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Dye Job! {Scrap Games}

1 Aug

Jerry Garcia was born on August 1, 1942… and my sister is a long-time fan of his music.  So several years ago, as I was planning our activities for the month of August, I mentioned to her that I didn’t have anything planned for the first.  She told me I should listen to the Dead and tie-dye some t-shirts… and the holiday stuck!  August 1st is Tie-Dye Day in the Games House!

Dye Job {Scrap}

If you’re after some deep cute… you should check out the 2008 After post with the shirts we made that year.  The shirt KarateKid has on in the first picture is the shirt he wore today… and here, because I’m too afraid you won’t click through, here is the adorably wee GoGoGirl, wearing today’s shirt three years ago:

Aug 03 shirt 3 bullseye volcano

It was down to her knees!  And she didn’t have any hair!  Awwwww.

This year’s shirts are still setting and we’ll have an after picture in a couple of days.  The kids did 6 shirts, 2 pillowcases, and an assortment of hankies and washcloths with one squirt-bottle kit, so I’d call our afternoon a rousing success!  Happy Tie-Dye Day!

My Heart on a Shelf

5 Feb

Brr!  Freezing rain and sleet – not the best day to venture outside!  We stayed home most of the day, listening to music and tackling little and long-neglected jobs like re-hanging pictures and washing the vases on the kitchen windowsill.  We did sneak out in the morning long enough to head to the Home Depot Kids’ Workshop, where GoGoGirl and KarateKid made some cute little heart-shaped shelves.

The kids just love these free little woodworking projects (and the ones offered at Lowe’s) and are proud of their growing collection of pieces.  They even gave some as Christmas presents! (Homeschooling transcript: Shop Class. Check!)

Kids Workshop Heart Shelf Scrap

Taking Pictures

4 Feb

I take a lot of pictures.  They’re mostly either snapshots or a very slow progression of teaching myself better photography, experimenting with composure and settings, playing with light and color.  I take pictures of the kids’ school work, art projects, games, drawings, block buildings, I snap pictures at all our many outings, I grab pictures of funny faces, photograph messes before cleaning them up, I reach for my camera before anything.

I love what photography captures.

Today I took plenty of pictures, and these were two of my favorites.  Really, I was just playing with a long lens and different ISO and WB settings in the YMCA gym, sitting against one wall while GoGoGirl snuggled happily with another mom, reading Highlights, and KarateKid and the other big kids played an unusual game of basketball.  I happened to catch this moment, where KarateKid is obviously trying to talk his friend T into some crazy basketball scheme, plot, or Calvinball-eqsue bending of the rules.  T is listening, as he usually does, very carefully and with all seriousness.  I love it.

TV basketball 1

Just a few snaps later, I caught this picture of T in a full-on smile, obviously now intent on carrying out KarateKid’s crazy scheme! It is such a deep joy to watch T play.

TV basketball 2

And what’s better, every single picture I take – yup, every single one – comes out absolutely, positively perfect.

Outtakes Scrap

Er. Don’t quote me on that.

Children Learn to Smile Scrap

Spirit Fingers!

3 Feb

Spirit Fingers 09

Football Fever has hit the Games house! KarateKid and GoGoGirl enjoy watching football with MechDaddy and watched the playoffs, so they’re ready for the big game on Sunday. I’ve convinced them to root for the Steelers… mostly because I love those colors! I knew they’d be fun to work with.

By far their favorite craft so far has been making SPIRIT FINGERS. It was so easy and had such fantastic results that I thought I’d share the idea with you, in case you have a chance to do this before (or even during) the Super Bowl.

Our SPIRIT FINGERS are just stretchy gloves… with pom poms in team colors on every fingertip.

Spirit Fingers 13

8 year old KarateKid made his mostly independently – it does help to have a buddy hold your pom pom as you tie it, but he did the rest on his own. 4 year old GoGoGirl loved the pom pom making and I attached the puffs to her gloves for her.

Spirit Fingers 01

All you need to make your own: yarn in team colors, stretchy gloves from the dollar store (available in tiny size for GoGoGirl), a toilet paper roll for wrapping, scissors, and a yarn needle.

Spirit Fingers 02

Snip the toilet paper tube into sections. You’ll be using this to make the pom pom, so the length of each strand of yarn in the final pom will be half the width of the tube. If you want larger or smaller poms, you can cut cardboard to whatever size you like. Toilet paper tubes just happen to be very plentiful in our house!  (I wrapped yarn around a roll of masking tape to make the pom poms in GoGoGirl’s ponytails!)

Spirit Fingers 03

Wrap yarn around the tube several times to make the base of your pom pom. The kids wrapped each color around the tube six times. Wrapping more times will make a fuller, stiffer pom if you prefer that.

Spirit Fingers 04

This is the tricky part of pom pom making: slide the yarn off the cardboard and tie it off in the middle. It’s much easier if you enlist the help of a buddy, even if her four-year-old fingers are a little wiggly! Tie your yarn as tightly as you can so the pom won’t slip.

Spirit Fingers 05

Here’s what one of KarateKid’s poms looked like. You need to make ten of these for each pair of gloves.

Spirit Fingers 06

Thread the needle with yarn that matches the gloves and/or the pom poms. Slide it in and out of a finger tip, right up at the seam at the top. Try to leave only a tiny space between where you go in and where you come back out, as you’re really just tying a knot there.

Lay the pom pom across this yarn right at the finger tip, and tie the yarn tightly across the center of the pom pom to attach it to the glove.

Spirit Fingers 07

They’re irresistible! KarateKid had to try his on with only two pom poms attached! It does help to give your hands a good shake once the pom poms are on, to make sure they’re secure and to let them fluff up a little.  Do you see the black-and-gold blur in the bottom left corner of that photo?  It’s GoGoGirl, fluffing her fingers!

Spirit Fingers 08

Once the kids had these on… they had to CHEER!

Spirit Fingers 12

T-O-U-C-H down, TOUCH down, give us six points!

Spirit Fingers 11

Go, go, G-O go, GO, fight, and WIN!

(Hey! Cheering is spelling practice. All except this one from high school… “R-O-W-D-I-E, that’s the way you spell ROWDY…” Yeah. There was a reason the band geeks made fun of the cheerleaders.)

These turned out to be all-purpose gloves, good for…

Spirit Fingers 10


Spirit Fingers 14


Spirit Fingers 15


Spirit Fingers 16

…and especially TICKLING! These are fantastic tickle-monster gloves!

After I left the room, the kids decided they were also perfect for firing bolts of lightning, a la Emperor Palpatine. In the afternoon, they decided that the shaggy fingers looked like the Grinch’s. I can’t wait to see what they are tomorrow!

Spirit Fingers 17

If you decide to make a pair or three, let us know!

Spirit Fingers Scrap

Snow Tunnels

2 Feb

Although we didn’t get as much snow as was predicted, the kids have still been having a blast digging in the plow piles!

Snow Tunnels Scrap

Who says homeschoolers can’t have snow days? Plenty of engineering and physics work in those tunnels. KarateKid and GoGoGirl have been in and out so many times over the past few days that we’re up to our fourth or fifth rotation of hats and gloves. The kids each have two coats and two pairs of snowpants – all of those, plus all their hats and gloves, are now completely soaked through and need to run through the dryer this afternoon! We’re curled up for a while, watching the blu-ray of the classic Disney version of Alice in Wonderland, warming our toes. Are you enjoying your wintry weather?

Eating Icicles Scrap

Blue Eyes Scrap

Cozy Cocoa Day

1 Feb

Hot Cocoa Scrap

(click on the photo to see a larger version at flickr)

Our first semi-major snow of the year, the third snow day for area schools, with another one coming tomorrow, we think. We had a few inches on snow on the ground already, then got 5″ more overnight, with 3-6″ more on its way before all is said and done tomorrow night.  (For all the snow that’s been dumped around the country this winter, we’ve been surprised at how little has fallen in our yard!  This is the most we’ve had at once so far this season.)

The kids were thrilled that there’s finally enough snow for digging tunnels, if only in the plow banks along the road.  They have gone out and come in and out and in a dozen times, making me so glad that they’re old enough to dress themselves in hats and boots, snowpants, gloves, and puffy coats!

When I called them in for lunch, I served up hot cocoa in my Buszi’s blue willow mugs, with french vanilla marshmallows on top.  The cocoa warmed their bellies, and their smiles warmed my heart.

National Weather Service

21 Jan

Our homeschooling Navigators’ group had a cold and snowy field trip today up the long, blowy hill to the National Weather Service office near the airport.  Many of the kids couldn’t go, either because of the weather or due to illness, but the eight who did make it up there had a very nice time and learned a lot – maybe just a little too much by the end of the hour and a half, for some of them, but it was fascinating.  We liked the three men who talked to us and answered our questions, even if they did tell us it’s going to continue being unseasonably cold at least through next week.  Hmph!  If we go personally to get our weather forecast, we should get a better one than that!

Navigators NWS 1

(Some scrapbook pages have a lot more personal details than others – sorry about all those black boxes, and the pesky blue star over our county’s map!)

Navigators NWS 2

The kids (and four very interested moms!) learned about weather systems and the computer programs they use to forecast them.  We talked about what the NWS does and doesn’t do (it does make forecasts and severe weather alerts but doesn’t help predict earthquakes).  We looked at dozens of different kinds of maps on the computer screens and learned that each meteorologist has about 5 monitors and a very specific job; there are about six scientists on duty during the day, three in the evening, and two overnight.  There is always someone working there; they all have degrees in meteorology and about 30% have graduate degrees.

It was a great field trip and I encourage you to look for a National Weather Service office near you for a very educational indoor field trip this winter.  Our kids came out wanting to learn more about weather, computers, and ham radio, and several of the kids mentioned wanting to become an official weather spotter, calling in snow or rain fall totals for the forecast and recorded data.

Welcome, Sweet Baby

20 Jan

Two of my friends are welcoming babies this month (or possibly early next month, but we’re all hoping for January!).  The first baby, MT’s new little sister HT, was born yesterday after a short labor with no complications.  Hooray!  Aren’t her lips gorgeous?

Fuzzy Baby

Welcome, sweet baby! The forty-five minutes I spent with you in my arms today were wonderful newborn bliss.

Cowboy Birthday

16 Jan

KarateKid and GoGoGirl were delighted to be invited to their friend C’s birthday party yesterday.  C is a six-year-old cowboy, and so the party was full of fun, from hats and boots to vittles and sidewinders.  Here are some of my pictures of the party!

Cowboy Birthday-001

Cowboy Birthday-002

Cowboy Birthday-003

Cowboy Birthday-004

Cowboy Birthday-005

Cowboy Birthday-006

Cowboy Birthday-007

Cowboy Birthday-008

Cowboy Birthday-009

Cowboy Birthday-010

Cowboy Birthday-011

We had such a nice time and are so glad to have wonderful friends like these!

Veterans’ Day Parade

11 Nov

KarateKid was thrilled to march in today’s Veterans’ Day Parade with his dojo… and I was thrilled that it was (relatively) warm and (exceptionally) sunny!  Here’s a quick look at our day…

Vet Parade 1 Blanked

Vet Parade 2 Blanked

GoGoGirl had a perfect view from MechDaddy’s shoulders.  I loved the old cars cresting the hill into the city and this wonderful family in their matching flag outfits (there were five or six of them) – all on velocipedes!  KarateKid was pleased to do his first ever board break on a bridge.  It was a fabulous day.