October Free Calendar Desktop and iPhone Wallpaper

Happy October! Here is an October reflection  and some great October activities around the theme Lore. And, enjoy this new artwork for your screens!

For the desktop, click on the image below to view the large size image.

For the iphone wallpaper, navigate to this page on your phone and then click and hold on the iphone images. Select ‘Save image to camera roll’. Then from your camera roll set your home screen/lock screen.

High Resolution Desktop Wallpaper:

 

october-2016-desktop iphone-october-2016

iphone-october-2016_v2

September Calendar Free Desktop and iPhone Wallpaper

September 2015 desktop_v4

We are listening to our Autumn Leaves playlist this morning and burning fall scented candles. Why? Because in the Coons’ house, Sept. 1st is the beginning of fall!  And, here is a new desktop graphic/wallpaper to celebrate. Enjoy!

For the iphone wallpaper, navigate to this page on your phone and then click and hold on the iphone images. Select ‘Save image to camera roll’. Then from your camera roll set your home screen/lock screen.

For the desktop, click on the small thumbnail below to view the large size image.

High Resolution Desktop Wallpaper:
September 2015 desktop_v4

iPhone Wallpaper:
iphone september_blank

August Ideas and Activities Around the Theme “Newspaper”

For this entire year I’ve been doing an at home curriculum with the family (Lucy 6, Hattie 3, Beatrice 10 months). Tim and I call the project “Abacus” and we’re sharing it each month for the fun, challenge, and community of it. Each month we choose a theme and then come up with a bunch of activities around that theme.
Read all about how to use this list and our heart behind this project here.
Explore past months themes here.

This one is going to be a little different. When I threw out the idea of “Newspaper” as a theme, my sister said “What?” But I love it because it has a lot of creative directions you can go.

Below is our comprehensive NEWSPAPER activities list. Choose a couple to do with your kids to enrich the month or try to accomplish the whole list! What would you add? I would love to hear your ideas and plans for the month.

Unless you count S’mores day (August 10th), there are no major holidays in August, which is actually kind of lovely. It makes August a month that isn’t defined by its holidays. It can be what you make it.

August Dates to Take Note of:

August 10th –S’mores day
August 2 – Sister Day
August 7 – National Lighthouse Day
August 12 – Vinyl Record Day (I love any excuse to get out our record player)

Local Greeley, CO events:

August 4-8 – High Plains Chautauqua – if you are in greeley and haven’t experienced this, it is a must
August 4 – Family Bike Ride
August 7 – Neighborhood Nights – Paddington Bear
Aug 14 – Neighborhood Nights -Big
August 22 – Agriculture Fest and Feast

List of Ideas and Inspiration for NEWSPAPER:

Each section of a newspaper lends itself well to all kids of activities. Try to do something for each category.

Sports
Life
News
Weather
Editorials
Food
Entertainment

We are going to make our own newspaper – interviews, comics, stories, page layout, etc. – hopefully we will print a few and actually send it out to grandmas and friends.

I love this because it has lots of important elements –

Writing Stories – Who, What, When, Where, Why, How
Interviews
Typing
Graphic Design
Photography
Documenting
Taking Notes

I am not sure how exactly this will play out, but I am excited to give it space and just experiment with the idea and see where it takes us.

Maybe we will print some of it on our very own Printing Press

 

COMICS:

Do you remember reading the “Funny Pages” as kids? All sorts of great comic strips to dig in to.
Calvin and Hobbes
calvin_hobbes7
Peanuts
6a00d8341c5f3053ef019affa4ca17970c-800wi

Garfield
6a00d8341c5f3053ef0191037f4321970c
Far Side
tumblr_mo9f5bZsQz1stxqq3o1_500

And, if we are looking at comics, we should definitely try our hand and writing and illustrating our own comic strips.
drawing-cartoon-300

I also want to be sure to find some Sunday paper comics to enjoy.
SlylockTerezi_zpsad93c719

EXPLORE:
Take a tour of our the local paper
143496-050-B9714DA9

Take a look at old newspapers and how they are a little snapshot of history – like this cool one we found in our crawl space when we moved into our current house.
IMG_5167

ART:

Make a fort out of rolled newspaper
fort-final-1
Make newspaper beads
6a011570601a80970b0115721ab0f4970b-800wi
Weave newspaper baskets
maxresdefault
Make paper boats and hats
bc121343fab549ac9d0f728f8d18fb87
Make something with paper mache  (there are some great fun animal tutorials where you start with a balloon)

IMG_1224-1024x6831

Make some Newspaper fashion! (Their is a fabulous Project Runway unconventional episode where they have to use newspapers to make clothes)
dressnewspaper

READ:

The Greeley Tribune
The New York Times
USA Today

The Onion (grown ups)

The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs
content

Black and White by David Macaulay
content

WATCH:

Newsies
maxresdefault

It Happened One Night
it-happened-one-night-poster

PLAY:

Crosswords

Anybody remember The Mini Page?
puzzles2

Have fun reporting!

August Calendar Free Desktop and iPhone Wallpaper

It is August! Sometimes I think this month is one of the most unnoticed months of all. The main thing it seems to be know for is “Back to School”. August doesn’t have any major holidays, it isn’t the beginning of a new season, it’s just not that memorable. But (and I might be slightly biased seeing as it’s my birthday month), I think August needs some new PR. Our theme for August is “Newspaper.” This month is going to be about Journalism, telling stories, noticing the little things, and all things “black-and-white-and-read-all-over”.  Enjoy!  For the iphone wallpaper, navigate to this page on your phone and then click and hold on the iphone images. Select ‘Save image to camera roll’. Then from your camera roll set your home screen/lock screen. For the desktop, click on the small thumbnail below to view the large size image. (Technically the first moon landing was July 20, 1969, but I wanted a little collection of feel good articles and clippings for August, and come on, it’s the moon!)

By the way, on a fun little note, we found the “Moon is Won” newspaper in the crawl space of our house when we moved in.

High Resolution Desktop Wallpaper:
August 2015 desktop

Two choices for iPhone Wallpaper:

iphone august_phone

iphone_august_phone1

June Ideas and Activities Around the Theme “Collection”

Giants and Pilgrims’ “Abacus” is a creative home curriculum centered on a monthly theme. This month’s theme is Collection! All the bits and pieces that make up a whole, taxonomy, pressed flowers, and collected works of literature, poetry, and music. We wanted a theme that lent itself to playing outside, picking flowers, and long evening walks.

Read all about how to use this list and our heart behind this project here.

Below is our comprehensive activities list. Choose a couple to do with your kids to enrich the month or try to accomplish the whole list! What would you add? I would love to hear your ideas and plans for the month.

Dates in June to take note of/celebrate:

 June 14 = Flag Day
June 21 = Summer Solstice & Father’s Day

Our List of “Collection” Activities:

SCIENCE:

Learn about Scientific Naming and taxonomy.
Herbaria - Johnson exsiccata

A perfect way to go about that seems to be to make a little collection of pressed flowers


Learn about Curiosity Cabinets and make one – I will probably pick up some old drawers from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore and we will use the magic of hot glue to put it together.
CuriosityF
Looking at curiosity cabinets ties in nicely with the art of Joseph Cornell and his shadow boxes
 

GEOGRAPHY:

In celebration of Flag day, look at all the different flags from around the world, and sew our own flags to put on the treehouse (or summer club house of sorts).
(For slightly older kids, the book Swallows & Amazons, is great)

Collection-national-flags

Speaking of the treehouse, we want to have our second annual sleep over out there – enjoying the sounds of the night, the stars, and the summer air.
IMG_9814

Take lots of lovely summer evening walks – and find little treasures.
DSC_0067

I used some old letterpress trays I had laying around to make our “Collection” themed wall. My plan is to fill up the wall with all sorts of found treasures over the course of the month.

IMG_4865

HISTORY:

Have mom share some of her love of button collecting with the girls. So many tidbits of history and folklore. The buttons have so many stories to tell. Check out her fun etsy shop here. She is also about to release a new site called “House of Button” that should be pretty neat.
buttonsbest

Visit the Build Frontiers exhibit at the Greeley History Museum (and of course play with legos)
603832_10153139837429187_5842496359310328894_n

ART/CRAFT:

Draw lots of collections of tiny items (hopefully we will be making these into a calendar that will be available here!)

Visit the Denver Art museum (now free for kids) to see the collected works of Joan Miro exhibit with studio time (through June 28) (we didn’t make it last month, so I thought I would roll it over 🙂
MIro_logo_hero

Last month at Denver Union Station I saw a little collection of hand cut paper silhouettes. I think I am going to start my own collection of them. Isn’t this fabulous!
silhouette_art_country_living

For that matter, I also want to continue adding to my collection of tiny art – I love this because they are small, I can afford originals of some of my favorite artists. Note to my artist friends, I would really love to curate our own version of the “Enormous Tiny Art Show” if anyone is interested 🙂
IMG_4923

Revisit the Collection a Day blog that Lisa Congdon did in 2010 – this is just lovely to browse through and get inspiration from.

Documenting:

Jump back into our Journaling – specifically using my sister Katie’s awesome tiny squares method. She just adds one each day, or to capture a little moment she wants to remember. #documenteachday
10968366_10153177583113690_4483944923264886664_n

PLAY:

Have a tea party with using my teacup collection – probably for Lucy’s 6 year old woodland fairy birthday!
IMG_4924

MUSIC:

Listen to Ars Moriendi by The Collection
url

The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra – Moonrise Kingdom
41nkU-zs0OL._SY300_
Curate a Curiosity Cabinet Playlist

WATCH:

Indiana Jones
We Bought a Zoo

READ:

I want to read tons and tons. That is what summer is about for me. Lazy days filled with quiet reading.
We will definitely be participating in our libraries summer reading program. Their theme this year is “Super Heros”.

crop_Newsletter-header_2015

For Grown Ups:
Collected famous stories – I am really interested in trying out some of this curated list from Powell Books.
landing-short-list-2014
This list also has some I would love to read –
landing-page-25-books-2014

For Kids:

Read Collections of Nursery Rhymes, short stories, and poems

Read the Borrowers by Mary Norton (they collect all the tiny things we don’t use)

the_borrowers

Read lots of books from Jan Brett’s extensive collection and then go to her show at the Fort Collins Contemporary Art Museum.banner_Brett-2015

June Calendar Free Desktop and iPhone Wallpaper

Happy June everyone! School is out, the birds are singing, everything is green and bright, so here’s to soaking up the sunshine and collecting the bits of summer. Our theme for June is “Collection”, so here is a collection of some of my favorite tools! Enjoy!  For the iphone wallpaper, navigate to this page on your phone and then click and hold on the iphone images. Select ‘Save image to camera roll’. Then from your camera roll set your home screen/lock screen. For the desktop, click on the small thumbnail below to view the large size image. Note – the illustrations here are from an old french dictionary. So, thanks old french dictionary. You are awesome.

For iPhones:
iphone june

June 2015 desktop

Spring Cleaning Workin’ Playlist

Spring Cleaning to me is about opening the windows, turning up the music, and rolling up your sleeves to really dig in and get the grim out. Here is a fun Workin’ Mix we curated to get you going.

1. Whistle While You Work – Disney
2. Whip It – Devo
3. Happy Working Song – Amy Adams
4. So Fresh, So Clean – OutKast
5. Another One Bites The Dust – Queen
6. Takin’ Care of Business – Bachman-Turner Overdrive
7. Working for The Weekend – Loverboy
8. Working in a Coal Mine – Devo
9. Get a Job – The Silhouettes
10. Yakety Yak – The Coasters
11. Washing Dishes – Jack Johnson
12. Whistle While You Work – Louis Armstrong

Abacus “Grow” Round Up

April: Grow

I can’t believe it is April 28th already. Time does seem to fly by these days. But, we have been doing lots of “Grow”ing around here. The theme for this month’s Abacus project was “Grow” (ABACUS is our creative home curriculum centered on a theme). It was the perfect theme for a lovely sunshine and rain kind of April. To see the whole list of projects we came up with (and resources) check out our original post, here.

First of all, we had a lovely Easter celebration – both at home, and in Denver. (Tim is missing from this photo because he was in Denver running the Easter services there)
IMG_0015
Just look at these two silly bunnies (they INSISTED on wearing their bunny suits to the egg hunts).
IMG_3520
We ended the day with a spring dinner outside in our garden. It was lovely. (At which we made these very yummy biscuits)
Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

We visited Baby Animal Days at Centennial Village
IMG_3637 Processed with VSCOcam with f1 preset

We have a whole set of CD case bean sprouts growing in our window right now. The roots are now visible. Harriet is our official water-er.

IMG_3788 IMG_3786  IMG_3783

The girls and I have been planting all kinds flowers out in our garden. On days like these, it’s pretty hard to be inside.
IMG_3867 IMG_3868Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset IMG_3452

We grew a baby pool full of water beads. We experimented with adding food coloring to make them colored – which worked great. The girls played with them for hours and then eventually smushed them into oblivion.
Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset IMG_3859IMG_3860 

Lucy and I are about half way through The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. She absolutely loves it. Harriet does not 🙂 But that is because she is 3. Lucy has all sorts of plans for making a secret garden of her own.
SecretGarden8

Lucy started on a Garden quilt, but quickly lost interest. She maybe cut out 6 squares. But, we have the pieces tucked away for the next rainy day.IMG_3764

I started a homemade braided rug. I have been LOVING the process. Delightfully mindless but satisfying. I am about halfway through my fabric scraps. Its going to take longer than I thought to make it the size I was hoping, but I can’t wait.


Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset  IMG_3662

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

We have a large tree growing up our dining room wall. I posted the image I compiled to make the tree if you want to use it. I tiled it and then got cheap blueprint 24X24 copies made. The girls and I used pastels and watercolors to paint it.

IMG_3440 IMG_3436

grow tree
We haven’t built the growth chart I wanted to make yet, but we have built frames for some paintings and a sweet little fairy house thanks to my dad’s wood working skills. We also bought all the lumber for our garden archway project, but haven’t made any progress on the actual build. My goal is to have it put together by the time my cucumber vines need somewhere to climb.

We grew our growing crystal tree and some funny grow fish my mom got for the girls.

IMG_36591310409P

We listened to lots of spring music this month –
-Our April Showers playlist

-Our new Birdie Mix

-The Secret Garden Broadway Soundtrack (which Lucy has really enjoyed because it has bits of story element that she connects with the book we are reading)
MI0000040795

-And Elizabeth Mitchell’s Sunny Day CD – just the sweetest kids folk music ever made
51AQLscOtjL

The girls emptied out their piggy banks, we spent some time talking about the different coins and what they are worth. Then, we went to the bank and cashed the change in (23 dollars!) – learning about how banks work. Finally, we went to Target where the girls each picked out and paid for a Lego set that was in their price range. Pretty great.
IMG_3613

Lucy did several pages of “homework” that involved lots of measuring practice.

We are not the kind of family that worries too much about our kids being “behind.” However when it comes to coordination and “sportsy” type activities, we are pretty lacking. Harriet still can’t figure out how to pedal a tricycle so we are working on it 🙂
IMG_4246

We picked wild asparagus  – although not very much.

19708_10101040947340402_6467959072455597319_n

A couple of days ago I was hurrying to finish up a commissioned painting and Tim was signed up to be the helper at Harriet’s preschool. So, I set up an easel in the middle of our garden beds and told Lucy to paint what she saw. She dug in a created the most lovely garden masterpiece. Claude Monet would have been proud. It was a peaceful session of plein air painting for both of us.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

We still want to visit a Garden center, finish our garden arch and grow chart, and hopefully paint on some flower pots. But, my what a lovely April it has been.

Processed with VSCOcam with c3 preset

 

My Two Very Favorite Biscuit Recipes

Photo credit is to Bon Appetit (Rosa’s Biscuits) – whenever I make these I seem to be to busy stuffing them into my mouth to take a picture.


There are two kinds of biscuits – ones that you put toppings on and ones that you don’t. As much as my husband would like to argue there is a third kind that comes in a can, he is wrong. This first recipe acts as a perfect vehicle for toppings – sausage gravy, salted butter and strawberry jam, maple cream (if you are so lucky), homemade apple butter, etc. In this case, I want a thick simple biscuit, served right out of the oven, split in half and slathered with whichever toppings I have on hand. In this case, the biscuit I want is my mother’s (which is adapted from Better Homes & Gardens).

Preheat oven to 450°. In a bowl stir together flour, baking powder, sugar, cream of tartar, and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs (you can do this in the food processor if you want). Make a well in the center; add milk all at once. Stir just till dough clings together. On a lightly floured surface, knead dough gently for 10-12 strokes. Roll or pat dough to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut with a 2 1/2 inch biscuit cutter (a drinking glass works great), dipping cutter into flour between cuts (my kiddos like shaped cookie cutters). Transfer biscuits to a baking sheet. Bake in a 450° oven for 9-11 minutes or until golden on the edges. Serve warm with butter and toppings. Makes 10.


This second biscuit recipe is the kind of thing I would want to have with a cup of tea in the afternoon. If you were coming over to my house for an afternoon chat, or in need of a little extra love, I would make you these. They are buttery, salty, and crispy on the outside, and sweet and tender on the inside. They need absolutely no adornments – just eat them the way they are. They are little pillows of magic. We made two pans of these for Easter dinner this year. There wasn’t a single one left. You must eat these while still warm out of the oven. Fortunately, the prepped pan of biscuits freezes great. You can make them ahead of time and then bake when ready.

Note: This recipe is Rosa’s almost exactly except that I cut down the sugar a bit.

Ingredients

SERVINGS: MAKES 24

  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces; plus 6 Tbsp. (¾ stick), melted
  • ¾ cup chilled buttermilk

 Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and 1½ tsp. salt in a large bowl. Add chilled butter and toss to coat. Work butter into flour mixture with your fingers until mixture resembles coarse meal with several pea-size pieces of butter remaining.
  • Using a fork, gently mix in buttermilk, then gently knead just until dough comes together (do not overmix).
  • Pinch off pieces of dough and gently roll into 1” balls; place on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing 2” apart (you should have about 24). If butter softens too much while you are working, chill dough until firm before baking, 15–20 minutes.
  • Bake biscuits until golden brown, 25–30 minutes. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with more salt (I use flaky sea salt). Serve warm.

    Recipe adapted from Rosa Pacheco, Del Posto, NYC, Photograph by Dustin Aksland – published in Bon Appetit, 2014

April 2015 Desktop and iPhone Wallpaper

Last year Tim wrote this about April –

April is a smile
a spark
an epiphany
a new dawn

These days are given to
the pranksters

the believers
the early risers
Bright mornings, bright ideas, bright souls
Because with every rain there’s a clearing
And a new sun to enjoy

Here is a “bright” new desktop for your computer and iphone. A toast to new “Growth.” Click the small thumbnail below to download the large sized file. For the iphone wallpaper, navigate to this page on your phone and then click and hold on the iphone images. Select ‘Save image to camera roll’. Then from your camera roll set your home screen/lock screen. Enjoy!

For iPhones:

iphone april
Click the thumbnail below to download the large sized desktop wallpaper:
april 2015 desktop