Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Homeschool, Travels, and Parades

Where we live has still been on holiday, so it has been fun to see how things are different during this time.  We tried to take a bus to a store (known by us as the art store....has mostly pens and papers and a few supplies like that), but found that it was closed.  Since it was closed, we just walked around and found this pretty little park.  It was good for the kids to break their routine for a bit.
I also wanted to have some special time with the two little ones because I knew that I was going to be gone for a week with the older two.  They wanted to get their nails painted, so we did that and got ice cream.  They had so much fun.  Katherine chose dark blue and Lauren chose light purple.  The ladies got a kick out of them being able to talk with them.
We had another REALLY special time....AUNTIE EM on SKYPE!!!  She is the only person in the world that I know that can hold all four of my kids attention for hours if she wanted to.  They heard that Auntie Em was on the computer and immediately started asking for her to tell them stories.  She has quite the talent.
So, the older two kids and I got up very early to catch a flight to go meet up with other homeschoolers around the world.  The kids were able to get testing done to make sure they are on grade level, give presentations, make lots of new friends, and have loads of fun.  We had no idea what it would be like when we were headed there, but this was the view from my window.  I'll take it :)  It was great.  The kids were a little afraid at first because we had some little geckos living in our room her were quite noisy at times.  The kids got used to them and even named them.  They didn't mind them so much after I told them that they eat mosquitoes.
The kids had to choose a character from any book that they had read this year in school and dress up as that character one night.  Regan chose Pocahontas and Benjamin chose to be David (he's carrying a slingshot).

The parents were supposed to dress up or carry a prop, so Benjamin nominated me to be Goliath. HA!
One of the BEST parts....Swimming!  Just look at all those kids!  Our kids were having the time of their life.
Benjamin was not a fan of doing a presentation.  Actually, he did not like it at all, but I was very proud of him for doing it.  I held his quilt square that he had made while he read his story.
Regan had to do a cereal box about her book and then write a commercial trying to sell it.  She did fantastic!  I have her practicing it at home before we left.  You can watch it here  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OvfwtV7LAcU&list=UUfIa9zOYvMeSfzPHuu6DevQ&index=1  I recorded it at the place but there was a lot of background noise.
 She always had a group at her table listening to her commercial.  She was in her element that night.  I think she could have gone on forever and been happy :)
 Loved making new friends!
 And Benjamin loved making friends, too!  :)  (2 legged and 4 legged)
 We had a LONG trip home.  We had several delays and ended up being awake for nearly 20 hours.  We were happy to be on a plane headed home.
 We got back just in time for the parade.  Yes, all the people to the left of the police officer's head is in the parade.  Everyone else is watching.
 Even though we were watching the parade, even the people IN the parade noticed US watching :)  How many eyes can you count looking at us? :)  And no, it was not our imagination.  They called out to us from the parade many times.
 And even took our picture....
But the girls hardly seemed to notice.  They just enjoyed the parade. 
 A dragon dance
 And I'm not sure the name of this dance.
They were constantly drinking water and spitting/spraying it into the air to look like smoke.  We are now thinking that it might not be water.  It was interesting and we were glad that we lived less than a block away.  It was so easy to get home and try to recover from our travels.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Strawberry Time

The kids got to go to a strawberry farm!  It is strawberry season here and the kids could not wait to go.  My friend said that she wanted to take the kids there and I thought that is sounded like a great idea.  I found out later that she meant JUST the kids and not me....so free and unexpected date day!
 The kids were gone for several hours and came home with so many strawberries.  I sent my camera with them so that I could have some pictures. 
 We went to a park and there were pigeons everywhere.  I think Katherine was trying to catch one ;)
All the kids enjoyed them being all around.  It was a great day for the park, too.  The weather was warm (in the 70's).
 Regan came with me and Ayi to the market to buy the veggies for lunch.  You have to by stuff every day for your meals or it goes bad.  Depending on what you are buying, you can get 2 days worth of food and it will be ok.  It can be time consuming, but I like going to the market sometimes.
 The kids ride around on the grandparent's back.
 Regan had a great time.  She loves learning how to cook all the local dishes and now she is learning how to pick out good veggies (and what a good price on them is).
 Fresh eggs...
 When you go into a store, many times you can buy hard boiled eggs.  We have tried them before and they are VERY salty.  Now we know why.  They sit covered in salt!  I'm still not sure the exact process of this.  I guess I will have to find out.
Just some "old" people playing Mahjong (and my girls watching).
 It is the start of CNY, so everything is decorated!  If you look closely, Benjamin is in the middle of this tree.  They have decorated it with "hong bao" or red envelopes.  It is tradition to give red envelopes of money away at this time of year.  I found out later that after I took the picture, Benjamin stayed behind to see if any of the envelopes had money in then.  He said he checked them all. 
Oh yeah!  We went to Hawaii!!!  It wasn't the state of Hawaii, but it was an indoor swimming pool.  It was fun (and a little crazy to think that we were swimming in February, but the temperature was in the 80's).  This is Lauren's little friend that invited us all to go. 

 Regan playing with her doll and adding some accessories that she ordered.  She spent her Christmas money on doll accessories.  I think this was a wise purchase.  She has truly been enjoying this doll.
I got a birthday present from my dad and just in time.  It went from 82 to 45 overnight!  COLD!  Dad's birthday present to me arrived on the same day that is got cold again.  Thanks for the jacket, Dad!  It's great!
Another surprise!  A birthday package for the three birthday peoples coming up!
Oh, care packages and yummy goodness that can't be found here.  The kids have enjoyed the past several mornings eating breakfast (and I enjoyed the Lucky Charms...what can I say, I'm a sucker for the kid cereals) The seasoning packets were fun, too.  I haven't seen those before and so we got to try some new meals.
Lauren and her new dress
 Benjamin and a cool Lego set
Since the city is all decorated, Regan came and I went out at on a photo shoot.  So, I hope you enjoy the next few pictures.  Some of them Regan took, some of them I took.  It was fun a fun night.