Friday, October 3, 2014

Leather Stamping {Art Friday}

Lately we've been able to start a lot of our days with paper and colored pencils. I leave them out in the morning so that after breakfast and my coffee and the kids finish up their morning tv time, we can start our work together. 

Most of the time the oldest just listens to music and Indie experiments with lines and colors. It's very simple and there is no end goal, it is just us. It's a rhythm that fits our learning style. 

This week we decided to do a little leather stamping for art appreciation. It's really simple and you can find kits at your local craft store.  Joann has one like this. Hobby Lobby had a similar one for a bit cheaper. 

 A general rule of thumb is to get your leather wet before starting. 

 The mallets are pretty light- hammer your stamp onto your leather piece.  

This set included arrow head shaped key chain and would be a great lead into Native American cultures. Indie is holding up a bracelet she made as well. 

If you are working with Montessori at home this would fit into your practical life work. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Saying Goodbye {Foster Care}

It's time. 

I was starting to get a little fidgety. We knew that our little guy had a home to go to and we've spent the last 6 months trying desperately to build a relationship with his Mom. We fought for this. We recommended and complained and communicated how much this guy needs to go home. 

It felt like we weren't making progress. That Mom was just going to keep skating. But tonight, tonight we got the call. 

My reaction was relief. Excitement. Peace. 

But not sadness. Not yet. 

I know that it should seem sad. I know I will be sad. It'll hit at a random time. Maybe the quietness of the house. Maybe the feeling of forgetting something when we go on a field trip. Maybe when I find that lost sock or wash a random shirt too small for anyone else in the house. 

But for every one kid we take into our home, there are countless more that need a safe place. Opening up our bed allows for another heart to love on and family to embrace. 

That's what we signed up for. What we knew when we said "yes." 

So now that we are transitioning our little guy home, now that it's happening in the next week, I guess all I can say is that, well,  it's just time. 

How can you support us?

I'm not really sure yet. When we said goodbye to Ms. S it was so very different. Also expected, but quicker. Mr. I will most likely stay in touch. I'm sure we'll get some pictures and we get to give him a great send off. 

Don't be afraid to say you are sad if I may not be. Don't be afraid to remind me of all of the points I just made if I end up being sad for a while. It's ok to ask how he's doing. 

I'm looking forward to being a "normal" family for a little while and regrouping before we head into the next adventure. 

Thank you guys for supporting us this far. For listening to the drama. For loving on the little guy with us. For giving him a chance to do awesome things. The clothes, the toys, the baby supplies. They all matter and we haven't forgotten. We know it's a lot to ask of you guys. Please know that we can't do any of this without you. There will be more kids and more needs and it will feel like you just gave us stuff yesterday. I know. We know. So thank you. 

All Great Things are Wound up with All Things Little
L.M. Montgomery in Anne of Green Gables

Friday, September 26, 2014

Flower Pressing: Part 1 {Art Friday}

I have really fond memories of pressing flowers as a little one with our flower press. This week we found some lovely local flowers at the farmers market and as they started to fade I thought we would try to preserve them. 

You don't need anything fancy, just a heavy book, some flowers, and some paper. You can also place the flowers inside the book if you have a heavy used one that has minimal value. 

Pick the flowers you want to press. Lay flat on you paper. 

Cover with another sheet and place book on top gently. 

Wait a few weeks for them to dry.  Once ours are dry and pressed we'll use them for a fun project so be sure to check in! 

This was inspired by the lovely ladies over at Wild + Free. They have a free content bundle available  and a new monthly online magazine. September's theme is Garden. Be sure to get a copy before the end of the month! 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Parts of a dicotyledon {Botany}

We are working on seeds this week.  I was really pleased with how hard everyone worked this afternoon on their booklets and sorting. This is a pretty simple set up but has a ton of extensions. 

We used a mini muffin tin and four different varieties of seeds. We bought ours from the thrift store so I was limited with the types. Buy larger seeds (beans, squash) for smaller hands and smaller seeds (carrots, broccoli) for a bigger challenge. The top row contains an example seed and a card with the common and latin names. The middle row is the picture of the seed. It worked well to cover up that hole on the muffin tin. The bottom row is where they placed the matching seeds. 

Nomenclature cards. We did a three part lesson on the parts and ordered them in terms of growth. 

Working on writing. These are almost always a hit.  The younger ones work on tracing the words and coloring the pictures. 

More Resources

Montessori WorkJobs has a great printable as well
Free Seed and Plant Matching Cards from Montessori Print Shop

Friday, September 19, 2014

Chicken Mummy {Art, History and Science}

This project ended up being a super long one but totally worth it! I included it today for Art Friday but it obviously would fit in just about any subject area you might want it too. 

Make a Chicken Mummy

3 cans baking powder
3 boxes of baking soda (or approximately 6 cups)
gallon sized storage bags

rubbing alcohol
spices (we used cinnamon)
salt (we used 4 cans)
gloves (if you want)

The first couple days take the most amount of work. After that, you can leave it alone for quite a while without thinking about it. It took us about 6 weeks total. 

Rinse and pat your chicken dry. You are essentially using various salts to dry out your chicken, water will not be your friend for this! 

Wash your chicken with the rubbing alcohol. Pat dry. 

Mix 1/2 box baking powder, 1 cup of baking soda and a can of salt in a large bowl. With the chicken in your plastic bag, fill the inner cavity with the salt mixture.  Pour the rest of the salt mixture on your chicken. Add spices if desired (it is very much desired) 

Repeat this process the next few days. Dust off any extra salt before adding new salt and replace your bag. We did a new mixture on Day 2, Day 4 and Day 7. After that it was every 10 days or so. The chicken will not smell (it just smelled like cinnamon) but if it does  or you notice it, it's time to change the salt. 

Materials to Finish
Glue (make your own: mix 1 1/2 cups flour with 1 cup water, add more water until you reach the desired consistency)
Fabric Scraps (muslin works great for this, we used our dyed fabric from our unit on the Phoenicians. Find the reciped for Simple Purple Dye Here 

Box (for a coffin)
Hieroglyphs to reference for decorating 

Dust off the extra salt and rub the chicken in spices. Stuff the inside with fabric (we actually forgot this part...). Cut fabric strips and dip into glue. Wrap 2-3 times and let dry completely. 

Decorate your box!

The original instructions came from Story of the World: Ancient Times Activity Book.