Sunday, May 31, 2009

Graves & Gardens...Bellefontaine & Botanical

Herman's Marble Friend...

Yesterday morning I awoke to the sound of rain and thunder. We had planned a day of adventure, beginning with a trip to the Botanical Gardens (BG). The forecast looked iffy but the hub decided we'd go for it.

The sky was gray and just a few minutes before we got to the BG parking lot - it started POURING. We figured we'd do some of the indoor things while it rained and hope that it would stop raining soon. We explored the Climatron and a Moorish Garden and by the time we came out we never had another drop of rain!

The Botanical Gardens are free on Wednesdays & Saturdays from 9:00 until noon. This also includes the newish children's garden which is a giant play area with a tree fort, rope climbing, slides, splash area etc.

The boy thought the whole BG was "for sissies" - probably a common thought for most 7 yr old boys. The girl really seemed to enjoy it all - especially the Japanese Garden. We decided that we definitely need to go back as there was a great portion we missed out on seeing due to time and endurance levels.

After lunch we embarked on our second adventure of the day - a tour of historical Bellefontaine Cemetery.

"The story of Bellefontaine Cemetery, a non-sectarian, perpetual care cemetery, begins with the year 1849, when many prominent citizens of St. Louis, who had the welfare of the City at heart, recognized that the old cemeteries located along Jefferson Avenue would soon have to be abandoned, since they were directly in the path of the City’s westward growth.

In this Cemetery are buried many men and women whose lives contributed conspicuously to the westward expansion of our country, and a visit to their graves may give us a keener appreciation of our national heritage. Also, Bellefontaine Cemetery is truly an outdoor museum containing some of the finest sculptures and memorial art in the country. It provides a splendid catalog of styles and changing tastes in memorial art illustrating one phase of our cultural growth."

Shrouded Angel (actually looks kind of creepy - give it a sythe and it becomes the grim reaper)

We spent a few hours roaming around the cemetery with a map showing 47 of the most prominent burial spots...some significant because of who was buried there - some significant due to the architecture. I know it sounds odd - but we had a great time!

I ended up taking considerably more photos at the cemetery than at the Botanical Gardens :)

Resting place of General William Clark (of Lewis & Clark fame)

Mosaic ceiling

There were many interesting mausoleums - some because of their size and grandeur (Adolphus Busch) some b/c of their the few that were built into the side of a hill...

The mosaic design about was from a simple mausoleum...there was a stained glass window opposite the front door with the window broken so the interior was deteriorating...the floor tiles faded, full of dust, walls crumbling inside - but the ceiling mosaic still looked beautiful! One of the inscriptions on the inside tombs told of the death of a young girl "6 years old - lost on a steamer".

I love the story of the large stone statue at the top of the page...Herman Luyties traveled to Italy in the early 1900's and while there he met and fell in love with the model for a sculptor. Herman proposed to her but she rejected him - so he did the next best thing. He had the sculptor render a 12 foot marble statue of the woman who broke his heart. The statue was kept in his home for a time and then moved to his burial plot. Guess he felt like if he couldn't have her in life - he'd have her in death.

So many of the tombstones have been weathered and the names and inscriptions lost or very difficult to read. It's interesting how a lot of the tombstones not only gave the date of the person's death but how many years, months and days old they were when they died...anyone know why that was done?

Adolphus Busch resting place

"It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart."

Friday, May 29, 2009

Black Beluga Lentils - Trader Joe's

These lentils were pre-cooked so all I had to do was pop them in the microwave for about 1 1/2 minutes.

I love the way they look...remind me of caviar. In the photo they just look like black beans but they are actually much smaller than beans, rounder and a little flat.

The boy didn't like them plain but he talked about how much he liked them in the finished dish (pork fried rice with lentils). The girl thought they tasted like beans "and something else".

It's weird but to me they tasted like tea leaves. Not that I'm in the habit of consuming tea leaves.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Girl & Her Snake - Snake Identification Needed

Click to enlarge.

This morning we took a walk to the park. The girl brought along her insect/critter cage "just in case".

We were just about ready to leave the path from the park when the girl shouted "A SNAKE!"

She then tried to figure out a way to capture the critter. She was successful. She was very happy.

Zig-Zag, as he's been named, is now residing with us...temporarily...pending identification (he's much thinner and smaller than appears in the photo).

So if you think you might know what kind of snake this is - let us know.

Great Harvest Bread Company

About a year ago we stumbled upon a store/bakery/restaurant called Great Harvest Bread Company.

The kids were instantly hooked being that there were FREE bread samples of delicious fresh bread.

The location of the store was totally out of the way so we never returned. Fast forward to a recent date when I decided we'd see if we could find a location closer to our home - and we did.

We consumed some yummy bread samples, purchased a ginormous cinnamon roll/bun to share and then bought the bread above. It was still warm!

I think it was called Apple Crunch...bits of yummy apple inside a sweet (but not overly so) dough sprinkled with a sugarish topping. It was wonderful!

The shape of the bread was unique which also helped in making the decision of which bread to buy.

The bread is not cheap. At least not cheap if you are used to making your own bread or buying it at Aldi...I think it was about $5.00. It was gone in no time! Kids loved it too of course.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Adventures in Arkansas

Someone brought along a potbellied pig - which of course the girl loved!

We spent Thursday through Sunday at a family Bible camp out in Arkansas.

This was our second year attending the camp and we are already hoping that we'll be able to attend again next year.

The camp meetings are held outdoors under a pavilion - once in the morning and once in the evening...the rest of the time is "free time"...time for the kids to play...time for the adults to fellowship. The daily speakers are not decided ahead of the camp meeting time - but are chosen based on who ends up coming to the camp. Some of the speakers are bi-vocational pastors and included a dentist, a news anchorman, and a military guy. This year my dh was asked to speak at one of the meetings (he is not a bi-voc.).

Last year we stayed in our tent but this year we stayed in the "lodge"...not quite on par with a hotel room...but we had privacy and our own toilet and shower! Our lodge room was just big enough to have a bunkbed (double on bottom and twin on top) and a small bathroom. Enough room on the floor for a small trundle bed to partially pull out and a bit of room for the rest of our stuff. Kind of made me see what it might be like living in a small RV.

It looks more spacious here perhaps b/c this is when we've packed up to leave.

The kids played softball, went swimming and hunting for frogs and skinks, and hung out with some friends. They had a wonderful time!

Saturday night was a talent show (with varying degrees of seriousness and talent)...the girl decided she wanted to perform so she had been practicing a song on the piano at home. Just before the show she was practicing her song on stage and some of her friends were hanging around and started singing along so it was decided that instead of just her playing and singing at the show - she'd play while her friends sang. They did a great job! The girl played the hymn "I Surrender All" (her choice of music). She has just been playing the piano since the fall time and is pretty much teaching herself to play. She started out using some beginner piano books but later decided she wanted to play "real" music - songs that she knew. So she's mostly been using a couple of hymn "fake books".

Saturday afternoon the boy and his dad (who also happens to be my husband) went with a group of others on a cave exploration. The girl preferred to stay back and swim so I stayed with her.

The cave they explored a bit was "Blowing Cave" and after I read some of the hoaxes and stories about it - I wish that I had gone along too. "Caverns west and west-north-west of the town are legendary for stories of deep cavern systems, encounters with hairy humanoids with an attitude, giant serpents and insects, deadly gas pockets, strange electro-magnetic phenomena and unexplained disappearances...The trail is intersected by a crack in the earth [between the entrance and the lake] that, if followed into the breakdown, widens enough to enter. This chasm is reportedly an entrance to the endless networks of the alien underworld." They came home very muddy :)

Another "adventure" I missed out on was seeing a tarantula! Of course I've seen pictures of tarantulas and tarantulas in glass cages at the zoo - but this was a tarantula "in the wild". It was late one evening and I was in the lodge. My dh came in and told me to hurry on outside to see something but when I got there it was gone :( When telling the kids the story the next morning, the girl said something like "well mom probably would have freaked out and not even have let me TOUCH it". Well I don't think I would have "freaked out" about seeing it (unless it was crawling on me or one of my family members) - but she's right I would not have let her TOUCH it. Guess I'm kind of glad that she's brave enough to want to touch it...

The weather was perfect. It rained the last day during our final worship service...and rained a lot of the way home - great timing.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Black Spaghetti - Spaghetti al Nero di Seppia

Black Spaghetti a.k.a. Spaghetti al Nero di Seppia a.k.a. Spaghetti with Squid Ink.

I know it looks like a steaming bowl of long, black worms (or black shoestring licorice) - but actually it is quite tasty. And actually it tastes very similar to "regular" spaghetti.

This little 8 1/2 oz package of pasta cost $3.99 and I bought it from Marshall's Department Store (the pasta is made in Italy).

The kids loved the pasta and I think loved the fact that it was black - how cool is that for kids?

What I thought was cool was the shape the individual pasta was before cooking...they reminded me of old fashioned hair/bobby pins.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Child's Garden of Verse

After buying some annuals and planting them yesterday I realized I bought too many. What to do with all the extras??

This morning we put into action an idea we've been thinking about for a couple of weeks...use the kids' old sandbox as a child's garden.

We headed out to Home Depot and bought some soil and a few more flowers - chosen by the girl since this was to be her garden and she was paying for it all. Her budget was $15 (she decided on the amount). She bought a geranium and some petunias - I also bought some Swedish Ivy (in honor of our heritage) and another ivy type plant I can't remember the name of.

I tried to let her do as much of the work as possible without interfering too much.

The ladybug's eyes look kind of creepy all broken like that so we may have to remove them. :)

The Flowers
Robert Louis Stevenson
All the names I know from nurse:
Gardener's garters, Shepherd's purse,
Bachelor's buttons, Lady's smock,
And the Lady Hollyhock.

Fairy places, fairy things,
Fairy woods where the wild bee wings,
Tiny trees for tiny dames--
These must all be fairy names!

Tiny woods below whose boughs
Shady fairies weave a house;
Tiny tree-tops, rose or thyme,
Where the braver fairies climb!

Fair are grown-up people's trees,
But the fairest woods are these;
Where, if I were not so tall,
I should live for good and all.

Eating Honeysuckle

The kids have been enjoying the honeysuckle that grows on our fence. Honeysuckle is exotic eating to the two of them!

Getting honey/nectar from a honeysuckle is very tedious and tasteless (which reminds me of a song - see if you can figure it out) unless you are an insect or hummingbird...or under the age of 10.

Last night the boy brought a large collection of honeysuckle to the front steps and proceeded to extract the honey. Click on the photos for a clearer picture of the boy extracting the honey. You grab hold of the little end of the flower and pull out the style (little white stringy thing)...if you are lucky there will be a little droplet of honey/nectar.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Black Radish

The black radish was about the size of a small grapefruit. It was very hard to cut through and it smelled just like a regular radish. The peels remind me of a potato.

It was powerful hot and spicy - great if one had a stuffed up nose or sore throat.

The girl said "Tastes like a normal radish - rather spicy."

The boy said "Don't like it much - pretty spicy."

Looks like none of us are much for radishes. I did salt it and that improved the taste a bit - but I'm not ready to begin adding it to any recipes for fear it would turn into a disaster and ruin an otherwise good meal.

"These large, pungent radishes are better known in Eastern Europe than in the United States. With their black peels and white interiors, they can be fashioned into attractive garnishes, or you can peel and cook them like turnips. You can also serve them raw, though it helps to tame them down first by salting and rinsing them. Substitutes: rutabaga (much milder flavor) OR turnip (much milder flavor) " Source: Cook's Thesaurus

Saturday, May 16, 2009

"Better a hand of silver than a hand of iron" *

The children and I recently began reading "Otto of the Silver Hand", written by Howard Pyle (perhaps better known for his writing of "The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood".)

From the fly-leaf of the book, "This story of Otto, a boy who grew up in the safety of a monastery in the days of robber is a story of right against wrong, of a boy's courage against force and cruelty."

Otto's mother dies in childbirth, his father a wicked robber baron - deposits infant Otto in a monastery until he is about 12. His father then takes Otto back home with him, hoping to turn Otto into a "real man". While still a young teen, Otto is taken hostage by a rival robber baron and has his hand chopped off.

We were about half way through the book when it was time for a break. The kids were off doing other stuff and I, still intrigued with the story - decided to do a little more reading on my own (usually this is what one of the kids will do). And I finished the book. It was great!

It is a boyish type book with it being the Middle Ages and all...involving bad guys and good guys and a measure of bloodshed. It's also a Charlotte Mason-ish book...a way for children to learn more about the Middle Ages and Knights and Monasteries of old without reading about it in a less interesting textbook format. As the girl noted - it is very descriptive.

The girl has been enjoying the book, the boy (who just turned 7), though he loves the subject matter, has a harder time understanding it all (some old English conversation and I think he gets lost in all the descriptiveness). I'm going to have the girl finish the book on her own and I'll either read more of the book to the boy or just tell him the rest of the story.

*"Better a hand of silver than a hand of iron." - quote from Otto of the Silver Hand

Friday, May 15, 2009

Lund's Swedish Pancake Mix

Lund's Swedish Pancake Mix.

I fixed these pancakes two times and they were a HIT. They were much thinner and flatter than the pancakes I usually make. The girl who at one time loved blueberry pancakes and then started not liking pancakes - was the one that asked me to make these a second time. Unfortunately the box mix is pretty small - so there was only 2 meals worth in it.

The batter is super thin and you are just supposed to make the pancakes from one tablespoon of batter. I did cheat a bit and made some of them much larger in order to roll into crepes.

The boy loved his little pancakes with a lot of syrup - but the girl liked hers with mixed berries sprinkled on top. The second time I made these I rolled them up into little crepe suzettes with the mixed berries rolled up inside and powdered sugar sprinkled on the roll. Delicious!

To me, any kind of pancake is great - and other than being thin, small and flat I couldn't see much difference in the taste - but the kids say there is and they love them - so I'll try to make these more often.

Here is a recipe for making Swedish pancakes from scratch if you'd like to give them a try.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sand, Slurpees & Sardines - What a Combination!

The girl asked if we could go to C.C. Park today and have a picnic lunch. I'm usually easily persuaded to do such things when the weather is nice - so we ran some errands, and since we had to buy gas anyway - we bought Slurpees :)

We went to our usual spot at the park - a shaded grove of trees right by the beach. Unfortunately the picnic table was missing so we ate on a park bench that unfortunately was not in the trees and was permanently affixed to some concrete and couldn't be moved so we had the sun beating down upon us.

The girl, her Slurpee and some sardines!

The kids had fun digging in the sand and making moats.

Dried Anchovies - Thailand

Zap Spicy Snacks - dried anchovies...product of Thailand.

The girl was eager to try it so she went first. I'm always happy when she offers to go first on things I think I won't like :)

Well none of us liked the dried anchovies...I think we were expecting them to be salty and fishy but instead they were SWEET and fishy. Not a good combination.

Of course if I had just read the ingredients I would have seen that the number one ingredient was anchovy and the second was SUGAR. Ugh.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

They're Back!

The mosquitoes that is.

We enjoyed many a month without them but this afternoon the kids were playing outside and the boy got a few nibbles. Sigh.

Too bad the mosquitoes didn't just come around in winter when your body is already thoroughly wrapped up and unbiteable.

3 Ingredient Peanut Buttter Cookies

Yesterday afternoon my MIL sent me an email with a recipe for "Three Ingredient P. Cookies".

Along with the recipe she mentioned how they'd be just right for a "Half-Past May Celebration" - a made-up old family celebration from when my dh was a kid (based on the words from the Frog & Toad book by Arnold Lobel ""Wake me up at half past May").

Since the oven was already hot from baking bread, and I had all the necessary ingredients - I thought I'd surprise the kids and make some.

I hesitated as I added the ingredients as it seemed like too much fat and too much sugar - ugh (never thought I'd be one of those moms who would be concerned about such things). I decided to cut down the sugar and peanut butter by a 1/3 and hoped it will still turn out.

They were WONDERFUL!

I've never been a fan of peanut butter cookies - especially the ones I remember from when I was a kid...big fat thick cookies with a fork pattern pressed on top...they were dry and oh-so-peanut buttery. I remember when I delivered newspapers one of my customers gave me a couple of cookies - yum! Until I realized they were peanut butter - ugh!

Anyway these cookies were soft and chewy and sweet. I did add a couple more ingredients just to "fancy" them up a bit...half a maraschino cherry and some melted chocolate. The boy especially was so excited to see the cookies - before he even chomped on one he asked if I could make them again some day!

To cut down on the risk of eating too many of these - even with the reduced ingredients - I only made about 12 very small cookies and then in an act of wastefulness (but for the sake of waist-full-ness) I pitched the remaining dough.

So if you are looking for a super fast, super easy recipe and you happen to have some peanut butter in your cupboard right now - here's the recipe.

Three Ingredient P. Cookies

1 egg
1 c sugar (white)
1 c peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)

Directions: Combine egg and sugar really well. Add PB. Roll mixture into 1 inch balls (mine was way to sticky to try that - I just used two spoons and placed little mounds on the cookie sheet - they flattened out nicely). Place on ungreased cookie sheet and flatten each ball with a fork (criss cross). Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Cool for 5 min on wire rack. Makes 10-15.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

GroovyGirl - Jack-Of-All-Trades

This afternoon the girl decided she was going to make a hammock and wanted an old blanket.

Armed with a paint-stained old quilt and some twine - she headed to the backyard.

We don't have many big sturdy trees so I couldn't imagine some lightweight twine being able to hold up a blanket let alone a 9 yr old.

Awhile later I went to check on her progress. She was curled up in the hammock like a caterpillar in a cocoon (though I don't think a caterpillar would be reading a Charlie Brown comic book).

She tied some twine around a tree and the other end around a fence post. The girl said something about braiding the twine so I guess that made it more sturdy.

White Beech Mushrooms - China

This photo reminds me of a group of people...

White Beech Mushrooms - a product of China. These little mushrooms fall into the category of "buy me because I'm cute".

I'm always a little creeped out about eating mushrooms unless they are the ordinary ones that you see in every store. I guess it's because there are not too many other types of food that have edible and poisonous varieties...

I have these "what ifs" going through my mind... "what if I didn't cook them properly and they are toxic when eaten raw" or "what if some poisonous variety got mixed in with the edible variety".

But then how could something so little and cute be dangerous - especially when there is a happy faced anthropomorphic mushroom on the package.

I fried the mushrooms up with a little butter, salt and pepper. They remained quite chewy. I thought they tasted like "regular" fried mushrooms. The boy, who had usually steered clear of mushrooms but was happily surprised when he tasted the morel mushroom recently, even asked for another taste of the beech mushroom. The girl thought they were spicy - but I think that was just from mom overdosing a bit on the pepper.

Other than for aesthetics - I wouldn't choose these mushrooms over the regular variety in the future. The package weighing 150 g cost $1.79.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day

Here are the two kids that made me a mother! Last minute yesterday before church I decided that we should have a "tradition" where if it's Mother's Day or Father's Day - there should be a picture of the kids taken with the honored parent.

Of course I wish I had thought of this oh say 9 years ago. Since I am the official family photographer there are few photos of me with my offspring...

Both kids made me Mother's Day cards and the girl helped dad fix bacon and eggs for breakfast while mom was out on a bike ride.

After church the family took me to the restaurant of my choice - Imo's Pizza! In the afternoon we played a little tennis and then went to DQ for a supper-time Blizzard :) It was funny - after tennis, the boy (who didn't get enough Imo's Pizza via the kids' meal and he declared that next time he'd have to get one the size of our's) was talking about being hungry. "When we get home will you make me a PROPER SUPPER?" I told him that I don't cook on Mother's Day so he said "Well maybe my other girl (sister) will make me an omelet (one of the few things he knows she can make)." We all agreed that a DQ Blizzard would suffice :)

I wonder what an improper supper would look like...

Imo's is by far the best pizza. I know it doesn't look all that great but it is super. Very thin, crisp crust with the best cheese ever!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Weekend Treasure - Midcentury Modern Chair

"Estate Sale" the sign said. My girl and I drove past the house trying to find a place to park. No good place to park so I thought about skipping it - but it did say "Estate Sale" which is (supposedly at least in my mind) a step above a garage sale - so we parked a bit of a walk away and headed on over.

In front of the house were 2 big dumpsters...hmmm should have been a hint. An elderly man was running the show..."Everything next to the dumpsters are free" he said.

Everything should have been INSIDE the dumpsters I thought.

But then we spotted the chair. Not sure who saw it first but the girl pointed out "It's just like those chairs that the guy that built the Arch made." Just over a month ago we took the kids to the Mildred Lane Kemper Museum to see an exhibit on Eero Saarinen. Good to know that the girl was paying attention :) It reminds me of an Eero Saarinen tulip arm chair.

Now this chair was not right next to the dumpster so it was not free - but it was almost so at $2.

It was rusty and dusty but for $2 I thought I'd get it.

Course now I wished I hadn't parked so FAR AWAY. But hey it's exercise so it's all good :)

The girl was very excited to get her little hands on a clean-up project. As soon as we got home she wanted to attack it with steel wool and water and soap. I made her wait while I did some internet research to make sure we didn't ruin the chair (though some may say we ruined it by painting it as we did). We cleaned up the rust with sandpaper and some proverbial "elbow grease" (I hate using such phrases).

Here is the before photo:

Here is the after photo:

The cushion will not remain - I just put it there to give an idea of what it will look like when it's totally finished. We're gonna try to make a large flat cushion (in army green) - something that would look more like what the original cushion would have looked like. We decided to leave the rest of the chair in it's natural off-white shade.

The chair will go in the boy's room - the green matches his bedding and curtains (he is a little military aficionado). The chair swivels so I wonder how much reading will go on in it and how much spinning will take place.

For more "Today's Thrifty Treasures" head on over to Southern Hospitality.

Happy Mother's Day to My Mom!

I bet she's a bit surprised to see her face staring back at her this morning :)

My mom raised 5 girls - I have one daughter so I can't imagine how she did it with 5.

At least I know that I wasn't one of those babies that were switched at birth, being that when I look in the mirror I totally see my mom (and yet at the same time I totally see my dad). Guess I got my gray hair from my mom (or she got her's from me...).

Hope you have a Happy Mother's Day Mom!

Friday, May 8, 2009

In Flanders Fields

Today we read a book called "In Flanders Fields - the Story of the Poem" by John McCrae.

At school time, we often read random poems from old books of poetry and recently read "In Flanders Fields". Then about a week ago I came across the above mentioned book.

It's not Veteran's Day (or Remembrance Day as it's referred to in Canada) - but I really love this poem so I'm including it here today. I remember sitting in grade school classrooms and having the poem read around Remembrance Day. Someone would come to our classroom with a canister that was passed around and we could drop in a donation and then get a little plastic poppy to wear on our shirt.

You can hear a choral rendition of the poem here on YouTube.

If I remember correctly, my mom had a great-uncle (?) that died fighting in France. She still has his pocket watch that he had on him when he died (a watch that was given to him by his employer before the war)...the watch stopped (supposedly) at the time of his death. Anyway I'm sure my mom will post a comment here to correct any details :)

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Ararat Armenian Lori Cheese

My Mom is wondering whatever happened to our exotic eating experiment...

Well we still do try different things from time to time but I either forget to blog about them - or I'm too lazy to write something up or my camera needs the batteries recharged and photos don't get taken.

But today the kids and I went to the world food store and bought a few things. The boy was wondering what we'd try out once we got to the car. Come on! Have a little patience. We took our purchased grub - plus the picnic lunch we brought (though it was barely needed now) and headed over to the library headquarters where there are picnic tables.

The girl used her money to buy what she affectionately refers to as "flesh bread" - the boy bought some Tic Tacs (??).

So the girl and I had bread and cheese for our lunch - trying out a new cheese - Ararat Armenian Lori Cheese (quite a lovely name) with the flat bread. Lori is the northern region of Armenia and Lori Cheese is one of two traditional cheeses that are found in most stores in Armenia.


The cheese was a white cheese so I was kind of thinking it wouldn't be too great - but it was. Creamy and salty and sharp. The girl also loved it. The boy, unfortunately hates any form of cheese unless it's melted in a tortilla or on pizza.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Science Center

Yesterday at lunchtime I talked with the hub and he mentioned that he was going to take off early from work in the afternoon and we could go to "Forest Park".

I got the kids all excited about going to the zoo and made sure this time to apply lots of sunscreen and even brought along a hat. As we were driving down into the city the kids were talking about what animals they were going to see.

Hub said "I thought we were going to "The Science Center" - oops. Both the zoo and the Science Center are at Forest Park.

Since we hadn't been to the Science Center for at least a couple of years and we had talked about going on Saturday but didn't - we decided that was where we'd go.

I've decided that places like the Science Center are overwhelming for kids. Just like when a child has a room full of toys and too many choices they end up not knowing where to begin and just flit back and forth from one thing to the next without really "getting into" one thing and then complain that they are "bored" and "have nothing to do".

They look at something for about 15 seconds and then want to rush onto something else b/c they are worried they'll miss out on something cool (the proverbial the grass is always greener on the other side).

I'd say the three most interesting things at the Science Center that we saw were: the life-size moving and sound making dinosaurs, the outdoor Science Park - "The 11,000-square-foot area, equipped with a cushioned surface...These exhibits let you experiment with the properties of sound, motion and light. Exhibits include: Roller Coaster Gravity Race, Friction Slide, Color Maze, Gears, Whisper Dishes, Echo Tube, Giant Kaleidoscope, Prizms" and the MedTech area.

The boy said that one of his favorite places was the space area ..."plus I also liked the area with giant balls (the Science Park) and the section with Star Wars mugs and Star Wars cookie jars".

The girl said that one of her favorite places was the dino area - not only could you see the life-size dinos but in another room there were real dino fossils "Come into the Prep Lab on the lower level and talk to lab volunteers about the different types of dinosaur fossils that are on display, many excavated by the Science Center and visitors interested in paleontology. You are even allowed to help work with some actual 65 million years old fossils. While in the Lab look for a T-rex metatarsal, a Triceratops femur and many different plant fossils..."