Archive for the ‘holidays’ Category

farm food is just prettier

Spring has sprung!

This week we celebrated Ostara (the Vernal Equinox). Granted we celebrated it a couple of days after the actual celestial event, but the kids had begun the week with a head cold that threw off my game (or that’s the excuse I’m claiming anyway). Also, we had a field trip scheduled for Friday and spending Ostara on a farm seemed like a really lovely way to celebrate Spring.


This farm is right in the middle of the city, about five minutes north of our home, on a plot of land surrounding a historic Victorian house that once belonged to the WalMart family. Like. I do not have any clue why they picked National City (widely considered to be ghetto as hell) to live in (we did not even have WalMart stores here at the time), but there you have it. Since I am obsessed with am interested in local history, I have long wanted a chance to tour this house. Which we didn’t exactly get to do. We did get in the kitchen and we got to wander the grounds. Which was pretty darn cool anyway.

i want to live at there

it's a hard life

The kids learned about how to start a garden (mulch, soil, etc), how to prepare food (Elliott peeled garlic and cooked eggs), and all about composting. It was an excellent field trip.

hard labor

making the kids work for their meal

and then my son learned to make eggs

The day before our celebration, we invited some friends over and dyed eggs.

i sort eggs into rainbows. i may have issues.

How goth kids celebrate Spring:

how goths do easter

And, yes, they traumatized me with glitter. I seem to have survived.

and then the kids forced me to use glitter

Other stuff that happened in photos is below.

Very sprouty apples:

Elliott created (another) Lego game:
elliott's lego game

Trip to the library (blurry photo is ART):
Maybe I'll become a librarian.

We celebrated St. Patrick’s Day with a traditional Irish/Cornish feast. You know. How you do:
Pork pasty and cabbage.


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decorated castle

We wanted to make sure to hit Disneyland during the holiday season. It was also our first time back there since we’ve been playing Epic Mickey so we were, like, actually interested in visiting ToonTown for once. We weren’t able to go with any friends this time, but that’s probably for the best since we were extremely nerdy and making jokes about thinning out the man hole covers on Main Street to get E-Tickets, and about jumping across the rides, and obsessively pointing out every Oswald thing we saw. It was shameful. Except that we were not ashamed.

this is big

In other news, we hit the yearly Balboa Park holiday celebration. We visited the science center, completed the scavenger hunt at the Lego City in the Model Railroad museum, viewed the Nativity, and checked out the Gem and Mineral Society.



During the rest of the week:

Margie did more sentence correcting in grammar, more multiplication in math, and learned about westward expansion in North America before and during the Revolutionary War.

Elliott worked on alphabetizing lists of spelling words, learned about South America in his geography book, and worked on adding two-digit numbers in math.

In science both kids continued working on their trebuchets and catapults in engineering, their house plans in computer science, learning about objects under the microscope in natural science, and this week in chemistry they learned about the reaction between vinegar and baking soda.

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Halloween Week

Monday happened just like all Mondays do. Lessons, lunch, break time, then science. But at bedtime Margie came down with a sore throat.

So we canceled our Tuesday activities (Junior Theatre and M’s swim team, although Elliott did have a Skype appointment with his speech therapist who was stuck in Washington DC until Hurricane Sandy was over) and took the whole day easy in the hopes that she’d be OK for Halloween.

So the holiday dawned and the kids forced me to the grocery store to buy pumpkins. I’d been so distracted at sewing a costume, I guess, that I forgot to plan other stuff. So we bought pumpkins and brought them home and carved them. Margie chose an adorable image of a cat and stars, Elliott had a harder time picking something. His requirements were that it be from something he loves, my requirements were that it be easy since I’d probably have to do all the work. We settled on a pictogram sign from Portal. Win-win.

Margie's pumpkin.

Elliott's pumpkin.

Margie was well enough to go trick-or-treating at least for a little while and she got a second wind when we ran into our friends and joined them for a little while. Both kids filled their buckets and came home.

Trick or treat!

I don’t remember if I’ve mentioned it here, but the kids are currently on a restrictive diet to try to heal them from a lot of food sensitivities. So pretty much all commercial Halloween candy was off the table. Instead I bought some candy from my friend Mariah who makes allergy-free goodies. Her stuff is delicious and she was able and willing to work with me on what ingredients were OK for my kids. Awesome.

Anyway, we took the rest of the week pretty easy. We watched Avatar, and introduced Elliott to the first Harry Potter movie. We talked a lot about Hurricane Sandy and the effects left behind after the storm. How entire beaches were changed, how New York hadn’t been hit so hard, like, ever. We compared it to some other storms and talked about how storms are named and how those of us who share storm names (there have been Hurricane Bonnies before) handle it. Heh. We also talked about the election, of course.

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A Very Nerdy Yule

We celebrated Yule yesterday which is a lot like Christmas, celebrating the birth of the sun on the winter solstice, the celestial moment when the days begin getting longer again. Last year my kids decided that, instead of Santa, Princess Leia would be bringing the gifts. This year it’s the Doctor (which was very exciting for me). One leaves cookies and milk for Santa, but for the Doctor we left fish custard, naturally. (Only ours was actually “fish” custard, cinnamon rolls cut into sticks, breaded and fried, and then dipped into vanilla pudding. Because we are not newly regenerated Time Lords so actual fish in pudding wasn’t something we wanted any part of.)

In the morning we woke before dawn, cooked a quick and easy breakfast, piled into the car and drove out to Snail Mountain. I’d been afraid it would be busy there, but it was completely empty when we arrived. A few people here and there arrived, walking dogs, or photographing the sunrise, but it was nicely empty. And it was cold up there. The kids were dubious about leaving the car, but we found a picnic table with the best view ever and it was tolerable. And once our friends arrived, the kids magically got warm somehow. Funny how that works.


sun rise

kids on stairs

Back at home we opened presents, napped, cooked, and relaxed. In the evening a couple of loved ones came over and we had dinner and went to see Christmas lights. It was a really perfect day.

Happy Yule & Merry Christmas!

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snowflaky tree lights

christmas breakfast

from leia

my kids?  they are goofy.

open legos

counting out the silly bandz

opening gifts

wii party!


lego construction

zhu zhus

christmas dinner

And, yes, we stayed in pajamas all day long. It was heavenly.

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This week we’ve been pounded by rain to the point that San Diego flooded more than it’s flooded in almost 30 years (and we flood often so I guess this is a big deal? ¬†or not? I’m not sure on that point, actually). This made for a lot of news-watching as the kids and I saw stories about flooded hotels and streets. This also made for no sun-watching on the morning of Yule, which was a little sad, but we had a lovely day anyhow, going out for breakfast at Denny’s and watching the sky, er, lighten up as the sun rose behind all those clouds.

the sunrise

Later that day two of the neighbor girls came over to help make wrapping paper with the stamps we’d carved earlier this month.

making wrapping paper

making wrapping paper

And Elliott made this fabulous plane.

elliott made this plane

Earlier this week we’d made Mother Winter’s home out of a gingerbread house kit from Trader Joe’s. The kids worked together on planning where things should go and they really made a great-looking house together. I made the tree in the front out of tootsie rolls and green round candies, Elliott had the idea to leave green M&M-type candy on the ground as though leaves had fallen.



mother winter's house

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This year, instead of buying commercialized ornaments, I took the kids to paint their own at the pottery store. Elliott carefully painted the stripes on his candy cane and learned to wipe the paint off when he made a mistake. Margie was inspired to use a toothbrush to splatter paint on hers. She also added a butterfly stamp and drew the stitching on herself. Consider me impressed by both of them. All those art classes are paying off! (Also note that the garland on the tree was crocheted by Margie.)

elliott's ornament

margie's ornament

the backs of the kids' ornaments

We also carved stamps. Each year we make potato-stamp wrapping paper and since I learned this year how to carve stamps from erasers, I figured we could make ourselves a permanent set. I carved most of these, but Margie did the inverse tree totally by herself and Elliott carved out the “E” based on my sketch for him.

yuletide stamps

I will update with the wrapping paper once we, you know, make it.

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