Thursday, September 29, 2016

Balance Boards


Simple and spectacular. 
You don't need to understand Italian to follow this easy peasy tutorial for a DIY Balance Board.

We wrapped up our current 'Balance' studies with this woodworking project. 


Vegan Bites: Maple Jellies

O: "It's made with Mommy's love! (seeing the heart shapes)"
C: (whispers) "It's made with syrup!!"

You can never go wrong with Maple Syrup.

Vegan-friendly jellies requires a sea vegetable called Agar Agar. You can purchase it at your local health food store, or you can pay about 90% less at your local Asian market, where it is often sold in unbreakable sticks, rather than flakes.

These would look sweet and festive, in time for harvest season, as maple leaf shapes.

Maple Jellies
~1 cup (1 stick) agar agar
~2 & 3/4 cups water
~1 cup maple syrup
Soak the agar agar in water for 30 minutes.
Boil to dissolve.
Add syrup and simmer for 10 minutes.
Pour into shallow dish and cool.
Shapes cut easily when jelly form sets.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Busy Scissor Work

"I have a project just for you today."

"No Olivia? 
No Mommy? 
No Milo? 
Oh, he not big enough yet!"

Somebody in our house is in love with scissors.
Said somebody was completely on board when I set her up with 'Scissor Work'.
I didn't get fancy, just some black lines, but no need, she got straight to work and continued for thirty minutes while I indulged her big sisters need to hear the next two chapters of her latest Kate DiCamillo book!

Bowl of O's

When she completed the assignment, she searched for a page of O's she previously painted and cut those out too!


For starters, aim to do this project out of doors.
Particularly out of rooms with rice paper lamps!

This simple catapult encompasses some science as well as simple engineering, plus it's cheap and takes two minutes to prep before you can make objects soar!

After a couple of rounds of being whacked on the noodle by landing wooden blocks, Ms. O developed a new foot-press technique, eliminating the risk of bring hit by your own missiles.

Wacky Balance Ball

Balancing the ball between two body parts was a great start to the day, for connection and creativity.
Plus it elicited loads of giggles!

I called out a body part, then Ms.O & C had to mash close and work together to travel down the imaginary line without allowing the ball to slip. 
Their height difference made it all the more challenging.

They loved it and requested that I take turns participating too:)

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Balance Wheel

 Balance Wheel

More often than not, I'm way off when it comes to predicting the interest-level of any particular project planned. Projects I suspect will be met with enthusiasm, are quickly completed and tossed to the wayside. Projects I fear are too tough are tackled with a great sense of confidence and profound insight.
If nothing else, it's a healthy and constant reminder to me that I can never assume I know my children.
They evolve and change constantly. 
They are far more capable than I credit them for and can be trusted to judge what is relevant in their lives.
I must always be asking questions and listening intently to understand more about the people they are. 
As GBShaw was quoted,

“The only man I know who behaves sensibly is my tailor; he takes my measurements anew each time he sees me. The rest go on with their old measurements and expect me to fit them.” 

The construction of a Balance Wheel; looking at aspects of one's life and mentally measuring where scales are tipped,  seemed like a mature exercise for a five and newly-minted three year old.
I was sorely mistaken.

I presented them with a circle each, already divided into six, equal spaces and labeled, Health, Relationships, Work, Play/Creativity, Rest & Sense of Purpose, leaving this topic for last.
I explained that we were going to brainstorm words for each topic, before they created representational sketches in each division.
I made sure to let their idea's flow without my own suggestions.

"What do you think of when you hear the word Health?"
 "Medicine, like pills (homeopathics),
going to Jonah (our osteopath),
eating good foods,
no candy,
doing Jamie (our yoga lessons),
exercise (Ms. C's contribution!)"

"What about the word Rest?"
"Falling asleep,

"And Work?"
"Making food,
playing with Milo,
Chinese School,
learning languages"

"How about Play or Creativity?"
sculptures with paper,
cut-out paper"

"What does that mean?"
"People in your life."

"Do you understand Sense of Purpose? 
How and why you are on Earth?"
"Because of your eggs and to play in tree's!"

"If all these parts of your life are balanced, near equal, chances are you'll feel very good, happy, positive.
When these parts are not balanced?"
"We'll be grumpy."

Ms. O went to work drawing sweet little sketches.
I sat there wondering when exactly the little egg she claims to have been, turned into such a clever little human being:)

We'll now keep these on display for reference and reminder.
As usual, I'm not sure who learned more from todays lesson.

Fill Your Bucket. Fabulous book, similar concept. To feel good, we must have our buckets full.

Balance Wheels. A similar Balance Whhel is represented in this article, by Deepak Chopra's daughter.

Yoga Blog #yoga #yogainspiration #yogapose #video…:

Vegan Bites: Watermelon Sorbet

So simple!
Watermelon sorbet is only a few ingredients and a few minutes prep (minus freezing time.)

There are several recipes out there with slight variations.
All seem to include the fresh mint leaves (and most include a splash of lime)!
You can add some coconut milk or bananas for a little creaminess, but there is no sugar, other than fruit and enough sweetness to make you think sugar was added.

Tiny Tales: Music

Ms.C, hammock, popsicle & birds nest

"Mom, when birds is singin'
we no need music."

Monday, September 26, 2016

Sci Fri: What is Gravity?


"In the blink of an eye, you will see the stick balance!"
~Olivia, aged five

In line with our 'Balance' theme, I found an awesome gravity activity on 'Rookie Parenting' 
Rather than present the experiment, I opted to hand out popsicle and chopsticks and stump the little ones. 

"And for todays challenge, you must find a way to balance this popsicle stick on this chopstick!"
~Mommy, much older but not wiser

Not only did they find one way, between them they found five! 
Ms. O announced the 'blink of an eye' bit, made me actually blink and then demonstrated how much wiser she and her sister truly are, than yours truly!
Count them...


And there you have it, Folks. 
Outsmarted and proud.

"So Mom, what's your trick?"
~Olivia, aged five 

At which point I pulled out my prepared popsicle stick, complete with pipe cleaner and clothespegs to intro Center of Gravity.

Bill Nye & The Chair Trick. We watched a  very informative Balance episode of Bill Nye.
Afterwards, I thought we should try out the Chair Trick (pressing on someone's forehead with your finger, to see if they can get out of the chair, demonstrating the need for our center of gravity to shift forward to stand up.) Ms. O was very amused that my fingertip could prevent her from standing up!
Then she changed her foot position from front to side...and up she stood!
Outsmarted again!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Leaf Wings

A "Beauty" project, as Ms.C would say.
The tutorial for these 'Wing Capes' are from 'hello, Wonderful' (brilliant blog!)
If you want to get crazy, this family attempted them with REAL leaves!!

As I was setting out our Autumn pumpkins and hanging our Leaf Garland I thought it would be a good time to make Leaf Wings!
We went for felt fabric, as it's easy to sew with and keeps well over the years. 

Ms. C was all over having a turn to use the sewing machine!
She knows how to turn it on, place the needle in the fabric and she hits the gas peddle much like her mother!
When she told Daddy about her days work, she included lots of detail regarding her new set of Wings!

Patterns & Colours

Ms. C and I worked together, setting out piles in colour groups and creating patterns. I pinned, she sewed (and snipped whenever possible!).
Ms. O wanted to be more independent. I provided the cut pieces, but she did the rest.

Autumn Equinox: The Colour of the Night

Painting Shadows
We chanced upon a beautiful book, 'The Color of Night' at the Telling Tales Festival.
Honestly, I only picked it up because it's based on a painting by my favourite artist, Gauguin.
It fit beautifully into our theme of 'Balance' and highlighted characters representing night/day, relating to today's Mabon (Autumn Equinox) celebrations of equal daylight and night.

The book tells a tale about a village of people who have coloured shadows. Their lives are full of light.
They are cheerful and never allow negativity.
A young boy feels conflicted about always being happy and is shunned for his negative thoughts and feelings. His life is represented by nighttime and darkness.
The book teaches about range of emotions and balance.

We set out some animals and traced their shadows.
We noted how shadows are longer than the shapes, particularly in the afternoon light, as the sun is headed into the Western horizon.
I then asked for them to paint shadow drawings in a rainbow of colours to represent various feelings.

Since we were already delving into Artist Study, I brought out a book of Gauguins work and asked Ms.O to pick her favourite piece. She found a landscape painting and used it as inspiration for watercolour work.

20 Weeks-Autumn Equinox

First Day of Fall
20 Weeks Old!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Writing Wednesday: Pages of O's

Working on her O's

Clothespegs & Popsicle Stick Structures

Traditionally, building toys are marketed towards babies and boys, so I try as often as possible to incorporate engineering projects into our week.
Especially open-ended 'Invitations to Play', like this clothespegs and popsicle stick structure invitation.

It never ceases to amaze me the myriad of ways people interpret projects; both Ms.O and C went to work immediately and produced very unique structures and continued with their work for a solid hour.

O's Architecture. Every night for about a year, O took initiative to create a wooden structure with four blocks before bed and leave it on our dresser. I was shocked at the number of ways she used four blocks.

Wander Wednesday: Rock Cairns

Wherever we look in nature we cannot fail to notice that balance is a main characteristic of everything.:

If you are at all interested in natural artwork, take a peek at Michael Grab's, 'Gravity Glue'. 
This man makes magic out of rock sculptures or cairns.

We set off for Wander Wednesday with these cairns in mind.

Bring Me a Rock. We did a lovely little Invitation to Play last week based on the book, Bring Me a Rock. Too sweet!

Felt Rocks. These were such a pretty project and lend to stacking structures.