Sunday, August 28, 2011

State Fair Time

Tomorrow our family is going to have another new Minnesota experience, the Minnesota State Fair.  I don't believe there is any other place in the world where one can enjoy tater-tot hot dish on a stick, with cream of mushroom dipping sauce.  Or maybe you'd rather have chocolate-covered bacon on a stick?  Or deep fried butter?  We'll probably stick to the standard bratwurst and Coke, and maybe a blooming onion. :) the fat, and drink the sweet...
Nehemiah 8:10


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Painting with Rousseau

Okay, I take it back.  Paint is not evil. 

Elisabeth and Emily and I made a little cross-country trip to the city of Anoka on Saturday for a free class at the Rum River Art Center. I am really happy to have found this place!  The artist/instructor/curator offers homeschool and after-school programs, plus summer art camps and free classes for families.  Joining one other homeschooling mom and her two fact-loving children we used watercolor pencils to copy the style of Henri Rousseau.  Rousseau was a post-impressionist French painter whose most famous paintings depict jungle scenes. He painted all of his outdoor scenes indoors using a taxidermist's animals as his models, and he made up the foliage from his imagination or from the specimens at a nearby conservatory. Because his paintings are mostly flat and don't contain a lot of contour, his style is simple for children (and moms) to imitate.  Larry, our instructor, took us step-by-step through an imitation of a Rousseau bush baby.


In one hour we learned about artist Henri Rousseau, the smallest known primate on earth (the Sumatran bush baby), and how to effectively use water color pencils.  That Larry just sneaked all kinds of good education into that one hour.

We'll be back!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Art in the Kitchen

Paint is evil.  I cringe when Em begs me to get out the paints!  I hate the waste of good card stock or acrylic paints (but isn't this what they are for??), and the way our brushes are used to scrub the paint on, and the mess that is left after Em has supposedly "cleaned up" her materials. See what I mean?  This is "picked up".   Let's see, she did take care of the water cup...

However, I do love the way painting keeps Emily occupied for hours, and I like the exercise in creativity.  See what I mean about waste?  This seems senseless to me, but maybe she's another Mary Cassatt.  ??

I also like the way Emily's older sister, Elisabeth, seems unable to resist an art project when all the equipment is out!  Betsy got a nice set of watercolor pencils to play with for her birthday last year.  Pencils are wonderful!  No dripping, no waste of paint, easy control.  Color/draw with the pencils, then use a wet paintbrush to blend or soften lines.

I have seen several different sets of these nice watercolor pencils, but this Lyra brand has been the easiest to work with:

How do you handle art projects with the little ones in your house?

*     *     *
Emily has been spying on my blog.
"Really?" she asks me. "Mommy, do you want me to quit painting?"  
"No," I tell her. "I don't want you to stop.  I'm the one with the problem."  I smile at her.
"Good.  Because I want to be a professional painter when I grow up!"

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Family Foto Fun

Our family photos have been put through the shrinking machine, and here they are.  First, we didn't care for the gloomy look of our blue shirts against blue background, so Amy transformed the background to black.  I can't get the photos to upload next to each other so that you can better compare the before and afters (yet another thing for me to learn to do in this short lifetime), but good enough.  Not bad for free, huh?  :)

before edit
after edit
(Twenty minutes of HTML gibberish goes by...) Okay, forget it.  I can't figure out how to align these photos!  Anyway, I like the black better.

So there we are.  All we wanted was one photo like this one.  My friend coaxed us into an hour and a half of posing!  The man of the family was a good sport. (The "new man" won. Yay!)  We have all sorts of poses, even one in our bare feet. :)  And now I must find a frame and put one of these on our wall, lest I die of the guilt that will consume me if I stash these in the bottom of a drawer somewhere, like I have done with all of our other photos...

Pizza and More

Have you started school yet?  I thought we were going to be ready next week, but part of my order has not shown up, and the person who placed it is out of town. :)  So that must be a God-ordained delay, and we will enjoy a longer vacation! 

We have had a lovely summer.  My senses have been filled with the smell of growing things, thunder, sticky humidity, toads and turtles in the road, the buzz of deer flies, and driving rain.  I love it!  Of course, one of the reasons I am enjoying this so much is that the Lord blessed us with good screens and central air... most of it I have enjoyed from indoors.  It's quite a contrast from where we were last year at this time, but I was indoors there, too.  I miss the desert, but we can't have both! 

The man of the house has been doing an awesome job with our new little church, and he is working temp jobs to make up the gaps in our support.  Cleaning welds and pushing brooms is not very exciting work; at least when he hauls bags of cheese around he comes home smelling good. :)   Mmm, Parmesan!  I so appreciate his willingness to take these humble jobs and bless his family.  Have you thanked your husband lately for going to work?

Since our move we have made some new friends.  An enterprising young mom in our neighborhood recruited the girls and me to help her with a homeschool curriculum fundraiser last Friday.  She posted a notice on her Facebook page that she would be taking orders for take-n-bake pizzas, hoping to get orders for at least 24.  When it was all said and done we had chopped veggies, spread dough, spooned sauce, and strategically sprinkled pepperonis, sausages, olives, ham, green peppers, onions, pineapple, mushrooms, and cheese for 153 pizzas!!  My friend made about $150 profit after only six hours of building pizza pies, which included lunch and one or two technical difficulties, and many more hours of telephone conversations, trips to Wal*Mart, and performing organizational miracles.  She decided her pizzas will cost more next time. :)  Emily and Elisabeth surprised me with their endurance and their determination to stick to the job.  Betsy is my resident entrepreneur without a business, so she ate this all up (pun intended, lol!)




Wait for Cheese

 Keep Going!





Alison and Amy have been busy the past few days making a photo cloud for their bedroom wall, with photos printed on regular printer paper.  They now have nearly 100 photos of different sizes, and I can spend way too long just looking at all the memories... sigh. It's nice to have people who are out of sight, still in mind.  That arrangement has helped make their room a lot more personal, and now I feel inspired to do the same thing in my living room -- but only if you promise me that we won't be moving again for a long while!

Oh yes, the famous pizza lady is an amateur photographer with a lot of good equipment. She coaxed us unto a family portrait, which was really an answer to prayer since we needed a decent one to send to our supporting churches.  Amy did her editing magic on one of our favorite ones, changing a blue background to black.  Sadly, the photo is too large to upload right now!  I'll save that for a later post.

Well, it is a gorgeous day here in the north land, and I am going to go enjoy it.  Have a great day!
This is the day which the LORD hath made;
we will rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24
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