Saturday, June 29, 2013

Weekly Wrap-up -- The year is done, finished, completed.

Just saying the year is done sounds like it is a steak, "how would you like your year?" I will say considering our back and forth this year, living in the mission house, our house while we packed and moved and then back to the mission house, plus a month of housesitting I will it is a well-done year.

I consider our school year July 1 to June 30 because that is the dates from where we lived. I have part of the portfolio in storage and part of it here. Someday the portfolio will be all in one place and completed. I keep a summary record on my computer. I have finished J's for the year. I need to finish Miss K's and make a year end summary.

This week really was not a formal learning week but we went to a few museums -- the banana museum and the historical house and then we took a nature walk.

Since the year has ended, I guess it is time to plan the schedule for next year. I have purchased all my books and hopefully when we are in the storage unit I will be able to find everything. I will write a bit about my plans over the next few weeks. My planning will happen this summer as we have time.

That wraps up our week and our year. Monday begins a new school year.

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Friday, June 28, 2013

Golden Gardens Park

I know it sounds like a Chinese restaurant but really it is a park. It is one of my favorite parks maybe because it was close to the office where I worked and I would often go after work to sit in my car and look at the water. I would sit in my car because even in the summer it is cold here. It was there that I sat and talked with God about my life as a single and wondered about that guy in Asia. He did come home and propose and we got married but I will save that story for another day.

Anyway that same guy that had been in Asia had a meeting with a Chinese church across the lake so we all tagged along. I took the kids to the park.

As we walked to the water we saw a Great Blue Heron just standing still in the water.

It was amazing to watch him just standing there. I wish I had my good camera. After a few minutes he flew a bit further down on the beach. Later we saw him enjoying his lunch. I think he knows that to get lunch it requires patience.

J enjoyed walking around and seeing what he could find.

After the visit to the beach during low tide, J has learned that to find things you might need to turn over some rocks. He did that and found a crab.

A little crab ran past Miss K's feet and startled her a bit. J also found a starfish. I had a challenge getting a good photo. Miss K didn't really like all the rocks and with all the seaweed you did have to be careful. I was holding her hand, balancing myself and trying to take a picture.

I did think some of the rocks were pretty with the shells and barnacles. We came home with a few shells. J did find some shells that had things living in them and so we allowed them to continue living in their natural habitat. We saw a small eel under one of the rocks.

Miss K got a bit brave and did touch some things. She squatted which is her normal stance and touched and looked.

I have thought that we don't take that many nature walks. Maybe we do take more than I think we take. It really was a fun time. It is fun to see the kids touch things and explore the world around them.

I have to say I was amazed at the size of the Great Blue Heron. Maybe that is why Great is part of his name.

There was a playground there as well. A very nice one for that fact as it looked like most of the equipment was new and so the kids played there a bit. The climbing area looked like it should be in the cage with the monkeys. J was like a monkey and climbed all over it. He claims that he needs to be barefoot to climb. Miss K tried and did a little bit but got scared.

This really was a fun park and we enjoyed our time while dad was in a meeting.

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Pike Place Market

I love markets. Maybe it goes back to my growing up days when each Friday my mom would go to Twin Slope Farmer's Market. There she would buy her meat. I remember the candy and chip stand but don't remember my mom buying that. There was a fruit and vegetable stand across from the meat and I think she bought some things there as well.

I love markets. Maybe it goes back to my days in Asia when I would go to the local wet market at lunch to buy my fruits and vegetables. I had my vegetable lady. I didn't speak much Chinese but she knew me.

Regardless of where my love began I love markets and go going to Pike Place is one of my favorite things to do. I enjoy walking through and looking at the fruit and vegetables, smelling the fish, going to Market Spice and looking at all the tea and spice.

We went yesterday on our way back from the museums. I love the arrangements of flowers. I think I love bouquets that have various flowers and different colors. I think I enjoy those even more than a dozen of roses in one color. So at the market I can wander and look at all the floral arrangements. They have some nice arrangements for $5. I now have a beautiful one with some purple, orange, white and red and a splash of yellow that we are enjoying.

The fruits and vegetables are lined up so neatly and look so fresh. The signs are handwritten and remind me of a market from before the days of computers and printers. At lunch J had asked if we had any carrots and then told me I should buy some because he likes them and they are good for his eyesight which has nothing wrong and he is trying to keep it that way. I bought four carrots for 80 cents. I should have bought a few more because he had eaten two of them before we even crossed the lake to get home.

As we walked past one stand, they were giving out samples of peaches. It was yummy and reminded me of the good peaches we get on the east coast. We have lots of fruit except bananas so I didn't buy anything. We haven't seen lychee in a long time and were temped for a few minutes to get some. I can't wait to get to Asia and eat the yummy tropical fruit there.

Of course Pike Place is know for the seafood. Fresh fish, crabs, and various other things.

We did wander to the stand where they throw the fish. We stood and watched them throw a few.

Looking at the salmon did remind us of the salmon run and watching the salmon swim upstream to spawn. I love crab legs but didn't buy any.

We had taken a picnic lunch so we told the kids they could get a treat. J found a twisted cinnamon donut and wanted that. Miss K told us she wanted a big roll. That is what it is called. She had read that in the case. That kept her busy as we walked through the market.

I got my market fix for awhile. Maybe I should go through and find some photos from the markets in Asia.

Do you have memories of going to the market?

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Historic Museum

While we were enjoying the Banana Museum and chatting with the helpful man there, he suggested another museum and said go up the road and turn right at Jack in the Box and it up the hill. We decided since that was on our way home so we would stop, see if they were open, and see how expensive it is.

As we got to the door it was opened and our friendly museum curator was there asking us if we wanted a tour. He was eager to give us a tour and it would take about an hour and a half. Okay, let's go. The house was built in 1908 and at that time the area was rural. The owner had a saw mill and was the mayor of the town.

We began the tour in the living room. The tour guide did a great job of involving the kids. I think J began a bit the tour feeling a bit like another old thing to tour but it didn't take long with the tour guide's encouragement that he was enjoying it.

Electricity had already come to the valley so the house had electricity when it was built. J pushed the button to call for the maid but she didn't come. (That happens to me at home as well.) I enjoyed seeing the red goblets -- my mom has some of those.

We then went to the kitchen area. It is interesting to see brand names that we still have on our shelves -- Morton Salt, Colman's Mustard and a few others.

The oven was coal. Again the tour guide engaged the kids. He allowed J to hold the iron and told him where it got its name. He added that he wasn't worried about the iron but rather about J's toes. He showed us something else and said it was used for breakfast and could we guess what it was used for. J won that -- it was used to cook bacon. You can see the tent like cooking utensil. There was an ice box here as well.

I took this picture for my mom. Don't those look familiar? They were smooth not ridged. The pieces I have are ridged. I have three bowls similar to these.  I asked if it was Watt Ware and he didn't know. I should have lifted up the pieces and checked. I don't think Watt Ware was 1908.

Then we saw the laundry room. One of the interesting things was to see three different vacuum cleaners from that time as well as a rug beater which probably did just as good of a job. We had a rug at the home this morning that needed to be shaken out. J wanted a rug beater and ended up using a stick. I like seeing how he transferred what he learned yesterday.

Our next stop was the office. There was a typewriter which gave us the meaning of the terms upper and lower case. See the upper case letters and the lower case letters. I think this makes our current keyboard look simple. You will notice that it is the qwerty keyboard.

We went upstairs and they had some bedrooms decorated as well as some exhibits that change. The bathroom had the original tile. Again J figured out the question -- how did the water get in the tub? -- there was no faucet at the top -- it was a bottom filling tub. There were some holders on the wall for a shower but the guess is those were added later. The tour guide told how they have looked through the Sears catalog from that time and didn't see any showers. He further said that the Sears catalog of that time is like Amazon today.

There was a room decorated as a children's room with lots of period toys. We were reminded that really the toys haven't changed much -- doll carriages, wooden blocks, a doll house, and a few other things.

I thought this looked like it was all set up for homeschooling.

We totally enjoyed our tour. I think having a tour guide that enjoyed history, engaged the children allowing them to touch things and didn't panic when they touched something helped us to experience a bit of life in 1908. You know it is a hit when the kids ask to go back.

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Banana Museum

Our plans for today were to go to a maritime museum but thankfully before we set out we looked online and discovered that it had closed. So we were searching for something else to do. We have a book Out and About with Children and had seen the Banana Museum listed. We looked online and got the address. It was open on Tuesday. We called to confirm and then headed there.

The museum is really just one person's collection of banana things.

It used to be in her house but she had moved it to a store. Only part of the collection is here and she does rotate things. This is probably the largest collection of banana things.

When bananas were first introduced to America, they were expensive and thus a rich man's fruit. There were  number of photos that people had taken with bananas. So next time we have a family photo maybe we should include some bananas. Just kidding.

The man who was in the store told us that some people have come dressed up like a banana. We didn't. You could wear a banana tie.

One of the most interesting items was a banana harmonica. We were told that many people have come in wanting to buy it. I think the most interesting thing was a banana golf putter.

It was a fun little stop. It has limited hours. It did remind my husband that we were out of bananas at home and needed to buy some more.

The man working was very talkative and helpful. He suggested a historical museum nearby and even called to discovered that it was closed on Tuesdays. He then suggested another one. We decided to drive and see what that was like.

So tell me what is the most unique museum that you have ever visited?

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

End of the School Year - J's

We school year round except for this year. Where we lived for the past four years the school year was July 1 to June 30 so we have followed that schedule. I was supposed to put a portfolio together which included a reading list and have an evaluation. 

Here he was at the beginning of the year, excited and ready. I don't have a photo for the end of the year.

I keep a record on my computer and update it monthly or whenever. That record includes the number of days we do school for each month and then a summary of what we do. I try to keep track of the books we use including the edition or copyright. I keep samples of their work in a notebook and that is the portfolio.

This past year had some challenges we were in the Northwest when we began the school year, then went back to the east coast, and then came back to the Northwest. Our school year included three drives across the US. We went to over half of the States this year.

Considering that more than half of the year was done without all our resources I think we had a good year.

J read 40 books this year.  I have begun to see him read beyond the assigned reading for school. I would get books from the library from different book lists and he would pick them up to read partly because we didn't have much out here to do.

I continue to see him take ownership of what he needs to do.

I have some areas that I want to improve next year but that is always part of the year. I won't list all those here rather we will just celebrate that we are finished this school year.

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A Tea Party

We had a tea party today. The day had begun rainy which seemed like the perfect weather for a tea party. In typical Northwest weather by the time we finished our chores and had our tea party it was sunny.

The house has a little kitchen with an oven that really does work.

We decided to just have some animal cookies.

The table was set and the guests were invited.

Lamby is one of Miss K's favorites. He has traveled many miles with her. He sat quietly in his chair (I wish my kids would do that). He didn't even mind when Miss K ate all his cookies.

We did have pretend tea. Personally, I prefer coffee. I might have to learn to drink tea.

We enjoyed our tea party. The play house is just perfect for lots of fun play times.

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Friday, June 21, 2013

Household Chores

When summer vacation arrived at our house so did the new chore chart. My mom had neat printing and she would get out her markers and write a nice colorful chart with the days of the week, the kids, and the chores. It could be weeding the gardening, mowing the grass, cleaning, doing laundry or a number of other things.

Well, I am not always as organized as my mom but I do assign chores. I discovered a new chore for Miss K -- watering the plants.

It works great for us -- she gets holding the watering can, pouring and she water the plants and for me well, I just have to remind her to do it. When Miss K was younger I read quite a bit about Montessori learning and one aspect that I really liked was the practical things. I think this would fit with that learning style.

These are the flowers outside the play house. I might also need to have her clean the play house.

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