Friday, July 9, 2010

Great Puzzle

• There are 5 houses that are each a different colour.
• There is a person of a different nationality in each house.
• The 5 owners drink a certain drink. They each smoke a certain brand of cigarettes and also have a certain pet. No owner has the same pet, smokes the same brand of cigarettes nor drinks the same drink.
• The question is. “Who has the fish?”

1. The British man lives in the red house.
2. The Swedish man has a dog for a pet.
3. The Danish man drinks tea.
4. The
green house is to the left of the white house.
5. The owner of the green house drinks coffee.
6. The person that smokes
Pall Mall has a bird.
7. The owner of the yellow house smokes Dunhill.
8. The person that lives in the middle house drinks milk.
9. The Norwegian lives in the first house.
10. The person that smokes Blend, lives next to the one that has a cat.
11. The person that has a horse lives next to the one that smokes Dunhill.
12. The one that smokes Bluemaster drinks beer.
13. The German smokes Prince.
14. The Norwegian lives next to a
blue house.
15. The person that smokes Blend, has a neighbour that drinks water.

A and I spend hours on this puzzle, but we figured out the answer. Let me know if you want to know the answer.

Monday, July 5, 2010

4th of July

Don't worry, they are just lighting a snake. We had our usual wild and crazy 4th of July here on our street. It took me years to appreciate this holiday, but I'm now firmly in the pro-4th of July crazy fireworks camp. M has been talking about 4th of July since New Year's Eve, when a huge wind and rain storm precluded our use of the saved fireworks from last year. This afternoon this sign appeared on our fence:

Does this count as Language Arts if you're just (barely) 9 years old?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

This used to be old growth forest

Our part of the world is a little short on natural disasters, as luck should have it. Tornados, hurricanes, tsunamis, massive earthquakes, floods, wildfires, locusts, venomous snakes, insects bigger than garden spiders--they were all in rare supply in my neighborhood when I was growing up. However, there was one spectacular event that I watched from the deck of my parents house in 1980. Of course I'm referring to Mt. St. Helens.

The news coverage and smaller eruptions leading up to the big event were fascinating and exciting, being a safe distance away but still in plain view. The big eruption itself was mesmerizing, as was the news footage of the gigantic trees lined up like matchsticks, bridges being washed away by mud, cities to the north being plunged into darkness by falling ash. I couldn't believe Harry Truman would just let himself be taken by the mountain. There was another eruption (now I can't remember if it was before or after the big one) while I was watching an old 1950s Vincent Price movie at the Movie House, and they stopped the movie and sent us home. Being up there on the mountain, however, gave me new appreciation for the massiveness of the eruption. Even 29 years later, it looks nothing like any other place in the Cascade Mountains. The amount of ash is just staggering. Apparently the bottom of the valley is about 300 feet higher now.

Anyway, the trip to Johnston Ridge visitors center was well worth the 2+ hour drive. It still looks like a moonscape, with hardly tree to be found.
In this picture you can kind of see where the massive landslide tore up this ridge at 300+ miles per hours and sheered everything away down to the bedrock. (That is Mt. Adams is peeking over the top of the hills in the distance)
Most of the area around the visitors center is on the side of the ridge that was decimated, so we didn't see all the downed trees lined up like I expected to see. There were a few high up on the far hills, though.

And of course there were some signs of life, now that almost 30 years have past:

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Botany Lesson

This is just what I was hoping would happen with this on-line science curriculum the kids are doing through our charter school. M is a really interested in science, and I haven't managed to do nearly as much as he'd like in the past year or so, so I was hopeful that this curriculum would be a hit. So far M has given it pretty favorable reviews, and today after doing a unit on flower anatomy he got inspired do some hands-on science. We went and found a few remaining flowers and cut them to pieces to find all the interesting bits.
We saw some extremely cool sights under the microscope, including this stamen laden with pollen. We used our old trick of putting the camera to the eyepiece, and you can kind of see what we saw. The bits of pollen looked like a bunch of teeny bright yellow insect eggs. Crazy.

St. John's Art Walk

We went on a wonderful walking tour of window art in St. John's this week. There were probably 30 or so shops that had displays by artists who live in or around St. Johns. I don't think I've ever walked around that neighborhood, and it was lovely. We met several of the business owners along the way, including a 91 year old barber who opened his barber shop in the 1940s. The first ten years were a couple of doors down from the current location. Unfortunately most of the pictures have a lot of glare so you can't see the art all that well, but here is one of my favorites which you can see fairly well.
Notice the little guys at the bottom fencing? It was the window of a fencing studio.

I actually didn't see this one, but I wish I had. Very cool!

There are guided tours of the show this weekend, and then the art is coming down Sunday or soon thereafter. I definitely recommend it.

The Holiday Spirit

I have learned from my wise family to embrace those holidays I formerly failed to appreciate (i.e., 4th of July and Halloween). These are the go-for-it holidays. The only way to do them is to throw yourself into them. Fireworks until 1:00 in the morning, gorging in junky candy, giving in to all those hedonistic pleasures your never realized were actually so much fun. Needless to say, we are in the midst of feverish preparations. I don't have a photo of the yard, but there are bats, ghosts, and gravestones galore. Also, some mysterious blood appeared on the porch, and I recently found this picture:
Also, A made these adorable treats tonight, which seem to fit the spirit of Halloween. We like to bite they little toes off, and nibble on they tiny feet...

Friday, September 11, 2009

More Not-Back-To-School Events

We went to Oaks Park today for the Not Back To School day (unlimited rides for $10/kid) and had a great time. I was remembering the first time we went to this event, I think seven years ago. We went with two other homeschooling families and didn't know another soul there. M was just a toddler, and A was afraid to go on anything other than the carousel. We played a game with the other kids we went with and then pretty much just watched the other kids go on rides. I think M went on a kiddy ride that involved motorcycles, but that was about it besides the turn around the carousel.

What a difference seven years makes! A was still not just crazy about the rides and avoided the wildest ones, but she went on a bunch, as did M. The biggest difference, though, was how everywhere I looked I saw kids and parents I knew. It was such a kick to see the younger generation of kids M's age now big enough to run around the park as a gang and go on rides while the parents hang out the shade. Every once in a while you'd run into a parent who would ask "Tell my kid to come check in if you see him, will you?" It felt like we lived in a small town--we didn't know everyone by a long shot, but it felt safe and comfortable, and I knew that if something happened to one of my kids when I wasn't there, there would most likely be someone they did know close by to help them out. At the same time it gave the kids a nice chance to shed their parents for an afternoon and hang with their friends, if they wanted to.

And I love seeing all the teenagers who were just lovely kids--happy, having a good time, and full of positive energy. At one point some other moms and I were watching the kids try out fencing and a gang of 5 or 6 pre-teen and teenage boys say down and shared our table with us. They were doing their own thing, watching the fencers, drinking sodas, and probably just taking a little break. I thought that, knock wood, there would be M and his friends in about 5 years.