Monday, November 27, 2006

Curves Crafting

Last night we delivered and set-up our craft table at our local Curves. Erin separated each of her 42 jars of pre-orders into boxes for each person with an itemized receipt. For those who ordered $40 or more she threw in a Cocoa Heaven for Two. On Saturday we (all the kids helped with this) also prepared many jars of salts and scrubs. Add to that the lip balm and our table was pretty full! On the silver tray are testers (hopefully people will limit their opening of jars to those). We put together little stand-up flyers that tell people about the products and under the table there is some extra inventory. We'll see how it goes for the rest of the week and then next week is our Craft House.
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Sunday, November 26, 2006

Reading Pagoda

Another example of lived near this all my life but have never been there. Even after doing this Fieldlearning thing for several years with the kids there are still things on the list of gotta try that. I grew up about 45 minutes from Reading. One of our proms was at practically next door to the Reading Pagoda, and yet, today was the first day I had been there.

For the last several months we have been attending church in Reading, PA and on the way home we often take the route from which you can see the Pagoda on the mountain. Sadie says "Padoga" by the way, very cute. What a view! And what an unusual building. Apparently there are only three pagodas (is there an "s" to make that plural?) in the US. People stop in from all over the place; a real tourist destination.

One comment on the web was kind to the Pagoda, but not to Reading
"What makes this building remarkable isn't so much its form, but its location. Perched atop Mount Penn, east of a generic town called Reading, Pennsylvania, this is a wonderful addition to an otherwise unremarkable area."

Unremarkable? obviously he hasn't been here or here or here or here. Okay so some of those are not quite remarkable, but the Reading area can be pretty cool.
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Thursday, November 23, 2006

Craft House

Friday, December 8th, 2006 from 6-9 pm
228 Second Avenue, Phoenixville

Buy locally this Christmas!
Crafty moms and their kids offer their wares in a homey atmosphere (well, actually, in a home),with snacks and beverages and pleasant conversation.

Brownie Mix in a Jar • Pet Gift Baskets • Dog Treats • Beaded Bookmarks • Lip balms• Salt and Sugar scrubs • Ornaments • Hand-spun yarn • Hot Cocoa Gift Bags • Bath Salts • and anything else we find time to make!

Cash and Checks only. Although there will be gifts for your pet, please leave your pet at home, my house isn’t very big!

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Monday, November 20, 2006

The Harvest is Over

Last Tuesday was our last pick-up at the CSA. Not only are we going to miss all the delicious fresh vegetables, but the farm itself, the chickens and the kitties. Although it was work, I'm glad I took the time to freeze and can this summer. Just the other night we had some tomato salsa - it was a taste of August in the middle of November. I'm going to slip some raspberries into some pancakes some morning soon. Mmmmm...
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Friday, November 17, 2006

It's Cocoa (and craft) Time!

One of my goals in homeschooling my kids is to teach them some basic business skills and to develop some entreprenurial thinking. For the last 4 or so years my daughter who is now 11 has been making brownie jars (layered brownie mixes in a canning jar). At first she sold them just to friends of the family and ladies from our church. She made about 10-15 jars that year.

The first year pretty much all she did was put the ingredients into the jar with a lot of help from me. This year, she finds her recipe card and makes them with practically no supervision. She makes decisions on how to package them, keeping track of her expenses and she'll be adding up her revenue and figuring her profit. Making them for her has always been the easy part, talking to people about them has been the hard part. She has grown considerably in this, feeling more and more at ease with answering questions from strangers about her products. That just illustrates one of the ways she has developed as a result of this project, there are many other things she has learned, not to mention the real life application of math.

The last three years have been really profitable as she has a venue at which to sell. My Curves ( club hosts a craft show the weeks before Christmas. Members sign-up for a week at a time to bring their crafts in to sell. The first year went well, last year better. So much better that this year she is asking people to place orders ahead of time so that she doesn't sell out! She's also branched out into filling small jars with a cocoa mix. The owner of the club has been very enthusiastic and supportive of Erin's endeavors. And since Helen is one of those people that can sell milk to a cow, that has been invaluable.

Erin has used the profits of the jars to pay for things for herself that don't fit into our regular budget. The goal this year is to cover as much of the cost of dance as possible. We do require her to give at least 10% to a charity of her choice encouraging her to give more and to trust God that she'll have enough to meet her goals. I am pleased that she has always been a cheerful and generous giver!

A friend and I are having a craft Open House kind of thing at my house in three weeks. Erin will be there with her jars, the other children are planning on scenting some bath salts and sugar scrubs (they want in on this business thing too!), I've made some ornaments, beaded bookmarks and hope to make some lip balms, and my friend has some really great gift baskets for pets! There'll be snacks and cider and maybe a little wine. If you are local - pm me for details.
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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Preparing for the Future

Another TedTalk - in this one we find out how technology is growing exponentially and get a taste for what might be possible in our and our children's lifetimes. The talk doesn't go into the implications of how the technology he foresees changes the meaning of being human, but it will get you thinking!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Killing Creativity

Homeschooling in NYC had a link to this video lecture by Sir Ken Robinson that I found very interesting. It is only about 20 minutes long but it really gets you thinking about education and what our end goals are. They are from this conference in CA called TED. I have been watching one or so each day and will post the ones that I like.

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Monday, November 13, 2006


Yesterday was the opening of the Amarna (birthplace of Tut) exhibit at the Upenn Museum. It is going to be Egyptomania in Philadelphia this year, especially when the Tut exhibit comes to Franklin Institute in February. Sundays are always free during the school year at the Penn Museum, but yesterday there was all kinds of special activities, lectures for the bigger people and games and crafts for the littler ones. We arrived later in the day and spent a good deal of time waiting to get into the Amarna exhibit. It wasn't too big, which was a plus as far as I was concerned, because unless you are really interested or really knowledgeable too much can be overwhelming. I was also very glad to have my husband along who had just finished teaching a unit on Ancient Egypt and always has a way of bringing ancient artifacts to life. We found this idol with all the monkeys on it (9 to be exact) to be visually interesting and of course what is an Egypt exhibit but a chance to see really cool hieroglyphs!

After the exhibit we went up to the third floor to see if there was still time to do any games or crafts. There wasn't much, but we learned how to play Senet from a Penn freshman (she had gotten rather good at it by the end of the day) and the kids want me to get off the computer so that they can play it on-line!

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Geography Nut

And we're off. I was having a hard time figuring out which of my son's interests I should focus on this year. I usually find something my kids are interested in and turn it into one big giant unit study kind of thing. For instance, last year for my daughter was the "Year of Scotland". Everything seemed to come back around somehow to all things Scottish. That, by the way, is continuing to a lesser degree this year.

My son has not expressed a terrible lot of interest in anything this year. He still likes machines and weapons, knights, pirates and reading whatever he can get his hands on, but he really only gets animated when talking about two things: blowing things up and maps. And most of the excitement is about blowing things up (diagrams, the whole bit). So.....Geography it is!

For the last couple months he has been exploring atlases on his own and finding them facinating. I fed him a couple books, The Book of Where or How to Be Naturally Geographic, and Around the World in a Hundred Years by Jean Fritz. He also found a few small books I had lying around about different explorers. I wasn't going to do anything formal, play a few geography games at National Geographic and continue to let him explore, but then I found A Child's Geography.

A Child's Geography is written by a homeschooling mom from a Christian point of view. What is Christian about Geography you may ask (as I did?). The author elaborates on why to study Geography with these four points:
  • Because the Earth is the product of His very first act of creation
  • Because the Earth is our window into the glory and knowledge of God
  • Because the Earth is about His other cherished creation: people
  • Because the Earth’s people needs a geographically-aware, culturally- sensitive generation to rise up and impart His love

The first three I expected; it was that last one that got me. In another part she says this about the Reaching Out part of the lesson,
" encouraging geographers to do something to show His love to His world. We are called to be Christ's hands and heart to a hurting world"

And she lives what she writes, all the profits from the book goes to World Vision, a Christian organization that tackles poverty and injustice on behalf of children and families all over the world. How cool is that?

Anyone currently using it or other Geography resources that you like?
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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Carnival Time

Check out Spunky's Homeschool for this weeks' Homeschool Carnival. I like her format. She organizes the posts by library call numbers. Cute! Fieldlearning is in the 500's under Homeschooling Culture and Customs.

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Monday, November 06, 2006

Chrysanthemum Festival

Longwood is a treasure. This was only my second time there and the first time with the kids. A kid friend and an adult friend joined us, which made it even more delightful. I think we haven't gone much before because it is rather pricey for the adult admission. Well, not pricey, considering the beauty of everything, but I can't be spending $14 every other week on one admission. Kids are only $2 however, making their admission a real bargin. I must remember to go down on a Tuesday when admission is $10.

So, the Chrysanthemum Festival is going on until November 19th. And although many of the leaves have fallen from the trees, you can still walk down to the small lakes and take an artsy shot under the gazebo.

After you are done there, head over to the restaurant basement for kids activities including some asian dress up clothes, koi "fishing" and crafts. On Saturday they also had someone doing calligraphy for you. She and her husband would find Chinese Characters that made the right sounds for the syllables in your name and write them for you. Then head into the conservatory to see all the flowers. There is also a display of ikebana arrangements and bonzai. They had an info area where a man gave us a kid-sized explanation of bonzai. So, guess what I will be googling this week? They all want to do bonzai. But who can blame them - I want this in my house too!

If you miss the performance of the acrobats because you got caught up in bonsai, head back into conservatory (the warm part) and visit the orchid room where you will find this mobile made with 2000 origami cranes!

On the way out go through the roses room where you'll find many different hand-crafted lanterns and of course take one more look in the main room where you will find mums of many sizes, shapes and colors.

Can you tell I am enjoying my new camera?
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