Sunday, April 29, 2012

Keep Calm and Eat a Cupcake.

we went to a zoo (but never bought it)

The day before we went to see Oma and Opa (that was a long time ago already) Cade had a zoo field trip.  Cade hasn't had a whole lot of field trips, so he really really wanted to go..... and it was pretty darn fun.
By the way, all the photos - save the ones that Cade is in - were taken by the man himself.  Yup, Cade the photographer!  The other parents couldn't get over that I let him use my camera.  Later on in the day they couldn't get over that he was responsible with the camera.  That whole theme continued on for the rest of the day - the parents were so impressed with how well he treated it and how careful he was.  I was a proud momma.
The first half of the field trip was exploring the bosque seco - literally translated the dry forest.  We learned about several plants and how they survived in such a dry area.  One of the things that I found the most fascinating was how many climate variations there are in such close proximity - we get rain so often, yet only half an hour away is this dessert type area.  Crazy.

This was Cade's favorite part of the the bosque seco tour:
These orange flowers are a favorite with hummingbirds, and no wonder.  The guide had us all pick one petal (tube shaped) and suck on it.  You could suck out quite a lot of sweet nectar.  Cade would have picked the place bare if I'd have let him!
At the end was a building with some games and other "discovery" type stuff for the kids.
Cade loved the microscope.

Then it was lunch time.  It was a good picnic lunch and all, but I was most fascinated by the people watching.  I discovered a new way to make some fat cash here.  Look at these pictures and see if you can figure out my new money-making scheme.....

All of the schools have their kids holding on to the shirt of the kid in front of them (yes, pretty much every school in Ecuador, save the international ones, have uniforms).  So I'm thinking I should introduce those rope type deals with all the handles coming off that preschools use in North America.  The teacher holds the front of the rope and each child holds onto a handle thingy.  Brilliant!  Think of all the shirts that will be saved, not to mention much less friction between the kids - getting irritated with each other - and less tripping over each other.
Yes, there is money to be made here.  Unfortunately I am not at all motivated to make money in this fashion.  I prefer to do things that take much more time, energy and money to make a smaller amount of cash.
The zoo.  Cade took about three thousand photos (yes, I am prone to exaggeration) but I will only feature a small smattering.  I'd comment on more of them but I either don't remember or can't recognize the animal featured.  It is a great presentation of the types of enclosures (not cages - this I learned from the title movie).

My favorite:  the blurry llama butt.
Cade's favorite: Gael's t-shirt

There is some creature in that top right whole.....

And that pretty much sums up the field trip.  Okay, not really.  Really there was so much more and lots of good times with my boy.  It isn't very often that I get this much time with just him and I reveled in it. He's a great kid to be with - I love that boy.
You will notice in the following group photo that Cade is not present.  He expired and decided to no longer allow photos to be taken with him present.  But the rest of 2nd grade is represented.....
I think a photo at the beginning of the day would have been a little better.  Their attentiveness was long gone.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

crafting party time

It all started with Maddy wanting to invite a friend over to do some crafts and baking.  It ended up with 8 people for dinner and 4 people for night.  But it was some good times.
Diana is a senior at the kids' school and is Maddy's Guardians leader (a youth group for middle school that the seniors lead).  She is one of the sweetest people God made (I'm blessed to know several; I always wished I was one.).  Well she wanted to learn how to do some crafty things, so Maddy invited her over.  Then she invited Mikala and then she invited Jenna and then Mia invited Francisca (Diana's sister and Mia's friend) and then I invited Marlo (Mikala's mom) and then I invited Katie (Jenna's mom) and then invited Micah (Jenna's brother, Katie's son and Cade's friend; and then older brother came and hung out for a little bit too).
So we had a party.  Chili, dessert and conversations which was repeatedly too loud for some of the kids while they were watching a movie (Marlo, Katie and I kept getting "sushed").  Unfortunately my comrades had to leave before the crafting started, but we all survived (them probably better than me).
Before the whole crowd got here, Diana and Maddy wanted to make an apple pie.  With little instruction and demonstration, they made a fabulous pie.  Fabulous.

At first they just put in the M and D, but later decided I could be included.  How gracious of them.....
It looked like perfection and tasted wonderfully too.

Before the kids got home from school I decided to try the dessert I've wanted to do ever since we roasted those giant marshmallows this summer.  Too lazy to build a fire, I roasted them over the stove.  It took a little practice to get it right.
 I discovered that it works best to wait a few seconds after the roasting to pull the "cup" off so it doesn't cave in.  But don't wait too long or you'll have a hard time getting it.  10 - 15 seconds will do.

Glorious little cups.
And glorious little gooey insides for when the kids come home from school.
 It was good that I held onto the insides.  We ended up walking home in the rain - us five plus two guests (great way to treat guests, I know) and I forgot to bring umbrellas.  What a loser.  Anyway, we were rather cold when we arrived so we warmed up with Chai Tea and Hot Chocolate - with marshmallow guts.

After the girls finished the pie they wanted to help make the desserts....kind of a chocolate strawberry shortcake.  The girls sliced up some strawberries and cut up a cake that I had baked earlier in the day and piled that into the marshmallow cups.  We threw in some whipped cream and a few more strawberries on top and ta-da:

 They were quite scrumptious.  HOWEVER, note to self (and you if you ever do this) assemble the dessert into the marshmallow cups  right before serving.  We made them around 4:30/5:00 and served them around 9:00 and the marshmallow was rather soggy.  They started falling over and you no longer got the nice caramelized crunch that I was looking forward to.  This would be especially true if you were going to do something even more liquidyish as I was originally thinking - like trifle with mouse, or something of that nature.

After we got rid of all the extra baggage  (kidding, only kidding!!) - after the moms and boys left (Micah invited Cade to spend the night..... he was thrilled!!) and Lucy went to bed and Mia and Francisca watched a movie in bed, the rest of us went to work.
The girls wanted to make headbands with fabric flowers so I broke out the rather large back of fabric scraps and away they went.  They did a beautiful job of them. 
Note: I made all these pictures black and white because it seems no matter what I do with the camera, flash/no flash, white balance adjustments, etc. any picture I take at night time in our dining room looks terrible.  And I'm no good at editing yet (yet means I'm hopeful).

 They all look very focussed, don't they
 Jenna made a nice headband, but I think she needs to work on the method of wear.....

 Those are some beautiful girls.
Movie time ensued - Pride and Prejudice - followed by giggling and talking (not done by me.  I'm too old, I went to bed).
In the morning the girls and I made breakfast.  I did french toast and they made these cute little treasures:
It was a pretty fun event of which I'm sure we will do again.
It was another reminder of how thankful we all are for great friends.