Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Cycle 1 Geography Cards, Weeks 19-24

Well, I'm spending our break week between weeks 18-19 sick. If I had to be sick, I'm glad it happened when I didn't have my regular director duties to attend to, but I can definitely think of things I'd rather be doing than laying in bed barely able to breathe! Such is life, I suppose. Since I was stuck in bed most of the day, I was able to work on the last installment of Cycle 1 Geo cards! Enjoy! ;)

Cycle 1 Geography Cards, Weeks 19-24

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Cycle 1 Geography Cards Weeks 13-18

Whew, the Christmas break flew by! We start school tomorrow whether we're ready or not. The therapies and lessons start back up and it's back to life as usual.

As promised, I worked on the Geography Cards over the break so here are Weeks 13-18. Enjoy!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Greetings from Arendelle

I don't know too many little girls who didn't fall in love with Anna and Elsa last year. My twins were no exception. My boys were just as enamored with the movie Frozen, and they ALL agreed that they needed costumes! Well, of course I couldn't argue! I really wanted to push myself and see what I could come up with.

It was easy to find a pattern for the Anna and Elsa dresses. I used this pattern from McCalls with some modifications.

I found this website that helped me make those modifications on the Anna dress. I made the changes to the Elsa dress on my own. The biggest modification was a detachable cape (since the movie version is SO much longer than in this pattern, I wanted something my daughter could take off when she's playing). I used jeweled buttons to cover the snaps. We bought the Anna boots from JCPenny. I bought old tap shoes at Goodwill for the Elsa shoes, pained them with acrylic paint, then covered with Mod Podge and glitter.  

The Kristoff costume took more thought and trial and error. I searched for patterns that would work as well as online tutorials. I couldn't find anything helpful at all so I eventually just buckled down and figured it out on my own. I knitted the sleeves and collar out of blue yarn and made every stitch of the outfit, even the boots. It was a labor of love, for sure!

Olaf was the easiest and most fun of the 4 costumes to make. I bought an XXL-sized white sweatshirt instead of fabric. The pants were made by cutting off the sleeves and sewing them into pants. I added elastic to the neck and the middle of the sweatshirt to make the snowman sections. The coal "buttons" are removable and made of black felt. I made the hat from white and orange fleece and the eyes are made of felt. I knitted "hair" for Olaf out of brown yarn. This hat took some trial and error too, but I'm pleased with how it turned out. I use a length of tulle stuffed inside the costume to make the sections rounded. My son wore a long-sleeved brown shirt underneath for Olaf's wooden arms. 

We visited Downtown Disney Marketplace in costume at Christmas time to visit Santa. The kids were instant celebrities! We were stopped for photographs and people ooohed and aaahed everywhere we went. Then while visiting Santa, the kids were given a special gift -- the last snowflake from Arendelle's Christmas Tree! 

I've never taken on a project this extensive before, and it was a LOT of work. But I believe it was worth it. What do you think? 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Something New

I've been making the geography cards for a while now and I plan to continue until I have a set of cards for all 3 cycles of Classical Conversations. The response has been incredible and I'm so grateful to be able to share the fruit of my labors with others.

I love learning about other countries and cultures. I think I fell in love when I was around 8 or 9 years old. My paternal grandparents took me to a series of travelogues at their church. I remember learning about Norway, Greece and China and realizing that the world was much bigger than what I'd experienced in my short life living in a small town.

I was very blessed growing up. My mom taught me a little Spanish and when I was 16, I was invited to go along with family friends to Spain for 6 weeks. I was to help out with their daughters, who were younger than I, and to assist with translation when I could. At 18, my own family traveled to Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, France and Italy. We lived in Austria for about a month and visited the other countries on weekend excursions. I've never been to any place where the air smelled sweeter than in Innsbruck, Austria. I wish there was a way to bottle it up. After learning about classical music through my piano and violin lessons over the years, I was able to visit Vienna and Salzburg and walk along the banks of the famous Blue Danube river.

Parc Guell, Barcelona, Spain

El Alcazar, Segovia, Spain

Castle Tasso/Raiffenstein Castle, Vipiteno/Sterzing, Italy

A little over a year later, I was off to Mexico for a semester abroad. This was the longest I'd ever spent away from my family and I really grew up while I was away. I fell in love with the people and the culture. I had culture shock coming home -- my eyes were opened to how materialistic and shallow we are as a culture. I realized how much we rush around and how stressful our lives are because of it. I absolutely loved Mexico and think of it even now as my second home.

Hacienda Yaxcopoil, Yucatan, Mexico
House of the Magician, Uxmal, Mexico
Mercado Hidalgo, Guanajuato, Mexico
Just a few months after returning home from Mexico, I left for a short-term medical missions trip to Belize. We stayed in a village where people had huts with palm frond roofs and no running water. The generosity of these people who had so little was humbling. I laughed when the native people asked me if I was from Guanajuato, Mexico, because I had picked up so specific an accent. With my light skin, green eyes and light brown hair, I certainly didn't look Mexican, but I guess I must have sounded like it!

Patchakan, Belize

After Belize, I stayed home for a few years and finished up my degree. I graduated with a B.S. in Biology and a minor in Spanish. I took a year of Russian language and met my husband in our tiny little Russian class. I found that learning Russian as a third language was easy after learning Spanish. I had hopes to visit Russia as well, but after graduation, I started working and was married 2 years later.

My husband and I both have Irish and Scottish ancestry, so we decided to visit Ireland, Scotland, and Wales for our honeymoon. It was quite a change to visit a foreign country where they DID speak English!

Ballinatona Farm, Millstreet, Ireland

Muckross Friary, Killarney, Ireland

Edinburgh, Scotland

Since having children, we haven't left the country. I miss seeing new places and experiencing other cultures first hand, but I'm so grateful to have had the opportunities in my younger days to do so.

This brings me to the reason for this post. My degree is in Biology. So, as much as I love geography, I get super excited about science! When my children and I were going over the classification of living things during week 1, I had the idea to make Classification Cards featuring the Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus & Species of different plants and animals that my children know and a few they don't yet. Once the cards were finished (at least for now -- making them is kind of addictive!) I thought I'd share them with you. I used Wikipedia and other online sources for the classification and I certainly can't guarantee that I didn't misspell anything. These are certainly not perfect, but I thought they were fun.

You're welcome to use them however you like. I am using them simply to help my children understand how classification works and as a fun visual. If you find a great way to use these cards, leave a comment and let me know! Enjoy!

Classification Cards

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Confusion, confusion

Well, it seems like there is some confusion over the Geography Cards on CC Connected. I post my Geo cards here because not everyone pays for a subscription to CC Connected. And that's fine. Geographical locations aren't copyrighted, so since CC doesn't own the information on the cards, I feel like they should be available to everyone.

Last time we went through Cycle 1, I wasn't even a part of Classical Conversations yet. My son and I started 2 years ago, for Cycle 2. There were some awesome mamas who made Geography cards and posted them on CC Connected back then. I know there have been some users who have downloaded my cards for weeks 1-12 and then downloaded the cards from 2012 thinking they were mine. I don't mind this of course, but I'm concerned because I didn't make them and I don't know if they reflect the current information in the 4th edition of the Foundations Guide. Of course, you're certainly welcome to download whatever you like! ;) Just be aware that they are older and please do double check to make sure the information is correct.

I will be working on a set for weeks 13-24 over the winter break and I'll make sure they're current. :) Thanks so much for the awesome response from everyone and I hope this clears things up.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Cycle 1 Geography Cards

The school year is drawing to a close. I've already purchased books for next year and I'm excited about starting school again in the fall. This happens every year about this time. I'm way more excited about starting next school year than I am about finishing this one! The kids are ready to be done, too. Their activity level has been especially high the last few days. It's already VERY hot outside in the Florida sun, so our outdoor time typically involves water or it's just too hot.

With my excitement about next year and starting Cycle 1, I've been working on Geography Cards for next year. I've completed weeks 1-12 so far. I hope these bless you and your family. :)

Cycle 1 Geography Cards Weeks 1-6

Cycle 1 Geography Cards Weeks 7-12

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Peppermint Swirl Dress

Almost everyone who knows me personally knows that I love to sew. My mom used to make beautiful dresses for me when I was little and she started teaching me to sew when I was about 7 or 8 years old. Now that I have two little girls of my own to make dresses for, I put my sewing skills to good use quite often.

I saw the pattern for this dress online and just fell in love. It's so deliciously twirly! You can buy the PDF and see several beautiful versions of this dress here.

One of my daughters is always coming downstairs dressed in a pink shirt and red pants, or a pink skirt and a red shirt. She loves pairing pink and red. While I don't mind what she wears around the house, if we're going somewhere with the expectation that we look halfway put-together, I try to help her find something that matches a bit better than pink and red. So when I was at the fabric store choosing fabrics for this dress, I decided that I'd find a way to make it pink and red for my little miss.

This pattern comes as a PDF download including sizes 6 months - 10 years. Cutting out all the pieces (the skirt itself has 28 pieces and I had two dresses!) took awhile, but I was able to stack the fabric and cut through 4 layers at a time, so that helped. I did most of the sewing on my serger, and it honestly went pretty quickly. I absolutely adore the end result and I can't wait to use this pattern again.

Little Miss approves.