Thursday, February 27, 2014

Drying out piano books that have been through a deluge

M forgot her books on the swing set at her piano teacher's house.  We could have gotten them the next morning but we didn't.  And then it rained like the end of the world.  So we stopped by on the way back from group and found the books.  Luckily they were on a platform, so they were just saturated, not muddy.

I brought them home and did a bit of quick research.  The idea of freezing them appealed to me, so I froze them and did more research.  All of the books were staple bound, so after freezing them to prevent mold, I found it easy to take out the staple. 

I tried warming them up in the oven but the rack created too much trauma.  So I microwaved them for about 2 minutes.  I wanted them to be pliable, and maybe warm.  The microwave might have been the best for total dry out, but I didn't want to start a fire.  So I took the wet pages and laid them out in a bedroom we weren't using.  Then I turned on the fan and let them sit for 2 hours, then flipped them, and let them sit for another 2 hours, or overnight...

After they were all dry, I put them back in order.  I did make M put one back in order.  The covers were weakened, especially the ones I warmed in the oven.  So I reinforced all the spines with that terrible tape that has fibers in it.  I need to buy some good packing tape.

I used my mom's long arm stapler to put everything back together.  Then I put thme under a dictionary and big box for a few days.  They're not good as new, but useable.

Pain in the heel

About 6 months ago I started having problems with Plantar Fasciitis.  Yesterday after reading something about how our hard surfaces are causing foot trauma, I tried a new thing.  I filled a 2 gallon zip lock bag (saved from my Mother in law, thanks!) with ~5lbs of rice.  I folded the bag over so there would be less pressure on the zipper.  Then I put it into a cloth gift bag (also originating from my Mother in law).  I have it on the floor in the kitchen and scoot it around to where ever I'm working.  Now my feet can just relax and support me.  Without the bag, I stand with most of my weight on my left foot, and my right foot tensed to avoid pressure on the heel, where it hurts.

When I woke up this morning my heel hurt less.  I hope to be able to report progress. 

My brilliant idea for the day is to make shoes filled with 2 lb rice sacks for soles.  Then you get a combo work out, healing, and food storage all in one!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Beautiful things

 Every once in a while I try something new with the camera and like the pictures I get.  Then I get lazy and go back to the old way.
 I found this sweet shirt for G about 5 years ago!  I kept thinking one day he'll be big enough for it.  Finally!  He can wear it.

 P was on vacation the whole week.  He was going to be attending Woodbadge on Thursday-Saturday, but his job only lets them take vacation weeks, not days.  So we had a fun Monday in Gainesville.  Then a very rainy Tuesday at home.  On Wednesday we were cruising along with the normal school week.  Then P suggested we go to the beach.  Go to the beach?  Oh yeah!  So we went to the beach after G finished his homework.  It was still only about 3pm and it turned out to be low tide.  It was breezy, but the tidal pools were warm!
  bB got splash in the water for the first time.  That probably doubled the bacteria in his system.  Yay!
 We tried to get a family picture but couldn't quite work it out.  At least we got this lovely one of M.  She's been running from the camera a lot lately.  And I don't have it out as often.  Something about having 4 kids makes it harder to do anything but make more rubber band bracelets!

One last little bit of wisdom I learned this week.  I've been in charge of singing time this week.  There are some kids who are not interested in singing.  As a musician I get it that not everyone is as into it as me.  But learning the songs and raising your voice in singing is as important as learning to read and know the doctrines of the church.  We have 2 ways to communicate with God; prayer and singing.  Music has the power to open our hearts and be touched by the spirit. 

I told the kids about the movie "Frozen" and the idea of the frozen heart that only you can heal.  Music opens your heart.  Good music lets the spirit testify the message.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Well trained mind

I'm trying to read "The Well Trained Mind" again and it's making more sense to me now that my children are older.  So I've started some booklets for M and G.  They both have a Reading book that is a memorization book on the flip side.  That way if they read a lot or memorize a lot, at some point they meet and we start a new book.  I don't like it when you have a book that is only half filled...
   In the reading part we'll draw pictures and I'll write their narration of the story from books we read together.  I was really excited about this idea of teaching them to summarize the story.  I never learned that skill.  I don't know what I was doing in school but I don't remember learning a lot of things.  I must have been so spaced out. 
  In the memorization part I'll write poems, times tables, other things I want them to be able to recite.  So far M has a poem about Peas and Honey.  G has the poem "Day is Done" and he sings it.  It's the sweetest rendition ever.  Next is his times table and some other fun with math.
  I also made a book for G for copy and dictation work.  He's addicted to writing in cursive.  I know I was very interested in cursive about that same age.  P is disgusted with cursive and if he were the sort of parent to say so, he'd tell G it's dumb and a waste of time.  After a few months of G doing all his homework in cursive I realized I should help him out on that.  So I'm writing out his spelling words in cursive to give him a model.  I'm also writing out proverbs I got from this website, for G to copy into his copy work book.
  Dictation is exciting to me.  You start with simple sentences with familiar words.  "The cat is orange."  You say it, and have them repeat it to you.  Then you say it, and have them repeat it again.  Then they write it.  You check their work, with markings and explanation.  Then they write it again.  This sounds so heavy handed.  "College prep in 1st grade!"  But it's teaching them how to listen and write things down.  That is a really important life skill.  Plus, with G being deaf, I think it's pretty amazing to teach him to listen and write things down.  He does get a lot of benefit from his CI.  And I'm so happy to become aware of this way to teach him this skill.
 This is the form we did a few nights ago.  I told them we were drawing a city with tall and short buildings. 
 Even lP did the pattern on the chalk board.
 G got a bit carried away with drawing the sky. 
M's is washed out by the flash.  I'm so in love with the form drawing.  It's really opened a door for me to teach G.  He asks when we're going to do form drawing time.  I love it.

long armed stapler

My mom gave me a long armed stapler for my birthday.  It's been really useful for making books.  I love, love, love making books.  One of my favorite books to make is a 8.5 x 7 book.  I take legal size paper, and a hanging file folder to make this gem.  : )  I seriously love this size of booklet. 

Our neighbor gave the kids valentines so I turned those into books too.  The girls always need a little book to color in.  The legal paper cut in half made a good size page to go into the greeting card.