Friday, October 31, 2008

Costume Party

The girls and I attended a costume party a couple of moms in our homeschool group put together last Wednesday. Gwen was lent this beautiful princess outfit by her friend, and Madelyn wore her twirly skirt and leotard to be a dancer.

The kids went from station to station in small groups. Here they are at the cupcake decorating station. The hostess of the party had her husband bring candy back from the US... I couldn't get enough of the candy corn!
Clever game idea.... how many pieces of candy corn can you move to the empty bowl in one minute, using only chopsticks?

Paper bag pumpkin painting station

The mom who hosted this party has this entire room in her home devoted to homeschooling... isn't it a lovely space, with all the windows?
Pumpkin bowling!

Update to "Dilemma"

They used 64 rolls, he says.

I did not buy any toilet paper. They managed that themselves.

I may take a little bike ride tomorrow morning to check it out.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


One of my sons wants to t.p. a house tomorrow night with some friends. You know, throw rolls of toilet paper up into trees so that it unrolls all through the branches, creating a lovely party-like atmosphere in the yard that is quite difficult to clean up, especially if it should happen to rain.


I know that this type is prank is all in good fun. It is common in the US. It is relatively harmless. Scott did this with his friends when we were in high school.

Here's the thing... my son (who at this point I shall keep anonymous, if you haven't already guessed which one I am talking about) has told me he wants to do this, that he has plans with his friends to do this deed to a certain girl's house tomorrow, and would I please buy the toilet paper for them? He promises he will give me the money, and I know he is good for it.


Somehow this makes me feel like an accomplice. I feel like if I buy the toilet paper, I am somehow condoning and even encouraging this activity.

Does it matter if I am an accomplice? Is toilet papering a house just harmless fun? My boy isn't trying to hide it from me, I'll give him that.

Any opinions?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


On the Li River, in Yangshuo... after our kayaking trip.
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Monday, October 27, 2008

River Trekking

A few more photos from Caleb's interim trip... the river trekking excursion, which was one of the highlights! Here Caleb heads up the trail. At the parent night, where the students did presentations about the trip, river trekking really sounded like it was a great adventure. This scene was described by one of the girls as a sort of impromptu synchronized swimming!
Yes, they climbed up that waterfall behind them in this photo, around the side, I think.
The two teachers on the trip relax in the water...

Snack break part way through the trek.
My son tells me that at this spot in the river trek, he did several flips off the rocks into the pool below... so glad he is here to tell me about it!
This is why you wear a wetsuit!
Around the next falls and still trekking...
Tired out from the trek.The Xiamen Interim trip crew! Caleb is second from the right, in the second row.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Friday, October 24, 2008

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Between one nap and the next....
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Moon Hill Hike

Yes, there are still more Yangshuo pictures!

This is Moon Hill... aptly named, as you can see. We hiked first to the "moon" portion, under the archway, and then to the very top of the arch. The first portion of the hike was all stone stairs, which were built for President Nixon's 1972 historic visit to China. The second part of the hike, to the tip top, was just a narrow and rocky trail. Nixon obviously didn't go to the top of the arch!

Bamboo seems to be a perfect canvas for graffiti in characters!In the shade in the "moon" portion of Moon Hill.
It was such a bright day we lost distance visibility in some of our photos... there were karsts as far as we could see.

This picture was taken on the very top, where we rested for a little while and had a snack. The panorama of karsts was awesome! Our guides told us that it is possible to repel from the top of Moon Hill... quite a long trip down. Maybe the next time we're in Yangshuo we'll try it.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Seth, the Soldier

Seth's 6th grade trip to Xi'an last week included a day visiting the site where the Terracotta Warriors were discovered in 1974 and are now being unearthed and restored. The soldiers date from 210 BC, when they were created to be buried with Emperor Qin Shi Huang, the first emporer of China. There are far more left to be unearthed than have been dug and and restored so far. The estimates are that there are a total of around 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots, and 520 horses... all created out of terracotta clay for Emporer Qin's use in the afterlife.
Here in the top of the photo you can see some of the jumbled soldiers that have begun to be dug out. In the lower part of the photo are restored soldiers.
Some of the horses being restored.
All photos are thanks to Seth!

Bike Nap

Last weekend toward the end of a long bike ride, Gwen asked, "Mom, do people sleep on bikes?"

I guess if they do, if they aren't the one doing the pedalling!
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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Yangshuo Faces

Love the contrast of these two beautiful faces... This older gentleman bargained happily with the girls for the items in his little basket. We were in a very old village here, where we landed at the end of our kayaking trip.

We couldn't get over the way this little girl's ponytails stuck straight up!
We passed this older man on the path in his village that we walked through to get to our climbing site. China Climb has an agreement with this village, that they provide some funding to help schools and such in return for allowing them to walk through the village to get to the climbing area with clients.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

6th Grade Trip

Seth is away this week, in Xi'an. He's the first in our family to get to see the amazing terra cotta warriors that Xi'an is famous for. Sixth grade is studying ancient Chinese history this year, so it's a perfect trip to go along with the topic. In addition to the warriors, the students are climbing a pagoda, eating lots of Chinese food, going to a Chinese music show, visiting a panda saving center, touring a Taoist temple, doing a "treasure hunt" in the Shaanxi History museum, learning some martial arts, going shopping on "Muslim Street", near the Great Mosque, and doing Taiji on the ancient city wall.

There's also time for some swimming and bowling in there somewhere. :-)

Scott still remembers songs and events from the sixth grade camp he attended. Praying for Seth this week to make some wonderful memories!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Yangshuo Cooking School

One afternoon and evening in Yangshuo we participated in a cooking school. Our time began with a guided visit to the local market. We've been to a few of these types of markets in China, so it wasn't completely surprising, but I did stay away from the booths where they were slaughtering chickens and ducks. Still don't like to see that!

Wondering what those long skinny body parts hanging over the edge of the table are... Somebody's dinner waits in these cages...

A huge array of fresh produce. Do you suppose people eat the duck's bill? I know duck tongue is a specialty...
Here we are at the cooking school. It was held in a traditional courtyard Chinese home, back in a village with dirt roads, off the beaten path. I never would have picked it out! The cooking area surprisingly modern, given its surrondings. Each of us, including Madelyn, had our own cooking station complete with chopping block, wok, and gas burner. Gwen helped me. :-) There were about 15 people total in our group.
Our instructor would first demonstrate how to make a particular dish, then send us back to our stations to do it on our own. Caleb was very into this... he liked the fire of the burner and flipping the food around in the wok.
This is the lovely setting where we ate what we had prepared, a few courses at a time. It was right outside the cooking area.
Here we are sampling the Yangshuo style eggplant that we stir-fried with ginger and garlic.

Taking a break and enjoying the view while our woks were being cleaned to start the next course.

Those big cleavers were a little too much fun! In front of Caleb are the steamers where our vegetables (pumpkin flowers, mushrooms, zucchini, and ball tofu) stuffed with a pork mixture are cooking.
Delicious! The kids especially enjoyed the chicken with cashew nuts that we made. We also made a local specialty, beer fish.
As we were leaving, the cresent moon was shining in the violet sky.