Pick a pumpkin or two?

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Sunday we finally had a day out! Even though I still have not handed in my 3850-word report which is due this week, I felt good as I had edited the day before. So I got to go out to Ardenwood in Fremont and meet our friends for a catch up in the pumpkin patch and of course, ride the train and see the animals. I remember going ages ago when the kids were babies, now they just like to run around and chase the cool looking rooster away from his harem of ladies. It was quite random to land there and say oh the pumpkins are ready for Halloween and it is 30 days away!! In the wheelbarrow, the kids collected the pumpkins – that big mother pumpkin went to our friends and I just wanted a fairly small pumpkin to look festive around the place.

The kids were very excited to check out the pumpkins as I said to my hubby, “Who buys their pumpkin this early in October?” Well, it turns out we do, at least that errand is out of the way for this year! Our friends were laughing at the memories we have at pumpkin patches over the years – in Pescadero one year we went to a farm and saw gorillas pooping pumpkins ūüėÄ

As we met our friends on Sunday we did a bit of Fall shopping for Halloween decorations. I really like Halloween though I am not a fan of the crappy candy the kids get, we send it away with the Girl Scouts somewhere or overseas to my family to taste what bad candy is like. We found this Indian corn for sale to decorate around the place and the colours are just amazing Рyou can make beautiful necklaces with the kernels and they are so pretty.

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Our lovely pumpkin from the farm bought on the 1st day of October – no we really are not that organised otherwise the costumes would be with us too! The kids are still deciding on that?

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Back to work and reality, the observational drawings from our class of the cacti Рthe colours look amazing in real life. I really need to get out some watercolour and have a play when I am free again in the next couple of weeks only a couple of more days and my report will be handed in Рyippee!

This week we were doing 3 digit addition and a new game was bought in the classroom to play – this is Addition Spinners, where you spin to find two numbers and add them together to find the answer on the sheet and the first player to line up 4 numbers is the winner.

Variety of resources for fun Storytelling, Math, Science and Literacy (collected from my co-teacher):

Mystery Math Town provides a math challenge at various levels for children comfortable with math symbols and operations.

EPIC! – A fun reading app (used in class) – listen to stories, read a variety of books

You Cubed – Mathematics with Growth Mindset.

Make your own math kit – use ‚Äústuff‚ÄĚ from home to make developmental math manipulatives – with explanations and activity suggestions.

Greater Good Science Center – SEL for family and schools.

Thinking Blocks – bar models, story problems (iPad app used in class)

Problem of the Month – Math

National Geographic Kids – variety of activities, research projects, games, videos

Dream Box – math

My Story – great way to tell a story – upload photos, pictures, record and write, then share.

http://galileo.org/

http://wild.maths.org

http://nrich.maths.org

http://cut-the-knot.org

http://brilliant.org/

http://mathplayground.com

Today as I wanted the kids to have a bit of a stretch we ended up having a bit of fun with GoNoodle.

It was a hectic week and I am happy that I am nearly done with my report – this time my reward for this teaching period is to watch Twin Peaks new series so I am really excited about that as it came out when we were in Australia over the summer.

 

A piece a Week – Thanksgiving Camping at Little Basin State Park

Finally a week to relax and chill out РI mean literally! It was a two day week of school which was just lovely and the hubby and I got to go and see The Hunger Games РMockingjay part 2 which I loved! As it the trilogy was my favorite read over the summer. With the kids out from school from Wednesday it was time to just catch up on stuff and get ready for our visit to our friends place in Oakland for Thanksgiving. I made yummy key lime pies for dessert and we had a veggie feast of Quorn and amazing sides including a sweet potato mash bake with candied pecans Рyum! 
After our feast we had the leftovers ready for our weekend getaway of camping at Little Basin State Park РI booked the cabins in summer when we visited over June this year when it was nice and warm and I thought from our thanksgiving weekend at Napa last year with the rain it would be full of banana slugs. Unfortunately, this year we were like frozen popsicles due to super cold temperatures Рthe cabins are heated but with a heater that sits atop the ceiling it is quite inefficient!! As it turns out you can talk to the front office about getting a space heater for your cabin as they know! 
On our arrival the kids found the naturalist from the WOLF (Web of Life Field) School and we went searching for newts, slugs and fish in the creek Рthere was nothing to be found, the creek was dry and the weather was super cold! Not even a banana slug in sight, though we did find a lot of cool looking fungi. 
The kids with Sunshine the Naturalist from the WOLF school
The dark of night arrived just after 5pm and the weather was super cold by then and we had to get that extra layer of warmth on – meaning put on the thermals and add that extra knitted layer of cashmere plus another wool layer to keep the cold out. The fire was amazing but as soon as we hit the cabin it was a night of chills even in our sleeping bag and underneath a blanket – oh that space heater would have been amazing!!
Kids enjoying the fire at night after their one pot mac and cheese straight out of the Annie’s box

The next day after thawing out by the fire and having a very long breakfast and sleep in due to the super cold morning. Everyone stayed tucked away in our sleeping bags until one of the boys started a fire for breakfast. It was so icy cold and after breakfast we were ready for a short hike through the forest to get the blood flowing and some exercise.

From little trees big trees grow!

Playing with the equipment before the hike

Little berries on moss found on the hike

The morning we were leaving the overnight low was around -1 degrees C (30F) and the kids had found some frost on the ground which was so beautiful and very difficult to capture with a camera.

Their first discovery of frost on the weeds

A frosty stick 

Frosty stars in the grass

A frosty clover

Heading back for my breakfast of eggs in holes hot off a iron skillet on the fire I found some beautiful redwoods and acorns on the way back to the cabin. I always appreciate the view of the sunshine beaming through a grove of redwood trees.

Beautiful sunshine keep me warm!

An acorn family

Our cabin number 9 was a perfect hideaway

Thanks to some neighbors leaving on the Saturday who donated us some big logs of wood for our fire we were warm as toast for Saturday evening and Sunday morning it was pancakes on the grill by request of the kids.

Pancakes on the iron skillets – perfect!

Close up of the warmth of the fire, just toasty

Finally it was time to check out of camping and boy we were ready to head on home to our cozy houses and have a shower!

The gang outside our cabin ready to head on home!!

Camping Close Encounters

For a treat with our neighbours we all decided to go for a camping adventure together to Memorial Park in Loma Mar just near our favourite town of Pescadero. I have to say it was a successful trip for this time of year the mornings and evenings were quite chilly and during the day it was just lovely under the redwoods and by the creek. Here are some of my best pics of the weekend that was generally focussed on relaxing with some wine and eating.

I made some portobello mushrooms with camembert, goat cheese, tomato, guacamole & zucchini which were some parcels of an amazing combination of flavours. With the portobello I added a marinated tofu and grilled eggplant with tzatzaki made by my neighbour – I was quite full after that and then we topped it all off with campfire cones¬†by the fire with some pinot noir. I would have to say it was a successful trip camping together as we work so well as a camping team – it was just like staying overnight at our local park ūüėČ

Our dinner spread 
A vegetarian’s campfire dinner
Kiddos playing with the marshmallows
Sunlight through the redwoods

Homage to autumn

One of the many trees featured in my video

There is an awesome show of amazing colours around at the moment and as today is a beautiful autumn day complete with gusts of wind I had to go out and take some pictures to capture the trees before they are naked. I was just playing with my continuous shooting mode to see what would come to light – see the shots here.