Ora et labora
~St. Benedict

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Tri-blade boomerang design

Our dot painting led us to boomerang design! We never even fathomed that boomerangs were not invented in Australia.  In all our research, it was founded that they most likely originated in Poland of all places. Nevertheless, the Aborigines seemed to perfect the art of throwing sticks and the ever popular boomerang in style and art adopted its way into Australian culture.

I decided to have the boys make a tri-blader (three blades) because it seemed more conducive to a beginner. 

These are the items needed for the project: scissors, pencil, ruler, cardboard, & construction paper

Project rating ='s easy to medium, only because it is a bit difficult cutting through cardboard

Start off by making a template for your tri-blader. The bottom straight edge of the design should be 1.5 inches across.

Now trace your blades on your cardboard; each blade must face the same direction.

Making sure each blade has 1.5 inch edge

After all three blades are traced, you should see an equilateral triangle in the center. Yes, there is geometry in boomerang making. I made sure to point this out to the boys and we talked about it for a couple of minutes.

The last step & most challenging aspect is to cut out the boomerang design.

To our fingers' delight, we made it through the cutting process. And to our heart's delight, the boomerangs actually worked. It is best to throw them at a 45 degree angle. I told the boys to imagine making a half circle when they got ready to throw. Ha, hubby got a little excited and one ended up on the roof. No worries though, the wind kindly returned it to us.

Next project will be painting our tri-bladers!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Customized letters for school room

I have started the daunting task of organizing our school room, and got side tracked on the pretties. I am not sure what it is, but anytime I tackle something big or create something, I have to walk away a plethora (Three Amigos talk for a lot) of times and then come back to it.

This may seem like a strange process, but I often find myself doing "in-between" projects, so that I can come back with a fresh perspective on the larger task at hand.

Nope, I cannot sit and formulate a plan (like a normal person) and then execute it in a systematic fashion, especially when it comes to creative things. Re-engineering our school room is much more than a functional undertaking to me and is more like an artistic endeavor that will help shape, inspire, and influence the minds of my children. 

I spotted these wonderful blue metal “T” letters while out for supplies and decided to make my own letter “N” wrapped in alpaca yarn, which turned out great.  They will make a nice decorative addition to represent the boys in our learning space.
Ha, I really wanted to add a burlap flower on the “N,” but thought better of it for the guys.  I may add some jute pieces or nuts/bolts or even perhaps a bottle cap to “man” it up.  What do you think? What else can I use to add a little more pizzazz?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Aboriginal dot painting

Items Needed: brown construction paper, 3 different colors of paint (light colors work best with dark paper), and cotton swab

I started by explaining to Little T that Aborigines are the indigenous people of Australia. We did a google search on "Aboriginal children and art." Our focus became the dot art and pattern work. 

We talked about the art piece first and decided upon circles and one huge squiggly line.  Little T thoughtfully planned his pattern and spacing, starting with small dots that would graduate into larger ones.

It really did take a bit of time and concentration to get everything down on paper.  He had to remember that he was working within a set pattern and keep a steady hand.

I promised a great reward for patience and completing his work with a good attitude.  Once the dotting sequence was over, he decided that he did not care for the dead space left in-between the patterns. As a budding artist, some creative license was used and he filled any remaining space with off-white dots. Markedly, he declared that his work was "delectable." Hmm, what?  He meant to say "Aboriginal," but I am a fan of "delectable" too.

Oh and what was his great reward for maintaining a happy heart through pattern work? Well, see for yourself...he was painted as well.


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Year's crafting and fun

Okay, so we are still celebrating New Year's 2013, woo! A round of fireworks and sparklers just could not be contained on one chilly night. Our second night of the new year had to be just as boisterous and a little more out of the box than the previous party.

TnT got to work on making their own drop balls! At first, Little T did not fully understand the concept of a drop ball until further investigation satisfied his ideas on the zany custom. It is an odd sort of tradition and we found it quite peculiar that not only balls are dropped, but things like pickles, giant acorns, & even pigs are used to mark the new year in some places. 

For our drop ball, I found plastic Warhead's candy Christmas ornaments for half off at our local drugstore. The task was then for the boys to fill each ball with sentiments, prayers, and items representing themselves and what they would be striving for in the upcoming year.

They both wanted flags and crosses to represent themselves right away, so we took out the Perler Beads and got to work creating.

Once TnT got all their items together, they laid them on the kitchen table and explained what each one meant.

Now for the outlandishly fun part! We managed to locate the largest popper we could find on Earth and had the novel idea to pop it in our quiet and clean home.

The confetti rained down on us like a prize show!
And just like any good game show, we had them grab their pillows for the ultimate game of "catch your drop ball."

Happy New Year! May 2013 be filled with abundant blessings and prayers for all!

Time to pick apples

Visiting an apple orchard was a wonderful way to tie into our Giving Tree lesson.  We still have our great tree standing floor to ceiling in our school room and it is proving to be fruitful in more ways than estimated.

Our day excursion took us to the sleepy town of Mason, the home of                Sonlight Apple Orchard.

The folks there are (you guessed it) down home Texas farmers.  We started off with a mini lesson on how to pick the apples properly...it is twist and twist until the apple comes off real natural like (inserting Southern twang for realism).

Now do not get squeamish if you happen upon a worm hole or whole worm, it is half of a worm you need to worry about. Then again, a little protein never                  hurt a soul. 
Once your picking frenzy has subsided, then enjoy the sweetness of your freshly picked gourmet apples.
Happy Picking from our family to yours!
Hear no evil - See no evil - Speak no evil


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Family reading time

I love that there are 12 days of Christmas!  So, I am not in any hurry to pack up the holiday decorations or put away our cherished reading material.  We may not celebrate in a timely order, but it is certainly during the holy season.  What do I mean by that? Well, maybe the Advent calendar decorations did not get pinned on the correct dates or our children fell asleep before the lighting of the candles, but nevertheless, we carried on in our own off beat semi-traditional way. 

Trust me, it is so much better to carry on as if everything was meant to happen.  Less stress on me equals a very happy household.

This brings me to two of our literary treasures: Jesus with Us (The Gift of the Eucharist) and Saint Francis Celebrates Christmas.

Our first read is from Faith and Values, Pauline Books & Media.  The illustrations are fantastic and very reminiscent of Pueblo art . The colors are earthy and genuine, while the lines are visually soft with a wealth of curves pleasing to a reader's surveying eyes.  The content is simplistic, yet weaves important knowledge regarding Jesus and the creation of our universal church.

Uniquely, the jewel of Saint Frances' depiction of Christmas takes one back to a time of warmth and compassion, especially savoring the spirit of children through a colorful folktale. He created the first nativity and that tradition is still alive and well today.

Big T's end of 2012 book picks

Big T still loves his books! He has been sneaking reading time past midnight. I guess he figures as long as he is quiet, mom and dad will forget he is awake.  Well, it proves to be true...eek. So, what is keeping my 12 year old's raptured attention?