Thursday, August 20, 2015

More Gardens

Wednesday's school day included a trip to the movies! They took all of the kids in the "blue" group (older kids) to the cinema where they saw a series of three cartoons on the big screen. The boys were quite excited about this, and told us all about the cartoons even though they didn't understand the words. Then in the afternoon they had a bonfire at school, and they cooked eggs and marshmallows (separately) as a snack. Torben loved the eggs, and ate Anders' portion along with his own. What a fun place for them to be! Earlier this week each of the children painted a rock to look like a lady bug. They are going to have them on display at the kindergarten for a while before bringing them home.

Torben is having a hard time with not getting "any time to play" at home. Clearly he understands "play" differently from me, as what I see him doing at all times other than sleeping, is playing. At school, they play much of the day -and right now it is predominantly outside play. He wants to play with toys. When they get home from school, they want to spend a bit of time relaxing and playing a quick game on their kindle, and often forget to "play" in his sense of the word, so by bedtime he is sad that he didn't get any play time during the day, and please can we have a stay-home-day so he can play. This being the land of origin of Lego, there are plenty of opportunities for creative building here. The home we're in has both small-size Lego and Duplo sets, the latter including pieces for building castles with towers and spires and the like. He asked me to remind him to play with the toys when he gets home from school so he doesn't reach the end of the day and feel disappointed.

Jeff's courses are underway now, and he taught bits of The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost. Also up on the list is Streetcar Named Desire, and today he brought home a dvd of this one, which I may watch later. He also had individual meetings with the students he is assigned to "oversee" -each of the teachers is assigned a small group of students to talk with about their experiences, etc. during the time here. Then all of the teachers have weekly meetings where they discuss each of the students and how they are doing, and what challenges or opportunities there might be. It really seems focused on well-being and making sure that it is a good learning experience for each person. This being the first week, there have been many activities for team building. At the trip to the lake earlier this week, they were put into teams and had a "birthday party" theme and were to make up song lyrics to a popular tune and sing it to the group, and then have some sort of present for the next group. Yesterday there was a city-wide scavenger hunt! When I left the house to go to lunch, I noticed a plastic bag filled with paper numbers tied to our mailbox. This seemed rather strange to me, and I asked Jeff about it when we got to lunch. He was just as perplexed, until the end of the meal when another teacher explained that the afternoon's activity was a landmark scavenger hunt, for points. Ah. When the students found our house, they were to take one of the paper numbers, and that was the number of points they would receive for that landmark. Glad I didn't take it down!

It was quite a sunny day again yesterday, so I took the opportunity to photograph some more of the beautiful flowers in the gardens while the kids were out playing.
 The roses after the rain were quite stunning -my camera did not do them justice.
 I love the small potted trees that are on either side of the steps leading up to the main building.
 I loved all the variations of purple in this hydrangea, and when the sunlight hit it seemed to be lit from within.
 Again seeming to be almost electrified, this white morning glory reflected the sun back.

 The children are all very excited for when these apples will be ready to eat. There is also a pear tree that will be ready about a month after the apples.

Almost always there is a bowl of fruit and a bowl of carrots out for anyone to enjoy. The boys love this. Even Svea has taken to eating as many apples as she can get her hands on -we try to stop her before she eats the core, but sometimes she is fast! She looks so much older than 17 months here!
Oops! On my phone, I managed to edit out my shoe from the picture, but alas, here it is. Isn't it a beautiful shoe? I love the contrast between the pink flower, the greenery, and the blue footwear.
 The yard also hosts a blackberry bush, which is all sorts of colours at this point in the growing season. I loved seeing all the stages of ripening of the berries.
 What a perfect yard for children to play in! The small playhouse, swingset, in-ground trampoline, and lots of open space for running.
The three of them have a great time together on the trampoline, though we have to remind the boys to jump slowly sometimes when she is on it with them. It's fun that they play together so well and there is so much laughing! 
Often in the mornings while Svea naps, I take the time to write about our days, and also to sit in the sunlit window and read a book. This is the view from my spot on the couch, and it transports you to another place! Well, I guess, I am in another place, so that makes sense. But it just seems very vacation-esque to have this as a view for reading. 
These last two are some more of the gardens we have seen on our daily walks. There seems to be a lot of attention paid to cultivating the plants in your yard and creating a beautiful environment. I look forward to seeing what it looks like as the seasons change and we get into a long, dark, wet winter. 

We arrived at lunch to find roasted pork and carmelized potatoes, with a cucumber salad of yogurt and garlic to eat on the potatoes. Amazing. There was also a shredded beet salad -I don't know as I've had beets before, but it was quite good also.

Tonight fish was on the menu for dinner, and everyone tried the breaded whitefish fillets. Jeff was surprised to find he liked it, and actually went back for more. Anders and Torben ate some, but it wasn't their favourite dinner (Anders asked when we will have the chicken spaghetti again!) and Svea ate two pieces. There was also tomato-and-cheese lasagna -the third kind of lasagna we have had here! I don't know exactly what I was expecting as far as food goes, but I was not expecting so much lasagna! The first had beef and bacon in a cream sauce and tasted similar to a stronganoff (Torben keeps asking when we will have this again), the second was squash and chickpeas in a tomato-based sauce, and the third was just tomatoes -and the cheese and noodles of course. They are all amazing. Svea loves all of them as well. Each dinner has some variations of cheese and bread or crackers, so we are sampling them. Some of the more stinky cheese aren't quite as popular, but many of them are wonderful. I have to watch my plate carefully or little hands snatch the cheese when I'm not looking! Anders is still thrilled about the amazing homemade raspberry jam that he gets to have on his sandwich each day -on the way to school he was telling me he couldn't wait to eat it all up at lunchtime.

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