School Projects

Fun Projects

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Christmas Vacation

In years past on this blog, when December arrived I started some sort of Christmas craft countdown with a Christmas related project posted each day.  There is just something about the holiday season that requires me to stay up way too late every night making stuff.  I had intended to do something similar this year and my project box is overflowing with supplies to prove it.
But then, tragedy struck.
My laptop died, rather suddenly and unexpectedly. 
So, no marathon blogging or counting down for me.  Instead I am taking a forced Christmas blogging vacation.  I will survive, as long as "Old Trusty" (my glue gun) and "Old Reliable" (my sewing machine) don't let me down (and as long as I can get an occasional Pinterest fix on my husband's phone).

Merry Christmas everyone and I'll be back soon!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Let's Make a Game!

This year for Thanksgiving we are getting together with my side of the family.  There will be at least thirty people there, and thirteen of those belong to the "Under Ten" set.  Consequently, I have been trying to think of activities to keep them occupied while we are not actually eating.  Yesterday I asked "what games should we bring along to Thanksgiving?"  One of the kids asked "Could we make our own games to bring?"  It seemed like a good idea to me, so I let them get to work.  It turned out to be more time consuming then I imagined to create a board game.  

Yesterday they each created a game board.  I foolishly thought they were done, but I was quickly corrected.
Today they continued by working on game pieces and other parts.
 Blair's game:
Ian's game: Dinosaur Dig
 Brynn's game: Ballet Biznie  (Biznie means "That you are good at ballet").
The plan for tomorrow is to write up the rules for each game.  I have a feeling that part might prove troublesome.  It might also take the entire holiday just to teach the other cousins how to play each game, in which case my plan for keeping the kids occupied will be a success!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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Highhill Homeschool

Monday, November 18, 2013

Carrying On Until Christmas Arrives

I think it is safe to say that I am starting to get into the Christmas project mood.  I haven't turned on the Christmas music yet, or gotten out any decorations, but I did take the girls to the fabric store on Sunday afternoon to pick out the material for their new Christmas dresses.  The project that day might have been learning to let go, as every piece of fabric that I suggested met with a crinkled nose and a "No, I don't think so" refusal.  In the end, however, we found fabric that satisfied each girl and their mom AND after a side trip into the Christmas department we found the makings of a St. Lucia costume, which will occupy a great deal of our attention at a later date.

Still, the mundane stuff of everyday life goes on, even if Christmas is only about five weeks away.  For instance, a few days ago I took care of a little storage problem I had.  With four kids who each have snow pants, ski jackets, and at least one other coat (that is twelve items at a minimum), our little coat rack corner was exploding outward.  Every time one jacket was pulled off the rack, several other jackets would cascade onto the floor, resulting in the sort of continuously repeated mess that was rapidly giving me an ulcer.
So, I used some old hooks (they had been lying at the bottom of a drawer for about seven years, since I removed them from bizarre positions in the bedroom closets shortly after we moved in) and created a new snow suit rack going down the basement steps.  Problem solved minimized.
Of course, the children have to cooperate with this new system, so I may have only changed the cause of my ulcer without removing the root cause, but hope springs eternal.

Happy counting down to Christmas, everyone!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

School Days: Tying Shoelaces

There comes a critical point in every child's life when the life skill of shoelace tying must be learned.  The critical point usually arrives around the time the child reaches kindergarten, sometimes because it is a school requirement and sometimes because the mom is simply tired of tying the child's shoes.  At our house it really amounts to the same thing.  In Brynn's case, though, we have encountered an unusual problem.  The time has come for her to learn to tie her shoes.  She even wants to learn to tie her shoes.  However, since all her shoes are slip-ons or have Velcro straps she has no shoes with laces on which to practice.  An interesting dilemma, no?

Once again, Pinterest came through for me.  I followed a pin to a website that showed a shoe-tying board, and knew I had found my solution.
Step 1: Trace shoes or feet on to a piece of sturdy cardboard.
 Step 2: Decorate shoes (Did you really think a person could learn to tie the laces of plain white shoes?  How silly of you.)
 Step 3: Use a pencil or similarly pointed object and punch four pairs of holes in the shoes.  Insert laces.  
 Step 4: Practice tying.
 In addition to the shoe-tying life lesson, having this board will also help your child learn the valuable skills of "holding it above your head to keep it away from you baby brother" and "hiding it in the coat closet so your toddler sister doesn't learn to tie before you."  Such a useful tool.

Happy shoe-tying, everyone!

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Highhill Homeschool

Monday, November 11, 2013

We Want Cake, We Want Cake!

I am not a cake decorator.  I am a mom who tries to make special birthday treats for her kids.  If proper cake decorating technique is your passion, please do not read any further.  I cannot be responsible for the agonies you suffer.  You have been warned!

We now return to the blog post already in progress.

At our house, in the early part of November the emphasis is on birthdays.  The two oldest kids celebrate their birthdays within a week of each other, so there are the actual birthdays which are celebrated with a favorite meal and cupcakes (as well as balloons, presents and no chores for the day) and the birthday party which feature a family get-together and special birthday cakes.
This year Brynnie requested a ballerina in a pink tutu.  After lengthy discussion, she settled on a drawing of a ballerina on a sheet cake.  Perhaps I should have added "I am not much of an artist" to the disclaimer above.  However, the finished ballerina brought a smile to my girl's face, so I'll suffer through my self-consciousnesses.
Ian's cake presented more of a structural challenge.  He wanted a cowboy hat.  A green cowboy hat.  I had to ponder this design for a day or two before I came up with my plan.  I used a 9x13 cake pan and two 8" round pans.  After freezing the cakes, I trimmed the corners of the rectangle cake and ended up cutting smaller, 5" circles out of the round cakes.  Then I layered them, cutting a wedge out of the top-most circle to get that cowboy-hat look.  I'm sure there is a technical term for it, but I don't know what it is.
I used the left-over corners and edges to create the turned up brim.  Frosting makes a pretty fantastic glue, in case you were wondering how I kept all the pieces in place.
 A couple of coats of green frosting and a tin star finished it off.
 Admittedly, green is not a standard color for cowboy hats, but Ian hasn't seen enough westerns yet to know the tradition of the good guys always wearing white hats while the bad guys wear black.  Maybe next year.  No body seemed to mind though, as the cake disappeared at a very pleasant rate.
 Happy birthday, or un-birthday, everyone!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Bulletin Boards for the Bs

How about that all that alliteration in the title?  Do you like it?  I'm not generally a fan of alliteration - so often it seems so forced and overdone, but this post just sort of called for it.  Call me a hypocrite if you will, but at least call me an honest hypocrite.

I've had two pieces of cork board sitting around for several months now, ever since my husband unscrewed them from the basement wall (yep, that's another example of the former owner's eccentricities - rather then use more conventional methods of hanging bulletin boards he instead drove screws through the boards and into the cinder block walls of the basement.  Functional certainly, but not exactly pleasant to the eye.).  I saved them and covered them with fabric that coordinated with the color of the walls in the girls' bedroom.

The next part of the project slowed me down for a while because I wanted to paint craft wood letters as labels for the board.  I wanted a Capital B for Big Sister Brynn and a lowercase b for little sister blair.  I never encountered a font that I liked, so in the end I drew the letters on to a piece of cardboard,
 and then wrapped them in yarn.  After they were finished, I attached each one to a board using my hot glue gun.
 Next, I found the correct size of removable adhesive hangers (please note my non-permanent, wall-friendly method - I decided against screws or contact cement) and stuck them on the wall.
 It's been a while since I've done a home decorating project, so I had a good time.  Plus, at least in theory, it will help to keep some of the MANY papers that little girls accumulate contained in one place.  At least I can hope.

Happy decorating, everyone!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Produce Productions

As promised, here is a post sharing some of the things we have done with the pumpkins and apples we have collected this fall.  The pumpkins are going to be no surprise - we turned them into jack-o-lanterns.
 Brynnie was just a wee bit grossed out by the insides of a pumpkin,
 but with a lot of encouragement and team-work
she managed to get the job done.
 Blair declared the smell of the pumpkin "won-er-ful", which I rather doubt since all of them had a tiny bit of mold starting to grow on the seeds.  (This always seem to happen to me - we haven't been able to roast pumpkin seeds in several years!)
 Ian, as you might expect, had no concerns with smells, mold or slime.
 Once we got the pumpkins taken care of, I had some fun baking with all the apples.  One recipe I especially enjoyed was "Pumpkin Apple Bread".  I made a double batch into several loaves of bread and mini-muffins, and they did not last long at all.
(I also learned that I am an especially bad food photographer - trust me, it tastes a whole lot better then these photos make it look.)

Happy producing, everyone!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Apples and Pumpkins

I debated with myself over whether this post is really about a project or not.  In the end, I decided that it was a project for me to pack up and transport four kids to any location or event, so even if the event itself wasn't a project, it still counted.

One of our annual traditions is a trip to the pumpkin patch.  We always go to the same place: a semi-rural home whose owners grow pumpkins in a small field behind their house and fill the front yard with their yield.
Each kid gets to pick a pumpkin based on the dollar amount that corresponds to their age.  That way we inspect the entire place, but the individual choices and meltdowns are contained to much smaller areas!
I "helped" Cam pick out his - I wanted at least one pumpkin that wasn't the traditional pumpkin color.  Somehow I doubt I'll be able to get away with that next year.
I got my annual workout loading all that orangeness into the back of the van.
 As if pumpkins weren't enough fall bounty, we had to go apple picking for the second time.  
 This time we visited Auntie Margo's house.  As an added bonus we got to visit the newest cousin.  No pictures though, because she was napping for most of the time we were there.
Stay tuned for future posts on what we have been doing with those pumpkins and apples!

Happy picking, everyone!

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