January 2017

Already a month into 2017. January sure went by fast. Yet at the same time it was a month of adjustment, rather than new beginnings.

img_0845We went back to doing school after nearly a month-long break. Kids went back to their extracurricular activities. I went back to my work and had a very productive month. Life moves in measured paces more or less, with a crazy day here and there of course.

 

We went to see Star Wars the Power of Costume in Denver Art Museum, and we absolutely loved it, such a large and thorough exhibit. Local people, if you haven’t yet, definitely go and take a look, it’s on until April.

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D. did three days of World Peace Game with our homeschool group. It was such a valuable experience for him and made him think about current events more.

School was mostly “getting into the swing of things” and hopefully it will be better in February.

Gray and white cold days, splashes of color of mundane things – the combination seemed comforting somehow

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My favorite moment was probably playing with Excentric Cinema book by Beatrice Coron. Kids had so much fun moving shadows and making up stories

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I ended up making one of my own papercuts out of black paper and it worked too

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Kids read (beyond a pile of re-reads):

D. read Pax by Sara Pennypacker and White Fang by Jack London

C. read BFG by Roald Dahl and Amazing Animal Stories by Quentin Blake

Mama read Spaceman by Mike Massimino and absolutely loved it

 

I have opened a bookstagram  with most of our reads. Come and take a look. I have a Litsy account under the same username too.

So this was our January. February looks quite busy, but it is also shorter. I hope to keep the measured pace and not give in to the crazy moments.

 

 

Goodbye November +Advent Calendar

November is over. And thank goodness. Somehow it turned out to be so much more stressful than I was hoping it would be. There were quite a few shocks close to heart and there were and are a lot of things to ponder and re-evaluate.

What have we been up to:

-Lots of field trips: We went to Denver Art Museum and saw Glory of Venice and Japanese Fashion Exhibits. We went to Denver Museum of Nature and Science and saw Extreme Mammals exhibit, as well as Mummies (D. loved it so much, C. on the other hand hated it, “too many dead bodies”, I must say it was interesting but I didn’t enjoy it as much for the same reason). We went and listened to an awesome Drums of the World performance by Colorado Symphony. Even got to do Mannequin Challenge with them. We took a tour around Denver Center for the Performance Arts. D. and I did it once when he was in the first grade, but we had an awesome guide this time around and, since I am so much more in touch with my artistic side now, I achieved new levels of appreciation for the backstage workers, designers and craftsmen.

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-The weather was fickle, with winds, first snow and some icy rain. But plenty of sunny days too.  We were busy with extracurriculars too- both kids had a dress rehearsal for the choir concert (C. can’t wait to debut, I unfortunately will have to chaperone and watch her from the backstage instead of the audience), both participated in karate tournament. C. did extremely well, was brave and endured long waits. D. did well too, but he also got hurt, not seriously but enough for me to consider taking him to the ER. He was ok in the end, very thankful for that.

-Also thankful for friends that we were finally able to have over for dinner, thankful for everyone being overall okay and even husbands medical concern isn’t serious and very treatable.

-We have two intense weeks ahead of us, two concerts for each of the kids, tournament training at karate, I will most likely cancel our mid-year testing, I don’t think kids will handle 4 hours and then a long rehearsal all in the same day. We all need rest.

-As usual I have made an advent calendar for kids, they ask for it and really look forward to simple activities we do. The list is pretty much the same as last year, the only thing I added is “grant each other’s wish” (with a reminder to keep it realistic and kind)

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Kids read a lot in November: D’s favorite was “Marvels” by Brian Selznick and C. loved Grace Lin’s “Starry River of the Sky”. I am hoping to do a little book advent as well as the one with the activities we’ll see how it goes.

Hopefully, December is kind to all of us

BOOK REVIEW: Natural Color by Sasha Duerr

As someone who enjoys needle felting I was always curious if (or rather how) can I dye my own wool and, although a number of chemical dyes are available, natural colors always seemed more attractive . For that reason Sasha Duerr‘s book “Natural Color” immediately caught my attention. I used to look through blogs and natural dyeing videos and tried to systematize all the information somehow, and it is nice to see there is an actual book that got all the questions I had covered. Let’s take a look.

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The book discusses the entire process of natural dyeing, from finding the plants, getting the color out and until the final result is ready. Truly it is a wealth of information, presented in a friendly, accessible manner . And not just basics, the book touched various techniques too. The recipes are very straightforward and precise, quite easy to follow. I loved how the recipes were organized by season , and although not all the plants are available in my region for foraging specifically, some are and I can’t wait to try. There is a section on mordants that I found very helpful, different options are discussed and the process is explained so well, I really appreciate the meticulousness. The photography is beautiful and  I am getting inspired by merely looking through the book.

Overall impression: I am in love with all the projects in this book, not just for wardrobe, but for the house too. I am looking forward to trying them one by one. The book is a valuable asset to anyone who is interested in natural dying. 5 stars.

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

Goodbye May, Hello June

May is over, June is here. Summer, at last. We are slowing down, trying to sort our thoughts, calm our minds and let our bodies truly rest.

We still had some activities going and there are some ahead of us yet, but it’s nice to know that we can take a step back if it gets unbearable. I was re-evaluating our school year and decided to scale back on activities. Kids loved what they did, I loved watching them try hard and excel, but on the other hand, their schedule took over our life and affected my health. Clocking in 200 miles per week in activities driving alone was difficult for me and I was sick a lot. I also want to have more slow afternoons, more unstructured play time for kids and especially more chances to get out and be in nature. So next year I will lighten up our schedule and combine kids’ activities where I can. I must admit, I do feel guilty about cutting things, but I believe ultimately it will all be for the best.

This past week brought great joy for us– we finally went for a hike (we haven’t been on a proper one since October). Just breathing in all the fresh air, getting our faces washed by gentle spring rain, oh it was a blessing indeed.

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Meyer Ranch Park in Conifer, CO

Another lovely outing was in nearby Audubon Center, we enjoyed a wonderful display of Redwing Blackbirds, swallows were going crazy and flying around us on the eye level, the birdsong was incredible.

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Kids are reading with gusto, now that they have all this time. C. re-read “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane” by Kate DiCamillo (maaan, I read the ending when she was done and cried, again). D. is completely immersed in The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini. He is done with first three books and halfway through the final, fourth one.

I am re-reading “The Enchanted April” by Elizabeth Von Arnim, probably because it is full of something I’ve been craving desperately- rest and flowers.

 

Mama makes:

I have made a new keychain out of polymer clay and finally painted an initial letter for my studio upstairs. Very happy with both projects.

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THE BEST SEASON OF ALL 2015: Days 8-13

Another week flew by and half of December is gone. We had lovely week of small, quiet celebrations. Here what it was like:

On Tuesday there was another lovely concert with D.’s choir- his division performed in the nursing home nearby and as always, wonderful singing and warm, holiday atmosphere.

 

Wednesday kids opened their new winter books.

TBSOA 2015: new booksFor C. it was “Snow Rabbit” by Camille Garoche- a wordless picture book about a paper rabbit that turned real and two sisters that went chasing after him.

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D. got Neil Gaiman’s “Odd and the Frost Giants” and he loved it.

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On Thursday we tried finger knitting, I must say it was crazy difficult for me and C., I am not a knitter at all and crochet but a little. C. didn’t have patience. But D. got a hang of it and had fun finger knitting for a while.

TBSOA: fingerknitting

 

On Friday D. and his dad had a lovely family karate class and we got our tree after. We usually get a small tree to fit into our tiny living room, but this year the choice was either microscopic or 6 feet tall. So we got 6 feet tall one. It’s weird to have such a big tree again and it takes up half of the room, but ids are absolutely thrilled.

On Saturday we made a few decorations as per our annual tradition and decorated our tree.

D. went for a paper house, inside tha box is colored as a room

D. went for a paper house, inside tha box is colored as a room

C. painted a shell with acrylic paints. As always, I love her colors and especially how she incorporated gold paint

C. painted a shell with acrylic paints. As always, I love her colors and especially how she incorporated gold paint

I of course went with felt and made a simple heart

I of course went with felt and made a simple heart

 

our not at all tiny tree

our not at all tiny tree

Sunday was a card making day, kids made a bunch of cards for their friends and teachers.

Monday they started their annual lego village display

TBSOA 2015: Lego village

 

We watched “It’s a Wonderful Life!”, kids for the first time. Elves have been visiting and putting tiny presents for kids under the tree…I draw some holiday cheer too

TBSOA 2015 :mama draws

I keep doodle diary this season and it’s filling up little by little

two weeks of events

two weeks of events

Wishing wonderful holidays to everyone!

 

 

Goodbye November- The Best Season of All 2015

November flew by even faster than October, who knew it was possible, yet here we are. We had some awesome outings, kids participated in our homeschool program’s annual science fair, we were very sick with nasty respiratory bug that is going around, welcomed first real snowfall of the season and a few after that, had a very quiet Thanksgiving…. And it’s December tomorrow, which means The Best Season of All 2015 is starting!

Every year we have a very special month of December, having some holiday fun every day. I usually make a calendar of activities and kids are excited to find out what will each day bring. Last Year’s calendar and list of fun things to do can be found here. Follow the tag to see what we actually managed to do.

This year’s calendar is all drawings of mine

advent fun calendar 2015

 

Activities are spread through the whole month (don’t ask what it takes to come up with them, every year I try to add something new to old faves). None of these are mandatory for us of course, life happens and most of the month will be very busy with various things, so we’ll do what we can.

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Week’s Roundup: August 31-September 6, 2015

Second week of our new school year flew by.

Picture of the week:

Thursday morning we went to the kitchen and an amazing stack of most delicious crepes was awaiting on the table. Kids did it all by themselves!

Thursday morning we went to the kitchen and an amazing stack of most delicious crepes was awaiting on the table. Kids did it all by themselves!

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