Friday, February 20, 2009


Well, it seems so funny to read my last few posts from Monday afternoon. They were so light and easy and carefree! What happened after that was not nearly so fun.

Monday at 8 pm I took Leah to Urgent Care because she said she was having trouble breathing and she had a fever of 103.8 which came on suddenly. Urgent Care called 9-1-1 and put us in an ambulance to the hospital. The E.R. gave her a chest X-ray and admitted her for pneumonia which we began to treat. Still she was having trouble breathing. So more testing was done and it turns out that she had RSV and pneumonia simultaneously. This was discovered Tuesday evening. We were in the hospital until 3 pm today when her oxygen levels stayed above 92 while she was asleep. Tuesday she was on oxygen all night. Wednesday for the first half of the night. (Lying down lowers your oxygen levels anyway and the shallow breaths you take when you are asleep don't help -- but the numbers should be above 92. Hers were falling to 85.) Thursday night we were hoping to go the whole night without oxygen but she still needed it. Today she took a nap and stayed at 93!!!! So they sent us home. Hooray. I missed Natalie and Becca so much; I just went out the door Monday night while their grandmother stayed with them, thinking we would head to Urgent Care, stay a few hours, and come back home... and it turned into this huge 5 day thing. And they weren't allowed to visit the hospital at all so I didn't seem them. Now we are all reunited and I am so looking forward to spending time with all 3 this weekend. Steve would usually have the girls this weekend and I would have them next weekend but I asked him to switch since I hadn't seen N and B at all since Monday.

Anyway, I hope my inbox isn't full of people being disgruntled because they signed up for the website and didn't receive their username and password yet but I was stuck in the hospital... I will process all that stuff tonight.

SOOOOOO glad to be home!

Monday, February 16, 2009


Leah and Becca are napping; Natalie and I are hanging out. We just baked a vanilla cake mix from Namaste and made a blackberry sauce to go over it. After the other two wake up we need to head to WalMart to get a presentation backboard for N's Sweden report which is due next week. Time for the World Tour again! Last year we were Japan. This year she picked Sweden. So...

we made 15 little train tickets out of 4x6 index cards with the Sweden flag cut and pasted to them and the word Sweden written on them (the children will be visiting India before they go to Sweden so we thought a train trip would be nice)

I pulled out my Tomten that I bought at the craft fair in Boulder last year after Rahima's conference

and we have The Tomten, The Tomten and the Fox, and Ollie's Ski Trip to share (Astrid Lindgren and Elsa Beskow are both Swedish authors)

I found some straw ornaments and am looking for my little wooden reindeer

we called my brother who collected foreign currency when he was a kid to see about borrowing some krona

we have 12 pictures of animals (6 that live in Sweden, 6 that do not) for Natalie to hold up and quiz the class. Elephant, tiger, tropical bird, etc. for the NO pile. Bear, fox, rabbit, etc. for the YES pile.

N wants to present Swedish food (OSTA-KAKA (SWEDISH CHEESECAKE)), a model of how Sweden was formed (glaciation) with ice cubes and a tray of sand, and we still have to make the backboard. So the backboard comes next. It is due next week on Monday and she is spending this upcoming weekend with her dad so we have to work on it a little each day this week.

Crocheted Little Brown Bulb with Roots

Time to change the Nature table!

We have had King Winter, Mrs. Thaw, a white silk, a snowflake silk, white crystals, and Ollie's Ski Trip out for quite a while. Yesterday I noticed little crocus coming up under the trees so we have switched to Little Brown Bulb's tableau. A green and yellow silk, the crocus card from C. Mary Barker's flower fairies (you can get a postcard book of flower fairy illustrations from Amazon) in a cardholder, the grass growing kit (which has three different kinds of grasses growing cheerfully in the pots) from Smith & Hawken, and my little brown bulb I crocheted sleeping contently under a piece of brown roving. It's quite cheery and lovely. Actually, as a side note, the very minute after I said "I saw crocus coming up yesterday. I think King Winter and Mrs. Thaw are over," Natalie shouted, SNOW! And sure enough a few flakes were falling. But I changed the scene anyway because we always do when the crocus pop up. I also have the figures for a little sleeping bulb and the snowdrop that he becomes and Lady Spring (from a needle felting workshop with S. Down) but I was more in the mood for the sleeping bulb today.

I found this poem in my list of resources; I'm not sure of the original author. 

The Little Brown Bulb

A little brown bulb
lay asleep in the ground,
In his little brown nightie
he made not a sound.

King Winter he roared
and he raged overhead,
But the little brown bulb
never stirred in his bed.

But when spring came
tip-toeing over the leigh, (or sea)
With fingers to lips
as soft as can be,

The little brown bulb
just lifted his head,
Slipped off his nightie
and jumped out of bed.

Crocheted Root-Child Pattern
February 2006

This project is found in The Nature Corner: Celebrating the year's cycle with a seasonal tableau by M v Leeuwen & J Moeskops, page 22.

For this project I purchased Magallenes yarn, color 300 (beiges). This is a thick and thin hand-dyed 100% wool yarn which I think will give the perfect texture for the root children (I got mine at A.C. Moore but you can also buy it online). I am using a size I hook.

  • I began this project February 17 2006 and finished it February 21 2006.
  • I never was able to comprehend the directions for this project. Partially it was technique, I just didn't understand what they were talking about, and partially it was the yarn. The thick and thin is beautiful but I would not recommend it for a new crocheter since it is VERY hard to find your place. Here is my modified design:
  • I crocheted a single chain about as long as the reach of my two outstretched arms (hold the chain on one hand, stretch your arms all the way out and the chain should reach all the way across your chest to the other hand) and then tied it off.
  • I took a yarn needle and threaded it with some more of the yarn and simply started to sew the chain up into a little bag shape as was described in the directions. to make the bottom of the root-child, sew the chain around and around like a braided rug until it is the width you want. then begin to sew the chain vertically up around the edges to make a shallow basket and continue until you have a bag the depth you want. If you are holding the yarn needle in your right hand, put your left thumb inside the root child's body (upside-down) to help shape it. the finished project will look neater if you keep the loose end of your yarn, and your needle, inside the root child's body, thereby hiding your stitches.

    when you are happy with the length of your root child, then bring the chain in closer and closer to close it up at the top leaving a little room for the wool stuffing and the little face. my chain made a root-child which was a little over 2 1/2 inches long. if you have extra chain left over, just cut it when you're done and tie off the end.

  • for the face, I used a lightweight silk/linen blend fabric in a flax color and embroidered the face in matching thread (acutally, a little bit lighter) for a sort of tone on tone effect to make the child look very pale and sleeping. I just did a very simple face, one stitch for each eye and a small mouth embroidered in satin stitch.
  • For the hair I again used the Magallenes yarn. I made six 8 inch long braids of the yarn, three strands of yarn for each braid. again, you can easily cut your braids if they turn out to be too long and just tie off the ends, so it's better to make them longer than you think you might want and adjust them when the project is done. I sewed the braids evenly around the back of the doll's head where I wanted "hair" then arranged the braids as needed to cover any sewing marks or odd edges. I left the rest of each braid hanging down to resemble the little dried roots which hang off of a bulb.
  • Then I laid our root-child under a bed of "earth", color #3 from Weir Dolls (chocolate). If any snow comes we can simply lay some white wool on top of that.

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  • Sunday, February 1, 2009

    Saint Francis of Assisi

    I haven't posted much about Sunday School lately. We did sock puppets for the story of The Flight into Egypt (one class session to make the puppets and one week to present the story), then we did the main lesson book page and the wool pictures for the next week's class. One student brought in all the girls from her birthday slumber party to class and that was -- luckily -- the week we put on the puppet show. So that gave us a good audience.

    The story of The Flight into Egypt I took from an older book called Beautiful Bible Stories. After I told it we made a brainstorm of the characters and each child made a sock puppet for each hand. It ended up working out perfectly -- God, an angel, Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, 3 wise men, Herod, Herod's son, and Herod's 2 advisors. The sock puppet making was a bit of a toss-off idea but it was a great way to get them to really understand the story, plus making them was a ton of fun. I just handed them each 2 plain white socks and threw open the doors to the supply cabinet. Surprisingly, safety pins turned out to be the most useful supply. And the children had never made them before.

    So (I can't remember if I already wrote about all of that, if I did, sorry) now we are doing a series to follow along with the pastor's sermons on the Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations. I am using these as a chance to work in some Saint Stories! The one we did last week was "Passionate Worship" for which I told the story of Simeon the Stylite (and Daniel the Stylite). I used the book A Calendar of Saints: The Lives of the Principal Saints of the Christian Year for this.

    This week the theme was "Intentional Faith Development." I chose Saint Francis of Assisi for this. Resources used included Saints: A Year in Faith and Art, One Hundred Saints: Their Lives and Likenesses Drawn from Butler's , and Stories of the Saints by Siegwart Knijpenga (available through Bob & Nancy's Bookshop). I told the story of his birth, of his vision and his subsequent devotion to poverty, and his sermon to the birds. We used the picture of Francis preaching to the birds in Magic Wool: Creative Activities With Natural Sheep's Wool to inspire paper collages of the same scene. The scene will be all paper with one exception: we are using burlap for Francis's robe. The children actually had a lot of prior knowledge of Saint Francis since he is featured in garden statues and bird baths and bird feeders and so on. Next week we are going to finish the collages, make pinecone bird feeders (with peanut butter and birdseed) and move on to the next saint story. Next week is "Risk-taking Mission and Service" and we will do Saint Christopher, one of my favorites. My favorite version is One Dark and Stormy Night: Legend of Saint Christopher. It's drawn as a cartoon book but the story is wonderful and I'm not reading it anyway, I'm telling it. So as far as I'm concerned, whatever helps the storyteller learn the story is fine.

    In home life, we have been hanging out and having fun. 2 snow days off from school this week meant playing outside, feeding birds, folding laundry together, cooking (we made a delicious cranberry applesauce), breaking out the board games, etc. Now this is my weekend with the kids and we went to a family birthday party yesterday. It is so nice to have a party actually fall on a weekend when I can go to it! Leah and I planted some wheatgrass seeds for her guinea pig and now Becca and I are doing a Grass Seed Kit from Smith & Hawken (which was on clearance from Target) of Ryegrass, Catgrass, and Lovegrass. This is the time of year when you just want to PLANT things!

    For the Tidewater vegetable garden I got yukon gold seed potatoes (hoeing is such good work for children) as well as buttercrunch lettuce, broccoli, swiss chard (which grew beautifully in our garden last year), carrots, radishes, small sugar pumpkins, black beauty eggplant, and sugar baby watermelon. All the seeds are organic. We will do Farming & Gardening in March, which I want to tie in with Linear Measurement (including finding Area) and a Health unit on the parts of the body and Nutrition and the food groups and so on.

    February I am focusing on a fairy tales unit (complete with needle felting and puppetry) and a Physics unit on Sound (which I am getting from a book called 175 More Science Experiments to Amuse and Amaze Your Friends. The entire first section is on Sound and the focus is making musical instruments.