Adventures

Big Truck Day

Yesterday in Redmond, Washington, it was Big Truck Day. I found out about this on my local homeschool Facebook group when I asked for ideas to satisfy kids obsessed with trucks. 

Just as an example of how much my 3-year-old loves trucks is that he feeds himself with his front loader and dump truck instead of using the recommended utensils.

Big Truck Day was like a dream come true for both of my boys and they would run from one truck to another scream laughing in excitement. 

There was a garbage truck, and I am super surprised that Mr. 3 didn’t go “Blippi” on us. (His favorite show which talks about trucks and things.)

Next was a ladder fire truck with its ladder reaching to the sky. The fireman gave Mr. 3 a fire truck he’s been wearing a lot.

There was a bus, and Mr. 1 tried to close the doors on everyone. Whoops!

There was a dump truck where Mr. 3 spilled water on the drivers’ seat. I think this was his favorite as he came back to it twice!

My personal favorite was the moving truck by Two Men and a Truck. These guys went above and beyond by turning the back of the truck into a miniature playground with tunnels and inflatable balls. 


Everyone else just had their doors open and an empty truck… like UPS truck with empty shelves. 
My phone overheated or just rebelled against me halfway through so I couldn’t get pictures of the cat adoption van, cupcake car, ice cream truck, backhoe(another favorite), tractor, and many other trucks I don’t even remember the names for. 

It was so much fun for the boys and we caught a short tractor ride before we headed to the bathrooms and then the car to go home. 

When we got home, after naps in the car, the little ones built their own truck show.


It was a beautiful and exciting day and I am definitely going to keep an eye out for similar events!

(Although it was scary when the boys ran in opposite directions, it was totally worth the stress to see them so excited!)

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Adventures, History, Science

Cancelled Plans – It’s Okay

Well, we were GOING to go to Tug Boat Story Time aboard the historic Arthur Foss, but apparently the 200 year old tug boat needed repairs. Still, we have visited the story time a few times in the past and it has most often been very engaging and lots of fun. If you have littles in the Seattle area, I would encourage you to check it out.

Well we had already parked the car before we found out about the cancellation, but we didn’t cry and pout. We walked around and looked at the other boats at the Museum for Wooden Boats. We discovered that the whole South Lake Union park was a large construction site, and the monkeys just ran around and climbed on things.

Honestly, sometimes I forget how little these kids need in order to be entertained. The world is a beautiful playground!

Did You Know that we didn’t make paper from wood fibre until 1885? And the first Western Mill to do so was in Washington on the North Bank of the Columbia River, mashing the wood to pulp with big stone wheels like the one pictured above.

This stone was in front of the Museum of History and Innovation. In case you were wondering what paper mills had to do with boats, its really just that these museums are right next to each other.

Well, we had a good time, and after some coaxing and cajoling, I finally got the 3 year old to take a nap. The one year old was asleep before we even made it back onto the highway.


This morning, Mr. 3 asked me where glass comes from. I found an interesting and short video on YouTube that explained the process of turning Sand into glass using heat. They use Soda Ash and Limestone to lower the temperature at which the sand melts, but it still takes a hot hot hot 3090 degrees Fahrenheit. They pour the molten glass over melted tin to get it to cool flat into giant panes of glass that are later cut down to size. The glass and tin have a water and oil relationship and the glass hardens much sooner than tin because tin has a much lower melting point.

Really fascinating.

Mr. 3 also asked me if horses have boogers, but I have not researched that. My guess is that, yes, they do have boogers.

What have your kids asked you lately that’s made you think?

Daily Lessons, play, Projects

Warning: Severe Heat in the Seattle area!

It’s 90 degrees in Seattle. Yowza! How are we keeping cool? We aren’t. One thing that surprised us when we moved here from Texas was the general lack of centralized A/C.

We have a little unit A/C but the kids won’t leave the door closed, so it’s no good to anyone.

Actually, it does a great job of blowing bubbles. Still, if you are paying $200 for a bubble blower… you are crazy and probably insolvent. 

Forgive me, the heat makes me cranky. 

What we are doing is taking it easy and keeping busy. We’ve got some collaging with contact paper, playdoh, painting on the patio, sticking pipe cleaners into things that have holes, and drinking lots of water.


Also, playing with ice until the freezer runs out. I took an idea from my recent follower Heather (thanks!) and froze some of their water resistant toys in a big bowl of water. Mr. 3 poured salt all over it and we played with together for a little while, at least 30 minutes.  

The salt was as old as he is, so I’m not too heart broken about him using the whole bottle. 

How are you keeping cool? 

By the way, I’m super excited to announce… that Mr. 3 has started “reading” to Mr. 1 and finds many opportunities to explain things to him. 

“Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrmmmmmm”

“No, that’s not a truck, that’s a tractor” 

I love it. I love it. I love it. 

Adventures

Pike Place Farmer’s Market

Last week we went to the Pike Place Farmer’s Market.

In Teach Your Own: The John Holt Book Of Homeschooling he says to be wary of going on field trips for field trips sake. He emphasizes that your children will learn more and better if it’s something they or you are interested in, or if it’s necessary to go.

(I’m still working my way through the book, but it is not quite as inspiring as I found Learning All the Time to be. This is because some of the anecdotes are the same and Teach Your Own is less John Holt and more just letters from parents to his Growing Without Schooling magazine. )


Well we had to go to the Farmer’s market at Pike Place for two reasons:

1. That is where Bavarian Meats, the only German store and deli that I am aware of in this area is located.

2. We needed to buy some local honey.

Also as a bonus reason, we were out of fruit at home.

The boys both enjoyed the trip.

We parked at the Target because it is free if you spend at least $20 at Target, and we needed towels and underwear for Daddy.

Then we walked one block and found ourselves at the market. First stop was the honey, which was quick and easy.

Next, we threaded our way through the crowds (even on a weekday morning) to the other end of the market to find the German store. We stocked up on wieners, Knackwurst, and Bratwurst, and pretzel bread. I also got some Grießbrei pudding mix.

The ladies at the store are super sweet and they gave each of my boys a wiener, and then I received a smoked sausage as well.

Then we walked by the Beechers cheese shop where you can watch them making cheese in large tubs. Mr 3. was fascinated with this and we watched for quite a while.


Then we pushed our way back to one of the fruit markets and purchased some beautiful blueberries, raspberries, and a bunch of bananas. The boys were still hungry after the sausage so we went to the waterfront viewing area to eat some of the bananas.  The viewing area was really just 4 windows that looked past highway 99 to the water. The boys enjoyed watching the cars and trucks on the highway.


We finished up our trip by going back to Target. At this point Mr. 1 fell asleep in the stroller and Mr. 3 got really grumpy. When I was paying he refused to walk forward and wandered away toward the cereal. He then caused a scene when I insisted he listen and get in the stroller, resulting in my losing my place in line and forcing him into the stroller. 5 minutes later he was asleep in the car.

I let them sleep in the car, and when they woke up I made quesadillas and let them enjoy the berries. A colorful market lunch.


Overall it was a fun time, and we will go again in a few months for more German food.

Adventures

Thunder Knob Trail – Hiking with the Family

Happy 4th of July!

Today we took a day trip to the North Cascades National Park. Specifically, we went Thunder Knob Trail, which was 10 minutes north of the North Cascades Visitor Center.

This national park is located a 2 and a half hour trip north of Seattle. The drive is just beautiful. 2.5 hours in the car is a long time, especially with little kids. Mr. 1 fell asleep for about an hour, and Mr. 3 just looked out the window the whole time.

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You are surrounded by mountains and follow several rivers along the way. The Skagit river and the Sauk river stood out to me the most. I even bothered to learn their names on this trip, because they were so pretty. The Sauk river was nearly bright blue due to the mineral deposits coming off of the nearby mountains.

When we arrived at the parking lot, we had a quick picnic and were on our way.

Thunder Knob Trail is a 3.6 mile hike round trip with an elevation of 425 feet. The National Park Service describes the trail as great for kids. I think older kids would do great with this, and we saw several families with children older than the age of 10 speed by us.

The path had a mild incline and a few rocks to stub your toe on, but overall it was a really good trail. It was wide enough to hold hands at most places.

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Mr. 3 and Mr. 1 walked for a short while, but Mr. 1 kept walking back down the path or off of the path altogether. Mr. 3 kept asking to be picked up because he was tired. We rested a few times and enjoyed views like the one above.

I love my Ergo baby carrier. The biggest problem with it is that it only holds one child. It’s hard to know how far you’ve walked on a hike like this, but I carried the 45 pound toddler for about an hour, and the 25 pound toddler for most of the rest of the 2 hours. My shoulders are a little sore afterwards, but who wouldn’t be carrying that weight for 3 hours?

We finally made it to the top to enjoy this spectacular view.

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Special shout out to the nice family that gave us a bottle of water at the top of the hill.

Here is a hiking tip I learned today: Put your extra water bottles in the backpack, NOT the car. They are not helpful in the car because you will not be able to drink them.

The hike back down was easier, since Mr. 3 did a fair bit of walking by himself. At the bottom by the stream he resumed his favorite activity of throwing rocks and pinecones into the water.

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Overall, I’d say that we all had a good time and got a lot of good exercise.

Some other things I learned today:

  • Oso is spanish for bear, according to my husband.
  • Pack more food and water than you think you need, because walking makes you hungry and thirsty. (Also, save the cheerios for the car ride home! We don’t normally let them eat in the car, but it was such a long drive and eating cheerios saved us 30 minutes of crying on the last leg of the journey.)

Do you have any pro hiking tips to share?

 

 

 

 

History, Science

Museum of Flight (Seattle, WA)

According to their website, the Museum of Flight (located just south of Seattle) is the “largest independent, non-profit museum of air and space in the world”.

I don’t doubt it, but the only other similar museum we have been to is the Frontiers of Flight museum near the Dallas/Love-field airport.

Well, we have a membership to the Seattle one and we usually go every few weeks mainly because we like to eat at the nearby Factoria Mall. They have a Moctezuma’s there which is the best Tex-mex restaurant we have found. We’ve decided we even like it better than the Chuy’s we used to go to when we lived in Dallas.

Anyways, the 3-year-old is almost always super excited to visit the museum, and the one year old hasn’t complained about going either.

We usually just stick to one or two parts of the museum and stay for an hour to an hour and a half. The kids are little and need to eat and get home for nap time.

The kids really like the outdoor pavilion where there are at least 3 large airplanes you can board and learn about.

They also love going to the control tower and listening to the chatter while watching airplanes go by. Sometimes you can even see trains.

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They like the two kids areas.

Today’s visit was on the pretext of visiting the new Apollo exhibit. My kids don’t like it when I stand around and read the placards, but in between chasing them around I was able to learn some interesting facts.

The Apollo missions are primarily for going to the moon, but I think there was a trip or two to Mars as well? I will have to try to finish the tour next time.

Here is what I know for sure:

The moon is 200,000 miles away. (We learned before that it only takes 3 days to get there.)

If the earth were a basketball, the moon would be a tennis ball and would orbit about 24 feet away from the basketball.

After NASA made it to the moon, they wanted to build a reusable space shuttle that would theoretically save them money on future missions. This shuttle only flew for 10 trips (instead of the projected 50) and cost between 450 Million and 1 Billion per trip versus the projected $7.7 Million per trip. I guess I always suspected space travel was expensive, but geez!

Finally, I learned that the model of the moon landing including the command module, 2 astronauts, and a lunar rover took 2500 hours to build. The guy did a good job, but that is a lot of work.

What is your favorite museum to take the kids?

 

play

Downtown Park

Today we visited a new park! Once every two months we visit a friend of my husband who lives in Bellevue, Washington. We normally meet at the Brazilian churascura restaurant called Novilhos. Today, however, we met at Fogo De Chao which is in downtown Bellevue. 

All the different steaks were delicious and because it was brunch, the boys got to enjoy lots of berries and fruit. 

Afterwards, my clever husband suggested we take the boys to the park across the street. He and Mr. 3 quickly ran off to the playground. Mr. 1 had different ideas.

He wandered the grass and saw some low swooping birds. Then he noticed a dog walk by. This led him to another lady with two little dogs and an area with a low stone wall that he could climb up and down.

Next, he wandered over to where a group of men were building a concert stage until we were asked to leave. 

To distract him from the disappointment, I took him down to the waterfall area where we stayed for the remainder of the trip.

He enjoyed wandering up and down the hill, looking at the waterfall, seeing the ducks, chasing the dragonflies, walking over the metal hatches in the ground, climbing the low bench walls, and wandering as far away as possible before mommy gets worried.

 Can you find my child? He’s waving at you! Did you know dragonflies have stripes? 

We practiced walking on our tiptoes to sneak up on this guy. Tiptoes is a skill Mr. 1 recently discovered. He can’t get enough of climbing! 

Here he was admiring the waterfall and making the sign for “water”.

Finally, when Mr. 3 was tired of the playground (which looked really cool from where I was standing) he came and joined us. Then he and Mr. 1 jumped in on a game of “pass the ball” that this super nice family was playing. 

Mr. 3 just chased the ball until they kicked it to him, and he tried really hard to kick it back. It was really adorable to watch, and I didn’t interfere at all. 

He told me later that he wanted a big red swinging bench like they had at the playground, and a colorful ball like the family had. Then both kids promptly fell asleep in the car. 

I think this is a park definitely worth coming back to. 

What is special about your favorite park?

Daily Lessons, Science

Kubota Gardens

For our third day of sunshine we decided to try going somewhere new. We went to the Kubota Gardens because we always see the sign on the way to the Museum of Flight. 

Kubota Gardens is a free botanical garden just south of Seattle. It was really pretty with easy hiking and even a stroller/wheelchair path. We walked around for an hour and probably did not see everything. 

The kids were most fascinated with the koi pond. They watched the 4 large fish and 1 duck for quite some time before wandering off and then they asked to see it again before we left.


Mr. 1 was fascinated by all the bushes and flowers and kept trying to pick them. He repeatedly made the sign for plant/flower because he was so excited. (Also the sign for duck and the sign for fish. He quacks like a duck when he sees one!)

The Gardens feel large and there are even parts where you can go in the woods and enjoy the nice shaded areas. 

The park is open to dogs as long as you clean up after them. 

If you live or spend a significant part of time in Seattle, then I recommend you check out these Gardens with your family! They are very peaceful and even though the parking lot was full, we hardly saw any other people. 

The only downsides are that there are no bathrooms (only 2 portapotties) and I do wish they had some way of identifying the different trees and flowers. Maybe I can find a good book at the library for that. 

This was a wonderful little place for the kids to explore. 


Daily Lessons, Health

Sunny Day… chasing the frowns away

Seattle feels very behind on the sunny spring time table. It is our 3rd year here but this winter has been the longest/coldest/wettest one yet.

Yesterday afternoon was the first time that the sun was shining, the wind was taking a break, and the temperature was agreeable. 

We walked the dog to the nearby elementary school and tied her too the fence while the kiddos ran around. 

I’m SO glad we went, because both of the boys had a wonderful time. Mr. 3 was fascinated with the older children who showed up later and made me worry I might get in trouble for bringing the dog. He watched them climb and run around, and he followed them around the playground a bit. They were nice and said hello to him.

The 1 year old is not walking yet, but he can take a few steps while holding my hands. We went over and around the playground 3 times like that, went down the big slide together and followed his brother around. He was laughing the whole time. I think he really gained some confidence in the walkin and standing department!


It started to get a little crowded, and I wasn’t sure about being allowed to have the dog so we went home when she started barking at skateboarders.

The boys wanted to stay outside a little longer so we played in the backyard.


Jumping and rolling on the trampoline, Shocking each other and me with the static electricity.

Then 3 wanted to play the “crazy running around game” which I think he must have invented on the spot.

“How do you play?”

“You run around like THIS and then you fall down and then get back up and run around” ( he explains while running and falling down).

I loved loved loved seeing how the good weather made these boys so adventurous and cheerful and I really hope we get more weather like it soon.