Busy busy week!
Branching out in cultural explorations a bit, James took Cadence and Hazel out for Sushi (Calliope and I opted out of this excursion due to food allergies...we hit up Shake Shack instead!). They thought the little conveyor belt thing was pretty cool, and James reports that they did a decent job sampling foods outside of their comfort zone...even if they didn't eat all of it.
|You can tell they enjoyed the experience!|
We also went with our friend Laura and some of her friends on an apple picking adventure!
|it evoked much emotion|
|Callie liked that she could reach some apples herself|
Afterwards (of course) it is exciting to taste all the different varieties and see how they differ from one another.
We also stumbled on this vine with what looked like wee melons growing on it.
|Our attempts at identifying it were mostly futile, it might be mouse melon - but they seem too round for that!|
We had a little picnic at the vineyard, and were joined by this spider. The kids thought it was cute and asked me to take a picture so they could identify the species later.
|Still slightly unwilling to believe that Cadence is big enough to do this.|
|obligatory group shot...that we almost never remember to take.|
|The haul...clearly many apple-y dishes are in store.|
The big main event this week, however, was the 4H homeschool camp, which the kids COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY ADORED. (Yes, all caps necessary for that one.)
These were full days of classes and workshops held at the VA 4H headquarters. The activities were roughly structured by age and everyone was invited to participate. They ranged from simple things like making model animals out of play dough:
To more complex topics, like insect anatomy:
|We actually found this mama on our way *to* the insect class, but it was too good not to share. Can you see all the babies on her back?|
Afterwards he had then take butterfly nets and try their hand at specimen collecting. Most kids didn't find much, but one kid caught something noteworthy, and he used the opportunity to show the kids the complete collection process...which, yes, does involve killing and preserving it, which my kids were not exactly thrilled by. (They much preferred the buggy meet-and-greet.)
|Cadence and Hazel with their butterfly nets|
And to that end, she shared some recipes from around the world with us, and then, using the limited resources at hand (mostly portable hotplates), helped the kids to cook up three different bug-based dishes. While Calliope and I refrained from tasting anything because of food allergies (there were some "spice mixes" that I didn't entirely trust...I didn't want to take a chance) I encouraged my allergy-free big kids to give it a try.
Cadence liked the spiced meal-worms, but was not as much of a fan of the fried crickets, and everyone agreed that the silk worms (which, to be fair, were canned - the teacher insisted that they are really good when fresh...but it is hard to come by fresh food grade silkworms in the US. She was lucky to find even the terrible quality canned ones here, she said, but you can find them in most asian groceries) were rather unpleasant unless cooked in a significant about of sauce.
|Cadence offering hazel a handful of spiced mealworms|
Next, we moved on to a lesson about owls and (drumroll please)...dissecting owl pellets! Both big kids did a really good job with this, though afterwards they reported that they hated it with a passion because of how it smelled. But then they wanted to keep the bones they found...but they wouldn't hold the bag they were in. I think they were a little conflicted about it all.
|our intrepid researchers hard at work|
|Hazel's pellet ended up having quite a few skulls in it, once she dug them all out.|
On to leaf art! The idea was to make animals out of leaves, but the kids took some liberties and created some pretty cool stuff.
|Calliope got pretty into this one.|
|Cadence and her butterfly|
|Calliope's abstract creation, great composition!|
|Hazel's pine forest of leaves|
|I just love this shot of these three.|
Another day, it was back to the classroom for a skeletal anatomy lesson.
And to the hills for a hike through the woods! This was a really informative hike, where we stopped to discuss all sorts of things, touching on various topics related to orienteering and survival to simple environmental awareness, though of course we didn't delve too deep into any one subject.
|Discussing berry types|
|If I recall, this started as a discussion on lichen but quickly changed upon the discovery of an inchworm in the bark.|
|The view from the bottom of the hill we hiked. Pretty spectacular!|
|Cadence enjoyed learning that baby powder comes from rocks.|
|Dirt in progress. I think at this point it had leaves, twigs, rocks, and an earthworm.|
|I admit I was a little fearful for my tiny kids, but they were totally fine, and not a single kid fell or acted up at all.|
|If I hadn't snapped this myself, I'd assume it was staged for a brochure!|
|trying out a different grip|
|Hazel's turn with the oar|
Calliope slept through the dry instruction and boat launch, and thought it was very strange to wake up to see her sisters paddling around the water. She didn't seem to mind not riding herself, and had a grand old time playing with the rubber ducks they had on the shore. She enjoyed lining them up like the kids had been in line earlier!
|Row of ducks!|
And after dinner, of course, came gathering around the campfire for s'mores.
There was actually supposed to be much more, but we got rained out -flooded out, actually, as the road leading to the site was washed out, so no one could get through! We were disappointed not to get to do everything on our agenda (like launching rockets!) but hopefully we will get to make those up.
I do have one last cool project to share from you from camp week, though. During down times between classes/after lunches/etc, the kids were invited to help make this amazing group project. They made this bottle cap (and soda tab) mosaic in the spirit of environmental awareness...I thought the result was really beautiful!
|4H homeschool day camp 2014|
It was a busy week, and I know I am leaving a lot out, but I think I will stop here regardless. On to the next adventure!