Category Archives: Things To Do Around Seattle

Field Trip to Remlinger Farms

Remlinger Farms 6

We haven’t had any rain for the last 31 days here, in Seattle. So that means, we have spent most of our time outdoors lately. Honestly, I am a bit sick of the sun and the long days (seriously, it was like 96 degrees last week and I thought I was going to melt or spontaneously combust or something, don’t ask me how I managed to survive growing up in San Diego without air conditioning, because 96 degrees feels insanely hot to me now – if I didn’t have a phobia of grizzly bears, I’d just move to northern Alaska). Anyhoo…In case I haven’t made this clear, we actually live on the Eastside of Seattle, which means that we live on the east side of Lake Washington (there is also a West Seattle, but I’m not going to get into that today). If you live in Seattle, proper, it is a major metropolis with the typical metropolis type of things, including lots of public transportation, so you don’t have to drive a lot. On the other hand, the Eastside is a group of smaller cities, with fewer attractions and much fewer public transportation options. So we Eastsiders are constantly having to decide if an activity in Seattle is worth driving across one of the two bridges that cross Lake Washington (one of which, costs money to use and is often  closed for boats to go through), fighting the traffic on I-5, crossing four lanes of bumper-to-bumper traffic within 1/2 mile to get off of I-5, fighting the traffic in Seattle, finding a parking spot, fending off the bum who insists he’ll show you the proper way to pay for parking so you’ll tip him, paying an extraorbitant fee to park, and then walking a mile to our destination. During the summer, when all of the good fieldtrips are crowded with public school kids, I’m much less likely to decide that the drive to Seattle is worth it.

Remlinger Farms 15

So last week, I decided to trek out east to a farm that qualifies as an actual “Eastside attraction”, Remlinger Farms.When we first moved to the area, almost two decades ago, this farm was pretty much just a farm, with a fun pumpkin patch tour, train ride, and hay jump. Over the years it has grown and become more…. hmmmm, I find myself at a loss for the right word here. It still has a train ride, which of course garners two thumbs up in the kid category. It also has some small carnival-type rides, which is cool, except that they all close between 1:30 and 2:00 PM for lunch, which is just annoying. In addition, they have a restaurant and market. The market carries a lot of the produce that Remlinger Farms purportedly grows (they are famous for their pies, and there is a good reason why). It also carries a lot of handmade-type stuff that you might find at a craft show. I’m not sure if the hand-made items are local or not. Be forewarned, if you go there, it is best to just walk straight through and not start looking at stuff, unless you feel like you have too much money at the moment. It is really hard not to justify “buying that wonderful basket”, and “oh there’s the cutest set of dish towels”, and “just look at that doll, isn’t she the sweetest thing”, and “I HAVE to have this eggplant shaped cutting board”, and “would you just look at the sun hat, have your ever seen something so darling”, and “Pineapple Screaming Hot Pickles would be the perfect Christmas present for Joey”… and, you get the idea. Despite my sarcasm, I actually love looking around the market, but it takes a lot of willpower on my part not to break the bank there.

Remlinger Farms 16

Remlinger Farms does also have U-Pick, but I personally prefer to pick from the smaller farms in the area when we are just doing U-picking. There are some animals there, which may or may not still be 4-H animals, I didn’t see any 4-H signs this visit. You can’t pet the animals, though you can feed them some food for 25 cents. While feeding the animals, you will also be able to experience the dubious joy of inhaling their wonderful aroma! They still have a hay jump, but it is much bigger and attaches to a hay maze. I didn’t think Dora would like the hay jump, since she tends to be very sensitive to textures, but it was her favorite part of the trip. They also have some ponies that you can ride, which you might or might not feel comfortable with, since the ponies just walk around and around and around and around and around and it seems kind of mean not to give them more of  a variety of stimuli, but don’t let me bias you on that issue. They also have a lot of old tractors, an old bus, and an old fire truck, which are very popular with the kids. The kids can’t actually drive anything, mind you, but they climb up and pretend to drive.

Remlinger Farms 10

In addition, Remlinger Farms is host to a large fort/tree house thingy, which has a tunnel built into it, which kids seem to love.

Remlinger Farms 13

This alpaca looked even cuter/goofier than usual, as he had just been sheered. I’ve never understood why there are so many alpacas in the area. There used to be a lot more, but many of the alpaca farms have made way for housing developments. Oddly, we have a Llama lake in the area, but I’m not sure if I have ever seen a llama in the area. The lake was supposedly named after a llama farm that used to be there, but I sometimes suspect that an ignoramus named it “Llama Lake”, after an “alpaca farm”, so it should actually be called “Alpaca Lake”, which really doesn’t have the whole alliteration thing going for it. Of course, I don’t actually know how to tell the difference between an alpaca and llama myself.

Remlinger Farms 9

Anyway, Dora had fun at Remlinger Farms and I didn’t have to fight any traffic, so all in all, it was a fun day.

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Labels: Things To Do Around Seattle
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Blueberry Picking at Mercer Slough Blueberry Farm

Blueberry Picking 2

Yesterday, we went blueberry picking at the Mercer Slough Blueberry Farm, which is located in Bellevue, which is the largest city on the Eastside of Seattle. Bellevue doesn’t have a lot in the way of big museums, but it is a wonderful city for natural and historical outings. I had never taken the any of my kids blueberry picking before, because none of the them likes blueberries and blueberries are not my favorite either. At the farm, however, I had blueberries that I truly loved for the first time in my life. These tasted nothing like what you get in the store.

Blueberry Picking 3

Dora’s method of blueberry picking was “One for me, one for the bucket, two for me, one for the bucket, three for me….”. I felt a bit guilty about this, as you pay by the pound, but I was hoping that take some sampling into account when they price the berries. She just kept going on about how delicious they were and I just couldn’t say “no, you have to wait to eat this healthy fruit”. I did the majority of the picking, so we still bought plenty. We also bought the most delicious peaches from their produce stand. It is a bit of drive for us, but I may make more of an effort to shop there in the future, given the large variety of fresh and local produce that they had. It also seemed like it would be a good place to bring a picnic lunch and then go hiking in the slough, as there is a trail head right there.

Blueberry Picking 1

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Labels: Things To Do Around Seattle
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Fieldtrip to Monroe Reptile Zoo

Reptile Zoo 1

Dora has been very interested in animals lately. We’ve been going to the zoo almost once a week. The zoo has a petting zoo with goats and sheep, but what Dora has really wanted to “pet”, has been a snake. I have no idea why she wanted to pet a snake, but she has been quite insistent upon it. So I took her to a somewhat local reptile zoo, which we have never been to in all the years that we have lived here. Dora got to hold a snake for quite some time. Then, just when the curator had to go run answer the phone, Dora decided that she was tired of holding the snake, so I got to hold the snake! That had not been part of the plan and I was very glad when another mother offered to take it so her daughter could hold it.

Reptile Zoo - Holding a Snake 2

What I was excited to see, was this Green Anaconda.

Reptile Zoo - Green Anaconda 1

See the “Crawl Underneath” sign? Dora wouldn’t do it, but I was more than happy to do it. It looked really cool underneath. Unfortunately, the snake was so long, that from underneath, I was not able to fit it’s entire body in one photo.

Reptile Zoo - Green Anaconda 3

I would not want to run into one of those in the wild! It was several times longer than me and it’s circumference was at least as big as my head! Here is a sign giving more details about this snake.

Reptile Zoo - Green Anaconda 2

Note the part that says “At this point, the female may consume one of the courting males to sustain her over the duration of her gestation period.” I think human males should take note of that and remember it the next time they think their pregnant wife is being too demanding by asking for a foot rub, or for an exotic midnight snack, or acting a bit moody.

Reptile Zoo - Draco the Black Mamba

The museum also had this black mamba, named Draco. According to the information sign, the black mamba is the deadliest snake in the world. Even with antivenin (why isn’t it spelled “antivenom” I wonder?), the survival rate of people who are bit by these snakes is only 50%. Scary, indeed!

Reptile Zoo - Day Gecko

This is a day gecko. It is not as obvious in this photo, but it really blended in with it’s terrain. It took us quite a while to find this one and we never were able to locate the second one. This provided a wonderful opportunity for us to discuss camouflage.

Reptile Zoo - Jolly the Florida Soft Shell Turtle

The cutey in the photo above is Jolly, the Florida soft shelled turtle.

Reptile Zoo - African Bullfrog

This stern looking blob is an African bullfrog. We also saw many other animals, including skinks, alligators, geckos, iguanas, etc.

Reptile Zoo - Media Room 2

The museum also has a “media room” with every reptile book or magazine imaginable. Oh yeah, it also has a movie going at all times, such as the one above. That image is of a snake’s mouth, while it is eating a rat, whole.

Reptile Zoo - Tarantula 1

Finally, there were the humongous spiders.

Reptile Zoo - Tarantula 2

I got tons of more cool photos, but I’m thinking I shared enough for most people’s tolerance levels (that is assuming that you are even still reading this post by this point). All I can say, is that Dora loved the place and wants to know when we can go back.

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Labels: Science, Things To Do Around Seattle
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Bellevue Botanical Garden’s Ravine Experience

Vivi, Dot, Newton, and Linus at Botanical Gardens 2

We recently went to the new Ravine Experience at Bellevue Botanical Garden with some friends. Dora was so excited to be seeing her friends, she refused to eat any breakfast and as a result, was a big stinker for the actual garden tour. So I don’t have any good pictures of the garden. This photo above is of the suspension bridge that you cross to see the ravine. The foliage is your typical Pacific Northwest gorgeous scenery, but the actual ravine is what makes the experience worth the hike. It is not often that one gets to cross over a 150’ ravine. I was a little worried that Dora would be afraid of the suspension bridge, as she is afraid of the bouncy bridges at parks, but she eagerly ran ahead and had no fear of the height at all.

Vivi, Dot, Newton, and Linus at Botanical Gardens 3

This is one of the few photos I actually took. I thought this fallen tree being held up by another tree looked really cool.

Bellevue Botanical Garden is definitely a sight worth seeing if you are ever in the Seattle area. They have a large variety of gardens, such as the Alpine Rock Garden,Yao Garden, Fuchsia Garden, etc. My absolutely favorite garden there is the Dahlia Garden, but obviously that is only if I time it right so that the dahlias are blooming. Many years ago, we went there with my in-laws. My father in-law, who has since passed away, knew all about the plants and flowers and it was his narration that initiated me into the world of plant appreciation. When we stumbled upon the Dahlia Garden, however, was the single moment when I became a passionate plant lover and gardener. Before that moment, I was of the “you’ve seen one plant, you’ve seen them all” mindset. Unfortunately, my father-in-law passed away before he could see the results of narration or before he could meet Dora, our little botanist. It has been almost a decade since he passed away from pancreatic cancer, and tonight is just one of those nights that I find myself missing him as much as I did the day he died, if not more.

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Labels: Social Studies, Things To Do Around Seattle
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

What We’ve Been Reading Wednesday–Handa’s Suprise

I posted previously about Handa’s Surprise – we used the book when we were studying the sense of taste. Recently, Dora has started requesting that I read it again, every….single…day. It is a wonderful book that really should be on more “Recommended Reading” lists. This time around, however, Dora was more interested in the African culture shown in the book and the various animals that eat each piece of fruit as Handa is walking by. Reading this book has made Dora absolutely obsessed with Africa! In fact, during a variety of her imaginary games, she will say that various people or dolls are going to Africa for various reasons. Dora also has started trying to carry various things on her head, just like Handa does. One of Tertia’s best friends was from Kenya and visits there frequently.  I’m afraid to admit it, but her stories of malaria and the anti-malaria medication possible side effects (which I just know I would suffer) have made me very nervous about visiting Africa. Not to mention the fact that she got badly sunburned there, so I cannot even begin to imagine what would happen to my fair skin! Obviously, if Dora continues to be this obsessed with Africa, I will have to get over my malaria-phobia,  invest in some super SPF sunscreen, and take her there. In the interim, I do think it is time to bring out some geography materials!  

Woodland Park Zoo 10

Since Dora was so interested in the animals in the book, some of which are less common, we took a trip to the Woodland Park Zoo. Overall, it was a good day for a trip to the zoo. It was a bit cloudy, so it wasn’t too crowded (though driving there was H-E-double hockey sticks and I would like to point out that allowing street parking in the right lane on the main road to the zoo is very stupid). Anyway, we went in a different entrance than we usually do and went in the opposite direction that we usually go. The highlight of the trip for Dora was the Willawong Bird Station, where they sell seed sticks that you can feed birds with (parakeets, cockatiels, and parrots). We spent about on hour there!

Woodland Park Zoo 11

After we left the bird station, we stumbled upon the snow leopard right after it had been fed a huge piece of meat (I have no idea what type of animal it was eating). I believe that is the only time the snow leopard came out of it’s cave the whole day. So we were very lucky to be able to see this beautiful animal.

Woodland Park Zoo 14

We saw many animals, but one of the more unusual animals that we were able to see was the tree kangaroo, which never moved at all. It was kind of freaky, I couldn’t tell if it was sleeping with its eyes open or having some sort of weird staring contest, but it stood in this exact position for at least five minutes.

Woodland Park Zoo 13

In addition, I have never seen a sloth bear anywhere else, but the Woodland Park Zoo. They make you want to hug them while you are running away from them!

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Disclosure: Some item links in this post are affiliate links. I will make a small amount of money if you click on them and make a purchase. All opinions expressed, however, are 100% my own.

Labels: Literature, Social Studies, Things To Do Around Seattle
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Strawberry Picking and Baking

Strawberry Picking 1

It is strawberry season here, so we went to a u-pick field. Dora was not super interested in picking strawberries this year, partly because she wanted to start eating them as soon as we started picking! Unfortunately, they were covered in mud, so there was no way I was going to let her eat any right off the bush. I am hoping that next year, we will be able to get enough from our own garden that we will not need a u-pick field. The few strawberries that do have growing in our yard are not covered in mud at all, so it seems like the u-pick field is using soil that is more mud-prone.

After we managed to pick two pounds of strawberries, Secunda, who had gone with us, mentioned that she was going to make cupcakes with the strawberries that she had picked. So Dora immediately wanted to make cupcakes with our strawberries. We used this recipe Sprinkles Strawberry Cupcake recipe. I have never been to Sprinkles, as they are not located near us, so I can’t compare. I did make them using King Arthur Flour’s White Whole Wheat Flour, so they were on the healthier end of the cupcake spectrum, but they still were gobbled up pretty quickly (and still didn’t qualify as healthy).Strawberry Cupcake

I would mention that if you decide to make this recipe, puree enough strawberries for both the cupcakes and the frosting at the same time. By the time I realized I needed to puree strawberries for the frosting, I had already put my food processor away and all the parts in the dishwasher. So I fudged things by mashing the strawberries with a fork instead. Which is part of why the frosting on our cupcakes looks a bit weird (the other part being that Dora lost all interest in the project and was throwing a tantrum, because I wasn’t playing with her and because she wanted a cupcake NOW, not when they would be done).

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Labels: Montessori, Things To Do Around Seattle
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Crazy Fieldtrip to the Pacific Science Center

Pacific Science Center 3

This afternoon, Dora and I spontaneously decided to go to the Pacific Science Center. When we arrived at the Pacific Science Center parking lot, there was a sign stating that the parking lot was closing at 4:00 PM, which was odd. “Oh well,” I thought, “I’ll just park in one of the other parking lots.” And this, my dear friends, is when things turned ugly. Firstly, my favorite Seattle Center parking lot has been converted into apartments. In addition, I had not realized that every school in Seattle was on a fieldtrip to the Seattle Center today, so there were a bazillion buses, teachers, and students to navigate around. Nor did I know that they were setting up for the Northwest Folklife Festival today, which meant that a lot of lanes were blocked by trucks and even more people were darting across the road, right in front of my car.

Pacific Science Center 2

I eventually found parking on the opposite side of the Seattle Center, which meant a long walk. This would have been fine, as the weather had turned out to be quite fine by this point, except that the main reason we had decided to go the Pacific Science Center was to see a preschool planetarium show, which started at 1:30. I had arrived at the Pacific Science Center’s parking lot at 12:45, but by the time I navigated around all the people, buses, and trucks, parked my car, walked all the way to the Science Center, and waited in line to get tickets, it was 1:45.

Pacific Science Center 1

Even worse, the King Tut exhibit just opened yesterday and everyone and his brother was there to see it. Then, more bad news, the Science Center was closing early, at 3:30! To add insult to injury, many of the displays were closed as the staff prepared for the evening charity event that they were closing the museum early for. Plus, the people working there were just rude about the whole thing. They were so fixated on setting up for tonight, they made us feel like unwelcome guests, who had overstayed their visit. The whole experience made me so mad, I never wanted to go to the place again.

Pacific Science Center 4

Except…. Dora was in heaven! She had no idea that any of the exhibits were closed and she was also oblivious to the science center staff’s rudeness. She spent twenty minutes just in the Gemini capsule model, pretending to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere. She also loved the IMAX To the Arctic 3D movie that we saw, which was about polar bears (she clearly has inherited my father’s love of documentaries!). After watching the movie, we caught the tail end of the live science demonstration, which was about bubble physics. The photo at the top of this post is of the guy lighting hydrogen bubbles. Pretty awesome! Pacific Science Center 11

Plus, when we left the museum, there was a cotton candy stand and Dora got her first taste of this culinary delicacy. That alone, is reason enough to go back in Dora’s opinion! So I guess we’ll go again, except next time we’re taking a bus so that I don’t have to fight the Seattle Center traffic and find a parking spot.

As an aside to any local readers, they are now calling the Center House, “The Armory”. It ends up that it used to be an armory. I really can’t see myself ever referring to it as “The Armory” though. It’s been the “Center House” as long as I’ve lived here and there is absolutely nothing militaristic about it in my opinion. In fact, I couldn’t even remember the name when I got home and had to look it up. I wonder what the reasoning for the name change was….

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Labels: Science, Things To Do Around Seattle
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Visiting Our Farmer’s Market

Farmer's Market 1

Our city’s farmer’s market opened last week and Dora has already become obsessed with it. I hope she can still enjoy it in the summer, when it starts getting much more crowded. Of course, it is outdoors, so that gets her in a great mood right off the bat, regardless of the weather, but she is also absolutely fascinated with the wide variety of produce, crafts, foods, etc. Today, there was someone doing henna tattoos for $5 and I seriously contemplated getting one and am kind of regretting that I didn’t do it while I had a chance. Also, someone brought a goat, which I found to be a bit ironic, given that dogs are not allowed at the market. They also have a kids’ craft table every week and one of the local Montessori schools always brings some Montessori materials. I feel kind of weird about hanging out at their booth, when I have no intention of sending her to their school, but she zeroes in on it the minute we arrive. It is kind of fun to listen to the teachers discuss Montessori with prospective students’ parents. The fact that most of the teachers and a large percentage of the parents are from India kind of adds some extra flavor to the conversation, I always love listening to their melodic English pronunciation. I’ve begun to wonder if Montessori is particularly popular in India. It certainly seems to be a popular choice amongst the Indian parents here.

Farmer's Market 2

Dora’s favorite part of the market is the music, of course. Every week they have a local performer/band. She and many other young girls just run up to the “stage” and dance. Last week, the performer joked that it was the largest “mosh pit” that he had ever had or probably will have (this is probably true as he was an acoustic musician).

Farmer's Market 4

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Labels: Things To Do Around Seattle
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Visiting the Seattle Japanese Garden in the Spring

Japanese Gardens in the Spring 1

Dora and I went to the Seattle Japanese Garden this week, while Gohan was doing his annual standardized testing. I had thought that as part of our tree studies, we would look at the cherry trees, assuming there would be many in a Japanese garden. While, cherry blossoms abound in the Seattle area, there was nary a one to be found in the gardens… Or so I thought at first. It ends up that there are some cherry trees in the Japanese Gardens, in fact they even have their own plaque, but they do not look like the cherry tree blossoms that I am used to. The ones that we have around Seattle, which ironically do not produce cherries BTW, look like these (photo source Wikipedia):

The cherry trees that are at the Seattle Japanese Gardens, look like these:

Japanese Gardens in the Spring 4

Japanese Gardens in the Spring 5

A close-up of the plaque that Dora is “reading” in the photo above,  

Japanese Gardens in the Spring 7

The photos don’t quite make it clear, but the Mt. Fuji Cherry blossoms are about four times larger than the ones that we usually see.

Another major attraction of the Japanese Gardens is the koi pond, which really is large enough to be called a lake. Unfortunately, visitors are not allowed to feed the koi during the cooler months, but Dora spent about half an hour watching the koi anyway.

Japanese Gardens in the Spring 10

The turtles in the pond are alive and will eventually move, if you watch them long enough.

Japanese Gardens in the Spring 12

I’m not sure what the source for the stream that runs through the Japanese Garden is, but the water seemed to be flowing faster now than it has been in the fall.

Japanese Gardens in the Spring 2

This was the first time that Dora was able to navigate the stepping stones by herself and she was rather proud of herself for it. There are several places where you can either cross the by  bridge or stepping stones. Needless to say, Dora always chose the stepping stones.

Japanese Gardens in the Spring 3

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Labels: Nature Study, Things To Do Around Seattle
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Preschool at Home–The Sense of Hearing

Snowpocalypse 2012 3

This week has been insane for us! Mr. Mo had to go to Whistler, Canada for a meeting for work. I know, I know, it is hard to feel sorry for someone who has to go to a ski resort for a meeting. This was really bad though, as a HUGE storm rolled into the area the very day he had to leave. Fortunately, he was able to get a ride with a co-worker that is very skilled in winter driving (he is even skilled at dodging all the bad winter drivers that reside in Seattle – majorly important here). Meanwhile, however, I was home alone with all five kids and a HUGE storm rolling. Did I mention that it was HUGE? We’re talking snopocalypse 2012 here! At first it was all pretty and nice and we played in the snow, made snowmen, snow slides, snow dogs, snow angels, etc. We even tormented Gohan and Primo by throwing snowballs at their windows, since they were poopyheads and wouldn’t come out and play in the snow. Then, the snow became not so fun. It turned to ice, not sure exactly how. Everything got covered in ice, then it snowed again, then things kind of melted, then things froze again. So we had ice on top of snow on top of ice on top of snow (got that?). In Seattle, that means “snowbound”. You know how it goes, I had no desire to go anywhere, but the minute I realized that we were snowbound, the cabin fever set in and the LONGEST day of my ENTIRE life started. Then Secunda and Tertia started arguing like they were preschoolers or something. Then the power went out. Ugh! Then Mr. Mo’s co-worker somehow managed to get Mr. Mo home from Canada. Then the power came back on. Yay! Then we learned that someone had totally hacked a bunch of Mr. Mo’s internet accounts. Boo!

Caitlin and Vivi in Snow 1

We were not entirely without homeschooling during the power outage and snopocalypse. We played tons of board games, read a lot of books, and I pulled out some of the Steve Spangler science items that I keep on hand just for emergencies such as this. We made giant jelly marbles, which we soaked in water that we had colored purple with some of the color fizzers. Secunda even went so far as to experiment with poking with the marbles with toothpicks and freezing them, which Dora found fascinating.

Jelly Marbles 1

Jelly Marbles 3

Jelly Marbles 4

Jelly Marbles 5

And because we didn’t have enough snow to keep us occupied, we also made Insta-snow.

InstaSnow

As I mentioned last week, Dora and I started studying the five senses last week. The sense of smell didn’t go over so well last week, as I mentioned in my post about smelling bottles. This week, however, the book I ordered for the smell unit arrived and thankfully that went over very well. It was a scratch-n-sniff book, which I honestly had forgot even existed. It was called Little Bunny Follows His Nose, and was originally published in 1971. According to some reviewers, they’ve removed some of the best scents, but when I read this book to Dora, you would have thought I had just shown her the secret to eternal youth or something. She thought the book was the coolest thing since sliced bread. I read that book, many, many times this week. The reason the book went over so much better than the smelling bottles is that the scents in the book are very subtle, so no headaches for either of us.

Sound Cubes

This week, we also studied the sense of hearing. All in all, it was a good unit. We worked with sound cubes, which Dora loved and was quite skilled at matching. We read the Hearing (Five Senses) (last week, we read the sense of smell book from the series, which is entitled Smell (Five Senses)). These books are written at the perfect level to introduce Dora to the senses, there is one book for each sense. She has been really engaged by each one, thus far. In addition, we read/sang My Favorite Things, which we both really loved (seriously, how could anyone not enjoy singing that song?).  The book has the lyrics, which can just be read as a poem, assuming you can resist belting out your best imitation of Julie Andrews. Each page is beautifully illustrated with gentle drawings and now is one of my favorite things.

For math we worked with the first tray of the geometric cabinet. I know, I know, all you Montessorians, the geometric cabinet is a sensorial work! In my mind, a lot of the sensorial work overlaps with math. Geometry is a math subject, so I am going to call some sensorial work “math work” for now on. And this is my domain, so I get to make the rules (ha ha! get the pun, it’s my “domain”, but it is also my “domain”, as in my web address! Aren’t I punny?). For you non-Montessorians, the geometric cabinet is a cabinet with six drawers of different shapes. The drawer we worked with was various sizes of circles and we just kind of introduced the drawer and discussed circles and Dora lined them up in order of smallest to biggest. Then we read 12 Ways to Get to 11, which is a highly reviewed book, but honestly I didn’t think it was that great. For one thing, counting to 11 gets old really fast, so I really didn’t want to do it on each two-page spread. Secondly I just found parts of it to be confusing. For instance, one two-page spread reads, “In the hen yard, five eggs, three cracking open, two beaks poking out, and one just hatched.” Which to me means that 3 out of 5 of the eggs are cracking open, two of which have a beak poking out, and one of which is hatched. Instead it means that there are five eggs, plus three cracking eggs, plus two eggs with beaks poking out, plus one just hatched egg, which equals 11 eggs in all. Anyway, the book just didn’t click with us. Dora didn’t even want to read it to begin with and I kind of had to bribe her to get her to let me read it to her.

Watercolor Painting 1

We art, Dora has been doing a lot of watercolor painting with Stockmar Watercolor Paints. I’m going to say that when these arrived, I had no idea how to mix them and there were no instructions. I did some research and really didn’t find much help on the internet. I finally just started mixing small amounts of the paints into jars of water until I achieved the desired concentration. These paints are very expensive, but as everyone will tell you, they will last forever, because you use so little of the actual paint to make a jar of paint. The jars and holder were a separate item. You could just use recycled jars or storage tubs that you already own to store your paints. You don’t throw them out every time you mix up a batch of paint, though I am unsure of how long they can be stored. I’ll try to post and update about how long we end up storing ours for. Even Secunda and Tertia have joined in on the fun with these paints. I personally have been frustrated with my inability to achieve the exact color I want by blending paints (like how hard is it to make brown?!?!), but I seem to be the only one feeling that way, so I think it is just me being a bit too OCD-ish.

Child Sized Masterpieces

Dora has also been playing with the Child-size Masterpiece cards a lot the last couple of months and is already on Level 3, Advanced!

Pike's Place Market 1

Our fieldtrip was supposed to be to go to a Seattle Symphony kids’ concert, but once Dora learned that we would be going to watch other people sing and dance, instead of other people watching her sing and dance, she wanted nothing to do with such audacity. Last week, however, we did go to Pike’s Place Market to try to smell a variety of smells. Unfortunately, the only one we really smelled was the fish market and they weren’t even throwing fish around (they are kind of famous for their fish throwing there, yep, one of Seattle’s claim to fame is that we have famous fish throwers, yep….). Honestly, I’ve never quite seen the appeal of Pike’s Place Market. It is like a giant farmer’s market, but inside. I find it kind of depressing and the parking borders on downright scary. They do have some quaint little shops, but whenever I have been there, the shops are too crowded for me to go in (we’re talking the middle of January here, so what it is like in the summer, I don’t know, maybe less crowded as everyone wants to be outside instead????). There was a used bookstore there that I really wanted to go into, but I just couldn’t get in without having to shove people aside. They had some really nice quality children’s classic books in their window though, so I gave some serious contemplation to forcing my way in, but neither Dora nor I are good in crowds.

And that, my dear readers is our week in a not-so-short synopsis. How was your week? I know a lot of other places that don’t usually get snow have been getting it, while places that usually get snow aren’t. Global warming/cooling/chaos I guess????

Disclosure: Several item links in this post are affiliate links. I will make a small amount if you click on them and make a purchase. All opinions expressed, however, are 100% my own.

I’m linking this post to The Play Academy at NurtureStore and…

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Labels: Montessori, Preschool, Things To Do Around Seattle, Wrapping Up Our Week
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff