Monday, June 10, 2019

The Art Farm - mammals & reptiles & birds, oh my!

The Art Farm is an indoor educational petting zoo. It is located on the Upper East Side in Manhattan and they have lots of fun classes and camps for little kids. But older tweens (as long as they agree to wake up early) can enjoy the "Mornings on the Farm" weekend drop-in program, along with the younger kids. The staff is awesome! Lina had fun interacting with guinea pigs, a chinchilla, lizards (crested gecko lizard, blue-tongued skink & red-eyed crocodile skink) and turtles (Asian box turtle & wood turtle). She had the best time ever with the adorable chickens, dove, Japanese quail and bunny.

Then, we walked to Two Little Red Hens bakery...where Lina enjoyed a peanut butter and fudge swirl cupcake.

Scratch + RPG Maker Fes = fun coding projects!

Scooter Girl is becoming Coder Girl. Lina is interested in creating her own interactive stories, video games, and animations. So, she taught herself how to use the Scratch Offline Editor  (a free block-based visual programming language for kids, which I downloaded on my laptop + a reference guide) and RPG Maker Fes (she uses it on her Nintendo 2DS now to create role-playing games and animations).

With Scratch, she learned to use if–then–else logical programming condition blocks. She decided to learn to use a mouse to draw with Paint Editor & digitally illustrate her own character sprites + custom backgrounds (rather than importing stock pictures & photos).

In terms of music for her animations/games/stories, she discovered that she can choose an instrument in Scratch and note by note enter in her own original melody.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Happy Mother's Day + Pokémon Detective Pikachu

Pokémon Detective Pikachu has a lot of twists, it's very twisty...and the tween & I decided to celebrate Mother's Day by going to see this funny film at a movie theater during opening weekend. Half a dozen kids and a dozen adults had a blast. Lina wore the adorable Pikachu hat (click here to see her wearing the hat for Halloween) & the staff loved it and she was given extra packs of the limited edition special booster packs, including this cool coffee break Detective Pikachu card:

Recently, Lina had a fantastic 11 year wellness exam at the doctor's office...she is never nervous during visits with her pediatrician & the nurses, they are very kind and everything goes smoothly. We were happy to hear that she is still totally healthy. She received 2 vaccination shots (only 1 booster dose left to be given after age 16, yay, and that's it...about 2 1/2 dozen vaccines since she was 2 months old, thankfully no side effects), nurse offered an organic lollipop and Lina chose yummy strawberry.

We ate eggplant & spinach cheese lasagna at an Italian restaurant. Yum. Then, she lost her 12th baby tooth (only 8 to go!) hours later at home. Now that our important appointments are taken care of...we can focus on making plans for some fun adventures for the rest of spring and staying cool for summer.

She was super excited to get her favorite annual almanac (National Geographic Kids, 2020 edition) on the way home & her first L.O.L. Surprise! Under Wraps Eye Spy Series.

I hope all the moms had a Happy Mother's Day and all the dads will have a fabulous Father's Day next month.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Rainbow Unicorn Cake with Surprise in the Center

The Flour Shop in downtown Manhattan is the perfect bakery for those who love all the colors of the rainbow. Lina chose this mini Cara the Unicorn cake...


We went there for the first time to celebrate with sweetness the fact that Lina, once again, had zero cavities. She brushed her teeth well before she slept, of course. (After full set of x-rays recently and thorough proclaimed that her teeth are "perfect" and dental hygienist, during the cleaning, stated that she has "beautiful teeth.") We have been blessed with good health, in general, and we are thankful that we had no colds so far this year (she never had the flu). She will have her annual wellness visit with the doctor and we will finish up with 5th grade and then we look forward to staying cool during summer break with family and friends.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

DUMBO + Emu + Feeding Peacock & Zebu

First time at a dine-in movie theater...went to Nitehawk Prospect Park to watch DUMBO.

Then, a trek across Prospect Park...

Showing off the peacock pin...(excited to see live peacocks at the zoo)...

Stopping briefly to hold on to a horizontal bar between 2 trees...

Then...enjoying Prospect Park Zoo...

Staff gave food so Lina could feed a peacock for the first time ever...

Of course, Lina had to visit one of her fav animals, a goat...

And the girls enjoyed feeding a zebu for the first time...

We saw a dignified turkey...

And one of my fav animals...the extraordinary emu...

(Liberty Mutual’s LiMu Emu and Doug commercials are SO amusing!)

Then, we saw this incredibly beautiful waterfowl...a great way to end our zoo visit.

Perfect is Boring

"Perfect is empty. Boring. Vapid. Exhausting. Be interesting. Be interested. Be anything except on a quest for perfect."
- Victoria Erickson

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Gorgeous Guitar + Terrific Tablet

For her 11th birthday (lucky double 1's!) she received a gorgeous 3/4 size purple acoustic guitar (thanks to gift $ from her dad in Cali):

This winter, she joined a weekly Composers Club (about half a dozen kids ages 10-16 in her group, ages 7-9 in the younger group) and we enjoyed hearing her original composition "Creatures of the Woods" played by viola + cello during the final show. Lina received fabulous feedback from the composition teacher and the music school's director and she was very proud. We will look for a more advanced program in the future.

The composition teacher used software called Finale to scan in Lina's music sheet and convert the original piece (created on piano) to music that the viola + cello would be able to play:

Then, the parents + kids + string musicians + teacher + director went to the final live show to hear the music performed in the classroom.

It sounded so beautiful!

She received a wonderful foundation from her piano teacher in terms of reading notes and learning music theory, which allowed her to write musical notation more easily. She felt wonderful receiving guidance and support from the encouraging composition teacher, since Lina has enjoyed creating original songs since she was 2 3/4 years old.

In terms of gadgets, she received her first tablet a year ago for her 10th birthday (thanks to gift $ from my mom+bro)...but we recently activated subscription to free content (as a reward for studying for state mandated standardized tests, she scored 99th percentile in reading, language arts & math). It is an Amazon Fire 7 Kids Edition Tablet, 7" Display, 16 GB, Pink Kid-Proof Case:

1 year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited...LOTS of TV shows, movies for kids (including anime) and e-books (including graphic novels/comics for tween girls and classics) and a ton of free video game apps, her favs are: Planet of Cubes and World of Cubes (like Minecraft, but better), The Inner World, Horse Haven World Adventures, Attack the Light, Monument Valley (1 and 2), Frozen Free Fall, Pokemon Red, Blue & Yellow, LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 and 5-7, Scribblenauts Remix, My Boo, Fruit Ninja, Ultimate Fox Simulator, Lego Friends & Sonic the Hedgehog.

It was perfect timing...because she already played a lot with these Christmas gifts (thanks to gift $ from her dad):

A new Pokémon super card set (including her first jumbo card), pretty unicorns, pretty little LOL dolls, a wonderful (Lina said "I LOVE IT SO MUCH!") two-book set (for ages 8-12) for The Wild Robot...that tells the story of a robot living out in nature (a unique combination of what Lina loves, animals and robots).