Monday, February 28, 2011

Score! Teacups!

I had to check the thrift shops this week for some things, and while I was there I looked to see if there were any cool tea cups. Score! St. Vincent De Paul's had a 50% off sale AND there was a buy-one-get-one-free sale on mugs on top of that. I found these cups and a set of 4 cute cups that will be a gift. (Shhhh.) The real beauty of it is that cups were only a quarter each to start with! Love the colors and styles. The yellow one is my new favorite and was made in Japan. Lots of fun for little money!


L'.s co-op art class studied oragami last week. They learned to fold boxes and these little stars that are made out of a single narrow strip of paper. She is finding the stars addictive, and now the other 3 girls have started making them too. They cut strips off of magazine pages and get some pretty and interesting stars.


I found M. studying science on my bed. I'm not really sure what to say about this, except that I hope it aids in retention of knowledge.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Prismacolors Coloring

In my art classes this week, we had a guest artist. Friend Ana stepped in from her Jr/Sr. High classes to give my 4, 5, 6th graders Prismacolor blending lessons. Prismacolors are a soft artist's pencil that many artists use. You can get amazing results with them. You can see Ana's sample picture at the top. This kind of a lesson is a chance to talk about shading and colors, and to teach the children that an artist is one who OBSERVES. We also talked about the fact that some art techniques can be learned and enjoyed by anyone. Friend Ana and I still enjoy coloring at our ages.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Dropped Ice

The trees released the ice buildup from the rain earlier this week. Chunks of it sparkled all over the snow.

Chinese Fried Rice

(stock image)
This is a great simple recipe for fried rice. You can pretty much throw anything in it and it works out. We've been eating it a lot lately.

Chinese Fried Rice

2 T. oil
2 c. chopped onions
2 c. cold cooked rice
2 eggs, stirred slightly
1 T. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. salt

Heat oil in fry pan and saute' onions. Add rice and saute'. Add a mixture of the remaining ingredients and saute' until brown. Stir occasionally to keep from sticking to the pan. If desired, add 2 c. chopped, cooked meat (bacon, ham, shrimp, etc.). Add frozen or fresh vegetables, green peppers, water chestnuts, sliced green onions, slivered almonds, etc. if desired.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Growing Tall

The two "little ones" are getting tall. Lately they have been riding "horses" around the house.

Butterfly Art

Last week my 4/5th art class did a butterfly drawing project. We started with small precut papers (about 4 1/2" by 6") and they folded them in half. A heavier cardstock or watercolor paper will work best. After looking at reference books and sheets about butterflies, each student drew half a butterfly on their folded paper and cut it out. Then they opened them up and colored them. They could use real butterflies or their imaginations to plan their butterfly designs. I let them make 2-4 butterflies each. They could use markers, oil pastels or color crayons. Most students used the oil pastels and got really saturated, beautiful colors. I took their butterflies home and mounted them in frames. I bought thrift store frames for $1 each and removed the glass and backs. I spray painted them with glossy black paint from Wal Mart @ $.96 cents a can. One can did about 10-12 frames. I lightly sanded each frame and wiped it down with a damp rag before painting it. When they dried, I put the backs back in with a cardboard insert fronted with a piece of paper in a neutral color. The butterflies were pinned like specimens through their bodies into the frames. To give them a 3-D look, I scored the back of the butterfly wings along each side of the body, then turned them over and bent the wings up along the score. I gently curved the wings up with my fingers to make them look more realistic. It was fun seeing them look like a museum display.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Museum Field Trip

We joined another homeschool co-op group on a museum field trip today. There was a Norman Rockwell exhibit, an Everest movie and full run of the 3 floors of the the Science museum.

W. and Friend Elea

Astronaut and friends

Mrs. K and Mrs B-H kill time on their I-Pads...

and Mrs. S and Mrs. G kill time reading.
W. experiments with moving a ball with her mind.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Winter Landscapes

This gift card was my inspiration for our co-op art projects last week. I liked its look and thought it would make a good lesson using horizon lines and creating depth. It took me several week of thought to figure out how I wanted to present and execute it in class. Of course, I also learned things DURING class about the best way to do it! This is the second time I have found inspiration in gift cards. See the Earthy Collage project from last year here or find it under the "art" Label on the sidebar.

The younger class (4/5th) left their white trees in the lollypop shape to get the look. They also added paper punch snowflakes. This was a quicker method and still gave a nice composition.

The older class (6th) cut out their white tree branches, then traced circles and colored them in with white colors.

Here is how we did it.

You need:
Blue and white paper of the same sizes (we used 11 x 18)
Glue sticks
black and white colors
hole punch

First we all got sketch paper and practiced drawing trees. Reference pictures can be handy here. I did one directed drawing with them, then had them flip the page and do one on their own. When we all were comfortable with the trees, we went on to the regular paper

Each child got a blue paper and a white paper. I had prepped the white papers by tracing three circles toward the top on each of them before class. First they cut a narrow, long wavy line horizontally across the bottom of the white paper to make the "snow" horizion line for the blue paper. Then they sketched their trees below and in each circle, trying to bring the branches out to the edge of the circle for a good shape. Remind them that the closer to the trunk a branch is, the wider it should be.
Next, they cut out the trees. They cut up each side of the trunk and then around the circle to make a "lollypop" shape. At this point they can cut out the branches or leave the white trees in this shape. If your class plans to do the white circle coloring over the cut out brances of the trees, save the outside of the white paper to use as a stencil after the trees are glued onto the blue paper.
Be sure and turn the cut-out white trees over to glue them down so the pencil lines do not show. After students have the white trees done, thay can take a black color and draw three smaller trees spaced across the blue paper. It helps to position the snow horizion line at the bottom of the page (do not glue it yet) so they can figure out how far down to draw the black trunks. Remind them not to get the black colors on the snow. When the black trees are done, help students to arrange the white trees on paper in a pleasing composition. Glue down. Glue snow horizion line on last. Add snow "flakes" if desired.

Freezing Rain

No church today...

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Few From L.

A Fall picture pick-me-up from Daughter L. to warm up the winter.

Depth and Meaning

Helping each other through our troubles gives depth and meaning to our lives. -JGS

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Full Day

The O's stayed overnight last night, so we got to see the blond hair at breakfast this morning. She told us, "My mom's name is Wissa."

Then she helped M. clean out the dishwasher. On the ball and organized like her mother!

L. and Josie had a waking-up moment of their own.

We spent the day in many ways. Pretending with the farm animals... "Come to dinner, Mom and Dad, and Grandma and Grandpa and Grandma and Grandpa..."

Watching the Pink Panther and Tom and Jerry cartoons...
Reading the Very Hungry Caterpillar, and then Miss O. read it back to me before our naps! The caterpillar's name is Kevin. I never knew that before today...

Playing outside in the soaking wet snow with Cousin L. and Cousin O.

A little hot chocolate helps them warm up and dry off after Cousin L. had to go home.

The blondie and the brunette were outside a bit too.

For supper we devoured the roast and potatoes, carrots and gravy that were in the crock pot all day. Cousin Melonie was also here this week to visit. (middle back.)

This Week

L. snowboarding on Tues. with friends.
M. holding the digestive system on Tues. with her Science class at Tutoring Center. (Pix from Friend Ana.)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day

Some Valentine needlework.

Card and supper out with Hubby and G. friends, candy for Hubby, gum for girls.