Friday, June 23, 2017

Keeping Track of My Ideas

People ask me all the time if I'll ever run out of craft ideas. No. I will not. I will never make one thousandth of the crafts I dream up. Hundreds of ideas pop in my head at all times. Sometimes, I jot them down. Most of the time, I don't.

I make it a point to always have paper with me though, in case I need to sketch out an especially good idea before I forget it. This is why you'll often see me with an open notebook at Scout events, in the bleachers at the ice rink, or even as I'm walking to pick up Trevor from school.

Here's an example of what my sketches often look like, scrawled on the back of binder paper:

This page is from last summer. I scrawled out the sketches and notes while waiting on a bench outside Trevor's robotics day camp. Some sketches are detailed, like the Kissing Hand Raccoon on the right side of the page, that I went on to create a few weeks later. You can spot the Cardboard Tube Shark on the left and the Cardboard Tube Bear in the middle. All three of those came out of the same brainstorming session. 

Other sketches are pretty vague. There's a Pokeball at the top right, but no notes about materials. It just popped into my head as something popular that I should make. But I wasn't inspired, so it never made it off the page. In fact, I haven't made anything else from this sheet. That's not to say I never will. I'm still enamored with the idea of making myself into SuperCindy. Maybe someday. But in the meantime, hundreds of other ideas will have replaced it. Even as I'm typing this, I'm dreaming up a craft using a golf tee. Time to sketch it out!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

40-4-Steve: Nepali Food

Our family enjoys eating a lot of different cuisines and trying new foods. The Bay Area has just about every culture in the world represented, which is such a treat. As part of our 40-4-Steve project, we tried Nepali food for the first time.

Nepali Food (affiliate link)

As usually happens when we try a new cuisine, we wanted to try everything and ordered a ridiculous amount of food. I'm glad we did, because it was all delicious. The leftovers were excellent, too!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

40-4-Steve: Carquinez Bridge

Steve really, really likes bridges. I've never met anyone else who knows or cares as much about bridges as he does. He likes looking at bridges, walking on bridges, learning about bridges, and watching bridges be built. We've walked across the Golden Gate Bridge together a couple of times, but we'd never walked across the Carquinez bridge, so that was perfect to add to the list of 40-4-Steve.

40-4-Steve: Carquinez Bridge (affiliate link)

The new span of the Bay Bridge has a pedestrian path, so I'm sure that's in our future! 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

US State Flag Trivia

I've been working on a HUGE project that I will reveal soon. (If you're particularly observant and reading this from my blog rather than over email or a reader, you may have already noticed the first stage!) As part of my project, I've been using my beloved PicMonkey to make graphics for each of the 50 state flags. In the process, I've learned a lot about each of the flags and thought it would be fun to put together some trivia for you. 


US State Flag Trivia

1) What is the only state flag that has two different designs on the front and the back?

2) What is the only state flag that is not rectangular? 

3) What state has been using their current flag design for the longest amount of time?

4) Which state redesigned their flag most recently?

5) Which state flag is the only one with blood as part of the design?

6) What is the only state flag that has stars representing its order of admission to the US?

7) What state flag was voted as the best designed flag among all states, territories and Canadian provinces?

8) Which state flag is the only one to feature a president on it?

9) Which TWO states have ensigns (flags for use at sea) that differ from their standard flags?

10) Which state flag was designed by a 13-year old boy?

(answers below)

1) Oregon is the only state flag with different designs on the front and back.


2) Ohio is the only state with a flag that isn't rectangular. 

3) Hawaii has been using their flag since 1845 - long before statehood!

4) Utah redesigned their flag most recently, in February 2011. 

5) Louisiana has the only state flag with blood as part of the design

6) Indiana has 19 stars, representing the fact that it was admitted as the 19th state. 

7) New Mexico was voted as the best-designed state flag in a 2001 survey

8) Washington's state flag is the only one to feature a US president.

9) Both Massachusetts and Maine fly a different version of their state flags when at sea.


10) The Alaskan flag was designed by a 13-year old boy

How did you do? A week ago, I would have gotten two for sure and possibly two more. Let me know in the comments how many questions you got right out of ten!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Nature Scavenger Hunt

I've had so much fun teaching US history to Trevor's fifth grade class! My last day with them was not to teach history, but rather to lead a nature hike and teach about the local flora and fauna. To explain how this came to be, I have to back up a bit. 

At the beginning of the year, Trevor was elected Class President. His campaign promises included: teaching robotics and coding to his classmates, incorporating ping pong into PE, learning about different cultures, and having his mom lead a birdwatching nature hike. I found out about this after he'd given his speech. He'd assumed (correctly) that I'd be happy to lead a hike, but I made it clear that he should never make a promise on behalf of someone else without discussing it first. I also made it clear that we would be leading the hike together and that Trevor would do the bulk of the planning and preparations. I suggested we broaden the activity to include plants and other animals besides birds, and that we incorporate a nature-themed photo scavenger hunt. (The deRosiers are obsessed with scavenger hunts.) Trevor thought it was a great idea. 

Finally it was time for the big day. I headed out with a line of 31 students (plus their teacher and some chaperones, of course) trailing behind me as we walked a few blocks from the school on a sunny afternoon to a beautiful open space area

Despite it being just minutes from the school, only three of the kids had ever hiked there. The rest couldn't believe they hadn't known about it. They kept saying how pretty it was. 


We stopped to learn about trees, wildflowers, and other plants. We walked down to a creek, over rocks, and along a slope. We listened. We spotted ducks, turkeys, mice, and evidence of several animals in the form of scat.

We left the open space area to head to a developed preserve, also right near the school. Here, Trevor explained his scavenger hunt. The kids would divide into teams and search the preserve for the items on the list, taking photos of each as they found them. The items were divided by category and awarded points based on Trevor's perception of how difficult each would be to find. He had a somewhat complicated point system that awarded bonus points for completing all items in a category. The kids were excited and set off on their hunt. 

I took lots of photos of the kids... of their backs, that is!

I also took my own photos of the items on Trevor's list, including this orange dragonfly (bug) and blue peacock feather. 


Look dead center at the first photo. Do you see the peacock? The close-up could have been used for moss (1 point), but I used it for circle (3 points).


We had so much fun on our nature hike and scavenger hunt! I'm really going to miss my time with the fifth graders. As they all head off different directions for middle school, I hope they have fond memories of their fifth grade year. I know I will.