Monday, October 12, 2009

4-H Fair Project #2: Photography: Focal Point

The second fair project never got posted, so it's about time we took care of that. It was a photography project and the emphasis was on focal point. The pictures were taken at Brookfield Zoo.

A was so nervous when she went for judging, but we worked together on preparing her notes that she would take with her. She had to be prepared for various questions and if she was not prepared or was unable to answer a question about her technique, tools used, what she learned, or what she'd do differently next time, then she would be lowered one ribbon color. She was relieved that the judges were kind and one of the judges was a first-time judge, so they were nervous together.

She won a blue ribbon for each project. Because of her age, she did not qualify for competition in the state fair, so blue was the highest level she could have received. We were so proud of her and now she knows what to expect for next year.

A couple weeks ago, she was very surprised to receive a check in the mail for around $15 for her participation. We had no idea there was a monetary award, so that was a pleasant bonus for her endeavor! Will that be motivation to enter more projects next year? We'll have to wait and see.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Hey Homeschoolers. Check out this Newsletter!

I know some of my homeschooling friends read this blog of mine now and then, so I am posting this blurb for them. Another blogger I follow, We Are THAT Family, is starting a newsletter next month on character traits. I put a lot of value in such traits, but have a hard time getting them into my kids. I can use all the help I can get, so I have already subscribed. Check it out. If you subscribe, tell her Chickhatchers sent you. (I don't get anything for that, it's just nice for her to know how you came to her blog.)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Caterpillars and Flowers

We found a very pretty caterpillar in one of the gardens. I couldn't resist but to pluck it from it's comfort zone and show it to the kids. Absolutely beautiful. However, it wasn't long after I picked it up that I smelled something awful. Some combination of vinegar, cat pee, and skunk. Ew. Sure enough, the caterpillar emits a strong odor as a defense mechanism. The kids and I all passed it around, put it back, snapped some pictures, then went to look it up. Uhm, and wash our hands with soap and water!

Black swallowtail caterpillar/butterfly. I have seen these butterflies before and they are very pretty, so I am looking forward to seeing more now that I've seen more than one of these caterpillars in my garden. I also learned that it likes dill.

That must be why I'm seeing more of these fellas and ladies. I have a LOT of dill. WHat started as just a little has started to take over the garden. And the yard. And the neighbor's yard. I've pulled it out by the roots and I've picked frequently in order to keep the plants small and in specific areas. I still have a LOT of dill!

(And a BIG "Thank you!" to a talented artist and fun mom for sharing the difference between cutworms and caterpillars because I really had no idea that those aren't caterpillars! I've found a few and they didn't make it - we tried to keep them in a jar for observation, but they never cocooned, just died. Now I also know how to keep them out of my garden, because I looked them up!)

We also have a lot of orange Ditch Lillies. The ones that grow nearly 6-feet tall. They are SO pretty! And right next to them are these bright lilles. I am so pleased with the variety and glad that I didn't pull these out when I thought they might be a weed. It's nice to let some things grow and see what they really are. (I forget what I've planted and where, not to mention what the critters have relocated for me...)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

4-H Fair Project #1: Visual Arts: Paper: Card

Here is the card that A is entering in the local county fair this summer. She produced a number of very cluttered prototypes before agreeing that less is better and more elegant. We think it is quite nice and are proud of her effort and enthusiasm!

Front of the card:

Inside of the card:

Front of envelope:

Back of envelope:

Saturday, June 13, 2009


We went strawberry picking. In our backyard! We planted them a couple years ago and have gotten a few strawberries - that were eaten by birds and skunks before they were ripe enough to pick.
This year the plants have spread and grown so tall! We've watered and watched excitedly as they blossomed and developed small strawberries that grew bigger and bigger and gradually turned pink, then red, and completely ripe! More watering (because that's the difference between a beautiful, red, ripe strawberry that tastes like a lemon and a beautiful, red, ripe strawberry that SMELLS like a strawberry when you pick it. So delicious to sink teeth into and savor. Yeah!!!

Thank you, Lord, for blessing us with a great strawberry crop and for hearing my prayers as I held the hose. I will continue to pray for the rest of the garden as it grows as well. Do you pray over your garden?

Monday, May 18, 2009

New Blog

Obviously, I haven't updated this blog lately. There is nothing exciting and I don't like to just recap our day. So many days are just plain frustrating between never being caught up on all the things to do, the normal parent-child struggles, and not having enough time to do anything else. No one wants to read all that - it's probably your life too.

Yes, we do have fun and happy days, too, but it's nothing out of the ordinary. There are some amusing things that I would love to blog - like one day about a year ago. Child B took apart the cash register at our local Walmart Pharmacy. In about 25 seconds. They couldn't check anyone out and had no idea how to put it back together. We sneaked out of there. FAST.

Or the times that she's locked the door at Taco Bell. No one noticed until some college kids were trying to get in.

I won't tell you yet about the dentist appointment last Thursday - it's too fresh in my mind and I might cry. But I will say that at one point she crossed her name off the patient list and took off out the door. I caught her halfway through the parking lot. That was just the first time she took off during the appointment...

Today she walked up to a lady in the grocery store and said, "Hi, Pretty Chinese Lady." The lady, based on her clothing, was Indian (Middle-eastern Indian, not Native American Indian). {Sigh}

She keeps me busy.

So, until I have some other exciting educational project to post, come visit me over at My Child's View. It's new. It's cute. It's funny (hopefully). And it won't just be about Child B. I will try to keep it light and not use it as a place to vent.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Long overdue update

OK, I have been very busy with homeschooling and laundry (who doesn't get overwhelmed by laundry???) and I haven't logged in to the blog for quite some time. Our "projects" so far this year have been limited to such things as "Peanut Butter Chewies" (karo syrup, sugar, peanut butter, and corn flakes) and "Rice Crispie Treats". They were actually included in the projects for A's Switched On Schoolhouse curriculum. She was studying the history of manufacturing and Michigan is a big manufacturing state (not to mention the bonus that half of our fmaily is from Michigan and many still live there!). So, what do these projects have to do with Michigan? Cereal! Kellogg's, to be specific. They were quite yummy!

We had hoped to hatch baby chicks again this year, but I have just felt spread too thin. I don't know that I can take the lead on it right now. Plus our brooder-box has been lent out for quite some time. There were a lot of other projects the U of I Extention Office has offered and we just haven't been able to squeeze any in. This is our first year in 4-H, though, so we are planning the projects that A will complete for entry into the County Fair. The idea of it is exciting! A hopes to make a draw-sting bag and she would also like to do some photography. Whatever she does, there will be pictures posted when something materializes.