homeschooling, homemaking, homesteading...home.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Arts & Crafts...and recycling!

We are crafty!

We are fun!

We are frugal and green!

But mostly...we have cool new crayons. I followed the instructions in this nice tutorial, with the exception of using large plastic lids (from laundry detergent bottles; saved for another project but repurposed for this one) instead of cutting up aluminum cans as the poster suggested. Um, ouch. The plastic worked just fine. I raised them off the surface of the cooking pot with my canning rack, which worked well to provide even heat.

The "raw" materials:

Getting "soupy":

The molds:

I bought Wilton candy molds for $1.99 at JoAnn's. The car ones are particularly neat--they are designed to be used to cast chocolate around the end of a pretzel rod, which makes them roughly crayon-shaped and easy to use. As you can see from the picture, I dammed up the ends with Play-Doh to keep the melted crayon from spilling out. Worked like a dream.

Our new crayons:

And of course, the gratuitous action shot:

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I can do it myself!

Last night Cayden did not want to eat his dinner. He was having a classic 2-yo meltdown. Just wanted to be held. By Mommy. While she tried to eat. Okay, whatever. We had a guest and I just wanted the screaming to stop. So here I am trying to eat with a very squirmy kid in my lap. I'm eating, I'm talking, he's wiggling. Then I look down and realize that he's trying to button my cardigan.


It has nice large buttons for small hands. And this isn't a skill we've tried before. I gently tried to help and got my hands smacked. So I kept on doing my thing and by the time dinner was over, my cardigan was completely closed.

Then he repeated the performance at bedtime. All by himself. :)

My big boy!!

Friday, January 23, 2009

A love-hate relationship

My boys have discovered Diego.

They love Diego. Or "Dee-Lego", as Cayden calls him.

I love Diego. And I hate Diego. It's a complicated thing.

I love that my kids are learning facts about animals in the framework of a show that not only teaches simple investigative problem-solving but does so with eco-friendly overtones. Protect nature. Help those in distress. It's a good message. And it's cute when they shout out responses to the television, or throw the random Spanish word into conversation, or tell me all about spectacled bears or chinchillas.

But really. Does this child really need to shout! random words! that are not only not particularly exciting! but also in the middle! of sentences!?

That part is grating on me. It grates on Daddy so much that the kids have been forbidden to play the Diego DVDs when Daddy is around. (Cayden asked this morning, "Is Daddy at work?" and then, "Good! Can I see Dee-Lego?" LOL)

The kids don't mind at all though. I guess that kind! of enthusiasm! has its audience. And that audience isn't made up of tired adults...

Monday, January 19, 2009

Oh, hey! Hi!

I know, I know. I haven't updated in forever. This is not an apology though...just an update. Our lives have been too full and busy for me to sit down and record it! But one of these days I'll be looking back through this virtual baby book/diary/portfolio and it might be nice to have some of these holes filled in.

The holidays kept us busy, natch. And work kept me busy. But mostly it's been just that whirlwhind of everyday Stuff. We are still out here loving the natural-learning life. We did a lot of cooking and crafting for the holidays. Theo and I (and Cayden a little!) made all of the decorations for our tree this year. It was a construction-paper and chenille-stem and pony-bead dream. And I'm sure it will stay in my heart as one of our most wonderful trees evar.
My big accomplishment was a cabled "cricket" sweater that I completed for Theo; my prettiest FO to date. And he was a sport and wore it, too. Well, I guess it's not that surprising. It's not like it was a pink bunny-rabbit sleeper, right? LOL

A few other photo-worthy moments from the past few weeks:

Theo learns to skate on ice. Quickly. And with a surprising level of confidence. Go Theo!

He is equally comfortable on wheels.
Don't hold your breath, but I think there may be hope for a hockey player in this family yet!

Cayden tried out the "big boy" bike

But as usual, he was more fascinated with the mechanics of "how things work".
Stay tuned; 2009 is going to be a terrific year!!