artClassMy son is finishing up his first year at ACMA. He is really happy that he was accepted into the school and is enjoying the school. Let me rephrase that: He is enjoying the school as much as a sixth grader who would rather play soccer and video games can like school.

This is an option school with a very limited number of spots for students. When applying, I had worries and doubts if my child did not get in. Would he be devastated? Did I want to set him up for the hurt? I saw other kids cry in previous years when they did not get into their choice of option school. I realized I can’t protect him so much that he can’t grow. Disappointment is part of life, too.

The school accepts a percent through lottery and the others through a second consideration. At ACMA, second consideration is presenting your talent. The year before, we helped a neighbor with their art portfolio. There was a bit of scrambling. I wanted to make sure this didn’t happen with my kid.

I got an artist’s portfolio at Blick’s. I actually bought two; one was a gift for the neighbor. They weren’t full blown portfolios with handles and such, but were more of a presentation binder. I think I got the 11X17 size. I bought them on sale. As my son brought good artwork home, I would put it in the portfolio, so we knew where it was. We saved his classroom art and Art Literacy projects. He also did the afterschool Young Rembrandts program and some classes at My Masterpiece Studio. His favorite art was drawing followed by ceramics. My Masterpiece has a ceramics studio.

When we got the official word that he didn’t get in on the lottery, he put together his portfolio. He photographed his ceramic work and printed the photos at Costco (ok I helped with the printing part!) He then put together his portfolio, starting with his very favorite pieces.

You don’t have to go all out with a presentation binder. Most people had a file folder. Another idea would be a three ring binder and page protectors. If that is too much you could go to Dollar Tree and get a piece of thin posterboard, which folded in half would protect the artwork.

If the artwork is a little thin, you can always get on Pintrerest for some project ideas to be included.

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School Supplies

suppliesMy Dear Son recently started middle school. He is attending one of the specialty option schools (ACMA). The published school supply list and our actual supplies needed didn’t really have much in common. Here is what he is using for his first term of 6th grade:

two 1/2″ 3 ring binders, one must be black
one 1″ 3 ring binder
notebook paper’
paper protectors
staff paper (blank music paper)
3 college ruled spiral notebooks min 100 pages, plastic covers and a pocket page
Quad ruled spiral notebook 100 pages plastic cover and a pocket page

2 backpacks (the school is on an A and B day schedule) no wheels

pens, pencils, erasers, calculator, colored pens, colored pencils, scissors, small stapler, small post its

Ear buds are not required, but would be helpful for computer use

Logo-free black tshirt
Logo-free black sweatpants
jazz shoes
white collared shirt
black pants
black shoes

There is not dress code at the school. Some of the clothes are required for dance class and the other for Choir performances. The paper protectors aren’t required but are helpful for the black notebook.

He has not started the Drama and Visual Arts portion of the year, so more on that when we know.

At first I was really angry and frustrated. By the time we found out about the specific types of spiral notebooks needed, they were getting really hard to find. The quad ruled book was really tough, since most published list just asked for quad notebook paper. After driving all over the west side I found one – with a pink cover. I bought some black and  Roy Lichtenstein-style washi tape to cover the color. My dear son was a prince when he saw the notebook. He told me it was closer to purple (it wasn’t) and that he really appreciated that I went to the effort to find it. He then covered it with the washi tape.

So I do want to note this disclaimer – things could change for next year’s school supplies. I wrote this to give other parents a little warning about what to expect.

PS – We needed a sketch pad for the visual arts portion of the year. Write your kid’s name in EVERYTHING!

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Bad luck be gone

We have had our share lately. It started a few weeks ago. We have needed a new roof for a while and have been saving money to get one. The day we signed the contract for one, the water heater died. Since dear Hubs had cobbled it back together a few months ago, and this time it caught on fire, it was time for a new one. So my very talented and busy husband got another one and installed it. He had really wanted to do the hot water on demand system. It would have taken some major work. If we had started the process after the cobbling, we could have done it. There were piping and power source issues that would need to be addressed. So my hubs bought a replacement and installed it.  Our neighbor helped him get it into the basement and the old one up to our driveway.

The next bad luck happened the day they dropped off the dumpster for our roof. My car started acting up. It made some weird noises before church but it stopped so I drove it to church. We got home fine. Later when the dumpster was delivered, I started it and it sounded worse – like when you try to start the car when it is already running. We moved the car and then I couldn’t get the engine to stop. It is a stick so it should have killed the minute I took my foot off the clutch. We finally got it to stop. It later STARTED ON ITS OWN! No key in the ignition, no one in the car. IT IS A MANUAL TRANSMISSION CAR. It should not be doing this. It moved a few feet and somehow my hubs got it to stop. I got online researching this and Hubs starts calling mechanics and service centers. All said,
“wow, I have never heard of this.” The closest I found online was that it was the solenoid.  A friend recommended her mechanic who said it was probably one of three things, but he would need to look at it. So we drove it over on Monday – it started fine. We got to the mechanics and he started trying to reproduce the problem. He moves some wire and the car starts up, no key in the ignition, no clutch engaged. It was wild. So we left the car and he works on it and replaces the starter. So far so good -it has been 4 days and the car is fine now.

So Wednesday night, the roofers are gone and I have taken the kidlet to soccer. When we get home, our nice neighbor comes over right away. He is apologetic and is telling me how something happened and his truck rolled into our yard. It narrowly missed our house. It took out two trees (little ones). Our lace leaf maple stopped it, saving the kitchen. It could have been so much worse!

So if bad luck comes in 3s – we are done. Please be done!!

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Really Awesome Thought

People are like stained glass windows: they sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light within. ~Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

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Bear Scout Water and Soil Conservation

Our den worked a little on Bears Elective 15: Soil and Water conservation. As I gathered information, I have to give a shout out to Pack 152 www.pack152.net – they have a lot of helpful information on their site!

a. Dig a hole or find an excavation project and describe the different layers of soil you see and feel. (Do not enter an excavation area alone or without permission.)  This page has some information on the different types of soil:

b. Explore three kinds of earth by conducting a soil experiment. http://www.pack152.net/BearDen/Achievements/ArrowPoints/SoilExperiments.php

c. Visit a burned-out forest or prairie area, or a slide area, with your den or your family. Talk to a soil and water conservation officer or forest ranger about how the area will be planted and cared for so that it will grow to be the way it was before the fire or slide
This site has some fire resistant plants

d. What is erosion? Find out the kinds of grasses, trees, or ground cover you should plant in your area to help limit erosion.
Definition: http://www.kids.net.au/encyclopedia-wiki/er/Erosion

I called a local master gardener to ask for plant ideas. In the pacific NW:
Native plants
Mat root systems
Plant examples: Salal, Ferns, Snow berry, Currants, kinnickkinnick, montia
Good river bank tree – Willow
Nothing invasive or noxious – no ivy or vinca

e. As a den, visit a lake, stream, river, or ocean (whichever is nearest where you live). Plan and do a den project to help clean up this important source of water. Name four kinds of water pollution.
Kinds of Water Pollution:

Project Ideas
Clean up local creek/falls
Mark storm drains
this link is for our local water program – it has other ideas, too!

Elective 15 is a good one to complete, besides learning important information, it helps your son earn those little arrows that you then must somehow attach to his uniform, and it is part of the World Conservation Award.

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Duty to God – Scout Sunday

Stained GlassWith Boy Scout Sunday this month, I planned a Duty to God day at our church. We scheduled some projects and had a short Bible study.

Since all the boys participating are Cub Scout age, we kept the projects easy. They picked up trash around the church – this project required bags and gloves. The boys then sharpened all the pencils in the sanctuary, I asked parents to bring electric pencil sharpeners if they had them. They also updated the activity bags that are available for children to use during the service. They took all the bags apart, checked all the pieces and reassembled them. We then had a snack and a little Bible study. After the snack, they made a tied fleece blanket. I bought the kit on a really good sale and had it cut out, the children tied it. I then had a craft – decorating magnets. I found these kits on clearance after Vacation Bible School time at Joann’s.

I opened with a prayer I found online and modified to make it work with our program:
Dear heavenly Father, as we begin this meeting, we know that You are here with us. Make our hearts and minds ready to plan and do those things that will be pleasing to You and serve our church, and our community. Where we fail, forgive us and help us start again in the way you would have us go. In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

We closed with the Lord’s Prayer.

For the quick Bible study we talked about what we believe:
We are saved by God’s grace, for Christ’s sake, through faith alone.
We recited these two verses (they repeated after me)
John 3:16 For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.
(New Living Translation)

The kids had a fun time and I thought it added to the Scout Sunday experience.

Here are some reference sites:


Prayer – National Lutheran Association on Scouting

Statement of Faith

Bible Verses:

Scout Sunday and Duty to God:

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Chutter Cheese Update

Ok, so it isn’t really that big of an update. A while ago, I posted about how I used to work at Hickory Farms (back when they had year-round stores!) I posted the Chutter was actually made by Herkimer Foods and was still available from them.

Recently, Hickory Farms added New York Cheddar Spread – which is what they are calling Chutter now.

I just ordered some Chutter from Herkimer Foods for the first time! It arrived very quickly and is still delicious!  http://www.herkimerfoods.com

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