Dude Perfect!

If you aren’t familiar with DUDE PERFECT, a¬†YouTube sensation that is marvelous according to my kiddos! then you might want to check them out!

As a parent I am happy DUDE PERFECT is who my kiddos choose to watch, because they are a group of friends having good clean fun! I haven’t heard any swearing, or anything inappropriate for that matter, and they are hilarious!

Well maybe one episode wasn’t super clean. ūüí©

Anyhow, when my son heard his scout troop was going to spend the night on the U.S.S. Midway he was thrilled, not because HOW COOL IS THAT, GET TO SPEND THE NIGHT ON AN AIRCRAFT CARRIER?!?!?!?!……nope, he’s thrilled because….

…. he would be staying in the same location as his favorite YouTubers have been!

(One of the trick shots is off the U.S.S. Midway)

He is happy to pose in some of the same poses as his favorite youtubers!

 

Here is Ty on the U.S.S. Midway

img_6491

Here is my son on the U.S.S. Midway

img_6463

Of course as a Boy¬†Scout earning merit badges they had all kinds of fun activities, but the fact the DUDE PERFECT crew was in the same location made his trip complete! ‚̧ԳŹ

 

img_6495

Now, his FIRST LEGO LEAGUE robotic team is going to the state championships soon and he is hoping they win, once again, not because that’s the point of competitions, but BECAUSE the national tournament is in TEXAS and “mom that’s where DUDE PERFECT lives, maybe we can go meet them!?!?” Uhhh not always that easy dear. Texas is a big state and it’s not polite to show up on someone’s doorstep unannounced, bit rude and stalkerish…plus DUDE PERFECT is a busy crew…but of course honey if you want to dream, dream the big dreams! ‚̧ԳŹ Maybe one day you and your sis will meet your favorite youtubers!!! But for now, please flip that water bottle OUTSIDE!!!

 

 

 

***ps I hope there aren’t any legal problems I’m unaware of with sharing DUDE PERFECT clips here? If there is, please tell me and I’ll pull them down!

Whale Watching Field Trip

image

This week we decided to stock up on Dramamine and go whale watching! It was great fun! We watched a couple of whales for a while, traveling at roughly their same speed and expecting their spouts at the 4-6 minute mark. Very predictable, which was nice for the kids.¬†However, the photos we captured look more like barnacle filled rocks with a poof of spray…as seen here:

image

It was much more exciting in person! And my son got some fantastic glimpses using his binoculars!

image

However, we did find (or maybe they found us?) a very playful and large pod of dolphins.

One of the dolphins my daughter named Hannah and said she could identify her by the rake marks on her back. When we got home she was thrilled to find out I captured Hannah on the camera twice!

image

Hannah is now a favorite and she wishes she could track Hannah’s life. This moment has spurred a desire to learn more about wildlife/biology.

image

We spied some lazy sea lions sleeping in the sun on a buoy.

image

The most interesting and exciting part of whale watching for my kiddos were the dolphins, by far! There were mamas, babies, fast swimmers, jumpers and curious cruisers that would look up sideways at the boat trying to figure us out.

image

image

image

image

If you are interested in learning more about whale watching (or dolphin watching haha) you can find a plethora of web sites on the web…here is a site to start with:¬†http://www.whalewatching.com

Have fun!

Side notes: One question that came up on our drive home was how do barnacles reproduce if they are stuck on a whale or a rock? If you too were curious, here is the answer…Beware barnacles are apparently porn stars!

https://baynature.org/articles/how-do-barnacles-make-baby-barnacles/

And a great documentary to watch after a day of enjoying the beautiful ocean is: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2277946/

it is a good reminder of what we can do to keep our oceans healthy and let those barnacles continue on with their rock star parties!

Our Week in Pictures

Not sure how many of you remember my daughters adventures with pink hair a¬†while back…

image

The color stayed in her hair for over a year!

And stained a few things along the way!

She is finally back to a more natural color and all week she has been¬†telling me she wants to color it blue now, or maybe purple, or possibly red…

Her friend who attends public school, told her she’s not allowed to color her hair until summer, it’s against the rules, then she remembered we homeschool…

image

Few rounds of ping-pong took place.

imageSome attempts to find new planets, stars, etc…but something was “clogging the lens”, so now the telescope is collecting dust in my entryway, along with five billion coats no one wears!

image

Reading…lots of reading this past week!

image

Dreaded worksheets!

image

Clay creations and sewing projects.

image

I told her of a local homeschooling girl who made clothes for her dog; since this is one of my daughters favorite past times and one of our dogs most dreaded duties, she promptly decided she needs to go into business with this other girl, whom she’s never met! Haha!

We went on lots of walks!

Trying to identify plants, not so good yet at this adventure!

Anyone know what this flower is?

image

Swinging stick weapons in our best rock star pose.

image

Trying to steal sticks away from the dog.

image

¬†Cruising up the road…we walked a ton this past week!

image

We had friends join us on our walks.

image

Of course we always have play dates with friends!

image

Time for a make over! Boys included, most of the time he is the make up artist or desperately trying to convince them they are beautiful enough to play a game of dead man on the trampoline now!

image

My son has been reading and creating a TON of these “mini weapons of mass destruction!

image

I highly recommend this book! Amazon.com has several from the series. I think the ninja version will be making its way to our house in the near future!

image

Comedy watching her attempt to saddle a tall horse! Especially with a western saddle! The english saddles are much lighter!

image

Tricycles aren’t always for toddlers!

My son found this tricycle at the horse stables and attempted to go down hills fast enough then¬†stand up on the seat. Think there is more practice needed…and maybe a helmet?

image

Love our FLL opportunities!

image

Lego Robotics is a favorite for sure!

image

We also love chess club!

(Which ends with friends and s’mores around the fire)

image

Sidewalk walk chalk is still a ton of fun!

Another past time that isn’t ¬†just for toddlers!

image

Adventure Time is a current favorite.

image

Climbed a few trees, Have I mention I have a couple of monkeys?

image

We ended our week with a Girl Scout camp out.

image

And a great game of “Sharks n Minnows” on an air pad…because camping apparently isn’t all “nature” anymore!?!?

image

Came home, took a nice hot bath to shed camping scuzzzz of our bods and are ready for a nice new week full of new adventures!

Fun Adventures with My Kiddos

This past weekend was full of travels and adventures. We had a whirl wind trip to southern California.

Day One we explored the Los Angeles Science Center. There are plenty of exciting exhibits as you can see in the photos like:

Wind tunnels that blow hurricane level winds all over the kids.

image and rock walls

image

which of course he must make it to the top to ring the bell and light the lights up…

then get his congratulatory slam down hug from his sis!

imageThere were “crystal¬†balls”¬†which magically make your brother do ridiculous things!

imageWind poppers that are irresistible to my drum player!

imageThermal Imaging is always fun…

…and of course¬†MY kids were hoping they could create gas that showed up on the screen!

image

image

The science center also has a fantastic aquarium/touch pools.

image

image

image

image

There were ICE (real deal COLD) walls

image

Quickly my son discovered punching ice, isn’t quite the same as punching snow!

(ouch!)

image

image

lots of opportunities to push, pull, feel, examine, etc…

image

image

image

image

image

image

and last but not least…the Endeavor Space Shuttle has a home at the science center.

image

My kids were thrilled to touch wheels that have ACTUALLY BEEN IN SPACE!

“mom seriously these wheels have been in outer space! touch them mom, they were really in outer space!”

Day Two we met up with some friends and conquered LEGOLAND!

image

Day Three we¬†celebrated¬†with my childhood friend and her daughter at her daughter’s “Fancy Tea” themed birthday party.

I can remember as kids thinking when we grow up our kids will play with each other and we will all live happily ever after! ‚̧

image

Well it’s true minus a billion miles between us…amazingly our daughters are really close¬†regardless!

image

I was cracking up watching these girls attempt delicate moves! One little girl had a tea-cup airborne giving the host a heart attack,

another nearly ripped her dress trying to break dance and my own¬†sweet¬†daughter ended up ripping off one of the roses on her dress…

image

Graceful they were not, but beautiful and happy they were!…these girls loved being fancy for a day!

¬†It’s great when homeschooling gives you the freedom to learn on the go and share such fun memories with close family and friends!

Glass Blowing Is Amazing!

 

image

Recently we had a rare opportunity to watch a glass blower create amazing artwork. Saul (the glass blowing artist) and his wife Gina were both really kind gentle people who took the time to share this incredible craft with our kids.

image

He showed the kids all his supplies, how he makes the various colors, how to add colors to the clear glass, showing us all the tools and ovens used to make his creations. (Which are VERY HOT! 2000+ degrees hot!) He also crafted a gorgeous vase for the kid’s demonstration so they could see a ball of scalding hot goo turn into a masterpiece before their very eyes from start to finish.

image

image

Saul is very humorous and entertaining for both the children and adults alike. His demonstration was so captivating, my wiggly giggly kiddos were frozen like statues watching, learning and sucking in every aspect of glass blowing like little sponges. They enjoyed every second of the experience and were in complete awe!

image

When he was finished with his demonstration, he took the time to let the kids create a piece of glass work themselves. He was very patient. Words can not describe how great he was with the kids. He is exactly what you would want in a mentor. My son was actually terrified at first of being burnt, but Saul was so good with my son; he was able to conquer his fears and create his bird.

image

image

image

Both of my kiddos chose to make birds. They were able to pick their colors, manipulate the glass goo ball, use his tools and literally create their very own piece of art.

image

image

In this mother’s opinion, these two birds are priceless!

image

As a home schooler, I was thrilled to find out Saul and his wife Gina home schooled their children who are now in college.

If you have the opportunity to see glass blowing I highly recommend it.

Tis The Season To Be Busy…Fa La La La La La La

I haven’t been keeping up on my blog, because life just has a way of speeding by during this time of the year. We arrived home from our vacation and came home to boom boom¬†boom a long list of events…We start off with Harvest, then Halloween, then Thanksgiving (and Thanksgivukkah this year for our Jewish friends) and POOF Christmas is right around the corner.

image

On this particularly busy day, it was a super crazy day. I was going all day and exhausted. The kids were off playing and I saw a window for myself to just have a calm quiet cup of tea.¬†I made myself a cup of tea, got a book, a couple extra cushions for the patio chair, settled myself down. Look over and see this! Seriously! Really?¬†You gotta be kidding me! Ever have days like this!?! Well you aren’t alone! ūüėČ

Here is a photo blog of what has been keeping us so busy and hopefully that will release me of my poor blogging skills guilt! (there’s always hope right!?!? ha ha!) It should make the family happy to have current photos of the kiddos doing what they do. ūüôā

image

Harvest Time – We generally spend a little time in the vineyard picking grapes with the crews. They often will save us a small plot to pick, because to be honest the crews are MUCH MORE efficient then we are. They can clear three or four rows in the same time we pick our small patch. But it is still fun to be a part of the harvest, eat a few grapes, dodge a few bees, learn hands on what a harvest really is about.

image

Horse riding lessons – Each week the kids have horse riding lessons with an amazing trainer. Each week they alternate between English, Western & Vaulting lessons. Their balance and spatial awareness is growing leaps and bounds! In this photo the horse is walking. She is learning various vaulting skills at walk and trot.

image

Science Experiments – This was a science kit explaining quick sand. After this experiment I found a better recipe online and we created a larger bowl of “quick sand” that occupied the kids for days and sadly killed many small plastic animals. (no worries though, all were saved by the dishwasher!)

image

image

Pumpkin Patch Farm With Homeschooling Friends Рwe spent about 6 hours at this farm enjoying every aspect of it. Seeing the fields on a tractor hay ride, running thru hay mazes, feeding the farm animals, shopping their fresh product, eating yummy treats in their restaurant. It was a great day and the kids (mama too!) were tuckered out afterwards!

image

And of course we carved pumpkins…Jack O’lanterns are always so much fun!

image

More BIG NEWS – “Mom Dad, come see” – sooo¬†we head outside and there she is, riding her brothers bike without training wheels. Apparently big brother helped her learn how to ride his bike. We were able to see the first steps as he ran behind her on his bike, hilariously cute! So dad took the trainers off HER bike and she “relearned” on her bike…she is very proud of her new-found skills!

image

image

And of course “SCHOOL TIME” – both kiddos enjoy desk work (believe it or not!) I have my theories on why my kids think school work is fun…pretty much has to do with the fact it’s THEIR CHOICE.

image

“SURFING” on Grandpa’s back – I remember doing these things with my dad as a child and it’s fun to see my kids enjoying the same adventures. He would throw us up in the air, across the pool, we’d swim on his back and pretend he was a dolphin, Surf across the pool on his back. And it appears he still has the touch!

image

Homeschool¬†Park Day – Halloween party for the homeschoolers. Some people believe homeschoolers are unsocialized¬†and they never get to play with their peers. I will tell you during this fun adventure I heard a lot of the kids using their words to say things like “please pass the stickers” or “thank you” I didn’t see any pushing, shoving or grabbing going on. I’d say they were very well-mannered and displayed great social skills.

image

Trick or Treat – Halloween is always fun! This year we celebrated with some friends. The kids ran from door to door and then afterwards enjoyed a good old fashion candy swap. I think all the kids felt they came out ahead!

image

School Math the next day included Candy sorting, charting, adding and the kids favorite SUBTRACTING (aka eating!)

image

Homeschool Park Day – Each week we get together with homeschool friends for park day and it is always so fun to see the older kids helping the younger kids and all the kids having fun together just being kids! I love it! So much joy!

image

We made a little road trip to see JACK HANNA in action! he brought a bunch of wild animals to share with us and teach us some interesting facts about animals and various areas in the world.

image

Our reading tree is SLOWLY filling. We actually have read way more books, but we unfortunately keep forgetting to add them to the tree. Each item is for a different reading situation, the animals are for chapter books, acorns for readers, leaves for story books, etc…

image

Rain Gutter Regatta РThis is a cub scouts event. The boys build sail boats and then using their breath power they blow the boat in a race down rain gutters. Its great fun and the kids all design great vessels!

image

More School Time Рthey love their desks and it cracks me up every time they happily work away at their desks asking for more work.

image

Another opportunity to do some math, geography, foreign language and character work – each year about this time, Samaritan’s Purse puts on the OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD program http://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/ and each year I give the kids a budget and a list of approved items. I take them shopping and they can choose what they want to go into their shoe box. They need to stay within budget. They need to scout out items that are on the list and fit in their box. They deliver the boxes to a local church and see all the work people put into making Christmas special for others. They learn about giving. We purchase tracking codes so we can track what country our boxes go to and learn more about that area. And they HOPE a child will return a letter one day. This year we wrote our letter in a couple of languages hoping someone would translate for the receiver. We shall see.

image

image

image

We read a bunch of books on nature and animal tracks. One of the books suggested looking for an OWL during the day. So we headed out in search of tracks, owls and owl pellets. (which is owl puke, some people think it’s poop. The owl eats a WHOLE mouse and then the fur and bones bundle up together during digestion¬†and the owl pukes it out)

We did find lots of tracks, bobcats, deer, pigs, coyotes, birds, and our dogs! ha ha! At the base of several trees we searched for owl pellets. We looked at the tippy tops of many trees. No owls and no owl pellets. But lucky for us, Amazon.com sells owl pellet kits and has two-day shipping! ha ha!

The kits are great, because they come with little bone charts and the kids can pretend they are paleontologists, digging around for bones and then placing them back together to see if they have a whole animal!

image

When it was all over the kids drew pictures and wrote about it in their nature journals.

image

On occasion we get to do school with our homeschooling friends.

image

and we also get to do pizza parties and arcade games with our homeschooling friends.

image

image

image

We have a few family traditions that make our Thanksgiving one of our favorite holidays! For starters we eat venison instead of turkey. 1) we’re pretty sure they had venison at the first thanksgiving meal. and 2) no one in our family likes turkey, so who wants to spend all day cooking a big old bird no one will eat. We have a TURKEY SHOOT, which is great fun! The kids blow up surgical gloves and we decorate them to look like turkeys. Take them down to the shooting range and take turns shooting the turkeys. (We use both rifles and bows) And last but certainly not least, we have a pumpkin toss. And all of those pumpkins we collected are tossed down the canyon. We see who can throw the farthest, highest, funniest, etc… Then we hike down the canyon and smash the pumpkins open, getting any aggression out on the poor little pumpkins! ha ha! But this opens them up so nature can take its course and the pumpkins do their part in the cycle of life.

image

And then comes the food coma! I couldnt eat another bite!

image

image

We also have piano recitals that keep us moving and grooving!

image

Before you know it, it is Christmas tradition¬†time! Poof, three months has flown by! This year for the first time, the kid’s gingerbread houses don’t look like a candy/frosting factory puked¬†on them. This is the first year they both decided to follow some suggested ideas in the directions! I was both impressed and sad to be honest. I was impressed with how well their houses came out (one is in the background, but you can still see it, lovely icicles!) But I was sad to know their childish glops¬†of frosting and uneven gum drops were days of the past now. It has spurred a field trip. We are going to go check out a bakery that makes professional gingerbread houses and see how they do their amazing decorating tricks.

image

image

And with Christmas comes the shelf elves! Meet Sir SugarSocks MacMistletoe and his lady elf friend. They get into mischief in our house on occasion, but for the most part they are decent elves that simply report to Santa how the kids are doing throughout the season!

Please forgive my lack of blogging lately, but as you can see we have been keeping busy with events, friends, family and school.

French Meals

image

Before our trip, I was looking forward to grand French meals with an element of surprise. I thought I would practice before the trip and hit up a local french restaurant with some friends. I blindly pointed to some unknown meal and said “I’d like this please”

A while later the waiter puts in front of me a ham and cheese sandwich covered in white sauce. I looked at my friends wondering who’s meal this was, because I didn’t order a ham and cheese sandwich. That seemed too American. I was expecting something a bit more exotic. I said to the waiter, “I think this must be someone else’s meal, I didn’t order this” He appeared very confused, because apparently I did order it! Haha! I simply forgot, I had no clue what I ordered. Haha!

I apologized. Realizing that was tricky and this transaction was in my native tongue, English! How in the world would that have gone over in France with my broken french?!? I was certain to be poofed out of the restaurants in France!

I happily ate a ham and cheese sandwich, rethinking my just point and eat plan. I knew I wouldn’t point to “tar tar” as that’s raw meat, but anything else should be fine…right? (Yes, I knew all about snails and frog legs, I was mentally prepared for that, just wasn’t ready for ham-n-cheese sandwiches)

One of the first restaurants we found during our stay in the french country side was a western themed Buffalo Bill place. When we walked in, they spoke English and had American country music playing. It felt a touch twighlight zonish. Were we in France or Alabama…we weren’t sure?

During our stay in Paris, we rented an apartment, which was very nice. We were able to get to know our community, the bakery, market, playground, etc…

image

image

Our children enjoyed having “normal” food now and then at “home.”

image

As normal as snails can be, haha! Yup, when in France do as the french do. We bought escargot at the market and gave it a whirl back at our apartment. Thank heavens because comedy it was. Pure comedy! Nothing a nice proper french restaurant would have enjoyed seeing. Haha!

My daughter was a brave soul and even though snails are one of her favorite pets. Yes, we do actually have pet snails in a terrarium here at home in the states. She decided to try one. There in our kitchen my daughter and I shared the french experience, I doubt either of us will forget.

Chewing for days on what tasted like the worst over cooked leathery meat dipped in the best garlic buttery sauce one could imagine…unsure why they waste such amazing sauce on snails when lobster would be MUCH BETTER dripping in that green garlic buttery heaven. I swallow. I look at my daughter, her face is hilarious! She has been chewing for what seemed like eons. Thinking she must be confusing it for gum because one would have naturally swallowed by now, she looks at me with a disgusted face and says “do I need to swallow this or keep chewing?” I laugh, my heart melts a little for her sweetness! And I tell her it’s ok to spit it out if she doesn’t want to swallow it. She promptly leans over the sink and viola, a chewed to a pulp remain plops into the sink. No sauce in sight, the sauce is great we both agreed, but we could do without the snail bit!

image

I ate a second one just to make sure my first experience was accurate….it was. My daughter proceeded to clean out and wash all the shells in hopes of making a pretend pet snail game.

image

Nearly the whole time my son was off on the balcony trying to get away from the snail adventure to his best ability! Plugging his ears, closing his eyes and repeatedly asking, begging loudly “can we please stop talking about eating snails, please…please can you please stop talking about the snails…pleeeease???” (Accompanied by some dry heaving motions and gags!)

At times the kids were finding it tricky to find meals they enjoyed, so we splurge to their request for McDonalds. Something we do not do at home, but we are on holiday in France and well french McDonalds must be out of this world. After all their french fries have to be amazing, right?!? Haha! The park pigeons enjoyed the french fries for sure!

image

image

I did end up gaining a whopping ten pounds while on holiday. We had some of the most amazing bread, cheese and wine…but I have concluded that to offset the bread cheese and wine, they stay thin by spending a great deal of time in a cafe sipping coffee and smoking cigarettes like chimneys, something I did not do, but could see the point of it now. Haha!

Overall, my french food experience wasn’t bombastic, but I have hopes of returning with my husband when the kids are older and giving it a more grown up chance.