Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween!

 Random costumes that aren't actually their Halloween costumes but were rediscovered in the dress up box? Check.

Pumpkins carved? Yup.

 Sister photobombed? Sure.

 LED candles have batteries? Yes!

All ready, have a great All Hallows Eve, and we'll see you tomorrow with costumes!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Poem of the Week: Death

Death, thou wast once an uncouth hideous thing,
                           Nothing but bones,
      The sad effect of sadder groans:
Thy mouth was open, but thou couldst not sing.

For we considered thee as at some six
                           Or ten years hence,
      After the loss of life and sense,
Flesh being turned to dust, and bones to sticks.

We looked on this side of thee, shooting short;
                         Where we did find
      The shells of fledge souls left behind,
Dry dust, which sheds no tears, but may extort.

But since our Savior’s death did put some blood
                           Into thy face,
      Thou art grown fair and full of grace,
Much in request, much sought for as a good.

For we do now behold thee gay and glad,
                           As at Doomsday;
      When souls shall wear their new array,
And all thy bones with beauty shall be clad.

Therefore we can go die as sleep, and trust
                           Half that we have
      Unto an honest faithful grave;
Making our pillows either down, or dust.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Seven Quick Takes: Leaf Trees, Autumn Fun and Good News

1. We have been collecting leaves on all our  rambles, and we used them to make a tree out of leaves.

We used contact paper as the base this time, and it looked great for a few days, but the leaves peeled off as they dried.  Next time I would add a top layer of contact paper, or go back to taping individual leaves as we've done in the past.
2. And we have candy corn art and math.

Actually, I teach long division with a Halloween story any  time of the year:

The amount in the "house" is the amount of candy in the house.
The amount outside the "door" is the number of trick-or-treaters.
The amount on the "roof" is how much candy each trick-or treater got. 

Any remainder, as any child knows,  gets eaten by the parents.

3. And we have had 6 birthdays in the last two weeks!

My dear Father in Law was one.

 And The Redoubtable Bill was another!

4. In Bill's case, we gave him this fine shirt of Dr. Dinosaur examining a computer, painted by our very own Klenda!

Why, yes, her drawing/painting skills are amazing!

If you have not been reading Atomic Robo, it's the worlds best webcomic.

5. Puff war!  I'm not sure what this plant is, but it makes long brown pods in the fall. 

They look like vanilla beans, but they crack open to reveal a surprising amount of milkweed like puffs.

Which I suppose could be blown at other people if you were so inclined!

6.My biggest surprise lately has been that the job of organizing the Altar Flower Guild, which I thought was just a matter of getting people to do occasional flower arrangements, actually includes...a bit more.

I got a call that I needed to order all the Christmas flowers by the end of the month.

I looked at the blank sanctuary and wondered exactly how many poinsettias were needed...

Two thoughts occurred: I was  never good at the "guess how many jelly beans in the jar" thing, and I wish I had paid more attention last Christmas!

As it turns out, previous organizers were ready and willing to show me the ropes.  A very good thing!

7. Saving the best for last: the very best news this week is that my Dad is out of the hospital, in much less pain, and is doing really well with physical and occupational therapy - he's even walking a bit on his own already!Thanks to all those who prayed!  Considering that two weeks ago we were looking at hospice,  it really feels like a miraculous recovery.  So, thank you, and keep praying! I also pray for the intentions of everyone praying for my Dad.

Have a lovely weekend, and stop by Kelly for more 7QT fun!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Awesome Modern History: Inventions and Industrial Revolution

 These were chapters 82 and 83 in  A Child's History of the World.

For our active activity, we got the kids up at 5am and made them do dangerous work for 18 hours. 


We built marble run "machines."

I set up a board (a large picture frame in this case) propped up at an angle, and put out an assortment of wooden blocks and things to build with.

I also put out the geared marble run in case the younger kids weren't interested in constructing their own machines.
Everyone liked that, but they spent more time (and had more fun) building their own!

For our art activity, Shelli set up cyanotypes.

She had some acetate printouts which the kids could use,

and some black markers to add their own embellishments.

This and other objects were laid on paper treated with  chemicals, and then everything was set in sunlight.

They came out beautifully!

For our snack, we made salt potatoes, a byproduct of the Industrial Age!  They started with Irish salt workers in Syracuse, NY some time in the 1800s. They extracted salt from the waters of a local lake by boiling away the water in large evaporation vats. The workers would slip their potatoes into the evaporation vats to cook and 20 minutes later it was lunch time!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Poem of the Week: The Skeleton in Armor

The Skeleton in Armor

“Speak! speak! thou fearful guest!
Who, with thy hollow breast
Still in rude armor drest,
      Comest to daunt me!
Wrapt not in Eastern balms,
But with thy fleshless palms
Stretched, as if asking alms,
      Why dost thou haunt me?”

Then, from those cavernous eyes
Pale flashes seemed to rise,
As when the Northern skies
      Gleam in December;
And, like the water’s flow
Under December’s snow,
Came a dull voice of woe
      From the heart’s chamber.

“I was a Viking old!
My deeds, though manifold,
No Skald in song has told,
      No Saga taught thee!
Take heed, that in thy verse
Thou dost the tale rehearse,
Else dread a dead man’s curse;
      For this I sought thee.

“Far in the Northern Land,
By the wild Baltic’s strand,
I, with my childish hand,
      Tamed the gerfalcon;
And, with my skates fast-bound,
Skimmed the half-frozen Sound,
That the poor whimpering hound
      Trembled to walk on.

“Oft to his frozen lair
Tracked I the grisly bear,
While from my path the hare
      Fled like a shadow;
Oft through the forest dark
Followed the were-wolf’s bark,
Until the soaring lark
      Sang from the meadow.

“But when I older grew,
Joining a corsair’s crew,
O’er the dark sea I flew
      With the marauders.
Wild was the life we led;
Many the souls that sped,
Many the hearts that bled,
      By our stern orders.

“Many a wassail-bout
Wore the long Winter out;
Often our midnight shout
      Set the cocks crowing,
As we the Berserk’s tale
Measured in cups of ale,
Draining the oaken pail,
      Filled to o’erflowing.

“Once as I told in glee
Tales of the stormy sea,
Soft eyes did gaze on me,
      Burning yet tender;
And as the white stars shine
On the dark Norway pine,
On that dark heart of mine
      Fell their soft splendor.

“I wooed the blue-eyed maid, 
Yielding, yet half afraid,
And in the forest’s shade
      Our vows were plighted.
Under its loosened vest
Fluttered her little breast,
Like birds within their nest
      By the hawk frighted.

“Bright in her father’s hall
Shields gleamed upon the wall,
Loud sang the minstrels all,
      Chanting his glory;
When of old Hildebrand
I asked his daughter’s hand,
Mute did the minstrels stand
      To hear my story.

“While the brown ale he quaffed,
Loud then the champion laughed,
And as the wind-gusts waft
      The sea-foam brightly,
So the loud laugh of scorn,
Out of those lips unshorn,
From the deep drinking-horn
      Blew the foam lightly.

“She was a Prince’s child,
I but a Viking wild,
And though she blushed and smiled,
      I was discarded!
Should not the dove so white
Follow the sea-mew’s flight,
Why did they leave that night
      Her nest unguarded?

“Scarce had I put to sea,
Bearing the maid with me,
Fairest of all was she
      Among the Norsemen!
When on the white sea-strand,
Waving his armed hand,
Saw we old Hildebrand,
      With twenty horsemen.

“Then launched they to the blast, 
Bent like a reed each mast,
Yet we were gaining fast,
      When the wind failed us;
And with a sudden flaw
Came round the gusty Skaw,
So that our foe we saw
      Laugh as he hailed us.

“And as to catch the gale
Round veered the flapping sail,
‘Death!’ was the helmsman’s hail,
      ‘Death without quarter!’
Mid-ships with iron keel
Struck we her ribs of steel;
Down her black hulk did reel
      Through the black water!

“As with his wings aslant,
Sails the fierce cormorant,
Seeking some rocky haunt,
      With his prey laden, —
So toward the open main,
Beating to sea again,
Through the wild hurricane,
      Bore I the maiden.

“Three weeks we westward bore,
And when the storm was o’er,
Cloud-like we saw the shore
      Stretching to leeward;
There for my lady’s bower
Built I the lofty tower,
Which, to this very hour,
   Stands looking seaward.

“There lived we many years;
Time dried the maiden’s tears;
She had forgot her fears,
      She was a mother;
Death closed her mild blue eyes,
Under that tower she lies;
Ne’er shall the sun arise
      On such another!

“Still grew my bosom then,
Still as a stagnant fen!
Hateful to me were men,
      The sunlight hateful!
In the vast forest here,
Clad in my warlike gear,
Fell I upon my spear,
      Oh, death was grateful!

“Thus, seamed with many scars,
Bursting these prison bars,
Up to its native stars
      My soul ascended!
There from the flowing bowl
Deep drinks the warrior’s soul,
Skoal! to the Northland! skoal!”
      Thus the tale ended.

Poem HT: Poetry Foundation
Image HT :Green Futures 

I had read this poem as a child, but I never realized it had been inspired by an actual armor clad Viking skeleton and a real, if mysterious, tower!

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!