There, Here, and Back again….

Wow, it has been quite awhile. February seems like eons ago.

I have received my baby chicks in the mail – except they are ‘teenagers’ (a.k.a. pullets) now.
I have not planted my garden.
I studied for eight days straight and finished 15 hours of college credit.
I went on a three week and two day trip to Oregon AND California.
I have unpacked my bags into a more than slightly messy room.
I am missing my best friend like crazy who is in India for the summer.
I have been studying for the past 10 days which has resulted in another nine credits.

Tomorrow is 4th of July. It is ROASTING hot out and we have had NO rain – which means no fireworks. But with some of the decisions our ‘politicians’ have been making lately, I don’t really feel like celebrating. However, I do think it will be a good day for honoring and remembering the traditions of our forefathers who have walked in the wisdom of the Lord.

And without further ado, I have more studying to do – only three more tests to pass until I will be applying for graduation (which will hopefully be the day after the 4th of July!)

So what is coming up after the next few days?
I’ll be writing about
~my chicken adventure (and boy, has it been a doozy!) with hopefully more clucking additions to come.
~my ‘college’ adventure – which may help explain why I can pass an Upper-Level course with only a total of SIX hours of study just like I did today, plus my other little stops along the way of getting a degree with accelerated distance learning – just in case you are interested, or want to be informed on the new and better way to do college ;)
~my travel adventure with a few pictures
~and of course, the events that follows after ‘applying for graduation’
Hooray!!!

Have any requests for topics or suggestions of projects?
Now that I won’t have school, I am FREEEE!!!!!!!

When Doubt Leads to Determination

I cannot help smiling while thinking over a main topic of last night’s mealtime conversation.

Chickens. :)

Yep, I ordered chickens a few nights ago.

It all started a month or so back when my little sis’s school offered to sell the chickens they are hatching as an embryology project.

I researched and read. Researched some more, and read more.

And then, (after receiving permission to ‘get’ chickens – with the condition that I would be SOLELY responsible for them – their housing, feeding, watering, etc), I ordered some from a website called mypetchicken.com

I was expecting the chicks to cost around $3.00 a piece, and the average turned out to be $3.25.

But somewhere in my thinking, I totally neglected the cost of speedy shipping. It is pretty astronomical for Expedited Shipping.

(Did you know that the United States Post Office is the only shipping entity that will transport day-old chicks in the mail?)

Anyhow, instead of getting the 6 chicks I had planned on, I ended up ordering 15.
Yes, fifteen. (Because the shipping was cheaper).

I have never raised chickens before, but I suppose there is a first time for everything, and it is a skill that I hope to say I’ve mastered sometime in the future years.

But rewind, and now fast-forward a few days of vehemently researching about chickens (which I will be following up in the future with some resources if you happen to be interested in raising chickens or just like being knowledgeable about the subject), which all leads up to last night when my family and I went over to my grandpa’s for dinner.

I got to tell ‘my news’ of expecting chickens to Papa, which led into a long conversation of me trying to explain (as best I can) the plan for the new additions.

I tried describing (and finally gave up and drew a picture) of what a chicken tractor looks like and their prescribed benefits. I was asked what ‘my plan’ was for when the day-old chicks arrive (because they don’t get to live outside for 4-6 weeks, or until they are all feathered out).

But the most memorable part of the conversation – the laughing at the speculation of doom of my not-even-yet-hatched-chicks.

There were jokes about how our two dogs will have 15 days of treats.
Even the idea of tossing the cat in the chicken pen for a minimized mess, rather than them disappearing one by one.

We laughed about the picture of these happenings – though I can definitely tell you that I don’t want my well-spent money and time to be turned into glorified pet treats. ;)

After a few of these “ideas” had been tossed around, I mentioned that I may have to get a signed contract for when my sister takes care of them when I’m gone on a trip this summer (so I will have some ‘insurance’ that they will be here when I get back) because I’m a tad concerned there is a vendetta against their survival.

(Just to clarify so you’re not worried about the lack of sensitivity, my dad asked me after we got home to draw up my plans for my chicken tractor so we could see what supplies we needed and my sister is going to be feeding them this summer when I’m away, so there is support…. just maybe with a bit of doubt.)

I did, however, firmly inform my dad and sister, that if the rough gets going, they won’t be eating any of MY eggs from MY chickens. ;)

In the end: the consensus from my dad and little sis (and maybe a bit from my mom) is that MY chickens are NOT going to last the summer.

I guess we shall see but I am all the more determined to try my best to succeed (and prove them wrong in the process).

Do you have any tips, tricks, or advice to guide me to success?!

I would so appreciate and love to hear from you.

My Dear Friends.

Tonight was so much fun. Old friends (meaning one I’ve known for almost 15 years and the other for about 8 years) and a new friend (meaning we met tonight) came over to ‘hang out’ with me and my family.

We ate hobo dinners, cheese blintzes, and apple crumble – which was a random recipe I pulled together when I realized that I probably wouldn’t have enough of my other dessert. It was so tasty, but the company who I enjoyed it with was much sweeter.

We talked and laughed (real loud sometimes), played pool (well, I mainly watched because the guys had their own teams and matches going on) and then a few rounds of foosball (which was quite the experience, but fun!)

If you have great friends like these, be sure to let them know they’re special.

Because they are rare and precious and a special gift from God.

How to Make Fire-Roasted Marbles

A friend of mine recently told me about the fun time she had in making these.
And thanks to her Pinterest, I found the original link which you can find right here at Nikki Lynn Design.

Her directions are really great and simple on how to make a Crackled Marble Pendant using an oven set at 500 degrees F.

I had been wanting to try this out since Thanksgiving when I bought some marbles at The Dollar Store, but I didn’t want to use our electric stove last night because it takes forever to warm up.

BUT our wood stove was already burning with an INTENSE heat, so I opted to use it instead!
This project made me feel like a blacksmith because this is how I did it:

1.Get your fire ROARING hot. Be sure to have a good bed of coals.
2. Toss your marble(s) on the coals for approximately 3-5 minutes


Be sure to “keep your eye” on them in the sense of not losing where you ‘tossed’ them.

I sadly report that one marble was lost in the flames.

       3. Use a heat resistant tool to pull them out of the fire. (Meaning something metal and long – not plastic, fabric, or other flammable materials!) I used the shovel that we use to scoop out ash from the fireplace when it is cold.

WARNING: The marble will be HOT HOT HOT!!!! Some of mine had turned bright orange they were so HOT!

(Sorry about the blurriness. I was trying to take the picture while balancing the shovel with the marble on it :)

        4. Immediately dump them into a bowl of ice water (with ice cubes).

I chose a ceramic bowl that had withstood high temperature when it was originally made- and my 2005 ugly paint job ;) so that there would be no risk of the hot marble melting or destroying the bottom of the bowl after it was dropped.

I found that when the water was at its coldest, the marbles had a tendency to crack more severely and shatter. However, you still want the water to be cold so that the extreme change of HOT to COLD will make the marble crackle.

5. Use some utensils (fork/spoon) to remove the marble from the bowl and place on a towel or heat resistant surface (like brick) to cool. Be careful because the marbles will be hot to warm to cool depending on how soon you take them out of the water.

Once I got comfortable with the process, I started to remove the marbles after they had crackled initially (you can hear the sizzling of the hot marble in the water) and then would quickly remove them from the water to cool more gently because here is what happens when they cool too fast.

These mainly happened at first because I halved the time from the original directions (I left them for 10 minutes in what I assume now was a fire much hotter that 500 degrees). But no worries of waste because I plan on using these pieces for a mixed media project that I want to do soon.

In the end, I made:

2 whole crackled green marbles

2 half shattered/half clear marbles*

1 crackled blue marble (but needs repair to make it whole again because it split right down the middle )

100+ shattered pieces

*The half and half ones were made when they broke into two pieces while I was getting them out of the fire. So I stuck one half in the water to crackle and left the other half out to cool. Be sure not to get any water near the half you intend NOT to crackle as even the littlest bit of water will help cool it rapidly and thus crackle. (and these are my favorite of the bunch!)

I plan on turning at least one of the half and half ones into a necklace or keychain by gluing the sections together and then wrapping wire around the marble to create a pendant.

This was quite a fun project-experiment!
It has definitely made me think of other things to throw in the fire!
I put a quarter and a nickel in a few hours after I had done the marbles because I was curious to see what would happen.
I was able to bend the quarter with two pairs of pliers, but I’m still trying to figure out what exactly to do with it.
(AND in case you were wondering, the nickel was lost to the ashes as well – at least the marble will have company!)

Do you have any plans for a crackled marble?
What other things do you think could be HEATED and altered?

It’s 2012!!!

Dear Readers,

2012 is already here!! Good grief. 2011 seemed to fly by with crazy weather, memorable events, and seemingly long ‘to-do’ lists.

This year, as a part of new resolutions to work on self-discipline, completing projects, and being generally more organized, I hope to write with more frequency and ever improving quality.

As previously mentioned about “Days of the Week” themes, I have realized that these are not going to work well for me as it is apparent that my own “Days of the Week” don’t always coincide with my predestined themes.

Also, I am contemplating creating two new separate blogs for two huge areas of my life: Food and Education.
If and when these two accounts should be born, you will be among the first to know!

Splendid Wonders will remain however for crafty and other interests that add to life the spice of ingenuity that only God could have ordained.

Thank you so much for your support and love.
I cannot wait to see where God sends us in this year of 2012.

Warmest Regards,
Miss K

Building Blocks

A few weeks back my mind and heart were in a whirpool spin about my ‘worldview’ concerning education. The opinionated side of me came out with all my ideals and notions about the “theories of education” and “what should education look like,” and all of the questions that tie in with the actual practice of teaching and educating in the ‘real world.’ Ideals about homeschooling, private schooling, public schooling and everything in between started to mix altogether.

I got to the point where I thought to myself, “I have NO clue what I even think about this anymore.” If you’ve had that feeling before, it’s not fun.

Then it hit me. If I’m going to be a leader in a certain field, I should have a solid, well-balanced understanding of it.

I had already been exposed to all the different ‘public’ views of what education should be – and most of it is revolting. I graduated from a small private Christian school, so I have a pretty good anecdotal understanding of that sector and I’m very interested and supportive of the homeschooling movement that has been growing by leaps and bounds. But as for a long term, visionary GOD-CENTERED understanding of education – I found I was pretty lacking and confused.

In comes an internet search, and the reading of reviews (crucial to any informed purchase :) and I ended up buying a book called “Foundational Issues in Christian Education” by Robert W. Pazmino.

It is written for college and seminary level classes, so it is no light and easy reading, but oh so rich with clear, concise points.

As a disclaimer, I am still in “Chapter One: Biblical Foundations,” which means I am still forming an opinion on the book as well as just beginning to build a God-centered understanding of what education really is.

So to start off with a quote.

“God is the author and discloser of all truth, and both teachers and students alike stand under this truth.”- Pazmino

Because God is the Infinite, all-powerful, all-knowledgeable Creator and Giver of Life, He is very much the Ultimate teacher. This is not an excuse for standing aside in the matter of education, but rather to heed His wisdom and instruction.

So, based on direction from Pazmino’s book, below (in bold) are stipulations of good Christian education in which these Deuteronomy passages infer.

“Now this is the commandment, the statutes and the judgments which the LORD your God has commanded me (Moses) to teach you, that you might do them in the land where you are going over to possess it, so that you and your son and your grandson might fear the LORD your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged.” (Deuteronomy 6:1-2)

Education is the teaching of God’s commandments for all generations
Education will encourage and point toward the fear of the Lord

“Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” (Deuteronomy 6:4)

Education should affect every area of life: heart, soul, might

“These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:5-9)

Education should be an element of every part of the day: sit in your house, walk by the way, lying down, rising up
Education is the responsibility of the parent who is under God’s authority.

“Then Moses spoke in the hearing of all the assembly of Israel the words of this song, until they were complete:

Give ear, O heavens, and let me speak;
And let the earth hear the words of my mouth.
Let my teaching drop as the rain,
My speech distill as the dew,
As the droplets on the fresh grass
And as the showers on the herb.
For I proclaim the name of the LORD;
Ascribe greatness to our God!
The Rock! His work is perfect,
For all His ways are just;”
(Deuteronomy 31:30-32:4a)

Education should inspire glorification and refreshment in God.

So far, this book has been so beneficial in extrapolating and identifying characteristics of “Christian” education and I can’t wait as the author delves further into the Old Testament, New Testament, and then into other foundations to present thoughts toward a well-grounded understanding.

Do you agree with these characteristics?

What are your thoughts on the current educational system (whether it be homeschool, private, and/or public)?

Thanks for stopping by and contemplating with me today!

Gone and Back Again

Sorry for being so out of it this week! I finished up my online class with a final over six chapters and also a dentist appointment with two shots and grinding and drilling.

I’ve also been reading a REALLY great book that I’m planning to share about on Monday  – at least what I’ve learned in the first half of the first chapter!

And technology-wise this week, I learned a cool trick from a cousin who is studying in graphic design.

Here is a creation of mine based on his how-to tips.

Normally, I don’t care for abstract art, but these are easy to make and challenging because you have to find the right balance and look.

Here’s how to do it.

I used Photoshop Elements 7.  (I’m sure Photoshop will work fine, or any program with the ability to customize the effects of  layers.)

The above picture is actually three separate shots I’ve taken. Two flowers and a picture of grass (duplicated 3xs across the bottom).

  • First, create a base layer. I chose a close-up of a pink rose.
  • Next, I layered the grass on top, and the red and orange flower on top of that.
  • Find the place to customize the settings on the layers. (In Photoshop Elements 7, it is directly above to the left of where you view and control the ‘Layers’  (which is on the bottom of the bar on the right side of the screen).

There are about 20 different options in Photoshop Elements 7 (though, I am excited to try it in PSE9!). I just fool around to see what I like best. (For me, the best way to learn something is through experimentation and practice – especially when concerning computer programs).

  • Customize each layer (except the bottom one – there will be no change in effect unless there is a layer beneath it).

Tip: I worked from the bottom up, and don’t be afraid to switch the layers around  – – there are an *infinite* amount of combinations!!

  • I saved it as a JPEG without saving the original Photoshop (.psd) file. (my computer is way overloaded as it is ;)

 

So, using the same technique, here are four more creations- all using different pictures.

Did I mention they are pretty easy to make?? And I feel pretty productive in the sense of ACTUALLY using a few of my 20,000+ pictures… though I’m not sure what I will do with these… maybe just look at them from time to time :)

As for my favorite, ummmm, I can’t say for sure…

The first picture (the one with the flowers and the grass) reminds me of a sunset.

Of four pictures in the collage, here’s the run down on what ‘makes’ each of the pics (Can you see within the finished picture to see the individual pictures????)

A (top left): A mosaic I made as a present and Sharpies

B (top right): my sister’s eye and pool balls in motion (this pic has a special effect added to it to match the style)

C (bottom left): a pine cone and frosty leaves

D (bottom right): peeling paint, a yellow-leaved tree, and broken bungee cord (that’s where the color comes from)

Which one is your favorite – – or do you even like them at all??

If you make your own, I’d love to see it and hear with what pics you made to MUSH it altogether into one piece of art!!
(just link it in a comment)

Hope to you see you back when I’ll be writing NEXT week!!