Lego Tower version 1

Marica and Esther and I (Ben) have been playing with Lego on Saturdays. Marica’s built up a decent collection of small Lego sets over the past several birthdays and Christmases, and building things with them is one of my favourite inside things to do with the kids.

Marica loves building sets from instructions, I enjoy building more free form stuff, and Esther likes playing with the stuff that’s been made. Each to his own. :-)

Last weekend we made a 15-story skyscraper, using a good portion of the straight Lego pieces we have. The footprint was an 8×8 square, and our “rules” were that each story had to be of the same colour, have at least one window, have a floor, and be at least five bricks high. Here are some photos Franci took:

The following week we added 7 more stories out of mixed colors (and didn’t necessarily have great floors), but unfortunately we didn’t take any photos of version 2 before it crashed to the ground from a child-induced earthquake.

Posted in Being creative, Family | 3 Comments

Black and white trees

I love the way leaf-less trees look so stark in black and white.

These photos were taken in Prospect Park, Brooklyn a couple of years back.

And this one in Lancaster County.

March was heralded in by a snowstorm, and it looked like this in front of our house just a couple of weeks ago:

DSC_0096

Now that it’s mid-March, we’ve had some lovely warmer days, the snow piles have mostly melted and there’s a hopeful feeling in the air, but the trees are still stark and leafless. Not for long, though!

EDIT: I wrote this post earlier this week. Today, on the first official day of spring (and my birthday, no less), we are experiencing another snowstorm. Can you believe that?! Enough with the snow, already! :-)

Posted in B&W, Nature, Photography, Weather | 4 Comments

She’s 8!

Marica turned 8 in February. It’s been so fun to see her grow up a bit more over the last year! I’ve especially enjoyed seeing her sense of humor develop a bit more (starting to understand and appreciate puns and subtleties), and to see her get a little bit more mature and responsible.

On her actual birthday, we had some special snacks in between our mini co-op classes — one of them being the kids making marshmallow snowmen. These two snowmen had already lost their scarves by the time I got around to taking photos.

DSC_0049 DSC_0051Would you believe that this was her favourite birthday present? The $2 pair of straw glasses!

DSC_0046

On the weekend, Marica had a birthday party here at home with 3 friends. Unfortunately 3 of the friends she invited couldn’t come, but we all had fun nevertheless (and perhaps a smaller group of hyper girls made it a little easier on the mother…?).

I’m a firm believer in good old-fashioned kids’ birthday parties. They can have a wedding-style reception one day… when they get married. In the mean time they’re kids, and they can have fun games, some cake and other party food (they don’t eat like this regularly, so then when they get it for birthdays it’s a real treat!).

For Marica’s party, we did Pass the Parcel, Musical Chairs, Musical Statues, Sock ‘Em, Balloon Burst, Find the Toy, and Pin the Eye On The Boy (a variation of Pin the Tail on the Donkey — Marica was keen to draw a picture for the game, so I asked what she can draw best and she said faces, so that’s what we did!). If you want to see the rules to any of the games above that might sound unfamiliar to you, you can have a look at this site.

After the games, it was time for the kids to make their own pizzas. While they were baking, the girls played some rowdy jumping around games downstairs, and then it was time for a pizza lunch, followed by cake. Marica has decided that she will have a new favourite colour each year, and her eight-year-old favourite colour will be light blue. The kids always get to choose a cake from my kids birthday cake book, and Marica chose the number 8 cake, much to my relief (nice and simple!). I had seen some gimmicky birthday cake candles recently and seeing that they were only $3 with free postage, I ordered it and hoped for the best, despite the Chinglish on the box. It was pretty cool — have a look at the video if you’re interested!

Posted in birthday, Kids, parties | 4 Comments

A Medieval Feast

Back in January, the homeschool co-op we attend put on a Medieval Feast. The organizers did a most spectacular job with the decorations, food and everything else that goes into organizing a big event like this. Most people came to co-op that day in costume, which made everything way more fun!

Entering the ‘castle’. Look, there’s even a moat!

DSC_0007They transformed the gym into a royal medieval banquet hall, and it really looked the part. The photos don’t do it justice at all!

DSC_0009DSC_0014Most people contributed food, and it was all so tasty. They did this really neat thing where you used a pita bread for your plate. Then eventually, you’d sop up the juices of the meal with it and have some hummus too. My mouth is watering just remembering it all.

DSC_0012DSC_0017

DSC_0013

They got some guys from a local fencing club in to tell us a bit about the sport. A couple of kids got to have a go, and I was just itching to have a go too and relive a bit of my past. I guess it is not exactly a well-known fact that I did fencing for two years in high school. I even took part in competitions… and failed miserably! :-)

DSC_0019

Just look at this cake! (Much better than a real boar’s head, in my humble opinion.)

DSC_0015

Here are the four of us in costume. Marica was adamant that she was not going to go as something girly. No, she went as “A pleasant (male) peasant.” Esther was very pleased with her princess costume, especially the hat — concocted in a hurry the night before — and I wore my Eowyn costume from Ben’s LOTR party back in August.

DSC_0021

Posted in Education, Kids | 5 Comments

Beautiful snow

Last week we had another bit of snow. (That was the snow before today’s snow, and Sunday’s snow, and then the two snows before that.) It seems every time Boston gets a foot or more of snow, we get about 2 or 3 inches. And I have to admit, I don’t mind one bit (sorry, Boston!). 2 or 3 inches is quite manageable, and fun to play in. However, this particular dumping was the most beautiful snow any of us had ever seen.  Normally, snow just seems to clump together into these big lumps, but this time you could see individual snowflakes stacked up to make the piles of snow. The sun would reflect off them, and you could see all their spectacular beauty. I tried taking some photos, but was really unsuccessful. Maybe these will give you a little idea of what it was like.

DSC_0091 DSC_0079 DSC_0078
Now, if you want to learn how to take photos of snowflakes, don’t ask me how! But this guy… wow! Scroll down the page to see some incredible specimens.

Even if my snowflake photography was a bit of a major flop, playing outside in the snow with the kids was not! This snow was light, fluffy, beautiful stuff to play in, and also really good for making snowballs!

DSC_0088 DSC_0087 DSC_0083

Posted in Photography, snow, Weather | 1 Comment

You can’t see me!

At lunch the other day, Laurelin was playing peek-a-boo with her bib, which was hilariously cute, because she’d stare out the neck hole at us thinking she was invisible!

Posted in Funny things, Kids | 1 Comment

It’s been a decade

Like I said last week, it’s been cold here! However, Ben and I did have a blessed little escape from the cold back in January for 3 nights, when we eloped to Jamaica while my parents looked after our kids. Wait, you can’t elope when you’re already married… Well, it was to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. We figured a decade is a pretty momentous occasion, so we decided to do something pretty momentous. Jamaica was fantastic — a really relaxing few days, the snorkeling amazing (which we did every day right off the cliffs of our hotel and one day at a nearby reef), the weather perfect, and the company just like the weather.

It was fun to walk to the nearby town one day and get a taste of local culture. I’d say it felt like Africa in the Caribbean, which probably isn’t very original. We bought some trinkets and I got my hair braided. We also had the yummiest fruit popsicles ever.

The hotel where we were staying had lovely gardens with all sorts of interesting plants.

We were right on the ocean, and had stunning views especially of the sunsets. Each of the 3 sunsets we saw were different!

Our hotel was lovely — the setting beautiful, the staff super-friendly, and the whole atmosphere just so relaxing. If it weren’t for these photos, I’d think it was just a dream!

I have been so blessed to be married to Ben for the last 10 years. I can rave about all his wonderful qualities for hours, but it’ll make him blush. :-) You could say I was just a child when I said ‘yes’ (I was just 19!), but I still reckon it was the best decision I’ve ever made.

May there be many more decades!

Posted in Being tourists, Jaunts out of NYC | 7 Comments