Our Body : Smell

Studying the sense of smell was a fun one, because I can’t smell.  I’ve never had the sense of smell, so it’s always intrigued me how this sense relates to someone.  There is so much to it.  Taste is related to smell, of course, and memories are too.  Maybe that’s why I have terrible memory!  (Great excuse at least! Right?)


We did quite a few activities, but I didn’t get as many pictures taken.  This is one of them.  I hid a little jar with rubbing alcohol on one side of the room, and with blindfolds, they had to find where it was. It is such a strong smell that they did pretty easily.

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We ended with a good smell.  Making potpourri with the smells, spices and plants, that Siena likes the best.

Here is the books we used specifically for the sense of smell.  Remember to check the rest of the books we’ve been using for the whole Human Body Unit, that I posted few weeks ago.  There are lots of great resources.  Here are some more:

This ends our study of the senses.  As always, I’d love it if you can add any other resources you have used or liked if you have done this unit or have studied the senses.  Thanks!  And have a good day.

Posted in homeschooling, Science | Leave a comment

a little spring inside

Our house is not that big, but even though there’s other places, our dining table seems to always be the center of our lives.  And it always seems to be full.  Full of happenings, full of stories, of laughs and cries, of jokes, full of plans, full of dreams and many conversations.  And also many times, is full of books, and legos, and papers, and pencils and pens, stickers, bills, and sometimes all of these at once.  It is a happening place, and I love that about it.


My mom always has beautiful tablecloths, and I think I got that from her.  I love tablecloths.  I love dressing our table for special occasions, but also for our day to day.  For breakfast, or a special dinner. It doesn’t matter.  I always like to have something pretty on it.  I change it, depending on the weather, the season, the feelings or what’s happening in our lives.  It’s fun to change.

In this picture, I have the beautiful coasters (that I don’t let anyone put anything on top of them because they are too pretty!) made by Tracey.  I just love having them around, the color, the texture.  They are so pretty aren’t they?  And this hyacinth in the middle, for a little indoor spring, I was given by one of the families from our Science Fair as a thank you for organizing the event. Isn’t it sweet?


Last year, I decided to finally make myself an apron from one I’ve been wearing for years.  I had gotten it from Mexico one year, and even though I really like the pattern, the fabric was very scratchy and slippery, something I didn’t want for my apron.  So I made myself one with some fabric (linen) I had.

And oh… I love it!  I wear it all the time.  It’s long, it covers me completely in the front, and it has pockets, it’s almost like a dress.  Maybe like a “house dress” that my grandma used to wear all day when she was in her house.


Few months ago, I decided to make myself another one.  Also linen, a little lighter than the first one I made.  And also purple.  This time, no prints.


I’ve used it a lot.  It’s had quite a few washes already, and it is so soft.  I love it how it feels.


While we wait for the longer and warmer days, I’ll bring a little of spring inside, if I can.  It just makes everything brighter! No matter how busy our days or our table gets.


Posted in Handmade, home, spring | Leave a comment

making : sewing for Siena


Siena has a favorite shirt that she’s worn for a couple of years now.  It has, of course, changed how it fits her, but she likes it as is right now.  She asked me if I could sew her another one with a panda fabric we found at Joann’s few months ago.  Anything panda, is a great thing here at this house.  But fabric with pandas, is even a better thing!


So, as any mom would do after a request like that, I dropped everything and went to saw a little.  Never mind that I had other sewing plans.  I do love it when my kids ask me to make them something.

I’m a self-taught sewist (or sewer?)  I’ve never taken a class of any kind to learn to sew.  I always wanted to, but then I never have.  So, when I have a model of what I want to sew in front of me, is a great help.  I’m a visual learner.


Because I knew Siena wanted a couple of these shirts, I decided to make a pattern, so that I can later not follow.  I don’t know why I do that.  I can never follow a pattern.  Of any kind!  Not in sewing, not in knitting, or any recipe for that matter.  Funny.  I always have to change something, sometimes a small change.  So I made this pattern so I can change it every time I use it.  Fair.

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I made her two shirts, like the one she likes to wear.

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With the little pocket in the front, as she likes it.  And of course, with the fabric I had left, I had to make these fun headbands.


I used this pattern from Happy Together and changed it a little to be more like this one.  I’m telling you, I can’t really follow one pattern!


I made two headbands from each fabric combination.  The panda fabric with a purple fabric, because it was for Siena and her swap partner, who likes purple.

I thought it would be cute if I added a little something in the package Siena is getting ready for her swapping, so they can both have the same something to remember their swapping.

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I like how they turned out.  I use this one with the blue flowers and circles.


Now, she’s matching with both of her new shirts I made, with a headband to wear with it!

DSC_0187-smallI think I’m going to have to make more shirts and headbands, to get better at it.  I like this practice!  And I’m sure Siena would be happy if I keep practicing too!

Posted in Handmade, Sewing, spring | 2 Comments

this week in my kitchen :: blog hop

I’m playing along with Heather from Beauty That Moves, sharing photos of our kitchen this week.

“A weekly collection of photos from the center of my home.”

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Join in if you’d like.  Have a beautiful Thursday!

Posted in Food, photo project, right now | 25 Comments

making : a birthday pillow


It was my dad’s birthday few weeks ago, and I had been thinking for a while, what to make him.  They live in Chile, and I try to make them something for them every time.  Something my mom can’t make (which is hard to find), or something new to them, something they can’t find there hopefully.  Something special.  And something to show them what I’ve been making or doing lately or learning.

Last year I made him placemats with a pretty bird fabric I had, because it felt like spring here, and wanted to send them some of it as they started their autumn.  The year before that I made him a quilt with the same fabric I made a quilt for ourselves, because the fabric reminded me of India, and we had just gotten back.

This year, the plan was to first of all, send the package early, so it would arrive on time.  I wanted to make him a pillow with photos from when he was a kid.  I had it all planned out for my deadline, but then I got sick with a bad flu that put me down in bed for 4 days (in bed! I’ve never been in bed for a cold) and then after the flu I caught a cold… I was not functioning very well for three weeks.  That took some (all!) of my energy.  But hey!  Better late than never, right?

I sent it before his birthday but I figured it was going to arrive there a little late.  He received it two weeks ago (almost a month late) but he liked it.  And that’s the fun part.  We are just extending the celebration of his birthday!


I looked through old photos I had, and printed some to see how they looked on paper.  Then I picked the best ones to print on a fabric that you can put through the printer.  This is the one I used.


After you print the photos on this fabric you need to heat set it with the iron.  Then you wash it in cold water and let it dry flat.  I then ironed it and cut around the photos, if you are doing that.  I guess you could do a collage of the photos in your computer and use the whole fabric piece without cutting it, too.  But I didn’t do it like that.


I knew I wanted to do the pillow mostly white.  He likes white.  I also needed to figure out the shape of the pillow.  I went for a long, rectangular pillow, instead of a square.


Picked the other fabric.

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And started sewing.  Like a small quilt.


I think it turned out pretty.  I’m glad I put the photo of his house growing up too.


I sent him just the pillow case and the inside form and asked my mom to fill it when he got it.  It was a team effort!  And she didn’t even know it.


And so, his package got sent to arrive in Chile, on the other side of the world, almost on time.


Photo taken by my mom.

And so the gift, this handmade pillow is in my dad’s side of the bed now, many miles away from where I made it, with photos taken with cameras we don’t use anymore, taken by someone I never met, turned into a digital image in my computer here in the comfort of my living room, in the year 2014.  It amazes me that 70 years could go by and we can still make magic, make something tangible, from something that happened so long ago?

I think it looks really cute.  Something to remember on his 75th birthday birth-month.

Posted in Celebrations, Handmade, Sewing | 3 Comments

the experiments

We had our Fifth Homeschool Science Fair a couple of weeks ago, and I’d like to share the experiments Lucas and Siena did.

Lucas’s experiment this year:

  • Question: How long can you stay in the air when you jump?
  • Hypothesis: I thought I could jump higher with both feet together.



So Lucas timed (with a special equipment) all four of us in the family, and 3 other friends.  We all jumped with both feet.  With the left foot.  And with the right foot only.

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He timed us, making great calculations (practicing lots of math!) and made a bar graph.


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  1. Jumping with both is better.
  2. Boys and girls jump the same.
  3. Left leg jumping is harder.

Now, Siena’s experiment: 

  • Question: Do muscles work better when they are cold or warm?
  • Hypothesis: The warmer muscles are the better they work.

DSC_0001-small DSC_0038-smallSiena tested the hand muscles.  She tested her hypothesis by doing as many grips we could in 10 seconds.  She tested in normal (warm) muscles.

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She also tested our performance after putting our hands in ice water for 15 seconds.

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And then we did it with our really warmed up muscles.  We all tested it, and 4 of her friends.


She recorded the number of grips we each did in the same amount of time.  She then made a graph to show the results.


  • Conclusions:
  1. Right hands are better.
  2. Hot muscles are better.
  3. Older is better than younger (people.)


And made the poster as well to share all of this information at the fair.

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Learned few things and had fun.  Perfect!

Posted in homeschooling, Science | Leave a comment

last week…

… rained some here.

… found this article about Portlanders. Funny!

… took MAX for a short ride.  We need to do this more often.  We just don’t get out a whole lot.


… we went to see Totem by Cirque du Soleil.  We’ve gone for many years.  First, by ourselves when we didn’t have kids.  Then when Siena was old enough I went with her.  We’ve gone a few times all four of us since Lucas is old enough.  It is a real treat!

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It was another great show.  I love all of their performances.



… we started a new unit in our studies.  We are excited.

… Mark and Siena planted potatoes in three of our beds. We’ll have lots this year!

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… laughed and laughed and laughed together watching this video.

… had fun with friends one evening with fire and s’mores, before the rain came back.

… I enjoyed turning this thrifted light I found, when it gets dark.

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… Siena and Mark planted more seeds, and are getting the greenhouse ready.

… made a new batch of kombucha.


… I am joining a weekly post fun.

… we started planning our summer adventure.  It makes these rainy days go by so quickly.  Though I don’t want them to go so fast, because I do love this time of the year.

… the kids started their Trackers days again.  They enjoy it so much, they were excited to start again.  Lucas came back with cottonwood salve that we’ve been using all week as we need a little healing here and there.

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Siena came back with a wild greens salad for that day’s dinner, and some warm tea.  So much goodness in every sense.


… Mark changed the net of our basketball hoop.  we’ve had that hoop for 18 years or so.  We’ve changed the net a couple of times.  This time is not him using it the most.

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… got a picture of myself.




… Siena has been working in her swap partner’s handmade goodies.  It’s been fun to see her work bits here and there.


Hope you had a great weekend and a great start to this week.

Posted in locals, Oregon, right now, spring | 2 Comments