Saturday, November 28, 2015

Art bits

Fish Under Sea
inks, colored pencil and paints
I told Esme that Mom needs to practice her art, too.  I made a little doll tonight - one of those 'I don't know where this will end up, but we'll see anyway...' type projects.  They always turn out different.  I tried lots of new techniques, playing with layering up the hair and adding embellishments.  Esme didn't like the face embroidery - she said it had too much lipstick.  I do need more practice - had to get out my glasses to do the eyes.  (pic tomorrow, or so...)
Anyway, above is the painting I did Thanksgiving Night.  I need to practice more on that, too.
Not much else -- getting through the weekend, thinking about ideas for Christmas presents, fixing Esme's computer games with Daddy's help so they run again...The mittens will be finished in another day or so - set them aside tonight to play with sewing.   Esme and I have started on 'How to be a Pirate' the second book in the How to Train Your Dragon series.

Friday, November 27, 2015


We had a nice quiet Thanksgiving at home.  Mark made pork chops and sweet potatoes.  Grandma Irene came down and we watched Chicken Run, then took a walk to the lake.  On the way to the lake Esme found a big piece of bark under a tree and showed us it was shaped exactly like a Roman shield - by running down the path at us with it held up before her and another big stick as a sword.  *heh*  She then said she could use it for camouflage and hide in the woods just like the Britons did.  The history is sinking in.

Esme and Grandma went back to her house for a sleepover (Lucy the puppy missed her story hour....she was a bit worried.)  Grandpa Harvey and Grandma Gale called from their new Southern home.  It was nice to hear from them.  I knitted one and a half new mittens for Esme and did a little painting inspired by Michelle Morin's beautiful naturescapes.

Now for the craziness that is retail on Black Friday.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving Dinovember

The dinos really want to get our Thanksgiving Dinner :)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


It is the day before Thanksgiving, and we are all taking a day off.  Esme's rat (received from a friend a year or two ago) had died last night... so she had to say goodbye to him.  Other than taking care of that sad thing, we have cleaned the house a little and planned what to make for tomorrow.

I was looking at mitten patterns to knit earlier and Esme said she needed her new mittens to be 'werewolf' mittens, with dog paw prints on the palms.  OK.  I had asked her last week if she needed new mittens this year.  And she does.  Her thumb is almost twice as long as the pair I knitted for her two years ago.  I'm also adding more to the queen sized afghan I had started back then - a bit at a time, here and there.  The blog is called 'Knitowl', and there is knitting done - slipper socks and mittens, scarves and hats, rugs and blankets... but they get done when they are needed and I don't find myself looking through hundreds of patterns or yarn very often anymore.  Although, just because I thought of this, I did a little of it today.  Found hardly any werewolf patterns ;)  -- but I can improvise.  Most of my knitting is actually improvisation with materials on hand.  Oddly similar to my method of computer programming.

Will put this here so I can reference it later.
Mitten knitting guide I found - vintage knitting free patterns

The other thing Esme said she wanted for Christmas was birds.  I know what she means - something we saw at the store, but I'm thinking of felt creations, too.  This season is always full of so much for us - Esme's birthday, Thanksgiving, Mark's birthday, then Christmas - all flashing by in the blink of an eye.  I've scarcely gotten things wrapped up from one and we're on to the next.

I'm thinking we need to start getting the greenhouse area ready again, too.  I've already sneaked a peek at the seed catalog.  Even though the garden was so terrible last year...

I just finished reading the Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey, and the second book of the Matched trilogy is winging its way to my ebook.  It has to charge some, though...Esme finished Droon #4 City in the Clouds tonight.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Tuesday before Thanksgiving

9a    - Capitalization sentences worksheet (continued from yesterday).  Her handwriting did improve.
9.30    - art: NaNoWriMo illustration : transferring a pencil drawing to a larger sheet of paper.  Looking up Chinese characters and putting them into her drawing.

She drew a pencil drawing first, and then transferred the important parts to the larger sheet of paper with a pencil. The painting part was a collaboration.  I think it is a lot clearer than the crayon drawings and a lot more details show through.  The Chinese characters are for 'food' and 'chicken'.  The dragons on the right have French Fry containers on their noses.

11.30    - break
//we went to town to get ready for Thanksgiving dinner.
We are intending to give Esme the next few days off - as her public school district is also getting those days off.  I am home for the next two, so we all get a rest tomorrow.

12.15    - Galapagos documentary : Forces of Change.  We watched the other two episodes on this documentary over dinner some nights and did not count it as school.  It was an excellent show.
1.15    - break
//walk to lake
 We brought the puppies to the lake.  They were very interested in everything Esme did.

 Esme and Lucy

Skipping rocks - with great success.

4.15    - spelling 27,28 of Second Grade Spelling
4.30    - khan math : Equivalent fractions : This was hard for her to grasp at first.  She despaired awfully over a very simple question...sidelined herself and argued.  But she did get it partially...especially after I made her watch more videos explaining the idea.  We will review again later.  I know she is ready for this.

Mark says we need to press harder for her to get all of her school done early - as she gets cranky when it is spread out.  However, she is cranky when we rush it, too... we'll try to get the timing closer together and see if it improves or not.

Monday, November 23, 2015


8.30    - english worksheets
//Reading informational text: 'George Washington Carver'
capitalization words : 2nd grade level 
capitalization sentences : She did the first half of this 4th grade worksheet.. lots of writing copying over the sentences.  I told her she would do the other six sentences tomorrow. Her handwriting is still large and not very neat...have to work on more of these just for that reason, too.
10p    - break

10.30    - Mankind Story of Us  episode 3 "Empires"
11.30    - break

12p    - minecraft
1.30    - NaNoWriMo illustrations
1.45    - PE, 100x jumping jacks, .5mi walk
2p    - done

She met her official word count of 1277 over 1000 words preplanned (I had begun her in the middle of the month, and the other 8 year old author we watched videos from said her first book was 2000 words).  Now we are just perfecting some illustrations and then on to formatting.

Friday, November 20, 2015


Before we started school we cleaned up her room, organized it, cleaned and put the writing desk in the middle of the room with a chair, and set up her CD player on it.  We threw out a lot of old toys and miscellaneous papers, pipe cleaners, yarn, etc...  She has more cleaning to do another day, but WOW - so much floor space now!

10.30    - reading "Misty of Chincoteague" : finished the book! 
11.30    - break
//We took all the trash out to our local center.  Spud was so upset we didn't buy him a cheeseburger.
I made lunch when we got back.

12.45    - Mankind: story of Us ep 2 "Ironmen"
//We discussed this as it was running.. she quizzed me on what was more valued - copper or bronze, tin or copper, crystal or tin?  She was impressed with the crossbows and the mass production ideas.
1.45    - break

2p    - library -- She got the next Droon book.  They were doing handwritten tickets because the computers were down - we already were only checking out one book, so that was ok.
2.30    - break
//We went to the store, and stopped for dinner out before we came home.  Esme spent several long minutes looking at her Where's Waldo book as soon as we got home.

5    - english worksheets // will/would, reading informative text (Common Core worksheets)
5.30    - writing / editing (NoNoWriMo) --// We reached 1277 words.  Now we have more editing, formatting and making a few more illustrations.

6:45      - Minecraft - Subway City

 Daddy and I have been working on the energy Station to the left - the pyramid thing.  She put the middle floor in it with him yesterday.  She also has made an animal shelter ( a few days ago), helped me expand the power line grid to most of the buildings (before we decided to build the pyramid thing), and she has been finishing the 'Acacia House' (by the pond) and experimenting with daylight sensors to open and close the porch.  She showed me her plan today, and it worked.

8         - done

I just finished the first book in the Matched Trilogy, waiting on the second.  Also reading the Mysterious Benedict Society - on book two.  I found the book Princess Academy at the booksale, an updated set of Childcraft including a few we didn't have, a copy of Where's Waldo, Tom Sawyer and a few others.

I'm thinking after Droon we might read the original 'The Jungle Book', with me reading to we did with George and the Secret Key.  Or we could move on to our second Little House on the Prairie book.   I think I'll save Tom Sawyer for later in the year?

Thursday, November 19, 2015


8:30    - 2nd grade math assessment
---She wrote her own equation in one of the common core type 'illustrate this simple math question' boxes because she didn't think the simple math question needed illustrating.  I liked her equation (1+.7=1.7 with circles showing a whole and a 'almost whole') but she erased it after I told her an official test would want that to be the equation for the number sentence next to it.  She had no trouble with anything else on the test, which was 50 questions.

9:30     - music
9:45     - spelling, review 24, did 25 and 26
10       - silent reading : 'I'm the Best' and 'We had a picnic Sunday Past'
         - explaining the books to me
10:30      - Minecraft Subway city
12.30    - writing for Nanowrimo
1.30    - done

When I got home at 9 we did a little more work on Nanowrimo fitting in her new paragraph and expanding on it.  We printed out a third draft and will edit and rearrange it a little tomorrow.  We're also planning an outing and maybe library time tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Wednesday connections

9.30    - writing Nanowrimo story, 2nd draft and editing -- She reached almost 500 words and cleared up a lot of the inconsistencies and holes in her story.  We used the word processor.  She typed all of the additions and she was actually trying to put both hands on the keyboard 'to type faster.'  I helped with spelling and in a few suggestions when she wasn't quite making a full sentence here or there...

10.45    - minecraft - She was working on new buildings.  I noticed she was building power lines that looked quite realistic and linking them together and running power to buildings off of the line.  She has really been observing how those look in real life.  In fact, she had been telling me about how power lines 'looked cool' the other day when we were eating out...she must have been taking an extra close look at them then.
1.30p    - break

2.30    - more minecraft
3.30    - done

We read two chapters of Misty of Chincoteague before bed.  We have two chapters left before we are done.  Tonight I asked her to read as if she was explaining the story to her puppy Lucy.  Daddy had said she was a little robotic yesterday, and maybe not really understanding some of the words.  She did read with a lot better feeling tonight.  Lucy listened, too.

Mark and I have agreed it is time to start collecting our second grade testing materials for her and think about giving her a week of exams before Christmas - to see where she is and what we still need to cover more.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Tuesday words

8a    - School of Dragons
9a    - worksheets: word find and multiplication table
10    - .5mi walk
    - worksheets - continue science word find : She said this melted her brain.  Mark said it was a bit tough.
11    - break

2p    - minecraft
3p    - break

6p    - painting 'Apple Platypus'
7p    - NaNoWriMo writing, first proof done for 297/1000 words.  Tomorrow we work on 'expanding' the details and scenes in her story and then we will work on a conclusion later on.
7.30p    - done

And we read two chapters of Misty before bed, with Daddy listening in.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Monday creativity

7.30a    - new dragon games
8:00a   - art (1 drawn and colored page)
8:30       - Spelling 21,22,23
8:40       - midline exercises : We've been doing these five minute exercises three days in a row actually...
8:45       - Minecraft
10.15    - art: book illustrations (3)
11a    - break

6    - writing (Nanowrimo book)
6.15    - break

6.30    - Nova: "What Darwin Never Knew" // very good! 
8.30    - done

Friday, November 13, 2015


8.15    - English worksheets : capitalization and punctuation
8:45    - Watching story writer Youtube videos, setting, characters, plot
9a    - Minecraft dinosaur park - You can go inside both dinosaurs.  One is a 'through' the digestive system (orange) and the blue one you just go into it's stomach and take a seat on a bench and go back out later.

10a    - spelling ( gd 2 #19, 20)
10.30    - video: Nova: Arctic Dinosaurs
11.30    - art: illustrating arctic dinosaurs crayon drawing
    - dino digger app
12.30p    - done

//When I got home at seven we watched Arctic Dinosaurs again after she gave me the synopsis.  She played in Minecraft some more and on her tablet after we ate little pizzas we made :)

Thursday, November 12, 2015


The dinosaur embryo growing inside the egg in the bird's nest.  
The squirrel father (adoptive) looks on from inside the tree.

 8a    - story illustration and writing
//She got up and drew three more pictures besides the one shown above.  And she wrote me two pages of text about how the story starts.  She is really paying a lot of attention to her drawings now - adding shadows and details.  We also made a Nanowrimo account for this story, and I started laying it out using the Blurb app to show how pages would look laid out together.

Interesting details in this drawing - she made ripples in the water where each animal had drank  - and she said she shaded the legs under the dinosaur creature because they were under him and the sun wouldn't reach them.  This is a lot more thought than she usually does - and cool to see.  We looked up a photo of a dinosaur drinking from side  view and she drew it while looking at the picture.

10.30a    - break

11    - khan math // fractions, division/multiplication, word problems
11:45   - Minecraft : Subway City
2.15    - done
 This is a chicken restaurant.  Can't you tell by the sign?
The mechanism that creates and cooks the chickens is hidden inside this chicken head 'chimney' is redstone, hoppers and furnaces and cooks a chicken with the push of a button - something she had worked out before.  Mark and I thought the chicken head was an interesting touch though!

 She has been working on Subway City - since earlier this week.  This is what she has so far - a school, hospital (big red cross), a fire house (that actually has FIRE in it, not a fireman house), several houses for rent- a 'sun' house, a store, the chicken restaurant, a park and the grand Hotel with full floor apartments in it (unfinished).

This is the park and fountain she built today.

//We read another chapter of Misty of Chincoteague before bed.  

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


8.30a    - video: What is Veteran's Day
8.45    - video: Genetics and DNA (Brainpop)
9:00    - Quotation Marks worksheet - absorption is working, she got 11/12 right.
9.15    - Mankind Story of Us - second half of 'Inventors' with a refocus on the writing topic.
9.45    - break
//roleplaying with dinosaur figures and genetic 'farm' equipment many things we have been covering.  I liked how she worked the heredity info we just watched into the dog/dinosaur family/

10:45   - Timeline and Geography
--She had a very good question:  'What would have happened if there were no world wars- would we still be here today?  What would be different?  We talked about the basis of World War I, World War II and where they happened on the map.

She was confused, wondered if the Roman Wars were included in Veterans Day - so we showed them on the timeline to explain why Daddy laughed at that question...such a huge time leap between them...Then she understood.  So we added Julius Caesar and also added the World wars to the timeline and talked about the order of things, areas that were still blank coming up etc.  I quizzed her on the United States map since she mentioned something to me about it as we passed  (that Michigan is a mitten, which I told her last week) and she can now pronounce almost every state perfectly compared to the beginning of the year when she hadn't even heard many of them.
11      - Minecraft
//continue work on the 'Budapest' type hotel - she made a grocery store, a log cabin, a house up for 'sale' and a hospital in Subway City.
    - .5mi walk
1.45    - done

///We read some more Misty last night before bed - about to get her to read one more chapter now.  We are preparing for extending our writing assignment tomorrow.  She had been drawing some pictures to use in the story for tomorrow tonight just before I got home from work.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


8a    - reading: "Misty of Chincoteague Island" (Lexile 750)
//There is a lot of new vocabulary in here, and words she doesn't know in text ie: 'sweat' - she realized she mispronounced it as sweet and then looked back at the sentence and said 'oh, ok...I get it.'  etc.  It's a good builder story and also the children are very compassionate and hardworking towards their shared goal.  She is finally getting interested in the story - the baby horse has appeared and they will swim the channel soon and save the baby from drowning.

9a      - watching Mankind Story of Us: Inventors
//She was very interested in the domestication of dogs, and how people survived the Ice Age.  However, she started losing interest because of the attack on the farming village and I had to tell her the truth that they might kill even the women and children in the village if they were robbing it because their village was starving.  She said that was entirely unfair - why do people have to do these things?  *sigh*  Agreed little one, but can't just tell a lie and say it doesn't happen.  She is very sensitive sometimes... I made her watch a bit more and cut at the hour mark saying we would start it again the next day. 

10a     - Quotation marks rules
//I had her go over the rules for using quotation marks in text - and look at blank sentences and then look at those same sentences corrected.  I told her she would get a chance to work on quotation marks and put them into the sentences another day but to just 'abosrb' the info right now.  She has been paying attention to these in our reading books - so I'm hoping the next time she uses them in her writing assignments she will have some practice.

10:15a  - Minecraft
--Streetlights that turn off during the day and turn on at night.  Weather controllers, time controllers.  She began building a very very tall skyscraper with some elements from the Grand Budapest hotel movie.  She had a sheep wandering around with blue dyed wool that was the 'Lobby Boy' and she made a desk for keys etc etc.  I helped by starting an elevator on one side.

12p    - done

Monday, November 09, 2015

Monday Dino Skeleton Story

9a    - cleanup and put-away
9.30a    - writing: skeleton story

///We hadn't done any writing in a  bit - and I wanted to see her try to use characters in her story.  She came up with the idea and just asked for help spelling a few things.  She tried to use quotation marks around the address line like in Droon - but we need to cover that in a worksheet one of these days here.   I was impressed she tried.  I drew the dragon and the dinosaur skeleton, while she drew the tower and the boy.  She is going to continue this story on another day.

10:15a  - Minecraft
//Subway City - train station started and skyscraper - we are learning to use command blocks
11.15    - break

11.45    - video: Nova; "Cracking the Code of Life"
//Mark and Esme said the cystic fibrosis description was sad - the babies were sick, and the proteins made mucus in their lungs which they could die from.  She understood the problem well - but said it had made her very sad.
1.45p    - .5mi walk
2p    - done

Sunday, November 08, 2015


Esme really wanted to cook Chinese food today, so we got some orange chicken in a frozen package and some wontons and made a meal at home.  We needed a few more supplies for the bathtub surround repair - and after a little bit that was done, food was cooking and we were ready to relax.

We're almost done with our Droon book - two chapters left.

So the todo list one less item -  bathtub surround is repaired :)

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Saturday skate and todo

I knocked a few things off my todo list today.

-Cleaned up the laundry area.  There might be some disgruntled spiders around.
-Got a pair of pants sewn for Esme and cleaned up the sewing area floor some.
-Baked the peanut butter cookies
-Stopped and got the materials for fixing the bathtub surround

--The science and history documentaries for next week came in the mail! :)

And Esme and I went to the skating rink for a few hours.  She started out having a great time but had typical little girl drama moments and ended up sobbing when someone didn't want to share and when another friend went off with other girls for 'a really long time Mom!'.... She dried her tears on the way out and was in a better mood by the time we stopped to look at a few things at the dollar store.  Then she was a big help at the Lowe store helping me get the things we needed.

I've still got the bathroom repair and the floor rug on my mind for tomorrow - and maybe another pair of pants.  We've got some clothes to put away and then another load of laundry to do tonight.  Esme wants me to play dinosaur/dragon egg games.

Friday, November 06, 2015


8:00    - Minecraft projects
9:00    - Spelling #18, English synonyms section, math skill checks
---We did fraction number lines and comparison of irregular fractions to the number line.
9:30    - break

//I had to go into work after this, and Mark took me and Esme both to town, intending to pick up milk and other things on the way home etc.  Several sheriff cars came into our yard not long after he got home and asked to speak to Esme about somebody reporting seeing her in a parking lot today who had thought the situation looked strange. They talked to her alone on the porch.  According to her they asked if she was fighting with her Dad or if anyone was fighting with her today in the parking lot, which they weren't.  It's quite a thing nowadays when a Dad and a little girl get  flagged as 'suspicious' loading groceries into the car on a Friday afternoon...Luckily, Esme wasn't scared by this.

12.15    - discussion of why police would do a "welfare check"
//walk to mailbox
12.30    - Dinosaur Skeleton kit assembly
1.30    - video: "Your Inner Reptile"
2.30    - video: "Your Inner Monkey"
//  She was very excited about the comparisons of the color vision components and the evolution of the ear bones.
3.30    - done

Thursday, November 05, 2015


7.30    - reading: How to Train Your Dragon: dragon guide
8.30    - break
//We had a power outage today that lasted for more than hour...the power company was working on some lines.

10.30    - minecraft
11.30    - grandma's greenhouse assembly
//Grandma got a 6 by 6 greenhouse with instructions and Esme and Daddy helped to put it together for her.
1p    - video: Ocean origins
1.45    - done

She was playing some more Minecraft when I got home, expanding her treehouse structures. 

Mom Notes:
I took some time to clean up the kitchen.  There are several other places to tackle over time....if I can get to it a little bit at a time.

Looking ahead :
Want to clean out the laundry area of spiders and dust etc.
Replace a board on the tub area (two person job)
Put down and paint a 'cold weather rug' board for the kitchen.
Clean the floor and under table in my sewing area.
Sew Esme some new pants (Again)
Organize and ready our greenhouse area.
Go through miscellaneous stuff sitting on shelves collecting dust.
Finish pair of winter slipper socks. (halfway through first)

Wednesday, November 04, 2015


 Esme turned eight today!
She helped me decorate the strawberry cake :)

  I asked Daddy to set up the tripod to take a family picture

The Deadly Nadder was a hit.
There was the unwrapping and returning of the yearly potato...

 And I had finished her Vampire dragon stuffed toy a few days ago

 Everyone had fun playing with dragons.


Smiling at her Grandma's card.
 Presents from Grandma - the farm set has barley (or wheat) fields!
She later combined the farm set, the lab set and the dragons to make a genetic seed farm :)

Pajamas and socks and shirts :)  We gave her several shirts last week as soon as they had come in the mail.

Mom and Dad also got her the first three How to Train your Dragon books and the compendium of dragons, a dinosaur book she asked for, a MegaBlocks chemistry lab set and the big vinyl dinosaurs she received yesterday. 

We had cake and watched Inside Out.  Later, at dinner, we watched Home from our Netflix queue.
We gave her the day off of school, although she did help with the cake early in the morning!

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Tuesday Perry Pterodactyl

10a    - dentist
11a    - library
11.30    - break

12.30    - video: "Your Inner Fish"
1.30    - break

 There was some major bravery at the dentist this morning, 
including a birthday tomorrow, so some giant dinosaurs were gifted :)

2.30    - minecraft : work on a new house
3.45    - multiplication worksheet, Khan math
---3 times table worksheet, perimeter and two mastery challenges on Khan
4.00  -IXL English, plural and single possessives
4.15  -We talked about : what is a chemistry mole? // We are downloading a chemistry version of Minecraft and looking for more resources on DNA for her age group.

//Last night when I was getting her to finish washing her hair she asked me what 'four carried away by two' know, 4x4 is sixteen is 4 carried away by two?  //ok!  Yes. It's sixteen - we call that 'four to the second', because it is (two) fours, four times four.  That's what the two means.  If there were three fours, four times four times four, it would be 4 to the third, and have a little 3 on top.

I was reading the last of my book while she was shooting math problems at me. I hope that was more coherent than it looks like in text... it seemed to be because she discussed it with Daddy today when he was asking me the square root of 149... which I deduced had to be more than 12 but much less than 13. 

//I've put 'Cracking the Code of Life' and 'What Darwin Never Knew' on her DVD queue for the next few weeks.  We've also got some more early history of the world coming.  The Romans series was a little 'deep' for her (Daddy said, and I agree), but she really got quite a bit out of it.  We'll continue with more American History later in the year, too.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Monday is Ladybug day

8.15a    - puppy training, bathing Lucy
8.30    - reading aloud: Droon book #1 (done)
8.45    - reading aloud: "Misty of Chincoteague" by Maguerite Henry (start)
9.15    - spelling #15,16,17 in second grade
9.30    - break

10:00   - khan math and worksheets : 2 times tables, 2 digit addition, perimeter
10:45   - Minecraft island and ciphers
//In Droon the princess writes backwards notes to the children as secret messages.  We wrote backwards Minecraft books that told where the next clue would be found, and made a chain of items to be found in places in the EsmeExplores world.  We also made an 'Assateague Island' with horses like the Misty book to come back to later.

12:45   - break

//walk to mailbox - our seed order came, and they sent us a free pack of Love-in-a-Mist, too.  Esme checked the order and said it was all right.

1p    - reading: "Misty of Chincoteague" to chapter 4.
1.30    - ladybug experiments : reflected light or heat?  Which are they attracted to?
//We had a ladybug swarm at our mailbox..and they seemed to be congregating on light colored things, which was odd, considering dark colored things are warmer.  Daddy came up with a test - tape black and white paper to a pole they were already on and see which they moved towards.  They went to the white paper and away from the black paper. 
1.45 -  done
 warm sunshiney day
 You just gotta jump for joy :)

Apparently, dogs can 'fly'...or just be silly.
Daphne (top) and Minerva (bottom)

vicious puppy attack
actually, they began smelling leaves and grass immediately after this.
Freckles (left) and Lucy (right)
Lucy and her grandmother, Nova