Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Little Farm with Stefan

On April 15, we headed off to the Little Farm in Tilden Park, where kids can feed farm animals! Stefan was very excited, and I was so happy I had the chance for some mother-son bonding time. We got to sing "Baa Baa Black Sheep" upon seeing the black sheep, fed lots of animals, including a very beautiful gray cow, saw a Daddy turkey chase a Mommy turkey, and took a hike and happened to spot a cool banana slug!

Our Easter "eggs"

This year, I was going to avoid the problem of too many leftover hardboiled eggs that nobody wanted to eat. I had lots of clay left over from my camp last summer so we ended up making our own clay "eggs," letting them dry, painting them, and applying Modge Podge afterward to make them shiny. Maylin and I both had a lot of fun. I think next year I want to try painting wooden eggs so they'll look more authentic.

CalDay 2010

Maylin and her friends had lots of fun at the Cal campus on April 24, 2010. They went to a physics lecture, played in front of an infra-red camera, learned about and played with robots, watched a dance performance, examined fossils under microscopes, and held an albino boa and a leopard gecko. Cool!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Make your own composting worm bin

We planted a veggie garden a couple weeks ago and just started vermicomposting (worm composting) today! Here's are some helpful sites if you want to get started composting with red wigglers!



More photos and updates to come!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

What we're up to

I haven't been blogging much lately, I know. But life's been good. Stefan's continuing to be the amazing sponge. We revisited our Melissa and Doug pattern blocks and he remembered trapezoid! We need to review the more basic shapes as I think he's forgotten rectangle and square [if I can remember, I'm going to make a shape activity out of felt]. He cuts up triangles from thin strips of paper so he easily recognizes those. His colors and counting are still great. He knows his alphabet and sings most of the song now. And he sure loves to sing. His favorite songs at the moment are Head and Shoulders, This Old Man, B-I-N-G-O, and Twinkle with hand movements. He's so cute!

Maylin is doing well with her homeschooling. According to our Education Coordinator, she seems to be well ahead of most kids with her writing. I wish she would read more -- still prefers my reading to her, which is fine. A great bonding experience. The last book she read was from the series, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, which actually negatively impacted her writing because it's written from the point of view from a middle-schooler who writes quite informally with many colloquialisms. It twisted her writing a bit, but now that enough time has passed, it's gotten better.

It's National Poetry Month, so I've had her start a poetry book of her own. I will share some of her beautiful work later. We took a week off for spring break and now she's doing the standards test, but I'll have her write more soon.

Maylin really excelled at her karate test this past weekend, moving up to yellow belt. She didn't want me to take pictures, so no evidence of this monumental occasion, but she did so beautifully, I will never forget it. Her graceful and powerful front kicks that went up past her head, her turbo-charged running kicks, and her side kick which broke a wooden board...it was all so impressive and drew sounds of approval from the crowd. I'm so glad my parents were able to make it and see how amazing their granddaughter is!

I might have said it before, but I arranged a piece for my a cappella group which I almost completely overhauled because I thought one part was too low for the altos -- thankfully the original was saved by our director before I made any changes. Instead, we'll do some vocal changes instead to resolve what was bothering me.

I am in the market at the moment for a new violin and may be in possession of THE one after about a month of shopping around (I don't own it yet; it's on trial). I'm crossing my fingers. A good violin brings so much more pleasure than a so-so violin. My present violin is decent, but has always felt a little big for me making some musical passages very difficult, doesn't project as well as it could, and sounds a little muffled in the upper positions on the lower strings (a problem I encountered on a violin that cost twice as much, so it must be common). This new one sings with ease, I don't have to work hard to make it sound nice, all the notes are clear (so far), the E-string is not shrill at all, and the lower register is very deep and dramatic sounding. I'm hoping that after this trial I don't discover something that I don't like. I'm hoping this is the one!!!