Teaching Astronomy That Kids Won't Forget

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Oh, the constellations have never been more fun or easy to remember.  Until studying them with the kids, I think I could identify the Big Dipper, and that was about it. 

After reading some great books on finding the constellations and understanding how important they were for navigation, we had to make our own star maps.  We used black mounting board and white embroidery floss.  

1.  The mounting boards (regularly $3.99 at HobLob for a 16"x20" sheet, but are 50% off this week), I cut in two boards in half to make 4 maps (16" x 10").  

2.  Using google images, Belle and I found and printed constellation charts. Painters tape held them in place so they worked as our templates.  We then tried an upholstery needle and an embroidery needle to see what worked best to poke holes where our stars were.

3.  Then we were ready to take away the template, and thread our maps.

4.  Belle was really good at the threading. She made the Lion and the Big Dipper/Little Dipper.  I made Orion and the Herdsman.  

Two books we really liked:  

Find the Constellations by H. A. Rey (of Curious George fame).
The Big Dipper by Franklin M. Branley

So, what do you think?  Cool right?

Link Love

Friday, February 18, 2011

I think Belle might add Homemade Glitter to our must have art supplies.

Simple Homeschool has a fun series, A Homeschool Day in the Life of...I'm not sure how to link to the entire series, but from that post you can find others.

Download a free audiobook copy of Russell D. Moore’s Adopted for Life.  Then we can discuss it. 

Steady Mom shared 5 tips for gentle, positive discipline.  I've decided I'm going to implement #1 more.  And #5.  And probably #'s 2-4, too.

CrafterMinds shares 5 Ways to Increase Pageview for craft bloggers.  I'm really late on things, so if you can explain StumbleUpon to me, I'd be very grateful.  I signed up.  Now what?

Do you share links that you love?  I'd love to see them.  Leave a link in the comments, and I promise I'll check them out.  promise.

happy friday!

9 Must-Have Art Supplies for Crafty Children

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I think art is the most consistent subject we we do around the Pajama Mama house.  Anyone else like that?  We go through a lot of art supplies.  Here are what we consider our must-haves.

1. Paper  I buy cheap printer paper just for the kids, as well as good art paper-like Strathmore 300 series-the yellow pads at Michael's go on sale a lot.  But don't forget junk mail, magazines, catalogs.

2. Paint, markers, pencils.  What can I say about them?  They're worth the time and mess.  Buy washables when you can.

3. Adhesives  Liquid glue, glue sticks (for making stamps), hot glue (for our gift bookmarks and flower hair clips), glue dots...tape, painters tape, masking tape, packing tape...good grief.

4. Felt We love felt projects-like the iPhone covers and cameras.  Felt is great for simple sewing projects with kids'-no raveling!  This is what I give Belle to practice her sewing-she's made phone cases, eyeglass cases, doll clothes-it's inexpensive and very easy to use large stitches on.

5. Toilet Paper Rolls  I keep these and tissue boxes, and any other materials that you would ordinarily recycle to toss.  See this unbelievable Toilet Paper Brick House, try keeping Memory Jars, and mix science into art with a Tissue Box Marshmallow Catapult.

6. Natural Elements Sticks, stones, seeds, beans, leaves, shells.  Remember our rustic stick stars?  Craft has an entire archive of crafting with nature-love this Stick Weaving.  Linda of Natural Suburbia gives a great tutorial on how to weave with sticks.

7. Beads Larger beads-or cereal oh's are great for improving small kids' fine motor skills.  But Belle and I love using beads for fun uses-like postcards.

8.   Food  I don't think I've met a child who does not love to cook and create with food.  Damaris and Kitchen Corners has some really cool little foodie ideas-like Nutella Play Dough and Stained Glass Jello.

9. Inspiration We have a collection of art idea books-and check out others from the library regularly.  I buy every Usborne Art book I find at used bookstores -so worth the money.

10.  What would you add?

I'm linking this up to Top Ten Tuesday at Oh, Amanda's.

All You Need is 5 Pieces of Paper

Saturday, February 12, 2011

  to make this awesome paper bouquet card for your valentine.  


Hope your weekend is super sweet.  

The Girls' Paper Beads

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

belle and her friend from across the street made these the other day.  i think on the fourth snow day.  

i gave them the spring boden catalog.  I love boden, but didn't see anything in the most recent catalog.  now, the fall issue- I'm still holding on to for when a few things go on clearance...

they ripped out all the pretty pictures and cut isosceles triangles out of them.   then using a flour/water mix (since we were out of liquid glue), they painted glue on the triangles, and rolled them around toothpicks and thin paint brush ends-starting at the base and rolling to the point.  
they gently slid them off and let them dry.  

they made all sorts of sizes, but if you are pretty exact in your size and use a diamond glaze after they've dried, the beads can have another, pulled together look.  

ok, i just realized one of those beads looks more like something someone might smoke than it does a long white and brown bead.  but they didn't notice, and neither did i at the time.  oh well.

what did you do on your snow days?  no snow days?  ok, what 'd you do last week? 

2011 Book & Movie List

Friday, February 4, 2011

I loved keeping track of what I read and saw last year.  It was a first for me, but I'm sure I will keep it going-and now I have a number to beat (last years books numbered 39)...

Books I've read:
  1. By the River Piedro, I Sat Down and Wept
  2. What the Dog Saw
  3. One Thousand Gifts
  4. Lumber Camp Library
  5. Childwise
  6. Sex God
  7. Adopted for Life
  8. Her Mother's Hope
  9. 31 DBBB
  10. Simple Blogging
  11. Misty of Chincateague
  12. Shades of Blue
  13. The Mission of Motherhood
  14. Her Daughter's Dream
  15. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
  16. The Little Riders
  17. The Twenty-One Balloons
  18. Maximize Your Mornings (free ebook)
  19. The Invisible Woman
  20. Eating Animals
  21. Leaving
  22. I'll Walk Alone
  23. Little House on the Prairie
  24. The Shadow of Your Smile
  25. Ender's Game
  26. On the Banks of Plum Creek
  27. Journey to Jo'burg
  28. The Prodigal God
  29. Farmer Boy
  30. Learning
  31. My Side of the Mountain
  32. Hind's Feet on High Places
  33. The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe
  34. Love Wins
  35. Make Over
  36. Something Borrowed
  37. The Ballet Shoes
  38. The Charlotte Mason Companion
  39. And the Shofar Blew
  40. Longing
Movies I've seen:

  1. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
  2. Going the Distance
  3. Frankie & Johnny
  4. Breaking Upwards
  5. Shutter Island
  6. True Grit
  7. High Ball
  8. Roman de Gare
  9. Easy Rider
  10. City Island
  11. The Secret in Their Eyes
  12. The Social Network
  13. Let the Right One In
  14. Winter's Bone
  15. Jack Goes Boating
  16. The Kids Are Alright
  17. Cyrus
  18. Greenberg
  19. High Noon
  20. Summertime
  21. The Fighter
  22. Due Date
  23. Animal Kingdom
  24. Salt
  25. Get Low
  26. The King's Speech 
  27. Four Lions
  28. Falling Up
  29. Looking for Eric
  30. Easy A
  31. The Diary of a Mad Black Woman
  32. Black Swan
  33. Bridesmaids
  34. Blue Valentine
  35. Somewhere
  36. A Scanner Darkly
  37. Looking for Eric
  38. It's Kind of A Funny Story
  39. Super 8
  40. According to Greta
  41. No Strings Attached
  42. Killers
  43. High School Musical-yes.  i did.
  44. Love and Other Drugs
  45. When in Rome
  46. The Switch
  47. The Company Men
  48. Fat Sick and Nearly Dead
  49. Happythankyoumoreplease
  50. Taken
  51. Hawaii, Oslo
  52. Intacto
  53. Iron Man 2
  54. Tangled
  55. The Adjustment Bureau
  56. Of Gods and Men
  57. The Princess Bride
  58. The Wizard of Oz
  59. Last Night
  60. Biutiful
  61. Everything Must Go
  62. X-Men: First Class
  63. Chopper
  64. Zodiac
  65. Road to Perdition
  66. The Trip
  67. State of Play
  68. Pulling John
  69. Hot Tub Time Machine
  70. Horrible Bosses
  71. Submarine
  72. Our Idiot Brother
  73. Crazy Stupid Love
  74. Buck
  75. The Namesake

Any recommendations?

DIY Valentines

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Today was a snow day.  Even though snow hardly affects our ability to do school, I usually try to let the kids experience the idea of a snow day.  I loved those days as a kid- waking up, peeking out the window shade to white and instantly knowing-NO SCHOOL!  I want my kids to remember that feeling too.  

So on my snow day, besides finishing three loads of laundry, I played at the sewing machine.  

The valentine envelope was very simple.  I cut two squares in scrap fabrics-I think mine were something like 9"x 9".  I also cut another 9x9 square of fusible webbing, which I ironed onto the back of the outer square.  Maybe it would have been better to fuse it to the back of the inside layer, so it wouldn't have looked as wrinkled...I don't know.  

Sew right sides together, trim, turn inside out, press, stitch again around the border.  Blah, blah, blah.  You know how.  I hand-stitched where the three side come together.  But not until after I added a stamp and stitched My Love on the front.  

And can you see the scallops on the card?  That was the-you guessed it- 'scallop' stitch on my Brother machine sewn onto white card-stock.  I love how it turned out.  Even if you didn't have time to make the envelopes-the cards are a simple, quick project. I think I'll use a few minutes of tomorrow's snow day to make a few more.

Hope you're staying warm, wherever you are!