More Lemons...

I have a dear friend, Patty, who used to come buy eggs from Lucy until our hens stopped laying...Well, for the last couple of years I have been giving her citrus from our trees every winter which she sends to her family and friends back East, in the cold, dreary "real" winter weather. I love to help her help others, sending a bit of sunshine to cheer their day! Well...Patty has a Meyer Lemon tree which was finally mature enough this year to give her a very nice crop, and she generously shared with me - half her harvest! Oh, boy are they good!

Here's a picture of a little, thin-skinned, fragrant and rosy Meyer Lemon compared to a large regular lemon off the neighbor's tree. (Not that we don't love the regular kind, but it is so fun to have something a little exotic and rare!)

So today I made a recipe that I have been wanting to try for a long time. Meyer Lemon Coffee Cake from Martha Stewart.
Ok, so my picture isn't as pretty as hers, but I'm sure it tasted just as good, if not better! I did modify the recipe some and used about half whole soft wheat flour, and yogurt in place of the sour cream (yes, some of the yogurt was goat-yogurt...shhhh! don't tell Jill!!)

Time to go eat a bedtime snack! TTFN

When Life Gives You Lemons...

First do some lemon math while you juice 50 lemons (in groups of 5, of course!)

Then make lemonade!
The lemons came from our sweet accross-the-street neighbors. Thanks Brother & Sister B!
No, it didn't take 50 lemons to make a gallon of lemonade, but they did make almost a gallon of lemon juice! And provided a great opportunity to remember our liquid measurements from a few days ago. That's the lemonade above, in the fridge with the goat milk, goat yogurt (!) and goat cheese (!!) Mmmmm, so good!

We've Been Busy!

Ok, I'm a little behind, but that's because we have been so busy! Besides weeding the garden, cleaning the goat pens, and all the daily stuff, we have been having tons of fun!

Doing squirrel math:

We have a bunch of pinon pine nuts from Grammie & Grandaddy's cabin, so the mama squirrel hid them in groups of 3 and then 4 all over the living room. The little squirrels then found them and worked on multiplying and dividing by 3's and 4's. Very cute and ...yummy!

Celebrating Groundhog Day! Robin wrote a story about the groundhog, colored a picture and copied the applicable rhyme, made a wordsearch, and.....

... recycled old crayons into new multicolored crayon discs. Robin was so excited to do this after his friend Haley brought some in to Primary on Sunday. So, we didn't make Candlemas candles, but we did melt some wax and have some fun. As you can see, Robin stacked his into a cute little mushroom.

We also started milking our Nigerian Dwarf goat, Mocha. Her milk is amazingly creamy! Unfortunately, she is only making about a quart a day, so it disappears fast.
"We Love Goatmilk!"