Beyond Deweyville

Breeding, feeding, writing, reading, crafting, and photographing in Orange County, CA Where it has become a novelty to raise your own kids and mow your own grass (if you can afford some).

O Happy Day! March 24, 2008

Filed under: General — mothersandothers @ 6:54 am


And now, my favorite Easter song.

Dear God, in heaven may I please have an incredible black gospel singing voice? And each time, right before we really get rockin’, can there be a Whoopi Goldberg-type angel who says, “Let’s party!”


The Green Hour Challenge has begun!

Filed under: Green Hour Challenges,Kids,Life as school — mothersandothers @ 6:01 am


Not long ago a group of mamas and I ventured to the richest corner of the planet (well, until Dubai came along anyway) Newport Beach to hear Richard Louv discuss his book in front of a relatively small audience. Sadly, he confirmed what many of us discuss regularly and already know to be true–ours appears to be the last generation to have experienced a childhood spent mostly outdoors in areas free of playground equipment, and as my dad and I like to say, only half-jokingly “free of adults telling children when to turn right or left or jump up and down.”

Many of you know that in addition to unplugging the TV we also unplugged preschool just before this last year began, as my son seemed to be turning into a social drone. I know, we may soon be officially kicked out of the O.C. for trying to live an examined life. Our preschool anecdote was simple, get him the heck outside for most of the day since childhood is passing him by at the speed of light.

Enter the lovely Green Hour Challenges so that we may enjoy nature together.

Thank you to Harmony Art Mom for getting this going!!

If you want to follow along with us you can:

1. View the assignments here

2. Then download The Green Hour Assignment Notebook Pages

3. Also download for free a copy of The Handbook of Nature Study

Let’s get the heck outdoors!

Green Hour Challenge #1

1. Read pages 1-8 of the Handbook of Nature Study. Highlight or underline anything that you as the nature study teacher find will help you in your guiding your children. If you read a sentence that you agree with, mark it so you will remember to come back to it when you need some encouragement.
2. “In nature-study the work begins with any plant or creature which chances to interest the pupil.” So here is your challenge this week. Spend 10-15 minutes outdoors with your children (4-5 hours would be better), even if it is really cold and yucky. Bundle up if you need to. Take a walk around your yard or down your own street. Enjoy being outdoors. After you come inside, sit the children down and ask them one at a time to tell you something that they saw on their walk. Ask them what was interesting to them. Maybe they picked up a leaf or a stick and brought it back indoors and now they can really take a look at it. Make a big deal about whatever it is that they talk about.
3. After your discussion, come up with two things to investigate further. For instance, if they saw a bird on their walk and they came inside and talked about it, ask them if they want to know more about that bird. You have a whole week to spend some time looking it up. Maybe they found an acorn or a berry on a bush that they were interested in. That could be your focus for the week.
4. After your nature study time with the children, pull out your Handbook of Nature Study and see if the item the children are interested in is listed in the index. If it is, look up the information for yourself and then relate interesting facts to the children sometime during the next week.


Well, it’s taken us more than a week to post our Challenge #1 findings, but I’m happy to report it’s not due to a lack of being out in nature.  We went on a couple of camping trips and a couple of hikes.  We decided our hike at the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary would be great for this first challenge. Hiking alone with 2 kids is a challenge! Sorry no photos; it was the one day in my life that I forgot the camera.  We saw many cool things at the sanctuary but were all equally fascinated by the big Fever tree (particularly it’s massive thorns) we stumbled upon.  We were also interested in some ladybugs since we just released a bunch onto our rose bushes.  What we found out about the Fever tree is that birds love to nest in it since snakes can’t navigate the thorns. Regarding Ladybugs, it turns out they only live a short 2-3 weeks.  No wonder they’ve been mating like crazy.  Also, in that time they’ll eat about 5, 000 aphids.  Awesome, because that’s about how many I think we have on each rose bush right now!


Outside an Irish Dance Studio near you March 20, 2008

Filed under: General,Kids — mothersandothers @ 5:51 am

Here is why I can relate to Napolean Dynamite so well.


Ink Trees March 16, 2008

Filed under: Crafts, you can do it!,General,Kids — mothersandothers @ 4:57 am

This entry is about the craft, and maybe more so about my friend. Twenty-six years it took me to find her– friend, mentor, girl soul mate. She is brilliant on the brink of crazy. I met her by googling “natural childbirth”. I knew nothing (so I thought) and she knew everything, which she generously shared over the next few months. The first time we met she opened the door and offered me oranges and water. We sat on the floor facing each other, she grinned, looked me in the eyes and asked, “So, do you believe everything your doctor tells you?” And I laughed and wanted to cry all in the same breath because something inside me knew that we would have things to talk about forever. She recently moved out-of-state but was back this week in case our chiropractor went into labor. One the best things we did was share this craft with our kids. Enjoy!

I’m seriously not the tutorial-writing type so roll with it. This project came from another blog and if you can find it to give credit feel free.

First, find some yard clippings and crunch or cut them up.


Lay out your old cut up, bleached to death, slipcover turned individual drop cloths for everyone. Your dog will dig it.


Get some good ink with a dropper in a color you fancy your tree to be. Also, get some good heavy paper. We used textured watercolor paper.


Make a general form of a tree. We hovered over the little ones for this for obvious reasons.


Take a cut straw and blow the ink into branches. You have to blow pretty hard (as in stop and catch the spit dripping off your straw every so often).


While the ink dries enjoy some Cuties and Kumquats (10 pts. for knowing the proper way to eat a Kumquat)


Fish out of the 50 degree pool, dog poop. Guess who’s kid tossed it in?


Once the ink is dry, paint a good amount of glue where you want some leaves. Don’t forget under your tree maybe.


Smash and press it into the paper. Then shake it gently over your yard.


Wa-la! Beautiful trees!


I love Amaiah’s skinny little trunk.



Look, the sweater you gave to Goodwill! March 15, 2008

Filed under: sewing — mothersandothers @ 4:52 am
Tags: , ,

Well, this little diddy was my first experience with binding.

It was a bit tedious but not difficult. I was just happy to get the darn buttons sewn on.

Several nights I went to bed thinking, “Wait, okay, yes, I did see the buttons today, not in someone’s mouth.”

Here is the link to the tutorial.

I just like that she has found a way to use the word “blatherings”.

Blatherings, blatherings, blatherings, my new favorite word.

And of course, after the photos were taken the apron came off and hasn’t been invited on again. I’m blathering…on to the photos of how mine turned out.