Easter Eggs, Coffee, Patterns, & Matter

This is sure to be a mash up post, just because I need to catch up on the last week or so. After the Boston trip we were all exhausted, not to mention we're full speed ahead trying to figure out where we're going next.


We've made some wonderful new friends here, both Christie at work, and with a local homeschool group in Lebanon, PA (about 35-40 minutes from Harrisburg). Mark & Stacy Foley head up the INCH group, and they've been so helpful in getting us acclimated to the area, introducing us to the best restaurants, and making us feel welcome. We contacted INCH before we made the move from Fayetteville and were able to get plugged in the very first week of our arrival with field trips and play days at the Lebanon YMCA. They've been life-savers, and we've really enjoyed their family - I'm sure we'll stay in touch long after we've moved from here.

The boys dyed Easter Eggs Saturday morning. For some reason, this tradition has been a bit hit and miss for us over the years (we celebrated Passover when Rich was younger, such a huge production that it kind of over-shadowed the Easter Bunny).

We headed for the Foley's that afternoon, eggs and Yu-Gi-Oh cards in tow. Mark treated us to an INCREDIBLE meal of Portugese pork, fresh spinach, potatoes, and some yummy gravy. I could learn a few things from him. They have the coolest house in the world. It's late 18th century complete with a barn in the backyard. They think it originally some type of way-station or boarding house because of the many rooms, and the way it's split up. When/if we buy something, I hope we can find a place like this.

I don't know if the kids had more fun hunting for Easter eggs...

Or making the grown-ups hunt easter eggs...

We had a blast! Awesome food, awesome people. Check out the Foley's varied and usually hilarious blog here: http://sushiandpizza.blogspot.com/


I feel like we're really zoning in on utilizing the boy's interests to teach other subjects lately. We've spent quite a bit of time lately focused on science and fine arts, which they are both very enthusiastic about. They'll speed through their maths and literacy work to have more time for the other stuff, so it also serves as a good motivator.

In art this week, we worked on some basic perspective (the monster is IN the water, not ON TOP of it). This was also a good chance to experiment with monotone painting. They could only use blue and white, and various mixtures of the two.



Here's an experiment using only secondary colors (blue, red, yellow). They thought it was hilarious to be able to paint the sky red, the grass blue, or the trees yellow. We have so much fun with art because there are no wrong answers, and everything is allowed to be "ishy." This is the term we use for abstract shapes that don't come out exactly like they look in real life. Ishi-ness is such a freeing idea for them when creating, because they don't have to conform to anyone's rules about what looks good or bad, right or wrong. Hopefully this idea seeps into their thinking about other subjects so that they're able to approach problems in non-traditional, creative ways. Here is their interpretation of the grassy hill across the street from the apartment.



If you're a regular reader, you know that I cannot over-emphasize the importance of quality art supplies (a trait I picked up from Lori over at the Camp Creek Blog). The boys have been working with pro-grade acrylics and cold-pressed watercolor paper. The paint lends itself to whatever texture they want, and as a result they're learning the nuances of thick and thin lines, and have lots of control over how their strokes translate to the paper. The paper is also absorbent enough to handle as much paint as they want to apply. This gives them total freedom to make really bright or dark colors. Thin paper and cheap paints force you to load the brush up with faint color and soak the paper. It tears, it runs, and it doesn't turn out the way you wanted, which make a kid resistant to repeated attempts. My advice: If you're going to go over your homeschooling budget anywhere, do it with art supplies. It pays off in the long run in every other area.

Crimson Frog

Despite an onslaught of allergy colds, we finally made it to the Crimson Frog Cafe in Camp Hill, PA yesterday for breakfast and maths. One of the fun things about living in a new place is trying to find the bookstores and coffeehouses that are friendly to homeschoolers. We tend to buy one thing, then sit there and work for four hours, which some places don't appreciate. So far, we love Midtown Scholar and Crimson Frog because they don't mind at all.


Finally, Brennan has just finished a science unit on patterns, and Rich on states of matter. They both chose to do a small video presentation as their final project. Here they are:


  1. Wow! What a post!! So much to say!! First off, THANK YOU for the kind words. This line right here? "I'm sure we'll stay in touch long after we've moved from here." Couldn't agree more. We have clicked with you guys from the get go and OFTEN comment on how much we enjoy your family and, as much as we're happy for you and your awesome adventures in traveling, we're selfishly sad that you aren't permanent here. We think you guys are great and really value our friendship very much.

    Secondly, art! I've been wanting to do more art, too. Thanks for the inspiration. Very cool projects you have there.

    Third, that coffeehouse looks awesome.

    Fourth, how did you make the videos so cool (besides the obvious cute boys and great narration)? I mean, how did you make those segues and edit it with those thematic dissolves and such? Very, very cool.

    Oh, and fifth? I think the kids had more fun watching us hunt (some of us more successfully than others, ahem). ;)

  2. I know, right? It's been awesome. I'm glad we'll be in Danville for the summer (even if we're living in our van or whatever). I use a little video editing program called Cyberlink Power Director that is a pain to work with on a PC, but works fine for churning out little 4-5 minute video files. Burning DVD's on the other hand involves an MIT consultations, power tools, and no small amount of voodoo.

    I clepped out of egg-hunting class in college, and therefore don't have the finer skills required for advanced level hunts.