Ora et labora
~St. Benedict

Monday, December 31, 2012

Texas family getaway

There is a little hidden gem about 20 miles from downtown Houston, called Kemah.  It is a boardwalk that promises to please everyone in the family. There are amusement rides and mini tours a plenty, plus savory seaside restaurants and little town shops to divert your attention from any lingering Texas heat.

And during our time visiting this charming location, there was a live band playing into the night and a very entertaining side show act that included flaming hoops and a curious
balancing act.

This little get-
away is perfect for a day or weekend trip! 



Sunday, December 30, 2012

Building builds character

I thought that I would relish in my 'real wood' craigslist find, but discovered this scene to dote on instead.  We found an amazing bed for Big T and it was not long before dad and son got to work assembling.

They worked quickly and efficiently, but the definite love and confidence was very present for the both of them. I absolutely delight in capturing little moments like these.

It is with great sensibility that a father would have his son build his own bed, instead of setting everything up beforehand. He gave Big T more than just somewhere to sleep, but skills that will help traverse him into manhood.

Yes, I obtained all of this from watching my guys construct a bed...what can I say, I am sentimental.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Tree construction

Spring forth creativity from brown craft paper, plastic grocery bags, and packing bubbles! Hey, why not construct or shall I say "grow" a tree indoors? Let us make it floor to ceiling too.

Crumple with artistic ferocity.
 Staple happy and forming a grand tree trunk.
Not bad for a child who does not like heights very much...now start stuffing until you can not stuff anymore!
Branch making 101: do the twist!

Our lovely Giving Tree before leaves.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Give and take

Let us travel back to 1973...well, even though I was not born yet, I still appreciate this video of The Giving Tree, narrated by Shel Silverstein.  Little T thought it most curious too and watched in silence and contemplation.

I did not usher my opinion of the video, but waited too see what Little T thought.  He did quite a bit of thinking and we ended up talking about it for days. He was sad for the tree and upset at the greedy boy.  He also developed a sense of disbelief and respect for the tree.  Can a tree be a hero? There were some interesting questions twirling and whirring in his mind.  One thing was for sure, the character traits of the tree proved to be valuable to my 7 year old.

This video has inspired us to make our own tree in our school room...stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Peep jousting

Hear ye, hear ye, gather your champions and lances!
Enter the tournament grounds (microwave)!
Try as the yellow knights did with all their bravery & might...

Defeat was imminent & the blue knights were crowned victors.

Good Lords enjoying their spoils!


Where have we been?

Meet one of our new neighbors!

Here's some more of the gang!

The last time I took a little sabbatical from blogging, we moved to a new city. Well, you guessed it...we moved again, but this time in the same area.  Our first lesson in the new place was to look up the differences between alpacas and llamas.  And now we know that alpacas are smaller, more pleasing to the eyes, and known for their silky wool.  Our family loves passing these unique ranch animals every day!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Leftover tortillas

This is what we ended up making with our last of the Colorful Tortillas.  Well, we had three plain ones left and one pink one.  TnT placed them in the oven at 350 degrees to crisp up for a few minutes. Once cool, the boys lightly flicked water onto them with their fingers and then sprinkled stevia and cinnamon on top.

Next, we dressed 'em up with scoops of vanilla ice cream, topped with whipped cream and butterscotch chips...yum!

I just might be a homeschooling mom if...

I wear a birthday hat made by my children that reads "It's My B-day."

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Colorful tortillas

Little T has been anticipating homemade tortilla day for a while and when he asked to make colorful tortillas, I was all for it.  Oh, and there just so happened to be neon food coloring in the pantry too (insert crazy baker laugh).

We adapted an Authentic Mexican Tortilla recipe to meet our zany needs.

First, Little T measured out and combined the ingredients, followed by cutting in the shortening with two butter knives.

The dough started coming together, even though ours looked like cauliflower at first.

                                                   After letting the dough rest for over an hour,
                                                   in came our reinforcements for the fun stuff.

Some pieces of dough were left plain, while others used no more than two drops of food coloring per ball.  TnT kneaded until each drop of color was dispersed just how they wanted it.


Rolling and cooking commenced.

Our vibrant tortillas!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Painting soap suds

A lot of our projects are a culmination of creative thinking and whatever items are strewn about the house.  TnT love to paint and they can not resist sticking their hands in any dish that happens to be filled with soap suds, so why not make it into fun tactile art? 

Start out by squirting some dish liquid into an old pan or bin. Fill your container with water to make lots and lots of suds. Now, who can abstain from touching all these glorious bubbles?

There's no rhyme or reason, just grab your paints and experiment. You can make various shapes in the suds, but when your concoction decides to disintegrate, then the paint and soap morph into wonderful abstract pieces.

After your master artists have decided everything looks just perfect, then lay some water color paper or cardstock on top of the colorful soapy display. Lift and rinse under the faucet and set to dry.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Creative children

Our children conjure up the most wild and delightful ideas, some more messy than others, but nevertheless they are always busy creating.

Big T writes very inventive stories and really puts his heart and soul into developing games, greeting cards, and gifts for others.  One of my favorite gifts to receive from him are his massage certificates and boy, does he deliver!  I can honestly say that I will never find a more unique massage technique than his, which is enhanced with marbles and race cars.  Hey, do not knock it until you try it...a race car massage is simply divine.

Little T seems to make things out of whatever is available. He loves to collect containers, paper, business cards, and whatever else he finds interesting.  To him, everything has a use and should not be thrown away. I find myself sneaking to the garbage bag sometimes to throw away, well... "trash." Most of the time I save stuff for him because I know he will enjoy it, but once I start finding an over abundance of things like egg carton containers, paper towel rolls, and boxes, then I have to take action. One day he may be some kind of green environmentalist, a super engineer, or fast track architect, or perhaps I may be cultivating a hoarder.  Whatever it is he decides to be (he says a basketball playing doctor chef), he certainly is a lot of fun in the meantime. 

I relish the fact that TnT are imaginative boys who are free and able to dream.  It is such a blessing to homeschool and witness the little things, nuances that I may miss otherwise.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Artistic Valentine's cards

This project rates on the craft scale as easy peasy!

Here are the supplies you will need:

paint tray - paint brushes - rubber cement - water colors or watered down paint - water color paper

Have your artist drip, scrape, & brush the rubber cement onto the water color paper. Sky's the limit here; abstract creativity, purposeful design, or a combination of the two can create some beautiful art.

Let the glue dry for about 10-15 minutes. It can feel tacky to the touch, just not wet in order to paint.

ne pas déranger l'artiste
do not disturb the artist                                                    no molestar el artista

Cut out cards after masterpieces are dry!