Monthly Archives: February 2013

Spring Gnomes

Spring GnomesI’ve completely finished making our monthly gnomes and am now moving on to new projects! For our spring monthly gnomes, I used a pattern from Making Peg Dolls, by Margaret Bloom.

Here is what the hat looks like from the back and above.

Spring Gnomes Back View

Please note my left sidebar for all the awesome link-ups that I am participating in.

Disclosure: Some item links in this post are affiliate links. I will make a small amount of money if you click on them and make a purchase. All opinions expressed, however, are 100% my own.

Maureen

Labels: Arts and Crafts, Gnomes, Peg Dolls, Rhythm, Spring, Waldorf
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Coloring With Stockmar Block Crayons

Chickadee Block Crayon DrawingBeeswax block crayons are an art medium that is fairly unique to Waldorf education, and to the best of my knowledge, Stockmar is the only company that makes beeswax block crayons. When I first looked into Waldorf education fifteen years ago, or so, I went to homeschool curriculum fair, where a lovely lady convinced me to purchase a very expensive set of Stockmar Beeswax Block Crayons. I came home and set them out for the kids to use and three years later, they had barely been touched. I decided then and there that they had to be one of the stupidest art mediums ever invented by mankind.When I decided to use a Waldorf-inspired style of homeschooling with Dora, it was with great trepidation that I contemplated using block crayons again. It seemed, however, that using block crayons and the accompanying Waldorf style of drawing were absolutely essential to a Waldorf education. Since this time around, I had the internet at my disposal, I did some more research. The first thing that convinced my heart to soften towards block crayons was when I purchased Coloring With Block Crayons, by Sieglinde De Francesca. Then I purchased a video of a lecture that Sieglinde had given and I actually began to contemplate liking block crayons. When I finally found Sieglinde’s professionally made 3 DVD set (there is also a book/DVD bundle), I suddenly found that block crayons were my favorite art medium!Stockmar Block CrayonsThe first thing I learned that we had been doing wrong all those years ago, was not breaking in our crayons. This means that you don’t want the sharp edges, but you want to rub the crayons on paper until they are more rounded, otherwise, the lines are too sharp (note in the photo above, the crayon on the left is much more rounded and smooth than the almost new crayon on the right). Another error I was making, was not cleaning my crayons. I’m still working on finding a storage solution so that our crayons don’t rub against each other, but even when just coloring with crayons, they will get bits of other colors on them and I need to clean them by either using the scraper that Stockmar includes or by rubbing them clean on paper (I gather that there are other methods of cleaning the crayons, but none that I have tried). Finally, I learned that when coloring with block crayons, one is aiming for more of an impressionistic style, without fine details and definition. At the top of this post is a drawing of a chickadee that I made today. I drew it in about 15 minutes. The colors are a bit “different” because ideally, one only wants to use the primary colors with young children. I actually allow Dora to use all the colors that we have, as that was what she was already used to, but I try to set a good example. I also outlined the bird too forcefully for a true Waldorf drawing, but given that I had never actually tried block crayons in a proper manner, until 6 weeks ago and that I have only had about 5 twenty-minute drawing sessions since watching the DVD’s and reading the book, I’d say that the drawing came out pretty good and gives a good idea of the potential of block crayons.

Please note my left sidebar for all the awesome link-ups that I am participating in.

Disclosure: Some item links in this post are affiliate links. I will make a small amount of money if you click on them and make a purchase. All opinions expressed, however, are 100% my own.

Maureen

Labels: Arts and Crafts, Block Crayons, Waldorf
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Homeschool Mother’s Journal–Cabin Fever Sets In and I Get Another Diagnosis, Of Sorts

In my life this week… I do believe that I am beginning to go a bit mad. Dora came down with a cold last week and we have spent almost two weeks at home. Plus, Dora is a horrid child to deal with when she is sick. She won’t slow down or sleep any extra. Instead, she wants to go non-stop, as usual, but behaves irrationally cranky in the process. I finally took her to the pediatrician this week and she has tonsillitis. This is only the second time in my 21 years of parenting that I have had to deal with tonsillitis and the other time was just last month with Tertia, so it is a bit oddly coincidental. The pediatrician put Dora on antibiotics, but they don’t seem to be helping any, yet her symptoms are supposedly bacterial.imageIn other health news, I finally saw the rheumatologist. The diagnosis process is far from complete, but at this point in time I have been diagnosed with an undifferentiated connective tissue disorder. I’d love to explain a bit more about what this means, but I really don’t understand it myself, plus the rheumatologist is doing testing for more specific diseases, so this really might not be what my final diagnosis is. The rheumatologist needs to confer with my nephrologist, but the current plan will be to start me on hydroxychloroquine, which is a drug for malaria, when I go back to see her in two weeks and we are able to review my latest batch of lab results. Meanwhile, there is some concern that my liver may be damaged, which would mean that I would also need to see a hepatologist (if nothing else, I am certainly learning the names of a lot of medical specialists). Also, the bottom number of my blood pressure, which has always been very low, has been getting higher each month. I have no idea what that means, but it is not making any of my doctors happy.8th Grade CurriculumIn our homeschool this week… Dora has not done much of anything the last two weeks, but Gohan has soldiered on. He has really been struggling with the essay he had to write for his 8th grade Oak Meadow Language Arts assignment, but I think he may actually have a completed essay by tomorrow. My hair may have all turned gray in the process, but I think he is beginning to understand how to write an essay. (Famous last words!) Saxon Algebra is going fairly well, Gohan is struggling a lot with unit conversion (converting cm to yards and so forth). He understands the overall concept, but will make incredible computational errors when doing the problems. I feel that this means that his brain has to work so hard on setting up the formula, it just flounders when it comes time to solve it. He also is struggling some with the geometry aspects of the curriculum. He is almost finished with his world history studies for the year and he continues to take chemistry and chess at our local co-op. He has really enjoyed the chess class and has even begun competing in tournaments. His drama production class is halfway through and will be presenting their play to the public at the  beginning of May. I’m sad to report that he has dropped taekwondo, but am happy to report that I won’t have to fight him to attend anymore.Things I’m working on… Projects with Heather Ross fabric. I just learned, via a review of her book, Heather Ross Prints: 50+ Designs and 20 Projects to Get You Started, that you can buy some of her fabric designs from Spoonflower. They cost an arm and leg, but still are cheap compared to buying her fabric from anyone else. Plus, the overall cost of clothing made from these fabrics is still much cheaper than buying designer clothing. I bought some fabric to make matching outfits for Dora and the Waldorf doll that she received for Christmas. I also bought some fabric to make me some skirts, as I pretty much live in skirts during the summer. Sewing is not my strong suit, so I am hoping to keep these projects very simple.I’m cooking… I’ve been making a lot of soup and breads with recipes from The Waldorf School Book of Soups and The Waldorf Book of Breads. I find that both soups and breads are relatively easy ways to sneak in more vegetables and fruits to our meals. Dora has recently started resisting eating as healthily as she used to, so I am trying to be a bit more creative with her meal preparation. I doubt I’ll keep this up for long, as making soups, especially, can be very draining with all of the prep work, so I have been cooking them on Sundays. Soon my Sundays will need to be devoted to our garden though. The good news is that Dora will eat a lot more fresh produce once it starts coming straight from our garden, so I won’t really need to make soups anyway.

Please note my left sidebar for all the awesome link-ups that I am participating in.

Maureen

Labels: Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disorder, Wrapping Up Our Week
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Our Winter Monthly Gnomes

Winter GnomesI’m finishing up the monthly gnomes that Dora asked me to make. As I mentioned previously, I opted to design different head attire for the gnomes, based on each season. Here are our winter gnomes for December, January, and February. I made knitted hats for these little guys, using this pattern from Anna Branford. It was fairly easy, especially given that I am a novice knitter that hadn’t done any knitting in almost a decade. It did take a couple of tries to get the hats the right size, since our peg dolls are a different size than the ones she used. I also learned that it is possible to invent knitting stitches that will actually create something, just with a completely different texture. I always thought that if I knit or purled incorrectly, my knitting wouldn’t stay together, but with me having to switch back and forth between knitting and purling, I somehow started doing both stitches completely incorrectly. So I ended up with a hat that fit right and was shaped right, but had a completely different texture from the other two hats. I was very confused for a while!

Please note my left sidebar for all the awesome link-ups that I am participating in.

Maureen

Labels: Arts and Crafts, Gnomes, Knitting, Peg Dolls, Rhythm, Waldorf, Winter
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

What We’ve Been Reading Wednesday– Picture Kelpies

If you have done any research into Waldorf education, you have probably read at least one book that was published by Floris Books. The “About Floris” page says:

Floris Books is an independent publishing company based in Edinburgh, Scotland. We publish books in two main areas: non-fiction for adults, and books for children. Within our non-fiction list, we focus on quality books which look at the world a little differently. Our books cover all aspects of holistic and alternative living, including Steiner-Waldorf education, biodynamics and organics, holistic health, philosophy of the natural world, mind body spirit, parenting and child health, philosophy of human life and religion & spirituality.

We’re also the largest children’s book publisher in Scotland. We publish board and picture books for 0-7 year olds, including international stories in translation and nostalgic classics from illustrators such as Elsa Beskow, as well as the Picture Kelpies range of Scottish picture books; story books and anthologies for 6-10 year olds; and the Kelpies, a much-loved range of Scottish children’s fiction for 8-12 year olds. We also publish a wide range of craft and activity books suitable for children and adults of all ages. While I love many of their books for parents and educators, the books that Dora and I have become incredibly attached to, are their Picture Kelpies (please note that the regular Kelpie books are for somewhat older children). The stories are very Scottish and Dora has quickly become acquainted with certain Scottish words and expressions, such as “pram”, “tea” (the meal, not the drink), “mum”, “dressing gown”, “tartan, “sitting room”, “bonnie”, and more. There are a few words with spellings that vary from our “American” spellings, such as “favourite”, “miaow”, “pyjamas”, “neighbours”, etc. but, Dora isn’t reading yet and these books are aimed at children aged 3-6. I personally enjoy the Scottish flavor of the stories. I’ve never had much of a desire to visit Scotland before, as I am about 50% Irish and 25% English, so had planned to focus any time I was ever able to have in the United Kingdom on those two countries. Between Floris Books, Alexander McCall Smith’s Isabel Dalhousie novels, the movie Brave, and my husbands recent and intense interest in Scotch, however, I have suddenly developed an great desire to visit Scotland.Most certainly, the Picture Kelpie books are not like most of the books that I’ve seen in the United States. I feel that their story lines are much less dramatic, in a good way, that helps to protect young children’s sense of well-being. For instance, in My Cat Mac, a family moves into a new house and the cat that lived their before decides to let them stay. He and the little girl bond immediately, but when the little girl decides to dress him in clothes and push him in a pram, his patience runs out. He leaves and decides to punish her by staying away for a whole night. Meanwhile, the little girl cannot stop worrying about him and sneaks outside to wait for him under his favorite tree. She wakes in the middle of the night to find that she has been locked out of the house. Right then, the cat returns and saves her by entering the house through the cat door and waking up her parents. This, overall is a fairly dramatic story, but between the gentle drawings and the fact that things are kept within certain boundaries, the story never got too scary for Dora. When I refer to boundaries, I refer to how far the author is willing to allow the situation to get out of control. I think a U.S. version of this book would have the little girl actually getting lost in the woods or standing outside in the bitter cold of winter, as opposed to showing her just sitting on her stoop, crying, locked out, but in a fairly resolvable situation, even without the cat’s help (she can just ring the doorbell).Another book, entitled Wee Granny’s Magic Bag, introduces us to a grandmother with a magic bag (I know you would never have guessed that from the title, would you?!?!?). The grandmother uses her bag in the park to help the kids make cupcakes. That’s it, they just make some cupcakes, of course, she does have an oven, some eggs, a telephone booth, a donkey, and more, in her bag. I just feel that had this book been written in the U.S., the bag would have been used for something “bigger”, such as the children being whisked off by some villain and Granny having to use her magic bag to save them with space ships and what not, with granny having been a secret spy all along.Dora’s favorite Picture Kelpies book has been Uan the Little Lamb . In this book, the children find a lost lamb, bring it home, raise it, watch it grow, and then rejoice when it becomes a mother of its own. Really, it is such a gentle story, the plot almost seems to simple to be entertaining, but I cannot tell you how many times that I have had to read this book!

The one negative that I have found with not just Floris Books, but almost all Waldorf-inspired books, is the inability to preview the book, even on Amazon. It can be a bit frustrating to order a book that has a nice a cover and synopsis, to then realize once it arrives, that it just isn’t right for you. Most of the time, returning the book costs almost as much as the book cost in the first place! I have found that looking at Floris Books’ catalogues is the best way to get an idea what the books are like. The catalogues show some of the pages of some of the books, give  longer descriptions, and group the books with other similar books, so if you know you liked one book in a group, you will probably like another book in the same group.

Please note my left sidebar for all the awesome link-ups that I am participating in.

Maureen

Labels: Literature
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Natural Face Care Regimen

Natural Facial Skin Care RegimenAs I have continued to look into natural personal care products, I have often found myself sticker-shocked by the cost of many store-bought natural personal care products. So, I have really been focusing on making my own products, yet I really don’t have the energy to make a lot of complicated products. I also am not interested in any product where I have to either refrigerate it or make a new batch every day, as neither practices are practical for my lifestyle. After doing quite a bit of a research, I have found that I can take care of my the extremely sensitive skin on my face with a relatively simple routine that is much cheaper and more effective than the expensive store-bought routine that I used previously (complete with alpha-hydroxy peels and what not). It is my understanding that these products should work for most skins types. My routine is:

  1. Once per week: exfoliate with a mixture of baking soda and water
  2. Daily: wash face, neck, and chest with witch hazel
  3. Daily: moisturize face, neck, and chest with aloe vera
  4. Two-three times per week: apply a couple of drops of avocado oil to my eye area

That’s it! There’s no need for complicated facial creams or cleansers. I will admit that it took about 1 week for me to get used to the feeling of my skin after this regimen. Aloe vera definitely does not leave my skin feeling like the lotions I was used to. At the same time, I’ve been using this regimen for about six weeks now and have not had any acne break-outs,  eczema, new rashes, etc. I still have a few weird red patches across my nose, that are not rough, itchy, or dry and I believe are related to my autoimmune disorder. These did not got better or worse with the change in my skin care, but my acne and eczema completely cleared up (even when Aunt Flo made a visit!). So I have been very happy with how easy and cheap it has been to take care of my skin in a healthy and natural way.

Please note my left sidebar for all the awesome link-ups that I am participating in.

Maureen

Labels: Natural Personal Care
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

This Year’s Terrarium, Take 2

Terrarium - Take 2 - 4I had a major brain fog/senior moment in mid-January and set our terrarium outside in the freezing cold, thinking I’d kill off whatever flies/gnats had invaded it. Uh, doh! The cold did not kill off the flies/gnats, but it did an excellent job of killing off all of the plants! Sigh… Even I was asking myself, “What were you thinking?!?!?” So, I took the jar and cleaned it out really well and let it sit empty for a week. Then we started from scratch. The nursery still didn’t have any sphagnum moss in stock, so I bought uncolored, dried Spanish moss this time. Unfortunately, the Spanish moss now looks kind of like a whole bunch of worms are living in our terrarium. I spent quite some time talking with an advisor at the nursery about our fly/gnat problem and she felt strongly that it was probably fungus gnats and it probably came from the soil, which caused a majorly awkward moment when I pointed out that I bought the soil at their nursery. She immediately proceeded to show to me several means of killing the gnats, all of which were toxic… Terrarium - Take 2 - 3Anyway, we came home and planted a new terrarium. Once again we followed the general terrarium setup instructions that I gave in my post last year. Well, by damn, if there weren’t gnats in the terrarium within two days, even though I thoroughly inspected every single item that went into the terrarium! My guess is that they had to have been in the bag of soil, as that was the only thing that went in both terrarium setups. This time, however, the gnats disappeared within a couple of days. I can only hypothesize that last time, they thrived on the moss layer that I had put on top of the soil. I skipped the moss layer on top this time, just because it smelled so funky. Instead, Dora found a metal ladybug sculpture that we added to the terrarium. Later, I created a “stream” in the terrarium with blue gems. Then last weekend, we found a ceramic fairy that I set out top of the ladybug (since I took these photos, per Dora’s insistence, we turned the fairy such that her leg is dangling in the “stream”). So, I guess this terrarium is going to also be a fairy garden…

Please note my left sidebar for all the awesome link-ups that I am participating in.

Maureen

Labels: Nature Study
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Update On Our Pumpkin Jack

Pumpkin Jack In Early DecemberWarning! The pictures in this post get disgusting! Back in November, I posted that we were going to try to grow our own Pumpkin Jack, like the boy in the book, of the same name, did.  In November, we tossed our Pumpkin Jack into one of our raised beds and left him alone. I really started worrying that this was not going to work, because Jack showed no signs of decomposition until December (in the top photo in this post, you can see some brown spots on his skin, three months after we harvested him!). Even then, Jack did not seem like he was really going to rot, until mid-January. Once he started rotting, however, he has been rotting fast! Unlike what happened to the boy in the book, we have not had any snow to cover up Jack through all of this, so we’ve got to see every step of Jack’s decomposition!Pumpkin Jack 12-18-12Mid-December and he’s still not looking very impressive.Pumpkin Jack 1-2-13Early January saw some frost and Jack started getting black spots.Pumpkin Jack 1-6-13 - 1A few days later, his skin began to pucker.Pumpkin Jack 1-9-13 - 3I worried that Jack might attract rodents, but only one animal took a small bite out of Jack and then spit out the bite a couple of feet away.Pumpkin Jack 1-13-13 3Since then, nothing has touched Jack. I guess word on the street now is to stay away from things growing in our garden! Pumpkin Jack 1-13-13 1Mid-January and Jack is beginning to collapse in on himself.Pumpkin Jack 1-24-13 - 1A week later, he’s collapsed some more and he’s developing a pretty large spot of rot on his behind.Pumpkin Jack 2-4-13Early February now and Jack is beginning to show some real rottenness, there is hope that he will rot enough to “sow” his seeds for another generation of pumpkins! Alas, poor Jack, I knew him well!

I had worried that Jack would stink or attract fruit flies, but thus far, Jack has not emitted a single odor and I’ve not seen a single fly. I am prepared to discontinue this experiment at a moment’s notice, however, if any of that changes.

Finally, I have found this to be a bit odd, but not a single visitor has asked us why we have a rotting pumpkin in our backyard….

Please note my left sidebar for all the awesome link-ups that I am participating in.

Disclosure: Some item links in this post are affiliate links. I will make a small amount of money if you click on them and make a purchase. All opinions expressed, however, are 100% my own.

Maureen

Labels: Gardening, Nature Study, Science
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Felt Candy Bar Envelope Valentines (With a Tutorial, of Sorts)

Felt Envelope Valentines 6I’m sad to report that, though I did finish many of the valentines that I was working on, I had a “flare” (I’m thinking that I did too much at the zoo last week) this weekend and slept away most of my sewing time. So, at the last minute, I took Dora to Target, where she picked out cheesy Tinker Bell and Sponge Bob valentines, which were at least on sale, which is a perk of waiting until the last minute to buy them. They come complete with lollipops, made from who knows what. Secunda put it best, when she said, “Without the cards to give a context, the Tinker Bell lollipops look a bit scary.” Anyway, Dora is just happy to be going to a Valentine’s Day party. She doesn’t quite understand why she doesn’t just get to keep all of the felt envelopes that I made (I’m going to finish them in time for Valentine’s Day 2014!). I finally compromised with her and let her fill them with Hershey bars to give to the family, though I still had to pry the envelopes from her hands afterwards!

Felt Envelope Valentines 2Anyhoo, on the off chance that there is anybody out there who cannot sew as well as I can (hey all you preschoolers, I’m talking to you, so pay attention!), I thought I’d offer my version of a tutorial. I first want to mention that my sewing skills are minimal, my tutorial-writing skills even less, so I offer no guarantees, whatsoever, that following my directions will result in anything, other that utter rubbish. If you have chosen to continue with my “tutorial”,  first, you need to measure the size of the candy bar you will be using. Then you want to cut a piece of felt that is as wide as your candy bar, plus 2 cm’s (or so) for stitching (I believe the proper phrase here is “seam allowance”). The rectangular part of your felt should be as tall as your candy bar times two, plus 2 cm’s (or so) for stitching. You will then want to include a triangular piece on top for the flap. I used a protractor to get the angles even on each side. In the long run, you have a piece of felt that looks like a tall house. You will also need to cut out a felt heart that is smaller than your candy bar (in all directions). Attach the heart to the “front” half of the envelope, using a fell stitch (or your closest approximation to a fell stitch that you can do, which is always good enough when making valentines). Felt Envelope Valentines 3Fold the rectangular portion of our felt piece in half and blanket stitch up one side, around the envelope flap (triangular portion of the felt) and down the other side.Turn the envelope over and sew on a button to the rectangular portion of your fabric. Cut a button hole in the flap. It is my understanding, that since this is felt, you do not need to reinforce the buttonhole, not to mention that this you’re making something to hold a candy bar, not the holy grail, but you might want to reinforce the buttonhole, if you expect your valentine to be subjected to extreme forces beyond your control. Felt Envelope Valentines 5Otherwise, put your candy bar in the envelope and button it closed and viola, your valentine is complete!Felt Envelope Valentines 4

Labels: Arts and Crafts, Valentine's Day
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Homeschool Mother’s Journal–Possessed Strollers and Dealing With Public Displays of Domestic Violence

Woodland Park Zoo 5In my life this week… I’m sure a lot of interesting things happened to me this week, but they were all overshadowed by today, which was just one of the most bizarre days that I have ever had. Honestly, I could probably spend an entire year blogging just about today, but I will just share the two events that stood out the most. Today ended up being quite nice here, in the mid 40’s and very sunny, so Dora and I decided to go to the Woodland Park Zoo. As we were walking from our car to the entrance, a man, woman, and child came out and the man was yelling at the woman. His voice clearly carried across the entire parking lot. The woman’s apparent crime was suggesting that they park on the street, to save the cost of paying for a parking spot and that they bring in their own sodas, rather than pay the exorbitant cost of buying sodas at the zoo. I really could have cared less about this debate, but this man was yelling at the woman like she had suggested stealing food from an orphanage. Not only was he verbally abusing her, but he kept grabbing her shoulders very firmly, as if he intended to shake her violently. He was clearly in a rage and I expected him to become physically violent at any moment. Meanwhile, the woman just stood there, mute, eyes cast downward. The child silently observed, taking it all in. I stayed near by, ready to call 911 and physically intervene, if need be, but things never escalated to the point, where either option was appropriate. The man finally got into his truck and the woman walked away to wherever her car was parked. Even then, the man started yelling out his window, mocking her, saying she could have his paid parking stub. By that point, a couple of us mothers had formed a group, all of us itching for the man to cross that invisible line that would give us permission to let loose on him. The whole event soured my entire day and I spent many hours replaying the experience in my head, trying to think of what I could have done to help that woman. I can’t think of anything that I could have done that would not have just made things worse for her, but I am curious as to whether or not anybody else knows of something positive that I could have done for this woman (ideas such as hanging the man by his toes above a moat of hungry crocodiles have already occurred to me – okay, I’ll be honest, hanging him by his toes over a moat of hungry crocodiles would have been mild compared to what I really wanted to do to him). I felt so powerless, the man seemed to know exactly how badly he could behave without bringing down the wrath of a group of rabid, frothing at the mouth, banshee moms who would have gladly torn him limb from limb. I have had similar experiences where children were involved. Where I have been left with the feeling that if this is how the parent acts in public, most assuredly the child is abused at home. Yet, once again, the parent does nothing illegal and I don’t see any physical evidence of abuse, so there is nothing I can do, but wring my hands and worry.

Woodland Park Zoo 6The second event worth noting happened as Dora and I were exiting a bird building. We came out to see the back of a stroller, which I had previously believed to be empty, shaking in an extremely violent manner. I won’t lie, the first thought that ran through my head was that the stroller was possessed by some sort of exorcist-baby. Then I panicked, thinking that previously I had simply not noticed that there was a baby that had been left unattended in the stroller. Then I realized that no baby would shake a stroller like that and not be screaming his head off. I probably would have just fled the area, except for the fact that the possessed stroller lay between me and my stroller. I should mention here that I have a Bob’s stroller and love that stroller so much, I would have married my stroller, if I wasn’t already married. So I timidly approached the possessed stroller, to find that there was a squirrel ransacking the stroller. In was running in and out of the lovely baby bunting and just behaving in a generally insane manner. I managed to shoo the squirrel away from the stroller, grabbed our stroller and ran back to the bird building, by which point the squirrel had gone back to ransacking the other stroller. I ran in the bird building and hailed a father with his little girl, who I was pretty sure the stroller belonged to. I breathlessly told him that there was a squirrel in his stroller. He stared at me blankly and I began to worry that he was Russian or something and couldn’t understand me. So I repeated myself and started gesturing, at which point comprehension dawned on his face (it was only later that it occurred to me that I also would probably stare blankly at someone if they came running up to me and said, “There’s a squirrel in your stroller.”). He ran outside and chased the squirrel away, but the squirrel had taken some of his stuff and ransacked the bunting. He half-heartedly tried to convince the squirrel to give him back his stuff, but finally left dejectedly. There is probably some sort of life lesson to be learned from this experience, but I’m not sure what it is, other than “watch out for crazy squirrels”.

Woodland Park Zoo 3In our homeschool this week… Gohan continues to do much better with the 3rd edition of Saxon Algebra, though he is having to write his first full essay in his Oak Meadow Language Arts program and I may pull out all of my hair before we get through this ordeal.

Felt Envelope Valentines 1Things I’m working on… 50 handmade, felt valentines. We learned on Monday, the 4th, that our co-op is having a Valentine’s Day party on the 12th and that if we want to participate, we should bring 50 valentines and a dessert to share. Of course, Dora HAS to go. She is totally the type of kid who is into these things (in fact she recently told me that she plans to go to school when she is 7, because she wants to eat school lunches). So, I knew that I had to make the effort to make this work, but I just couldn’t bring myself to buy the store bought valentines. So, I’m making 50 felt valentines in 8 days. Amazingly, I am not stressed about it at all. I’ve accepted my self-chosen fate and hold no resentment about doing this whatsoever, even though I consider not dealing with mass quantities of un-heartfelt valentines to be one of the many perks of homeschooling. I’m putting love into every stitch of every single Valentine I make, which no store bought valentine could ever do. I hope that the recipients are able to feel a bit of that love, which is what Valentine’s Day is supposed to be about. What about you, are you doing anything special with your children for Valentine’s Day?

A photo, video, link, or quote to share: The poem that Dora and I read this week is from Outside Your Window: A First Book of Nature, by Nicola Davies.

The Horse

The horse is so big!
It runs across the field, mane flying.
It's exciting and scary at the same time.

But its warm breath smells of the barn,
of hay and comfort,
and when it takes the carrot from your hand,
its dark eye is quiet
and its nose is velvet,
softer than your own cheek.

Please note my left sidebar for all the awesome link-ups that I am participating in.

Disclosure: Some item links in this post are affiliate links. I will make a small amount of money if you click on them and make a purchase. All opinions expressed, however, are 100% my own.

Maureen

Labels: Things To Do Around Seattle, Valentine's Day, Wrapping Up Our Week
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff