Friday, September 27, 2013


Today, I received this postcard from Austria.

The sender wrote that she is 19 years old and lives on a farm with her family.

She also wrote that she is planning to move in December to the city, Linz, which is the third largest city in Austria.

She added that she thinks most people believe Austria is like Germany because their language is the same, but that Austria is "so much 'bigger' as it seems...."

Austria has a population of 8.47 million...
        and covers 83,855 square kilometers (32,377 square miles).
     Germany has a population of 80.3 million...
        and covers 357,021 square kilometers (137,847 square miles).


I might try to take a picture of the stamp so you can enjoy seeing it.  It is both large and beautiful!  :)

Thursday, September 26, 2013


I also received a postcard in the mail today...from the Netherlands.

  • Drenthe is a province of the Netherlands, located in the northeast of the country.
  • Drenthe has been a sparsely populated, rural area since medieval times.
  • Drenthe consists mostly of heathland and has no significant rivers or lakes.
  • The lands in Drenthe are used mainly for farming.
  • Drenthe is known as the "Cycling Province" of the Netherlands, having hundreds of kilometers of cycle paths through forest, heath, and along canals.
source:  wikipedia


I received a surprise in the mail today:  a card from my brother.  Totally unexpected. Upon seeing the envelope, my first thought was, Did he forget that he already sent a birthday card to me??

It was a get well card...for my foot!  It was so funny...

especially the ways he personalized it just for me!  :D

     He drew an arrow to Snoopy and wrote, "you."
     He drew an arrow to Woodstock and wrote, "T."
     He drew an arrow to Snoopy's smile and wrote, "because of T."
     He drew an arrow to Woodstock's smile and wrote, "because of you."
     He colored a blue cast on Snoopy's foot and leg.

(Does my brother know that occasionally T and I dance together in the kitchen??!)

I showed the card to T...and he loved it, too.  :)  Thanks, bro.!  Love you bunches!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Czech Republic

I received two postcards today.  The second one was sent from the Czech Republic.

Cheb is a city in the Czech Republic, with a population of approximately 33,000.  It is situated on the river Ohře, near the border with Germany.

source:  wikipedia

On the left side, from top to bottom:

#1 - Cheb Castle
Cheb Castle was built in the 12th century.

#2 - Spalicek
Spalicek is an area of 11 medieval houses from the 14th century, located at the bottom of the Town Square.  The two blocks of narrow three- and four-story houses are divided by the very narrow Kramarska Street.

#3 - Municipal Theatre
This Neo-Renaissance style theater was built in the 1870's.

#4 - Franciscan Monastery Garden
The garden was originally an orchard and vegetable garden of the Franciscan monks.  It was restored in 2002.

In the middle:

#5 - St. Nicholas Cathedral
This Roman Catholic church was built in the early 13th century as a Romanesque basilica.  It is the oldest church in Cheb.

On the right side, from top to bottom:

#6 - Black Tower
The Black Tower is part of the Cheb Castle and is made of volcanic stone.

#7 - Town Square
The Town Square is huge and full of beautifully decorated, restored buildings.  Nearly every building in the square is of historical importance.

#8 - former Church of St. Klara
This was the Church of St. Klara, built between 1708 and 1712.  Today, it is a concert and exhibition hall of the National Gallery of Fine Arts.

#9 - Town Hall
The Town Hall was built between 1722 and 1728.  Today, it showcases a fine arts gallery.

   Planet Ware
   Virtual Tourist


I received two postcards today.  The first one was sent from Taiwan.

The young lady who sent the postcard wrote only that this is a famous place in Taiwan.  
I have no idea what famous place it is, and I have had no luck in finding far, anyway!  :)

Dear reader, if you know the name of this place, will you leave a comment to let me know?  I definitely would like to learn more about it.  :)

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Process

In the first art lesson, Brenda Ellis (author of the Artistic Pursuits curriculum we are using) states that it is quite common for adults to think that the purpose for a creative project is about the finished product or the result.  (Yes, I've been guilty of thinking that!)  For the child, it's about the process, not the result.

She encourages parents to grasp the importance of allowing children to experiment and enjoy the process of working with various materials.  She reminds us that by allowing children to create, we are giving them time to practice something good that they will be able to use for a lifetime.  (Wow!)

source:  The Way They See It, page 7

Twice this week, T and I talked about a painting by Ambrosius Bosschaert, Bouquet of Flowers on a Ledge, c.1620.

source:  Wikimedia Commons

I set up a similar arrangement:  flowers in a vase, shells, and a bug.

On Monday, T drew this picture of the arrangement.

Brenda Ellis suggests drawing with your child...on your own sheet of drawing paper, not on your child's paper.  I tried that on Wednesday, when we repeated the activity. I talked a lot while I was drawing...about the colors I was using, what I observed, what I was drawing, etc.  I think doing that one thing made a huge difference.  (What do you think?)  T drew this picture on Wednesday.

At one point, T pointed to the trees outside the window and said, "trees" as he drew with a green crayon.  He was noting the similarity between the green leaves on the trees and the leaves on the stems of the flowers...and I happened to be drawing the flower stems and leaves at that moment!  

Aren't the flowers beautiful?  I have enjoyed them all week.

I love fresh flowers.  My husband gave me a questioning look when I arrived home (from Wal-Mart) with them on Sunday evening.  I told him they were for school.  His response?  "Yeah, right."  Often, I come home with lots of "stuff" for school...and he says that I can make anything relate to school (to "justify" my purchases).  It's a talent, right??!  lol.

Thursday, September 19, 2013


Today, I received this postcard from Germany.

It shows two of the three crane houses in Cologne, Germany.

  • Their shape is modeled after the old harbor cranes.
  • The towers are approximately 70 meters high with nearly 16,000 square meters of office area.
  • From the 10th floor up, the buildings stretch out over the river Rhine.
  • One of the buildings offers 133 luxury apartments for rent.
  • The riverside promenade leads along the buildings...and right through them!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

My Birthday Present

The biggest, heaviest, most unexpected birthday present I received today was...a cast!

My foot had been hurting for more than three months and wasn't getting any better. I decided there definitely was something wrong with it.  So three weeks ago, I called to make an appointment with an orthopedist.  The receptionist offered me an appointment on September 17th.  Hmmm...not really how I wanted to celebrate my birthday.  I asked, and the next available appointment was a week later.  I considered my pain level (dire), and decided to take the appointment on the 17th.

I didn't know until I arrived at the doctor's office today that they had switched to a new computer system just yesterday.  They were running behind...way behind. Practically every chair in the waiting room was taken...a mob of people waiting to be seen.  After waiting an hour and a half, I was called to the back.  Six x-rays and an additional 30 minutes later, I finally saw the doctor.

The diagnosis?  Somehow, I had managed to sprain my calcaneocuboid joint...the joint between the calcaneus and cuboid bones in the foot.

source:  Smart Feet Savannah
The orthopedist explained that, unlike an ankle sprain, a calcaneocuboid joint sprain would not heal unless the foot (i.e., my foot) was put in a cast.

Forty-five minutes after that, I was hobbling out of the doctor's office in a cast.

And here's T...holding up his foot in physical and emotional support!  ;o)

Happy Birthday to me!  Hahaha!!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Back to School

Although we started our homeschool year last week, I decided to consider today our "first day of school."

Here are two "first day of school" photos of T.

Here is his "first day of school" lunch.

I love, love, love T's new PlanetBox lunchbox, which he received for his birthday.  (I felt like I was receiving a birthday present, too!)

  • sandwich, wrapped with a lunchbox printable (from Little Lovely)
  • Scrabble Junior Cheez-It Crackers
  • applesauce with red sprinkles
  • PlanetBox spoon
  • Newman's Own Organics Alphabet Cookies (letter A cookie)
  • apple juice

And here is T, enjoying his "first day of school" lunch.  :)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Scissor Activity

T is working on scissor activities to strengthen his cutting skills.  This week, he specifically is working on snipping.

He snips pieces from 1" strips of colored paper.

I love his look of concentration.  :)

Then, he puts the pieces onto a square of laminating film...

which I laminate and display in a cardstock frame.

You might notice in the first photograph that I put a smiley face sticker on the handle of the help T remember to hold his scissors with his thumb up.  He should be able to "see the smiley face" when he is cutting.

Additionally, we discussed scissors safety yesterday...and each day, I am focusing on helping T hold his scissors correctly.

The art curriculum we are using this school year is from Artistic Pursuits.  This scissor activity is presented in section two of the book, The Way They See It by Brenda Ellis.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Calendar Notebook

We started our homeschool year today.  This week, I will be working primarily on school routine and other basics with T.  I will add more and more academic subjects as the month progresses.

This school year, I am using a "Morning Meeting Notebook" with T.

So far, his notebook includes the following pages.

  • monthly calendar*
  • monthly number picture*
  • days of the week, months of the year, the year, seasons of the year*
  • weather, feelings*
  • monthly song**
  • 100 days of school***

I will add additional pages in the weeks and months ahead.

*These pages came from Mama's Learning Corner preschool calendar notebook set of 29 printable pages.  She designed the pages to be placed in sheet protectors so a child can use a dry erase marker to complete them.  T is completing the pages a little differently.

The set includes monthly calendars for July 2013 through June 2014.  The numbers on each monthly calendar are designed so a child can trace them.  T uses a dot marker to mark the date.

The set includes monthly number pictures.  The instructions state that a child should find the number for the date each day, and cross it out.  T uses a dot marker to mark the number for the date.

The next page of the set includes "Today is..." with the days of the week listed, "Tomorrow is..." with the days of the week listed, "The month is..." with the months of the year listed, "The year is..." with a primary writing line, and "The season is..." with the seasons of the year listed.  I read each sentence, and T points to the correct answer.  Currently, I am skipping the sections "Tomorrow is..." and "The year is..."; although, we talk about the current year when we work on the monthly calendar page.  (T is sure the current season is spring, because the leaves have not started changing colors yet!)

The next page of the set includes "Today's weather is..." with various options listed, and "Today I feel..." with various options listed.  I read each sentence, and T points to the correct answer.  (T is intrigued with the Band-aid on the sick face's forehead!)

**This page came from Mrs. Meacham's Classroom Snapshots website. In the Barb's Inserts part of her Calendar Math section, you can find songs (as well as reading and writing activities) for each month of the school year.  We sing the song together...
actually, I am doing all of the singing right now...and include signs (American Sign Language) we know.

***On several other blogs, I have seen charts for tracking the first 100 days of school.  I used Excel to create this page for T's notebook.  He uses a dot marker to mark the number.