Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas in Canada

We are spending Christmas at my grand uncle's house in Ottawa, the capital of Canada. Our arrival was pretty late due to the traffic jam in Quebec, Montreal and Ottawa. Before arriving in Ottawa we stayed two nights in Toronto and one night in Mont-St-Anne, in Quebec.
Just after we arrived, we watched Cars 2 on a humongous screen in the basement.

Next day we went for a snowy walk in a beautiful forest nearby. We walked on a straight path that used to be a railroad and now is a perfect place for walking with a dog or cross country skiing. 


After coming back home, Jas and I decided to stay warm in the house with our grand aunt while Mom and Dad went to Ottawa city with uncle. We ended up playing Monopoly for 6 hours (with some new rules of course).

On the day of Christmas Eve Dad took us to the Museum of Civilization. It is a great museum with a very cool architecture. In the museum we went to see the Canada Hall and an exhibit about Arctic explorations. Everything was made to look like real, both Jas and I enjoyed it very much.

In the evening we had a traditional Christams Eve dinner. For the first time I met my Mom's cousin, Bartek, his girlfriend, Lisanne and son Max who is just 3.5 years old. Aunt Mira made lots of delicious Polish Christmas dishes. After eating a bit it was time to open presents. Both Jas and I revceived some clothes, books and some Canadian souvenirs. I've already finished reading the books :-)


On the Christmas day we went for a Mass to the Notre Dame Cathedral. The church was very big but it was packed, there were so many people. After getting back home Jas and I went sledding on a tiny hill behind the house - it was fun!




Boxing Day, that's how second day of Christamas is called, we went shopping and it was NOT a good idea. Because of the sales everybody else went shopping too - there were so many people everywhere that it was even hard to find a parking space.
In the evening more guests came over to Aunt and Uncle's place. Jas and I hid in the basement to watch movies. We watched "Hoodwinked" and "Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil"

And that was our Christmas in Ottawa!

by Zosia C-W

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Someone is in Vogue

A few years have passed since Zosia first appeared in the fashion magazine Vogue (Taiwanese edition). Back then she was just a little, not even 8 year-old, girl. But she still looked beautiful and even ... mature. Just judge for yourself:



A few months ago she was asked again to model for Joy, a great make-up artist, whom we have known since Zosia was a little girl. This time he created a completely different look for our 14 year-old beauty:



Wednesday, December 7, 2011

More about our trip to Taidong


Most of the third day of your trip to Taidong we've spent at the National Museum of Prehistory. It's a really BIG and ... empty place. Kids enjoyed it a lot and were a bit disappointed that we couldn't see all the exhibitions - it was simply too much for one day.


Beside the exhibitions on prehistorical Taiwan and indigenous people of Taiwan there was also an exhibit entitled "Form, Color, Pattern, Texture" 形、色、紋、質:臺灣原住民生活美學的微觀之旅 showing works of different contemporary aborigine designs. Another exhibit was about the problem of  carbon emission in Taiwan and what needs to be done to lower it 低碳臺灣‧高瞻未來─你能‧我也能.
Kids enjoyed the most Peinan Cultural Park 卑南文化公園, which is a much smaller archeological museum with lots of hands on activities for children.

Not really part of the exbibition :-)

Following day we started with a visit to another homeschooling family. There are 5 kids in the family, the parents are hardworking farming people who are doing a wonderful job teaching their own kids. I really admire them.

The bow was hand made by the dad.

After a boring drive up highway no.9 we got to Hualian where we stayed at the same B&B as on the way down. We only changed the rooms.


For dinner we met with another homeschooling family. Right now there are so many people homeschooling that no matter where we go we can find someone not sending their kids to school :-)

Last day of our trip was also the day of Jas' 9th birthday. Originally we planned to get to Ilan in the early afternoon to celebrate his birthday with some friends, but ... things didn't work out as planned. Due to the very wet weather over the last few weeks, the road conditions between Hualian and Ilan got very dangerous. The rock and earth slides made the coastal road impossible to drive on. On the day we were driving back to Taipei the road was open only for 2 hours at a time, three times a day. And, of course, we ended up waiting for the road to open for over 4 hours. Jas has spent his birthday waiting in the car ...


Monday, December 5, 2011

Trip down south (day 2)

After some homework over a delicious breakfast it was time to continue our journey down the coast.

The after-breakfast fruit platter


Rain, rain, rain - that was the weather throughout our drive on coastal 'highway' no.11. On the way we stopped at Joki , an impressive art gallery/restaurant. The wood carving were really amazing.


After lunch we kept on driving and driving. The rain has stopped right in time for us to take a walk in Little Yehliu 小野柳 near Taitung 台東. We had wonderful time walking on the rocks, taking pictures and watching the waves crashing on the rocky shore.


We arrived in Taidung and after checking out the Naruwan Hotel 娜路彎大酒店we drove down to  the Green House 卑南休閒農場綠茵小筑民宿. Of course the kids wanted to stay at the 'real hotel' with swimming pool, spa, play area, restaurants, but we decided on a cheaper and more simple place - the Green House was just right for us.


Too bad the weather was wet, we could not make much use of the beautiful green lawn infront of the house. Btw, it is a great place to organise a homeschooling group off-site.
In the evening we met with some friends who showed us where to have the best burger in town.

The burger kids loved!

 

 We also visited a Children's House 阿尼色弗兒童之家 in Taitung where our American friends work. It's amazing what a wonderful work they do to help all those kids in need, those who don't have their own safe place to call home.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Food Groups

I was learning from the "Usborne Internet-linked First Encyclopedia of Human Body" about eating healthy food. I also learned on the Internet about food groups and healthy foods.
My mom told me that I could make a poster about different food groups. Here it is:


I also made a small booklet about food groups and wrote some worksheets from Enchanted Learning website:





(by Jas)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Bubbles in Babel

Zosia finished her TOPS science book about Cohesion/Adhesion today. The last experiments were about ... bubbles. 
Why do bubbles have a sphere shape? 
How can we change their shape? 
How do bubbles join together? 
How to make really big bubbles?




Joined bubble films created a curved funnel


A giant bubble dome

A common flat wall between the joined bubbles

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Trip down the east coast

Finally! We got out of Taipei to enjoy the beauty of ... the rainy east coast.
Our trip started with an emergency stop just outside Taipei and later in I-lan to fill up the engine oil, which was leaking. Well, it looks like it's time to get a new car ...



The first day we drove to Hualian 花蓮 where we met with Tufe 土匪老師 (kids' nature class teacher) who showed us a really nice place to stay: Ocean View B&B 海傳民宿.





Friday, October 21, 2011

Art classes

When Zosia was small we've tried many art classes for her. Some were big with many branches around Taiwan, others small, led by artists. After trying all of them we've decided on Soho Arts  which is connected to The Children's Art Museum in Taipei.
This art class not only teaches how to draw/paint etc, but also shows different art techniques and talks about different artists and art styles. Children use all kinds of materials and means to create their work.
Both Zosia and Jaś used to attend Soho Art class on and off for the past few years. This semester they wanted to go back there again. Here are photos of some of their work:





Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Out and about in the afternoon

It doesn't happen very often that the kids finish their assignments early. Today they somehow managed to get everything done by the time of the afternoon walk with the dog. And so the three of us plus Inu went for a longer walk around our community. Jaś took with him fish food to feed the very hungry carps in the pond and Zosia had my camera with her to take photos of the surrounding nature. Just take a look at what we saw:




Friday, September 30, 2011

Dancing all around at Cloud Gate 雲門

Both Zosia and Jaś have been going to Cloud Gate Dance Studio 雲門舞集舞蹈教室 for many years now. 

Zosia, because of her age, should have finished the course this semester, but ... she decided to stay on and retake some of the classes to prepare herself better for the scholarship classes that she has been attending for the past two years. Almost every Sunday she spends over 5 hours dancing. During that time she has balet and modern dance or Chinese martial arts classes and also rehearsal for next year performance. She comes back home dead tired, but with a strong will to go on and on...

Jaś, beside the movement class, for the past 1.5 years Jaś has been taking balet classes. He is the only boy in the class and that seems to be bothering him. He loves dancing and often makes his own dance routines at home, but he doesn't like that other boys laugh at him for taking balet lessons.





At Cloud Gate Dance Studio kids not only learn about movement and dance, but also have elements of acting:


 



A few photos from Zosia's balet, street dance and marshal arts classes: