Friday, December 7, 2007

But what about Socialization?

Apparently, the public schools where I live need a special curriculum for teaching "social and emotional skills"

Teaching Kids Socialization

I find this bizarre, especially since we homeschoolers get asked about socialization so very often. (What? Do they think that parents have no social skills to share with their children?) But really, the environment in public schools is so bassakwards that they need a special lesson plan to teach these basic life lessons, things that most kids would pick up just from living in the day to day world and interacting with other people!

I love the quote from the superintendent,
"We're finding we have more and more children who have no sense of belonging," Vagner said. Hmmm, really? (sarcasm alert) You lock kids away from the world, from their families, from people of different ages for most of their day, and for some reason they have no sense of belonging? shocking!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Stardust of Beowulf, Beowulf or Stardust?

I have not been updating that much - I had to get a part-time job (teh suck!) working gaveyards at the street down on the corner. (It's a Walgreens - they are actually not bad to work for, and pay a pretty decent wage for a wage-slave type job. plus, hey, there's an employee discount, and I already shop there all the time. You know, it's, uh, just down the street. :))

So I work Sunday night, and then spend most of Monday feeling guilty that I'm either A.napping or B.wishing I was napping, and I don't end up doing a lot with the kids. So, I'm thinking about taking them to a matinee movie. Stardust is at the cheap theater, and hey, it's Stardust, right? I have not actually read Stardust, but, uh, Neil Gaiman. He rocks. Beowulf is at the more expensive theatre, but with the whole 3-D thing, it probably won't make it to the cheap theater. I could probably make an easier argument for that one being "school," since it is based on a tale that most students will read at some point in their career. And, uh, once again, there are the talents of Neil Gaiman involved. I might just have the kids watch both the trailers online and let them decide. (Of course, if I do that, whattayawanna bet one will vote for Stardust, and the other for Beowulf? then I will *still* have to be the tie-breaker.)

I have reached the half-way point of my novel for National Novel Writing Month
YAY! It's been a busy, hectic, stressful month, so I will be quite proud if I manage to reach my 50,000 word goal. The kids are both participating as well - Zorro is trying for 500 words I think, and Bannanarama is going for 5,000. We have not actually done word counts for them, so I'm not sure how close they are. We have an easygoing week coming up (no dance, no hockey, and I don't have to cook for turkey day.) So hopefully, we can all hang out together and get some words written!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Every once in a while...

Every once in a while, I have the urge to try and make our house look "normal," like the houses on TV look, or like the houses in those glossy magazines look, or even just like other people's houses look. You know, couch, two chairs, coffee table.

And then my daughter starts creating Rube Goldberg machines in the kitchen, and I remind myself that I want a house for my children to live in, not a house for people to look at.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

And we're off!!!

So, today commences National Novel Writing Month!

50,000 words in thirty days - it's become a November tradition for me. I was actualy thinking of skipping it this year, but my daughter signed up to participate in the young writers program, and I swung by the forums, and realized that I couldn't imagine November going by without an attempt at a craptacular novel! (It's all about the process and not the product here.)

One of the participants they interviewed last year talked about "creative cross-pollination" and for me, that's exactly what it is. Every creative thing I do feeds a slightly different part of my brain, and one informs the other. I call this "cross-procrastination" and I'm always a bit surprised by how much I always manage to accomplish in November.

This is the first year I will also have a part-time job during the month, so we'll see how my word count goes as the month progresses.

P.S.: The word count is currently at 2,451! Go me. ;)

Saturday, October 13, 2007

More Spool Dolls!

Yes, yes, I really enjoy making these! (I don't suppose you could tell.;))

We call it homeschooling, but...

We call it homeschooling, but that's a bit of a misnomer. Because it's really park, zoo, nature trail, museum, coffee shop, grandma's house, backyard, car, hockey rink, dance studio, neighborhood, grocery store, nursing home, bus, friend's houses, and home schooling. :) Here the kids are at the Edson Fitcher nature trail.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


Okay, so I've been *trying* to be a good and not buy anymore yarn for a while and use up some of what I have, but when I found this stuff in orange and green and purple, I just couldn't resist. I made a yarn doll, and she is sooooooo soft and fluffy. Add in the fact that she has purple pigtails, and I had a hard time actually listing her on etsy today, I sort of want to keep her so I can cuddle her!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Bat Outta Heck!

Because anything with googly eyes is too cute to be a bat outta hell! I have a great affection for googly eyes, even though sophisticated they ain't! (But they are so fun!)

Birds of Prey!

Went to a presentation by the Pregrine fund a few nights ago, of course the hilight was getting to see Chance, a red-tailed hawk, and a Peregrine falcon. We learned about the programs for the alpameda falcon and California condor. (California condors are strange and yet cool looking birds!)

Friday, September 28, 2007

I love spools...

spool girl
Originally uploaded by dancinjules

A little polymer clay doll, formed over a wooden spool. The arms and hair bow are chenille stems.

I've made beads with the wooden spools before, but it always seemed to me that the larger sized spools were practically begging to be made into some sort of doll. Well, here's the first one, with many more to come, I am sure.

I loved dressing up my dolls and playing with them as a child, I love that this gives me the opportunity to return to that sort of innocent delight.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I be a hidden treasure!

Well, not so hidden anymore!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I was featured on The Treasure Trove blog today!

And to go along with the treasure theme, do you realize that
ARRRR, it be Talk Like a Pirate day, mateys?!

Break out the eye patches! Walk the plank!!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

On writing and trust

So...While we fully believe in letting the kids explore the world and learn at their own pace, we (and by "we," I of course mean "I") have been a bit stressed over the writing thing. Big Z is a brilliant reader, and a bookworm at that. But she hasn't been at the same pace with her writing. And every time I push the issue, she digs in her heels and resists.

Trust her, trust her, trust her, I whisper to myself. No rush, no hurry, life is not a race. And I truly think this, but outside pressures get to be a bit much at times. We are so focused on results, on outcomes, on products.

But then...the kids come with me to my dance class, and sit quietly waiting for me in the hall with backpacks full of papers, crayons, pencils, and toys. Sitting on the lawn afterwards, waiting for their dad to come pick us up, Z asks me how to spell one word, and lets me read the poems she was writing during my class.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Beauty and enthusiasm and peace, this is what comes of letting her get there on her own, of trusting her. But is it her I have to learn to trust, or is it me? A little bit of both, I think.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Pumpkin Kids Dolls Custom order - it is done!

Just finished these up last night! For a custom order, they are approximately 15 inches tall.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Schedule Change! (homeschool dance team)

For anyone interested in the SE Idaho Homeschool Dance Team (yes, there's still time to sign up! Call or email Julie to sign up, and come to our first class/rehearsal on Tues., Sept. 18)

The new meeting times for the homeschool dance team will be:
Tuesday and Thursday from 1:30 - 3:00pm

I recently auditioned for the I-moves contemporary dance company at ISU, and am now in the company! I will now be spending Tuesday and Thursday mornings taking *my* technique class, so I needed to move the Homeschool dance team class and rehearsal to a different time.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Baby Advice you can ignore...

Rather loved this, not much to do with homeschooling, really, except that not listening to the mainstream advice trumpeted throughout the media is something that prepares you for marching to the beat of your own drummer!

Baby Advice to ignore

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Homeschool Dance Team at Creative moves!

Want to try out dance without a year-long commitment? Come join the Homeschool Dance Team at Creative Moves! The team will meet twice a week for nine weeks on Tuesday and Thursday mornings (10:30 am) beginning Sept. 18 for dance technique class (45 minutes) and rehearsal (45 minutes) We will participate in the Western States Dance Classic on November 17 at Century High School. We will have a meeting/audition on Monday, August 10 at 10:00 am. at the studio. (Don't let the word "audition" scare you - just come in comfortable clothes, ready to move, and with a good attitude. This is just to help Julie start creating the choreography that will be the best fit for our participants!)

What: Southeast Idaho Homeschooling Dance Team at Creative Moves
Who: Homeschooling students ages 6 - 18
(Students will be put in groups to learn choreography appropriate for their age and ability.
Music and choreography will be family friendly!)
Where: Creative Moves Dance Studio (150 W Chapel)
When: Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 10:30 to 12:00
Fee: $100 (This includes the competition entrance fee and costume fee. Students will need to provide a black leotard or T-shirt, and black leggings, sweats, or dance pants; Julie will provide costumes. Homeschooling students enrolled in Creative Moves for the Fall semester may participate in the SE Idaho homeschooling dance team at no extra charge, and will only need to come to the 45 minute rehearsals from 11:15 to Noon. Students will need to pay at least $25.00 of the fee to reserve their place. The rest of the fee will be due on or before October 18 to ensure that Julie can get the team entered before there are any late fees)

About the team leader: Julie Leir-VanSickle has been dancing since she was three years old. She was a student teacher at Nielsen's School of Dance in Twin Falls from the ages of 15 to 20, where she also performed as a member of the award wining Stargazer Dance Team. She had the honor of performing at Disneyland with the Stargazers Dance Group. She continued her dance and theatre education at CSI and Utah State University where she participated in many theatrical and dance productions. She taught dance and tumbling at the Logan Community Recreation Center after the birth of her daughter. After moving to Pocatello to be closer to family, she established Creative Moves Dance Studio, which celebrated its fifth anniversary last year. Her philosophy on dance competitions is that if they are approached with a positive attitude on the part of both student and teacher, they can be a fun challenge to work toward. She firmly believes it's about doing your best and dancing your heart out, not about getting a trophy.

Friday, September 7, 2007

I've been tagged!

Hey! I've been tagged!
(I sort of feel like I've been invited to sit at the cool kids table, lol!)
Pollyhyper's blog
tagged me!

Here are the rules:

1. Link to your tagger and post these rules.
2. List eight (8) random facts about yourself.
3. Tag eight people at the end of your post and list their names (linking to them).
4. Let them know they’ve been tagged by leaving them a comment on their blogs.

8 Random DancinJules Facts

1. I never put milk on my cereal. Ever. I can't stand the mushiness, so cruchy dry cereal it is for me! (This was a source of endless amusement whenever I went to slumber parties as a kid.)

2. I don't like pop. Soda, whatever. (It's pop around here, I just like the way "Soda" sounds) I can't stand the carbonation, ick. I will occasionally make exceptions for Jones Soda, or Jackson Hole Soda Company's Huckleberry Soda though. Any sort of colas I absolutely despise. (This was also a source of amusement to my friends when I was a teenager. How many teenagers do you know who ask politely if they can have a glass of milk at a pizza party?)

3. I've realized lately that it's not that much of a surprise that I've ended up working with clay. My favorite corner of the kindergarten classroom? The one with the playdough. My very favorite rainy day activity to beg my mom to do? Making up play clay. (My sister and I must have gone through tons of the stuff!) Although I once had a bad experience with earth clay. (I dropped it straight on the floor as soon as it was put in my hands. I think I wasn't expecting it to feel quite so cold and slimy.)

4. I can never remember the date of my wedding anniversary. neither can my husband. (This mutual forgetting at least gets us both off the hook though!) We know it's in November, but we always have to go check my MIL's calendar for the precise date. We can both tell you our "date-iversary" (The day of our first date) without pausing to think, though.

5. My very favorite movies in the whole world involve zombies and large quantities of blood. (Dead Alive, Dawn of the Dead, Sean of the Dead) This is somewhat surprising, seeing as how I wouldn't even watch horror flicks until I was, I dunno, fourteen of fifteen years old? I recently saw the movie "May" on the monster channel, and although it doesn't have any zombies, I think it may take its place as one of my favorites. (It does involve blood. It's sort of a modern day Frankenstein)

6. This sort of relates to the last one - Eyes make me squeamish. Like really, really squeamish. It's sort of a wonder that I EVER learned to put contact lenses in! My husband laughs at me, because I usually spend the gory parts of movies trying to figure out how they did stuff with him, but if there's anything to do with eyes, I'm covering MY eyes and whimpering.

7. I am a total Harry Potter nerd. I resisted reading the books at first, with that sort of "It's so popular, it can't actually be cool" sort of thing we sometimes do. But I had kids, so after being encouraged to read them by both my mom and sister, I borrowed the first four (all that were out at the time) from my mom, started reading, and ended up devouring them all in about a week! And then joined in the ranks of fans impatiently waiting for Book number 5. (Books 5,6, and 7 were all delivered to my house on the release date, and read within the first twenty four hours after recieving them) Since I'm a total bookworm and also read Poe, and Shakespeare, and Bronte, and Shelley, I'm not too worried about people who are disgusted by adults who read and enjoy Harry Potter and think we're intellectually lazy and don't read anything else. Oh yeah, and I WAS RIGHT ABOUT SNAPE!! WOOHOO! (Sorry, have to gloat, my husband was convinced he was just a turd and I only thought he was a good guy because of my Alan Rickman lust-clouded eyes, hehehe.)

7. I'm a complete softie. I cry at movies, when I read books, at plays, etc. etc. etc. I especially hate it when my "Mommy" buttons are pushed by some super-sentimental movie, and I get turned into a bawling mess, whether or not whatever I'm watching is any good. Oh yea, and I cry during Beauty and the Beast, even though I know it has a happy ending every. single. time.

8. I have a rather embarassingly large knowledge of show tunes and camp songs, which I am rather fond of belting out whenever I get the chance. My family, however, is slightly less than thrilled when I go into my five hundred and fifty-third rendition of "On Top of Spaghetti" (Which I got in trouble for singing once as a kid, my dad told me to "Sing it right, Julie!" But I had no idea it was a parody of "On Top of Ole Smokey," so I thought I *was* singing it right.)

I'm Tagging:
Lisa of Polka Dot Creations
CLB Creations
Soho Beads
Crafty RedHead (Lucy Blue Studio)
Made in Lowell

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Put yer' feet in the air...

Kick up your Heels 2
Originally uploaded by dancinjules

Like 'ya just don' care!!

A slightly silly pic for Self-portrait Thursday. I sort of wish I had painted my toenails, though, something brightly colored and obnoxious. Ah well, you just get to see my bare tootsies!

Play Clay!!

It was a rainy, thunderstormy, grey day yesterday (flash flood and tornado warnings, even!) So we all felt like just hanging out at home and making stuff. Here's Bannanarama, at the stove, working on making corn starch play clay. (I'd give you the recipe, but honestly, we kept adjusting it so much that it's nowhere NEAR what the original recipe was, I think our altitude affected the consistency)

About halfway through stirring it, Bannanarama started hitting it with the spoon and said, "Uh, mom? I think we made non-Newtonian fluid! Sure enough, she was right.
Wiki page on Non-Newtonian Fluid

This one's way fun -
a video of two guys running across a pool filled with Non-Newtonian liquid

Monday, September 3, 2007

Because I love making jewelry....

Therefore, I must immediately adapt any new project into a jewelry version as well!

This was fun, though wrapping embroidery an craft thread is much harder than a nice chunky cotton yarn! (And the arms are a pain in the buttocks!) But, the result is adorable, so there will be more of these in my future!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Oh, what? School has started?

It's a good a sign as any that we're pretty thouroughly entrenched in this homeschooling/unschooling/life learning/child-led learning/home learning thing that I didn't even realize the schools had started until almost an entire week after the fact. (I had to look up the school dismissal times to schedule my dance classes.)

Last year we happened to be out and about on the first day of school, and I was very aware of the fact that there was an entire range of ages absent from daily life. (It was slightly spooky, to be perfectly honest. Sure, kids can be noisy, and messy, and just all around boisterous, but all-in-all I prefer them to actually be a part of the world I inhabit from day-today.) This year we were just so busy with living our lives that school starting just didn't register. (I think this also might be a sign of my increasing confidence in our ability to educate our own children, and progress in the whole process of "de-schooling" myself from 12 years of indoctrination, er, uh, I mean schooling. ;)

Although once I found out school had indeed started, I immediately thought - Ooooh! Let's go to the zoo! It won't be crowded! (That's one of those little-known benefits to homeschooling that doesn't always get mentioned. That and being able to sleep in and have a big warm breakfast in the morning. ;))

The kids are up camping with Grandma and Papa this weekend. Their cousin and uncle will be there as well, so they should have an absolute blast. When they get back, Bannanarama and I have decided that we should collaborate on a zine titled "Why seizures suck...for seizure haters everywhere!" (She has had a few seizures. They, um, suck. And adjusting to some of the safety stuff has been a bit difficult for my miss independent.)

I start jury duty on Tuesdy, so keep your fingers crossed that nothing exciting happens in Poky-tater, okay?

Self-Portrait Thursday!

Self-Portrait Thursday!

So I know I'm actually posting this on Friday, but I posted these two to the flickr group on Thursday:

I like the whole artsy thing I've got going on with the mirror in the one with me at the barre. I got a comment that the one with me and little Zorro had "good composition" which was nice, because frankly, I don't know that much about photography, I just kind of take lots and lots and lots of pictures, and crop them in a way that appeals to me. That one I just love because it was just me and the little guy taking a hike together, goofing off with the camera and spending time together.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A Little Drop of Spring

Originally uploaded by dancinjules

I know, Fall is just around the corner, I should be doing russet and golden leaves, but apparently I'm not quite ready to leave the warm days and bright colors of Spring and Summer behind.

Cane worked flowers on a sparkly green leaf. Strung on waxed linen cord with colorful wood beads. (A look I really really like, I think I'll try a few more pendants with this style of necklace.)

Lunar Eclipse

Did you know there was a total lunar eclipse last night? We did, so what else is a homeschooling family to do but set the alarm for 3:30 on the morning, turn it off when it goes off and fall back asleep, actually wake up at 5:30, and wake up the kids to shuffle them outside and get a glimpse of this event?! (It was moving back into partial eclipse by the time we got there, but still pretty cool.)

The next one will be February 21

Here's the NASA page:

And a great "Lunar Eclipses for beginners" page:

Monday, August 27, 2007

Pumpkin Girl! Yarn Dolly

Pumpkin Girl
Originally uploaded by dancinjules

Isn't she a cutie? Pom-Pom/Tassel makers are just way too fun! I am especially fond of her funky/punky ponytails. She's made of soft cotton yarn, which gives her a nice, homey feel.

My daughter figured out how to make a mermaid doll last night - I think I will have her teach me. I always adored playing with dolls as a child, and making them just seems to be a natural extension of that.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

SPT: The First!

SPT: The First!
Originally uploaded by dancinjules

My first Self-Portrait Thursday self-portrait! Got the glasses and nose ring in (of course!)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Music Necklace

Music Necklace
Originally uploaded by dancinjules

First in a series of "Name Your Passion!" Pendant necklaces. These are customizable, made to order pendants that can have any word you want on the heart! (No, I haven't made a dance one for myself. yet.)

These are at my etsy store:
DancinJules Etsy shop

you just have to "Name your passion" in the notes to the seller, and give me one week to get it in the mail to you!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

I'm in a Treasury!

Originally uploaded by dancinjules

I'm really quite excited about this!

I'm in Blestbead's "Word Up!" treasury on etsy. There's some really cool stuff on this treasury, I'm thrilled to be a part of it!

Word Up! Treasury

Is it serendipity that I've been working on word-themed pendants lately?

Also, check outBlestbeads Etsy shop The lady behind the treasury - she's got some awesome items! I'm really not sure why I hadn't already added her to my favorites!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


So, the medical imaging people want us to pay for those pretty pictures they took of our daughter's brain. (She's fine - just a mild seizure disorder.)

So, from now until midnight, August 18, everything in my shop will be 15% off. Just put "MRI" in the notes to seller, and wait for a revised invoice!

DancinJules Etsy Shop!

Monday, August 6, 2007

Fairy Flower Headband

Originally uploaded by dancinjules

So very excited about these!

Polymer clay over felt, with ribbon ties, makes a very fun headband!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Random Compliments

I love getting random compliments when I wear things I've made. Last night, I went to the community musical production of "Secret Garden" (Lovely show - lots of talented people, amazing little girl, wonderful singing, but the show itself is a bit too full of artificial contrivances for my taste.)

The woman who was sitting behind me said, "Oh I love your necklace!" I thanked her, and told her I had made it. I gave her a bit of an explanation of how, but didn't think to give her a card for my etsy shop. I don't want to come across as "pushy" and I know there's a fine line.

It was a new style of necklace for me - made with a form, similar to my headbands, but I have been test-driving this one to make sure it's wearable. It is! So, I will be working on those this week, and posting them to my etsy shop!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Not Lola!

Originally uploaded by dancinjules

It's not Lola, but she is a showgirl! Hand-carved stamp, we recently got a button maker. The kids went nuts - I shall have to buy some refills, and soon!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Spool Bead Necklace

Originally uploaded by dancinjules

Polymer clay on wood. Hand-carved stamp of (what else?) spirals was used to give texture to the clay.

Monday, July 16, 2007


Originally uploaded by dancinjules


Originally uploaded by dancinjules

With Nicole

Originally uploaded by dancinjules


Originally uploaded by dancinjules


Originally uploaded by dancinjules


Originally uploaded by dancinjules


Originally uploaded by dancinjules

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Originally uploaded by dancinjules
So, uh, guess what we did this afternoon?

(And yes, we dressed up. Even for a matinee. Cause it's fun!)

The Order of the Phoenix!

Originally uploaded by dancinjules
Had a fun afternoon, escaping from the heat in the cool movie theatre eating too expensive popcorn and cheering Harry on.

The pace of the movie felt a *tad* bit rushed to me, but I quite enjoyed it. The actress they have playing Luna? So perfect. Helena Bonham Carter was deliciously mad/evil as Bellatrix Lestrange as well.

*Spoiler alert* (If it can still be a spoiler this long after the book has come out, anyway.) They did have Lupin holding Harry back from the veil after Sirius died. For some reason, that was always a striking image for me from the book, especially since Lupin just lost a friend as well. I guess I always sort of hope that Harry and Lupin will become good friends as adults - they both seem to need that connection with the past as well as with other people. (Uh, wow, I am such a nerd.)

The themes of friendship and love winning out over powerful hatred were very strong in this movie. That is sort of what the series is all about. :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Look Ma! Rock Chucks!

Originally uploaded by dancinjules
That's "Yellow-Bellied Marmot" to those of you who don't speak "Idahoan" ;)

One of the local denizens of the zoo.

Goofballs at the zoo!

Originally uploaded by dancinjules
So, uh, I haven't quite mastered the art of doing the self-portrait thing with both the kids. But we sure have fun crowding together and trying! :) This is us at the zoo.

One of my birthday preasents this year was a zoo membership. AWESOME! It's so nice to go, and not feel like you must rush and see EVERYTHING! on this trip, but to know that you can come back and meander around at any point.

Monday, July 9, 2007

I've been painting...

Originally uploaded by dancinjules

Found some "jumbo" playing cards at the dollar store that are the *perfect* size for ACEO's. (artist cards editions &originals.) They paint up nicely with gouache and acrylics. This is my favorite so far.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Something's Fishy...

Originally uploaded by dancinjules

I don't know what it is about fish lately. Maybe it's just that the fun, brightly patterned clay I like to work with works so well for tropical fish?

This is a wooden box purse, embellished with polyclay fishies and starfish. Glass marbles and beads add to the underwater feel.

I'm quite enjoying making little scenes like this one...I've got some matte board and wood shapes waiting for me to experiment with!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Happy Fourth!

Originally uploaded by dancinjules
Setting off party poppers from Grandma R's deck. There were soooooo many party poppers!

After setting off backyard fireworks- The *ahem* legal kind, unlike many of our neighbors, we climbed up the roof of the shop and watched the big display. I brought a radio along so we could even listen to the prerequisite accompianment of Neil Diamond belting out "They're Comin' to America!" and Lee Greenwood singing, "I'm Proud to be an American."

Pocatello recently lost one of our own soldiers in Iraq. Here's hoping that by the 4th next year, we'll be at peace, and the soldiers (including my brother) will be home safe and sound.


Originally uploaded by dancinjules
So what box do we put participating in the Fouth of July parade in?

Visual Arts? (We all helped decorate the van.)

Performing Arts? (The kids did a great job walking, waving their streamers, dancing, and leaping along the parade route)

History? (We talked about the Declaration of Independence and the beginning of the Revolutionary War, and saw people dressed up as Betsy Ross and George Washington on other floats)

Community / Society / "Socialization?" (We participated in a community event)

Who knows? We had a very fun (although hot!) time. :)

Letting the inner Nine-Year Old out to play!

Originally uploaded by dancinjules

Shiny plastic beads, a sparkly handcrafted bead with glitter, and wire.

A fun little hair accessory, almost as fun to wear as it was to make!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Fish Tank

Fish Tank
Originally uploaded by dancinjules

So, found a plastic "bug keeper" thing at the dollar store, and thought it would be perfect for something I'd been wanting to try for a while: a Polyclay aquarium scene! Making the fish and the plants was all very fun, putting it together was a bit tricky.

The glass marbles on top are to hide the knotted fishing line I used to hold the fish in place.


Bannanarama and I have been practicing Kempo with a friend of mine. We both really enjoy it, and Bannanarama is getting ready to take her yellow belt test in July. (It will be a bit longer before I can test for my brown belt)

In Kempo, one of the characteristics is "Unity of mind and body," so in addition to doing a practical test with the sensai, she will also have to write an essay. She's a little freaked out about this, because she's not very confident about her writing/spelling skills, but I think she's determined enough that she'll do just fine.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

I am so glad..

I am so glad, that on those days when I have had to deal with people who just don't "get" homeschooling, I can come home, type the word "homeschooling" into Google, and read the thoughts and experiences of many different families who may be, on the surface, quite different from us, but who understand this crazy adventure we're all on.

Is it time to stop learning?

I only ask because it's summer.

The answer, is, OF COURSE NOT! But some of us are sort of trained, after twelve years, to think that when summer comes, it's time to turn off our brains.

People will occasionally ask if we're "done with school" for the year, to which I often reply, tongue firmly planted in cheek, that we're either never in school, or we always are. The truth is that we're not after "schooling" so much as "education" and "learning," and those two things are happening all the time, not confined to certain special days, or hours, or seasons.

Okay, okay, I will admit to there perhaps being few less worksheets floating around here in summer time, and I'm less likely to go into "paperwork panic mode" during the summer. I blame it on my own twelve years of indoctrination schooling.

We've been busy, busy, busy, and have lots of projects going on - The "Flats" have headed to North Carolina with my folks to visit aunties, uncles, and cousins. Zorro has been fascinated by insects, and has a colony of potato bugs under investigation. Both the kids have been having a ball playing in the dirt and helping their grandparents with the gardening.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Hello, New Blog!

I love making stuff, so this blog is to share all the fun stuff that I makes! :)

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Whattaya Know Wednesday!

In an attempt to keep this blog current, I am starting the tradition of WhattayaKnow Wednesdays. That's usually our busy /out and about/errand running day when we do piano lessons, a trip to the library, post office, etc., so we're just going to try posting some fun little factoid on Wednesdays that we have learned during the week.

So..We just learned last night that pill bugs (sow bugs, potato bugs, wood louse,etc.) have GILLS! Whattayaknow! :)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Flats are on their way!

Flat Bannanarama and Flat Zorro are, as we speak, in Kuna, Idaho. They are ready for a week of fun exploring with their cousins! :)

Unfortunately, I forgot to get pics before they headed on their merry way.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Small Space Gardening (on the cheap!)

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I love green, growing things. I really love green, growing things that smell wonderful and are useful as well. Unfortunately, I've never been especially talented at helping green, growing things, well, grow!

So this year, with the kids help, I'm experimenting with a small (manageable) tabletop garden of herbs in containers. We got the herbs on sale, and put them in bowls and trash cans we found at the dollar store. (The trash bins are actually quite pretty.) I drilled drainage holes with my handy-dandy Dremel tool, in went some potting soil, and the plants. The kids each have their own watering can, and have so far been much better at remembering to give our thirsty plants a drink than I ever have been. We'll see how it goes.

We have two pots of peppermint, a rosemary plant, cinnamon basil (it smells divine!) an oregano, and a chammomile. Not pictured, we also have a catnip plant, some chocolate mint, and a spearmint plant. (I'm, uh, rather a big fan of mint.)

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Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Flat Cousins!

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One of the kids' cousins read "Flat Stanley" in school. As a project, they sent out "flat" versions of themselves, and we got the honor of escorting "Flat Mariah" around for a day. We took her to piano lessons, to the library, to our favorite coffee shop for hot chocolate, and to the Natural History Museum. It was quite fun, and now we have plans to do our own Flat Stanley project.

For more on Flat Stanley, check out the website:

Flat Stanley Project

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Sure, you can do worksheets, but...

The kids are up and fed, they've tidied up the kitchen, they've watered, fed, and played with all the critters (have I mentioned all the critters? That'll have to be a post for another time.)

We could sit down and do some worksheets, but they've requested use of the video camera and are brimming with creative energy and stories to tell, so I think instead I will let them "follow their bliss" and work on making movies today. For them, it's sheer fun. I won't hover over them and mention all the things they are learning and working on - like how to tell a story, develop characters, setting, plot, etc., the problem solving they are having to do, and if they ever shape these things into a more finished form, the computer and technology skills they will be learning and using.

After some lovely weather that had us convinced that Spring was well and truly here - We had a snowstorm yesterday! AND it is cold enough that there was still some white stuff on the ground this morning. I'm usually not one to complain too much about the weather (being a farmer's granddaughter will do that for you - "We need the rain" was the mantra for much of my childhood. :)) But ARUGH! I am so, so ready for SPRING and warm weather.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Spring Time Fun! (and computer woes)

Haven't posted for a while - my computer is slowly putting to its death, I'm afraid, so I have to grab time on the family's computer when I can. (Which is lacking a printer as well. arrgh!)

We've started a new tradition - instead of hunting for Easter eggs during the day, we went outside last night, gave each of the kids a flashlight, and had a starlight easter egg hunt! :) Sometimes procrastination can pay off in fun ways! The kids had a ball, and we have plans to do a bigger one next year.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Some days...

Ugh. We're all recovering from a nasty bug that's been going around, so the homeschool fun has been a little thin on the ground the past few days in favor of some "lay on the couch and nap in the hopes that we'll all get better" time. Although we did walk over to Jamba Juice for a smoothie for breakfast this morning. (Both Bannanarama and I would be living out in the country or up in the mountains for preference, but there are perks to living smack dab in the middle of the city.)

I leave you with Zorro's re-creation of the Sarlac (sp?) pit scene from Star Wars, as interpreted with lap harp, peg board, and toy figures. :)

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Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Like oil and water...

The big guy did this one with the kids last weekend:

Oil, water, and glitter in a bottle:

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It looks much prettier sort of Lava Lamp-ish after it's been agitated:

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Why don't they mix? 'Cause those oil molecules absolutely LOVE each other, baby! (They are more attracted to each other than to the water molecules.)

I love it when science is pretty. :D