Thursday, February 24, 2011

4th grade history: California History.

In California, 4th graders all study the California Missions. For those who are not versed in California history, the missions were churches established by Spanish priests throughout California before it became a state. The missions were supposed to help the native populations by teaching them to farm and by converting them to Catholicism.

Part of learning about the missions for many 4th graders includes building a model of one the 21 missions. I remember building mine out of sugar cubes back in the day... Now, I have a 4th grader of my own building his mission model. He chose Mission Santa Cruz.

The first buildings of Jacob's Mission Santa Cruz
The roofs of missions were build from hand made tiles. This is still a popular look in California. But, how do you get the look on a small scale? Manicotti. First you boil it until it's just soft enough to cut in half. Then you let it dry again to get the lovely half circle shape. Each one is a little different, giving it that handmade look. Then you paint each one.
Close up of the pasta, before and after painting.
Assembly of the roof, one tile at a time.
This became a family project.
The back yard of the mission. They farmed a large area around the mission. They also had lots of animals.
Jacob's fountain
We visited the actual Mission Santa Cruz. (more about that in a future blog) This is the real fountain at the current mission site.
The finished project.
The real (replica) of the mission. The original was damaged and moved a couple of times over the years. There is only one original building still standing. (More about that in a later blog too)
Consider googling Mission Santa Cruz. It has an interesting history. I am much more interested now than when I was in 4th grade. Watch for more from our trip to the mission, coming soon, when I find time...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

You really just never know what will inspire a blog posting. Today, it was a trip to get a new toilet seat. Now, first there is a back story to get to why we need a new toilet seat. We have had some crazy plumbing issues in recent weeks. $8000 worth of crazy plumbing issues to be precise. Needless to say, Brian was not happy to find the toilet backed up again yesterday, after we thought we had everything fixed ($8000 worth of "fixed").

Anyway, after his battle with the bowl, he informed me that he had broken the toilet seat. I didn't even want to know how that happened, but I asked anyway. His reply? Sheepishly, "well kicking it probably didn't help." Sometimes, all you can do is laugh. Then you get to pick a new toilet seat. And there are options! While we debated the pros and cons of each seat, I felt a blog coming on and pulled out my cell phone, lol. I bet you're glad!

Option 1: This nice wooden number. Unfortunately, neither of was sure of the color of the wood our sink cabinet is made of, and we could not have a mismatched toilet and sink.
Option 2: I teased Brian about getting a nice squishy seat. He vetoed the "stick to your butt" soft plastic/vinal stuff. But, aren't the embroidered dragon flies lovely?
Option 3: I kind of favored this pretty shell pattern. It would match the shower curtain with a beachy theme. Brian's comment? "When you sit down, can you hear the ocean?"
Not really an option, but seriously, where was this little number when I was potty training the boys? How cook is this? It has a small lid and toddler size seat AND the whole lid lifts for adult use. Genius!
So what did we get? It didn't even warrant a photo, lol. A simple white wooden seat, just like the one that got broke. We are such boring decorators.