Kalen at the Gallery


This is Kalen at the gallery this week.  The fourth graders at Central Park were able to work alongside a local artist named Micah Mullen and produce beautiful pieces of artwork.  Each unique landscape painting reflected what Mullen had been teaching them, of course, with the help of our amazing school art teacher, Lucia.

Kalen and his fellow students were encouraged to pick a piece of landscape/natural area at Hanging Rock State Park when they took a field trip there recently, then they would paint it.  Mullen worked with them to make their background first, then add the larger focal points.

I love that this project took time and the process was truly the most beautiful part.  The kids were so proud to display their work at the gallery that was set up for them at our school.  At the tables, the kids had notebooks in front of their work for folks to come by and comment on their work.  Cash, one of Kalen’s friends, is pictured here commenting in Kalen’s book.DSC01194


Watercolors with Crayon Resist

One of the things I miss most about homeschooling is our extended art sessions.  Today, I decided to recreate this whole scene with our crew.  I found a great idea on Pinterest by an elementary art teacher.  We used Watercolor paper, Watercolor paints, sponges, water, brushes, sketching pencils and crayons for this project.

Side-note:  One of my co-workers, Elizabeth, makes painting a regular activity in her classroom.  I have been able to assist her with this and I have been very inspired.  Elizabeth doesn’t just have Crayola mediums out for her students.  No, she has the real thing.  She gives her students the chance to use really special materials.  She trusts them and gives them this privilege.  I appreciate how she doesn’t dumb down the process.  I can not tell you how much I enjoy being a part of this sort of experience.  I remember when we lived in Boone, we took our little ones (all under 7) into a local art shop to purchase canvas, acrylic paints, brushes and such.  We have always thought that our kids deserve to use really nice materials when creating their little masterpieces.

With this particular project today, our kids started out sketching their selected fish or water creature.


Then, they traced their sketches with crayon.  The crayons are suppose to create a resist to the paint.  Brayden is pictured below doing a little research about what the ocean background might should look like for his fish.  DSC00876

Kalen preferred to use a Draw Write Now book to get an idea of what to draw.  He copied/sketched an image from his book and traced it in green crayon.



After they traced their sketches, they used a wet sponge to wet their paper.  This wet on wet technique will allow the watercolor paints to have a different effect on the paper.  The paint will spread more easily.


Brayden is pictured here painting after he sponged down his paper.  This is the first time Brayden has ever had to think about what a fish fin looks like.  We looked at many pictures of fish in books for him to understand the need and placement for the fins and gills on fish.





by Brayden


by Kalen


by Julian


by Madelyn

Homemade Valentines



Save up a few leftover toilet paper roll tubes and get crafty with your little love bugs.  Brayden and I used purple and green tempera paint to make these valentines for his classmates and teachers.  The tubes create a bit of a bubble when stamping sometimes.  This adds a cute splatter effect to the card/paper.  Beware of this when creating your valentines, you might want to wear something you don’t mind getting paint on.  Have fun!











Our third grader, Kalen, opted for a different  and more simple approach to creating his valentines.  He used white paper, colored pencils, drawings, and stickers.






One of my hopes for 2013 is to paint more.  I enjoy it so much.  The painting above is my latest fun creation.  Madelyn, Brayden and I pulled out some canvas recently and started our own unique paintings.  We kept coming back to them, day after day.

Madelyn painted this robot down below.  She hung it up in her room as soon as it dried.  The color of her wall is similar to one of the colors in her painting background.



Brayden painted a rocket, with a moon and star.


Recent Drawings & Paintings

by Madelyn

We love the arts in our family.  I am thankful for the chance to foster creativity here at home.  I decided to take some photos of recent drawings and paintings from the past several weeks.  Inspiration stemmed from different days, events, and sources.

by Brayden

by Julian

by Kalen

by Brayden

by Brayden

by Kalen

by Brayden

by Madelyn

by Madelyn

by Anna

by Brayden

by Madelyn

by Julian

Then and Now

Our Julian is growing up.  The picture above was taken when Julian was 6ish.  He is now in 7th grade and playing on a middle school soccer team for Duke School!  He is becoming his own man and thriving in this new season of life.  

Where did the time go?  I remember, when he was tiny,  propping him up against the leaves, in the fall, by a tree near our townhouse, taking dozens of photos for our already thick photo album of him.  “Wouldn’t the grandparents love to see these pictures”, I encouraged myself.  I’d wrap him up in his sweet little hooded towel after his favorite time of day.  I remember when this little guy and I would sit for hours reading picture books on the couch in our first home.  We’d hop in our Blazer and head up to our local Carter’s store and shop for onesies, tiny socks and fleece hats.  He’d cry when I left the room.  He grew and grew and now… 

He grew into a unique guy that loves to read.  He is witty and comfortable in his own skin.  He continues to grow and change and with that I gasp frequently.  People use to tell me, when our kids were tiny (like infant, two, four and six), “They grow up fast, before you know it they will be off to college…,” I would smile and say, “I know it, I know it, I am trying to savor this.”  I really had no clue and I truly thought at the current rate (days seemed extremely slow and weeks seemed to stand still as a stay-at-home mom), I would be just fine with the passing of time.  Now, I stare at Julian and tell myself those very words… they grow up so fast.  I fight back tears as I realize his littleness is over.  My goodness, Julian is a 7th grader!  He is often listening to pop music by artists such as One Direction and chomping at the bit to go out to play with neighbors.  As I coach myself each day as I parent my first middle schooler, I lean into meaningful memories and try to remain thankful for now and the hope I have for his future.

The picture below is of Kalen when he was a one year old.  He was and still is so full of life and curiosity.  

He has coasted along in our family, being the lighthearted and creative third child.  Yes, sometimes I think his head is in the clouds, but in a good way.  He is the first to laugh, the first to find good in a situation.  I remember noting when he was an infant that he had such big eyes that just looked right into me.  I felt like he, even so small, wanted to see me for me and delighted in life.

He has always had this super sweet side that will just melt you.  As evidence:

His fingernails have not been clean for as long as I can remember.  He still loves nature, to dig and discover.  He has always been our little creature explorer guy, hunting down critters and holding them in amazement.

He is now 8 years old and in the 3rd grade.  He continues to be such a fun-loving guy.  With his fearlessness, playfulness, humor and spontaneity he can be quite the companion.   He, too, is playing soccer this season and I have pictured him below.

All of them …. then

and … now

As I go through the kids’ drawers removing clothes that are too small and preparing for this fall, I think of how many times I have done this.  I smile as I look on our youngest that just lost his first tooth.  I laugh out loud when I overhear and see our Kalen jamming to Queen’s We Will Rock You.  I delight in my daughter’s success at baking a dozen vegan chocolate chip cookies totally independently.  I try to be lighthearted as I give one more reminder to our oldest, who seems to need more and more follow up with his homework.  I am thankful for the many seasons of motherhood and smile at the layers upon layers of memories I have of our kids growing up.  Cheers to the next season.

Mom’s Rules


I can not take full credit for this creation.  I took a photo of these words on a painting in a Swoozies store several weeks ago.  I thought the rules were awesome, but I wasn’t about to pay $70 for the canvas before me.  I wondered if I could make one of my own and hang in our home.  Well, I did.  I bought a 18 X 24 in. canvas from Michaels.  I painted the background first, then mixed up my acrylic colors I wanted for my word areas.  I wrote the words out in pencil, then I painted them with acrylic black paint.    I couldn’t be more pleased and now we have a bright happy reminder in our home that promotes peace, joy, uniqueness, and love.