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.


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







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


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



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.




Tuesday Night Playtime : Little Boats

This is our last Tuesday Night Play for a while as D’s choir starts again next week.

This week we took opportunity to play with some walnut shells and created a sea adventure. Initially we hoped to make mini candles so we have floating lights, but those didn’t work out.


kids were very free with the beeswax 😀

We ended up just sticking little flags made out of washi tape into the shells and let them float.


kids also added glass beads, plastic snowflakes, ice and even a stray cranberry for more dramatic set-up. A candle served for the setting sun

Later children added an island- one of D’s earlier ceramic creations, and some animals to liven up the scene.


mysterious island


and a baby hippo guarding the treasure (love how kids picked turquoise tissue paper to put underneath our glass bowl, creating a lovely tropical beach)


So here is our Tuesday Night Play, I loved seeing kids play small worlds again. A little bit sad because D. is slowly leaving it behind (they grow up so fast). Stay tuned for more, we will definitely keep this tradition, if not on Tuesdays, there are 3 more free nights in the week 🙂



Week’s Roundup: Jan. 11- Jan 17, 2016

A quick roundup on what we’ve been up to this past week.

-We said goodbye to our holiday tree, it is always bittersweet to take down the decorations, and seeing the room empty and treeless again. But since our tree was so huge and took up a big part of our living room we were also anxious to get our space back

-We created tiny universes with marbles and phone light

-we had doctors visits, mostly good news, hopefully more health issues will be taken care of next week

-school at home went well, much better than last week. For history kids learned about European megalithic structures, D. watched a documentary about Stonehenge and read about Newgrange from Frank Delaney’s Ireland. It was all about human body at co-op, lots of info about blood. For geography D. is following adventurers from Jules Verne’s “In Search of Castaways” which he reads in Russian. The book took him across South America already 🙂

-all extracurricular activities went well, choir is still on a break, but karate, ballet and chess club are all back and kids seem to be having lots of fun with these

-at home: D’s room re-painting is in progress, and, hopefully a new bookcase and curtains are coming soon

-no special outings this week, but lots planned in the weeks to come

Favorite thing:

We read about amazing matte oil paintings setting the scenery for original Star Wars  and kids set to create their own playscape backgrounds. D.’s drawings quickly transformed into a Star Wars poster (which he is still working on), but C. made a jungle scenery for her little animals, I especially loved how she used oil pastels as a part of the landscape and moved them around…



Not many pictures, not that many events, yet we had a better week overall.


Tuesday Night playtime: creating tiny universes

Evenings are long and dark , but tonight was delightful. I saw the idea of playing with marbles and assistive light on the phone somewhere on the web, and today we finally got a chance to try it out. We had marbles and beady decorations from the floral section in the craft store. Warning, don’t look directly at the light, it will definitely hurt your eyes!

Just a marble put on top of phone’s assistive light and a complete darkness- all you need to create a tiny amazing universe, we found that craft store beads create better galaxies, but marbles make amazing planets:

our first marble universe

our first marble universe



the blue one most definitely has water :)

the blue one most definitely has water 🙂


A good chance to remember differences between opaque, translucent and transparent- and the biggest marble becomes Neptune

A good chance to remember differences between opaque, translucent and transparent- and the biggest marble becomes Neptune

half the planet is covered with ice

half the planet is covered with ice

my favorite spotty marble   reminded us about Earth

my favorite spotty marble reminded us about Earth

It gets even better – the colors reflected on our ceiling absolutely charmed little C.

marble planets reflection


reflection from marbles


We also had some rocks bought from the museum long time ago and those made some magic of their own

this shard of crystal like rock created icy and fierce asteroid

this shard of crystal like rock created icy and fierce asteroid

this one looks like a glowing amber

this one looks like a glowing ember

This one, blue with lilac strikes is our favorite, it looks like it has a heart

This one, white with lilac strikes is our favorite, it looks like it has a heart


Fun and calming time tonight…

Car game

We had to drive a lot today and sometimes kids were bored. So they came up with a game that I found quite awesome.
C. is allowed to ask D. any question and he can answer it truthfully or make stuff up.
C’s questions included “Why do we eat? ” (so we survive), “Why do we wear clothes?” (long winded explanation involving pre-historic people), “What are we made of?” (of love:)) and so on.
I found it super touching how C. trusts her brother to provide the answers and how D. tries his best to make it easy for her to understand. Tomorrow C. will be the answerer and I am already excited about things she’ll come up with.

Week’s Roundup: Goodbye February 2015

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February is over and thank goodness it is. It was a good month, but it seemed long and heavy. Russians congratulated each other on the beginning of spring today. And even though here, in the US it doesn’t come for a couple of weeks at least, I think it is here already, lurking in the woods and soon will drive winter out completely.

Photo of the week:

nothing better than spending Sunday afternoon with my baby girl by my side, all nice and cozy

nothing better than spending Sunday afternoon with my baby girl by my side, all nice and cozy

Continue reading

Arctic play

Today, there is so much snow outside, we can’t go out due to C. having very strong sniffles still. So we had a spontaneous Arctic study.

I picked up North: The Amazing Story of Arctic Migration by Nick Dawson, illustrated Patrick Benson (affiliated link to book depository) at the library the other day

North picture book

and it proved to be just the right thing for little C. who’s fascinated with Arctic animals at the moment. D. read about the voyage of Pytheas  to the northern seas in Into the Unknown by Stewart Ross, illustrated by Stephen Biesty  (affiliated link to book depository).

into the unknown

We looked at the map of Arctic and Antarctic in our Maps book. We also read in Russian about types of movable houses nomadic people of Polar Regions make, also about igloos (“Дома мира” Ольги Колпаковой- Серия Настя и Никита).

After that C. drew a picture of whales migrating to the Arctic Ocean.

arctic migration drawing

In the end of the day kids created a lovely play scene on the floor- as always nothing more than a blanket and colorful pebbles in addition to our stash of Schleich animals. Well, actually we did use old towels to create icebergs and C. insisted that we have Antarctic too, a couple of magical creatures joined the party and Lego Flynn Rider was on his way to shore (but he was careful to avoid a hungry orca)

Arctic children play

We made some ice to see if our animals can ride on the iceberg. We kind of failed here, because our iceberg was only half frozen, still kids had tons of fun playing with water

drifting :)

drifting 🙂

the hungry orca

the hungry orca

That was our spontaneous Arctic Day (it’s quite cold outside too, if the weather keeps we might be lucky enough to try and build a snow fort tomorrow).

Interesting posts on the subject I came across:

Kids Dioramas and Small World Play at Artful Parent

Simple Ice Experiment

ETA: Movies to watch

Arctic Tale Trailer

To The Arctic Trailer