Monday, February 20, 2017

The Return of Awesome History: Native Americans

It was epic!  No, just kidding, it was awesome!

So this is Awesome American History (round 1).  We are using  The American Story by Jennifer Armstrong  as our core book.

We read about three chapters (stories) on our own, and then we meet up to  do an art activity, an active activity, and a themed snack.

I had intended to do the whole book in two semesters, but that meant we had to read four or five chapters a week, and we ended up feeling rushed.

Since part of the idea is to be able to branch off and look more deeply into some of the historical times,we decided to spread the book over three semesters instead.

Anyway,  we started out with chapters featuring Native Americans, Roanoke, and Pocahontas. This was pages 1-13, and years 1565-1607.
 Our art activity was making a totem pole.  All the kids colored and cut out the animals and faces (quickly drawn by Shelli: it helps to have an artist on staff!).  I suspect you could find these as printables online.

The kids also used some as hats, and then made their own living totem pole.

Kid ideas put the awesome into Awesome History!

For a snack we had cornbread and parched corn. 


Parched corn is sweet corn dried in the oven tossed with a tiny bit of butter and salt.

Warning: addictive!

The active activity was an Aztec ball game. 

It's kind of like soccer in that you can't use your hands, and kind of not like soccer in that you can't let the ball touch the floor.

If that sounds fiendishly difficult, yes.

The "goal" was to get the ball through a vertical stone hoop, but...good luck with that.  If anyone ever managed it, they automatically won the game.

Most of the time the game was about not dropping the ball, and two good teams could keep the ball in the air for an hour.

Incidentally, some historians believe that the losing teams would be sacrificed (the game was played on the field in front of the sacrificial temple (pyramid).  Other historians believe the winning team was sacrificed, since being selected as a sacrifice was an honor.

We decided to start out easy and used an air filled balloon.
And not sacrifice any of the players.

But it was pretty awesome, anyway!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Poem of the Week: I Saw a Man

"I saw a man pursuing the horizon" 
I saw a man pursuing the horizon;
Round and round they sped.
I was disturbed at this;   
I accosted the man.
“It is futile,” I said,
“You can never —”

“You lie,” he cried,   
And ran on. 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Just In Case You Think I am Excessively Organized

Not My Bookshelf Ever
On Monday I was looking ahead to a long empty week.  No more Chemistry, what would I do with myself?

Just then I got a text from a friend asking if she could come along to the museum on Wednesday. 

Ha! I started to text back, We aren't starting up Adventurers until... I had to look it up. 


So we went, and it was super fun and great and we had 4 families there.

And look at that!  We are starting Awesome American History on Friday!

Well, at least I know what to do with myself. 😊

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day!

 Valentine Sudoku with candy hearts.

Lots  of Valentine jokes.

Kid: what's for lunch?

Me: Quiches.

Kid: Quiches?

Me: Sure! (Big kisses on the top of their head)

We had our traditional Valentine treasure hunt, which ended in the chapel.

And red heart balloons!

And raspberry filled chocolate cupcakes, shared with friends and neighbors.

And a big jello heart, photobombed by a Temmie.

And best of all, lots of valentines we made for each other!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Poem of the Week: I Loved You First

"I loved you first: but afterwards your love"

Poca favilla gran fiamma seconda. – Dante
Ogni altra cosa, ogni pensier va fore,
E sol ivi con voi rimansi amore. – Petrarca

I loved you first: but afterwards your love
Outsoaring mine, sang such a loftier song
As drowned the friendly cooings of my dove.
Which owes the other most? my love was long,
And yours one moment seemed to wax more strong;
I loved and guessed at you, you construed me
And loved me for what might or might not be –
Nay, weights and measures do us both a wrong.
For verily love knows not ‘mine’ or ‘thine;’
With separate ‘I’ and ‘thou’ free love has done,
For one is both and both are one in love:
Rich love knows nought of ‘thine that is not mine;’
Both have the strength and both the length thereof,
Both of us, of the love which makes us one.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Experimental Knititng

 I recently learned a whole new knitting stitch! I can purl!

Yes, this does mean I have only been knitting with one stitch for the last ten years.

For anyone reading this who actually knits, I will wait for you to stop laughing.


Anyway, I started experimenting with ribbing for hats.

I had some red yarn, but not enough to do a big project, so I thought I'd do a hat.
Part way through, I realized I probably didn't have enough to finish the hat, so I started doing stripes.

And then I was having fun with stripes, so I didn't want to stop...

Choclo loved his crazy hat!

So then Oob wanted one!
 But he wanted three colors!

So that was pretty fun, and actually very quick - it probably takes me two evenings to make a crazy hat.

I'm working on one for Leena now!

But I learned I could do more with purling: I did a scarf alternating two knits and two purls, and it had a lovely "popcorn" texture (the number of stitches was not divisible by four or it would have come out "ribbed").

What else could I do?
The colors are really much darker than this

Was it possible to do vertical stripes? Alternating knits and purls gives you "ribs" that are like vertical stripes.

Could I do them in different colors?

Wow!  It came out plaid!

I showed it to my FIL and my friend Bill and they thought I had knitted a Black Watch Tartan scarf!

So that's been fun, although I did the scarf very long and wide, so it took about a month.

I was trying to use up some of my donated yarn stash.  It's mostly normal weight yarn, and I like to knit with chunkier yarns, so I usually use three or four strands when I use it.

With this scarf, each color was three strands, so I was knitting off of six skeins.  That  got a bit unwieldy.  I had planned to knit to the end of the skeins, but, near the end, the I was getting everything tangled and the scarf was getting both long and a little heavy, so I stopped!

A successful experiment!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Seven Quick Takes: Random Hippos, Eyeballs, Dinos and Whatnot

1. I finished the last of the (separate) chemistry classes!  I still have a combined class/party, but the actual lessons are done.

I have to say, I loved having a boys' class and a girls' class.

But.  Stretching it out over twice as much time exceeded my attention span.  Sad but true. But I still like chemistry, and I really enjoyed all the kids!

And they liked it too.  You can tell because they made their own T shirts.

2. In other news, we lapped the seasons.

Our snow drops, the first of the spring flowers, are blooming.

And so are our camellias, the last of the fall flowers.

The weather has been crazy- we had highs in the 70s Wednesday, and in the low 30s  Thursday!

3. And speaking of crazy...  I'd like to know who put the googly eyes on the pruning shears.

And the door knobs.

And my computer.

4.  In other, other news, Choclo has taken up hippo wrestling. 

Everyone should have a hobby.

 5. In practically the best news ever, it's my dad's birthday on Saturday and we (Mxyl, Klenda, and I) are going up to see him!!!!

6. Did you know that this is a thing? I was blown away!

7. And I'll leave you with a bit of helpful (hopefully not relevant to you) art from Klenda:

Have a great weekend, more fun with Kelly!

Thursday, February 9, 2017


Choclo and Oob asked if they could be wrapped up like mummies.

Sure!  I was setting up one of the last Chemistry classes, so I asked Klenda to wrap.

She actually does a much neater job than I do!

It turned out they only wanted one mummy because the other one was going to be a professor, lecturing on mummies. 

Why, yes, we do watch a lot of documentaries, why do you ask?

The professor explained that this 5000 year old mummy was very special because it had not had it's brain removed.

Suddenly, to the horror of the gathered crowd, the mummy began to move!

Fortunately, it turned out that the mummy just wanted a hug from his mummy!