Friday, July 30, 2010

Alphabet Activity Wrap-Up (Letters S, Q, K, and X)

Last summer we started our "letter of the day" study. It's taken us a while, but we finally got through the remaining letters of the alphabet so that I could assemble the collage pages into a book. Munch has gotten fairly proficient at writing her upper case letters, so I added some practice with lower case letters.

Letter S,s- We used rubber stamps and stapled on straws to decorate the collage page.Today's craft was a directed drawing/painting of fruit using scented "paint"- I mixed Kool-Aid packets with just a tablespoon or so of water."Froot by V-"Sniffing the finished painting before enjoying a snack of strawberries

Letter Q,q-Lunch was a quesadilla, of course! Collage page with quinoa and q-tips attachedGluing squares of decorative paper onto a pattern of a bedthe finished bed and quilt with a kleenex-stuffed "pillow"

Letter K,k-For the letter K day, we headed out to fly a kite and Munch tried a new fruit-Kiwi!
Keys attached to the K,k pageKids can't resist sorting and exploring with keysOur kangaroo craftand making "kisses" cookies for a treat

Letter X,x- Our cooking project was to make pretzel x's using an illustrated recipe Munch brought home from preschool.I had a tough time finding something for our collage page, but finally settled on using plastic tile spacers-Munch has been interested in sewing lately, so we found a cute beginner's cross-stitch kit-

Cherry Picking- June 2010




Dinner at Ubuntu, Napa


I love Ubuntu in downtown Napa. My first visit was with AudioDad in late winter. I had heard so much about Ubuntu's seasonal menu. AudioDad didn't quite know what to expect when I told him it was a vegetarian restaurant (and actually, all their dishes can be prepared vegan). But we both loved it and I was really looking forward to going back, especially because I couldn't take many photos- much too dark! So when I recently got together with the girls for dinner, I suggested Ubuntu and was thrilled that we ordered one of EACH! dish on their small plates "garden" menu- "ten dishes inspired by the beautiful bounty of biodynamics, seasonality, and creativity"
our amuse- baby carrotsa starter of glazed cumin nuts (replacing their popular lavender almonds)- at first the cumin seemed odd with the sweetness of the glaze, but they quickly became quite addictive!

pane carasau-Sardinian flatbread with truffled pecorino, early summer leaves and flowers, soil (a really earthy tasting sprinkle of mushrooms possibly?)my favorite dish of the night- a clear cataloupe and sage gazpacho, blackened melon, "rat tail" radish, aloe vera, and spearmint marinated beets and whipped sheep's milk cheese, purslane, caramelized apricots, lavender congee, noyauxsteamed bun with onions and wild plumsone fo the more interesting dishes-savory chocolate financier, smoken pecan, estrella family chevrette, over green tomato mosaic, lemon balmrancho gordo yellow bean stew- you'd never know there wasn't meat in this dish- it's so heartypasta with assorted squash, fennel fiore, lemony carrot top brothroasted potatoes and cucumbers, lady's slipper, horseradishox-heart carrot salad, nasturtium panade, ras el hanout, crushed cherriesarbuckle grits with farm eggs, goat's whey. fennel, strawberry soffritto
Then dessert (again, we went ahead and ordered one of each dish!)...warm white chocolate lavender cookies and strauss milktcho chocolate and smoked cherries, noyaux ice cream, tarragon, cocoa nib tuilefrog hollow peach and corn pudding, popcorn streusel (sooo good- we liked it so much, our server brought us an extra bowlful with our check), blackberries, goat's milk ice creamslow strawberries and torn brioche with basil, verbena & long pepper ice milk, lemon curdThe only dessert I didn't photograph (surprise!)- the blueberry float with shiso soda, lime tapioca, and chamomile granita
The girls-

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Bay Area Discovery Museum

It's been ages since I've visited the Bay Area Discovery Museum in Fort Baker/Sausalito, at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge.I actually volunteered at the children's museum back in high school. At the time, they were located in a shopping center and maybe took up one or two storefronts. I'd organize crafts in the art room, pick up all the Colorforms (love those!), and gather up all the fishing boat props strewn about by the kids. I remember helping prepare for the move to the new location, and unpacking once things were moved over. Opening day was my last visit, and at that time, I had no idea the museum would become as big as it is now.
The BADM is set up for children up to age 8 (according to the website). It's a beautiful place to visit and the exhibits/play areas are divided into multiple historic buildings with a courtyard in the center. We started our visit in the Bay Hall, a simulation of local ports, and which houses that big old boat I remember from way back when.
Next we moved on to the outdoor exploration area, Lookout Cove. This was my favorite area, with great trails and observation decks built into the hillside and numerous areas to play, build, and explore.
Although the Discovery Cafe was closed, there were numerous tables available for us to feed the kids before we took them to the art studio. Munch loved painting and squeegee-ing the windows while her friend painted-Last stop was Discovery Hall, which currently has a "Living in Space" exhibit. Most interesting display? The kiosk demonstrating using the toilet, and the "video targeting" technique, in space! (no photos of that!)
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