Saturday, September 26, 2009

Presidents From the Past

This week we had the pleasure of meeting a few US presidents from the past: Theodore Roosevelt, James Garfield, and Abraham Lincoln. They shared stories from their lives and their experiences while they were in office.

One favorite story was about the "Teddy Bear". Theodore Roosevelt was on a bear hunt and the only bear he could find was a cub. He refused to shoot it. A newspaper ran a cartoon about this and then a toy maker in Brooklyn put the cartoon next to a stuffed bear and called it "Teddy's Bear". The Teddy Bear was born!

Lincoln was particularly interesting too and it was fun for Carly to hear him speak after her recent reading of Two Girls of Gettysburg by Lisa Klein; a historical fiction novel which takes place during the Civil War. Another good read for history is Women's Letters - America from the Revolutionary War to the Present (a portrait of history through a collection of 400 letters written by women).
If you'd like to meet a historical person from the past check out Forest Lawn's Educational Series "History Comes Alive".

Thursday, September 24, 2009

How to Make Homemade Play-Doh

Please click the slideshow below to see how to make your own play-doh! Featuring chef Nate.
Compiled by Carly.

(Mix dry ingredients directly into a non-stick pan)
1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
2 tsp. cream of tarter

(Mix these ingredients into another container)
1 tablespoon oil
1 cup water
1 small packet of Kool-Aid (for scent and color)

Pour liquid ingredients into the pan with the dry ingredients & stir well. Put pan on stove over medium heat. Stir as mixture begins to solidify. Continue cooking until signs of stickiness are gone. Cool and knead dough. Enjoy! (If stored in an airtight container, dough should last 2 or 3 months).

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fall Fun Has Begun

We celebrated the first day of fall at South Coast Farms in San Juan Capistrano; one of the few organic farms left in Orange County. Here we marveled at the end of their summer crops which appeared to still be producing - tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, and a few strawberries. We also took a peek in at the Congdon House (built in 1878 and noted as the "oldest wooden structure in San Juan Capistrano"). This is the site of the new Ecology Center where exhibits and displays promote environmental education and awareness.
If you are ever in South OC and you are looking for some great organic produce you might want to stop here (they happen to have some fantastic raw chocolate too:).

(Carly's friend Katie nature sketching at the farm)

After the farm we went to another terrific B.E.E. event in Laguna Hills. Pianist, Beth Sussman performed a program entitled Who's Afraid of Classical Music? The audience listened as she played a variety of familiar classical pieces and told stories of composers and their compositions. Our favorite piece was one she composed herself which she played for us at the end of her program. We've enjoyed all the B.E.E. events we've been to this year and plan to attend future programs. If you are interested, check out their website for more information.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Great Balloon Ride

(by Carly)
Yesterday we rode The Great Park Balloon in Irvine. At first it was kind of scary, but once we got up there, it was fine! The balloon goes up 400 feet, and holds 25 people at the most. The balloon is equivalent to 250,000 birthday balloons! That's right, The Great Balloon isn't a hot air balloon, it's a helium balloon. It is tethered to the ground and a pilot goes up with us; he releases the cable that lifts us. Another cool attribute to the balloon is that it's FREE! You can also go for a night ride which we are hoping to do in the future. As for the great park, it holds lots of great events such as: Flights & Sounds of Summer - a concert in the park, and you can picnic or ride the balloon while the music is playing. I'm sure that there will be lots of other events too (Flights & Sounds lasts till the end of September). We had a great time on the balloon, and we bet you will too! Check out The Great Park Balloon's website!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Musical Crossword Puzzle

~by Carly

My friend Myrella and I did this crossword puzzle, I sped it up and this is the end result! We used only words from musicals, character names from musicals, and the name of the musicals like The Wizard of Oz, Fiddler on the Roof etc. We hope you enjoy it! Also we used "Bananagrams" to make the crossword puzzle. It's actually a game, but we just used the tiles. You can view the Bananagrams site by clicking here.
(You need to click on the actual video to play it)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Wombat Stew

by Allison

Every summer we put on a neighborhood play with some of our friends on our street. This year we did Wombat Stew. Australian animals from the billabong save a couple of wombats from being eaten by a dingo. Nate was a wombat, Micayla was an Emu, Carly played her flute, and I was a Koaola. I had to say, "Look here, every bush cook knows you can't make a spicy stew without gumnuts". It was fun. I hope we do another play next year!

(Other plays we have done in the past: That's What Friends Are For and The Great Kapok Tree. If you know of any children's books that would make a good play please let us know, we are always on the lookout for a new one).

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Hot Springs Montana and The Long Ride Home

After a much discussion on which way to go next we decided to head for Hot Springs Montana. After such a successful journey, you might say this was our one big mistake. We liked the idea of visiting a hot spring and we'd heard that there was a cool old hotel there. But when we got there the kids weren't too excited by the sulphur smell, the hotel was old, and it looked like it hadn't been touched in years. There was a bit of history that was interesting, but the place really just reminded us (adults) of the "Bates Motel" - our room was the only one with a light on at night!

The Symes Hotel - Hot Springs, Montana

The next day the kids were more than ready to go home. So we got up early and made a mad dash for home. We drove for for 17 hours straight through Montana, Idaho, Utah, a bit of Arizona and on to Nevada were we knocked on our relative's door at 1:30 a.m. We spent our last day with family and then headed home. The perfect ending to our adventure.

Great Aunt Bobbie and Great Grandma Martha in Las Vegas, Nevada (Thanks for opening your door for us at the wee hours of the a.m. - it was great to see you both)!