Where Did April and May Go?

24 05 2010

My web presence was non existant during April and May, so what happened?  During much of April I covered for the head teacher while she was on a mission trip to Peru.  That meant I spent full days at school.  We hadn’t gone on many field trips this school year so we scheduled several in April.

We have a low enrollment this year so having a track and field day on campus can be problematic.  Our solution, Mr. Biggs where we raced cars, played laser tag, rode bumper cars, and played miniature golf.  I’m  limiting  my pictures to just my boys in this post.

Our next trip was certainly more educational.  We went to the  Western Museum of Mining and Industry.  Here the students heard about the second industrial revolution and saw steam engines in action.  There is a mock-up of a mine, gold panning and many more exhibits.  We wanted to take them to a real mine in Cripple Creek, but that doesn’t open until the snow is gone.  It was still snowing here last week, so who knows when it will open.

If you’ve been following my ramblings for very long you know Jesse fell in love with donkeys on our trip to South Dakota almost two years ago.  The museum has donkeys and he drawn to them again.

I could’ve spent a lot more time here, but we had to get back to school since parents were waiting.

Our next adventure was the Cog Railway to the top of Pikes Peak.  We have lived in the area for over 10 years and I’ve never gone to the top of Pikes Peak.  It doesn’t matter that the road is safe enough for an annual race to the top of the mountain.  I don’t like roads that have edges dropping off abruptly.  The Cog railway gives a significant discount for school groups so I finally made it to the top.  Pikes Peak is 14,115 feet above sea level.  I felt the difference, I was huffing and puffing just trying to walk rapidly and was feeling rather light headed.

This was the snow plow doing its job ahead of us near the top of the mountain.

 Not a great picture, and the boys didn’t want me to take it.  The plaque appears to be identical to one I’ve shown here before in the America the Beautiful park.

This is the front of the car in which we rode. It is parked at top of the mountain looking out toward Colorado Springs.  We took the morning trip and were fortunate to have as clear skies as we did.  By afternoon there were thunderstorms and heavy clouds had rolled in to cover the mountain.  We had been praying in class for good weather and God answered in the affirmative.

On the way back down the mountain we had the opportunity to see a baby mountain goat.  Technically, I guess that would be a kid.  I didn’t  notice the yellow on the left goat until I was editing my pictures.  I zoomed in and it is a tag on a collar.

Our next trip was to the Denver Mint.  Since they don’t allow pictures (you even have to remove the battery from your cell phone to take it in the building), I left the camera in the car.  This is a picture of the building from their website.

Tours are free, but reservations are a good idea if you want to get in at a particular time.  It does in fact cost more to make a penny than it is worth, but did you know it only costs about 9¢ to make a quarter.  On the tour they told us the mint is the only profit-making government organization.  There are some great exhibits in the building.  I had been there before, but didn’t remember they mint coins for other countries.  From the mint we went to the Old Spaghetti Factory for lunch.  There was road construction directly in front of the building so the only pictures I took were up high.  Isn’t the brick work wonderful on this building?

Near the end of April we went to Body Worlds at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.  The exhibit was there a few years ago and I drove a car load up, but decided it wasn’t for me.  (I went to a quilt show while they were there.)  I am a person who would have loved to take Biology as my science class in college, but took Chemistry instead since dissecting a cat was required for Biology and I refuse to cut up animals.  I wasn’t too sure about going this time, but decided to suck it up.  The exhibit was impressive! It was very tastefully done, and there wasn’t anything gross about it.  Again pictures were not allowed in the exhibit.  The focus of this particular exhibit was on the heart.  Again photography was not allowed so here is a picture from Wikipedia.

This would be an amazing opportunity for anyone studying anatomy and physiology.  If I can stomach it most people should be able  to take it.  The exhibit is in Denver into July.  To go through it requires special tickets, so reservations are almost mandatory.

That pretty much takes care of April.  What about May?  I think most of it vanished in a school administrative cloud.  I’ve turned in my resignation as the school board chair person effective June 11.  Then it will be on to a new phase in life.  We’ve spent ten years pouring blood, sweat, tears and money into this school and it is time for a change.


What Cereal are You?

13 02 2010

Final day of Spirit Week — can you guess what type of cereal I was?

Spirit Week Day 1

9 02 2010

Yesterday kicked off Spirit Week at school with Favorite Book day.  I reminded the boys Sunday night, but did they plan anything?  Oh, no.  Apparently, they take after their mamma and are last minute boys.  At breakfast I was throwing out ideas to Jesse, and he finally decided his math book was his favorite book.  So I wrote math problems all over his shirt with a wash out marker.

When I spotted Nolan he had already taken care of his outfit.  The book he dressed as was The Geeks Guide to World Domination.  He pointed out he was actually dressed more as a nerd than a geek.  Sorry, the difference is lost on me.  Here is a picture of the two of them at school.

Nolan really hammed it up and he took first prize for the day.

I don’t have to be at school until 11am.  I was also last minute, but one of the ideas I threw out for Jesse sparked a plan.  As soon as they left for school I ran down to the basement and about 40 minutes later I had this.

Yep, I went as a cook book.  Apron, towel over the waistband, cooking utensils hanging off the apron, neckerchief and chef’s hat.  No, cook books are not my favorite books, but it was an easy thing to dress up as and people got it.

Today is candy day.  Again they were last minute.  Nolan is a Hershey Kiss with a tinfoil kiss shaped hat, and Jesse is a Milky Way.  He is wearing all black and I punched circles with a hole punch from stickers and covered him with them.  I will be going as the Jolly Rancher :-).


10 12 2009
They did it!  We did it!  The school Christmas play was tonight and the students did an amazing job.  They knew their lines.  They transitioned and changed sets smoothly.  There were 17 students, many with multiple parts.  They always exceed anything they’ve done in rehearsal when we get to the actual play.  Thanks to Carol and Sam for the pictures.  I didn’t have a chance to take any since I was the prompter and had to follow along closely. 

Here are a few pictures to document the event.  

Three Missionaries


Young Scrooge and his sister Fan


Scrooge & Marley


 The bed was made from a broken table top, bolted to scooters.  PVC pipe poles and the curtain was fabric I had on hand.  It was attached to string with shower curtain rings and safety pins.  Carol, Sam and Chad built the bed and I added the textiles.  

Get up on the wrong side of the bed, Scrooge?


Christmas Past and Scrooge during rehearsal


Fezziwig’s Warehouse

Belle's House

I’m not sure why I made Fred a vest since he covered it up the whole play with that jacket.  He didn’t have the jacket in any rehearsals.  

Fred’s House
Cratchit House — Tiny Tim is doing a good job of hiding behind Bob

You can tell by the look on Jesse’s face he hated this line.  He is talking about the Christmas pudding and says to his wife “Like it! Why my dear, next to our children it is the best thing you’ve ever produced!”  

Ah, There’s Tiny Tim

Christmas Present, Ignorance and Want


Scrooge and Christmas Yet to Come


A Portion of the Cast


Carol, Sam and Chad put together the backdrops.  I worked on costumes.  If I’m counting correctly I made 10 vests two of which were reversible, 12 skirts (I went simple with these one seam, a hem, a casing with ribbon pulled through for an adjustable waist), 2 capes, 2 mob caps, 1 night cap, 1 clock, 1 apron and I started a bonnet that just didn’t get finished.   All the fabric except the gray for the capes and the off-white for the mob caps and apron (that fabric came from Walmart for $1.50/yd) was upholstery fabric remnants that was donated to the school years ago.  It doesn’t sound like so much here, but when I was working on my ceiling at the same time and cooked dinner for the play it seemed a little overwhelming.   

It is finished, so now I can move on to a few decorations and a little Christmas preparation in my own house.

More Uses for Renae’s Rays

2 12 2009

The little whole cloth quilt I posted a couple of days ago was marked with Renae’s Rays and one stencil.  Renae’s Rays isn’t just for quilts.  I’ve been using it for slightly different projects as I work on items for the school play.

First a 6 foot clock for the back drop.  It is felt and I just marked it with Sharpies. 

Then how about mob caps for some of the girls to wear?  I looked at the width of the fabric and then chose a circle size that would allow two caps per width.  I used the rolled hem foot on my sewing machine to finish the edge.  My initial plan was to sew elastic two inches from the edge.  I did it on one cap using a zig zag and stretching the elastic as I went.  It didn’t work quite the way I wanted.  It was a little too big, but we still used it. We are on too short a deadline for me to worry about ripping things out.  (This picture is Mrs. Cratchit — for her costume I made the cap, skirt and apron.)

Since the elastic wasn’t ideal, on the next cap I used a wide zig zag over 1/8″ ribbon.  This meant I could pull the ribbon up to tighten.  That worked much better and it would be possible to adjust for different sized heads.  This picture is Mrs. Fezziwig. 

I’ll be doing one more post with more of the students and costumes.

Night Cap/Elf Hat

30 11 2009
(I’ve had posts piling up in my head, so you may notice some of the new ones showing up here are back dated to coincide with when the even actually took place.)

In addition to scrapping texture off the ceiling, any spare minutes are consumed making costumes for the school play.  We are doing “A Christmas Carol” and I am pretty much the costume department.  This is short turn around, so no, the costumes are not historically correct.  This is down and dirty sewing!

This morning before taking off for school one of the things I worked on was Scrooge’s night cap.  I didn’t have a pattern so I thought I’d show you what I did.

First I measured the circumference of Scrooge’s (aka Nolan’s) head.  This became the base of an isosceles triangle (for those that slept through math class this is a triangle with two equal sides and two equal angles).  I then marked the middle of that line and drew a line perpendicular to the line the length I wanted the hat.  In my case it was about a yard.  I connected the point of that line with each end of the base and added a half-inch seam allowance.  This is what my paper pattern looked like.

I cut the pattern from one layer of fabric.  In my case I used a single knit — a) because I had it on hand and b) because it was very forgiving for the hat.  It could be made out of a woven, it would just be important to be sure the head measurement was accurate.

I pinned the long sides of the triangle together and because it was knit fabric I stitched the 1/2″  seam with a narrow zig zag.

Then I turned up the bottom edge 1/2″ and once again used a narrow zig zag to stitch it down.  I did say this was down and dirty sewing — I’m not looking for pretty just fast. 

Turn the hat right side out.  You could stop right here, but the hat of course needed a tassel.  I had some navy blue yarn on hand and again quick and easy.  You could make a template to wrap the yarn around.  I just wrapped it around my fingers until it was the density I wanted.

I removed the yarn from my fingers and then used a knot from macrame days at the top. I can’t remember the name of it.   You start with a loop like this.

The loop will go at the top of the tassel and the tail will hang below the start of the bottom wrap.  Leaving the tail hanging wrap the other end of the  yarn around the tassel yarn keeping the wraps tight together, but not overlapping.

When you have gone as high as you want with the wraps cut the yarn leaving another tail.  This tail goes through the loop you have at the top of the tassel.

Now pull the first tail to bring the loop and the second tail down under the wraps.  Don’t pull it all the way through just far enough to bury the loop and the part of the second tail.

Once the loop is pulled down into the wraps the excess from both tails can be cut off close to the wraps.  Then trim the ends of the tassel even and it is ready to stitch onto the tip of the cap.

The directions for the tassel are probably clear as mud.  But I think that is the best I can do with just pictures.

Here is Scrooge/Nolan at practice wearing the cap.

His night-shirt is the robe I made for myself for VBS two summers ago.  The Ghost of Christmas Present is wearing a cape I made from old upholstery remnants that were donated to the school many years ago.  Almost all the costumes I made were from the remnants.  I will hopefully have more pictures soon.

While the cap I made was meant to be a night cap it would make a cute elf cap.  It was very quick to make.

Field Trip

28 04 2009

The full time teachers at school are out of state for training.  We took one of our remaining snow days yesterday, but today we had an all school field trip.  A lot of it was my idea so I ended up organizing most of it.    I knew we wanted to go to one of the biggest libraries in town and to the Olympic training Center.  However, that left us a couple of hours in the morning before either opened.  The solution a scavenger hunt at a grocery store.  The store closest to the school is a Super Wal Mart so that was our destination.  I searched the net and came up with some ideas, but came up with even more leafing through the math books.  Some of the things I came up with were:

  • Add all the percentages for state and local sales tax calculate the price of a video game
  • Compare sugar content between two cereals
  • Compare the difference in price on differing sized packaging for the same product
  • Compare prices for generic vs. brand name
  • Find examples of solid geometric shapes
  • Use scales and calculate the price after weighing bananas
  • Find the originating countries for produce
  • Find all the colors of the rainbow in the produce section
  • Compare expiration dates on dairy to find the freshest
  • Evaluate the fat and sodium content in snack foods
  • Find all the types of sugar in drinks and compare the amounts
  • Find the diameter, radius and circumference of a frozen pizza and determine the fraction for one serving

There was more, but that is a sampling.  I don’t think anyone completely finished in the allotted time, but we did cover math, science and social studies.  In that exercise.  If this is of interest to anyone, I’m putting the worksheets I created in the download box on the right side of my Blog.

Next we went to the library were they divided the students into to groups K-5 and 6-9.  The library staff gave the kids a great overview of the services offered.  I stayed with the older kids and we started off with time in a computer lab where they were shown all the online resources offered by the library.  I thought I was a pretty intense library user, but I learned loads.  This library has a room especially for the teens.  Anyone below 6th grade or over 18 must check in at the desk to enter.  They had video games they could check out and use in there, same with laptops, resources especially for the teens.  My kids fell in love.  This isn’t the branch closest to home, but I have a feeling I’ll be stop by there more often.  At the library we covered language arts for the day.

Next we went to Fargo’s Pizza for lunch.  I had made reservations and pre-ordered.  They told me if I called while we were 5 minutes out they would put the pizza in when I called.  They were amazingly efficient and there was pizza left after everyone ate.  My only mistake was allowing the kids to go to the game room when they finished eating.  It took me longer than I expected to get them out of there and we ended up a few minutes behind schedule.

Since we were about 5 minutes late to the Olympic training center we missed the video at the start of the tour,  but were able to watch it after the tour.  The complex is pretty amazing and I would love to have just two lanes of their pool in my backyard — unfortunately, I don’t think it would fit.  The wrestling room was way too warm, but I learned they do that so the wrestlers muscles stay loose.  This stop in our trip covered PE.

The only thing we didn’t cover on the road was Bible class.  I hope the kids were a walking example of what they believe.

All in all it was a good day.  I think it might be time for a nap!