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Thursday 30 August 2012

First Day of School

Yesterday was Ava's first day of Kindergarten.

Finally a big school kid!

Now to clear up any confusion the last sentence may have caused people back home in Australia, let me just point out that Kindergarten in the States is not the same as what we call Kindergarten in Australia. Here Kindergarten is the first year of proper school, or what we call Reception (or Prep) in Australia. What we call Kindergarten in Australia is simply called Pre-School in America.  

Ok, now that probably created more confusion than it cleared up!

Ava has been so excited about starting "Big Girl School" and has been waiting for this day for such a long time. Had we been in Australia we would have had this day about seven months ago so it's been a long time in the making.

Back in the olden days when my brother, sister and I all started school our Mum took a photo of us in our school uniform, back pack on and heading out the front door. I recreated the nostalgia yesterday by snapping the exact same shots of Ava. Alas, there is no school uniform but the sentiment is the same.

I couldn't decide if we should take the photo as we left our apartment or as we left the building. We decided to go with both. Lola just had to be in the photo too. I seem to recall that I might have had a shadow in the form of my little brother in my first day of school photos too!

Ava leaves the apartment ready for school

Tuesday 28 August 2012

Last day of freedom!

Today was Ava's last day of Summer vacation - and therefore her last day of freedom before school starts!

It was a beautiful day here in Berkeley so we thought we'd visit a few of Ava's favourite parks. We hung out in Codornice's Park with friends for a little while and then headed to Live Oak Park for a splash in the creek.

Sitting on a bridge at Live Oak Park

Monday 27 August 2012

Hanging Succulent Terrarium Workshop

Recently I attended another workshop at Utsuwa Floral Design. This time the project was a hanging succulent terrarium - a project that I'd been hanging out for. Pardon the bad pun!

I already had a few of these mouth blown glass hanging terrariums at home with air plants (tillandsia) in them.  I like the dainty look of the air plants in the delicate glass but I must admit that the succulent terrarium is now my favourite. 

Succulent terrarium hanging in our lounge room window

Cooking with Kids: Pumpkin Scones

Last week the girls and I caught up with some of our little friends for a morning of baking. We've done this a few times now. The first time we made sugar cookies together and this time we made pumpkin scones.

Lola loves her scones

Sunday 26 August 2012

Countdown to Disneyland!

In just under two weeks' time we'll be in the happiest place on earth! That's right, we're going to Disneyland!

We'll be meeting up with my little sister in Los Angeles and spending the weekend in Disneyland before road-tripping back to the Bay Area.

To help get into "Disney mode" I've been looking back on photos from our 2005 trip to Disneyland. I thought I'd share some of them with you here on Little Hiccups.

I'm sure this Disney adventure will be much different to our first - no kids first time around.

Expect to see many more Disney photos here come mid September!

Mickey Mouse ears? Check. Mickey Mouse t-shirt? Check.

Take me out to the ballgame...

Ok, ok, so that is probably the most overused title when it comes to things baseball related but I just couldn't help myself.

Last Sunday we attended our first baseball game as a family. Kim had been a to a few games with workmates but the girls and I were total newbies when it came to "America's favourite pastime".
Kim had previously attended San Francisco Giants games but this time we supported our local team and attended an Oakland A's vs Cleveland Indians game at the Oakland Coliseum.

Lola having a ball at the game!

Friday 24 August 2012

Pedalfest 2012

This last weekend was a busy one for us here in Berkeley. On Saturday we attended the annual bike festival Pedalfest at Jack London Square in Oakland and on Sunday we went to our first family baseball game, also in Oakland. It was an Oakland weekend all round!

More about the baseball later, let's have a look at Pedalfest...

I bike Oakland

Saturday 11 August 2012

You've got mail...

Last week during a visit to Habitot I noticed Lola spending quite a bit of time playing with a wooden letterbox. She posted wooden letters over and over and seemed to be having loads of fun. I decided that a toy letterbox was just what the girls need at home and set about making one.

Ready to post a letter

In goes the letter

I found the perfect sized cardboard box from a recent Amazon delivery and started covering it with white duct tape. The tape adds strength to the box as well as a new colour. I cut out a slot on the front for the mail to go in and a door on the back for easy retrieval of mail. I used a looped pipe cleaner as a handle on the door to make it easier for little fingers to open.

Back of the letterbox

Then it was time to add a roof. I cut the roof shape from some bright orange card I had laying around and attached it with glue tape. The remaining orange cardboard was later rolled into a tube to become the pole. More on that later.

No letterbox is complete without a number so I cut out a nice big number one from cardboard and covered it with gold washi masking tape. I added a name plaque which was also made from cardboard and washi masking tape. These were both attached with glue tape.

We're number 1!

Now the only thing missing was a letterbox flag to indicate when the girls have mail. Like the number and name plaque this was made from cardboard and washi masking tape. I attached it to the side of the letterbox with a split pin so it can easily be moved up and down.

Lola moves the letterbox flag to signal that the mail has been delivered

Once the letterbox was complete it was time to install it outside the girls' bedroom. I attached the letterbox to the wall with a couple of Command Picture Hanging Strips. Once the letterbox was securely in place I positioned the cardboard pole underneath. The pole isn't actually attached the letterbox however it is jammed in quite tight between the bottom of the box and the floor so it doesn't move. The pole is purely for decoration and doesn't support the letterbox at all.

Lola and her letterbox

While I worked on the letterbox the girls worked on cardboard letters and postcards to play with. Ava made some lovely postcards from a tropical location.

Ava posts a few postcards

Looks like someone is on holiday in a tropical paradise

The girls really enjoy playing with their new letterbox and it looks right at home outside their bedroom door.

Here are some more photos of Lola and the letterbox in action.

I've got a letter to post
Posting a letter

In it goes

Ooh... what's in here?

Lola collects her mail

Thursday 9 August 2012

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

This Tuesday it was free entry day at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) so the girls and I went on an adventure in modern art.

Enigmatic Combat by Arshile Gorky was one of our favourites

Inspired by this post on Design Mom about visiting art galleries with kids, I decided to prepare a little treasure hunt for Ava to stave on the dreaded "I'm bored" comments which usually go hand in hand with kids and art galleries. Ava is quite fond of a treasure hunt and is always eager to hunt down every last item - no matter how boring it may seem for a five year old! I prepared a treasure hunt of eight paintings and two sculptures for Ava to track down. I made sure to select artworks that I knew would be currently on display at SFMOMA and that would be of interest to Ava. I also made sure that they were all located within relatively close proximity to each other within the museum. Visiting museums and galleries with small children always takes much longer than expected and I knew that we may have run out of time to finish the treasure hunt had I selected artworks spread out over the four floors of the museum. Had that happened, I know that Ava would have been quite upset.

Tuesday 7 August 2012

Bead Art

Friday was one of those cool, grey Bay Area Summer days when it's nicer to spend time indoors. Ava and I made the most of the cooler weather by working on a few crafty projects.

Our main project for the day was creating designs with Perler Beads - you know those little melty tube beads that come in a huge jar in a bazillion colours. Ok, so ours were actually Ikea Pyssla beads, but they're pretty much the same thing.

Bead heart
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