Thursday, March 22, 2012


It's March 22nd and a balmy 80 degrees...crazy for March in New England, but we'll take it! I ordered 600 tiny mosaic tiles for art projects. Today we started making some little clay pots.
We used Crayola Air-dry white clay (link). I really like this clay~ it's easy to work with, dries hard, and can be sanded and painted after it's dry. The plan is to make the pots, paint & shellac them, and then plant something in them (maybe sprouts or grass since it grows so fast). Here's what we're reading:
If you aren't familiar with the Scholastic "First Discovery" books, you should check them out! They have transparent pages so that you can "look inside" fruits,vegetables, eggs, flowers, etc. I bought a huge lot of them off of Ebay for cheap. After we made our pots and some flower ornaments, I gave Ocean a mini-muffin tin for sorting the tiles:
I've also started punching out circles from old graphic design sample books. I'm not sure what we're going to do with these yet but I'm envisioning big flowers :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


One of the best things about homeschooling in the city is that we can frequent the museums, zoo, and Aquarium. We get the passes from the library and just hop on the T. Last week, we went to the Aquarium. Octavia the octopus was out of her cave. This is a rare event as she usually lurks (sleeps?) in the back corner. It was so cool to see how magnificent she really is! We also got to see a sea lion training demonstration and horseshoe crab display. I love horseshoe crabs and find them fascinating. They are over 300 million years old and have blue blood that is essential to modern medicine, used to test the purity of pharmaceuticals. Thousands flock to Delaware Bay every May to lay their eggs. I would love to plan a mini-vacation to see this phenomenon someday.

Little Things

This is a patch of the softest moss growing out of a cement wall down the street from us. It has tufts of grass growing out of it and when you feel it, it's like running your hand over someone's freshly shorn buzz cut. It's very cool and we stop to "pet" it almost every day.
This is Ocean going down the slide headfirst, with staticky hair and watermelon all over her face~ the absolute definition of joy! And one of Orange hula-hooping. She's quite good!

5-minute project: Marshmallows and Toothpicks

Here's a really easy way to entertain the kids while you make dinner...just give them a bag of mini-marshmallows and a box of toothpicks. They can build all sorts of shapes and structures (expect that they may eat a few...!).
In other news, remember our sad attempt at "jellyfish in a bottle"? Orange had the ingenious idea of making tiny jellyfish (-like creatures) with the marshmallows. She followed the original instructions, but made them very tiny with marshmallows in the head part. Although very difficult to photograph, her idea worked! The "jellyfish" float and "swim" back and forth when you tip the bottle. And it's been 2 weeks, and they still work so they haven't disintegrated or anything (that was my fear). A cool thing about unsuccessful DIY project attempts, is that you can learn from your mistakes and go back and revise them and make them even better (especially if you leave said project on the kitchen table for weeks...). Keep an eye out out for a future DIY "animal jar" project that I revised and revamped, after several setbacks (at least I didn't give up...yet).

Soggy Waffles

We went to a maple syrup festival last weekend. Unfortunately, it was pouring out and the musical guest was canceled, so it wasn't much of a festival! We did eat soggy waffles in the rain and learned a couple of interesting facts, like that the sap is clear at first and that it takes 10 gallons of sap to boil down into one gallon of syrup (who knew?! no wonder it's so expensive). Anyways, there are a bunch of maple sap-tapping events this time of year around here, but I think I've ruined my husband, at least for this year. The community garden where the event took place was cool and maybe we'll check it out again next year, if the weather agrees.

Friday, March 2, 2012

A Bit of Snow

We've had an extremely snow-less winter so we had to take advantage of this measly bit that we did get. We are very fortunate to live one block from a huge, amazing park and we go there often. Today we looked for tracks (lots of dog & people tracks) and made some of our own. We talked about what the trees look like in winter and what they might look like in the spring and summer. We also got to see a bunch of neighborhood dogs :)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Jellyfish in a water bottle

We are going to the aquarium next week and I thought this might be a fun activity (from Bhoomplay). All you need is a plastic bottle, a plastic bag, and some food coloring (we used water color). Here's the somewhat sad results. Can you see him? You have to squint a bit and use your imagination, but he's in there, I swear! :) I tried to get a picture by the window for some light but alas, there is nothing resembling sunlight out there today...