Sunday, July 24, 2016

Pig Iron Open Swim

This afternoon, in the middle of a heat wave, Magoo swam in his first Open Water Meet, the Pig Iron.
His event was the Half Mile.  He was pretty nervous and pretty excited.

When we got there, we met up with his coach, Julie.

Julie had already swam the three-mile, the two-mile, and the mile.  The woman is a machine.  She was going to swim the half-mile as well to keep pace with Magoo.  Before the race, she took him out into the water to warm up and talk strategy.

And then, with the rest of the swimmers doing the half-mile, they were off.

There were large floating ducks in the water that marked the spots for swimmers.  Magoo had to swim across the lake, down a length of it, and then swim back.  (Below) Magoo is in the silver swim cap in front.

Here he is running out of the water and past the finish line.

I was so impressed.  Truly.  I didn't know what to expect.  It was a mixed crowd of adults and kids.  I thought he'd be in the middle or close to the end, just because it was his first race.  Imagine my surprise when he finished 8th overall in that whole group - not even his age group!  He did the half-mile in 15 minutes and 56 seconds.

(Below) He was so spent, Coach Julie had to help him stand for his photo.

But he emerged victorious in his age group.  First Place!  His father and I are so proud of him.  He really did a great job!
HUGE thank you to his coach, Julie, who was so supportive and energetic and really made this a wonderful day for him.

Thanks so much for stopping in.  I hope you are keeping cool, wherever you are.  It's nasty here.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Art Camp: Almost Done

It's the final week of art camp.  It's been a great summer so far with so many fun and talented kids to make art with.  I thought I'd share some of the projects.

Last week was Picture Book Party, so all the projects linked up with picture books.  (Above) I read the campers Fish Is Fish by Leo Lionni and we painted watercolor flying fish.

I read The Dot by Peter Reynolds and the kids painted their own watercolor rainbow dots.  In an ideal world, we would have painted lots of dots, but I can only afford so much watercolor paper.  Still, this was a good project for teaching them how to use watercolors properly and how to blend them a bit.

In the mornings, I have mini lessons up.  One day it was faces.  Look what a great job one camper did making all the faces!  I love this so much!

We read The Incredible Book Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers and made our own book eating kids with pastels.

On Friday we finished with The Grouchy Ladybug and made bug collages.  I had the kids prepare their own papers for the wings and bodies, just like Eric Carle.  They did a fantastic job.

Now we are in Week 4: Native American Wonders.  We started the week by making Native American story maps.

In other news:  It's been hot!  Like way too hot!  Like, when the forecast says it's going to be 90, I think "That's not so bad," because it's been above 90!  I do not like this at all.  But, for the next two days we are looking at 84-85, so I'm going to make the most of it.

Then it goes back to massive heat and I have to be cranky and grouchy and hole up and watch Netflix with the fan blasting on me wishing August would evaporate and it would be September already!

I hope you're able to keep your cool.  :)
Thanks for stopping in.

Monday, July 11, 2016


We have a blueberry bush.  It was here when we moved in and it's fabulous.  I love going out early in the morning with my bowl of cereal and plucking ripe blueberries to pop on top.

However, this year it's a wee bit more challenging because I have competition.

The squirrels and birds are wise to my blueberry bush and they invade it constantly.  In fact, they just hang out on wires and branches waiting for me to leave before they swoop in.

Here it is.  I have to do regular harvests to obtain any blueberries at all for myself.  I don't know why the critters are raiding it more this year than others.  Maybe it's because Java's getting older and hangs out inside more.  Or maybe they've seen how slow she pounces and no longer fear her.

I dunno.

I just know that those little buggers are stealing my blueberries.

That said, I did get a good harvest the other day, enough to make blueberry scones.  Yay!

In other news:
Magoo and I are gearing up for Week 3 of Art Camp.  Picture Book Party.  This is my favorite week! I love the crafts.

And, we have another heat wave coming at the end of the week.  I do not love 90 degree days.  But the AC is in upstairs and the Mighty Oak out back helps to keep the house at about 80-82 degrees if I lock it down early in the morning, so we'll survive.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Art Camp: Week 1

The first week of Art Camp at the West Hartford Art League is over, and they were a great group to get the ball rolling with.  My campers are going into Kindergarten and First Grade, so they are on the younger side.  Most of them are five or six.  But this past group had three four-year-olds and man-oh-man was I nervous about that.

Four-year-olds are sweet, but they are not always ready for art camp.  Some of them can't write their names.  Some of them miss Mom and Dad too much.  Some of them simply can't handle sitting still. But this group was great!  Only one girl was a little weepy and missed Mom, but she only required a small bit of extra pampering and encouragement and she was right back in it.

The theme for the week was Asian Exploration which is one of my favorites because I love the projects and the stories.  Here's what we worked on.

Day 1.  Sumi-E Brush Painting.  We did cats, snails, and mice.

Day 2.  Oriental Vase with Branches.  They blow out black ink to make the branches and dot little bits of pink for the blossoms.  Then we add a collage vase.

This isn't actually a project.  This is morning work.  Sometimes I let the kids free draw.  Other times I have lessons on table tents.  This camper did such a great face from the table tent instructions, I had to take a photo.

Day 4.  Printmaking.  Printmaking is always a big day.  It's difficult for them to understand the concept of carving their image instead of drawing it.  But once we get past that, the pulling of the prints is always a good time.

Day 5.  Wang Yani Monkeys.  I love teaching the kids about the real-life child prodigy artist Wang Yani, who was exhibiting her works starting at age five.  The campers painted some fabulous monkeys this year.

Now I am onto Week 2: African Adventure.  It's a full class.  Twelve new students.  Wish me luck!

In other news, we celebrated Fourth of July this past weekend.  Magoo and I made this cookie White House from a kit we got at Trader Joe's.  Fun!

Hope you had a great holiday (or just a great weekend!)
Thanks for stopping by!