Wednesday, October 31, 2012

October's smaller moments

Sassafras ghostie!

I keep wanting to write a post about all the little things that we're doing - the games, the books, the thoughts, the awesome conversations - and life just keeps chugging along and how does one catch up? Well, I have long loved the unschooling living posts that Stacy over at Sweet Sky has done, so I am going to attempt something of that sort here. Nothing comprehensive, but just tidbits that I don't want to forget...


We've been playing new games! I have a post in the works on these in more detail, but there has been Hive, Dixit, and more of our old favorites: Blokus, Rat-a-tat Cat, Scrambled States of America and Phase 10.  We also got a Highlights puzzle book in the mail - a mystery in Mexico, and the girls loved sitting on the couch together figuring out the puzzles to find out who took the what where! In the meantime, they learned a little about Mexico (like farmers produce 50 different kinds of beans. 50! I don't think I could name more than 10). 

We read a book this fall that was long recommended to us by our sea-farin' friends - Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome.  It was as awesome as it had sounded, and the girls were inspired to draw maps, boats, pirates...

There has also been a lot of graphic novel reading here: Explorer - The Mystery Boxes, The Amulet Series, Little Lulu, and The Cupcakes of Doom.  Eliza is making her way through two novels: The Mysterious Benedict Society, and The Hobbit, for her book club at our weekly coop.  The Hobbit she had been reading nightly to Dan via the computer, and since he's gotten home it's so much easier to have him read it in his booming magical voice that she's not doing quite so much of it, but she was doing a lovely job of it!  In between Hobbits and comics, there has also been Farmer Boy for both girls, and countless library books about the body, evolution, myths, cells and animals.  

We are reading The Life of Fred, which introduces a lot of math concepts in a very goofy way - the girls both love it and there is some eye-rolling at the silly jokes and drawings.  One day our reading took us down the path to the Greek alphabet, and Ani and I took along our cheat sheet and sat outside the Greek houses uptown near campus and figured them all out! 

I turned a corner this month in terms of my fear of sewing with a machine - see that curtain up there?? I made it all by myself and it only took me 3 hours!!! This is a major milestone, here, people, both because it meant I managed to overcome obstacles (broken needle! fussy bobbin!) and complete a project and because it means I can say "yes" to helping Eliza with her plans.  Whew!!

The next plan to come up was for a cloak.  Eliza found a lavender sheet and we went to work on a simple pattern for a hooded cloak. 

It wasn't anything fancy, but it involved some measuring and hemming and gathering and piecing together, and again, the sense of accomplishment was huge.  

Meanwhile, Ani has been making masks like mad, out of everything paper.  This one looks like an angry pig to me...


Well, you've heard about the conference and the mushrooms and the wandering book artists, right? Those have been the more major Outs around here.  We are still enjoying the weekly homeschool coop - Ani's favorite is her "crazy math class" and her form drawing and spending every other minute with her Beloved Ari; Eliza loves it all and just glows from the new friend-making and the learning.  It was a good decision for us to make, joining in the middling chaos of the coop.

Eliza loves this picture of herself.  I love it too.
Poetry, Drawing and Gestures Class

And last, but not least, we had a snake in our driveway! It was battling with a cat, and it was so awesome to watch.  Ani and I spotted it from the kitchen and ran out to have a look...

And to finish it off (what happened to "last but not least"??), some photos from last week, just before Dan got home...

Friends! And tin can telephones! Something I don't think I'd ever tried, but it came up in conversation over lunch and I ran out to the recycling and there we went...there was also a play put on by Ani and Noah, called Constipation (yes, it's true) and much running around with swords in our last days of sun.

And of course the pumpkins.  Eliza carved hers by herself again, and Ani worked really hard on hers, managing quite a bit of it and ending up with a pretty scary jack-o'lantern that I do not have a photo of.  Hm. So here we are to Halloween and the end of the month; with the pox and the anti-climax of no Halloween parties and early treating, I am looking forward to the new slate of November...

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Snow. Chickenpox. Really.

Words are not coming tonight.  So, in as few as possible...
Snow today!!!
Cause for joy like only a 7-year old can express.
One very large snowball took all day to melt.

Dan is home.
Trixie speaks for all of us.
Please stay for a while...

Dan, Eliza, and the Mona Lisa a la whiteboard

 Eliza has the chickenpox.  Mmmmmhmmmm.  
Lots of oatmeal baths.
Lots of stories.
Lots of games.
Lots of love.

Listening to War of the Worlds broadcast online

puffball - were you wondering if I'd manage to fit a fungus into this post??? Ha!!

A little nature-journaling...

And a whole lotta dance party!
Takes more than the pox to get this girl down!

 More on all of it soon.
To be sure.

Friday, October 26, 2012


I'm not talking about early voting here, I'm talking about early trick-or-treating.  Seriously - we are done.  Already tricked and definitely over-treated.  Our town is religious about this event occurring the Thursday before Halloween, so this year, even though Halloween falls on a perfectly respectable Wednesday, we trick-or-treated a full week early. Blah.  But there we went...

a ghoulish girl, an inch worm and a neighbor!

I ducked out partway through to get our pizza dinner, but the best story of the night was that they arrived at a house whose front yard was full of beautiful lettuce, and the owner claimed to have run out of candy and was offering a big bowl of lettuce leaves.  The girls swear that it was the best lettuce they've ever had...

My favorite part of trick-or-treating is doing it with friends who are in for the whole pumpkin enchilada - zombies, fire demons, invisible men, all of them.  And then, of course, there is the creepy air force man with the gas mask who sits out every year, silent and daring.  We got his last piece of candy.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

wandering book artists come to town

It was a bit like having the circus come to town.  Especially if you love books like I love books. I could not decide what I was more in love with, the gypsy caravan, or the books?

Peter and Donna Thomas  created this life for themselves, out of a life-long love of books and art and a desire to share that with others.  They are on their second trip around the country in their wagon, which they built themselves, visiting book-binders, artists, librarians, type-setters and people like us, hoping to inspire others to live outside the box, in a life of beauty!

A scroll book.  Totally magical. 
Ani was enthralled with the books.  Come on - tiny and a book???? Right up her alley. In fact, for a couple of years, before she could read, a neighbor gave her a tiny tiny edition of a Leo Tolstoy book, and she carried it everywhere.  She knicked my itty bitty copy of the Quran, which a friend brought me from Turkey.  Apparently she's not the only one with a thing for little books; according to their website, Peter and Donna had been creating little books and showed them to a bookseller who took out a ruler and told them that they were quarter of an inch too big to sell well.   There are miniature book collectors (er, collectors of miniature books) who will only collect books that measure less than 3 inches.

A book about the history of pencils. With pencils.
brake lights. 

 While Ani was in love with the books, Eliza was in love with the caravan.  Mom...(she sidled up to me)...can we please build one of these???  

And as if that weren't enough, there was a lovely blend of music and art, with the magical ukelele...

...which is also a book.  About ukeleles.

Can you see where this might be going?  An accordian, accordian book. Made out of an accordian. 

I left smiling, and itchy to make something beautiful.  The girls left making plans for their own caravans.  Ani's has a horse.