Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Our Eco-Friendly Halloween

This was our most creative Halloween. I finally remember to purchase ahead of time the Fair Trade Trick or Treat pack from Global Exchange. So we got Fair trade dark chocolate minis - along with some info cards to pass out about Fair Trade chocolate. I realize that I am the wierd one in the neighborhood - and especially living near Hershey, the chocolate capital of the world. My DH bought candy at the dollar store to make up little gifts for his clients kids and when we opened one of the bags the Jr. Mints were moldy!! So I took them right back and said "this is why I don't shop at the Dollar Store!"
So we also got a Mexican made skeleton garland thing that we put up to be festive and made cookies to eat while we worked on our pumpkins.

The kids did the best job with their costumes. Lexi wanted to be a vet and we did have a nurses smock in the dress-up bin, but she didn't have anything else that she wanted such as a stethoscope. So after two days of saying that we needed to buy one she finally made one out of cardboard and string and it looked really good. She carried around her stuffed cat, Lena - and very clearly was a vet. Chase already had a ninja costume in the dress-up bin that he wanted to use, but wanted a ski mask hat. So on a trip to the Salvation Army I found a large black snow hat that would fit all the way down to his neck for 99cents so we brought that home and cut holes in for eyes.

Brianna wanted to be a gypsy and so we went to the thrift shop to get bangles and beads and a scarf. Lexi found a pin with a cat on it. So we picked it all up for under $5.00. So I bought nothing new - and I am sure they will all make their way into the dress up bin for further use!

And I was the only person who gave out Fair Trade chocolate...although one mother had a set-up with a cauldron and was handing out apple cider - which was really great because everyone seems to get thirsty on the way.

Now our pumpkins! We found this great warty pumpkin and decided to make a witch out of her! So we used radishes from the farm for eyes, and the stump of a warty gord for the nose and a chili from our garden for the mouth. Brianna also made these really cool looking goul things. Chase says they looked like deer...

Overall it was a really fun day - and I was seiked that I was able to make it eco-friendly as well.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Going to the Symphony!

Friday, October 19, 2007 at 8:00 p.m.

We spent this morning in Baltimore at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra as they open the last dress rehearsal up to school groups. My friends Homeschool group had reserved seats for us. The upcoming symphony is Frankenstein and looked really cool. In reality, we have never been to the symphony before so this was really kind of special - but the rehearsal was just that and they played the same section over several times. As it wore on, most of the kids got bored so we left. But I think it was a neat experience overall. The first violinist was so animated! I think this was inspiring for Lex who has been struggling recently with her violin. As the pieces become more difficult, she doesn't enjoy playing as much. But her teacher has really been encouraging and it was good to see that even those professionals, who you think are perfect are still practicing the same section over and over!

But now, I would like to actually save up the money to go for real! The conductor composed a piece that was his interpretation of the Frankenstein character, based upon Mary Shelly's book.

The one theme that you find over and over with unschooling is that one thing leads to another. We recognized some of the bits of the song and my friend went home and looked it up and we played it. The kids came in and out while that particular CD was playing and remarked that they recognized that piece. Well, they should as they heard the little sections several times! Then, we want to read the original book - which leads my husband to quoting the silly lines from the Frankenstein movie (the spoof one) - which now I need to go rent.

I will say that Chase was not as inspired and had bioncles in his backpack ;-) But he is like that and seems to need something to do with his hands as he listens. This applies whether it is reading or TV. He doesn't sit still very long to watch or listen and you would almost think he is not paying any attention and then he will come out with something profound that lets you know he really was listening.

I really thought for us that this was a neat experience, because going to the symphony is so costly for our family. If we had waited around for the whole rehearsal they would have had Q&A. I was kind of bummed to miss that but really the kids had met their limit and we wanted to respect that.

Overall, it was a really interesting day!