Monday, October 17, 2016

Awesome History: Handel, Victoria, Garibaldi

These were chapters 79-81 and they went from a brief history of music, to the Victorian Age, the (contemporaneous) Civil War, the rise of Prussia, Florence Nightengale, and the unification of Italy. Lots to choose from!
For our active activity, we did hoop rolling and The Game of Graces (it's a game where you toss and catch a small hoop using sticks), activities for children on both sides of the Atlantic during this time period.

 For our art activity, we made decorative candle holders.  Florence Nightengale was called "The Lady of the Lamp," but we also put a Victorian decorative spin on these.

In advance, we mixed Mod Podge (glue) with liquid watercolors and coated the inside of mason jars.  Wet, they are opaque, but they become clear and jewel like as they dry over the course of 2-3 days.

 The kids decorated them with jewel stickers and paint.  To keep things simple (and to keep the holders mostly translucent), I gave them gold and silver paint with cotton swaps to make patterns of dots.

These came out beautifully!  I dried them in the oven so they could go home without smearing.

For our snack, we had tea and lemon cakelets with fancy carnation style icing!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Poem of the Week: Vermeer

By Howard Nemerov
Taking what is, and seeing it as it is,
Pretending to no heroic stances or gestures,
Keeping it simple; being in love with light
And the marvelous things that light is able to do,
How beautiful! a modesty which is
Seductive extremely, the care for daily things.

At one for once with sunlight falling through
A leaded windo, the holy mathematic
Plays out the cat’s cradle of relation
Endlessly; even the inexorable
Domesticates itself and becomes charm.

If I could say to you, and make it stick,
A girl in a red hat, a woman in blue
Reading a letter, a lady weighing gold…
If I could say this to you so you saw,
And knew, and agreed that this was how it was In a lost city across the sea of years,
I think we should be for one moment happy
In the great reckoning of those little rooms
Where the weight of life has been lifted and made light,
Or standing invisible on the shore opposed,
Watching the water in the foreground dream
Reflectively, taking a view of Delft
As it was, under a wide and darkening sky.

HT:English Eleven

Friday, October 14, 2016

SevenQuick Takes: Autumn Insanity

1. It's true: after a long hot melty summer, I kinda go crazy in the fall!

The weather cools off and I finally feel like leaving my air conditioned house and doing things. Like playgrounds!

Why waste the nice days on school? We do a lot of heavy duty stuff when it's very hot or very cold out, just so that we can take off on beautiful days like these.

 2. Also, I love it when the leaves change.

You can tell because I have taken a picture of all five leaves which have changed color within a mile of my house.

 I think I am still keyed to the leaf changes when I was living farther north.  The leaves here won't really get going for two week yet.

3. We went apple picking on Tuesday!

80 pounds and 6 kinds of apples later...

I have a new favorite apple: Winecrisp.

You probably won't see it in supermarkets (it's quite an ugly apple), but if you find it in a farmer's market, buy all you can!  It's very sweet with a slight balancing tartness and a spicy taste that's hard to describe. It's also intensely apple-y.

4. In the last three days we've eaten caramel apples (that's Klenda making caramel), made apple sauce and apple butter (that's apple butter baking down), made apple butter pumpkin muffins, and eaten a lot of apples.

Still to come: apple fritters, apple tarts, apple bread, and (Klenda promises) many many pies!

5. Then there are the pumpkins and squash.

Carving pumpkins, painted for the interim.

And eating pumpkins: Fairy Tale and Cinderella, both just fabulously tasty.

And eating squashes, the taste test winners from last year: Buttercup, Sweet Dumpling, and Carnival.

6. Moderately unrelated, while at the farm where we picked the apples, Choclo wanted to buy an enormous squash.

This was after I had bought all the other pumpkins and squashes, so I was reluctant... until he offered to pay for it out of his allowance.

So we brought it home, and he immediately set it up in the comfiest chair in the house.  Then he swiped my small butternut squashes and a permanent marker.

Then he explained:

This is King Gourd.

And these are his bodygourds.

7. Meanwhile, I just realized that Oob's picture is going to look like an early Halloween costume.  It isn't.  My kids just dress up all the time and ask me to put their pictures on the blog.

He's a bow man, which confused everyone since we have friends named the Bowmans.

Hope you are enjoying a fabulous fall wherever you are, more fun with Kelly!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Update or Why My Blogging is Sporadic

Not just regular sloth this time, my dad has has been doing very badly lately.

The good news about this (as hard as it is to believe that there could be good news) is that my superhero sister came home to help take care of him.

 In fact, she came in through BWI (the airport close to me) last Wednesday and I drove her up last Friday. 

In between we took her to National Gallery, her favorite museum!

 And then on Friday I drove her up to my folks, and the 5 hour drive took 8 crazy traffic filled hours.

Somewhere around the 7th hour, we stopped for gas and she got a bottle of peach aloe juice. 

"Try some," she said, "it's really good."

It had "pulp," which is literally translated as "small slug like bits of aloe that bump into your lips when you try to drink it."

She laughed...immoderately.

Amazingly, I did not actually leave her at the gas station.

Anyway, there is more good news.  We were starting to think my dad needed to be transferred to hospice, and instead he ended up in the hospital again where they found his sudden inability to walk and debilitating pain may turn out to be less cancer and Parkinson's and more an impinged nerve.

They can fix that!  But I'd be super grateful for prayers!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Monday, October 3, 2016

Natural History

 Last week's Adventurers was again Natural History.  We did the mammal hall, human origins, and the ocean hall.

What's not to like about glowing jars of weird stuff in a dimly lit corner?

And here is Choclo doing his best penguin impression!

And here is everyone's second favorite giant squid (the really big one is in a very long horizontal case).

But the real surprise was the birds!  I've been to this museum probably a dozen times in the last 5 years, but I hadn't seen the birds.

Oob loves birds, and was disappointed in the lack of feathers in Mammal Hall, so I told him we would find the birds. I had a vague idea they were on the bottom floor.

We discovered two things.

 One, the birds are tucked away in two dead end hallways in the basement.

Two, they are not "birds of the world" the way Mammal Hall is "mammals of the world."

They were something much better!  They were samples of every single bird found in this area in the last 150 years!

As a novice bird watcher, it was fantastic!  I have a fancy searchable bird app with pictures and songs, but there is truly nothing like seeing all the sparrows in the area next to each other, holding still.  Seeing them together, it's quite obvious that the song sparrow is the one with the gray cap and the house sparrow has just a gray stripe.

There were glass cases for song birds, another for owls, another for ducks, for eagles and vultures, for heron like birds... all with tags explaining where and when they might be seen.  It was a beginning birders paradise!