Miscellaneous Arts and Crafts

I’ve been doing some cleaning out of stuff. Part of the agreement that I made with my kids was that if I tossed some of these crafts, I would post photos on my blog for the world to see, so they will be saved for a life time now. Fortunately some of the things I came across are just too good to toss, but I still wanted to take pictures of them to share with you. So this is just a hodge podge of arts and crafts that my kids have done over the last few months. (One of them is over a year old, and that’s one of the ones that has to go.)

The first two pictures are of a nature journal that we made out of paper bags. Kind of a fun idea. You can stick all the treasures (i.e. dandelions and rocks) that you gather on your nature walk into the paper bags. We did this with our Adventurer Club at church when studying backyard habitat.

Paper Bag Nature Jounral

Inside of Paper Bag Journal -- Backyard Nature

Next up is a really great illustration JD Boy did in his nature journal when we went to the desert last winter. I couldn’t find his nature journal for awhile, so wasn’t able to post this with our other posts about that trip. (See, it is good to clean house periodically.)

JD Boy's Drawing of the desert

The gecko watercolor painting is also by JD Boy. This is definitely one of the keepers. He did this when doing a watercolor class with his grandpa. I think he did a mighty fine job.

JD Boy's Painting of a Gecko

The last two are things that we did with a couple of different unit studies. The first one is a primer/reader that we made when studying about Colonial America. It has the alphabet and the Lord’s prayer on it. The last one is a talking stick that each kid made when we were studying about American Indians. Both were fun. Both came from Hands and Hearts kits.

Colonial America Primers

Talking Stick

Last but not least is a picture showing how much better the area looks where I was cleaning. I should have taken a before picture, but I was too embarrassed that you could not even see the counter for all of the stuff that was stacked on it. Now everything that was on it has found a permanent home whether it be in a cabinet, trash can or thrift store.

Clean School Area

Cell Anatomy

Have I mentioned before that I love the Exploring Creation Series by Jeannie Fulbright? This year, we are using two books from that series. The boys are doing Zoology 1 – Flying Creatures and Zippy is doing the Anatomy and Physiology book. I wasn’t completely sure about doing two books, but it is working quite nicely actually. I do science with the boys. Zippy does science on her own. It just so happens that the A&P is also available in mp3, so she listens and reads at the same time, that way she can learn how to pronounce all those long anatomy names.

I’m really impressed with the A&P book. Whenever possible, I have Zippy play her mp3 over the speakers so that I can listen too. It’s well written and well read and very informative. Anyway, Zippy, the girl who dreams on a daily basis of when she will be a nurse, is loving the course.

Here are a couple of the recent projects that Zippy did for her science. Zippy was quite proud of this drawing. And if I dare say, I think she has reason to be. It is her drawing of cell anatomy. It might be just a bunch of squiggly lines, but I can’t even draw squiggly lines to look like that.

Cell Anatomy

This is a clay person that she modeled. I think she tried to make it look like her. What do you think?

Zippy's (age 12) Clay Person

Pictures from Alaska

I don’t often get to go places with just my husband. This summer, the two of us actually got to take a trip together–just the two of us. It was the first time to do that since our first child was born (over twelve years ago). We were very lucky to be able to make a trip to Alaska together. I do hope that I can take my kids up there someday too, because it was one of the most amazing places I have ever visited.

These are just some (lots of) random photos from our trip. It was stunningly beautiful. The camera just doesn’t do justice of showing what my eyes soaked in every day there. But it’s a pretty good shot at it.

The first several are from Denali National Park.

My photographer (my husband)

Denali National Park

Moose in Denali


Dahl's Sheep

View from Polychrome Peak

View from Polychrome Peak

Wonder Lake

Mt. McKinley
Mt. McKinley (Denali)

These last ones are from Kenai Peninsula.

Kenai Peninsula

Poppies on Kenai Peninsula

Salmon on Kenai Peninsula

I hope I can go back again someday. I sure feel very privileged to have been able to make this trip and at a time when the weather couldn’t have been nicer!

Spelling Practice

So JD Boy (fourth grade) does not like spelling. After spending too many days demanding that it has to be done the way I say, I decided to try to figure out ways to make it more appealing to a nine-year-old boy.

I finally came up with one way for him to practice his words that he thinks is fun. Plus, it leaves him too worn out to complain. He’s doing jumping jacks while practicing his words. He also has some creative jumping jacks, I have no idea what they are called in real life, but he likes to do those too. Those were his idea, so they’re even better.

Jumping Jacks for Spelling JD Boy practicing his spelling

Another thing that I found is that it is the writing that he doesn’t like. You would think, by fourth grade that wouldn’t be an issue. What I can say–he’s a boy! So we have now switched to doing all spelling verbally. He does have to work on penmanship every day though and is doing a writing class too, so I am making sure that he gets some practice with that pencil. For spelling, he writes the words that he needs to practice, on the white board. So I guess, it’s not completely verbal, but the tests are all verbal. So far, this has improved the outlook on spelling dramatically. Yeah!

In case you’re wondering, we are using Spelling Power for our spelling program, but with a slight adjustment for him.

Knit for Charity

Last year, when my oldest decided that she would like to learn to knit and crochet, we decided to see if we could find any charity knitting projects that was our level. We were very excited when we found this one, called Knit-a-Square. You can either knit or crochet the squares, which are to be 8×8. That’s a small-size project, that even my nine-year-old can tackle without feeling overwhelmed.

The squares for Knit-a-Square are mailed to South Africa. The volunteers there take all the squares from all over the world and assemble them into blankets for little AIDS victims–orphans, children of AIDS mothers, and children who were born with AIDS. We feel privileged to be part of something that is helping orphans.

Today we are all excited to be packaging up our first package to send off.

Stack of Squares
Our stack of squares.

Squares Spread Out

Our designs with the face of our resident monkey in the picture.