Friday, July 16, 2010

On Gratitude and a Big "Welcome" to my Blog Friends

SAHMinIL, Arby, Eva, and April-May I just wanted to let you guys know WELCOME! Sit down, drop me a line. Visit anytime. Thanks, it means a lot.

I found out today that I have four people now who publicly follow my post. Thank you. It means a lot. What does it mean? It means that my writing can't be that bad, after all, and that perhaps, I am not quite as weird as I sometimes think I am. And I am grateful for all of you out there. I am talking about you homeschool bloggers, those that have posted on my site, those whose blogs I've been visiting quietly and some I've just started visiting. I mean  bloggers like Alasandra's that I've followed for a long time now and my admitted addiction to Arby's Boarding in Bedlam and of course Evas inspiring blog.  April-May, do you have a blog? I tried to see if you had one by clicking on your picture but couldn't find one.  You are all an inspiration and encouragement. Keep posting, SAHMinIL, I hope your daughter is feeling better, Arby your vacation sounds like a challenge on its own, Eva you know I visit all the time and April-May do drop me a line and allow us to visit your blog even if it's new!



Thursday, July 15, 2010

Kudos to my husband

I know I complained about not getting the space I'd like for my veggies but I failed to show why that was. So I went and took a few pic with my daughters' point and shoot. The pics were taken too late and the camera is what it is, a point and shoot. But I think the idea gets across. We need to deadhead some flowers but by and large this is it and it's not shabby. BTW, after having children and seeing the rabbits eat our flowers I told dh that this was it. I was out. But he jumped in with both feet and so this garden is primarily his hard work. I am very proud of him and it is lovely to be able to sit in our screened in porch (with the mosquitos whining hungrily outside) and enjoy the view.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

My tomatoes are going out of control and it's only July!

Here are two pictures of my rectangular tomato box. My darling husband won't let me have garden space to grow my vegetables so I am relegated to a box of tomatoes on the deck and a tub for jalapenos. We have another space (an old kennel with the brick floor removed) where I am granted some precious space to grow the few things that will grow there. I grow an obscene amount of chives, summer savory and more tomatoes. Nothing else will really grow there. I would love to be able to grow more foods but despite having a big garden have nowhere to grow them.  A tip for those of you who grow your own parsley and chives. Harvest them throughout the growing season, wash and then chop. Place in airtight plastic containers and freeze. For goodness sakes DON'T put water in it. It's not needed. Trust me, I am German and in Germany you can buy chopped frozen herbs. The dried stuff tastes gross! We eat, fresh frozen chives and parsley all  winter long!

Sun, Wind and Water - Sonne, Wind und Wasser

After we discussed some sources of renewable energy I encouraged the children to draw pictures to illustrate what we had learned.  This is Missy's picture. On the right side you can see a windmill and the wind blowing. On top you will see rain, a watershed and puddles to depict water as a renewable energy source. On the bottom left you'll see Missy's depiction of solar energy.

This is Bears' picture of flowers in our garden. The purple stuff at the bottom is the brick edging around some of the beds. The grey streaks are the wind.

In an effort to participate more and serve as inspiration I too took part in illustrating what we had learned.  I think my windmill has too many blades but I am otherwise pleased with the effect. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Worms doing Yoga and Rainbow Birds

The children made mosaics yesterday. I cut construction paper into small squares and Missy and Bear used those to design their pictures. Bears' picture was meant to be the classic Greek 'Wave' Relief but he thought it rather looked like worms doing yoga.   Missy made a 'Rainbow Bird'  and was allowed to modify the  paper squares as needed since her fingers were better equipped to deal with the fine motor skills required to handle the small scraps of paper than her brother. Bear is almost 5 years old and Missy is 10½.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Can you see the hair on the legs?

This is a picture of a bumble bee I took with the same lens and camera. As you can see it's currently on my desktop , hence the Recyle Bin icon. A macro lens does something amazing with just the most common backyard animals.  It brings them closer and encourages us to look longer and appreciate deeper. If you use a SLR camera save up your pennies and treat yourself to a macro lens as a family gift. You can often  find us crawling through the backyard with the lens hunting for curious creatures. Even my allergic daughter will  hazard some itching for the chance to catch that perfect shot.

Isn't he handsome!

He is my buddy. My little garden help-mate.  My 10 year old daughter took this picture with her daddy's macro lens and DX300 Nikon. (At least I think that is what it's called LOL).  Isn't he ever so handsome! Some people may look at me strangely (don't worry, I am quite used to it)  but I get enthused about the strangest things. And a handsome toad like this is right there on that list.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Recommended Reading: The Creativity Crisis - A Newsweek Article

A fascinating article by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman on Newsweek talks about the slow but noticeable and steady dwindling of creativity among American children. This alarming trend has been studied and is very worrisome.

What’s shocking is how incredibly well Torrance’s creativity index predicted those kids’ creative accomplishments as adults. Those who came up with more good ideas on Torrance’s tasks grew up to be entrepreneurs, inventors, college presidents, authors, doctors, diplomats, and software developers. Jonathan Plucker of Indiana University recently reanalyzed Torrance’s data. The correlation to lifetime creative accomplishment was more than three times stronger for childhood creativity than childhood IQ.

The advantage we have here as homeschooling parents is that it gives us greater leeway and opportunities to foster imagination and creativity in our children. But I think all parents should take this seriously. How creative can children be when they are constantly stimulated by outside forces. The TV, the PC, Nintendo, PS3, X-Box I could go on an on. We let them turn on the TV or videogame just so they stop whining at us.
For what it's worth my children play with more imagination than some of their playmates but after reading this article I cannot help but be convinced that I have to provide them with more guidance and inspiration to be imaginative and creative.