Sunday, June 30, 2013

Make Your Own Pinata

The kids decided to make pinatas after reading The Pinata Maker.

The Pinata Maker by George Ancona is an entertaining biography about a man who makes Mexican pinatas the traditional way. I was surprised to learn he uses clay pots to create the cavity. The book details the steps he takes to create a swan and a star pinata.

When I brought home the book The Pinata Maker, the next day my oldest daughter was doing this.

A few hours later my youngest child was doing this.
That's just one thing I love about free time when the kids have time to pursue their own interests. This wasn't a mommy guided activity, but we have made pinatas in the past. This time the activity was entirely kid guided. I have trouble keeping up.

To make a pinata use a glue and water mixture to paste newspaper pieces onto a balloon, paper or cardboard frame. After the balloon is entirely covered wait for it to dry and add another layer. Repeat until there are two or three layers.

Next decorate the balloon with tissue paper or paint. Cut a small hole into the balloon and paper mache and fill the cavity with treats.

This post is linked to: 
Pin-Me Linky
Family Fun Friday
Do Something Crafty
Sun Scholars
Read, Explore, Learn
Real Family Fun
We Made That
Made it Monday
True Aim Education
Sew Can Do

* I did not receive any compensation for this recommendation. I'm just a homeschooling mom who has found many products that I like. If you're interested in the products I recommend on this blog I want to make it easy for you to find them. 
** I am an Amazon associate and receive a small portion of the sales on orders made after clicking in from this site, which I promptly spend on homeschooling books and supplies for my children.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Dubrovnik - War Evidence

During 1991 the city of Dubrovnik, Croatia was damaged by war. After the break-up of Yugoslavia several groups of people had different ideas on how the city and country should be divided and governed.
This lead to an attack on the city by The Yugoslav People's Army. From the top of the hill Dubrovnik received shell fire for over seven months.
Although most of the damage has been restored to meet UNESCO World Heritage standards there is still evidence of war.
Today approximately 90% of the roofs of structures have been replaced. It is easy to find new roofs alongside old.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Hobbies and Handicrafts - June 28

Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational is a blog I've been following for a long time now because it's packed with great ideas.

Building a harmonica from craft sticks is a fun activity on its own, and even better if it's combined with a book such as Lentil (Picture Puffins) by Robert McCloskey. Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational has a tutorial with all the steps for making two slightly different models.

Thank you to all of you keeping this link-up alive during these long summer days. I look forward to seeing what the kids have been up to this week.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Making Tomales with Kids

Before my third child was born I used to work as a mechanical engineer and the kids were taken care of by a wonderful woman from Mexico. She taught us how to make tamales, which the kids still love to make.

Cooking food from around the world is a great way to introduce other cultures.

The tamale dough is made from Masa flower.
2 lbs Masa
3 tbsp paprika
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp broth
2 cups corn oil

Mix together and add water until the dough has the consistency of peanut butter.

Spread the dough onto a corn husk and fill with anything that sounds good. We used cheese, hot peppers, corn and black beans.

Steam for two hours. The tomales should be standing upright and not touching the water.

They can also be made sweet using spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg, filling with nuts and fruit and adding honey and milk to the dough. We haven't tried sweet tomales yet, but plan to soon.

To see our other international cooking adventures please visit our Food page.

This post is linked to: 
Kids in the Kitchen
Family Fun Friday 
Saturday Dishes

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Fabric Crayons

When I was a child we decorated the duvet covers on our beds with fabric crayons. It was so simple and fun. After coloring a picture onto regular paper the artwork was put face down on the fabric and ironed into place.

Now my kids are enjoying the same experience. I bought each of the kids two white pillowcases which they have been so busy customizing with unique designs.

(Synthetic fabric works best.)
Remove the Paper

This post is linked to:
True Aim Education
Family Fun Friday
One Artsy Mama
Do Something Crafty
Pin Me Party
123 Homeschool 4 Me
Sun Scholars
Share it Saturday
Share and Show Saturday
Saturday Show and Tell 
Sew Can Do
Montessori Monday
Relentlessly Fun
Chicken Chick 
Tuesday Tots
Tot School Tuesday

* I did not receive any compensation for this recommendation. I'm just a homeschooling mom who has found many products that I like. If you're interested in the products I recommend on this blog I want to make it easy for you to find them. 
** I am an Amazon associate and receive a small portion of the sales on orders made after clicking in from this site, which I promptly spend on homeschooling books and supplies for my children. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Leukemia - Maintenance Week 15 - Worry

We visited the doctor today and Jemma is doing great. Her blood is right where it's supposed to be, she's eating well and has tons of energy.

I wish I could say the same for myself. It's very strange. Things are going so well yet I feel paralyzed and it's really a horrible feeling. Although we have had low activity over the past few days I've been sleeping 10 hours per night and don't have energy to do much during the day.

I mentioned Jemma's breathing last week, and it is still bothering me a lot. When I sit close to her while reading I hear small sounds that send my mind back to last summer. Once my mind goes back a year, I have trouble returning to today. Worry and unhelpful thoughts keep turning over and over in my mind and I can't stop them from coming. I thought reading a bit on the internet would make me feel better, but it really makes me feel a lot worse. Ignorance is bliss. Some nights the thoughts keep me up and some days they keep me from being productive.

My logical brain knows this type of thought is not helpful to me or anyone else around me. So when I step back and think about it I know I need to change my behavior.

I watched this 10 minute video review of the book "How to Stop Worrying and Start Living" by Dale Carnegie and it did seem to help. Brian Johnson discusses several key points from the book that make a lot of sense and I'm really trying to follow them. - Don't stress about the past or the future, do what needs to be done today, accept what is in your life, think about what could be done, make a plan, take action, and take breaks.

Friday and Saturday were horrible days for me, but yesterday and today weren't too bad. I think it's a matter of time. I've spent a year in emergency mode and dealing with the unfamiliar. Now that things have calmed down I need to readjust again.

Last week the doctor told me that this transition time is typically a very difficult time for parents and I completely agree.

This post is linked to:
A Mama's Story
The Better Mom
Chicken Chicks
Miscellany Monday

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Creating Tessellation Mathematical Artwork

We created interesting mathematical designs using tessellations.

Tessellation is the process of translating or rotating shapes so that they fit together perfectly. Any shapes that can be laid side-by-side without any space in between can be tessellated. This includes equilateral triangles, rectangles, squares and hexagons among others. Circles don't work because when they are placed side-by-side there are gaps between.

Beginning with an equilateral triangle, we fancied up the edges using a procedure that would allow our new shape to fit together. Tessellations are actually very mathematical. Learning about equilateral triangles, measuring angles, measuring edges, dividing, creating patterns, using rotation and translation, and symmetry are mathematical concepts covered through this creative artistic activity.

For art last year we looked at many different paintings in Come Look With Me: Exploring Landscape Art With Children (Come Look With Me Series). One of the paintings was by Escher, who made extensive use of tessellations. I never thought of trying the technique at home until I read Lucinda at Navigating by Joys' post about tessellations.

After a quick internet search I found this tutorial which clearly explained the technique.

Cardboard, cardboard food container or card stock

We began by creating an equilateral triangle.

Equilateral triangles have three sides the same length, and three 60 degree angles.

Then we replaced one edge with a new line.

The shape was cut out.

The new shape was traced onto the card stock paper.

Next, the creative edge was inverted onto an adjacent edge of the triangle. This was done by rotating the figure using one corner of creative edge's line of the triangle as a fixed point until the other corner of the creative edge's line matched up with other corner of the triangle. The creative edge was traced to replace the second straight edge of the triangle.

The new shape was cut out. In all, the shapes had to be cut out four times.
1. Triangle with 1 fancy edge
2. Triangle with initial fancy edge and inverted fancy edge transferred onto second edge.

The same procedure was used for the third edge, except the line was divided in half to create two parts. One half of the line was fancied and the line was inverted onto the other half of the edge.

3. Triangle with 2 fancy edges and one half of the third edge fancied up.
4. Final shape with the one-half fancied edge inverted onto the other half.
Once the final shape was created it was traced onto a blank piece of paper, then rotated and retraced fitting the edges together.

Then the designs were colored.

Here's the one I created. I saw an old man yelling in my tessellation.

My daughter thought her's looked like a duck.

My son saw a dinosaur eating in his.

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This post is linked to: 
No Time for Flash Cards
Pin-Me Linky
Tried it Tuesday
Teach Beside Me 
Saturday Show-and Tell 
Share and Show Saturday
Summer Activities for Kids 
Montessori Monday
Relentlessly Fun
Manic Monday 
Hip Homeschool Hop

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Onofrio's Fountains

The Stradun is the main street which runs through the village of Dubrovnik. The Onofrio Fountains are on each end of the street.

 Onofrio's Large Fountain

Onofrio's Small Fountain

Friday, June 21, 2013

Hobbies and Handicrafts - June 21

Making alphabet books with kids is crafty, fun, good for fine motor skills and helps them to learn their letters. I've created simple alphabet books using stickers and magazine cutouts with each of my kids.
This week Life with Moore Babies shared a tutorial for making pop-up alphabet books. The best part is that when the books are finished, they are fun to read.

Swimming has been keeping us busy now that it's summer, but I've been thinking about the upcoming school year a bit too. Please join me at the Lesson Planning Blog Hop Series beginning July 11th to share your subject based school plans.

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