Thursday, January 31, 2013

History is Alive :: Sumo Wrestling and Wind Poems

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Since my planning for more history projects we've actually been able to accomplish the more hands-on learning that the boys LOVE into our days. In our lesson time we learned about the Warlords of Japan. Once Japan had a Tokugawa Shogunate, the leader wanted to find a way for the samurai to fight and compete without killing each other and continuing to start wars. So he introduced Sumo.

The activity book gave great descriptions of the symbols and traditions of sumo wrestling and we turn our living room into a dojo to have our own tournament.

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We also wrote wind poems, though the boys just couldn't come up with actual poems to write...note to work on poetry later. We wrote wishes on our streamers and hung them out in the wind.

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

History is Alive :: Eye of Newt Soup

After my post last week I implemented my new plan and I think it's going to work. The boys were all so happy when we had not one but TWO projects to go with our lessons last week. Now that I'm actually doing history "projects", I guess calling them hands-on learning would be better, I feel the need to catch up and actually blog about the projects we did do towards the beginning of the year.

Eye of Newt Soup




I LOVED this idea when I came upon it in the activity book. The ingredients went along with a reading from MacBeth. The boys talked about it for weeks.

This whole MacBeth reading and Eye of Newt Soup came from our lesson on Shakespeare and his contribution to history in his poetry and plays. It was a fun lesson with a few extras from the library, there are so many retellings of Shakespeare's plays written for children. I was really excited to find so many that brought the poetry down to the boys' level.

We also made up baggies of all the ingredients and took them to #1 and her friends when we picked them up from school. I read the girls the same selection from the activty book and the boys shared how each part fit in the story. It was a lot of fun!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

:: Yarn Along ::

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On the needles :: Really the only thing I've worked on all week is Mr. Wiedz's sweater. Oh, wait, that's not true. My car and Bible study knitting are two hats that I'm working on for the children. I've got one for #3 with left over yarn from his sweater, I'm going to have to change to a different color for the top since I ran out. I'm also working on a hat for #6. Back to Mr. Wiedz's sweater...I had a breakthrough! I've had two issues with this sweater. 1) the yarn color on newer skeins was different than what I had been using. 2) I wanted to work the back in garter or seed stitch instead of pattern. Last week I had Mr. Wiedz lay down and I laid the sweater on his chest so he could feel how lovely and heavy and warm it was getting. I realized that it was time to split for the neck, so the next time I worked on it I got out the directions and read up on doing find out I need to add a skein of yarn at this point so I can work both sides of the neck going up to the shoulders. Of course, I don't have another skein right now. But I got to thinking this problem could actually solve my other two problems. I'll use this as the back. I'll be motivated to cast back on for the front, much more so than I was to cast back on for the back. The color problem (it really isn't as noticeable as I was worried about) will be on the back and will therefore bother me less. AND I'll know how much yarn it takes and will be able to buy it all at once eliminating the color problem from happening again. Wins all around!!!

On the nightstand :: nothing. I haven't picked up a book all week. Not even on the Kindle.

Yarning Along with Ginny.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Handmade Christmas :: H's Milanese

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My last handmade Christmas took a bit to photograph since I gave it to our wonderful babysitter before Christmas without taking any pictures of it. I had to ask her to bring it back so I could take a picture of her with it. We remembered this weekend. 

I have been so blessed to find H as our babysitter. I had asked and asked for friends to recommend a babysitter or share one that they use but I got nothing. So I finally joined and found H. Best decision EVER. H is a perfect fit for our family for babysitting. She's adorable and fun and young enough to be cool but is so good at her job that the kids know when she means business, listen and respect her and she has my kitchen clean and more laundry done while she's here than I do all week. LOVE her!

So when Christmas was on the way I really wanted to do something to show her how much she means to our family. I knitted up the Milanese cowl with my favorite yarn. It turned out great, even with my mistakes. The drape is really great. It is warm and cozy for our winter days and she seems to like it. Win.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

History is Alive :: Elizabethan Buildings


Catching up here with a history lesson we did at the beginning of the year...look how beautiful and sunny it is outside! Though it must have been October since that's when #2 covered nearly every surface with drawings of super heros and Halloween costume ideas.


We covered Queen Elizabeth in our history lessons and talked about how much her people loved her. One way they showed their love of their queen was to design buildings in the shape of an E. The boys each drew their own E building. They didn't turn out the way I had envisioned but the boys got into it for a little bit and enjoyed their own hand at building design.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

:: Yarn Along ::


On the needles :: Still stitching away on Mr. Wiedz's Sweater. I did use the skein of yarn that doesn't quite match (see it up there? It's yellow-er. My Stella Light makes the colors so true!!!...he says that's what homemade sweaters are like. I am alternating rows right now to ease the color change in hoping it is less noticeable, so far so good. I'm also working on a hat for #6. I had started a sweater for her but realized I would run out of yarn so ripped it all out and cast on the Vintage Hat from this favorite book of mine. I think I'll have enough yarn to make matching leg warmers too.

On the nightstand :: I finished The Queen's Vow: A Novel of Isabella of Castile, oh my it was good. Such an interesting history and I think the author did a great job taking something we on this side of history criticize so quickly and easily and show her internal struggle with it. I love it. I'm still working on One Thousand Gifts and I'm trying to stay ahead of #2 with his history read-alouds, we are on Robert Fulton Boy Craftsman.

Yarning Along with Ginny.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

10 months


Well, the little miss is 10 months old now (and that was only yesterday so look how on top of things I am!!)! She is so adorable and so loved in this house! She's cruising around and has mastered getting back down after she's been standing for awhile. She has started chattering which is adorable!...I could listen to her all day. She's interested in toys and hates being left alone in a room (even if I am coming right back). She still takes 2 naps most days but has become a pretty sensitive sleeper, I've got a fan going all the time now for some white noise and hope that helps. She does not sleep through the night...sigh. She got croup before Christmas and cut two teeth right afterward. Our family went through round after round of passing sickies around, #6 ended up with an ear infection and pnemonia. Poor thing.


It was somewhat of a challenge to get a picture of her this month. Between the brother's feet in the picture, the blanket falling down (it's no longer big enough to stay draped up behind her) and her complete interest in the it was night-time (right before bath-time I remembered) so the pictures were either too bright from the flash or blurry from not using the flash. Oh well, she's too stinkin' cute to worry about such things!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

History is Alive :: Well, I want it to be...maybe in 2013

#4 demonstrating that possibly my first history project wasn't as well thought out as it should have been.

If you think blogging has taken a hit this year, ask #3 what he thinks of history. Every time I bring everyone together telling them we are going to have a history lesson #3 asks if it is a project history lesson.

Oh, I've disappointed him in this area over and over this year so far.

The other years I had a much better handle on activities to go with our history lessons. I'd say I was hitting about once a week with a recipe or small project and even some big projects that gave us a tangible aspect to the book reading, map coloring and narrations we do.

I've been trying to figure out what the difference was/is... What made me pull out the glue or the clay or the strange ingredients?

Fried plantains from our African feast dinner.

The baby? I thought of that...but #5 was this age when we started homeschooling in the first place and with two naps a day and a pretty easy going attitude right now, I don't think she's to blame.

The two-year-old? That's a good guess...and probably closer to the answer. He's so busy. He's so distructive. He's so demanding of all the attention and difficult to distract. But he also takes a nap everyday and timing history for nap time is easy, so I don't think that's it exactly.

Planning...ding, ding, ding!

History planning and knitting...always a good pair.

The past years I've gone through the book prior to school starting and make an overview plan including projects I want to do and supplies I will need to get.

I didn't do that planning this year. I will admit that the planning process is fun and I've liked that part. Then school starts and we start to get behind in my "plans" and I'm trying to re-figure what we're going to do. So this year I thought I'd skip the planning part and would just "go with the flow". Apparently I don't "go with the flow" very well.

But I think I can come up with a compromise. I'm thinking I should just do a broad, overview plan for just a couple of months. That way I'm not behind before I start. But I've got to get a plan in place and figure out some fun activities or history won't be alive in the school of Wiedz...I'll be having a 6 year old who refuses any history lessons!

**This year we are using The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child, Volume 3: Early Modern Times and the accompanying activity book. I have really enjoyed the Story of the World series and even though I'd love to move to a more unit study approach to history I want #2 and #3 to have a complete round of narrations and pictures and maps and experiences from this method. Next year we will complete the four-year round and after that I'll move to a unit study approach for #2's second round through the four-year cycle.

This year we are going to spend the month of February going a little more in depth to the revolutionary war. We get to it in the SOTW3 but I want to take a little while to really enjoy it. I've got big plans to make this a fun as I can...I'll try to keep you posted!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

:: Yarn Along ::

Reading and knitting are two of my favorite things...I also really enjoy "yarning along" with Ginny.


On the needles :: I'm working on a sweater vest for #5. I was so excited to finish the front and block both pieces so I could do the neckband and armbands...but I suck at picking up stitches. I tried, but it was wrong and looked terrible. I got some beautiful bulky yellow yarn for Christmas and found a scarf pattern right away to cast on (ravelry notes here). I love both the yarn and the pattern but somehow together they are not working too well. I'll continue on but I can only do a couple rows at a sitting before I'm not feeling the knitting mojo anymore.

On the nightstand :: I've got a lot going on with my reading right now...we made a trip to the library the other day and I paid up all our fees including our yearly "non-resident" fee (I was the largest transaction the kid had rang up). My mother-in-law had come with us so I was even able to go upstairs to the grown up section. I found two historical novels that looked interesting. But right now I am digging through One Thousand Gifts. It is a beautiful book. There's really a lot to it and I'm enjoying the thinking my brain does with what I read even days after I read it.

What are you reading? Making? Share in the comments and head over to Ginny's to link up!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Handmade Christmas :: a new hat for Mr. Wiedz's


You probably don't remember Mr. Wiedz's hat I made with leftover yarn from deciding on his sweater (ravelry note here). It was a plain but nice hat. And he loved it. And Miss H., our wonderful babysitter, who does more laundry here a week than I do washed and dried his 100% wool now fits #5 nicely. So Mr. Wiedz has been dropping hints.

"I need a new hat..."

"My "other" hat isn't the same (and really he's right about of the first hats I made was for him with Red Heart yarn. Acrylic yarn just isn't the same after you've worn and worked with nice wool yarn.)..."

"#1 has the best hat in the family..."

So I picked up some really nice chunky super-wash wool during my quick yarn store visit in November and knit up this hat quickly (love chunky size 10 needles) during times Mr. Wiedz was not around.

I found a pattern on ravelry that had cables but was still masculine and I think it turned out just right! Mr. Wiedz loves it too.