Friday, March 26, 2010

happy belated st. patty's day!

ok, so st. patrick's day isn't one of our family's biggest celebrations. it has been celebrated, however, by an apparently required usage of odd headgear (probably subconsciously inspired by my late expert oddball himself...but that is another story!). we didn't do anything special on this year's march 17th (nope, no parade to mark the day in grant county), but i did go over past years' pictures, and this is what i found...lots and lots of interesting things to put on your head, or more specifically, the heads of my poor children, who don't know any better.

2006: leif, all dolled up in every shread of green clothing i could find, including his green construction paper/tissue paper leprechaun (baker?) hat. yes, i took my child out in public like this, and i had a smile on my face the entire time.

2007: oooohhhh! now there are TWO kiddos to put funny hats on! only got bunny ears? no problem, just cover them in the shiniest green paper you can find. wouldn't want anyone to miss it! make a nice shamrock to cover up the butterfly headband and voila! you're all set.

2008: that year, they were old enough to decorate their own st. patrick's day headwear, because... well, now they think that's what you're supposed to do. hee, hee. thanks, palouse, for the opportunities!

sad to say 2009 and 2010 passed with no funny green thing to wear upon our (their) heads. i think i better visit with the folks at city hall and arrange a little parade for next year. we wouldn't want sam to feel left out, now would we?


bird-watching beside the sliding glass doors has become a favorite family activity this spring. joe dug up an old poster he had, and we've all been admiring our birdie friends. learning their names, watching them, and now...even drawing them. sam is often found there, pointing and talking, watching intently. leif often corrects my misidentifications, referring me to his handy chart. it was fun watching him choose colors, picking up on the slightest tints of color within the whites, representing them with purples, blues, and grays. hmmm....i think i see a need for some real binoculars in our future (that aren't daddy's ;-) )....

doodlebugs 3.26.10: mixed-media spring landscapes

although it's technically spring, we have yet to see enough warm days so far. for art group today, we brought some mixed-media spring landscapes to life with the help of this book and our imaginations.

i'd planned to have the kids use pencils and crayons to lift some texture off the sidewalk outside, but since it was snowing, we used the rough surface of the tables instead. inspired by williams' illustrations, we used shades of brown, yellow and green for the backgrounds. then we glued bits of tissue paper on top for another layer of spring color. finally, because the base paper was very thin, we backed the works with bright construction paper.

in progress

and some of our finished work.

so, spring, whenever you do decide to warm up, we'll be here waiting...arting.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

doodlebugs 3.19.10, watercolor & ink

we had a little watercolor & ink action today, inspired by the lovely illustrations of one of our favorite author/illustrators, peter reynolds. we used his wonderful book, "ish", to lead us (given to us by my amazing kid-book-finder sister, jessica). i just love all the inconsistency and texture of water color, and the works of these little artists are wonderful examples of its potential.

we used permanent markers to draw lines first,

adding watercolor next.

for older artists, used to having more control with markers, pencils, etc., a "looser" medium like this can be frustrating (it has been for leif coming back to watercolor as he gets older and more detail-oriented in his work). he was relieved by his ability to use the ink for his detail work. we went over reynolds' illustrations together, observing the blotchiness and inconsistent color of his work, and that helped, too.

we also had salt to play with, to add some texture, and for eric, this was the most fun. the surface of his finished piece is a cystalized masterpiece. leif has yet to use salt on his, but wanted to use it on his cactus to make it seem "pokey" (will post a pic soon).

as the kids worked and experimented, it became evident how much fun they were having throwing and splashing paint...i think a jackson pollock inspired work is in our future....

Sunday, March 14, 2010

presenting the king, the queen, and sir sam

when i wandered into the living room yesterday, i found leif and eric playing king and queen.
they were happily seated upon their "frones", complete with name tags made by king leif. of course, i jumped right into this one (much more personally appealing that the recent podracing craze). my offers to help design crowns and pin royal capes were readily accepted. speaking in an english accent helped convince the reigning king (leif) and queen (eric -- happily, by his own choosing) that "sir sam" (see his fuzzy head in the last shot?) was a delightful part of the royal gathering, not a pesky crawling animal meant to be banished from the kingdom as quickly as possible. i even got a bit of exercise in when i became the horse, gallantly trotting the boys through their imaginary landscapes on my uplifted shins. soon, the crowns came off, and somehow the frone room became a library with a sippy cup bar code scanner. and they all lived happily ever after.

doodlebugs 3.12.10, green collage

we were thinking green for friday's art group in the spirit of st. patrick's day.

we read "a rainbow of my own", tying the themes of rainbows to leprechauns to green. ok, so it was a stretch, but when i actually read more about st. patrick's day, i opted for a more secular focus. i presented an assortment of green "treasures" for the kids to arrange onto a paper plate, and as always, the creativity was a delight to witness.

this little one went for a unique layering affect.

these are leif's "trees",

inspired by eric's standing noodle.

you know, i think my favorite things about shots like these, beside the amazing art, of course, are those delicious little fingers and the sweet looks of concentration.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


oohwee! it is definitely march around here! we've been watching out the window as the weather changed every few minutes today -- the slowly changing tints of light, the different types of snow (big fluffy flakes, little sleety ones, and tiny puffs), even blue sky while the snow still came down.

and so, when it started to collect outside,

we settled into a little pile of magazines on the floor and our activity turned to this.
i had brought out the magazines to find letters and pictures for a family job chart,

but the boys' imaginations led them other places.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

doodlebugs 3.5.10, fruit & veggie prints

the kids had fun at art group last week using a rainbow assortment of fruit & veggie stamps to create their masterpieces. it's always so fascinating to watch how the kids decide to approach the materials. this time, we had


stampers (gotta love the intense concentration evident in the thumb-through-the-fist and the tongue),


gamers (making a "maze"),


and tasters work their magic.

we used lois ehlert's "growing vegetable soup" for our book launch...bright, graphic illustrations paired with real-life activities (gardening and cooking) kids can engage in with their own families at home. after all that yummy painting, we shared an after-art snack of apples slices (yes, kids, we can eat these).

Monday, March 1, 2010

um, yes...cemeteries...

for some time now, leif has been keenly interested in cemeteries. not sure when it all started...i'll have to ask joe and get back to you. we've had a few walks and picnics through them before, and leif has become quite fascinated. we talk about the names, the dates, and explain how things were different "back then"...especially with regard to health, diseases, medicine, life expectancy, and even the death of young children (he noticed the headstones with the little lambs right away). we take cues from the kiddos on how much/what information they're asking for, and we marvel at their insights and perceptions. leif has made many drawings of them (i'll have to photograph some of those and post them later), and now, we have some 3-D representations, too.

about a week ago, joe took leif to the cemetary for a little walk, and he came back ready to build his own with blocks, complete with "engraved" headstones. he and eric worked on it lots over the course of a few days, and it eventually had to be moved off the floor, away from the "baby monster", who innocently enjoys destroying the big boys' creations. the shot above includes a protective knight "statue" and a caged chick from the neighboring farm.

we giggled at the interesting names (leif and eric think it's hilarious when we read their "words" back to them), and i found this one especially notable..."madma"...hmmmm

the theme continued this past weekend with an outdoor version, using rocks for headstones, placed neatly in rows. i'm not sure exactly why leif finds cemeteries so interesting, he hasn't verbalized that part clearly. maybe he's attracted to the decorative aspects, the shapes, letters, and designs of the headstones and structures he sees there. or is it the feelings of love, history, story, and loss you get when you visit. whatever the reason, it's an intriguing little passion of his.