Monday, January 23, 2012

Overheard around our house

"I am writing music." Okay, so that is what you are doing over there crouched on the piano bench.

I ignored Miss K and let her go on "writing music". Then she brought it to me and showed me what she wrote.

She was listening and learning during the tin whistle. She had problems fitting her little fingers on the notes but she did sit and listen.

Should I include music composition in her portfolio for this year?


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Farm Show

The Farm Show has been on my list of things to do. I remember going as a child. Maybe that was part of the reason that I wanted to go. It worked in our schedule this year so we went on Friday and took two Chinese students that have in attending the ESL class with us.

We didn't get there until early afternoon. We drove around looking for parking. Miss K read the sign "$10.00" and added her ack -- I guess she thought that was expensive.

We found cows. I had been to the Farm Show Complex in May for a homeschool conference and where the cows were was various vendors. The smell never really comes out of the building.

The kids were excited to not only see a cow but pet one.

On the way we talked about what animals we would see. Miss K said she wanted to see a turkey. We found one.

We took a break and sat down and then realized that we could stay there and see the Hitch and Drive. The kids thought it was a fun show. We didn't have tickets for the rodeo.

Of course, the kids had to sit on the tractors. That is one thing that I remember from the Farm Show as a kid.

Miss K found some hay and she just had to climb up. We told her she had to climb back down.

It was a fun day. I am glad that I told the kids there. I think my husband enjoyed it more than he thought he would. The Chinese students enjoyed it. They said it was not something they had ever done in China. They were able to see the milking competition.

I will have to think of another activity for next month.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Legoland Discovery Center

We decided to surprise J and take him there for his birthday. He really was surprised. We got there early (in fact we had to wait for it to open).

One of the first displays was the Chicago skyline. One neat feature was that it was lit and so the lights would dim and then come brighter.


There was a jungle display with various animals made from Legos. That reminded me a bit of the zoo here when they had Lego animals. There was a place where you could help build a Christmas tree or make decorations to put on the tree. We learned how to make a ball out of Legos. I am not sure if we remember but J did make one.

Then there was a ride and a place where they showed you how they make Legos as well as a 4D movie. We spent quite a bit of time building and creating. They had a race track that you could race your creations on. It was quiet that morning and not that many children which made it nice.

I think J enjoyed it but he is probably at the end of the age of enjoying it. He still loves to play with his Legos and build things but I am not sure this would be worth it in another year.

Miss K has some Duplos and sometimes will sit and play with Legos. I figure it is good fine motor skills.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Happy Birthday, J

(I am catching up a bit. Actually, his birthday was last month.)

J turned 11.

1. It has been wonderful to hear some of his spiritual insights and thoughts this year.

2. He can come out with some funny one liner that keeps us laughing.

3. I have been enjoying reading what he is writing even though getting him to write it can be difficult at times.

4. He is continuing to play soccer and is all over the field.

5. He has been doing a great job at his memory work for Classical Conversations.

6. He is kind and loving to his sister.

7. This year he has begun to take an interest in cooking. I think his favorite thing to make is Fettuccine Alfredo.

8. He continues to enjoy chess and had a tournament in December.

9. He has been enjoying reading the Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe and was excited when I found The Boy and His Horse at the thrift store last week.

10. He has shown some talent for drawing or at least enjoys drawing.

11. He is a wonderful son and I am looking forward to seeing what God does in his life this year.

We were in Chicago for his birthday. I had debated about should I take his gifts. At the last minute I decided to take them. We gave them to him that morning.

He loves his pirate Playmobil and so he got a few things that he didn't have. I was impressed and a bit surprised that he decided to wait until we got home to open the boxes.

I am thinking maybe I should make him a birthday cake even if it is late. The other surprise that day was going to Legoland Discovery Center. He had picked u a brochure in the hotel and been looking at that. We told him we were going to take him some place for his birthday but didn't tell him where. Legoland is in a mall and so I don't think he was very excited when we got there and then he realized where we were and got excited.

Later that evening Daddy graduated and finished his D.Min. That was a great gift as well.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Museum of Science and Industry

I had gotten some recommendations that this would be a good place to take the children while we were in Chicago. One friend had told me that it would take more than a day. We decided to take a day and go.  We were still a bit on East Coast time so we were up bright and early. We got there when it opened at 9:30.

It was Christmas and so we were able to see the Christmas tree display. I enjoyed that and I think there were too many other exciting things like planes, subs, tractors, that the kids didn't want to pause and look at them.

The trees were decorated from various countries of the world.

I think the highlight was going in the German U-505 -- a submarine. Our guide did a great job of telling the story of what it would be like to be living in the sub and also a bit of the story of this sub being captured. I know J was listening because he remembered the fact that it had 2 bathrooms for 50 people and for the first weeks one of the bathrooms was used to story food. Interesting facts that are remembered.

We were not allowed to take pictures in the sub and getting pictures in that area were difficult. To get the tour cost additional money but I would say that was worth it.

The farm section was fun. My children really are city slickers. We live in the city and love the city. Miss K wants to move to a bit city in China (we try to tell her that isn't happening). I did grow up in the country with a cornfield behind our house for many years.

Miss K enjoyed sitting on the tram. That must be the city girl in her coming out.

It was a fun day. By about 3:00 we were tired and had seen enough. It was a great day. I think it is a place that I wish I lived closer to visit more often. Not sure when we will get back to Chicago.

Friday, January 6, 2012

My Christmas Stack

Piecing fabrics together is a creative outlet for me. I love finding fabrics and then finding a pattern that works for that fabric and then sewing it together and seeing how it comes out. I have learned to machine quilt and am working on improving that. I don't mind the machine part in fact that is a bit relaxing. I don't like pinning and working to keep it so the back does not get wrinkled. I don't mind sewing the binding on. I usually do it by hand and it is something I do in the car.

So one of my Christmas gifts this year to my mom and sisters-in-law was a quilt from my stack. Here is what was on that stack.

This was made from some Christmas Charm pack I had bought years ago. I used the Disappearing Nine patch pattern. I love the look of that pattern. It is very easy but looks complicated.

I was shopping in The Country Store one day and found this bundle of fabric. I loved the colors and kept the fabric waiting for the perfect pattern. That is a typical problem for me. I have to find the perfect pattern or I am afraid to cut the fabric.

This was a half yard bundle. I loved the bold and bright look. Again, it took me some time to figure out the perfect thing to do. I knew I didn't want to cut this fabric into small pieces the prints were a bit big and I didn't want to lose the brightness. This was so easy just sewing strips together. I did add some rick rack to just give it a bit more design.

This quilt is from a collection of fabric called California Dreaming. I made it when we were thinking that we would be moving to California. It is the same pattern as the fabric from the Old Country Store. I do love the colors (the picture is a bit washed out). We are not moving to California.

This was made from a charm pack or two of Nature's Notebook fabric. A great blue and white fabric.

This was made using some scraps that were left from the other quilt. This would look great in a blue and white room.

This is from a Fresh Squeezed Charm pack and a solid fabric used as the sashing. I love the bold look of this quilt. My husband loves orange so I was thinking he might want to keep this quilt but he is waiting for me to sew the binding on the Java quilt that I have.

I have two other quilts that I finished. I need to find pictures of those.

California Dreaming, both Nature's Notebook, Christmas Charm Pack, and Fresh Squeezed are still in a stack here at my house. If you would like to purchase them, just let me know.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Puzzle Blocks

Years ago I made a small one set of puzzle blocks of Miss K and gave it to grandparents for Christmas gifts. I still had some blocks remaining. My friend posted a tutorial a few months ago and reminded me of those blocks. I searched for a fun book. I had one called the Jolly Farmer. It took me a few evenings of gluing and Modge Podge to get it done.

I did have a short lived panic that I had missed a block but the farmer isn't on the upper right block and so it took me a bit of time to figure out that it was for with the farmer. 

It was a fun project and went with the farm theme gift.


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