Wherein We Go To The Museum

In the interest of Washington State History, we headed to the Lynden Pioneer museum, which is conveniently 5 minutes from my house.  This place has a whole little town inside the building, circa 1900.  City Hall, Fire department, post office, millinery, jail, mercantile, church, school, etc.

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Gas pumps

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Bank safe

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Cafe’- Tuna sandwich: .45  Ice cream sundae: .35

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Dry goods store

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Lynden or any little country town circa 1900.  A town inside the museum building.

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Adrienne and Hailey in jail.

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Fire department and city hall.

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And school, of course.

Faith, Hailey’s mom, was awesome pointing things out, talking about the history of buggies and farm equipment, telegraph equipment and old time cameras. She even did a mini economics lesson, bless her.

We hit the gift shop on the way out-(I love me a good gift shop-tourist trap or not, they’re my favorite part) where I bought Adrienne old fashioned stick candy. Then we ran to have ice cream at Edaleen for lunch a snack, before heading home.

We had a great time and getting to walk around a “town” from a hundred or so years ago.  History was made a little bit more alive for the girls today at Lynden Pioneer Museum.

Own the Day!

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Folk Tale

As part of Washington State history we’ve been reading Folk Tales by both Americans (How Paul Bunyan dug the Puget Sound) and Native Americans (How Mt. Rainier taught a man what real wealth is).  Then Adrienne wrote her own Folk Tale:

How the Pacific Ocean Turned Blue

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     Once upon a time, there lived two wolves, Skookum and Kloshe.  Skookum was the daughter of Kloshe. They lived along the Pacific Ocean.  At this time, the ocean was brown and dark. Skookum and Kloshe would eat fish and fruits for meals and occasionally swim for fun.  Every time they went hunting, they would watch the seals and Orca whales swim by.

     One day Kloshe got sick and died. Skookum thought it might have been a parasite her mom caught from a salmon.  After Kloshe, died, her body turned into a sparkling blue crystal, about the size of her paw. Skookum carried the crystal to the Pacific Ocean and put the crystal in the dark water where Skookum and Kloshe would hunt and swim together.

     Suddenly, the ocean dazzled and turned blue. The seals danced and the Orca whales sang. Even the salmon swam in a special pattern. All the creatures were excited that the Pacific Ocean was no longer brown but beautiful and blue.

And that’s how the Pacific Ocean turned blue.

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Today, I took Adrienne to have lunch with her friends at MP3 and we went to have coffee with Nicole.  Adrienne read about Sacagawea while Nicole helped me update the look of my blog and then we just sat and visited together.

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We’re home now, I’m tired and my head is pounding, but it was worth being with both the girls at a cozy coffee shop.  Now I’m waiting for Eric to get home so we can play our new golf game together.

Hope you’re up to happy things today. Cheers!

Own the Day!

 (Wolf photo credit:  http://www.straight.com/life/last-wild-wolves-ian-mcallister)
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Odds and Ends and Knitting, too

It’s a clear cold morning.  The wind is whipping down through the Frasier Valley and making our nights below 30 degrees.  I’ve got the gas fireplace cranked up and my fake coffee keeping me warm.  Of course, the dogs sleeping on my feet are helping, too.  I’m waiting for my girl to rise and shine so we can get school started (and finished) for the day.

I’m up to my neck in planning for Thanksgiving.  Eric is working on THE day, so we’re doing Thanksgiving on that Saturday.  And for the first time since our people got married, we’ll have everyone here for a holiday!  SO fun.  I’ve got a list of stuff we can do and all we can eat, and a secret project I’m working on, too.

Other news, here’s the update on the baby dress I’m making for a friend.  A few years ago, I would have had to say my friend’s son.  I watched this kid grow up.  I’ve known him since he and Nicole were 4 ish years old. Now he’s not my friend’s kid anymore, he’s my friend and his sweet wife, too.  And together they are having a baby, which totally blows my mind.  Not that they are having a baby- I can totally grasp them being old enough to have babies, I have a harder time grasping that I get to be friends with them-no longer Mrs. Sutherland. I get to be Marie, and play Auntie and knit baby things for them.  It’s so much fun and so lovely I can hardly stand it.  I love going from Mrs. Sutherland, to just Marie, walking through life together as adults. It’s happened with my niece and her husband, and my own kids and their spouses.

Anyway, I digress.  Here’s the sweater dress for baby girl.  I’ve finished the skirt part and have started the yoke.

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And here’s the baby boy sweater I sent to my niece for her little dude that’s due to join life’s party in the next month:

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Yesterday was our Creative Day in school, so we messed around with painting daisies with acrylics. Mine is on the left–the square daisies. Adrienne obviously has more experience with brushes and painting with all her art classes, mine’s pretty bad, but I totally had a ball.

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Adrienne’s medium of choice these days is watercolor, so after daisies she painted butterflies with the help of a lovely YouTube video. (How did I ever home educate before YouTube? Seriously. Google, Wikipedia, YouTube. So much easier.)

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And Dylan and I made an executive decision last night: Christmas dinner this year will be Authentic Mexican.  I’m now pinning all sorts of tamale recipes and looking for a good (easy) recipe for Rosca de reyes or King’s Day bread. (If you have one, would you share it with me?)

We’re decorating for Christmas today. It’s that time of year when the Autumn/Thanksgiving decorations mingle and party with the Winter/Christmas decorations.  We need a bit of Nat King Cole Christmas music to set the mood.

Own the Day!

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Relief Map-(why do they call it that?)

I really think they could have come up with a better word.  The word “relief” is already taken.  But anyway,  we decided to make a relief map for Washington State History class.  We can look at maps, all kinds of maps, till pigs fly, and it’s just not going to be understandable the way a 3D map will.  So after defining all sorts of land and water forms and finding them in Washington State, we decided to tackle it.

I found an online site that has maps you can make different sizes, and print them at home. I chose to make Washignton State 2×2 pieces of paper, which turned out to be perfect.

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Then we mixed up a bunch of dough and started plopping it on, smoothing it out on the eastern side of the state, and making mountains for the western side.

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And you’ve got to remember to poke toothpicks in where you are going to want little flags. Once the dough dries, you’re outta luck.

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Then we let it dry, not for the 2 days the site said, but for a week. Then she painted it.

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I made the flags with tape and toothpicks.  It’s Scotch brand tape I bought at Michael’s and fine tipped Sharpies we already had.  Worked like a charm.

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(As for the photo above, I apologize for those who live “east of the mountains” as we say, it’s not that there aren’t cool land and water forms where you are, you just aren’t as pertinent to us as where we live.)

Today we’re discussing our volcanoes.  By way of volcano introduction, mostly Bill Nye The Science Guy is doing the teaching part.  My part is teacher’s aide-I picked up the video from the library.

Most everyone knows Mt. St. Helens erupted in 1980. But not many people know that Mt. Rainier “officially” erupted in 1894.  According to Wikipedia,  it is considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world. Eyewitnesses also reported eruptive activity in 1858, 1870, 1879, 1882 and 1894. Also, Mount Rainier is the highest mountain in Washington and the Cascade Range.  On days of exceptional clarity, it can be seen from as far away as Portland, Oregon and Victoria, British Columbia.

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Western Washington

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 Olympic Peninsula

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School project conquered. Now I’ve got to youtube how to make a homemade volcano….

Own the Day!

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In the Spirit of Full Disclosure

News flash: Not everything gets done.  Either not in the time frame I plan, or sometimes, not ever.

And when I blog, I never mean it to seem more amazing than it was. There are huge chasms that lie between what I want to do, what I plan to do, and what we actually do, mostly because of my health limitations but there are times that life just gets in the way, too.

I’ve learned to have a back up plan…for everything.  We had a friend for lunch today. Adrienne wanted to make split pea soup from scratch. But I had 2 large cans of tomato soup in the cupboard as back up in case we didn’t get the split pea soup done.

The pie we made a couple blogposts ago, was a 3 day process.  I’ve learned (the hard way) that most projects that look like they are all-in-one-day things can be broken down into pieces so that they can be accomplished in 2 or 3 days.  I’m a firm believer in “something is better than nothing”.

For example,  Normal Making-of-a Pie:

Plan on making pie.  Going to the store for apples and crust.  Assemble pie. Bake. Eat.

Didn’t happen.  By afternoon, that day I was toast. But we had apples that were given to us. and we actually made it to the store for crust. But then that was it.  TWO DAYS later, after school, we did the pie.  And yes, we ate it for dinner.  (Eating pie for dinner is the best part.)

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I’ve never been a woman of great energy, though I admit when the kids were younger, it was way better than now.  But I learned then that things can be done in stages.  It doesn’t really matter how long it takes to get it done. I can’t/don’t evaluate a day based on how much of the “wishlist” for the day was accomplished. Only that we did our level best to get stuff done.

A wise women once said to me, “If I don’t get anything else done today, but I am kind to the children, that’s all that matters.”

So I won’t sacrifice loving my people and being cheerful and kind on the altar of the list that says we must make a pie.  If it takes a week to make a pie, then so-be-it.  I’ve learned to be okay with that. And if it never gets done at all, I’m okay with that, too.  (Most of the time.  Of course, there are days it all makes me very sad. But I can’t live there, with that sadness.  I have to accept this day for what it is-a beautiful gift, regardless of my expectations.)

Science, and science experiments are all happening in a very fun and educational way for one reason: someone else is teaching it.  My friend, Mary Ann, found out we’d pulled out of public school to come home again and immediately invited us to join her and her kids for science class.

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I don’t know what your limitations are (we all have some of them), or what your life looks like, but I want to tell you that it gets hard when you look around at your friends and all the stuff they get done, or all they are doing when you can’t.  When you want, more than anything, to be doing more than you are able and can’t, that’s a hard place to be.  When you look at your kids and know this is their childhood and you feel like they are missing out on so much because you simply can’t do more than you’re doing, that’s a hard place.

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Do what you can even if an apple pie takes a week to complete. And if you just can’t (I’ve been there) buy a can of apple pie filling and plop it on a crust and call it good.  And if you just can’t do that either, (more often than not, this is where I live), then just BUY the stupid pie and call it good. Because it’s about the relationship you have with those kids and people around you, not what you can do. Then have apple pie for dinner.  Cuz that’s just pretty darn fun.

And as for all the stuff you can’t get done?  Then you weren’t meant to do it.  It doesn’t make you less of a mom or woman, or friend or wife or whatever.  It wasn’t meant to happen. We have to learn to let those things go.

Most people are able to get more stuff done in one day that I can get done in a week-literally.  It’s not because I’m lazy or because I put stuff off, but because of the cards I’ve been dealt.  It used to make me very very sad.  I always felt like a failure a loser.

But I’ve learned to win a different way. (Thank you, Tara.)  I’ve learned that I just do the best I can with what I have regardless of what anyone is getting done with what they’ve got and to love my people fiercely.  And just that heart, that mindset, that effort, will make a beautiful life.

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Go make a beautiful life today.  I’m cheering you on.

Own the Day!

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Will it float?

A few days ago, we had science class…in the bathtub.  We’re studying water this week, and volume and what floats and what doesn’t and why. I confess that I don’t have much of science brain.  My brain tends to see life in terms of color and paper and glue and yarn and what excuse we have for another celebration.

I’m grateful for smart science people that write curriculum that I can teach my kid while learning with her.  I do’t have to be an expert in order to teach it. Brilliant.

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So if the tin foil ball with 5 pennies in it sinks, why does the foil with 52 pennies on it float?

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And if the potato sank and the apple is the same size and mostly the same weight, will the apple sink also?

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I have no idea why the tinfoil boat thingy floated when the same sized tinfoil all scrunched up into a ball with only 5 pennies in it sunk like a rock. But I’m gonna go google that and find out.  I’m thinking buoyancy or displacement. Those are words that whispered in my ear from some long ago science class. Or I’ll ask Dylan and Eric. Probably that.  Dylan and Eric totally get things like buoyancy and displacement while they have nothing whatever to do with crayons and paper and glue.

In the meantime,

Own the Day!

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Breakout and Create Tuesdays

It’s a quiet Saturday morning. Just the dogs and I are up and moving. Finn is chewing on his rawhide bone on the froofy red pillow that looks like a giant rose and Molly, with hiccups, is sleeping next to my bedroom door waiting for Eric to wake up.

We did it. Our 1st full week of home education.  I realized Adrienne has been taking campus classes at MP3 the last few years and so can’t remember what full time school at home looks like.  I grabbed that opportunity by the scruff of its scrawny neck and decided to drop her into the middle of “what school at home can look like”.

Now that I’m back to educating full time, I needed an entire day to do creative things with Adrienne.  I chose Tuesdays.  I figure Monday is our heaviest school day, and Monday already knows it’s the most disliked day of the week, so it wouldn’t mind if we heaped a huge school day on it after the weekend.  But then we’d want a day to take that learnin’ and  put creative skin on it.  And Monday is way more palatable with a creative Tuesday right on its heels.  But I wanted to call it something cool (because I do name everything after all), so that just saying the name would make us smile and look forward to it.  So I looked up creativity hoping for something to pop out at me:

Creativity (noun):

“…the use of the imagination in the production of an artistic work.  Inventiveness, imagination, innovation, originality, individuality.”

…which didn’t really help, cuz nothing rhymes with Tuesday and I couldn’t think of anything catchy using those words.  Learning should make us curious, ask questions, want answers, look for those answers. And I want us to respond to learning in a creative or artistic way.  Curiosity leads to creativity…

“Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious…and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” ~Walt Disney Company

So Tuesdays have been dubbed:  Break Out and Create Day! It was Eric that came up with the name. (He’s pretty amazing like that.)

 Days we are going to take a break from the sit down and do and instead, get up and go.  Days we will create by baking, drawing, crafting.  By making an online scrapbook, or folding origami.  By stringing necklaces, or painting a picture.  By making a new recipe for dinner or decorating for a holiday.  It will be deliberate and take planning while being open to whatever hits us that day, all at the same time.

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(We made toilet gremlins just cuz it was fun.)

Most of the time it will connect somehow. It will put “skin on what we’re learning”.  Other times, it will just be because it sounded interesting, inspiring, fun, or beautiful or delicious.

“To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty, you want to bring a little more music to it, a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it.”  ~Osho

This week we jumped right into our take on an apple tree. (It is the impression of an apple tree. Smiling at you, Kristine.)

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We also made Crumb Topping Apple Pie.  Since we visited the apple farm, we talked about apple production in Washington State acquired local apples and turned them into dinner.  (Don’t judge me. You know you want apple pie for dinner.)

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You see, the point of education is to learn something, and Tuesdays are about learning a different way.

“What keeps life fascinating is the constant creativity of the soul.” ~Deepak Chopra

Own the Day!

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