Knitting Class

Well, I just got talked into teaching a knitting class for 4th thru 12 graders at my home school co-op.  So….now I have to figure out what to do.  Based on my research…thank you Dorothy Ann…sorry could help that flash back to Magic School Bus…I know I need to use bigger needles and definitely start small.  How do you find a project that is quick and yet something the kids would want to make.  That is my quandary and I think I have the first one figured out thanks to the discovery of the “Super Bulky Garter Stitch Coffee Cozy”.

It seems perfect…big needles…fast project…only uses a knit stitch.  I found it on Ravelry, which is pattern sharing website for knitters and crocheters.  Here’s a link to the project – http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/super-bulky-garter-stitch-coffee-cozy.  (To view the project you have to be a member, but its a free website with an amazing selection of projects.  Some of the project are free and so cost a little.)  The coffee cozy by Kym Meyer is a free one!

Now, that I have the project.  My next step was to find  coffee mug I can use.
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This one is perfect.  It was stashed in the top of my cabinet languishing unused for at least 10 years…so…Coffee Mug – check.

Next I needed a bulky yarn and size 13 needles.  Found the yarn and size 11 needles, which I am going to use anyway. The pattern says the gauge is not important so I’ll have to knit a few more rows, but I am desperately trying not to add cost to this projec.t  I found a very nice chunky yarn in my stash so I am off to do some knitting.

After about a half of an hour of knitting, here is my finished project.

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It is a crummy picture because the yarn is brown..but no biggie.. you can still get the idea.  It was very easy to do.  The beginning of the project is only knitting so the kids will master that stitch just in time to learn now to do a decrease, a yarn over, and cast off.  It is a nice beginner project.

Here’s the finished project…as you can see it is brown.

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The only issue I have is since my mug is on the shorter side my cozy seems to overwhelm it but it works.

An added bonus is when the kids are done, they will have a present for mom.  I like also like the fact you can take a mug you are not longer in love with and change it up and make something different.

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Minecraft – Part 2

Will has happily been  programming away with Youth Digital.   Each lesson has a video to watch, a graphic to make, and a mod to input.  He told me the videos are “BORING…but necessary!” Once the program is written and the object is designed, he uploads it to a single user Minecraft account.  This lets him try out his creation, which is very exciting.   Here is a picture of the armor he has created.

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His decided his armor wasn’t quite what he was looking for so back to the drawing board he went.

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Here is the screen where he modifies his graphics.  An added bonus is it is giving his spatial skills a work out.  This screen reminds me of logic questions that haunted me in my youth… “If you fold this shape up, what shape what would you get?”.  I always hugged at those questions, but Will has the answer…it would make armor.

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Here is a screen shot of his modified armor.  The added green really did make a nice touch.

Along with armor, he has created his own food.   His man now has a popsicle and a cheeseburger to munch on.  In the game, they will give him increased health.  I will say it is really cute watching his soldier eat the popsicle.

He was created his own metal that he can mine.  When it is thrown in to the fire, he gets this.

IMG_4742He has also created a sword, a pick axe, and his own biome.  His biome is mushroom based.  Very colorful.  I keep expecting gnomes to jump out.

I will say his favorite to date has been the “Fire Cow”.  It spits fire at you and ultimately bursts into flame.  It is a pretty wicked bad guy.

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Except for our hardware issues, he has been able to progress nicely through the program.  There is a teacher you can contract via email who is readily available to help.     I love the fact when Will hits a stumbling block he takes the initiative and asks for help.  The Youth Digital people have been extremely quick with their follow-up and so far they have been able to get him moving without any frustration.

Definitely 2 thumbs up!  If he keeps progressing at the rate he is going, we definitely will pay for the follow-up subscription.  That is saying a lot since we have 5 kids –  two in college….ouch!

 

 

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Stress…That sums it up best

My gosh!  I think my blood pressure is going through the roof.  Our finances are rapidly tanking…Two kids in college is sucking away any money we had plus a whole lot more.   Added to that, the home school co-op is having a crisis.  Plus, we may have 3 to 5 inches of snow!  Snow flurries in Alabama really shut things down.   You can only imagine was actual accumulation does!   I think I’m done for.   It is the trifecta of pressure.

My day started off so hopeful!  I as going to help stop the financial hemorrhaging we are in.  This morning I decided it was time to in act everything I learned during our Financial Peace workshop.  I was going to channel Dave Ramsey.  I was googling low-cost recipes.   I was figuring out ways to really cut my food budget in half.  I was on it…I was developing a budget.  I had a plan.  I was all over this.  In fact, I had just texted my husband that my goal was to save the equivalent of what tutoring would bring in.  I was pumped and ready to do this……queue the ominous music…..then I got a text about the home school co-op.

We have been dealing with a disaster in the form of Algebra 2.  On Friday, I had hope. I was optimistic.  It seemed we had eliminated the problem, then the text came.  The replacement Algebra 2 teacher decided she just didn’t have time.  She loved the kids.  She love teaching math…but….why is there always a but…..she just didn’t feel like she had time.

My already high blood pressure shot through the roof.  Algebra 2 is one of the core classes that the kids need to graduate.  Added to that is the fact not very many people are able to teach it.

I am not sure what I did to Karma but I feel like I am seriously being dumped on!   My mental state is bad….I think I need to clean something….this is bad…Why?…because I never think I need to clean something…sigh!

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Minecraft Fanatic

A friend of mine bought access for her son to Youth Digital’s Minecraft Mod.  Alas, he felt he had moved beyond Minecraft, so he refused to do it.   She decided my family could benefit so she shared her subscription with us.  Her email sat in my email’s inbox forever.  When we first got it, my youngest was absolutely uninterested.  “It was too hard”, and “It was boring” became his mantra.  Sadly, we let it go.  It wasn’t worth the energy we were all expending on it.  I was deeply disappointed.

My youngest has a very analytical mind, and it seemed like it would be a perfect fit.  Plus, he absolutely loves…I can’t believe I’m going to type this….learning on his own.  He is very self-motivated.  He would make a perfect candidate for “unschooling”, but it seemed like it wasn’t going be work.  I hated to see access to an expensive program sit in my inbox, but some battles aren’t worth fighting.   We stepped back hoping a little time would help.

Over Christmas, my youngest started talking to Jim about programing.  Why do you do it?…How does it work?…the conversation went on for a while.  Ever so slowly it dawned on me, we needed to dust off that email.   He finally may be ready.

The next day, we curled up on my bed.  Once we were comfortable, we headed off to Youth Digital’s Minecraft Mod page and started poking around.  We Looked at the videos and talked about what he could learn to do.  It was perfect.  With his dad’s conversation still fresh in his mind, he decided he needed to do this. Off he went.    He has been creating mods ever since.  His biggest problem so far has been our computer’s willingness to freeze up at any moment, and his unwillingness to save on a regular basis.

While it is frustrating to him, I have appreciated it.  It has caused him to have to slow down, go back, and review the information he has learned.  It is a built-in refresher course.   Luckily he has persevered.   The set backs are just speed bumps.  Plus, he’s getting pretty fast at the rebuilding lost mods.  An added bonus is he has also learned the value of saving.  That alone is a valuable lesson.  With any luck, at the end of this he will know how to program a bit in Java.  It’s a win-win.  He’s having fun and learning to boot.

He gave me a tour of his stuff yesterday.  Tomorrow, I’ll show you what he had been up to.  I was pretty impressed.  He is far ahead of me at 10 years old.

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Weirdest Thing Ever

Once again, I am happy to report that some new creatures have shown up out of the blue.  When we pulled up today, the Squirts were extremely excited, and kept pointing in the direction of my daughter’s car.  In fact, they were so excited all they could do is sputter.  Finally, they were able to regroup and spit out the reason for their excitement.    The result caused me to start sputtering and grabbing for my phone.  Once the phone was in my hand, I sent Hope out to get proof….and here it is.  We had a mated pair of peacocks show up out of the blue.  My husband, being a doubting Thomas, needed  proof.  He was convinced we had lost our minds or at the very least were extremly confused.  This grainy picture was the proof we sent to Jim to prove we knew what we were talking about.

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I think this one outstripped the excitement the kids had when found two goats had magically appeared in our pasture.  Here’s a better picture of the male. Judging by his tail, we don’t think they are very old.

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The male is predominately blue with green accents.  He is pretty amazing.

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The Female is a bit duller, but she still has the beautiful green iridescent feathers similar to the male’s.  The kids are delighted every day they see them… my husband is praying they find a new home.   I will say he has a small point.  They produce an amazing amount of waste if you now what I mean, and Jim is not enjoying finding it on his new black car.

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Tigers for Tomorrow

If you ever make it to North Alabama and are ready for an adventure, you need to check out Tigers for Tomorrow.  It is most definitely in the boondocks just getting there is an adventure, but where else can you hear a lion roar so close you can feel it.  It is an amazing place with amazing people.   They have made it a life’s work to save animals particularly the big cats from unsafe environments while providing them a safe haven to live out the rest of their lives.

Even though they primarily provide homes to Big Cats – tigers, lion’s, bob cats, etc, they also have rescued birds of prey, wolves, bears, etc.   They seem to be open to just about any animal that needs a safe haven.

If you have a large enough group, you can schedule a tour.  I definitely recommend that if you can.  The tours are chockfull of information.  They share the history of the individual animal to help inform you of the issues they faced.  They also have an amazing wealth of information to share on the animals habitats, lives in the wild, population threats, etc.  The kids were absolutely spellbound.  The guide was amazingly patient.  There was no question too dumb or simple for him to answer.  He did a wonderful job dealing with the wide range of questions and ages of our kids.

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It truly was amazing to get up close to the animals.  We really were literally up front and in person with them.

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With several of the animals, our guide actually reached out and scratched their bellies.   He was very careful to tell the kids that he had years of experience with the animals and knew when they could be touched and when they couldn’t.  As he said, he had the scars to prove lessons learned the hard way.

Along with the wild guys, they also had a petting zoo.  The kids could go in and meet more domesticated creatures like chickens, goats, llamas, and cows.  They did warn the kids not to annoy the lama or he would spit…that definitely  got the kids attention.

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It is well worth the drive to check them out.  There are also several local cafes to eat, so you can check out the local fare.

If you want to learn some more, here’s a link so you can check out their website.  http://www.tigersfortomorrow.org

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Donkey – whose name should be mud

Last night, I’d say around 3:3o a.m. Abby, our horse and resident prima donna, started to make her presence known.  She stood at the fence line by our bedroom window having a hissy fit.  I staggered to the window and for the life of me couldn’t figure out what bee had gotten up her bonnet. Luckily, she settled down and back to sleep I went.

The annoying thing is she started it up again at 6:00 a.m.  Being the responsible pet owner I am, I stuck my pillow over my head and tried to catch a few more ZZZs.  This time Abby was not going to be deterred.  She was bound and determined to get our attention.   It was time for us to get up and have a face to face meeting about whatever she was disgruntled about.   Begrudgingly, I finally made the trek outside to see what she was so upset about.  A nose count revealed we were missing someone.IMG_3961

Yes, Donkey was missing and Abby was one upset pack leader.  One of her underlings had made a break for it and she was not pleased.

Ends up, Abby was ratting out Donkey.  It appears …I’d guess around 3:00 a.m., Donkey decided to go on an adventure that did not have Abby’s stamp of approval.  She was one very annoyed head honcho.   I was one very annoyed mom, and I will say my three round-up buddies were not much happier.  There is nothing more enjoyable than to start out a cold damp day trying to play round-up with a Donkey who didn’t want to be rounded up.

We learned a lot about Donkey during our two-hour quest to get him back in the pasture. The most important thing is that he is not easily bribed – one bag of carrots, one bag of feed, a head of lettuce and several apples finally got him back where he belonged.  We also decided that we’re really not too sure he likes us in any way.  He made it painfully clear his return was on his terms and not ours.

Abby, on the other hand, may send him out in the wilds again.   We learned that the way to her heart is definitely through her stomach.  She throughly enjoyed every bride sent into the pasture to bride donkey to return home.

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