Thursday, July 23

Build Me the Moon (Charlotte Sometimes)


Today, we are going to take a closer look at one Oklahoma City home.  Yesterday, we focused on our architectural unit studies...be sure to brush up on your stylistic background!!!

In a corner of Oklahoma City that time forgot, the Overholser Mansion stands as a testament to the state's earliest days.  Henry Overholser was an Oklahoma businessman, county commissioner, and important contributor to the development of Oklahoma City.  Overholser was already well-to-do when he arrived in Oklahoma Territory in 1889.  He quickly began buying lots, developing business buildings, and making capital improvements using his own money to what would become Oklahoma City.
Built in 1903, the Overholser Mansion is considered Oklahoma City's first mansion.  It was designed by W.S. Matthews, who trained at London's Kensington Academy.  Originally, the home was in the country and far from town, but today it lies in the heart of the city.  The Queen Anne and Chateauesque architectural styles were regarded as out of style, standing in stark contrast to the Mission, Craftsman, and Prairie styles of architecture that were prominent at the time.  Walking through the house, you can't help but step back in time and feel the opulence seep through your skin...
Full of original designs (such as the cute doorbell below!), the first floor of the house looks as if the family just stepped out for the morning.  All tours are guided, and the first three floors, open to the public, reveal intricately stenciled, painted-on canvas walls and eye-popping light fixtures. On the second-floor landing, pause at the stained glass windows featuring two musically inclined women, a piece that Mrs. Overholser, who started the Ladies Orchestra League in the 1890s, commissioned.  The third floor was the nursery, and is now full of toys and brick-a-brack that made its way into the attic storage area.
We fell in love with this home!  The oldest took about a hundred photos, trying to memorize every intricate architectural and interior design detail.  The youngest oohed and ahhed over the appliances and "latest and greatest" machinery found throughout the home.  As for myself, I simply adored the little pink turret room at the top of the house.  It was small, but large enough for a Mommy-cave!  Taking a tour here truly is like stepping back in time for a few hours!!

Home Details :
  • Tours Tues-Sat
  • Hourly tours from 10a - 2pm
    • 45 minutes long
  • 405 NW 15th St, OKC
Special Event :
  • Heritage Hills Home Tour
  • Sept 26-27, 2015
Less than a mile away, lies the Harn Homestead, where you can re-enact the Oklahoma Land Run and experience Oklahoma's territorial days...another integral piece in Oklahoma City history!

What we read today....


Wednesday, July 22

Build Me Up, Buttercup (Foundations)


It's a little-known fact that as a young girl, I dreamed of becoming an architect, but with zero spatial skills, it just wasn't in cards.  I still find old houses fascinating, though, and am enjoying watching my oldest go through his 'architectural phase.'  Which may not be a phase after all....I mean, we've all seen his Etch-a-Sketch pictures...that boy has some talented spatial reasoning!!!


We will be working on architecture more this year, since that is where his interests lie.  Here is the unit study that we will be working from throughout the year.  And never fear, mom, I've remembered to address the littles, too!  It's a considerably shorter unit, but let's get to them first...

Early Elementary Unit

First off... 

His love for architecture stemmed from his love of all things Greek and Roman (ancient, of course).  Hence our hands-on history units for ancient civilizations!  So we will begin with a review of the basic architectural column designs.
Of the three columns found in Greece, Doric columns are the simplest. They have a capital (the top, or crown) made of a circle topped by a square. The shaft (the tall part of the column) is plain and has 20 sides. There is no base in the Doric order. The Doric order is very plain, but powerful-looking in its design. Doric, like most Greek styles, works well horizontally on buildings, that's why it was so good with the long rectangular buildings made by the Greeks. The area above the column, called the frieze [pronounced "freeze"], had simple patterns. 

Ionic shafts were taller than Doric ones. This makes the columns look slender. They also had flutes, which are lines carved into them from top to bottom. The shafts also had a special characteristic: entasis, which is a little bulge in the columns make the columns look straight, even at a distance [because since you would see the building from eye level, the shafts would appear to get narrower as they rise, so this bulge makes up for that - so it looks straight to your eye but it really isn't !] . The frieze is plain. The bases were large and looked like a set of stacked rings. Ionic capitals consist of a scrolls above the shaft. The Ionic style is a little more decorative than the Doric.

The Corinthian order is the most decorative and is usually the one most modern people like best. Corinthian also uses entasis to make the shafts look straight. The Corinthian capitals have flowers and leaves below a small scroll. The shaft has flutes and the base is like the Ionian. Unlike the Doric and Ionian cornices, which are at a slant, the Corinthian roofs are flat.
During our travels, we have visited and explored different styles of architectural homes, including :
Part of the fun of architecture is getting to express your unique individuality!!  Below are some fun activities for your students to explore their styles and do just that!
  • What Is Your Architecture Personality?
    • This quiz determines your architecture personality.   At the end of the quiz it tells you about the different styles of architecture.    This is definitely geared more towards adults than students, but the boys loved taking the tests lots of different ways to see what types of styles they could produce.
  • American House : Styles of Architecture Coloring Book
    • Crisp renderings of over 40 extant structures from Taos Pueblo to striking contemporaries. Spanish Colonial, Georgian, Stick, Gothic, many other styles. Rich and informative captions date, identify, and describe each dwelling.
  • How to Become an Architect
    • This page answers some of the most frequently asked questions about careers in architecture. The advice comes from several architects.
You can't learn about architecture without getting hands-on!  Here are some of the best kits and activities that we have stumbled upon so far.

  • Lego Architecture : Eiffel Tower
    • Lego has an entire line of architectural designs, ranging from $30 to $180.  The Eiffel Tower is on the lower range, and we spent a whole day studying France while building this one!!  (Double the learning, double the fun!)
  • Lego Architect Studio
    • This one is the mack-daddy of architectural sets from Lego...including a 300 page booklet and more bricks than any one child should own!
  • Young Architect Kit
    • Create a 3-dimensional design model in just 3 easy steps! Great for aspiring young architects, design and furnish your floor plan with templates and colored pencils that are included. To top it off, this building set is reusable, so you can start from scratch and redesign your floor plans over and over again for endless fun.

Finally, David Macaulay's Building Big series at PBS offers students a chance to work with engineering concepts on an interactive site.  This site is the accompaniment to his DVD series, which was fascinating for our entire family.  Ranging from age 6 to Dad, we all enjoyed watching these videos together.

Sunday, July 12

Twelve Days of Summer

Walking through the fields the other night, we spotted Daddy up in the pear tree sending down ripe produce!  That started a bout of the sillies, and resulted in this summer song...from us to you!
On the first day of summer, my garden gave to me....
Our Daddy in a pear tree!!
On the second day of summer, my garden gave to me....
Two sweet corn cobs
and our Daddy in a pear tree!
On the third day of summer, my garden gave to me....
Three peaches
Two sweet corn cobs
and our Daddy in a pear tree!
On the fourth day of summer, my garden gave to me....
Four yellow squash
Three peaches
Two sweet corn cobs
and our Daddy in a pear tree!
On the fifth day of summer, my garden gave to me....
Five zucchini
Four yellow squash
Three peaches
Two sweet corn cobs
and our Daddy in a pear tree!
On the sixth day of summer, my garden gave to me....
Six jalapenos
Five zucchini
Four yellow squash
Three peaches
Two sweet corn cobs
and our Daddy in a pear tree!
On the seventh day of summer, my garden gave to me....
Seven purple pea pods
Six jalapenos
Five zucchini
Four yellow squash
Three peaches
Two sweet corn cobs
and our Daddy in a pear tree!
On the eighth day of summer, my garden gave to me....
Eight green bell peppers
Seven purple pea pods
Six jalapenos
Five zucchini
Four yellow squash
Three peaches
Two sweet corn cobs
and our Daddy in a pear tree!
On the ninth day of summer, my garden gave to me....
Nine grape tomatoes
Eight green bell peppers
Seven purple pea pods
Six jalapenos
Five zucchini
Four yellow squash
Three peaches
Two sweet corn cobs
and our Daddy in a pear tree!
On the tenth day of summer, my garden gave to me....
Ten tiny apples
Nine grape tomatoes
Eight green bell peppers
Seven purple pea pods
Six jalapenos
Five zucchini
Four yellow squash
Three peaches
Two sweet corn cobs
and our Daddy in a pear tree!
On the eleventh day of summer, my garden gave to me....
Eleven orange carrots
Ten tiny apples
Nine grape tomatoes
Eight green bell peppers
Seven purple pea pods
Six jalapenos
Five zucchini
Four yellow squash
Three peaches
Two sweet corn cobs
and our Daddy in a pear tree!
On the twelfth day of summer, my garden gave to me....
Twelve juicy blackberries
Eleven orange carrots
Ten tiny apples
Nine grape tomatoes
Eight green bell peppers
Seven purple pea pods
Six jalapenos
Five zucchini
Four yellow squash
Three peaches
Two sweet corn cobs
and our Daddy in a pear tree!

Thursday, July 9

Summer Recipe : Sweet & Salty Greens

We belong to a food co-op, which means that every other week we get to pick up a couple of baskets of produce for pretty low cost, and it's good quality stuff.  However, we don't choose...we just get what we get, and work with it.  There are some foods that we have consistently gotten that no one is a big fan of at our house.  Sometimes we trade, sometimes we don't.  So, I've had to get creative!!

Kale is one of those foods that I don't usually trade out (the asparagus needs to find a new home first!), but we get it a lot.  You might remember us baking up some yummy Kale Chips...and we sometimes eat it raw.  This week, we discovered a great recipe that everyone loved!  Even the kids.  'Nuff said.  You should go and try it...afterwards, pick up your own copy of Lighten Up, Y'all, by Virginia Willis, and enjoy even more great recipes with this summer's bounty!

*recipe inspired by Lighten Up, Y'all, but altered for our family's taste*

Sweet & Salty Greens

  • 8 c. kale, rib removed
  • 2 apples, cored and diced
  • 2 slices bacon, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 pkg mushrooms, sliced
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2 c. asiago cheese, crumbled
  1. In a skillet, cook the bacon about five minutes.
  2. Pour off almost all of the bacon grease.
  3. Turn to medium heat, and add remaining vegetables & fruit.
  4. Saute 8-10 minutes, stirring.
  5. Stir in salt and pepper, to taste.
  6. Remove from heat.  Break asiago crumbles on top just before serving.