Thursday, April 28, 2016

Thunder Cake

This morning, Linus was afraid of thunder.
Tonight, he is not.

He didn't have to go up against Nellie Peck Hen or old Kick Cow, but he did go out to the garage for butter and tomatoes, and brave the hand mixer and food processor.  He learned to separate eggs, beat the whites into stiff peaks, fold them in, and operate the hand mixer all by himself.

He is brave.  He is skilled.  He has chocolate crumbs all around his smiling mouth.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Beautiful Day Out

Our recent artsy week -- talking about famous artists, watching a few movies about their lives, getting our hands messy -- reminded me to check in on current exhibits at local and local-enough museums.  When Sela saw the we could see a painting by Raphael, she was dazzled.  Inspiration had struck at just the right time...

One of the joys of homeschooling is the freedom to pack up snacks and escape for the day without a lot of planning.  So, we popped over to San Francisco to catch "Portrait of a Lady With a Unicorn" by Raphael in its final week at the Legion of Honor Museum of Fine Arts.

What a view outside the museum!

The "bonus" exhibit, in this case, was a collection done by Pierre Bonnard.

And in the permanent collection, (wow) we saw works by these guys:
Van ault

Puzzle souvenirs from museums are my FAVORITE.
We saw this work by Pierre Bonnard.
best of all-
this was my tour group <3

Monday, April 18, 2016

No-Fuss National Poetry Month

A quick walk-by grab at the library

An acrostic poem scrawled on scrap paper 
to bring kids into an exhibit titled "Bloom 2"

An add-in to last's week geography class (North America) --
Poetry Tea Time with a Twist (minus the tea, plus the avocado milkshakes)

Inexpensive recent gifts

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Game Spotlight: Solitaire Chess by Thinkfun

We started with Attila (by Blue Orange). Clever little game where all of the pieces move like knights in chess.  What a nice entrèe for those who don't know how to play chess!

We just picked up Solitaire Chess (by Thinkfun), and both kids are really enjoying the challenges and learning some chess basics at the same time.  Me, too!  Also making it a great family choice: it can be played alone.  Sometimes we get at a loose end here, with one child assigned a task and the other not...

Linus likes to make up his own boards -- a little more math and some letters thrown in to boot!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

It's For the Birds

A pair of mated bald eagles is raising two eaglets in the U.S. National Arboretum, and we can see it all via the live cams that have been set up!  Now THIS is reality television I can get into!

In our little arboretum (i.e. our backyard), we're busy with birds, too.  We've made our own bird seed blend by picking and choosing through the bulk bins at the feed store -- we went with thistle and black sunflowers to woo our goldfinches back.  The chickens love the black sunflowers, too, so that's a bonus!

The hummingbird feeder has been washed and refilled with a new formula.  I have given up on the homemade versions.  It gets syrupy in the feeder and mildews quickly.

And I'm daily trying to unravel the mystery of who is pecking the chicken eggs and for what reason (for the love of Pete!).

Friday, April 1, 2016

Art with the Masters -- And Some Famous Ones, Too

Last week we hit the pause button on our regularly scheduled activities and made room for something different.

We warmed up with this Paul Klee-inspired project.  Because: books and paints.

Dale Chihuly sparked our creative fires for this Bakit & Makit project we were gifted (those little plastic pellets you melt in the oven).  We may buy more -- it turned out to be a dazzlingly-fun project!

I have never made a more fun sculpture than this Giacometti project.  The materials are so fun and easy to work with, and I think the aged metal effect is stunning.

Henri Matisse -- we had to go with his cut-outs this time.  Mixing up our artist exploration with scissors and Mod Podge was a must.  They make lovely tealight globes (battery-operated).

And a well-deserved rest under A Starry Night.
We read that although many believe that Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel on his back, he actually painted while standing.  Linus didn't care one bit.  Laying down and drawing under the table was definitely the way to go.  That's cool; why not?

We painted, sprinkled, melted, shaped, snipped, taped, bent, sculpted, cut, blew up, glued, drew, and worked from a new angle.  And -- found two museums with some pretty famous works that we're heading out to see.

time + materials = inspiration

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

When Help Is On The Way

I kinda layed an egg with my chicken project.  I forgot that my life isn't arranged as it used to be.  And what's more -- it hasn't been for some time.  Not quite sure how I did this.  These funny human brains.

Our chickens need a bigger coop.  And, hopefully, one that encourages them to roost inside it at night rather than the adjacent tree.  Wouldn't it be great to build my own?!  (Imagine me checking out books from the library, scribbling out plans with a friend, searching feverishly online for a just-right coop...)  I bought some plans, had wood delivered to my friend's house, marked the wood, and she did a fantastic job cutting it all.  And covering it when it rained.  Multiple times.  She delivered the wood to my house.  (The woman deserves a prize.)  She offered to help me build it.  But -- I suspected by this time -- I was in over my head.  I had already asked too much.

In olden times, I could have pulled off the steep learning curve for this project.  But, I made a tactical error: I forgot that I don't currently have those hours available to spearhead such projects.

But, not all was lost.  Not only did my dad offer to build it while he visited, he brought his tools! While my mom and I browsed the fabric store, he had my plan book at the hardward store.  When we got home the saw had been fired up and the sawhorses were set.  For three days he reworked the plans, and this is what we ended up with.  I just love it.

You might notice that there are a couple finishing details for me. (A roof.  The wire enclosure.  Locks.) -- but those were left because I can handle those.