Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tide Pools (Day 2 - Monterey Bay)

On our 2nd day in California, we went to see the tide pools at Monterey Bay. We were fortunate that there was a low tide just about the time it fit in our schedule - around 9:30 am.

We met another mom and her 2 children who live in California and come here a few times a year. The mom was very helpful with identifying things for us.

periwinkles - a type of snail

goose-necked barnacles

green sea anemones

sea star (possibly ochre sea star - we were told there were many around here)

tiny crab hiding


and, a large sea star... eating! don't you love its little tube feet?

We were going to study sea stars before our trip, but didn't get around to it. We might do that now. There is a great looking lapbook at Homeschool Share.

Also, I was thrilled to see so many of the "critters" that we'd seen last year in San Diego! I felt like I knew more this time since I'd already learned about some of our "finds" last year.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Sunset Cruise (Day 1 - Monterey Bay)

On our first evening, we went on a private sunset cruise in Monterey Bay. It was amazing!!!

I had used TripAdvisor and found that Captain Christian with Bella Monterey Bay was highly recommended as the number one attraction. We totally agree! It was an amazing sailing experience.

You can see that Alex was having lots of fun. My brother got to join us for the first 3 days of our trip, so it was just Captain Christian, my brother, my mom, Alex and myself in the beautiful bay. My brother has sailed quite a bit and he got to sail for part of the evening. And, I got to sail (under motor power) for about the last 45 minutes or so. I was getting a little sea sick and it really helped. I couldn't believe that he let me sail right up to the end - even around docked boats! (I was worried, but I didn't hit anything.) He just took over at the very end. (I know my brother has some pictures of me, so I'll try to post them when I get them.)

As we were first sailing,we got to see lots of sea lions who were lying out on the rocks near the docks. I loved it!

Then, you should have heard me scream when we saw our first otter!!! How neat! We ended up seeing quite a few otters, though we were never really close. We even saw (& heard!!) a baby otter with its momma. 

This is Captain Christian. He was so great with all of us and really helped us to have a wonderful time. He ended pulling up 2 crab traps (with my brother at the helm). One trap was empty, but there was one crab in the other (and a sea cucumber, but it fell off and we didn't get to see it up close... too bad!) Anyway, the biggest surprise was that Captain Christian cooked us dinner! We ate that crab and another he had on ice. Oh, it was so yummy! Then, he prepared us some calamari from some squid he'd recently caught. He hammered it out really thin and put some seasoning on it. It was so amazing!!! What a wonderful way to end our beautiful evening.

We're Home from San Francisco!!!

On Saturday night, we got home from our week-long trip to San Francisco and Monterey Bay, California. What an amazing trip! We were worn out, but we had so much fun and saw and did so many wonderful things!!! It was hard to come home, but we are glad to BE home!

So, I have about 1,400 photos!!! Where do I begin??? :-)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Chinatown in San Francisco

While preparing for our trip to San Francisco, we have been looking through and reading articles from  National Geographic Traveler: San Francisco. It is the first time I've used one of their travel guides, and I am really enjoying it! They have lots of articles... and lots of photos!

We will be taking a tour while we are in San Francisco and will be passing through Chinatown. We read an interesting article in the book about Chinatown.

One event we found really interesting was the funeral procession.  In Chinatown, the procession is led by a small marching band. Then, there is a convertible with a large photo of the deceased followed by the hearse. The funeral procession goes through the area and often stops at the deceased's house to stop and play one song and move on. I found this video that shows an example and explanation of a funeral procession. (I think you'll have to watch a 15 second commercial first.)

Used with permission from Jimmie at Jimmie's Collage

A place we found interesting was the Chinese pharmacy. I'd actually read about these on Jimmie's Collage. The Chinese pharmacy has hundreds of little drawers filled with potential medicines - herbs, roots, etc. To fill a prescription, the pharmacy finds the ingredients they need, measure and weigh them, then boils them together to make a bitter liquid medicine.

We're excited about our trip and can't wait to visit Chinatown! And, we have a lot more reading to do!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Cherokee Homestead

I came across this post that I'd never posted and thought I'd go ahead and do it! It's from a Cherokee Homestead we visited in Tahlequah, Oklahoma two years ago. We had an amazing visit as we were the ONLY ones there... just Alex, me, and my husband's aunt. The tour guide asked Alex questions and answered questions from all of us.

grinding corn

washing clothes

carding the wool (I think that is what it is called)

 loading the spinning wheel

my turn!

repairing a building

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!

Happy St. Patrick's Day! It reminds me of our trip to Ireland this summer,
so I thought I'd re-post a few photos.

The "real", Irish Leprechaun she found.

At the beach in Dingle. (very cold!)

An ancient beehive hut.

Alex at the beautiful Cliffs of Moher.

The incredible harpist we listened to at Cliffs of Moher. (I now own 3 of her CDs.)

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Birdman of Alcatraz

In preparing for our trip to San Francisco and the Monterey Bay area, my brother suggested we watch Birdman of Alcatraz. The 1962 film stars Burt Lancaster and was filmed while the birdman of Alcatraz, Robert Stroud, was still living and imprisoned. He was in prison from 1909 until his death in 1963.

The film tells his amazing story and only about the last third takes place at Alcatraz. Much of the film describes how he became an expert on birds and their diseases, with only a 3rd grade education. I was amazed at Robert Stroud's level of dedication and learning while imprisoned. What an amazing story! And, there is a lot of "nature" woven into the story... you even get to watch a canary hatch! (And, though Alex and I really enjoyed it, I wouldn't recommend it for everyone. It does get violent at times and there are other parts you might want to monitor.)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Great Sites for Planning Vacations

As I'm busy preparing for our upcoming trip to San Francisco, I thought I'd share two sites I use to help in my planning.
 San Diego - January 2009

The first site is TripAdvisor.com. This site is great for finding both hotels and things to do. What I love most about it are the reviews. "Real people" who have really stayed in the hotels or went to the museums, etc, tell you what they think about them. You get to hear their experiences - the good and the bad. Also, the hotels and activities are then ranked in order of popularity. It really helps me to find some of the special things that I wouldn't have found otherwise.

Scotland - July 2009

The other site is Travel for Kids. What I like best about this site are the book lists. It gives you a book list (both picture books and books for other children) related to your destination. Although this site doesn't cover as many places as Trip Advisor, we have got to use it for Ireland, Scotland, San Deigo, Chicago, New York City, and now San Francisco.