Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Image Doctoring (how far is okay?)

I've wanted to write about this.  But, it is kinda hard. 
I guess mostly because I know it is a big problem. 
But, I don't quite know where I think my own line should be drawn. 

This morning I was reading this
(yes.  it's true.  I was reading that celebrity "news" site...)
& was really glad for Rachael Leigh Cooks
standing up against image doctoring.
What do you think? 
Do you think we've become too desensitized to photo editing? 
I think it is awful for photo editors to "shave" down someone's hips
or enlarge a gal's chest. 
But, is it okay to fix the oily shine on your face with your photoshop? 
Or, erase your zits? 
Or fix your teeth?  Or at least change the light so it flatters you?
I don't know. I am questioning all of that.

Even though I know our wedding photographer was great
(& even more amazing now 6 years later)
& I really do love our photos,
sometimes I look at the pictures & wonder why, as the bride,
I don't look more like a movie star. 
Can't they fix that now days? 
Make you look better than real life?
Isn't every bride supposed to look like a movie star in her photos?
But, our photographer didn't edit the photos in order
to turn our shots into glamour shots. 
(And this is where I need to tell you I don't know anything about photo editing. 
And, I am sure he did some editing. 
And, that fixing the light or bringing more clarity & such things
are not the things I am talking about.)
They are pictures of the way we really looked. 
So, a few hours into a sweaty hot day,
my make-up was mostly gone & my face was all shiney. 
Sometimes, I am bummed that he didn't "fix" me with editing magic.
But, really I am glad.  (I think I am.  No.  I am.  I am...)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Salt Box for Early Penmanship

**  I have been having problems since Thursday, trying to upload photos with blogger.  Sorry.  Photos may be added later...***

When I started actually working on "school" work with the kids this year,
I was surprised to see how Gillian was struggling with her pencil. 
I got her a cool grippy finger positioner.
And, I thought tracing letters would be with her pencil would be no problem.

Even though she is a super smart kid (she is, really, I am not bias),
writing isn't something that just "came naturally".
I was too optimistic.
(Or maybe I was too lazy - thinking I wouldn't have to actually teach!)

I realized I needed to stop & do a rewind. 
So, we made a salt box.

In saying I "made" a salt box,
all that means is I bought a document box at Walmart for $5
& 3 canisters of $0.38 table salt.
I poured the salt in the box.
Done.  Made.

Check out these Montessori links on early penmanship.
Here a teacher talks about sandpaper letter tracing & a sand box.
(I think the sand box & salt box idea are pretty much the same thing.)
Here's a word to teachers on dealing with struggling penmanship.
There are ideas to help train fine muscle control & teach early letter formation.

The salt box has been fun.  I think it is making a difference.
Plus, Gillian loves salt.  So, she likes to lick her fingers afterward.

Something I am still trying to figure out for her is her "handedness".
She has always used both hands interchangeably.
We are watching & asking her how it feels,
after she uses her right & her left.
We're not sure yet, but we think she leans towards the left.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Love Your Neighbor (not just because it is Domestic Violence Awareness month)

Last week I was standing in our little local coffee shop, Second Street Cafe,
waiting for my Dark Chocolate Mocha. 
I was looking at the wall of posters. 
The place were people are allowed to advertise local events & such.

There was a homemade poster, written in purple marker,
telling me that October is Domestic Violence Awareness month.
The poster maker listed some statistics.
One being - 1 in 4 women has been or will be a victim of
domestic violence during her lifetime.

Sometimes statistics are hard to believe.
Or easy to ignore.
But, I have been shocked to see for myself,
real life people
people who I care about
people who I hardly know
real people who are beaten & abused.
They aren't numbers or statistics to be brushed aside.

There are bloggers & authors writing about living radically.
People want to step out of there comfort zone - into something that matters.
People are tired of the comfortable middle American lifestyle.
Life in your suburban middle class American town
may not be as pretty as people want to think.
There is real pain everywhere
Life may not be as comfortable for your neighbor as you assume.

I want to reach out to my neighbors.
It's another aspect of not treating people as objects.
Those faces I see everyday are people with hurting hearts.
I know them well enough to know that.
I don't want to ignore their pain.

I know that there are women around me being treated like objects.
I know they are being abused.
It is hard to know how to help them.
But, I know I need to help them.

I don't want to pretend like I think they are happy & carefree.
I don't want to ignore their pain.
I am not quite sure where to start.
Maybe real conversation is a good place.

I want them to know I care.
I want them to feel like my home is a safe place.
I want them to know what real love is

I want to shed some light on the darkness of domestic violence,
by letting them know that I know & I care.
Darkness needs to be exposed by the light of truth.
The love of Jesus doesn't hid away wrong & pretend it is not there.

I bet I am not the only one who has neighbors
who are affected by domestic violence.
You may not realize it now.
But, you may know people who are being abused
& living in deep pain.
Maybe next door.
Maybe next to you in the church pew.
Maybe your regular grocery store clerk.
Let's step outside of our house & get to know the people around us.

Love your neighbor.
Show them you care.
Stand up & defend the abused.

**  I read today about The Anderson Crew's "Embrace the Camera" challenge &
decided to take part.  I am not one to usually embrace the camera for myself. 
I usually just take candid photos of the kids. 
I am glad I did this.  I had fun & so did the kids. 
They liked having me hold them for a photo.
They all giggled when they saw how their picture turned out. 
It was good to embrace the camera.
Thanks Anderson Crew!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

e is for egg - Home School Preschool

e is for egg

I think this craft flashcard of the "e" emerging from the egg is so darn cute. 
I am loving it.

Reading & Science -
The books we read this week are fabulous
I cannot say enough good about them.

Another good book by Ruth Heller - Chickens Aren't the Only Ones

This book has great illustrations as it teaches about which critters are egg layers.
I had the book as a kid & loved it.  I still love it.

An Egg is Quiet is a gorgeous book painted by Sylvia Long
with exceptional information written by Dianna Aston.

I am in love with the book.  We got it from the library. 
But, I think I need to purchase it. 

We also browsed the McMurray Hacthary catalog. 
(Someday we'll buy some chicks from them!)

Crafts -
We sang the Humpty Dumpty nursery Rhyme
& painted our own Humpty Dumpty eggs.

Each little humpty dumpty took a fall. 

Letter Recognition -

We circled all the "e" letters in these sentences.

  • Would an elephant ever lay an egg?
  • Eggplant in the garden adds extra elegance.
  • Evan eats enough eggs every day to grow strong.

Penmanship -
We did our letter E tracing papers.
But, we also started finger writing in our new salt box.
I'll tell you more about that in another post.

Game -
Egg in the Spoon race!
They loved it. 
The eggs were hard cooked though.  :)

Bible -
We did a little object lesson with an uncooked egg & a hard boiled egg.
We tried to spin the uncooked egg. 
It just stayed where it was & barely wobbled.
We spun the hard boiled egg.
It spun & spun & went all over the table.
I talk to the kids about a heart that is soft & stays with Jesus.
But, a hard heart goes off to do its own things, and things spin out of control

We are also learning our E bible verse -

"Even a child is known by his deeds,
by whether what he does is pure & right."
Proverbs 20:11

Math / Shapes -
Most eggs are oval shaped. 
But, there are a lot of round ones, too. 
We went on a shape hunt around the house & yard
to find things that were also oval & circle shapes

Math/Size Comparison -
I made little egg flashcards for the kids. 
They lined them up by size.

Culture/Art -

We looked at pictures of Faberge eggs from Russia.

And, while we were doing that, we listened to a Ukrainian children's song
we have on our Wee Sing Around the World album.

Monday, October 18, 2010

La Playa Carmel by the Sea

I finally feel a bit more normal.
Last weekend I had a wedding job in Carmel.
And, it turned out Scott had to be out of town.
And, immediately following the wedding,
I drove all 3 kids for 7 1/2 hours, so we could be with Scott again.

My parents took the kids all morning on Saturday while I finished up the flowers for the wedding,
finished packing for the trip, finished making sure the house was in good order.
That was a huge help!  Thanks mom & dad!

No traffic to or from Carmel.
I got all the flowers there safely & set up was pretty easy.

Don't you love the table numbers? 
The bride's parents borrowed them from a friend.
I guess they were made from wine barrels, or something.

Dahlias, Hydrangeas, Roses, Mums, Chocolate Cosmos, Mini Calla Lilies
 - Happy Autumn beach wedding!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

d is for daisy - Preschool Lesson

made by my friend Annie

Preschool was at my friend Annie's house this week.  So, I didn't do much lesson planning.

The kids modeled the letter d from play dough.

She taught the kids about what is required for a daisy to grow (dirt, water, sun...)
They also talked about what people need to grow.
And lastly, what our hearts need, to grow close to Jesus.

They did a big collage, where they had to sort the images & paste them in the correct column.
(Daisy, People, Hearts)

Speaking of hearts growing close to Jesus - 
Our "D" Memory verse this week speaks to that.
"Draw near to God & He will draw near to you." - James 4:8

The kids practiced patterning, when the pasted the petals on this daisy.

Seed Sorting
Before a daisy can grow, a seed needs to be planted in the dirt.
Annie had the kids sort & match different kinds of seeds.

Here's a few things we are doing at home this week for our Daisy D week.

Since Annie talked about growing & seeds, 
we came home &  read our book - What Kinds of Seeds are These?

The kids & I did a little singing at the piano -
The Daisies by Samuel Barber
Peyton especially loves piano time.

Dessert Dirt - 

We made some dessert dirt.

We layered chocolate pudding, crushed chocolate wafers & rock candies.
We hid some worms in there, to help keep the dirt healthy.
We planted a dandelion (the flower we found on our walk!) in the top.

Then we dug into the dirt.

Letter Recognition
I had some things written on the board for the kids to see.
I read it aloud & they had to clap each time they heard the "d" sound.
Then they came to the board & circled all of the "d" letters.

Does daddy dig the dirt to plant the daisy?

The dew drops on the daisy do a dance in the breeze.

This is just a sampling.  She comes from a really big family.

We will look for similarities & differences in these various members of "Daisy's" family.

Etymology (I'm not trying to teach my kids this word.  That's for your sake- the adult.)
It is thought that the name "daisy" is a corruption of "day's eye", because the whole head closes at night and opens in the morning. Chaucer called it "eye of the day".


"Consider how the lilies grow.  They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these."
Luke 12:27

"The grass withers & the flowers fall, but the Word of our God stands forever."
Isaiah 40:8

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

People as Objects

Okay.  I'm not quite sure how to write about this.
But, I'm gonna try.
The objectification of people is a problem on so many levels.

I think I'll come at it as a mom right now.
But, any person could be having these thoughts, I would think.
Male or female.  Parent or non parent.

There are so many ugly things that we are bombarded with in our culture.
(Media mocking celebrity bodies, plastic surgery addictions, 
"shacking up" to give the relationship a test run, pornography & 
widely posted publications & ads that come pretty close to porn...)
The question is how to counter them rightly.

How do you teach your children to dress modestly?
How do you teach them to have a healthy (but not haughty)
confidence in the way God made their bodies?
How do you teach them not to gawk at all the magazines in the grocery store aisle?
How do you teach them the importance of saving their sexuality for marriage?

I am not going to give them a list of specific rules for their wardrobe.
I am not going to quickly turn around every magazine cover at the checkout.
I am not going to pretend like there is no such thing as sex.
I am not going to keep everyone in the house all day, with the curtains drawn.

The physical body is not bad.
Our sexuality is not bad.
God made both very good.
(Although they have both been marred by our sin.)

There is nothing wrong with seeing that people are beautiful.
God made them that way.
It is wrong to objectify that person
& disrespect that person.
They are made in God's image.

We can't separate our physical body from the rest of ourselves,
and think it is okay to treat our sexuality casually,
like it is just an object.
As people, all our parts are intertwined.
The physical matters.

It is wrong to use other people,
and it is wrong to let them use you.

Before we teach our kids anything, we need to know what we believe
& know how to speak & model it to them.

Here are ways that I try to practice respect.

  • I shouldn't flaunt or reveal myself to others, disrespecting myself & my husband & God in whose image I am created.  God tells me to be humble.
  • In seeing that another person is beautiful, I should be glad for them, rather than feel envy of comparison or lusting for something that is not mine.
  • If I see someone choosing to make themselves an object for other people to use, I should hope for them to understand their own worth, rather than just figure "they'll just get what they deserve".
  • I will not assume that because "men are visual" they are all lustful animals.  I will understand that a man can appreciate beauty & be honoring at the same time.
  • I will be grateful for the way God made me, whether or not certain features of mine are currently "in vogue" in our culture.
  • I will accept natural aging & not wish that surgeons could "repair" my body as it changes.

How about you?  How do you teach your kids purity & respect?
How do you try to counter the 
cultural bombardment of treating people as objects?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Sort, Count, Taste & Walk the Colors of the Rainbow

This morning we sorted out the colors from our Skittles bag.  
We counted how many different colors there were.
We tasted the all the colors, too.

Then we went out with our color cards
& did a color match walk on our street.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

She Keeps Growing

Four years old.
We can't believe how grown up you are.
You are a lovely young lady.

One who loves to dress up in fancy shoes, dresses & scarves.
One who loves to be a helpful big sister.
One who loves to explore outside & find little insects to love.
One who gets excited about hearing about God.

You are brave about riding your bike now.
You love learning your letters in school.
You have a great memory.
You have tons of opinions, about most everything.

You like to pretend you are cooking outside,
collecting herbs & flowers for your soups.
You have a pillow sack filled with treasures
that you like to take out with you.
You had a few garlic chive blossoms in there for days.
Your room smelled like skunk.  But, you didn't notice.

You love your brother & sister a whole bunch.
And, they love you & they loved your birthday cupcakes, too.