Sunday, March 27, 2011


We went to McIntyre hall in Mount Vernon to see Lerner & Loewe's Camelot today - it was fantastic! The show was produced by Lyric Light Opera, a young organization committed to producing excellent family-friendly musicals involving many regional and national talents. In the previous years, we saw LLO's professional productions of Beauty and the Beast and The Sound of Music. Many of the youngsters in the ensemble cast are homeschoolers from the Washington State area! Serena enjoyed the show with its period costumes, fabulous sets, beautiful songs, funny dialogues, and of course the love story between King Arthur, Guenevere, and Lancelot. The only thing was, I couldn't stop seeing Gaston when I looked at Lancelot, since Logan Benedict did such a great job playing the prior in Beauty and the Beast!

On our drive down the States, Serena spontaneously came up with a bunch of riddles including these (I can't remember them all...) to test us:
1.) "What is orange and red, but is sure to dread, the rain on a spring day morning?"
2.) "What is hard, but can be softened, by a cute little orphan?"

Well, daddy got both of the above and I didn't. Now you know who the brain of the family is.

p.s. I'm quite sure her riddles were inspired by a book we read recently - "Clever Rachel" by Debbie Waldman, about this little Jewish girl who loves and excels at riddles.

Answers: (1) Fire (2) Heart

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spring Break Fun

What a gorgeous day!

We took a trip back in time to the 1920's at the Burnaby Village Museum today, checking out the old general store, the log house with a wood-burning stove, the tram station, the barbershop... We visited a blacksmith shop and learned how they forged steel in the old days. We watched a Charlie Chaplin silent film, played Teddy Bear scavenger hunt, rode a 1912 Carousel (twice), and ate bubble gum ice-cream!

Being diligent homeschoolers, we of course balance all that fun with a little bit of "school" this week.

We discovered and thoroughly enjoyed reading Sharon Creech's "Love That Dog" and "Hate
That Cat". Serena loves all the new poetry terms and somehow manages to use the words "alliteration" and "onomatopoeia" in everything she says. Inspired by S.C. Rigg's poem "The Apple" in the back of "Love That Dog", Serena wrote (drew?) "The Bell".

We have also recently discovered the video series 'Bill Nye the Science Guy' from the library. The videos give many great ideas for home experiments, like this one:
We split the stem of a white flower (from Serena's birthday bouquet) and put the half stems in water with lots of food colouring. Now we have a bi-colour flower!

The highlight of the week was definitely our field trip with the Young Naturalists' Club. We got to meet Beaker, a burrowing owl, and we learned a lot about this endangered species from Mr. Mike Mackintosh, the Director of the Burrowing Owl Conservation Society of BC. The children also explored the Mount Seymour forest during our nature walk and learned about habitat and adaptation.

How's your Spring Break going?

Monday, March 21, 2011

My 7th Birthday

I had my 7th birthday this past Sunday, March 20, 2011! We had s'mores for lunch the day before my birthday - so Dad's the treat monster!! On the day of my birthday, Dad bought me pretty flowers. My birthday party started and the guests were: Adison, Claire, Hannah Joy, Hannah Lee, Zoe, and Stephanie. We had a wonderful tea party and we ate a Tiana cake. We played "Who Am I?", and we played treasure hunt, and we made things out of marshmallows and toothpicks! I asked my friends to bring donations for the Food Bank instead of presents. Yesterday, we took the food bank donations to the Food Bank and the lady was very happy.

Thank you for giving me the donated food and the presents, everybody!!!

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
Thanks for the party,
It wouldn't've been good without you!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Rose

We discovered this wonderful site called Art Project that takes you inside museums around the world. Serena loves looking at the different masterpieces and has a running commentary on each. I showed her a room inside the Uffizi Gallery with a few familiar benches and asked if she remembered where that was. "Isn't that where the Birth of Venus is?" We were in Florence in October 2009, and we sat on those benches in that same room for almost an hour trying to sketch the Botticelli painting (that was me sketching, Serena directing to be exact).

Full of inspiration, she painted this acrylic piece described by the artist herself as "a still life portrait of a rose sitting on a book that is sitting on a table with light coming through the window casting a shadow on the green wall". If I'd thought it looked like a piece of fruit, I never said anything. The fact that she had the idea and attempted to capture light and depth in a painting was enough to blow me away. So it's alright when a friend asked, "What is that red thing in the middle?" Great artists are so often misunderstood...

Monday, March 14, 2011

I Can Skate!

"I don't think I want the thingamajig [the walker] today. Can I just hold your hand and you skate with me?", asked Serena before we stepped on the ice today.

We don't go skating very often, and given Serena's tentative nature and fear of failures (falling = mistakes = bad), I didn't expect her to skate (or swim or bike or...) on her own for a while. She, in God's providence and good humour, surprises me and proves me wrong time and again. She was mighty proud when she decided to let go of my hand today and skated comfortably on her own the whole hour we were at the rink.

This past year as a 6-year old has been a year of milestones for Serena. As she turns 7 this Sunday, I look forward to all the things she's going to prove me wrong!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Charlie's Chocolate Factory

Cacao trees give us cacao pods that we can't eat.
Hot chocolate however is a sweet and tasty treat!
Oh why do we have to melt chocolate with that heat?
Cote d'Ivoire has lots of cacao trees,
On the trees are lots of cacao seeds.
Lollipop chocolates are oh so sweet!
A chocolatier makes my favourite treat!
Tempering melts the chocolate down,
Easter bunnies can turn into clowns!

* Inspired by our recent field trip to Charlie's Chocolate Factory in Burnaby.

Monday, March 7, 2011

My Best Friend Claire

Claire is a 7-year old girl. She is a lot of fun to play with. I like going to the beach and making sand castles with her. And at swimming, we have lots of fun going off the diving board and splashing mommy! Hee-hee-hee! The most fun thing about her is that she always like to play very funny stuff like making sounds out of our pretend instruments. Claire is good at running and doing very big cannon balls. She likes to play on a spinny wheel at the park. She likes to eat butter chicken and we like to eat ice cream sandwich pudding together. Claire has very light brown hair and very light skin and she has dark brown eyes. Her eyes are always full of happiness.

Today she wore her pink short pants and a pink and white t-shirt and her Olympic jacket. And guess what, I wore my Olympic jacket, too! Claire gave me the matching Olympic jacket so that we could be matchy! At the beach today, we collected shells and crab legs. We made a pretty sand castle and we tried to find a crab - a live one! But we did not find it, boooo! We jumped off a rock and kept doing it because we loved it so much. We got "underducks" from Auntie Jackie on the swings. Underducks are really high pushes that you get on a swing.

Claire is my best best friend!

Saturday, March 5, 2011


Xin Chao! ("Hello!" in Vietnamese)

We did a big project on Vietnam for the International Dinner held by the South Delta Home Learners group. Serena picked Vietnam as her country for the project because - "My new pants are made in Vietnam!" We read a few library books on the country and watched a fun and very informative video on Discovery Education. Based on that, we built our display. Serena, as always, had lots of great ideas. My job was to help her bring her pie-in-the-sky ideas back to practical planet earth without bursting too many bubbles.

Each family prepared a dish from the chosen country. I showed Serena how to make Vietnamese salad rolls. She picked it up amazingly well (those sticky rice papers are hard to work with!) and she made the whole batch of salad rolls all on her own. She was quite proud when all 30 some odd rolls were gone in a flash at the dinner. (My lemongrass chicken was quite a hit, too, if I may say so myself!)

At the dinner, all the children went around checking out each other's displays, writing comment cards, and getting "stamps" for their "passports". Serena was excited to show off her authentic Vietnamese cone hat - we scoured the stores on Kingsway to find this lone hat in a hole-in-the-wall grocery store. The hat had no price tag (alarm bells ringing in my head...) and the storekeepers spoke little English. I am quite certain that I got completely ripped off for what I paid, but I couldn't possibly burst that particular bubble of Serena. "Oh, mommy, this is PERfect!! Oh, please, mommy, pllllleeeeease??"

And now you know to where we have disappeared in the past weeks!

Chao! ("Goodbye!" in Vietnamese)