This morning, I felt the need to get all kids started on the same activity for once, so I chose an art project that was originally for Leila but that they all enjoyed: wet paper painting. It was a process, as we prepared our own paints by grinding pigment, guar gum and water together, then wetting our paper, then experimenting with the way the colours flowed onto the paper. It went something like this:

IMG_5517IMG_5519I wanted them to try to paint a sun because we had just read a story called One Big Sun, but they were not having it. Zahra titled her work “Bloodstain”, Noah’s had something to do with ninjas and a

IMG_5520IMG_5521ladder, and Leila decided to keep her vision to herself. She didn’t want to taint our interpretations of her work with something as inhibiting as a title, I guess.

We left our paintings to dry and headed out on a bike ride to visit friends. They live down this lovely road that we never tire of exploring, and sure enough, we were rewarded this morning with a snake sighting. Not just any snake, but a tiny snake with a giant attitude. He couldn’t have been more than five inches long, but even with three people standing over him, he unhinged his jaws to hiss and sprung into action, lunging at our feet repeatedly. We had a good laugh over this before Noah plucked him off the gravel and put him safely in the grass. We admired the snake’s courage.

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After our visit, we headed home for lunch and then set out on a bit of an expedition to find materials for Zahra’s project. We tried the Éco-Centre, Maxi and Rona, asking if they had any materials we could have, such as large cardboard boxes or plastic sheeting or packing materials that they would be throwing out anyway. We were turned away every time. Very sad to me that they’d rather throw these things out before giving them to us. Reuse comes before recycle, people. That was a downer, as Zahra was really eager to continue her project this afternoon. We’ll perhaps get our hands on a wood pallet later in the week, and we tried tossing around ideas for the roof material but didn’t hit upon any eureka moments.

When we got home, I wanted to get them all back into the Work Room again, so I brought out SQUILT. The second day we listen to a given piece, the kids are supposed to draw a picture of what the music makes them think of. The composition was “Prince of Denmark’s March” by Jeremiah Clarke. It’s stately and grand with a moderate tempo and trumpet as the defining instrument. Noah drew another scene with ninjas and a ladder. Leila scribbled all over her page until she tore holes in it. I felt like we were in a therapy session and no one was really listening to the music, so I shifted to a YouTube video of how trumpets are made. We saw step by step, inside a factory, how this instrument is made, and the kids were glued to it.

IMG_5526After that, Zahra needed to practice her singing. She has a beautiful voice. A strong voice. Not very conducive to Noah sounding out words at the same time. Instead, he headed to his Snap Circuit board and put together a few different configurations until the neighbour boy got home from school and the two found a way of wearing their shirts on their heads with their eyes showing out the head hole. Back to ninjas and ladders it was. The day started making sense to me…

IMG_5527Later, we ate dinner with the chickens and then read another chapter of Heidi. The one my mother remembers, where the only thing Heidi and her grandfather eat for dinner is bread and cheese and milk. Maybe I can get away with making a “theme dinner” tomorrow evening!