Sunday, March 30, 2008

Treehouse ~ Or is it tree house?

Ok, so we have this treehouse that we have been working on for a while now. Wood Genius has recently been re-invigorated into finishing this project ~ possibly because all of us have made a pact to finish it this spring, AND we are actually doing it. Naturally, whenever I work on a project, he feels a massive desire to get involved as well. This is actually part of my master planning. You see, the truth is, I am not all that hot or technical with wood, mathematics, and dangerous wood-cutting tools. However.... hehehe ... BWAAAAhahahahahah.... I DO possess enough sense ~ CUNNING sense ~ to realize that Wood Genius IS. AND, I also know this secret ~ it drives him INSANE to see me royally screwing up a project. ..... :-D.... And hence we obtain take-off.

Yes, I know, it's all so Huck Finn of me, but you know, there is a great deal of pleasure in the machinations.

Well, I could go on, but why? You get the idea. Like she said in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding", "Yes, the man is the head of the house, but the woman, she is the neck, and the neck, it turns the head, aaannnyyy way she want to."

That's the idea, anyway. It also helps a LOT that this particular project is one that Wood Genius is IMMENSELY interested in. He has had SOOO much fun doing it. So, without further ado, I will show some pics of our as-yet-unfinished treehouse.

Ughh ~ the yard looks awful ~ it's that gushy 10-tons-of-snow-just-melted-into-your-yard plus all-the-crap-you-didn't-clean-up-last-fall look.

There is even some snow still left ~ however, we are trying hard not to focus on that, and we hope you will too. :-D Perhaps if we all concentrate on no more snow together, it will really come true, and spring can once again come to Narnia.

This is Wood Genius with the entire neighborhood up in the treehouse, scheming on the final touches. The table & benches that turn into a huge sleeping area, the little kitchenette, complete with a pump & thus ~running water~, book shelves, hooks for flashlights, windows that open, battlements ( or flowerboxes, depending on the gender) to be used in rubberband-gun wars, pulley's for the baskets, & about a hundred other fun ideas. One little gal came up with a grand idea of making a split front door, with a peephole on the bottom half.

Another child decided that French doors leading out to the miniscule deck would be enchanting.

And Wood Genius came up with this great handle to make sure that no-one could ever get locked out there.

And here are the windows & screens that just need plexi-glass & hinges added.

See? Not even a layer of dust! We are actually going to install these tomorrow, & paint & install the doors after that. I have been swaying back & forth between painting the outside of the treehouse in a barn red, with white accents, ( it would match the shed) or staining it with a natural cedar ( sort of an orange-ish tint). The cedar color would probably blend into the tree & yard better, but I think the red would be far cuter. Naturally, Wood Genius & young son are not for the *cute* version. They would rather have the *spy-guy hiding in the woods secretively* version.
So, I am taking a poll: Which is better? Barn red (very dark, with white accents)
or Natural orangey-ish cedar stain

Friday, March 28, 2008

Comedy & Tragedy

Et tu, Brute? ( yah, yah, yah, but it fits the picture)

I find this little lesson on Ancient Greek history rather amusing ~ a tragic comedy indeed!

Ένας αρουραίος στο σπίτι μυρίζει ~ αλλά μια μυρωδιά στοσπίτι μπορεί να είναι δύσκολη στον αρουραίο έξω.

nos venit , nos video , nos victum ~
~yes, it's a moldy oldy, but a goodie woodie ~
The kids are learning Latin from the Rosetta Stone homeschool series ~ excellent, & I HIGHLY reccomend it! They speak better Latin than I do at the moment.

Among other things, we also had great fun sculpting & labeling the heart

and the digestive system.

I would show you Izzy's version of this, however, it was a little too crude. Yes, he included the stinky, lumpy brown end results. All I can do is point to Wood Genius & say, "That must be Your son!" (to which Mr. Wood Genius simply smiles, flicks a conspiratorial smirk in Izzy's general direction and proudly acknowledges all stink relations.....)

We did weavings, ( part of our trip through Europe & Asia with Marco Polo)

as well as model ships.

This candy lab had to be one of the most disgusting labs ever ~ in part because we actually tasted the results of our lab-work. ( It was dealing with the different chemical reactions of sugar heated to various temps, & the like.) Included were rootbeer, gummi candies, marshmallows, & bubblegum. BLeaahhgg!

Here we have Valentine's Day woven heart baskets. They were quite fun & a little challenging. I am thinking some origami would be great as well. Definitely going to be included when we cover Japan.

And of course, the dead, drowned fly experiment. We swatted this fly without squishing him, ( a stunning blow :-0 ) drowned him ( held him under water till he quit struggling... ooohhh .. how sadistic!..), let him sit there drowned for a few hours, and then put him on a bed of salt, and covered him with salt ~ & Voila!~ within moments ~ re-incarnated to fresh NEW FLY status! It was beautiful. We all wept. And then smashed him for good. Gotta love homeschool ~ smashing him for good afterward wouldn't have been very politically correct in Public school. Yep, that's why WE homeschool... so we can still smash the flies and be gleeful in our doing so. (:7-- <<<---
That's a chicken face ~ pre-cursor to the next blog entry, & our latest homeschool adventure.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Spring has Sprung! ~ Sorta

Well, I have to admit it ~ the springy new-seeds-&-planting-devices-so-you-can-feel-less-hemmed-in-by-the-seemingly-ever-present-visage-of-a-snowbound-yard-stuff bug has bitten us all HARD this year! Those demographically correct advertising consultants certainly do know their stuff ~

A quick stroll through Wally-world, Home Repo, & Slowes will truly get the green blood pumping ~ straight into that thumb! And if you have an especially robust case of it, the green stuff well may spread straight up your wrist and into your wallet as well. I know I was affected.

How badly? Wweeeeeeeellllllll...........

Pretty badly.


So badly that I had to gear an entire week around garden plotting, graphing, layout, seed purchasing ( did you know that our $1 store had seeds at 8/$1? WAHHOOO! *YES* I succumbed...) , and other sundry starting cells, & cold-framing accoutrements. Heck, I even included a ~science experiment~ in the lot, making it count for that as well.

This is a bean that we soaked for a few days so that it would easily split in two. Thus the tiny baby plant inside can be seen, even with the naked eye.

And of course, it can be seen even better with a little magnification.

After we learned about the parts of a plant, and their specific duties, we delved into garden plotting, planting zones, soil requirements, lighting requirements, fertilization & insect control, and of course, the big *What do we want to plant ..... that is reasonable... in our zone 4.7 area* question. ( waaahhaaa, I wish we were zone 5.5 at many lovely plants cut off....)

First we planted the herb pots. (Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, chives, lavender, & basil.)

And labeled everything.

Then we got down to REAL business, with all of the vegetables & flowers.

Here are some of our finished rooting cells. (That plethora of chafing pans surely did come in handy!! Five jiffy pack peat cells fit perfectly there-in.)

Update: The next morning we woke up and ALREADY some of the lettuce, spinach, peas, and tomatoes were sprouting out!! YEAH!

One of the tricks?

A plate, some napkins, and a spritzer filled with very warm water. We also watered down the rooting cells with the warm water after filling them with soil. Once the seeds sat on the wet paper towels for a few minutes, we just sprinkled them onto the top of the cells. Then we plastic-wrapped the whole affair & let them sit overnight. Next morning, we spritzed them with warm water again, sprinkled a light layer of soil over the top, and spritzed again. And what do you know, those little seeds have already started sprouting! The kids are thrilled, as we didn't think we would get such immediate results ~ in fact, I was going off of the pkg info, which said germination in 5-10 days. so... WOO ~hoo!!
Shout out to my sister ~ Hester, you would SOO love homeschooling ~ in fact, I think my other sistah's would too, it's so much more fun than public, AND you can do SO much more! I can't wait till the sidewalks are free of ice & snow, as we are going to hold school at the parks, & etc. We can ride our bikes over to the greenbelt, the museum, and several other parks ~ it is just SOO much cooler than public! :-D