Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Gingerbread House Geometry

One of the things we need to work on is linear measurement -- I think I am going to tie this in to our Gingerbread House Workshop. I remember an article in Teaching Children Mathematics where the teacher took this approach. We could even do our graphing with the candies that children bring in: how many people brought in what type of candy. Making measurement meaningful and not just endless worksheets...

Here's the NCTM article link: Gingerbread-House Geometry by Charles E. Emenaker, Teaching Children Mathematics, December 1999, Volume 6, Issue 4, Page 208. It is six bucks to buy the article through them or get it for free from AccessMyLibrary (you need your zipcode and local library card number).

Felting Needle Mishap

So I have been spending my time needle felting a variety of fruits and vegetables to fill our woven cornucopia. It will make a lovely centerpiece at Thanksgiving and then the children can have them for the play kitchen. This is my stress relief and project for the several days we will be stuck in the house recuperating. However, a little Munchkin named Rebecca got into my stuff and snapped the end off my last needle -- disaster! We spent the entire morning driving around, first to the post office to see if my order from Mielke's Fiber Arts had arrived (it hadn't), then to the quilting store (gorgeous fabrics), the cross stitch store, and lastly to the fiber arts store. I hadn't known the fiber arts store had moved to a new location and was so thrilled to find it! Yarns galore, wooden knitting needles, looms, spinning wheels, a whole ROOM of roving and even felting needles. A wet room for wet felting and for dyeing wool... it was heaven. However, the kicker was that she hadn't yet unpacked her room of roving and she couldn't find the felting needles in all that mess. She had them and yet she didn't. So it didn't work out. But I am consoling myself with the thought that I found some great local craft stores and can support them instead of Michael's.

After lunch we will go back out to the P.O. and see if the needles came in this morning's delivery. Keep your fingers crossed.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am pleased to say we have had a wonderful few days. With the exception of Becca being diagnosed -- wrongly -- with scarlet fever Sunday night at Urgent Care and the ensuing worry. She and Natalie have a disease which mimics scarlet fever but is not as serious. We missed the big Thanksgiving Feast at school. But it was very sweet because I had several Tidewater families stop by -- one brought me the three centerpieces that my girls had made: hollowed out mini pumpkins filled with flowers. One family packed up a veggie tray, fresh fruit with cream cheese dip, a loaf of the lemon bread my class had made, and a batch of the pumpkin bars which Natalie's class made and saved it for us. Today the church also dropped off a box of food including a turkey, apple pie, rolls, canned vegetables, stuffing, gravy, and cranberry sauce.

I got a nice card and gift bag from a fellow teacher congratulating me on my one year anniversary of independence. She wrote me a lovely note and gave me a box of tea, two bars of organic chocolate and some trail mix. It was so sweet!

For class yesterday my students baked in preparation for the feast. We made three recipes: a yeasted from-scratch Raisin Bread, a pumpkin bread with dried cranberries, raisins, and golden raisins, and the lemon muffins which morphed into lemon bread when I got tired of putting batter into mini muffin cups and threw some into loaf pans instead. :-) It was a great success.

Natalie and Becca are on antibiotics and Children's Benadryl for the itchy rash. They both also have fevers. Leah is fine and told me today that she was proud of herself for taking such good care of her body.

Lastly, I would like to share the wonderful blessing that one of my students shared at circle time on Friday:

I am thankful for turkeys...

and the corn that makes them fat!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

4 Teams

Well, I thought about it some more last night but was just too lazy to get to the computer. I decided on the children working in four groups -- since one painting showing everything seemed like too much detail & too much form.

Evaporation: these paintings showed a body of water, the heat source (the sun) and the steam rising into the air

Condensation: these paintings showed clouds in the sky

Precipitation: these paintings showed rain falling and some of the children chose to add rainbows

Saturation: these paintings showed large bodies of water on the ground (oceans, lakes, rivers, etc)

Today -- I am proud to say -- I got asked to stay on for the remainder of the year as the Lower Elementary teacher! This means there will be less notes about Toddler and more about reading, math, science, and social studies. Today is also my one year anniversary of leaving my marriage with an abusive partner and moving out on my own. So congratulations to me!!!

Tomorrow we are going to spend more time in Colonial Maryland with a fun script the nice people at St. Mary's City gave us as part of the follow-up activities: a "Pig Trial." In the mini play, one colonist is accusing another colonist of stealing their pig and the legal system gets involved. It will be a lot of fun to put on. Monday we are going to bake the sweet goods for Tuesday's Thanksgiving Feast (a pumpkin bread with dried fruit in it, lemon muffins with a crumble topping, and raisin bread). The raisin bread is a yeast bread so I think it will be good for the children to compare how much longer it takes than the quick breads. I carefully picked recipes that have 14 ingredients so each child can put in one. With the exception of the yeast bread which we all will help with and knead. Then I get the Thanksgiving Break to prepare my curriculum for the year! A read-aloud list, what will we do for Art History, all that good stuff.

I discovered today that we have TWO toads in our terrarium. I was so surprised last week to find one leaping frantically and hungrily against the glass. I had thought it empty! We have fish as well and I bought them some fish food a few days ago plus a really neat scrubby aquarium cleaner thing with two magnets. One magnet stays outside the tank and you pull the inside magnet along the glass as you move it. The inside magnet is covered in scrubbers so as you dance it along the aquarium walls it cleans off the algae. It is super fun and the children love it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Red, Yellow, Blue

Okay, here are my thoughts. Yes, I'm supposed to be in bed but I'm still thinking about this painting idea.

Yellow = evaporation
Red = condensation
Blue = precipitation

Technically, saturation should also be included (water that is standing on the ground) but I think we'll leave it at the 3.

So the yellow is the sky, including a darker yellow for the sun. The red is the clouds. The blue is the drops of water coming from the clouds and falling to the ground. On the ground we want land and sea and mountains (with white ice caps).


Then, when they write their report, they could use the color coding for the scientific terms as they explain the water cycle.

Water Cycle

So now I am going to be teaching the water cycle: evaporation, condensation, precipitation. We are doing 100 ounces of water in a bowl -- representing the salty water of the world. An ice cube of 4 T water frozen -- representing the fresh water in the world which is frozen. 2 T of fresh water in a glass -- representing the fresh water in the world which is in liquid form. Amazing how much of it is salty! I never realized it before this was presented to me in this way.

Anyway, I need to come up with some kind of project to show "mastery" of the water cycle. And I don't want it to be a worksheet. So I'm thinking of some kind of painting and accompanying composition.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Apple Cider Vinegar

Does anyone know a lot about vinegar? I gave the Kindergarten teacher directions for dyeing wool in the crockpot. They used fresh chopped beets in one and fresh blueberries in the other. She was out of white vinegar for the mordant so she threw in some apple cider vinegar. The colors came out much different from how they had over the summer for me, using the same dyestuffs. Did the vinegar make a difference or was it just coincidence?

Today I ordered 25 felting needles (#38) from Mielke's Fiber Arts. I am giving a dry felting workshop to the teachers -- lots of people have been asking me how to do it and they'd like to make puppets for their classroom. I am excited about this! When I plan the materials and project list I'll post it.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Blow Drying Wool Felt

Here I am at 11 o'clock at night, blow drying a wet piece of wool felt. :-)

I used Suzanne Down's sprinkle dyeing technique with a piece of white felt from Nova Natural and six different colors of Kool Aid and now my saturated wool needs to dry quickly so I can cut two fish finger puppet shapes from it, stitch them together, and practice my story for tomorrow AM!

Date Night went swimmingly. The puppet making was a blast and the children set up a mock stage and went at it. The difference in the stories presented by the elementary kids versus the 3 year olds was hilarious. I spent most of the night in stitches. One group of kids spent the whole night making popsicle stick "trees" complete with foliage. (The materials I brought in were brown paper bags, white socks, popsicle sticks, silks, and some felt finger puppet animals. The children augmented this with the papers, crayons, and scissors that were in the classroom and the classroom blocks.) I cancelled the play dough since we had a celiac kid who can't even touch flour.

Elementary is going well -- we did all the Colonial work on our plan and Monday is the fancy dress tea party. Out of all the work, the cup and button toy and the hammering beeswax were the most popular. Hammering nails into the stump and tea bags (crushing the herbs with a mortar and pestle, combining them, tying shut the tea bags and labeling them) were a close second. At the elementary meeting today so many children complimented me (you go around the room and compliment someone at the end of the meeting, it is a community building thing) and said they were so happy to have me in their class. It was wonderful.

Tomorrow is toddler time and then I am going to take a nap!

By the way, Leah's birthday breakfast was marvelous and that girl was positively glowing over her gifts. I only had $30 and I am so glad that she loved her angel plate. She also loved the story -- it is written by Norah Romer BTW.

Good night, everyone. Back to my blow dryer.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


The more I think about it, the more I think that puppetry is the way to go tomorrow night. One, it can be easily adapted for a million age groups. Two, children nowadays seem to be really craving it. There's a concrete product (ie. a puppet) to go home to mom and dad, and, best of all the children can engage fully in imaginative play, create stories and make them as complex or as simple as they wish. So I think we will do this:

read The Little Red Hen

(I haven't done it yet, so why not!)

with making play dough

and some kids will break off here and do modeling the whole time

and the basket of silks

and some kids will break off here and do dress ups the whole time

and the felt finger puppets to show how you can tell the story with puppets

and felt and finger puppet patterns and sewing things for the older children

and paper and crayons and popsicle sticks for the younger children

and socks and buttons and notions for the middle children

and we can all make up stories all night long!

I am not sure about how the group will gel -- if they want to run around or sit and focus on a craft so this seems pretty open ended and since it was billed as "stories and activities" I think it meets the criteria of the night. The children can make it what they want it to be. Simple set up on my end, and easy to tweak if the night goes horribly wrong. Ha ha.

We'll see how it goes!

Then toddlers are making finger puppets too on Saturday so if these children are from the same family (older and younger) they can do stories together. How sweet.

Field Trip

Our Field Trip to St. Mary's City yesterday was wonderful! Today the director came into my classroom (I was at the library doing toddler storytime) and had the children each tell her something about the trip using only signs. She said it was amazing how creative they were in their body language! Then she closed her eyes and the children walked her through a visualization of the field trip, beginning to end. Then and only then did she have them do an art piece showing something they had seen on the trip. Torn and cut paper collage, watercolors, and oil pastels were the media they used. When I got back from the library there was some wonderful art awaiting me.

At storytime I did Caps for Sale (oral storytelling) with silks for the toddlers to wear while they were the monkeys, imitating my movements. Then we did free play with silks. I brought out the felt finger puppet animals and the little girl who was there -- there was only one -- absolutely LOVED finding the pocket to put her finger in! She is about 18 months so you would think she's too young for puppets but absolutely not. Then we laid all the silks over the table edge to make a fort and sat under the table and made up stories with the puppets. Sam especially loved having one animal go outside and behind the silk so you could only see its silhouette and the other animal had to find it. She was doing the "hiding" animal and she was quite good at it. In fact, after a while, she would change where the animal was hiding, switching silks, even putting the puppet behind her back for me to find it. We had a marvelous time.

I have been asked to return next week for another round of subbing downstairs so I am quite pleased. We have big plans for tomorrow -- hammering nails into a tree stump (roofing nails work best for this), breaking up a 1 lb. block of beeswax into chunks (also with a hammer -- this is for our candle dipping Monday), finishing our corn husk dolls, making a colonial cup and button toy, making tea bags with the dried herbs from our garden (Monday is a tea party), and clay work from the clay we dug on the school grounds. Next week I'd like to dip candles, do carding and spinning and felting wool, and make paper dolls in Colonial costumes.

Leah is 5 tomorrow and we have to send in "special snack". I'm completely out of money so we made granola with dried pineapple and raisins and will send that in with little paper cups. Leah helped make it so she's pleased as punch and hopefully no one will turn up their noses and say, why can't we have cake? I have a lovely handmade plate with an angel glazed on it that I bought at the gift shop, and a necklace for her. We'll do the Birthday book by Norah whoever it is and her birthday ring and crown and sing and blow out the candles and do a special birthday breakfast with waffles. It is weird to try to get in all this family time plus working 40 + hours a week. I don't know how people do it! Since I've been single the only time I worked this much was summer camp and I know you get your rhythm after a while but right now I am struggling to breathe.

Tomorrow night is Date Night. I have I think 12 children. I need to firm up those plans. Then Saturday AM is another toddler session where we will be dyeing wool felt by sprinkling Kool Aid powder on it and making little fishie finger puppets. This is a Suzanne Down idea (and she has an accompanying story called The Sea Garden) in an issue of Living Crafts magazine.

Off to write the Friday newsletter for my classroom, dig out the birthday crown and ring, and wrap Leah's gifts.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Cornhusk Dolls

I've been asked to teach downstairs in an elementary classroom this week during a unit on Colonial Maryland. How exciting! Wednesday we are going on a field trip to St. Mary's City, MD's first capital. So tonight I am lesson planning and practicing my corn husk dolls, one of the projects for tomorrow.

I will add the plans to 4th grade Local History & Geography when I'm done this week. It is only a week's worth of notes but still might be helpful to someone. We are focusing on how the environment affected the settlers -- plants, animals, landforms, water features, and climate of the region. There will also be a heavy emphasis on colonial toymaking which should be very fun!

some notes on corn husks:

1) I got an 8 oz bag of flattened dried corn husks from a Mexican food store (labeled hojas para tamal enconchada with "corn husk" written below) for $2.59

2) soak in a bowl of water for 10-15 minutes prior to using

3) the size of the doll can vary, depending on how many corn husks you've got on hand. I made a small doll (about Nature table size) with only one husk, cutting it in this way:

cut the husk in half longwise (up and down). you now have two halves.

cut the first half piece into four lengths (cut up and down) and use these for the body

cut the other half piece into halves again ie. two lengths (cut up and down). you now have two quarters.

cut one of those lengths (a quarter of the corn husk) in half crosswise (side to side) and roll the wider piece (the bottom half) to make the tube for the arms. if you don't cut it in half it will be too thick to make good arms.

take the narrower pointed piece (the top half) and cut in half up and down to make two shoulder pieces

take the remaining quarter of the corn husk and use it to make the skirt

If you have a 4th grade child who is already doing fractions you can make a diagram of all these pieces (make the corn husk a rectangle instead of a triangle shape to make it easier) and calculate what fraction of the husk is used in each part of the doll

4) corn silk makes lovely hair. use a piece of husk to form a bonnet for a girl. if you're really ambitious, use corn husk pieces and a small stick to form a broom. your corn doll can be sweeping!

Thursday, November 6, 2008


I just came up with a delicious smoothie combination which I want to share. Every time I crave chocolate chip cookies I am making myself a smoothie instead. Works!

Yogurt, frozen peaches, frozen mango, frozen blueberries, apple juice, ginger.

This morning I had ZERO people for storytime which is fine -- we can just do it next week. With all my children being home sick this week and last week, I wasn't able to pound the pavement and promote the program and my usual crew of Tidewater families had gone to the field trip this morning. I was able to make the tail end of the field trip and spend some time with my kids. Natalie, who is just getting over pneumonia, melted down towards the end and so we left early, came home, ate lunch, sorted and put away the clean laundry, and now it is time to rest.

This afternoon we have to get our farm share, take Leah to ballet and the other two to the park if they feel up to it.

Tomorrow evening was supposed to be the first Date Night but that date didn't "take" -- we had everyone sign up for the 14th instead so I get the night off. Saturday is mom and me toddler time, which I need to get organized for, and the rest of the weekend I can just relax! With the exception, of course, of Sunday School but that's pretty well planned.

I was thinking of doing some needle felting this weekend. I am jonesing to create.

Birth to 18 mos

Today is my first time ever leading a storytime for ages birth to 18 mos. Last night I was really nervous -- can't take in paint, they'll eat it! Ditto with crayons. Can't take in puppets, they'll eat them! Can't do anything!!! Then I realized that the point of stories for infants and toddlers is to bathe them in language. Give them safe and enjoyable things to explore in the world, stimulate them with textile experiences. Adult-wise I am there to support moms, give them some helpful information, and help them feel a sense of community.

So we are going to begin with a our morning song, Good Morning Dear Earth. Then talk about storytelling. Story (according to a book I just read and very much enjoyed: From Lullabies to Literature) is events plus emotion. A child jumping up and down in a pile of leaves singing, "I am jumping, I am jumping" is telling a story. Another good point I enjoyed from that book is that we must remember to look at the young child as "being" not just "becoming." In other words, instead of thinking, well, soon they'll be able to walk, they are almost people but not quite yet... you have to look at them as they are now and celebrate their amazing gifts.

Morning song, then the verse I just made up today in the bathroom, while I was looking out the window at the gorgeous color outside.

Autumn leaves falling down, down down.
Stomp! Stomp! Stomp!
We find them on the ground.

This can be whole body: fingers fluttering in the air and feet stomping. Then a nature walk. You can move the baby's arms as the falling leaves and gently tap their feet on the ground. You can lift the infant and bring them slowly down as if they were the leaf falling. You can have fun with it! You sing it, say it, whatever. So I want to model that spontaneity and joy with the parents. I am going to sing the Squirrel Nutkin song with my little squirrel finger puppet and a log. And then we are all going to play with a big pile of boxes.

After birth-18 mos will come my 2 and 3 year olds. For them I am going to do a reprise of The Little Red Hen with finger puppets and homemade playdough as our "bread dough". The notes for this are on the website under Infant & Toddler (bottom of the page).

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Congratulations to President-Elect Barack Obama!

Sanguine: The World Outside

Today is Self Portrait Day. The children each decorated a 4x6 wooden picture frame at a craft thing they did and so I have been wondering what to put in the frames. Yesterday I hit on it -- pictures of themselves! So we will each do a self portrait and write the child's name and age at the bottom and put it in the frame. I gave Leah some chalk today to practice hers at the easel (while Becca was in screaming agonies over an earache and Leah was hopping around saying, Mom can we do something fun together?). It was so funny to watch her. First thing she put in the grass. She spent a lot of time on the grass, the sky, the clouds. Her body she spent much less time on. Then she wanted to color in the entire background around her body so that the whole thing was covered in chalk. And she was singing happily, You never know when I'm going to look like this again. Blue and green face, etc. I thought it was so hilarious that she began with the background and then put herself in. I've never seen a child do that, usually my others do themselves then proceed to decorate the scene. But Leah is picture perfect skippy dippy happy happy happy in love with life sanguine and they are concerned with the "present outside themselves." So I guess the scenery is an important part of the picture to her. Melancholics are concerned with the past, Cholerics with the future (those instruments of change), and Phlegmatic with "present inside themselves" (the pleasure loving ones).

Today we voted, Leah and I. Becca was at preschool until the school called to say please come pick her up. All of my children are afflicted with something right now. I haven't left the house by myself in almost a week! Yesterday I roasted a turkey. All the laundry is done. All the dishes are done. Lots of housework is getting done, being at home all the time. In a way it is kindof nice, except for the fact that is my absolute favorite time of year and the leaves are peaking here in MD and I would love to take a hike!!!!

Leah's birthday is in 10 days. She will be 5. I don't know yet whether her father has her for her birthday weekend or whether I do (lawyers are so much fun) but regardless of whether she gets a big party we'll have some kind of family celebration so I need to get myself organized & plan that.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Pooch Smoothies

Just HAVE to share this recipe from Rachael Ray's magazine. She has a pet friendly recipe in the back of each issue. Natalie laid them all out on the table and picked one -- thank heavens it was not only the only recipe that I had all the ingredients for but it was also the fastest to make. She specializes in recipes that the humans can eat too so we whipped up a double batch for everyone to enjoy.

Pet Day featured:

new bedding for the Guinea Pig (I LOVE Planetwise Cozy 'n Fresh Natural Pine Bedding -- compostable/biodegradable/ flushable, stays dry no matter what, smells great no matter what and I only have to change it every few weeks -- $13.99 for a 20 lb bag lasts me 2 months)

fresh food and water for the GP

a new chew toy for same

fresh food and water for the parakeet

a string of Cheerios (lovingly strung by Rebecca) for her cage

a bath for Toby

heartworm medicine and Frontline for Toby

and Toby smoothies!!!!

Power Pooch Smoothies

8 oz plain yogurt

1 cup blackberries or raspberries or 5 large, hulled strawberries

1 mango, sliced

1 very ripe banana

1 tablespoon honey

1 cup ice water*

Process all the ingredients in a blender at high speed until smooth. Pour pooch smoothies into small bowls and freeze. Remove from the freezer, set on the floor, and let your pooch lick the treat.

* We used regular water since our raspberries, mango and banana were all frozen.

Date Night

I forgot to mention that the school moved my Natural Gift Making Workshop to Friday evenings to masquerade as a kind of Date Night for parents. The idea is that parents will pay for a sitter to have their Friday evenings free, the school makes enough money to pay me by the hour with plenty left over, and I get to plan fun stories and activities for the kids while they are with me. We are trying this for the first time this Friday evening from 6 - 9 pm. That means that I have to prep some kind of theme. I'm not quite ready for my ideas for December so I think I'll do painting with them. How about

1) sewing beanbags

2) making playdough

3) watercolor painting

I'd like to do Nurse Lugton's Curtain by Virginia Woolf as the story, then we can choose fabric for our beanbags, mix up some batches of playdough and make animals with them, and do lovely paintings. We can do a piece of seasonal poetry and a color story. I am not sure how old the children I get will be so I am not going to try for any kind of form.

Autumn Leaves
by Marilyn Helmer

Wind blows
and fills the skies
with gold and yellow

which flit to earth
with skips and hops
to dance and twirl
like spinning tops.

The last one dips
in a puddle to float
like a single scarlet
sailing boat.

Autumn Leaves
by Eve Merriam

Autumn leaves tumble down,
Autumn leaves crumble down,
Autumn leaves bumble down,
Flaking and shaking,
Tumbledown leaves.

Rustle by
Hustle by
Crackle and crunch
In a snappety bunch.

Run and catch
Run and catch
Butterfly leaves
Sailboat leaves
Windstorm leaves.
Can you catch them?

Pile them up
In a stompy pile and

In Autumn
by Fannie Montgomery

They're coming down in showers,
The leaves all gold and red;
They're covering the little flowers,
And tucking them in bed.
They've spread a fairy carpet
All up and down the street;
And when we skip along to school,
They rustle 'neath our feet.

Pet Day

Today my children all have to stay home for about the millionth day in a row (Natalie has pneumonia, Leah has pink eye, Becca is just a victim of circumstance) and we have to miss a birthday party so I thought I'd make up a festival for us to celebrate. We skipped H-day (although we carved pumpkins) so today is Pet Day. After rest time today we are going to think of something special to do to celebrate each of our pets. This began because I need to clean the guinea pig's cage and the birdcage, and the dog needs his heartworm medicine and Frontline, so I was making a to-do list and then I thought: how about a Pet Day! So when I get the kids up for snack we can brainstorm a list of special things to do for them and the practical stuff can get done as well. Special treats, a bath for the dog, who knows what we can come up with! I think it will be a lot of fun.

For Erik's birthday we made him a book called "Going to the Zoo." I put in a bunch of photographs from our last trip to the zoo and Natalie used alphabet stickers to write the names of each animal below. This was a good chance for her to practice her spelling. Then the children all signed the last page and we put 2008 on the back. It came out super-cute and didn't cost me a thing since I had all the scrapbooking supplies on hand.

This week... let's see. Monday - nothing. Tuesday - I have to vote. Wednesday - nothing. Thursday is storytime and I'll do a repeat of "The Little Red Hen" since nobody came to that one last time and I still have the finger puppets. Need to make up some bread dough for us to knead, though, and maybe a selection of different kinds of flours for the children to smell. I have bleached white flour, whole wheat flour, oat flour, buckwheat flour, and soy flour. I guess I could also take in cornmeal. Friday - nothing. Saturday is the second week of the mommy and me toddler program and so I have to prep that. Looks like I'll be getting a lot of housework done! I have decided to unpack the house since MD law is that you can't get evicted during the Winter and spend my time actually organizing instead of hunting through boxes to find things. If the house is organized it will be easier to pack anyway. And the children were running out of toys, I couldn't find any of my teaching books, the craft supplies were all put away and it's time to make Christmas presents -- in short, the system was broken. I like the culling before you pack the boxes, culling after you unpack the boxes process too. You throw away twice as much stuff. By throw away, of course, I mean give to the thrift store or give away on Freecyle. I have a strict rule to take nothing from freecycle but houseplants but go on every day to see what people want that I can give away. Got rid of the baby's exersaucer recently -- whew!

Yesterday I fixed my dishwasher so I will briefly share. It wasn't broken, per se, just disgusting. The dishes always came out dirtier than they went in, with bits of food caked on them all over. So I got fed up and ran the stupid thing with nothing in it except a bunch of apple cider vinegar in the dishsoap dispenser and now it cleans like dream. Hurrah!

Mirrored Forms

Today's Sunday School class was awesome. We did the story about Moses' soul going up to heaven and then the watercolor painting. I had practiced it before -- it's beautiful. If I can figure out how to take a picture of it I will. The whole page is yellow with a sun (darker circle) in the middle. The bottom third is blue. Then you turn the handle of the brush to make a flying V (the classic seagull flying away shape) in the sun and the mirror in the blue ground below. As it dries the flying bird and its shadow get darker so don't worry if you can't see them at first. The children had never done mirrored forms before so the sand trays (I actually used a dark red salt) were a big hit, and also a good chance for them to practice the concept. The paintings were also a big hit. And they are gorgeous!

Next week I am researching now. It will be our day to paste the paintings (I did half size watercolor paper) in the main lesson books and do the composition piece. I will be shaping the head of baby Moses, having cut out the pieces two weeks ago. Each week I am hands on during the storytelling and art/drama piece and then I take a week off from having anything to do while they compose (with the exception of checking spelling and so on) so I work on the doll. The lectionary for next week is Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25 and Psalm 78:1-7. This week was supposed to be Joshua leading the people across the river Jordan into the Promised Land and how the waters of the river rolled back and they crossed on dry land. Next week he sits the people down and asks them to commit to serving God. I think that we won't do a page for this, so I will just have the children do their retelling, write their compositions for the Death of Moses, at the end of the morning I'll tell the story of Joshua and the tribes of Israel at Shechem, and that will be our day.

Biblical Art for the Covenant at Shechem