Monday, December 13, 2010

sick post

I have pneumonia and a desperate and immediate need to write a new blog post. They don't go together well. I have pneumonia and am wrapped up in blankets on the couch, listening to the oven make occasional clicking sounds because I haven't turned it off since I got the pizza out for lunch. I wheeze and sniff and feel sorry for myself and wish that someone would turn the oven off for me, because I don't want to get up. The clicking, though, is driving me crazy.

I think this is the part of homeschooling I don't like at all: getting sick and facing the option of teaching through it and doing a sucky job, or letting the kids do their own thing and knowing I'm going to be waking up to the sounds of epic Pokemon battles. Today I found a printable Periodic Table board game and we played that for an hour (their choice-they loved it) before I put on Mythbusters and burrowed back under a mountain of quilts and mumbled something about science being awesome, hooray. I think that's going to be my whole day.

So now, in order to cheer myself up (and possibly entertain you), I'm going to try to remember my favorite things we've done this year. It's been a very good one.

  • Williamsburg in the spring

  • DC in the summer (We saw Elena Kagan! We saw Elena Kagan!)

  • The Poe Museum in Richmond for Halloween

  • Halloween homeschool spelling bee + giant party

  • Our Awesome Women in History club

  • studying folk art and getting to go to ClydeFest, Whirlygig Fest, & meeting Sam "The Dot Man" McMillan. So rad.

  • 4H! "My cow's named Buttercup. First name Butter. Last name Cup."

  • The Real George Washington exhibit

  • ice skate Tuesdays (except the weird music they play at the rink... Tim Curry's "I Do the Rock" + "Election Day" by Arcadia=total room clearers.)

  • our photography walks

  • hiking at the Eno

  • Science Fest @ UNC Chapel Hill

  • babysitting the bearded dragon (not a euphemism for anything)

  • 4th of July in Raleigh, watching a naturalization ceremony AND a cicada emerge from its shell

  • Beatles lapbook

  • a trillion fun get-togethers.

I feel a little better about today being a total zero. Hopefully next year will be just as amazing.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


We are:

  • making a 'zine about Amelia Earhart to go with the paper planes and charm bracelets we have made for Allie's AWESOME WOMEN IN HISTORY! club she started. It was a beautiful idea for her part and an insane amount of work for mine. Fourteen lovely little girls are going to be here Thursday morning, and so I don't think I shall get a second of sleep until Thursday afternoon.
  • trying to get Annie to feel better by Thursday. She's very sick and has her little weird cough she always gets that sounds so much worse than it is. And that sleep thing? I'm dyin' here.
  • still gloating over Ian's incredible paper tower building skills that enabled him to totally destroy the competition at this past weekend's UNC Science Challenge. We're all about the gold medals in science, people. We drove home with the windows down, the Modern Lovers loud, and the swag bag sunglasses that said "Time-Warner Cable" on the side on. Awww, yeah.
  • (Small-world side note: The weird guy who bought my Guided By Voices ticket (when I sold it on Craigslist because my dork friends waited too long to get theirs and then it was sold out and I didn't want to go alone because that would be a drag) was a volunteer at the first event at the science fair, the theremin building thing. He walked over and said, "Hey. I bought your ticket." And I said, "Huh!" )
  • thinking that maybe I should be actually working on that 'zine instead of picking riiiight now to get back to blogging. I'm in a mild panic already. That's how I always do...plan/panic/host/sleep. Repeat.

Did you know that this past summer (in the heat and mud, for several weeks) my kids (worked their tails off and) raised calves for 4H and took part in the first dairy show in Durham in forty years? We also went to Washington DC and Williamsburg and Kentucky and everything was magical. I wish I would've written about it then. I have pictures on my Flickr page you can check out, if you're so inclined. They're nice'd like them. Especially the 4H pictures. They still make me melt and feel all happy and, a few months later, I can absolutely still smell that wonderful cow smell.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Had to share this...

Russia in color, a century ago - The Big Picture -


We had a long, very much needed summer break. Now it's time to get going again, and I'm so ready. School starts Monday. Monday is also my 35th birthday.

Coincidence? Yes.

It's going to be a wonderful day.

Check out those pictures. They're truly beautiful.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

continuity is not my thing.

We were in Kentucky for a while, where I honest-to-God had no internet. Days and days were spent with no internet. I didn't even take my computer this time because I've learned that apparently nobody uses routers on my family's street, and you just can't steal what's not there. It was difficult, but I somehow managed, spending my time with my grandparents, listening to family stories, grilling out, showing the kids where I grew up (they were as interested as you'd think), buying too much UK junk, and eating too much Giovanni's. Now we're back, and oh, seriously, we are so happy to be home. So, so happy. I'll fill you in later, but right now I'm in charge of spinning the Twister spinner, and I can leave my kids tangled up for only so long before they start complaining. (Or before it's considered abuse.)
Left hand, green!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Ian Friday

I had to coax Ian into the house with the promise of cookies, which he could have only after he answered the following questions. He liked the cookies, but does not appreciate having to stand still to answer questions.


Reading: Lloyd Alexander's Book of Three
Watching: Pokemon, Black Cauldron
Eating: chili
Liking: going outside, playing, riding my bike, Clydefest, seeing the symphony on Wednesday
(At this point, he runs outside to stick a crushed water bottle over his back bike tire. He rides off, his bike making the most painful, grating, awful sound I've ever heard. He rides back and I ask him more questions. "What are some things you want, Buddy?" I ask, trying to stay out of his way. He rolls his eyes. "I'd like to stain the deck. I think I'll have to cut the grass this weekend, too," he replied. And then he fell off his bike. "HA!" I said. Parents always win. And so the questions continue...)
Wanting: To ride my bike, play in the grass
Thinking: the new Ben 10 is on tonight, thinking about reading my new books
School: Greek, Latin, archaeology class. I like it all.

(Sorry about not updating much this week. We really did go to Clydefest! And we saw the NC Symphony orchestra and make stuff and did things like we always do. It's been just fine. My computer is wonky and my router died, so I'm sitting in the floor against a wall so I can connect my husband's computer to the modem and LIFE IS SO HARD. I'll catch up soon.)
(Did I mention that I stopped buying chocolate and cookies and stuff because I thought it would make me thinner and happier? And now, all I have is two empty tubs of weird tasting, possibly European sugarless gummy candy? I am not thinner, and certainly not happy.)
(Did enjoy The Shaggs article at Sweet Juniper! today. A Music Tapes reference always makes me smile, too.)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Solar Beat

A friend shared this link with me, and it's just the most beautiful & coolest thing. It was so nice and so soothing to wake up to on a quiet, foggy, peaceful morning, and I found myself getting excited to hear the sounds of Neptune and Pluto. (Hooray for including Pluto!)

Solar Beat from Whitevinyl

I was going to save this for later in the week, but I just couldn't wait. Hope you love it, too.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Allie Tuesday

This is what 8-year old Al is into this week. (It makes me miss being eight.)


(Paying-attention parent note: instead of "sleep," we say, "eat peeps." Happy?)

Reading: The Wizard of Oz
Watching: The Black Cauldron ("I like the creepy stuff," she says.)
Eating: spaghetti!
Liking: coloring, shopping with Daddy, looking for creatures (frogs, bugs, etc), ClydeFest, riding my bike
Wanting: a kitty and a turtle and another dog. To go to Kentucky.
Thinking: Ice Cream. Ponies.
School: I like fractions and our online archaeology class.

Thanks, Miss Kitty!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

simply honored. and so, so shocked.

I just want to say how very surprised and very happy I am to be part of the group of finalists for the Pioneer Woman's macro photography assignment. I love her challenges and have so, so much fun with them...they make me take the time to stop and look around more, search for textures and light and colors, and push my little Canon point 'n'shoot as far as I know how to take it. (Thank you, husband, for buying me the little p&s after I dropped and destroyed the camera you had just gotten me the week before. I couldn't have done it without the always-forgiving and generous you.) I absolutely love looking at all of the submitted pictures...some are just jaw-droppingly incredible...and I never imagined myself in the same league. (Still don't, honestly.) I'm so gleeful right now, I'm unbearable.

We're off to ClydeFest! I'll tell you all about it when we get back. Have a memorable, sunny, giddy weekend, y'all.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


i knew there was somewhere we should be...

It was time for our car inspection, and it had to be done today. *Had.* TODAY. The DMV used to mail out somewhat helpful little reminders, reminders that would get stuck to the refrigerator before slipping down and under the refrigerator, but now our magnets are useless...the date is printed on the registration card. That would be very useful if we ever felt the urge to open the glovebox and actually look at the card periodically, but that's just ridiculous. So: Today. Jiffy Lube. Surly me. Three kids with three clipboards full of work.

While we were waiting in the oily, tiny waiting room, surrounded by crumpled USA Todays and watching endless loops of the local news, I tried to keep the kids focused and productive. I was a whirl of skirts and gentle orders.

Ian, you've already read about the Navajo? The story of Atalanta, too? Let me check your vocabulary sheet. Your math looks good. Now, just illustrate your numbers for Latin...septem of something here, octo somethingae here, etc, up to 10. Beautiful. Get busy.
Annie: Yay, lovely, your letters are gorgeous! Here's my iPod--pleasebecareful!--you can watch Super Why. (My offical title: Super Because I Said So. Har.)
Allie...summarize with *complete* sentences. Sound your words out, don't be in a hurry! Do those again, but with adjectives and adverbs, and for the love of Pete, capitalization!

I looked back at the middle aged, well dressed gentleman sitting behind me and give him one of those awkward, "Hyuck! What can ya do?" looks.

He looks back, cleans his glasses, and says, "Shouldn't they be in school?"

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Folk Art Week, Part One: ClydeFest!

My kids have loved Clyde Jones's critters since they first saw one years ago outside the entrance of the NC Museum of Art. Once they spotted it, peeking out from between some tall-growing wildflowers, they had no interest in whatever was actually in the museum. Something about the creatures' almost-recognizable roughly hacked forms, their huge, fluttery, fake-flower eyes, and their coats of glitter over blindingly bright colors just make my kids swoon. (And why wouldn't they? Jones has attracted swarms fans to his critterful home in Bynum, NC, and the wooden animals have traveled all over the world. We're so lucky to live so close!)

(Close-up of Georgia artist Peter Loose's Clydemobile, taken at the folk art show in Fearrington, NC, February 2010.)

(The kids & Mr. Loose in front of the ridiculously awesome Clydemobile. Mr. Loose was wonderful in his own right, and kindly showed the kids how to play one of his beautiful handmade dulcimers.)

This weekend is ClydeFest!, and we've been excited about it for months. Allie had the swell idea to make critter shirts, so we spent this evening practicing our critter drawings before Sharpie-ing them onto a tee. Tomorrow (after our we garden with one of our homeschool groups!) we're going to add the eyeflowers, and then they'll be ready to model. The kids are very pleased.

(Allie adds spots to her dog/deer.)

We met Clyde a couple of months ago, and he gave the kids some very cool Clyde-art temporary tattoos. He was much more delightful than he looks in this picture, I swear. His art isn't for sale, either...he gives it away or donates it for children's charities. How amazing is that?

If you want to check out more Clyde (and you do!), here are some links:
ClydeFest 2010 (tons of links and videos here)
Cult of Clyde
Clyde Jones, Critter Artist
Roadside America: Clyde Jones's Critter Crossing

We're all going to watch Castle in the Sky before it's time for bed. You: check out Clyde.

perfect springy music to play while making t-shirts as the sun goes down...

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

these kids of mine, they can't be denied.

Annie's sitting in the floor. She's singing a Deerhunter song in her shaky, sweet, unembarrassed five year old voice. She's cutting out drawings of kittens and squirrels, bringing them to me behind her back and asking me to pick one. I win no matter which hand I choose.
Allie is across the room, playing with Playmobil. She sings along with Annie sometimes. Sometimes, she changes the words and drives Annie crazy. Together they make up a song about shopping at Target to the tune of "Helter Skelter." It makes me laugh, and I join in. Al brings me the scene she's made: a string of mortals trying to climb a rope to Mt. Olympus. The Playmobil girl on top is named Judy and she's going to get there first because Pegasus has come down from the sky to carry her the rest of the way.
"You DID it, Mom!" Ian yells. He's playing baseball on the Wii. The kids made a Mii of me (and a very cute one, too) and my batter hit a home run. He was sincerely happy for Mii.

I read a comment on a blog earlier that said, "Identities are temporary." It's taken me a long time to become comfortable with this present identity of mine: mom, homeschooler, wife. Not jetsetter, not a mover and/or shaker, not anything I ever spent my younger years dreaming about being. Pretty far from it, actually. It's only occasionally now (and not all the time) that I want to tell strangers that (in spite of the chattering kids, and the minivan, and the purse full of band-aids and tissues, and the house in the 'burbs with the weedy flower bed and the too-large swing set out back) I've been places and listened to really obscure music and interviewed bands and am kind of still cool waaaay deep down. I'm at this beautiful, magical place, though: I'm so totally content with this version of me. I like this identity so much, I wish it would never slip away. But it will, and the now-me is sad when I think about it. The young-me rolls her eyes and mutters about concerts missed, about selling out, about goofy kid concerns that are long gone. Hopefully the someday-me is saying that the next self, she'll be alright, too.

We had to go out earlier so the kids could spend the money they'd saved up. Someone on our street has put up a tacky black and gold sign for a local candidate.
"Someone's running for sheriff," Allie remarked. I nodded.
Her voice got low and drawly, and she said, "This town ain't big enough for the both of us."

Seriously, how could I ever want anything else?

Monday, April 5, 2010

built to spill, lizards, and punctuation

Holy cow, today is just beautiful. I'm sitting cross-legged on the back deck, still hot in the shade (but not minding too much), burning my toes on the hot wood, watching the kids chase a lizard through the trees. Built to Spill is playing on my computer, the songs drifting past me like the most laid-back, sighing breeze...soft, gentle, just loud enough for only me to hear. I read a nicely written post and of course I had to listen again, even though we were just playing the same thing this morning. The kids don't care, and it's so completely perfect for today.

We spent the morning doing the work I had prepared: fractions, Greek heroes, Latin, Custer's last stand, reading. It was when the kids started writing that things went awry.
"Didn't we spend, like, two weeks discussing proper punctuation?" I asked, using my super-serious Mom/teacher voice. The kids didn't even look up from their papers, writing away and ignoring capitalization, quotation marks, and commas like nothing had ever happened. I think they do this to get back at me for getting rid of cable on a regular basis and making them spend months studying the polar explorers. (Now that it's written out there like that, I think that's a definite YES.)
(Also, I hope they never read this blog. My own punctuation and sentence structure are pretty abysmal.)
"Fine," I said. "This is how we're going to do it. Quotation marks-Hey-comma-Allie-comma-would you get me a pencil-question mark-quotation-asked Mom-period."
Allie played along. "Quotation-sure-comma-Mom-comma-I'd be glad to-comma-quotation-replied Allie-peroid."
Ian giggled. "Quotation-gosh-comma-Mom-comma-this sure is stupid-exclamation point-quotation-said Ian-period."
"Quotation-Whatever works-comma-kids-period-whatever-works-period-quotation."

And that's been our day so far.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Hardships of Victorian Life, Pt. 2

"Al, your Playmobil pals look pretty sad. What are they doing?"

"They're getting ready to go to a friend's house. There's no TV at their house."

"That's tragic."

"It is."


"Please don't get rid of cable."

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

'cause all you need is a pretty song

I've probably mentioned on here once or twice or somewhere in the twenties that I'm really loving this spring thing so far. We're getting out almost every day, all short sleeved and lemonade drinking and flower picking, talking a mile a minute and taking too many pictures. I'm rearranging the songs on my iPod so we're not driving down a newly-leafy tree-lined road with the sun toasting our arms and have something sullen and wintry come on. That would be disastrous, right? Absolutely.

Here are a few of my favorite springtime bands, just off the top of my head: Beulah, Olivia Tremor Control, The Beatles (they have something for every day), Summer Hymns, Gorky's Zygotic Mynci, Belle and Sebastian, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Built to Spill, Pavement, Boo Radleys, The Kinks, Animal Collective, The Zombies. I'll try to put together a mix of songs later today, if you'd like.

We're on our way to an American Girl craft party for Allie (don't we have it so good?), but you should tell me what you like to listen to when the sun comes out and makes everything lovely and new again. Can't wait to hear it.

(I'm all excited because I just found out about this, too. Music Festival! In Raleigh! About darned time!)

Monday, March 29, 2010

star prints and red dwarves

We made sun prints of the winter constellations. Tomorrow, if our #1 star is out, we'll make some more for spring and summer.

In other news: If you haven't read Sweet Juniper's Don't Blame the Dwarf! yet, you must go & do that right now. (Do that *now*, unless you are my children. My kids would read it, then promptly tie their belongings up in a kerchief, ready their hitching thumbs, and make a sign that said "DETROIT." They'd spell it right, too. Anyway, Naked Joe doesn't even do a drunken jig near the greatness of the pro-Nain Rouge counter protest. And the fliers? Mon Dieu. Merveilleux.) There is so much genius in that post that I'm left without adjectives to describe its absolute perfection. Also, I have a little lutin envy, I think. There are no harbingers of doom in Raleigh, except perhaps our crappy hockey team. Maybe I'm just missing my's a cryptozoologist's dream. (Seriously, even apart from the fact that we were downriver from the Mothman. Just sit outside the Wal-Mart in Raccoon Lick, KY, and see if you can identify whatever's Rascal-ing across the parking lot.)

(That reminds me of one of our last trips back to visit family. We were somewhere between the Tennessee border and Lexington. A road sign beside an exit read "Museum of Appalachia," and it was pointing up the hill towards a Super Wal-Mart. Since I was too busy giggling to take a picture, you'll just have to take my word.)

So. You shouldn't still be here. You should be reading about evil red dwarves. Meanwhile, I have to pay attention to my kids. Allie just asked what would happen if a Victorian lady would go outside without a hat, and I told her people would throw rocks at her. And she would have to wear a hat made from those rocks.

Must undo that now.

(Clarification: Today's theme at our house has been Life Was Unfathomably Difficult in Victorian Times. It began with Craigslisting a Playmobil Victorian house, middled with my husband suggesting we add this guy to the Playmobil family, and ended with tales of unreasonable stoning, chimney sweeps with brooms for hands, and ridiculous reasons for the pull in the bathroom. Now you know.)

(Recommendation, kind of related to this post: Buy Beasts! and Beasts! Book 2. A multitude of great artists and their interpretation of mythical critters, nicely put together. I love these books a lot.)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Listful: Spring

1. Warmth
2. Green
3. breezes
4. baby goats
5. turtles crossing the road
6. the smell of grills being fired up
7. March Madness, until UK loses
8. driving with the windows down
9. morning jogs
10. swings
11. having school outside
12. minor league baseball games
13. outdoor concerts & festivals
14. hiking
15. going to the drive-in
16. stargazing

I love spring. I'm so happy that the long, dreary winter is finally past that I want to skip everywhere I go. I want to paint the house yellow and green and sparkling blue. I want to cover this blog in glitter and glue flowers all over it. I'm downright unbearable in my glee for the warmer weather and an end to sorry, trembling, naked trees and crunchy dead grass.
So far, spring has been full of outside birthday parties, drive-in movies, trampolines, face painting, critter catching, bird watching, inchworm wrangling, picnics, drives, happy music, and milkshakes. And it's only just started. Isn't it swell?

*I really, really like the word "listful." I think I'm going to use it too much this week.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Ol' Naked Joe

"Mom," Allie whined. "We didn't see any leprechauns today!"

It was 9:00 pm on St. Patrick's Day. I felt like I had adequately fulfilled my holiday obligations by that time, with the now-gone day spent crafting and decorating, reading Irish legends, poetry, and blessings, hunting clover, and other shenanigans. (This is the one time of year I allow myself to use the word "shenanigans.") It was time to send the kids to bed, and time for me to do nothing. I was pretty excited about that.

Allie disappeared upstairs. Noises followed. Sounds of digging around, stuff falling, something being torn up. Definitely not the sounds of a kid sleeping soundly. Allie soon reappeared, and she needed my help.

"It's a leprechaun trap, but we won't call it that. They won't get in it if they know it's a trap." She pushed a box at me. At one time, it had been a long, narrow USPS priority mail box. The end was hacked off, and she had plans.

A half an hour later, the box had bars made from pipe cleaners, was painted green, and bore glittery signs saying "Leprechaun House! and "Home Sweet Home." On the back of the box was a sparkly crowned fish, because now the box was a pub named "The Happy Herring." The Happy Herring was full of candy in shiny wrappers, and, once it was put in its place on the floor, surrounded by fake grass, birds, and plastic ducks. If it were real, I'd probably be at the Happy Herring every night.

"How will it get in? If it can get in, can't it get back out?" asked Allie. She's quick.

"Weeellll, it will get in pretty easily, but once it eats all the candy, it'll be too fat to escape." My ability to lie under pressure is one of my greatest gifts as a parent. (I'm kidding.) (A little.)

"You're right, Mom!" Allie yelled happily. She had more questions, I had more answers, the bars were tweaked, more candy was added, prayers were offered up to St. Patrick. Really. Allie was finally satisfied and bounced off to bed. I was troubled and had to make a quick trip to the store to get leprechaun supplies. I was hoping to find doll house miniatures and doll clothes, but of course they didn't have any of that, so I had to get felt to sew the leprechaun clothes, stickers, and little cheap gifts.

The tired and definitely unpleasant lady at the check-out looked at me like I was crazy. "You KNOW St. Patrick's was today and there's no reason to buy leprechaun stickers now because it's NOT like they're on sale, RIGHT?" she barked at me.
"I have to fake a visit from a leprechaun and have stuff for our leprechaun trap," I replied, like it was the most normal thing in the world. She didn't say anything.

(I can't sew. Obviously. Thankfully, leprechauns make shoes and not sportswear, so it was convincing craftsmanship.)

Three hours later, I had made a leprechaun shirt and pants, eaten or thrown away most of the candy, and printed a letter from an angry leprechaun. (I would like to apologize to the Irish and to leprechauns for my terrible, no-good Irish/pirate/something-I-saw-in-a-movie-once accent.) The bars were stretched out on the Happy Herring, and there was leprechaun barf inside. I could go to bed feeling clever and also slightly ridiculous.

I was woken up too early the next morning by three giddy kids, all talking a mile a minute about the destruction! and the clothes! and the letter! It was fantastic. I sat in the floor in the morning sunshine, laughing with the kids over "Naked Joe" and his letter, and was grateful for kids who can still believe in slightly crazy, magical things.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Spring Swap!

Here's the package I mailed to my swap partner on Monday. It's for a homeschool group's spring swap, and, in giddy anticipation of SPRING!, I had a blast putting it all together. Each little package had a theme (spring = getting outside, being young, make new things, etc.) (uh-huh!) and I had ridiculous amounts of fun wrapping it up and adding birds and clouds and grass. I'm sure it arrived looking like a more hurricane-ravaged version of the pictures I took, but was pretty swell going out the door. **Enjoy, Heather!**

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

We are having a lovely, sunny, lucky day, having found eight four-leaf clovers, made two Crois Brides, and dripped gold glitter glue across three rooms. I hope you're having a wonderful day, too. I'd like to share the kids' new favorite Irish blessing:

May those who love us love us.
And those that don't love us,
May God turn their hearts.
And if He doesn't turn their hearts,
May he turn their ankles,
So we'll know them by their limping!

Yup. They're still laughing over that one. Wait until they're old enough to appreciate limericks. Hoo-boy.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


My youngest daughter found one of those books of birds and their songs on our last trip to the used bookstore that we adore. It's a swell (if a little, umm, noisy) book with nice illustrations, and she fell in love with it immediately. She even chose to spend her own hard-earned (because it's work to be so cute) money from her grandparents on it. She's hugged it and slept with it and pushed those little buttons overandoverandover, picking her favorites and giggling at the one bird that says "RRRRALPH! RRRRALPH! RRRRALPH! Chkchkchkchkbrrrrrchk!" Really. It sounds just like that. She and her sister mimic it endlessly, chasing each other around the house screaming "RALPH!" and sitting on the back porch, hoping to call whatever bird that is to our backyard so they can laugh at it.
It's not too painful, really. If all else fails, I know they'll have a future in this:

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

hey, blog, why are you hitting yourself?

This is just kind of pathetic now, isn't it, the way this little blog limps along, holds up its head and whimpers, "I'll be back soon," but maybe not for weeks or months. If you do wonder about it, you might wonder if it just thankfully, finally died, but then it emerges from underneath the dusty, webby porch and looks at you pitifully. Like now.
We've been busy, like everyone else in the world...busy going skiing, busy making felt groundhog portraits that look breastacular and get renamed Jugsaplenty Feel, busy trying to convince an eight year old girl who wants nothing more than to be allowed to watch Hannah Montana just once that the location and story behind the constellation of Gemini is not only fascinating, but worth an entire hour of her life.
We're working on decorations and crafts for our Valentine's Day shindig next week, so I've spent a lot of time snowed in and surrounded by felt scraps and paper hearts and inky thumbprints. It feels too soon to have another 20+ kid party, since we just had one in the beginning of December, and I really like to space those things out about, oh, a year apart. The last party was for Allie's birthday, and she wanted a Beatle bash. I've since discovered that my calling is to be a Beatle Birthday Party Planner. Seriously. I had too much fun. Allie, on the other hand, decided a week later that the Beatles were no longer her favorite band. I killed them for her. But still! *I* had fun...

Aren't they cute? I made so, so many of these. I couldn't stop, honestly. Wanna see it again?...

I also made apple cupcakes. (APPLE! Ha ha. Oh, how the under-10 set loves the Beatle references.)

The gift bags: A mini version of an old (very silly) Beatles coloring book, Beatles word search, a CD of Allie's favorite songs, a copy of the fan club membership card, a "letter" from the band, candy, and Christmas ornaments.

Pin the Moustache on Paul: The Aftermath. The kids actually enjoyed this, and I felt very clever for giving them moustache choices.

This was the most intense performance of Beatles Rock Band, ever. Kids were booed, drumsticks were broken. Eventually the band split up & went their separate ways. (Well, to the kitchen, to open gifts.)

RINGO! Tee hee. They played RINGO! (and yup, I MADE them shout RINGO!, because I could.) The playing pieces were little tiny Beatles album covers that I spent hours and hours cutting out. Who thought they were cool? Me.
There was more, but I'm going to stop now.

So, yeah. Valentine's Day is gonna be ridiculous. (I'm just thankful I ran out of time before I had the chance to organize the Yellow Submarine races...)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I think I'm a little in love with parentheses. (A lot.)

We're back at school with gusto. (Dang! You bet.) I've been working on creating our own lapbook, one on the winter constellations and mythology. (Of course! It's what I do.) It's kind of challenging, and it's kind of a blast. So right now, I'm watching Weeds with the sound turned down, listening to the Rosebuds (holy cow, there are sooo many great NC bands these days, lucky us), and trying to do more with Photoshop than the usual cropping and whitening of backgrounds. I really just learned how to do a square, which is awfully just tragic to admit. Anyway, the lapbook...Once it's finished, I'll post it here. I've gotten the pocket, cards, and lesson done for Orion, as well as the basic intro about stars, constellations, and myth. My kids are pretty hip to the whole myth thing (because they're my kids and all) but I'm trying to make something comprehensive and shareable. If this turns out well, I'd like to make more lapbooks on mythology, polar exploration, architecture, photography, the space race, and Appalachia. Contain your excitement if you can.

The kids have spent the week so far learning about stars, making books on the Iroquois, creating Greek letter and phrase flash cards, adding valuable words to their Latin vocabulary (words so valuable I can't think of a single one right now, and they're also nouns, which thwart my Action Kid plans), (stupid nouns!), loving math/attempting to tolerate math/counting, writing, drawing, reading, and just being glad to be back at work. I gave them some pages to color (beeaautiful pages you can find here) over the break, and I think it was like an early Christmas for them. Yes! We really do get out. (We're going on a hike later this week, actually, because we're insane. It's going to be about 40 degrees, maybe, so it will be a very short hike. I should probably call it a jaunt, or an outdoors non-shopping excursion.)
There is a crazy-lookin' lady on PBS right now, so I'm going to turn the sound up and watch. I hope she's as intriguing as she looks. I actually have a plan for the next post (folk art follies!), and the thought of writing something cohesive here thrills me. Kicks!

Sunday, January 3, 2010


The Fighting Chimeras* wish you a memorable, giddy, interesting, ebullient, colorful, all-your-dreams-come-true 2010!

(*The Well-Wishing Chimeras just doesn't sound tough, although it is so much more accurate. Don't fear us.)