Saturday, February 28, 2009

Aprons Galore!

Written by Carly...
I've been sewing non-stop for the past 2 weeks, making aprons for a pastry party that my Mom's good friend, Laura, is giving me in honor of my 13th birthday. I've made aprons for Laura (the chef), her daughters, my siblings, and a few close friends - 13 total! Costume seamstress for Long Beach Ballet, Hilde Byrne, helped me cut the material and gave me a few tips. She gives sewing lessons in a yarn shop called "Liz Cat" in Long Beach. If you are looking for a seamstress you can give me a call :) or if you want a professional you can call Ms. Hilde at this number: (818) 521-9350 or you can visit her "Sewing Vault" @ 5423 Village Rd. #C Long Beach, CA 90808.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Living History (or HerStory)

We had the grand opportunity to visit with Great Grandma Martha (our mama's grandma) last month. We enjoyed her company more than anything, but also loved hearing tales of her life growing up on a farm in Lubbock, Texas in the 30's. Here are some interesting things we learned:
She was born in Texas in 1923. She had eight siblings, all were born (at home:) in Texas from 1917 to 1934. As a child no older than Micayla, she picked cotton for hours on some days. She rode a mule to school and she lived in a "Dust Bowl" state during the Great Depression. We had lots of questions for her. Here are some of the answers to our many questions...
1. Tell more about your ride to school on a mule. Was it a 3 1/2 mile journey? Did you like school? What did you learn there? What did you learn at home? Did you learn more at school or more at home? What did you prefer - being at school, or being at home - why?
I started school at 7 years old and lived 4 miles from school. I rode behind my brother, Johnny, on a horse for the first year. After one year, we moved to a homestead behind my grandfather’s house and that is when I started riding an old mule to school with Fern, Lillie and myself. This is where the story I told you about how the train conductor would blow the whistle for approximately ½ mile to try to get the mule to throw us off into the ditch. (Conductor was never successful) Later Winifred joined us on the mule ride to school. We started school late in the Fall (past the start date of school) because we worked in the fields, pulling corn from the stock or maze, a grain that you feed cattle, (but not from a corn stock) depending on what was ready to be harvested.
I loved school but was always behind due to the above. I learned the basics at school, reading, writing and arithmetic. I did not learn much at home as being the fourth child they did not know I was even there. I learned more at school. I preferred being at school because I wanted to learn more. At home I felt lost.

2. What was it like growing up in the 1930's? What was a typical day like for you when you were a child? Was it scary during the "dust bowl"? Was there dust in the air on most days? Did you ever wear a mask to help keep the dirt out of your lungs? Did you experience what is known as "Black Sunday"? Did you know of anyone who died because of the all the dust?
Growing up in the 1930’s was a very difficult time in my life. I did realize that surviving was difficult because we did not have enough food.
A typical day was very different from your typical day during school time. If I was going to go to school, the night before I had to think about what to wear, which I only had one or two dresses to choose from, if it needed washing I had to wash it in a wash tub the night before school.
If it was summer, we would play with paper dolls, cutting them out of the catalog. In the evening we may play “kick the can”.
Dust bowl days: We would sit in the shade of the house and look at the horizon and see a black line along the horizon and would which it get bigger and bigger and closer and closer until it covered us. It would have dust that filtered out of the air and covered everything. My mother would always put the dishes upside down so we would not have the wash them before using them for food. If we had water, we would wet a cloth and tie it around our face when going to school. One day in particular I remember the dust came over us and the sky turned yellow, and stayed that way for 3 days and it was really scary for me. The sun was like a big yellow ball. I believe this was Black Sunday. Many people passed away but I did not know anyone personally
3. With the crops failing, how did your family survive? Did your family receive any relief money or food from the government? What did you eat? Did you eat cornbread and milk?
When crops failed no one had any money. For one to two years, we had no relief and I do not know how we survived because the government had killed off the cattle we had because we had no feed to feed them and they were starving along with us.
My dad sold off the farm equipment and anything he could and that is what we used to survive on at that time in the early 30’s
We had lots of beans along cornbread and milk until we had to sell the cows. (the government bought from us but killed them because they were starving.)
4. Why did your family choose to stay in Texas for all those years of the "dust bowl"? Do you think it was the right decision to stay?
Everyone was going to other states, but we had no car or way to leave, so we stayed. It was the only decision.
5. Did you have neighbors and friends who lived near you? Were there trees where you lived? Did you have time for leisure activities? If so, what did you like to do?
We had neighbors that visited once or twice a year. Some farms that we rented had some trees and usually a Cottonwood Tree. Leisure time was getting ready for school, washing dresses or stockings; during the summer we would play under a tree with kittens in the barn. Before we lost everything we would play with the calves and we always named them like Walley which was my calf.
In my leisure time, I like to help my mother when she would let me. If you wouldn’t let me, it was because of too many distractions from others. If she was baking a cake, I might get to do a bit of stirring and that is a fond memory.

If you'd like to learn more about Dust Bowl survivors, check out the "American Experience" documentary Surviving the Dust Bowl (be aware of the rabbit part though - not very kid friendly).

Here is Nate playing a piece on his Sax for Great Grandma (Thanks for coming - it was a pleasure having you visit! And thanks to Great Aunt Bobbie for helping us with the interview - it was great seeing you too:)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Science in Nature

After the recent rains we had the pleasure of this beautiful view from our front yard. Nate immediately broke into song, singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" (from having heard it over the summer when Carly performed in the Musical Theater West production of the Wizard of Oz). Aside from the song that spontaneously arose, so did many questions about rainbows.

Here are some favorite things that we learned:
*Each individual raindrop refracts a single color - we see only one color for each raindrop.
*No matter how far you walk, you will never reach a rainbow - it is an optical illusion.
*Raindrops act as prisms bending the light from the sun, making a rainbow into an arc shape.
*The sun is always behind you when you see a rainbow.
*You will never see a square or rectangular rainbow!

We made our own rainbow with a few drops of water on a glass container and a magnifying glass. It worked, but our rainbow was not half as gorgeous as the ones we've seen made by nature!

For a scientific explanation of rainbows go to:
Micayla enjoyed the learning about all kinds of weather at their site for kids:

Monday, February 16, 2009

Presidents' Day

In honor of Presidents' Day... posted by Carly

Right now I am learning the song (on flute) that is playing in the background of the video clip! It's a really neat song. :)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

In honor of St. Valentine's Day, Carly donned her "Martha Stewart" apron and set to work making these rainbow cupcakes. Here is the link if you'd like to make some too!

Love to you and yours...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A little Princess

By Micayla

We went to see a play in Santa Monica called A Little Princess. Our friend Makenzie was Lottie, and our friend Madison was the assistant Stage Manger. It was very good! Before we saw the show we read the book A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett; the book was good too! If you want to see the show, there is one more weekend of performances. Here is the website:

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Cupid's Fun Archery Shoot

Written by Carly
Today we went to a home-school archery day - tons of fun! You get to shoot balloons, hearts, and other things that are stuck on the targets. Here are some pictures of us shooting! Janet Dykman, the instructor (626-242-8870), is a 3x Olympian who works with homeschoolers Wednesday mornings at El Dorado Park. They do a fun shoot about once every couple of months.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Bouncing to the Moon

Post written by Carly

Today Micayla, my friend Annie, and I all took pictures of ourselves -striking poses while jumping on the trampoline. Here are some of the best ones. See if you can spot the one from High School Musical (*laugh out loud!).
Here are Nate & Allie jumping on the trampoline the other day when it was raining cats and dogs. Look at the air they got!
One of these days we are going to try out this: Trampoline Math

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

America's Teaching Zoo

Written by Micayla We went to the Teaching Zoo today, it was a very long drive but it was a lot of fun!
My favorite animals were: the Sugar Gliders (these are very cute little marsupials from Austrailia), the giant Galapogos Tortoise, and some of the rare birds.
Allie and I liked the Sugar Gliders (see the one on our tour guide Erin's shoulder?) so much that we both want one for our birthdays! We have lots of research to do now!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

You Have to Read This Book!

Post written by Carly

I am an official book reviewer for Stone Soup magazine, here is a book review that I wrote for this excellent book Savvy by Ingrid Law.

Savvy takes the reader on a mesmerizing, magical tale, told in Mississippi Beaumont’s (but everyone calls her “Mibs” for short) perspective. In this story, Mibs impatiently awaits her 13th birthday, when she will receive her “savvy”. A savvy is a gift; her older brothers have savvies such as creating electricity, and causing hurricanes whenever his anger gets the better of him. Mrs. Beaumont has a savvy for making everything perfect, and Mr. Beaumont, well, he married into the family with no savvy. Mississppi’s Grandpa has the power to move mountains, whereas Grandma collects radio waves in jars. –This may sound funny and quirky to you, but trust me, it is amazing what the Beaumonts can do, and what takes Mibs on a life changing adventure on a pink-bible-selling-bus, with the preacher’s children, her brothers, and a timid bus driver.

I literally gobbled up this book in 3 days, because it was so fantasy-filled and it kept making me want to read more. I think that it’s extremely interesting, how the Beaumonts are different, with their individual savvies. If I could have any savvy possible, then I would pick one where I could be able to fly! -I know that this is a common talent to want, but I think it would be an amazing thing to do. I envy the animals that can glide through the air; and look down at the earth below. I think that if I already have a savvy as a regular human being, then that would probably be my ability to tidy things up. I love to clean, and organize, and in the end, the organized shelf, or room, will look brand new! A tidy space leaves me with a happy feeling inside.

Mibs, I grew to love and care for. I felt as if I knew her, and her friends and family, when I finished the book. She’s very daring, but loving, and I felt sympathy for her, towards the end of the book. The whole story line, characters, and details that Ingrid Law expressed are wonderful. I always feel excited whenever I find out about a great book—and Savvy is definitely one of them. I HIGHLY recommend this book to both boys and girls, so, what are you waiting for? With it's dazzling cover (and I have to admit, I did judge the book by it's cover at first!), and zany, fun, story inside, plus a Newbery award to top it off, Savvy is just the book for you.

You can go to for more information. (the author left a comment here, yay!:)

*Savvy happens to be the "featured book of the month" at our favorite bookstore this month, too!