Sunday, November 19, 2017

Poem of the Week: Thanksgiving


Gettin’ together to smile an’ rejoice,
Eucharist literally means Thanksgiving
An’ eatin’ an’ laughin’ with folks of your choice;
An’ kissin’ the girls an’ declarin’ that they
Are growin’ more beautiful day after day;
Chattin’ an’ braggin’ a bit with the men,
Buildin’ the old family circle again;
Livin’ the wholesome an’ old-fashioned cheer,
Just for awhile at the end of the year.

Greetings fly fast as we crowd through the door
And under the old roof we gather once more
Just as we did when the youngsters were small;
Mother’s a little bit grayer, that’s all.
Father’s a little bit older, but still
Ready to romp an’ to laugh with a will.
Here we are back at the table again
Tellin’ our stories as women an’ men.

Bowed are our heads for a moment in prayer;
Oh, but we’re grateful an’ glad to be there.
Home from the east land an’ home from the west,
Home with the folks that are dearest an’ best.
Out of the sham of the cities afar
We’ve come for a time to be just what we are.
Here we can talk of ourselves an’ be frank,
Forgettin’ position an’ station an’ rank.

Give me the end of the year an’ its fun
When most of the plannin’ an’ toilin’ is done;
Bring all the wanderers home to the nest,
Let me sit down with the ones I love best,
Hear the old voices still ringin’ with song,
See the old faces unblemished by wrong,
See the old table with all of its chairs
An’ I’ll put soul in my Thanksgivin’ prayers.

HT: Poetry Foundation

Friday, November 17, 2017

Awesome American History: 1912-1919

This covered Harry Houdini, The Great Molasses Flood, and World War I.  In a lovely coincidence, this meant that we were covering WWI during Veteran's Day!  It was pages 215-224 in The American Story by Jennifer Armstrong.

For WWI, we did a poppy picture as our art project.  We talked about why poppies came to represent the fallen soldiers of WWI, and I read In Flanders Fields to them.

When I was a child, living on an Army base, WWI veterans used to sell paper poppies around Veteran's Day.  I called up my Dad to ask if I was remembering correctly - he and my mom always bought at least one and put it on the car viser.

Yes, indeed! The WWI veterans are gone now, but up in NJ, WWII (and later) veterans still sell poppies around Veteran's Day!

 For our active activity, we favored Harry Houdini by tying all the kids up and throwing them in the closet to see if they could escape.

Then all the moms had a nice quiet chat over coffee while eating all the kids' snacks.

Well, that was my idea, anyway.  What we actually did was all try to escape bamboo finger traps, which was almost as fun.
 And Klenda made molasses ginger cookies for our snack, referencing the Great Molasses Flood.  Yum!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Poem of the Week: In Flanders Fields

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
        In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
    The torch; be yours to hold it high.
    If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
        In Flanders fields.

HT: Poetry Foundation 
Image HT: Leena and Choclo

Friday, November 10, 2017

Seven Quick Takes: Smashing Pumpkins, Beautiful Cabbages, and the Judgy Camel

1. A final bit of silly fun with the pumpkins!

2. And some beautiful cabbages for late fall!

3. And a belated happy All Souls day!  We made it out to just one graveyard, but we visited 3 relatives and prayed for all the people buried there.

And we made it to Mass that day, so we prayed for everybody, really!

 4. We have started fruitcake!  This year we are trying Jamaican Black Cake which is reportedly fantastic. Unlike regular fruitcake, the fruit is pre-soaked for up to a year and then ground up before it goes in the cake.

It requires soaking an unbelievable amount of fruit in a much more unbelievable amount of alcohol.  Those bottles started out as full!

This is going to be a merry Christmas!
I'm Judging You Right Now

 5. And we touched up the Nativity pieces that had gotten chipped or flaky, including everyone's favorite Judgy Camel.

I had remembered that most of the pieces had gotten badly damaged, but it turned out to be only a few problem pieces.

6. This isn't actually my children trying to kill each other, Choclo and Oob just like to dress up and pretend to be trying to kill each other. And ask me to take pictures of them.

It's the reverse paparazzi problem.

7. The triumph of the week has to be finishing the 300 scout rolls!

Now I can't find anything in the freezer, but.. it's all going out on Saturday.

Until then, no frozen food!

Hope you're having a great weekend, more fun with Kelly!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Awesome American History 1901-1911

This was actually two weeks.  The first covered oil, Teddy Roosevelt, and the Wright brothers; and the second covered the San Francisco Earthquake, Typhoid Mary, and the Panama Canal.  All together it was pages 195-214 in The American Story by Jennifer Armstrong.

For the first week we did paper airplanes as both our art and active activities.  Making them was art, and then we threw them from the carport and tried to get them as far up the driveway as we could.

Our snack was lava cake (for the oil discovery, the pockets of gooey chocolate were like striking oil).

Did I take pictures. Nope.  Completely forgot.

The next week I did better though!

We made sugar cube houses on a truly large bed of jello, then patted the jello to make earthquakes.

Cover the jello with plastic wrap if you want to use it for your snack!

This was very cool because you can see the waves passing through the jello.

We started with each kid making a separate 3 cube house, and then they wanted to make one giant building.  Very fun, and tasty, so this was art and snack.

For our active activity, we used Glo-Germ to simulate Typhoid Mary.

This is a lotion that fluoresces under UV light, so you need both the Glo-Germ and the light.

The idea is that you put it on your hand and then, as you shake hands and touch things, you can see where the "germs" spread.

I was the primary carrier, but the "germs" got spread by handshakes.  We were able to show them how I had spread it to them, but also by objects by touching the doorknob, light switch, and faucet handles when I went to wash my hands.

For extra bonus education, I first just did a quick wash/rinse of my hands so they could see you need a good soapy wash to get rid of the germs.

By the end, everyone was very good at washing their hands!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Awesome American History: 1898-1900

  This covered Edison, Labor Unions, and Prohibition, pages 184-194 in The American Story by Jennifer Armstrong.

For our art activity, we  made a newspaper and kids sold it, like the Newsies (news boys) who organized a union near the turn of the last century.

Our paper was a big hit!

For our active activity, we did a smuggling game based on Red Light Green Light.

I was the "catcher" looking for smugglers and I stood at one end of the yard with the kids at the other end.  Every time I looked away (searching for smugglers) they moved forward, and every time I looked back, they froze.

For our snack, we were going to have root beer floats, but I had also made peanut butter cookies, and the kids had so many of those, we decided they didn't need more sugar.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Poem of the Week: For the Chipmunk in My Yard

For the Chipmunk in My Yard

I think he knows I’m alive, having come down
The three steps of the back porch
And given me a good once over. All afternoon
He’s been moving back and forth,
Gathering odd bits of walnut shells and twigs,
While all about him the great fields tumble
To the blades of the thresher. He’s lucky
To be where he is, wild with all that happens.
He’s lucky he’s not one of the shadows
Living in the blond heart of the wheat.
This autumn when trees bolt, dark with the fires
Of starlight, he’ll curl among their roots,
Wanting nothing but the slow burn of matter
On which he fastens like a small, brown flame.

HT: Poetry Foundation

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Poem of the Week: Theme in Yellow

Theme in Yellow

From Last Year
I spot the hills
With yellow balls in autumn.
I light the prairie cornfields
Orange and tawny gold clusters
And I am called pumpkins.
On the last of October
When dusk is fallen
Children join hands
And circle round me
Singing ghost songs
And love to the harvest moon;
I am a jack-o'-lantern
With terrible teeth
And the children know
I am fooling.

HT: Poetry Foundation

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Not So Wordless Wednesday: Because Sometimes the Day Doesn't Follow the Plan

 So.  The plan was to do a leaf walk at the Arboretum with Adventurers, and then head north to pick up baking supplies.

But. This seasonal clothing change.

I'm fighting the good fight, but it's winning. And laughing at me.

I asked a friend with 8 kids for sage advice and she laughed at me too.  Immoderately. Apparently more kids doesn't make it easier, something I probably should have known.

So I decided to take the entire morning, dump my plans, and just get it done!
 Well, I certainly worked hard all morning.

Can you see a difference?  Kinda? Squint.

The main problem seems to be that I am missing the three bins  containing all of Choclo and most of Oob's winter clothes.

Yes, I have rechecked all the clothing bins in the basement, all the way to the bottom of each bin.  I predict it will take me 6 months to recover.

 In the mean time, I was running low on flour and sugar, so we used the afternoon to  make  a trip to the warehouse.

Final tally: 800 pounds!

300 lbs of sugar, and 500 lbs (total) of pastry and bread flour.

Judging from the most recent receipt, that will last me nearly a year.

And that, at least, was easily found and is now neatly stored away!