Saturday, December 31, 2011

Ice Skating Fun!

Jason and Amara and a couple friends (Makayla and Samantha) all went to the local outdoor skating rink for some ice skating fun. While they were there, they met up with Amara's classmate, Lucie and her sister Isabelle and her friend Anastasia. Enjoy the video by clicking the play button, or click to view it on YouTube.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Day 2011 - Turducken for Dinner

Christmas Day was started with everyone in their Christmas pajamas.  First came the stockings which were overflowing with gifts from "Santa."  Then we had a breakfast of homemade banana chocolate chip muffins, omelets, waffles, sausage and scrambled eggs.

Next we got the turducken ready for roasting. For anyone that hasn't heard of a turducken it is a deboned turkey, stuffed with a duck and finally a chicken.  In between each bird there's a layer of stuffing.  This was the first time we ever tried a turducken and it was a fun culinary experience.

After that we opened gifts, played some games and relaxed until dinner time.  For dinner we had turducken, haricot vert, peas, mashed potatoes with homemade gravy and cranberry sauce.  For dessert we had a pudding and berry pie topped with homemade candy cane vanilla ice cream.  (The ice cream maker was a Christmas gift from the cats.)

Click on the picture above to view our Christmas photo album.  You can also click on the 'Slideshow' button to see the pictures with captions.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Puzzle for 2011 is available now

Our annual Christmas puzzle is available now. It is called "Write the Right Word" since it involves homophones. As in prior years, the reward for solving is a video Christmas card, but you'll need to figure out the password by solving the puzzle.

Note: If you need some help, the full answer is posted here, but try solving it without help first... it's more fun that way.

Feel free to add a comment below to let us know that you successfully figured it out (without giving away the answer to others). We are always looking for new ideas for next year's Christmas puzzle, so submit those too.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Photos from Thanksgiving 2011

Click the image to the left to see a smattering of photos we took on Thanksgiving Day. Dinner was at Mum and Dad's house and everyone brought something to enjoy; there was lots of scrumptious food! After dinner we had fun playing games (Blokus, Cribbage and Mille Bornes) and later on Hisae taught us how to fold our paper napkins into origami creations.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Halloween Costume Theme: Early Explorers of the New World

Jason was the inspiration for this year's theme. He wanted to be a Viking, so we quickly thought of Early Explorers of the New World. We have Amara as a Native American, Jason as Leif Ericson, Blaine as Christopher Columbus and Felicia as an English colonist.

All told, it took Felicia about 3 weeks of constant sewing to finish up all our costumes. Columbus' outfit alone had four major parts with the white undershirt, the brocade doublet, the knee-length pants and the outer coat. Felicia's dress required lots of gathering, especially for the drapes. She made her bonnet and learned about millinery wire, iron-on webbed interfacing, more gathering, etc. For Jason's costume, I painted and detailed his helmet and created a viking shield while Felicia sewed the armor, shirt and pants and the bracing for his arms and legs. Finally on Amara's costume, I did the beading on her headband, Felicia sewed and detailed the costume and we both sewed on beads on to the fringe on the sleeves and the bottom of the dress.

We entered two local Halloween costume contests and we won first place and second place respectively in the groups and family categories.

Michael and Rosemary opted to "do their own thing" this year, so Michael dressed as "The Creep" from the Lonely Island music video, while Rosemary dressed as Princess Zelda from the Ocarina of Time.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Camping, Hiking, Tubing at Zion National Park

0:00 Day 1 - Setting up the tent
1:08 Day 1 - Emerald Pools Hike
3:02 Day 2 - Interpretive Tour and Hiking the Narrows
5:14 Day 3 - Our Campsite (South Campground)
6:52 Day 3 - Hike to Angels Landing (Intro)
7:53 Day 3 - Hike to Angels Landing (Going up)
11:35 Day 3 - Hike to Angels Landing (At the top)
13:18 Day 3 - Hike to Angels Landing (Going down)
14:42 Day 4 - Tubing Down the Virgin River
16:31 Day 4 - Becoming Junior Rangers

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Tubing Fun at Alpine Meadows (Tubeville)

This is the second year that Alpine Meadows Ski Resort has opened up a tubing area called "Tubeville" just beyond the lodge. The tubing course consists of two steep, long lanes, each with a couple humps and a big half-pipe at the end. There's a moving "magic carpet" escalator to get you to the top of the hill and then a quick, fast ride down to the bottom.

We had fun racing each other, spinning, performing running starts, riding backwards, etc. And when you got up some good speed, you might find yourself getting some air at the bottom of the run then doing a 180°. It was a lot of fun! Don't forget to check out the patent-pending "Dad Cam" views in this video.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Jason's Mission Project - Santa Ines (model)

It's that time of year when the 4th graders have to create a "Mission Project" (either a photo collage, video or model) of one of the 21 California Missions. Jason chose to build a model of the Santa Ines Mission which is near Santa Barbara, the 19th one built. He found a survey map and a view of the front and used that to layout the model.

His tip to others working on their Mission Project? Do a little bit each weekend or night so you don't get overwhelmed on the last day. The model was made by first drawing a floorplan of the mission in the desired size. The size was chosen based on some cute horse figures that were found at the hobby store. That was also where we purchased the trees (train model supplies) and the lichen (for the bushes). The model is made with illustration board, cut with an X-acto knife. The crosses and fences were made with rectangular dowel rods (balsa wood) which were glued with hot glue and painted.

Jason used a mixture of red and orange paint to get the tile roof color and an off-white for the walls. This is easier to do if you paint the models before they are all glued together. It also makes it less likely you'll get paint in the wrong places. To finish it up, he used a label maker to add the name of the mission and his name. And we also glued down a picture of the Santa Ines Mission just to show a comparison between the actual mission and the model.