Monday, October 31, 2011

Busy Weekend

Amongst the packing and cleaning schedule, we had a trip to Vancouver, WA for a feis.  Needless to say, we hit the road just in time to dance, then rush home (after one little impromptu side trip.)
Here are some pictures from the weekend...

1st Place Single Jig!!

St. John's Vancouver
We're movin' on Prizewinner!!

The Mashtun Pub -- NE Portland

Salt & Straw Ice Cream....NE Portland

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like....

we're moving?!? 

I certainly hope so! 

I don't want to say too much about it, because i don't want to be a Debbie Downer about the place we are hoping to leaving (especially if it means we're staying--ha!)  Also not wanting to let myself gush about where we are heading, because the fall will be that much farther if we lose the opportunity again, this time around.

We are busy packing and moving boxes, readying rooms for strangers to walk through (has anyone put their houses on the market lately?  is it just me that isn't thrilled with all the nonsense that has to be done for strangers so that they can "imagine" themselves here?  really?  really?!?!  i'm responsible to pay $,$$$ for someone to come in my home to have a daydream?!?  what?!?!  thanks a-helpin' n a-heapin' you HGTV people!  i disgress.  ahem  sorry about that.)  :)

anywho, with all the activity that comes with moving, and with the currently packed calendar, my little journal here is going to have to take a seat even further back in the bus, behind school yet just in front of sanity and crafting.  Now some say it's a short bus.  :)  Ah, but is it because i choose to drive one or....?  :)

Also, is it wrong to call packing and organising boxes "homeschool"?  Well, you know, those college years are about 9 years away...Cookie's gotta learn to pack up and fly from the nest someday. :)  Proving once again that "Homeschool is Life-school", eh?

Oh, incidently, a tip for those out there with children who are "hating math" all of the sudden when they hit double digit multiplication.  Take them to the candy aisle. :)  My dear Cookie wants nothing more that to 1. Stop doing math and 2. Hand out Hallowe'en candy.  And sadly, Toots, those two things don't jive.  So while including her in the candy shopping for this year, she discovered that some packages didn't say how many items were inside.  Oh no!  How would we know how many trick or treaters we could hop up on sugar?  A quick check of the "nutrition (ha!) label" gives you information that you need to calculate the quantity--that job, of course, going to your little goblin.  Real life math in action!  As you see the light bulb start to flicker above your child's head and the gears in there start causing their little eyes to roll back and forth across their their face, their math hardened heart will start swelling.  It does come with a warning though:  don't give the completely uncool "See, I Told You You'd Need Math in Real Life" speech, because that's the killer.  Just trust me on that one. :) 

Most of all, wanting to wish you all a wonderful end to October and a safe Hallowe'en.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Lions and Tigers and Bears....Oh My!

It's birthday time here in our household (which unfortunately coincides with house-hunting efforts without fail for the past 4 years.  Wish us luck this time around, eh?  For sanity's sake!) 

I don't know if you know this or not, but this  Nine Year Old stuff is serious business.  Cookie is growing up, there's no denying that, but outside of the public school system, i never figured she'd be so opinionated or hip as to what "cool" was.

We toss around the idea of a penny carnival for her party.  I had high hopes (especially because that is an all-sexes event, you know?)  However, in the end, it boiled down to one thing:  Cookie wanted to have a tea with her girlie friends.  Sorry Best Friend Who's A Boy. :) 

Meaning, we will need to host two shindigs--one for the best friend who's like a brother and one for the girlies.  :)  Who wouldn't love their birthday drawn out this way, eh?  Even though it's not my first preference to have two gatherings, at least it provided me a belly laugh when i was able to joke with Mr. Best Friend and say, "Hey, guess what?  We figured out what we're going to do for Cookie's party and i think you are going to have the most fun!!"  When he heard what was in store, i believe i saw him turn green a little--and it wasn't the shade of envy, either. :)

In the days that followed, i gave Cookie some gentle direction into what would make a fun tea.  We devised menus and baking ideas.  We could have the girls make popovers or something to contribute to the feast.  Rest of the time they could play games or....  So what Cookie cooked up on her own was wildly interesting, to say the least.  One day, she mentioned she'd like to have a Wizard of Oz tea.  Well, that would proved direction for the theme, so off we went to the craft store to find papers (Graphics 45 makes a series) and stamps to craft invitations.

A couple days later she says, "Wouldn't a spa tea be fun Mom?"  "Well, sure, who wouldn't love a spa tea, hon, but how does that fit with the Wizard of Oz?"  "Maaaaaaahhhhhom?!?!?  You know that part in the movie where they get all spiffed up to see Oz?  That's how!" 

And so was born thee "Wizard of Oz Spa Tea" Birthday Party.

Party Invites for the Girls
We found this wonderful piece of paper from Graphics 45 with these four images contained on it.  On the reverse is a repeating pattern of ruby slippers--perfect for little girlies!  Conveniently, we need four invitations only, so we split the page accordingly.

We found an old map of Kansas on the Internets on one of their state government archives sites and after a little manipulating in a art program on our computer, we came up with this for the back of the cards.

The dimensions of the cards turned out to fit a 6 1/2" x 6 1/2" envelope. 
With the stuffin' done, it was time to decorate the envelopes.

Our stamps consisted of the four majour Wiz of Oz characters and Toto and some sayings.

These ruby slippers and the "Yellow Brick Road" were included.

Here we were able to experiment with our "graphic art" lesson, and we found out which part of the stamps to ink so that when we stamped the red shoes on top, they wouldn't be orange. :)  We stamped them on the front corner of the envelope.

On the back of the card, Cookie played with the arrangement of characters until they fit just right.
Then she stamped it all and a saying up at the top that reads "The Magic of Oz".

I found this beauty supply house called MMS online, ordered materials for making lip balms, scented bath salts, and we will be making sugar scrubs too.  We decided to use plain ol' canning jars for our containers for the salts and scrub.

In the coming days, we'll be stamping tags and bags and making labels for our friends.
And what i love most about all this is we get to call it homeschool!!  :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

My Kind of Homeschooling :: Knights of Veritas

We were fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time a little while back.  Figuratively AND literally.  Cookie's stuck in history, reveling in knights and damsels and castles.  Coincidentally, a local bookstore, where you can purchased used books by the pound no less, was celebrating the Hobbit movie announcement with a "Tolkein Tea".  They hired a group, The Knights of Veritas, from Moses Lake, WA to come for a demonstration. 

The Knights presentation really debunks the myths of sword fighting and medieval armour that Hollywood has engrained in our minds.  The presenters taught us not only the words for the 4 different attack stances, but also took us through the geometry of a real sword fight.  Basically, you always want your defense to end with your sword's point threatening your rival...and they taught us which movements would get us a victory through slow-motion sword fighting by letting the audience tell them their next move should be.  Then once we worked it all out, the sword fight would commence in real time. :)

Below is my favourite fight of the day.  The one that wasn't deconstructed, so we had no idea what was going to happen!

We were able to see what it takes for these gentlemen to dress in their armour piece by piece; we even got to touch real mail.  The mail was amazing--interwoven chains that were riveted together.  During the demostration, once they had both put on their mail, one of the men took his sword and started beating the edge of it against the chest and back of the other man without wounding him.  Completely amazing!


Piece by piece,

an armoured knight

was assembled in front of our eyes.

Then they got down to business. :)

It was a wonderful, informative, and enjoyable presentation.  Cookie gave it a 10 out of 10 rating, whether she gave it that because she got to hold a sword after the presentation, i am not sure. :)

Hoping you will someday get to see the Knights of "Truth" in your area!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Last Garden Look-see?

Fall is here.
But i don't have to be all in love with that fact, do i?

It is a glorious season, i'll give it that.
A favourite of mine.
That is, when we have a proper summer. :)

Here about 50% of the summer garden has been put to bed.
We are still waiting on the corn to ripen.

 This year, we experimented with short season corn.  It grew to 2-3 feet and sprouted tassels.
Funny little things, yet very efficient.  We didn't even plant them until the 4th of July.
Next year, i will try succession planting them in little blocks and hope we have a longer corn season.

I do miss the 6 foot tall varieties, so maybe when we get a little more space, we can grow that just for fun and fall decorating. :)

Another thing i was very surprised to find in the garden was a musk melon the size of a golf ball.
We planted these in June, which might have been a little too long to wait.
Really need a greenhouse structure in my future. :)

We did have luck growing one small pumpkin this year. 

And although our roma toms didn't produce too well this year, we did end up with a ton of cherry toms.  I cleaned about 10 bunches this weekend from one vine.  That's not including the ones we robbed during the season of dining outdoors. :)

While cleaning out the squash and toms this weekend, i noticed there are arrent little pea vines popping up here and there.  I was inspired to try a little experimenting.  I planted a few rows of dwarf snap peas and used some of the seed tapes Cookie and i made for next Spring (we are getting organised now, as we areever hopefully of a relocation this winter!)  Included in the seed tapes are Black Seeded Simpson lettuce, Samish Savoy winter hardy spinach, French Breakfast radishes, and a little Big Seeded Mache.  We haven't tried mache before, so we will see how it goes. 

I've planted these things in the bed where the potatoes were.  It will be interesting to see if things sprout as well this time of year as they would in our March.  Should anything sprout, i've divided them into groups so that we can erect cold frames around them.  As we pull the corn out of the ground, the chickens will be parked over this area of the garden more and more, helping us make the space a little more fruitful next year.

Hoping your Fall gardening is going well and less soggy than sunny.