Sunday, September 28, 2014

Weekend Adventures: Apple Picking!

This week Kyla was on A for apple in school.  We made applesauce, graphed apples, read lots of apple books, and today went to an apple orchard and picked our own apples!  I have to say, they are way better when you pick them ripe off the tree.  Our friends the Hoffman's came with us and we had a blast!

After filling our bags with apples we drove down to the coast (about 10 minutes away) for dinner and then went walking out to the beach.  There was a massive staircase to get down to the beach and it led to a pier that had a shipwreck on the end!  We successfully wore the kids out and they slept on the way home :)

Other things going on this week: ballet, soccer, park day with our homeschool group, small groups at church and Christmas musical practice for the kids, teaching childbirth class, and lots of good learning during school time.

Lastly, here's the latest episode of "Ballet with Kyla" for your viewing pleasure.  There is even a guest appearance from Keanan ;)
Hard to believe it is the last weekend in September!  Tomorrow we will make an amazing apple crisp to celebrate!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Weekend Adventures: Portola Valley Redwoods State Park

In anticipation of a busy Sunday with friends this week, we planned our weekend adventure for Saturday.  So after a morning of ballet class and Keanan's soccer game we drove about an hour up in the hills so I could get my tree fix ;)  Portola Valley Redwoods State Park is advertised as a "hidden gem" in the area.  There were great trails, beautiful redwoods and other trees, a neat visitors center, and a surprising lack of other people.  We did a hike to tiptoe falls, which at this point in the drought is just a trickle.  It is really a wonderful area.  On our way home we stopped at the famous Alice's Restaurant (named after the song) and had some amazing burgers!
Can you see the raging falls behind us?
finally saw a banana slug in CA!
some more wildlife, a CA newt

We were being led by a silly elk and unicorn!

After church on Sunday the kids had a party with their Sunday school classes complete with pizza and bouncy houses!  It was perfect for visiting with the other parents.  In the afternoon we went to play at some friends house in Mountain View (Zac and Gabe work together).  Kyla and Zoe are two peas in a pod and had lots of fun together.

Here's some pictures of other fun things this week.  Keanan was learning about rainbows and telling time, and Kyla was on L for leaf.
leaf rubbings
Some leaf art
This is what Kyla does to my hair during reading time :)
Fruit "clock" pizza!
To wrap it all up, here is another episode of "Ballet with Kyla!"

Happy first week of fall!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Weekend Adventures: Lick Observatory

During school this week Kyla was learning about M for moon and Keanan's science topic was the stars and planets (I love how they lined up so well this week!).  We made balloon rockets, a mobile of the solar system, watched cool videos of meteoroids and the moon, and of course read lots of library books on the topics.
Our solar system mobile
To top off the week, we went to the Lick Observatory today  up in the hills above San Jose.   The road up there was insane!  Tradition says there are 365 turns - and I believe it.  It was a good thing I was driving or I would have been car sick. The view of the valley and hills up there was beautiful once we got to the top, but even cooler than that was what we saw inside.  The Observatory is very old, built in 1876, and at the time that the 36 inch diameter Lick Telescope was built, it was the largest in the world!  We were able to take a tour into the dome where the telescope is housed and learn about the history.  It was on this telescope that the 5th moon of Jupiter was discovered!!  We also got to go under the platform where James Lick is buried - a little weird to see a tomb under a giant telescope.
Can you see some of the crazy road?
view from the top
The Lick Telescope
Zac's panoramic shot - the thing is huge!
On the Lick Observatory grounds there about 10 other telescopes including the 120 inch diameter Shane reflector.  We got to see this one too, but not in as much detail as the Lick refractor.  God's creation is so amazing, and we are such a small part of it!
The Shane Reflector is behind us

Other things happening this weekend included ballet class for Kyla, soccer pictures for Keanan, installing shelves in the garage to organize it - freeing up the other half for Josh to live in (instead of in the living room!), Kyla and I planting a strawberry patch and a kumquat tree, and Keanan and Zac taking apart some very small gears in the lab at his work.  Whew!  Lots of fun!
shelves and organization!
Josh's new room
Working in the lab
Kyla and Mommy's Strawberry Patch
Have a great week!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Weekend Adventures: Pinnacles!

We had a busy but great weekend together!  Saturday was Kyla's first ballet class in CA, which she totally loved!   Later in the afternoon Keanan had his first soccer game, which he did really well at.  That evening we served dinner to the homeless at The Refuge, a church that our church supports at Washington park.  We had a great time and the kids became master scoopers of macaroni salad and salsa :)

After church today we took a bit of a drive south to Pinnacles National Park.  Zac had been there a few weeks ago while the kids and I were gone and really wanted to take us on a trail that goes through caves.  It was so cool!!  We had headlamps and everything!  Everyone did great on the hike even though it was pretty hot.  God's creation is amazing!

We're gearing up for a busy week and it starts at about midnight tonight when our friend Josh rolls into our driveway.  Josh is Zac's new tech on his project at work and he's more than likely going to be living in our garage :)

Have a great week!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Homeschool Updates: Our first week officially back to school!

Over the summer we took a break from our normal curriculum (My Father's World) as we settled in to life here in California.  We still did "school", just in a way more laid back fashion using the Five In A Row curriculum.  So this week we jumped back into our normal school routine - it was AWESOME!

Keanan is about 1/3 of the way through the 1st grade, so we just picked up where we left off mid May.  We did lots of reading practice (he is improving everyday!), phonics, writing (not his favorite thing and they only subject that involves whining), history, bible, and math (this week was units of measurement).  Science this week was about volcanoes.  We read lots of books from the library, Keanan painted a volcano, and we did an experiment with dirt and toothpaste to simulate magma.  Of course we'll also be doing to baking soda/vinegar volcano, but we wanted to wait for Zac so it's happening this weekend.

Kyla started Kindergarten this week!  Her letter was S for sun.  She worked on her writing, phonics, bible, history, math, reading (she is doing so good starting to sound out the words in our BOB books.) We read lots of books about the sun and even made "sun bread" from one of the library books!  It got a little "tan", but we followed the directions.

We started a few new things this time around, the first is adding Spanish to our daily school routine.  We are using a program called Speekee online and the kids really like it.  One of the activities this week was to make the sock puppets that are used in some of the videos, Dino and Lupi.  They came out so cute!  The rule is they can only speak Spanish ;)

A month or so ago I had asked Keanan what things he wanted to learn about this year, without much hesitation he said "engineering things".  So we have started a curriculum from Lego called Simple Machines - Gears, Levers, Pulleys, and Wheels & Axles.  This week was our introduction to gears.  Keanan already knew most of it, but still had fun building the model and answering the questions.  It's going to be really cool!

Other things from the week:  Keanan started soccer!  He had practice with his new team on Tuesday and their first game is tomorrow.  Both kids also had dentist appointments, which went great.  Kyla starts ballet tomorrow morning and is SO excited, we are also trying out a music class on Tuesday and starting BSF and small groups at our church on Wednesday.  Thursday will be my first day teaching childbirth class in Mountain View too!  Whew!!  Things are going to get busy!

Have a great weekend!

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