Saturday, January 29, 2011

Regional Chess Meet

After being an alternate last year, Bayley was thrilled to make the chess team this year. He didn't score as well as he would have liked, but he was impressed by the skill of the players that beat him. Always best to learn something from a game than be taken out by your own mistakes.

He's decided that he and Dad need to play more chess so he can get better and the team can go to state next year.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Pinewood Derby

The boys worked for weeks on their Pinewood Derby cars. Not every day...just a few minutes at a time. They kept coming up with new ideas in their heads. And of course each car had to be completely repainted twice.

I even contributed a bit this year, bringing out my silver nail polish to put some chrome on the cars. Some parents get so into it, they build a car for themselves. Jeff & I...not so much.

Hayden placed 3rd, so he got a pin. Not sure where Bayley placed. If you ask him about it, he'll tell you which Dad's made the winning cars.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


This state proved to be more of a challenge than we thought it would be - there were lots of interesting facts, but not enough to fill out Hayden's word poem. Ah well, we made due.

A - Apache Trail
R - Ruby (ghost town)
I - Independent
Z - Zinc (mining)
O - OK Corral
N - National Parks (Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, Saguaro)
A - Arizona

The boys are already looking forward to Texas and The Alamo (with all the talk about Wyatt Earp & Tombstone & The OK Corral, the couldn't believe we couldn't use Alamo as one of our A's)

Bayley is really pushing for a field trip that corresponds to the state of the week. I wish we could have flown the family down to the Grand Canyon for this one...but Bayley said it would be OK if we did it when we hit Nevada. Gee, thanks. I'll work on that.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

OMSI Design Zone

What to do on a rainy Sunday afternoon? Head to OMSI! Everyone else does!

I love to go to OMSI on weekdays. It's nice and calm (especially in the Science Playground because no field trips run through there). Grace can wander and observe...and I can sit and chat. But, with the boys in school, we tend to go on days that everyone else goes on. Which makes me love weekday OMSI all the more.

We loved the new Design Zone exhibit. Bayley said it was their best exhibit yet - and that's saying a lot since he wanted to live in the Star Wars exhibit. Hayden loved it too...but he didn't want to say it was the best because he's heard they'll be hosting real mummies there next month and he has a hunch THAT will be the best exhibit ever.

Design Zone is the most interactive exhibit they've had in a while. Very little reading, lost of hands-on activities. Of course, what did my boys start their exploration with? Video games! We wouldn't have had to put on real pants and leave the hosue for them to do that!

Grace really enjoyed dancing with the lights, as did many other wee ones. It was baby disco! The pic of Grace on the ground is not her mid-fit, but instead landing on the lighted spots of the floor and saying "Gotcha!"

Once she realized she could not make the lights stop, she wanted to go to the Science Playground. Jeff & the boys kept playing, while Grace and I ventured upstairs. I think she was a little bothered that her playground was so crowded, but she still managed to kick everyone out of the squirell tree and the ball pit in the baby area.

Once the boys had done everything, they came upstairs too, and went right for the flubber. Grace tried to be interested in it, but couldn't work up any enthusiasm. So we went to lunch!

Friday, January 14, 2011

1st Mani-Pedi

Grace spotted some hot pink nail polish and said "Oh pink. I love it."

She hands me the bottle and says "For my toes?"

Instead of clapping my hands in girlie joy, I sat her on the counter and painted her tootsies, grateful for insta-dry polish. Grace's response?

"Oh pretty. Now my hands?"

I love this kid! Her fingers were a bit more wiggly, so I held them still and blew on them a bit. Still, her clothes remained paint-free!

Aren't her toes gorgeous?

And the manicure has lasted, even with her daily yogurt facials.

Sunday, January 09, 2011


Have you ever tried to draw a template for a state that has a long chain of islands? And lots of curves? Alaska's pillow is definitely an intermediate skill level!

The boys picked gray for all the snow when it melts (apparently they do remember something of Uncle Gabe's complaints about break-up when all the snow melts).

The best part of our Alaska week was Bayley telling us fables he'd read about native peoples and polar bears and glaciers. I was equally proud and impressed by his impromptu recall.

Aurora Borealis
Largest State
Amatignak Island (westernmost point in the US)
Seward's Folly (the purchase of Alaska from Russia)
Aleutian Islands

We tried a new recipe in honor of our state of the week - Baked Alaska. But, we did it with cupcakes...does that make it Baked Aleutians?

Grace & Jeff gobbled them up. The boys and I made a valiant effort at the meringue...then ripped it off and ate our ice cream stuffed cupcakes.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Chess Tournament

Both boys participated in an all-comers chess tournament. Bayley got to see their friends from the old school that they learned to play chess with, plus it is great practice for the regional tournament in a few weeks.

Overall, they did fine. Bayley scored 3 points and Hayden had 2. But, Hayden was quick to point out two of his losses were to kids who went to regionals last year, one of them winning. As he says, "It's okay to lose to people who are better than you."

Friday, January 07, 2011

Dress Up!

Grace's favorite thing to do is play with her dress up clothes. You never know what she'll be - OK, 90% of the time she's a princess - or what combination of things she'll come up with. Usually, she wants everyone to get in on the action...but we don't fit in her clothes. Unfortunately whenever she has someone over, she does not want them to touch her dress-up stuff!

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

A Very Merry Half Birthday!

Since the boys have July birthdays, they never get to celebrate at school. This year, Hayden decided to celebrate his half birthday - by having me deliver 3 boxes of Krispy Kreme donuts with chocolate and sprinkles!

Talk about an excited kid! He had donuts at school, a kiss from his teacher, and more donuts waiting for him at home!

Sunday, January 02, 2011


Each week brings a new state into the Burke casa, beginning (alphabetically) with Alabama. Since there are 52 weeks in a year, we'll do the 50 states, Washington DC...and probably Puerto Rico.

We started with a little reading about the state and a worksheet about the state quarter. Each boy did a state facts worksheet, and Hayden wrote a poem to highlight what we learned ::

A - Alonso Alvarez de Pineda (first Western explorer)
L - Long leaf pine (state tree)
A - Activist (Rosa Parks)
B - Braille (Helen Keller)
A - Airmen (Tuskagee)
M - Mobile
A - Astronauts (space camp)

Then we started our annual craft project - state pillows!

I got this idea from my friend Nicole, who's boys like to create characters with whatever scaps of stuff they find lying about. Felt pillows are the easiest way I know of to teach the sewing basics, so we opted for that.

Who knows, myabe by summer my boys will be turning pillow scraps into imaginary creatures!