Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Postcards :: No. 4

Mud day!!! The “ digging spot” was turned into a mud wallowing hole…and wallow they did. (With complete Momma and Auntie approval by the way!!!)

While we came prepared for many different sorts of adventures we did not foresee such a muddy one! Hence the (joyful) wearing of the boys clothes…somehow it made it even a bit more fun!!!

Hannah's Visit 020 Hannah's Visit 022 Hannah's Visit 023 Hannah's Visit 024 Hannah's Visit 025 Hannah's Visit 059

Mud jumping was a big hit!!!

Hannah's Visit 040

Yes…those are her pants!

Hannah's Visit 047

Hannah's Visit 054 Hannah's Visit 057

A pretty penny is paid for mud treatments in the spas of New York City…but here in the Bronx these cousins enjoyed fully the immense benefits of all that mud. It was therapy for the senses, the mind, and the imagination. Oh…the joys of mud.

After many rinses!, and nice warm baths we had a very happy, very content, very fulfilled couch-ful of cousins…with magnificent pores!!

And no…I don’t think we were crazy! We stripped them down at the door and hosed down the trampoline and the clothes outside…as for washing all those muddy things…well what do they make those amazing fancy dancy washers for!!!

When’s the last time you have loved some mud!?!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Postcards :: No. 3

Hannah's Visit 005Hannah's Visit 006 Hannah's Visit 007

And we’re off!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Postcards :: No. 2

Hannah's Visit 002

Greetings from Riverdale, NY the greatest little nook of the Bronx!  Hannah's Visit 001

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Postcards :: No.1

I took a photo to share with you today as we crossed the Tappan Zee Bridge on our way to the Bronx. Crossing that bridge marks a huge change for us. It means we’re finally just about there. It means a sudden and significant change in traffic flow!! It means the real driving is just beginning!!! (By the way…I did not make a single wrong turn!)

The (much) anticipated bridge was stunning today. It begged to be recorded. Unfortunately I was on my own driving with my littles with no one to hold the wheel for even a second for me to snatch a shot. Not that the traffic suggested that that would be in the least bit wise. But it truly was a stunning view…! Can you see that late afternoon light that glows warm and yellow and shines down in truly luscious rays making everything it lands on magnificent to behold? Can you see those winter clouds that fill the sky with a purple light? Can you see the brilliance of architecture spread across the expanse of a huge river…lines criss-crossing over head in hard steel? Can you see the shadows and breaks of light all around you weaving in and out in rhythm as you drive through the bridge? I hope you can! It truly is beautiful.

Besides the splendor of the bridge we also saw a gas station attendant in one of these face masks:

large image no1

And I heard in hushed tones…

“Mom…look, a superhero!”

Yes…I told the man…I think we made his day! Superheros belong in NYC afterall!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Straight From Her Mouth:

(The following delightful little bit is written just as it was said!!! She is quite pleased to have written a post.)

I would like you to write



Today I went to the library.  And today I went to the bank.  Today I  went to the post office… hmmmm…no.  Today I went to ttthhhhhheeeee…………..and tomorrow I’m going to go to Auntie Robins house.  She lives in the big New York City.  We will go to a museum.  We’re going to see dinosaurs…. lots of dinosaurs …and that’s all. 

(this is her typing a word of choice on her own)



This picture reminds me of this favorite children’s book.  Silly silly!

*We will be having adventures of the most wonderful kind in NYC with cousins for the next little while.  We’ll send postcards! 

Alphabet Colors

Do you remember the Montessori Color Spools adventure and my love affair with paint chips?  Well making those Spools sparked several paint chip project ideas.  They are simply delightful bits of color to work with!  Go collect a bunch from the hardware store and let yourself be inspired!!

We used bright collection of squarish chips and made a cheery bit of alphabet color to hang in our school room.

January 016

The paint chips are glued onto poster board and then stitched on.  Sewing machines actually handle paper quite well. I just lengthen the stitch width a bit and throw away the needle when I’m done.  The original idea was to stitch the vertical lines as well, but I was seriously out voted by the little artist!  We are quite pleased. 

105_4642105_4643January 019

Monday, January 18, 2010

Dancing Girl


As I watch my children grow and become themselves I catch glimpses of myself and my love in them.  In their faces, in their hair, in the way they react to certain things.  But some things are completely new.  They are not from me.  They are not from their Dad.  They are completely them.  Traits given to them to make them unique, to make them who they are, to guide and beautify their path here on earth. 

My daughter loves to dance.  It is a part of her.  She will dance to any music that is playing…anywhere…anytime.  And she’s good.  Her soul just responds to the music and it is truly beautiful to watch.  Her love of dancing is very special to me because it is so unique to her.  She most definitely did not get any dancing abilities from any part of her known ancestry!!!  It is simply who she is…and it is beautiful! 

For Christmas we made her a wooden ballet bar and a full ballet outfit.  We weighed the decision carefully knowing that once received it would likely be the only thing worn for a very long time!   105_4478

Recently I knit up a quick pair of ruffled leg warmers that couldn’t have been easier…or more happily received.  They are (in her case)  40 st k2p2 ribbing for 10 inches, then increase each stitch every other row twice to make the ruffles.  They are knit on double pointed needles which took a bit of getting used to…but I am a big fan now.  I think we might need more pairs….oh the possibilities!!!  We have a very happy, very warm and ruffely little dancer around these parts!     105_4637 105_4640

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Pins and a Bit of Felt

105_4654I have been working on a wall hanging recently with embroidered felt on raw canvas.  The shapes and colors are delightful to more than just myself and I have been finding pieces unpinned and repositioned in another spot by little fingers…again and again!!  So we set her up with her own delightful collection of felt shapes and a pin cushion.  She works the most beautiful stories with her pieces and carefully pins them each in place.  Felt is so wonderful for beginning pinning and stitching as it has nice structure,  and a fantastic texture. 105_4652


It appears more shapes are needed….!  So we are off to custom create felt bits to enhance her stories! 

Happy weekending! 

Friday, January 15, 2010

Salt Letters

Montessori philosophies focus on the infinite worth of the senses in learning.  Our efforts to incorporate a natural sensorial education into our days has led to some wonderful moments.  One such moment happened yesterday.  Questions arouse yesterday morning during a snack regarding just how pretzels are made.  Trying to answer them led to the decision to make pretzels as part of our dinner.  (Such fun and yummy yummy!) While we were working with the salt I had an idea of how to incorporate another sensory activity into our writing exercises.  We spread ~3/4 cup of salt onto a cookie sheet and little fingers were completely absorbed with practicing upper and lowercase letters for such a long time.  When done we talked about the best cookie sheet to use for the activity and poured the salt into a jar, labeled it and now store it with the cookie sheets.  It is now available for her to use whenever she wants to gather her materials and proceed with the exercise on her own.  105_4623

This activity is most easily done in the kitchen.  It also lends itself well to practicing control of materials, and sweeping!!

I have definitely found that as our days become filled with Montessori inspired sensorial learning, ideas and thoughts come with greater frequency to aid in our learning.  Their is no end to a mothers inspiration! 


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Little Toes


There are twenty little toes, and twenty little fingers that are very dear to me and each has been kissed and accounted for this bright day. There is not a wish dearer to a mothers heart than that. It is a wish that transcends age, era, and culture. My heart aches for the unfulfilled wishes of mothers facing the terrible unknowns in the aftereffects of a horrific natural disaster in their homeland of Haiti. I kiss and love on each of the little fingers and toes that are dear to me and send peace and prayers to fellow families.

There is of course a great need for tangible help as well as spiritual. The avenues for assistance are widely varied. I urge you to share this experience with your families. Share with your children the marvel and destructive power of this magnificent earth. Share with them the love and joy, and now fear and uncertainty that fill so many families that were once just like theirs. You will be amazed at the capacity for understanding and compassion that children hold. Work together to choose a way that your family may offer help.

In your efforts to choose an avenue of assistance I recommend that you consider the humanitarian efforts of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Putting aside any differences in theological beliefs their Humanitarian Relief Organization is widely recognized as one of the best in the world. Run almost entirely by volunteers any contribution is channeled directly to those in need. I highly recommend its consideration.

So go kiss the little toes you love so dearly and consider how you might reach out to those little toes and those that love them, so very far away, and in the midst of such a great disaster.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Toys to Love

I spend much of my days playing and learning and creating with my children.  I definitely have my favorite toys…as do they!  Most of the time we love the same toys.  It’s kind of funny the way the toys I don’t care for seem to get lost so easily…and for such a long time…sometimes Momma needs a break!  Hmmm….! Pattern blocks however, are a classic that need never be set aside!  They are by far one of my favorite toys.  They also happen to a fabulous learning tool.  Early math, art, visual perception, geometry, and sensorial awareness (to name a few) are introduced, reinforced, and solidified seamlessly with play.  Oh, they are a marvel! 

Fall 617

What are some of your family’s favorite toys?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Some of 2009’s Creations


Yes.  Aside from any other challenges and messes 2009 has brought (and carried into 2010!) it has been filled with many joys.  It has been filled with creating. 

Monday, January 11, 2010



Sometimes my life seems to resemble my studio after a creating marathon. Scattered with threads and bits of fabric, paint and glue out of place, scissors...who knows where, patterns, notes, sketches...everywhere, and the children's corner nook not so contained to the corner. And there I am...sitting in the middle totally overwhelmed. Not oblivious to the beauty in the fabric stacked (and laying) all around, or the potential and possibilities all around me. Yet lost as to how to put it all back in order.

Where to start? Should I rearrange things? Should that shelf really be over there? How do I turn it into a peaceful, productive, and thriving creative space again. And so I sit...picking up countless threads on my clothing no doubt.

Yes...sometimes my life is frightfully like this studio.

Today however I happened upon something in Blog land that swept away some of those threads scattered all over the floor. It surprised me that it affected me so profoundly. But I am grateful. I stopped by this blog for the first time recently. The space Rebeka's has created is impressive and this post chronicling many of her projects through 2009 is amazing. It truly inspired me to look at my studio and the things that come out of it in a new way. In thumbnail images all in a grid as a matter of fact.

Have you ever looked at all that you have accomplished over a period of time all scrunched in together like that? It's marvelous. So much of a mothers work can't be chronicled and documented like that. There is no tally sheet or record book for kisses given, books read, quality time spent, tears dried, lessons taught, etc. My life, is first and foremost the life of a mother. But I am also an artist. And a creative life...that can be chronicled. Works can be gathered, photographed, documented, squished in together and marveled at.

The work of the hands is beautiful. It gathers up all those bits of fabric all over the floor, sends supplies back to their space, and gears up that studio for more creating. a mother, as a daughter, as a wife, as a sister, or as a creating. And it is beautiful. And even though the “studio” is a bit of a disaster area at times it still holds the memories of creation, and the infinite possibilities for more goodness.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Montessori Color Spools

With the holidays behind us I am refocused on working through the list of Montessori materials I would like to make. My most recent project was Montessori Colored Spools.


I have been gathering a lot of information about Montessori homeschooling lately. So much that I have gotten a bit overwhelmed and needed to pare back, organize, and really assess our needs. A huge part of the Montessori method is in fact observing and taking cues from the child. In doing this I saw a definite opening for color theory and art principles to be taught. I found some great resources at Beautiful Sun Montessori that I am excited to use.


Basically we’ll work with the color spools and differentiate hue and strength. Then we’ll introduce the color wheel with the spools, then work with eye droppers, food coloring and water to mix and create colors, (all the while doing lots of painting to let her mix her own colors and create with them), and finally (I’m super excited about this) she will make vanilla pudding (from scratch over the stove…!) and die small bowls of it with food coloring to create a pudding “color wheel”. Yummy…and such a sensory bombardment!!

So here is our color spool project:

We had a blast gathering paint chips that represented true hues in six shades. (I am thinking of leaving off the lightest shade as they are a bit tricky to differentiate…so we may just end up with five shades.) I bought lattice strips and cut them into 3” segments. (Final dimensions: 1 1/2” x 3”).


I cut the paint chips into strips, all the while thinking of so many fun cards and projects that you could make with these lovely striped bits of colored goodness! Yes…I have an unnatural love of paint chips!!! I think some crafting experimenting is in order. But back to the color spools…! The colors were glued to the wooden pieces and modpodged and varnished.

Oh, is it good to see her little hands so involved with momma made wooden bits of beauty. She is delighted and absorbed by them and we are very excited to explore color together. I have to say, while we were taking these pictures her little brother reached up and somehow got a handful of the spools. Absolute glee would be the only words to describe his reaction to his conquest! So I think it is safe to say that we are all excited about these bits of color!!



If you plan on making these please feel free to contact me with any questions! I am always happy to help in any way I can. Why make your own mistakes if you can learn from mine, right?!?!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Seeing Snow

“One way to open your eyes is to ask yourself, “What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see it again?” Rachel Carson


Have you ever looked at snow this way? I highly recommend it. Snow is actually quite funny when you think about it! I remember my freshman year of college on the morning of the first snow. My dorm-mate and friend came rushing into my room exclaiming that snow was falling from the sky! She was from Arizona, and though she had seen it in the movies, and at the tops of mountains she had never seen it fall. She was quite bewildered and wondered what we were going to do? I calmly explained we were going to simply put on our coats and walk to class! You see…what was old hat to me was a totally new experience for her. She was seeing the snow…really seeing it…all that funny white stuff that falls in bits from the sky and piles up all over the place.

And oh is it piling up in these parts!


105_4536105_4557 105_4537 105_4540She'd rather shovel the yard than the driveway!!



Thursday, January 7, 2010

A (Wintery) Teddy Bear Picnic


Every Wednesday we travel to the next town to attend library story time. As we are relatively new to the (very rural) area and also very new to homeschooling we are struggling with establishing regular play-times with other children. So, for this and many reasons Wednesday’s story hour is very much looked forward to! This week the fabulous children’s librarian hosted a teddy bear picnic. With much excitement our little library goer asked her bears and stuffed animals who would like to go with her. It was carefully decided that “Oatmeal” should like to attend. (“He is named “Oatmeal” because he looks just like oatmeal” she explained (with emphatic hand gestures) to the librarians…each librarian!!!)

So…we braved this….


to attend our very first Teddy Bear Picnic. It was a Momma-daughter-bear outing as our little man cub stayed home to take a nap while Daddy worked. (It turned out he didn’t take a nap…so I’m not sure if Daddy did work after all!) So with a bag of books, my regular “momma’s” bag, and my knitting bag, we set out for a marvelous time…and a marvelous time was had by all.


You see…while the stories are being read I am left with many consecutive minutes with which I can do as I please! There is not much more a Momma asks for! I delve into the childrens books with a passion carefully choosing a wide variety of illustrative styles, folklores and fairytales, fiction and nonfictions, and our newest loves…biographies. After all…if I’m going to be reading them over and over again every day for a week or two there must be quite a few that I love!! Did you know that there are many fabulous biographies written of truly remarkable people for very young children? Definitely check out the biography section on your next trip to the library!

I like to sit in the big captains chairs and knit while I listen to the story hour (and often chuckle at my daughters contributions!…she is not shy). I confess I also like to eavesdrop on the group of tables close to my knitting spot that are used by tutors for students of all ages. I have learned quite a bit by the way they introduce, explain, and elaborate on what they are working on. Constructive eavesdropping is acceptable right?!?!105_4565105_4566

I hope you love your library….we sure love ours!!!