Come one, come all! We are so excited!!
On a hike near our house, Waldorf and I saw some incredible things. We made a list of whatever made us "oooooo" and "ahhhhhh":
1) Two beetles fighting.
We asked our mom if we could break up the fight, but she said that they would work it out on their own. After all, we don't speak beetle-ish, maybe they were just hugging really closely. In the sunshine they were iridescent. That means that they flashed in rainbow colors depending on the angle we saw them.
2) A whole forest of blackberries!
We really wanted to snack on them but saw that there were poison oak leaves among them. Poison Oak is the kind of leaf you never want to touch... unless you want a huge, itchy, nasty rash!!! On the east coast you find Poison Ivy instead- which is just as bad. No thank you!!
3) A family of White-tailed Kites hunting in the grass!
Aren't they majestic? We were lucky enough to see five of them together, learning to hunt for little field mice. The coolest part is that when they hunt they hover in mid air. When they see something, they quickly close their wings and plunge down, grabbing for prey.
(Photo: Jason Crotty/Flickr Creative Commons)
What is the most incredible thing you have seen while hiking?
So it turns out that we're pretty talented at baking. We made a special Hungarian dessert called Csodakifli, which translates to "miracle-super-awesome-crescent-shaped-pastry". Waldorf was particularly helpful at clean up time; he's the cutest vacuum cleaner I've ever seen.
Here is the recipe (you will need some help- we definitely did!):
“Miracle Crescent Pastry” - “Csodakifli"
2 cups of flour
1 cup of unsalted butter
a heaping tablespoon of yeast
¾ cup sour cream
juice of ½ a lemon
1/8 teaspoon of salt
½ cup powder sugar
First mix the butter, flour, and powder sugar. Add yeast, sour cream, juice of the lemon, and salt. Mix all ingredients very well. Your hands should be more or less clean... if they're not, then either you've been playing too much in the sandbox, or you should add more flour to the dough. Waldorf doesn't get to touch the dough because he doesn't wear socks when he is outside. The dough should be sticky but not liquidy.
Cool the dough in the freezer or refrigerator for an hour (you just want it to be cold, not frozen).
Home-made jam, chocolate powder, or walnut paste.
Take 1 cup of finely ground walnuts and mix with enough milk to be able to cook without burning the walnuts. Add ¾ cup sugar. Mix well. Cook on low/medium heat, stirring often, until the milk has evaporated some. Your paste is ready to be spread... and tasted!
Preheat the oven to 359 degrees. Roll out the dough so that it's very, very thin (1 milimeter)! Cut into squares and spread the filling you have made or bought. Roll them up and shape them so that they look like little crescents. Put the crescents on a cookie sheet and bake them for 35-40 minutes until they are golden brown.
YUMMMMMMM!!!!!! Waldorf doesn't get any of the chocolate ones.
oooo tasty. It's supposed to look like this:
So, we definitely nailed it:
Can we share some of our favorite plants with you? Waldorf and I are very serious about visiting our plant friends at the botanical gardens. If it has been too long since seeing them, my braid, Waldorf's ears, and their leaves droop and wilt. I think.
Here is a special list of some special plants:
Waldorf and I were at the Hungarian Heritage Festival last weekend wearing our finest traditional costume. Don't we look nice!? As you might already know, our author/illustrator, Kati Hites, is a Hungarian American.
We got the chance to meet so many lovely people, eat delicious Hungarian food, and dance our favorite Marossárpataki dance. If you would like to see what that dance is like, click here!
There are many instruments used in traditional Hungarian music. See if you can find an instrument that you don't recognize:
This is what Waldorf and I look like dancing Marossárpataki:
Last week we were in New York City! While there, Waldorf and I visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art next to Central Park. Lost for hours in a maze of halls full of art, we ended up in a room covered in paintings from the Dutch Golden Age.
The Dutch Golden Age is the name of the period of time, over 300 years ago in the Netherlands, when artists liked to paint portraits of people in puffy, fluffy, froofy, white collars. They also liked to paint lots of strange objects on a table and landscapes with windmills and big skies.
From now on, we've decided to wear froofy, poofy collars every time we have to look very serious.
Some of the most popular painters from that time period are:
*** SECRET ALERT*****
We got in trouble and had to leave the exhibit because Waldorf was trying to pronounce the painters' names really loudly, over and over again. He sometimes has trouble with pronunciation.
This was our favorite painting from that exhibit:
A Girl Asleep by Johannes Vermeer
This is one of our favorite museums in the whole world!!!
Waldorf and I got to see a model of the Hubble Space Telescope. It's HUGE! The real thing floats in the upper atmosphere about 350 miles above ground and takes stunning photos of far off places. These are places Waldorf and I couldn't ever see- even if we climbed the highest peaks and squinted really hard.
(350 miles is just about the distance between San Francisco and Los Angeles!)
Hubble takes very clear pictures of objects in space, such as:
nebula- a gas cloud that can collapse to give birth to stars
star- an enormous, dense, burning ball of gas that gives off light
galaxy- a swirl of up to hundreds of BILLIONS of stars, planets, and more.
Did you know that when the Hubble was first launched into space, it had blurry vision?! Astronauts had to visit it and place a special lens on it. It's as if the Hubble got a pair of glasses!
Waldorf and I found some funny space jokes!
Q: Why didn't the sun go to college?
A: Because it already had a million degrees!
Q: How do you organize a space party?
A: You planet!
Do you know which American Indian tribe lives in your neighborhood? Waldorf and I live near the Ohlone people and Miwok tribes.
We learned from them the importance of the feathered headdress. It is very special, worn only during ceremonies, festivities, and important occasions. Every tribe has many different kinds of headdresses.
Each feather is said to have been earned by an act of courage, strength, or honor. Binding them together into a headdress displays everything a person has done for their tribe.
After learning so much about these beautiful traditions, Waldorf and I know that we need to be very respectful towards this symbol. It is not a toy we can play with.
Can you think of any sports teams that should be more respectful towards Native American traditions?
From this picture can you tell which side of the fence Waldorf and I are on?
We like to visit the zoo because we get to learn so much about wild animals. Many scientists go to spend time researching their habits.
If you're lucky- like we were- you can catch them at snack time and see them munching away on healthy things like fruits and veggies.
Zoos give homes to many animals that are endangered in their natural habitat.
Endangered means when there are so few of a kind of animal left that we're scared they might disappear forever.
Examples of endangered animals are:
and many more
Do you have a favorite animal to visit at the zoo?
Before bedtime, our mom read to us about an exotic place called Göbekli Tepe. It is a very special place, full of ancient temple remains, discovered in the country of Turkey. Scientists say that these mysterious ruins are over 11,000 years old!!! Its strange name means "Navel of the World", or, as I like to call it, "Bellybutton on a Hill".
Waldorf and I could barely sleep. We tried to imagine who built it and why. I could tell that Waldorf even dreamt about those ancient ruins: his paws were twitching as if they were digging and digging, looking for long lost treasures...
The next day we decided we would make a great team of archaeologists. We went in the back yard and did our own digging- no pretending. We found 1 bottle, 2 gross pieces of plastic, one rock that sparkles, and my mom's tulip bulbs.
What is an archaeologist? An archaeologist is a person that digs up, or excavates, ancient places, fossils, or things to learn about history.
I think we're well on our way to digging up the next ancient temple discovery.
Waldorf and I went down to our local pond to feed the ducks. We were instantly very popular.
Usually people feed bread and crackers to ducks, but that just makes them bloated. It's not good for the ducks. Waldorf and I only give them healthy snacks like:
grapes (cut in half)
peas or corn
tiny pieces of vegetables
We found a couple of duck jokes on lemontheduck.com, hope they make you giggle!
Q: What do you get if you cross a duck with fireworks?
A: A firequacker!
Q: What do you call a crate full of ducks?
A: A box of quackers!
Mallards aren't the only things you'll see at a lake or a pond. Next time you go, see if you can spot these other birds (some of them have the funniest looking mohawks):
Yesterday we had such a wonderful time celebrating Winnie & Waldorf's book birthday!
Thank you so much for joining us at Laurel Bookstore in Oakland!
Also, a very talented 1st grader, Gregory, gave us this art as a gift- how lucky are we!?
We also were given a beautiful, hand-made hot pad from a very creative 1st grader, Natalia. Thank you!
Today when we were gardening, a bee landed on Waldorf's nose.... he almost did a double flip, triple twirl! I told him to stay very, very still instead because the bee probably just wanted to say hello. As you might have noticed, Waldorf has a very cute, inviting nose.
I told Waldorf that bees are necessary for plants to have baby plants. They carry pollen from flower to flower, tree to tree, in a process called cross-pollination.
Without bees, we would have no plants. Without plants, we would have no animals. I'd have no Waldorf! We need those fuzzy little buzzers to have food on the table!! And don't they look nice always dressed up in trendy, striped, fuzzy coats?
So we spent the rest of the afternoon planting bee-friendly flowers, such as:
and many, many more!!!
BEES ARE BEE-AUTIFUL!!
Haven't you ever wondered what Pluto actually looks like? I'm guessing it doesn't look like a tennis ball.
Waldorf and I talk about whether it's shiny, or dull, rough, or smooth...
Well guess what!? We won't have to wonder too much longer!
NASA launched a space probe called NEW HORIZONS 9 years ago that is zooooming towards Pluto to take pictures for us. It will be there July 14th, this year!!!! Just one more reason to look forward to summer.
Some super cool facts:
- Pluto was discovered 85 years ago, when my grandparents were younger than me.
- NEW HORIZONS has traveled 3 billion miles! Phewf, I think it needs a water break.
- It is speedy beyond belief- zooming at almost 40,000 miles per hour... just a tiny bit faster than Waldorf when he sees cupcakes.
Question of the day:
Which is traveling faster through space, NEW HORIZONS or Pluto flying around the Sun?
Roses are red,
Daffodils are yellow,
Waldorf is the floppiest, flabbiest, sweeeeetest fellow!
We all took a trip and went plein air painting!
What does plein air painting mean? It means to paint out "in the open air". So basically we took our crayons, colored pencils, and paints outside to create art all day in the sunshine.
Here's what Waldof and I did:
Here's what Kati Hites did (our author, illustrator):
Be honest, who paints best? I think she won't be upset if you pick us... we understand.
It was another foggy evening in the bay area.
What happens when one astronomer has her head in the clouds, and her partner-side-kick astronomer is afraid of the dark? Not much. Well, not much stargazing, anyhow. We ended up having hot chocolate and doggy treats instead-- almost as fun.
We did get to see a video of it, thanks to NASA! It turns out that the not-so-little asteroid has its own moon!
Click here to see a video of the asteroid and its moon.
Exciting news! Tonight an asteroid will be flying by Earth-- the closest it will come to us is a distance three times farther away than our moon.
What is an asteroid? It is a small object in our solar system that travels around the sun. Like a teenie, tiny, cute planet.
If your parents or friends have a telescope or a good pair of binoculars, you might see the asteroid after 8pm tonight. Waldorf and I will be in our back yard looking at the starry sky. Dress warm-- it's still winter! Brrrrrr.
Waldorf and I were lucky enough to visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium on Monday. It was amazing! Our favorite exhibit was the one with the otters because they snuggle so much. Did you know that there are fish out there with really really weird names?
Like: Slimehead fish, Toadfish, Pirate perch (we expected it to have a hook instead of a fin, but it looks pretty normal), Clownfish, Humuhumunukunukuapua'a... (I'm not kidding, that's really it's name)
Waldorf and I thought of an aquarium riddle. Try to figure out what this sentence says by replacing the pictures with similar words. (Hint: For those two fish pictures, choose between these fish names... perch, sturgeon, tuna, sunfish, bass, swordfish, trout)