Archive for October, 2008

Mario and Laura Ingalls

Continuing her tradition of choosing characters from literature, for Halloween 2008, Nettie was Laura Ingalls Wilder. She sewed the entire costume, including the bonnet, to match the description in the Little House books. She’s a whiz on her Hello Kitty sewing machine. Peabody’s Mario costume was just a little easier to put together. A felt “M” glued to an old St. Louis Cardinals baseball hat, fake mustache and overalls assembled with blue duct tape and old jeans (even Oshkosh doesn’t sell overalls for boys anymore). A cardboard Shooting Star Mariokart completed the ensemble. It was a gorgeous night for a walk and the kids brought home a record amount of candy (now counted and sorted). We’re already thinking about our next costumes for next year.


In honor of our family members spending their first Halloween in Tokyo, we carved a Daruma Jack-o-Lantern. Daruma is a Japanese good-luck charm. We like him because he’s also a symbol for trying hard and being brave. Nettie carved a cat, Peabody carved a silly face and our firend Melissa carved a groucy old man using the pumpkin stem as the nose.

The Earth Goes Around the Sun

With two other classroom birthdays last Friday, Peabody decided to have his Birthday Circle yesterday. In this ceremony, the student holds a small globe while orbiting a candle representing the Sun. The kids sing, “The Earth goes around the Sun, the Sun. The Earth goes around the Sun: One!” At a full revolution, the student stops and the parents tell a story from that year. The kids sing again and shout “Two!” for the second year. After making six orbits, Peabody blew out the candle and the teachers sent the kids off to the day’s first projects.

Six Laps Around the Sun

Peabody celebrated his birthday today with sushi and a chocolate malt cake. It’s a Derringdo tradition that you get to choose your birthday menu. We’ll be spending at least part of tomorrow building his new Port of Lego City.

Echidna Screen Print

In art we have been learning how to do screen printing on t-shirts we brought from home. I wanted to do an animal called an echidna, which has a long nose and quills. Since I wanted the body of the echidna to be brown, but the quills black, I had to do two layers of paint. First I did just the solid brown body with a blank spot for the eye. The second layer was part of the eye filled in with black, and some quills. I hand-painted the rest of the quills. This is a really fun and easy way to make your own t-shirts!

Who You Kudu?

The San Francisco Zoo is running a brilliant out of home advertising campaign at bus shelters around the city. White posters with human-sized animal features are purpose made for pedestrian interaction. People are encouraged to pose as the animal and upload a picture to the Zoo’s gallery. Peabody the Kudu is pictured above. See others and try to find Nettie here.

Indian Corn Crunchers

Annabel is being driven crazy by the sound of squirrels munching Indian corn. Peabody had the idea of taking what is left of his gift and hiding it around the yard “to see how smart the squirrels are.” Annabel will be happy.

Incredible Everything

We turned in a box and two grocery bags to the used book store and got enough cash (this one doesn’t take trade) to buy bubble gum tape, water and a couple books. Nettie got “The Official Book of Hanjie.” Hanjie is a logic puzzle where you fill in squares on a grid based on clues. The resulting pattern of filled-in squares creates a picture and solves the puzzle. What makes it “official” isn’t clear.  Peabody picked up “Incredible Everything” by Stephen Biesty who created several cross-section books for DK. While his other books go deep into particular subjects (my personal favorite explodes a British Man-of-War), Incredible Everything has more variety, perfect for an almost six-year-old. It was $9.00 at Half-Price Books, but can be found used on-line for $2.00 plus shipping.

Picking Perfect Pumpkins

Nettie and Peabody found the perfect Jank-o-Lantern pumpkins at Berkeley’s Monterey Market. They posed for pictures with their choices and picked up some Indian corn for the squirrels. Now we have a week to figure out what we’ll be carving.

Blue Angels at Fleet Week

The Blue Angels performed over San Francisco during Fleet Week ’08. These guys (and yes, it’s an all male pilot revue at the moment) are always impressive. While we were a couple miles from the waterfront action, one jet broke from formation and came up from behind to buzz the hill we were watching from. Unfortunately it happened so fast, I only got a picture of the bush behind me.