Friday, April 13, 2012

Five Things for Friday, 38th Edition


Can I show you what I found at the DI yesterday?

Aren't they beautiful?

If you know what these are you can officially label yourself as a nerd:)

They are Montessori cylinders, part of the pre-school curriculum for the Montessori educational method. I nearly had a heart attack (literally) when I saw them on the shelf. These cylinders have been on my wish list for awhile but they are fairly expensive and so I didn't think there was a chance of me getting them any time soon. Especially not this brand! Nienhuis is like the Mercedes Benz of Montessori materials.

See, they still even have the official stickers!

True, these ones have seen better days and are missing a few pieces but Jon is excited at the challenge of trying to make replacement parts-- and to have a good excuse to spend time in our neighbors wood shop. I am just so excited to have them. So beautiful.

I am sort of having a love affair with Montessori. Maria Montessori has had a soft place in my heart ever since college and I was studying peace education. I've always loved her ideas (which really revolutionized the way we view childhood) and recently I have been making a real effort to implement Montessori practices and philosophies into my home. While it is definitely a learning process, it has made such a big difference. I would love to have my kids go to a Montessori school, but they are very expensive. I don't ever envision us having the funds to pay for three (or more) kids to go and so I have been trying to get the basic Montessori materials together so I can teach them at home, at least for pre-school. It has been so much fun. I find that I think about "doing school" all the time and that it really has (as Jon put it) "turned my heart" towards my children.

Who knows where this adventure will lead... but in the mean time I am going to have to start prowling the D.I. for more awesome finds! This could be dangerous.


Congrats to Savannah from who won the giveaway of "Christ's Gifts to Women." If you didn't win a book (which is everyone but Savannah :) you should still try to get your hands on a copy. It really is great.


I just have to share this picture that Asher drew on Sunday. We were talking about Easter and the crucifixion and he wanted to draw a picture of it. First he drew the cross, then drew Jesus on it, and then he started to draw a ship. I stopped him and told him that Jesus wasn't crucified on a ship, but he emphatically told me that, "Yes mom, crosses are on ships." He then proceeded to draw the Romans with swords and whips and the 12 apostles flying around the ship with rocket boots on (obviously I missed that part of the story).

He has drawn several more Easter pictures and every time he has drawn the cross on a ship. It really confused me until yesterday when we were drawing a pirate ship he said to me, "Mom, don't forget to draw the cross." I realized then that he thought Christ had been nailed to a mast-- like on a pirate ship! They really do look very similar, so I can see why he was confused. It was really quite cute.


My husband is defending his thesis next week!

Woo hoo, woo hoo, woo hoo!

I can not express how excited I am to finally have him finish this. It has been a crazy year for him trying to get his research done and his results organized. I am really proud of him... and so proud of all of us for surviving. He is graduating with his Master's in Environmental Engineering and his thesis is all about using an aquatic plant called "duckweed" to remove pharmaceuticals from waste water. Apparently some of the drugs that are commonly prescribed and used, like Tylenol, Prozac, and birth control, are excreted by into waste water (or simply flushed down the toilet) and eventually end up in the rivers which is causing mutations in fish (like giving them both male and female organs).

Duckweed covered lagoon

He has been researching this for about four years and it is funny how normal discussions about sewers, waste water, sanitation, sewage lagoons, pharmaceuticals, and duckweed have become at our house... though I do draw the line at talking about things like "biosolids" and "composting toilets" at the dinner table. That is just a bit more than I can stomach while I am eating!


And just in case you need a reason to smile. Here is a little boy with some great ones.

Have a great weekend!

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  1. I love the drawing. So good--the things our kids come up with. Also, is that a sticker attached to your kiddo's head? It made me laugh. Looks like my house. Stickers in hair, on the walls. Yesterday I found a sticker on the back of my sweater. Thanks for your fun posts!

    1. Yep. That is a sticker. One of his siblings stuck it to his head. Poor kid ;)

  2. So excited for you that your husband will soon be finished! I love his thesis topic. We have a wetland project near our house right next to a waste water treatment plant. It's an experimental project that uses plants to filter waste water, and I am pretty sure that duckweed is that green stuff usually covering the ponds there. Cool! I love our wetlands and I would love to see more of these types of projects.

  3. Haha, I love Asher's picture and reasonings behind it. :) So cute. That is also really interesting about the medicines getting into the water and hurting the fish! wow! How sad. I am interested to know how that Montessori tool...toy...thing works. :) What do you do with it? I'm getting into homeschooling and haven't researched a ton of Montessori ideas yet but they do intrigue me.

  4. I would love to learn more about composting toilets! Just not at the dinner table. I'm with you there. :)

  5. Melanie, the cylinders are part of the sensorial curriculm for montessori. They teach children size, depth and circumfrance. There are lots of ways you can use them. Montessori was really into developing all of a childs senses in education, not just their verbal, listening and writting. Her approach is to present every concept in a concrete way before you do the abstraction, like numbers, letters, pictures, shapes, etc... I bet you would really love it. It is really great for all kinds of learners, but especially for learners who are not primarily verbal learners, which is my two! I have an artistic and a musical learner. The more i learn abou her method the more i wish i had been taught that way, especially math! I learned more about math reading the chapter about pre- school math then i understood for most of my life! If you are interested i could send you some of my favorite links.