Friday, September 30, 2011

Wordle For Jack & Jill

Create your own word clouds at Wordle!  Serena made this one for her kitties.

Note: not that Serena was playing favourites, Jilly just doesn't like to cuddle like Jack Jack does!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

When I Grow Up...

Once in a while Daddy gets invited to some cool events to which we can tag along. Recently it was the opening night of Prototypes, "a design exhibition that dives deep into the role prototyping plays on developing a concept", presented by Burnkit Studio. We felt a bit out of place milling around the very trendy designer type crowd, and we weren't sure what to make out of these "prototypes". So to look like we fit in, I whipped out the camera and told Serena to snap some photos:

Perhaps by osmosis, Serena seemed inspired to take these very artistic shots. She first took a snapshot of her shadow. Then she worked her way around the room, asking me to turn the flash on and off as she saw fit. I could see her eyes scanning the room, not focusing on any particular objects, but noticing textures and angles and lighting effects. As we wandered through the designers' spacious office with their fancy Mac machines, I told Serena she has a keen eye for beauty, that she could be a designer and perhaps work here one day.

"No. I don't want to be a fashion designer anymore. I want to be an archaeologist."

A fickle child.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Monster Cannery

The Gulf of Georgia Cannery was built in 1894 in the historic fishing village of Steveston, not far from where we live. Given that we've walked by the Cannery about a thousand times, you'd think we would've visited this gem earlier. Better late than never!
The Monster Cannery (nicknamed for being the largest in B.C. until 1902) has a fastastic collection of canning machinery and historical photographs with great educational and interactive displays. The replica of the interior of a boat was a hit for Captain Serena.
Try tossing a fish or two with a peugh stick! It's trickier than it looks - just imagine a cannery dock worker hauling live salmon that were way heavier and all floppy and slippery in a giant pile. Serena tried weighing herself to see how much she would be worth if she were a salmon - about $7.50.  
We were all fascinated by the expansive canning line, from the iron butcher to the gang knives to the patching table and all the way to the giant retort where the crates of sealed salmon cans were cooked. The sliming table gave us a real appreciation of what mess and slime and odours that the cannery workers had to endure!

Get a grand video tour of the Monster Cannery from Chris on his blog, The Richmond Reel!

Related Reading:
"Cannery Life" by Rosemary Neering  - British Columbia Magazine (Winter 2010)
"My Monster Cannery" by Nat McHaffie

Thursday, September 22, 2011

It's NOT A Luna!

Oooopsy!  So what we thought was a luna moth caterpillar is not a luna moth caterpillar afterall! (See Luna Moth posting.)

We e-mailed the UBC Zoology Department regarding our discovery of an endangered moth caterpillar. They kindly notified us that "since Luna moths don't occur in Western Canada, I am guessing that the caterpillar you found will turn into a Polyphemus moth (Antheraea polyphemus)".

Poly whaaaat?!?!

SO, we looked up this poly guy and as you can see from the photo, it looks exactly like a luna moth caterpillar!!!  How on earth do you tell them apart you may ask? According to one website, "Luna moth caterpillars superficially resemble those of the polyphemus mothAntheraea polyphemus (Cramer), but differ because they have vertical yellow lines on each segment rather than single horizontal lines along each side of the body."  Who knew?

As much as the two caterpillars look alike, the moths they turn into most certainly do NOT look alike.  

Though sadly we didn't spot an endangered species, we've certainly learnt lots about moths!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Last Days of Summer

Our typical homeschool day...


Design & Construction:

"No, Mom!  This is NOT a raft!  We're building a hardwood floor for our house."


Finding equilibrium on a fulcrum:

"WHEEEEE!!  Look what we're doing!!  One-two-three, UP!!!  This is FUN!!!!"

Honing creative culinary skills:

"We are mixing bitter medicine.  It's good for you."
"I made a Christmas chocolate log!  Come look at our Christmas banquet table!"

Testing the velocity of cartwheels:

"I'm ddddizzzzzy!!"


[Okay, perhaps this isn't our typical day, but 22 degrees sunshine in September isn't exactly typical either!]

Monday, September 19, 2011

Luna Moth

Reporting live from Capella House, this is Serena Ippel:


News!  News!  News!

This morning we went to the park next to our house to play with my new basketball.  We were just practicing balance on the log, when I saw the largest green caterpillar in the universe!  It was green with red and pink hairy dots all over it and a brown head.  It was very fat, the size of my pointer finger!  We couldn't take any pictures because Mom didn't have her camera with her - disaster!!





We went home and looked online to find out what it was.  We found out that it was a luna moth caterpillar.  The luna moth is green with some purple & brown eyes on each wing.  It is very pretty for a moth!  It's got tails on the bottom of its wings.  It is nocturnal and it doesn't eat!  It only lives up to a week.  It's one of the largest moth in North America and it is also on the list of endangered species!


Watch this very interesting video on the luna moth life cycle!

Honeybee Centre

We love field trips, a fun and hands-on approach to learning!  Our first YNC field trip this school year was at the Honeybee Centre in Surrey.  They have a very cool glass beehive where we observed a working honeybee colony in action. Serena and her friend managed to spot the queen bee with their keen little eyes! (Can you spot her in the picture above?)

The kids had a chance to explore the lab freely with its honey extractor, beekeepers' tools, skep (man-made old fashioned bee hive), etc.  The honey sampling station was a hit.  Serena's favourite is the orange blossom honey, a delicate flavour for a delicate lady!

A beekeeper used a tool called a smoker to calm the bees before prying a sticky frame out from the hive for us to see.

Once the bees have filled the combs with honey, the beekeeper puts the frame in the honey extractor which spins and removes the honey by centrifugal force.

The centre also has a Bees & Bugs Lab where our junior entomologists explored the world of creepy crawlies, and learned about the differences between insects and arachnids.

A honeybee joke by Serena:
What did the mother honeybee say to the father honeybee when she came home from shopping?
"Honey, I'm home!"

Related Worksheets: 1109Honeybees.pdf

Saturday, September 17, 2011

BC Thanksgiving Food Drive

This past Monday, Serena & I distributed 150 flyers in our neighbourhood to support the BC Thanksgiving Food Drive, a province wide initiative to collect food for the local food banks during the Thanksgiving season.

On collection day this morning, we returned to all 150 houses to pick up donations.   We got 18 bags of food weighing in at 134 lbs!

Serena made an interesting observation - almost none of the big fancy mansions put donations out.  Daddy made the comment that often it is people with the least who give the most...


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Faith of a Child

"If Jesus already died on the cross to wash away all our sins, why do we still have sin?"


"Good question...", that's all I was able to mutter when Serena stumped me with her question this morning.

We've been using "Training Hearts, Teaching Minds: Family Devotions Based on the Shorter Catechism" for our daily Bible study.  This week's topic is on the Trinitarian nature of God, not exactly the easiest concept to tackle.  Just when I wondered if she's getting anything out of our catechism study since we started this summer, she asked one insightful question that reminded me why Jesus loves little children.

And he said, "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."  (Matthew 18:3)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

All The World's A Stage

And all the men and women merely players.  They have their entrances and their exits.  And one man in his life plays many parts. - Jaques in As You Like It


Serena had her first taste of Shakespeare, taking in As You Like It at Bard on the Beach.  She particularly enjoyed the interplay between the four lovesick couples, with Touchstone and Audrey being her favourite "because they are so funny!". She also got a kick out of the idea that since women were not allowed to act in Shakespeare's time, Rosalind would've been played by a man pretending to be a woman (Rosalind) pretending to be a man (Ganymede)!

Monday, September 5, 2011

VanDusen Botanical Garden

"God writes the gospel not in the Bible alone, but on trees and flowers and clouds and stars." (Anonymous)


Serena has always had an affinity to flowers.  Our kitchen is littered with little bowls of water with flower buds and petals she collects every time she's outside.  Thank goodness for the invention of digital camera, I obediently submitted to her request for a photo of every flower she saw at the VanDusen Garden.  It was a glorious day in our final stretch of summer.

As we wandered through the garden, we stumbled upon Zimsculpt, a world-touring exhibit of stone sculptures from Zimbabwe.

We discovered the VanDusen maze made up of 3,000 pyramidal cedars with a monkey puzzle tree in the centre.  Serena and Daddy found their way out of the labyrinth in 2 minutes flat.  It would've taken a lot longer with her directionally-challenged Mommy!

Like Daddy, Serena has an eagle eye for all living things in nature.  Of course, every little critter spotted needs to be captured on camera.

Serena is getting quite proficient at snapping pictures with the digital camera herself.  This one is her favourite and best shot yet.

Perhaps we'll have an Indian summer and "back-to-school" will just have to wait...