Friday, March 26, 2010

milestones and mothers worries

Katie threw us for a loop today when she went off exporing by herself down in the creek bed. "Vulnerability! The mind of a child", just scream in my head as she goes off down the hill to see what she can find. This is why I am home with my disabled kids.

This is not the norm for her.....She is not an outdoorsey kinda girl. She likes her movies and her toy kitties and action figures.

I let her go, but keep an eye out for a few minutes from the top of the hill. Luckily for me she is wearing red. I decided she's fine and went off to do my own thing. After an hour of her exploring, or more, I'm not sure, I realize she has not come home yet. I call for Mary and Patrick to help me search for her because when you call for her, she will either NOT answer or answer under her breath...."What!!??" "Not answer" "I am answering." And when the vulnerable will not respond the way you need them to, it's like searching for a 2 year old who has wandered off.

Yes, we found her, way off on another part of the property (my adult nephew had seen her heading that way), contentedly dragging a couple of long tree branches behind her. I guess she is preparing for another art project. We'll watch and see what she makes. We'll notice I have to re-color my hair!!!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Being Watched by a Lizard

I love watching the lizards that live around our home.  I love how they can change color from brown to green and back again. Some of them are silver with blue double stripes running down their back.  .

I found one sitting on a small piece of wood, today, and sat down to watch him as he watched chart 003

He tasted the air around us,

sky chart 004

decided I was harmless and moved closer to study me as I studied him.

sky chart 006

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Signs of Spring!!

004My Sugar Snap Peas are sprouting!!  Yippie!!

006 The Kale is sprouting, too!!

007 The Ice Plant is coming back to life!

008 My Day Lilies are sprouting!!

009 I have  a pot of sweetly fragrant Stocks by the front door


Had to have some Pansies


More Pansies flanked by resurrected Mums


The Zebra Grass is coming back up!

(sigh)  I have hope that winter will really be over.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Night Sky

Our family has always enjoyed watching the night sky. You can find us outside after dark, searching for constellations and sometimes even the occasional satellite that might be passing over.

Our favorite tool for star gazing has been the Miller Planisphere.  This chart allows you to see what stars and constellations are overhead at any time of day or night, any month of the year. There are others available, but this is my favorite. The sky wheels are also available for southern lattitudes, such as Austrailia. 

We've also had the great fortune of having a NASA geek (self-proclaimed term) in the family, Kris (who is so cool, she can count down from 10 and put a 4 minute hold in it, AND recently had a project go up in the cargo bay of a recent Space Shuttle launch--the Geek's dream come true), ~now back to the subject~Kris, the NASA geek, who took us out to look at constellations, telling their stories and legends. One of my favorite things Kris taught was how to find certain bright stars and constellations. Betelgeuse (Beet-ul-juice) is the bright red star in the right arm pit of Orion (his right, not yours). A familiar name, for Harry Potter fans, is at his other armpit...Bellatrix.  Rigel is at his foot. 

In the night sky you will also find familiar names such as Regulus, and Draco.

Draco, the Dragon
Everyone can find the Big Dipper, yes?  Well, you follow the arc of the handle to Arcturus, then spike across to the bright star Spica.  The Big Dipper link teaches you how to find other stars, as well as Arcturus, using the Big Dipper as reference.

The Big Dipper at upper right

We can also find reading comprehensions about stars and legends at suitable for all age levels. You will have to type something like..."stars" or "night sky" in the search box.  One of the tittles available is Pictures in the Stars, Legends in the Sky.  I cannot post a link directly to this tittle, sorry.  edhelper charges a $20/year memberhip fee for full printouts.  You can download and print portions of the readings for free.

Wikipedia is another good source for information.

A fun project is to take a black umbrella (dollar store is fine) and paint constellations in Day-glo paint on the inside using a circular star chart for any given month as reference, such as a star chart from Sky and Telescope magazine or an old Night Sky  magazine (no longer published). 

Using your umbrella center as your night sky center, determine a North, East, South and West.  Choose a constellation to start with and paint the "stars" as dots and spots where it would be on the inside of your umbrella. The kids love this project and it gives them a large reference to look at when star gazing, and something fun to carry when it's raining. Naturally, I cannot find our umbrella today, but I have done this project with Cub Scout groups and Activity Day girl groups.

When we lived in the Baltimore area, we would take field trips to the Goddard Space Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, to watch launches.  At this website you can find when launches are going to happen or just explore what is available. The Space Center also has a Visitor's Center open to the public.

Another wonderful resource is the Nasa Website, which includes a Kids Club.   
The Hubble Picture Gallery is fun.

The Eskimo Nebula and the Cat's Eye Nebula

You can check with google to see if there are any Observatories or Planitariums in your area that offer night sky shows or outdoor sky watching with Telescopes.  My sister, Kris, said NASA Geek, volunteers at her local observatory. They are out there, astronomy geeks and observatories.

It really doesn't take expensive equipment to stargaze and have fun.  The naked eye, a pair of Binocculars, and an inexpesive telescope are sufficient for our little backyard gazing. Someday we'll have a bigger one and we'll see more things in the sky, but today, this is good.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Maybe it''s time to teach my dog the release command

Patrick and I went outside to throw around my pink baseball remembering to be careful because my dog, Blackberry likes to steal my ball and run away with it. Well, he caught himself a squirrel and was quite happily trotting around the property with it, so I wasn't worried about my pink baseball.  Well, he dropped it in the woods somewhere and came back for my ball. Well, when we dropped it, he ran over, but Patrick and I were faster, covering it with our baseball gloves.  He fought wholeheartedly to get around our gloves, but when he couldn't get to it, he decided he would settle for MY GLOVE!

He has had some training elsewhere, so I tried one command but all he did was roll over.

Finally, I pried his mouth open and got it back!

Maybe it's time for some training.  Homeschool project?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Saturday, March 13, 2010

We've got our Art Thing on!

This is a crane mobile the girls made
(for some reason, this blogger foto program distorts my fotos on upload)

Yodie the Coyote
made by Katie for her Aunt Kris,
aka Yodie the Roadie

Sharon and Kris, my sisters from Arizona, came for a visit this past week, having had to miss Christmas due to bad weather between Amarillo and Fort Smith.  Kris is a NASA geek who is so cool, she can count down from 10 and put a 4-minute hold in the middle of it. Sharon, the artist, is so cool, she can teach even the unimaginative (speaking for myself, not the kids) to explore the possibilities.
DivineShe Studio
We made art journals from treated canvas sheets (for the covers) and watercolor paper.  We used an acryllic paint on the canvas sheets and paint spritzers with stencils on the watercolor sheets. (Don't think, just do.) These are some of the covers drying in the sun.

This project was more fun than anyone ought to be allowed to have.  Here I am in deep concentration, trying not to think, and just do.  I am looking disgusted, I know, but I'm really having loads of fun.

After we made all our pages, and everything was dry, we bound our journals and added baubles. Here is mine.

Sometimes art happens by accident. Here are a few pages from my art journal. These are now ready to be embellished with my thoughts and Wockenfl~antics.

Being new at this "don't think" art, I was still too careful and went kind of light on the spritzing.

A finished page where I added a picture from a magazine

Here is the medallian from the cover of Mary's journal
The inside cover and first page
Mary got ambitious and stenciled her inside covers.She also had more fun than anyone ought to be allowed to have.

Art happens by accident.

Mary, ever our Lord of the Rings fan, began feeling inspired.

Our resident knitter..just give her a ball of yarn and knitting needles and she is happy.

More Lord of the Rings

Mary and I both want this shirt

Katie's cover--this foto absolutely does not do it justice.  She also had more fun than anyone ought to be allowed to have.

Here are a few of her pages

Patrick's cover. He now has a frog pin stuck on the front.

Some of Patrick's pages.  He was into the  warm colors on this day.

Art happens by accident again

Patrick went for the Swirls today

If any of this looked interesting, go to
DivineShe Studio,
which is the Art blog of Sharon Kennick, my sister, and notice all the fun you can have with art. These journals are discussed in the section about
Spirit Journals. 
She includes links to the instructor who taught her.
Happy Play!