Saturday, November 27, 2010

Happy Birthday Taiga

Ok, a bit late on the posting here, but anyhow...

Taiga had 7 friends over for his birthday party a couple of weeks ago. It was a nice day, a bit overcast, but nice enough for them to play outside for a while while we waited for some late-comers.

Lunch was our main event, due to Taiga's recent realization that his calling in life is the art of making udon noodles. We broke out the set he got for his birthday from Daddy, and got everyone into the action!

We did it all as close to the directions in the book as we could, including the 'foot-kneading' required for such a stiff dough. The kids thought it was great fun to step on their food! They are all so light though that it took a long time to actually get it all done!

After rolling out the dough, we used a pasta machine to cut the noodles. Much to Taiga's dismay, he doesn't get to use the professional knife that came with his set for quite some time still... The machine was great with the kids though, and then then they all sat down and ate it up!

After that, we only had just enough time for the treasure hunt in the back yard, then cake and presents. Actually, we were running overtime by the time the cake (cupcakes) were served, but none of the moms were too upset about waiting!

Everyone seemed to have a great time. For most of the kids, this was their first birthday party, as its not common practice in Japan. The moms were really surprised that we gave out loot bags. Taiga even gave his own to one of his friend's little brother. Very sweet. That's my boy!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

ROOTS Halloween!! 36 kids this year!

We had GIANT pumpkins, with great thanks to Disneyland, who decided to use plastic this year instead of the ones the farmer grew for them. They were a bit of a challenge, as the 'meat' was thicker than the knives were long, and took some creative efforts to get the pieces out (especially the very first piece to open the top!). The two groups with older kids wielded their own knives, and moms and dads helped with the 3 groups of younger kids. It took us an hour this year, much longer than usual!

Next up was a word game. I'm always impressed with how the kids dig into this! Simple find & write exercise, but the big kids had to recognize the initial letter of each word in order to find the correct word card and spell it all right. The little kids had to trace the word, then either read it or find it on a card to match the pictures to the words. Taiga did really well at this (mom grinning ear to ear) and was able to read the words back to me later without any picture prompts! The moms are always impressed by this, so its a real crowd pleaser.

Snack time is always a big hit - and a break for me to set up the next activities!

Since we couldn't go outside for trick-or-treating (major storm happening), we did activity stations, with a treat prize at each one. We had a ball toss (knock the cups off the table), ring toss(catch the rings on the spider's legs), apple bobbing (sure is hard to find apples here small enough to bob for!), the mystery box (containing the eyes, ears, brain, and tongue of a monster I cut up), and the slime pit (if you want a rubber ball, you have to reach in and pull it out!!).

So everyone survived, and once I admitted to one young admirer that I hadn't really killed a monster, all was good. (I thought I had tarnished my image to him, by becoming a monster murderer - but actually, he was worried that other monsters might retaliate and attack me to avenge their friend! Little sweetie was worried about me!)

I love my students!!