Wednesday, December 4, 2013

November days

Since Millie started at a new school, I have been able to volunteer every Tuesday in her classroom.  Every other week, I also volunteer as an art docent for Millie's second grade class.  I love teaching the kids art and they are so excited for the lesson on those days.  The first week we did the above project on mixing primary colors to make green, orange and purple fish.  We used acrylic paint and they all came out great.
After that I decided it was time to celebrate Fall and the changing colors of the leaves.  So I taught the class about warm and cool colors.  They drew the leaves using oil pastels.  They had to use warm colors- yellow, pink, red and orange.  Then, the class painted the background with watercolors.  For this they had to use cool colors-purple, green or blue.  The results were stunning.

Of course, since Halloween was fast approaching, it was time to learn how to draw a pumpkin.  We used chalks to draw these and the kids all learned how to blend colors and add shade.  A little bit of detail was added, and they were worthy of framing!

For November's class, I thought it would be fun to put away the paints and papers and introduce weaving to the group.  I cut strips into ordinary paper bowls and using colorful yarn and some beads, the second graders weaved a thanksgiving bowl. The next project is a big one.  We will make fish and flower bowls out of clay and I will fire them in a kiln.  Then the class will get to glaze them and one last firing in a kiln.  Fingers crossed they will survive my first ever use of a kiln!  Pictures to follow in a week and a half if they are successful.
We've also continued to lose teeth here at the Coombes house.  I guess Millie can be singing, "All she wants for Xmas is her 2 front teeth."
Family picture after enjoying the Christmas tree lighting in Langley.
And our blog would not be complete without a November sunset...

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Our first Whidbey Autumn

It's the month of October and we are getting our first experience of the season here on Whidbey island.  This is the view of the "big city" of Langley.  I drive thru town every time I need to get to Millie's school.  We live closer to Freeland, but that town does not have the charm that Langley does. 
Fall colors in the trees and beautiful view of the water.
You always know summer has ended when you see the first batch of fresh snow in the mountains...
Dugualla Bay Farms in Oak Harbor.  I really don't know why there is a fake elephant here, but they do grow pumpkins.

Walking through the corn maze.
A few weeks ago there was a Scarecrow making party in Langley at the Fairgrounds.  I am so so happy we went to this because I had just as much fun as Millie.  Here we are assembling our scarecrow.  All the materials, including clothes, straw, cowboy hat and scarves were provided, as well as a BBQ lunch. 
A perfect day for creating our scarecrow masterpiece.
Millie's scarecrow getting  his felt face glued on.  We are anxiously awaiting his appearance and getting excited about bringing him home to show Papa. 
There he is in the left hand corner taking a break on the bench while Millie gets her face painted. 
Ta-da!  Our first scarecrow!
After carrying and strapping him into the car, Millie and I head off to do a quick tractor ride before heading home. 
Ahh...sunlight streaming through the windows on a mild Autumn day.
The most gorgeous sunsets ever!!  Thank you Mike for this beautiful picture.  Wow.

Millie on picture day.  Oops-mine came out blurry.  I have been neglecting my camera too much and am out of practice.  She was really happy about her curly hair.
Enjoying a cotton candy at the Golden Corral in Spokane. 
Millie is still enjoying horse riding lessons.  She loves to brush and clean Ruby.  I am so happy to see her outside and working with these amazing animals.

Yup, we are on eight days of fog.  Darn these high pressure systems.  I think this photo was taken in the afternoon and it is crummy to know 1500 feet up is blue sky and warmer air that is unable to burn its way through.  I can't wait to see my island again one of these days.  Happy Halloween and beware the vampires lurking these Washington woods. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

My favorite things about living in Langley, WA.

On July 1st we moved to Langley located on Whidbey Island in Washington.  This move would bring us a lot closer to Mike's job at Boeing in Everett/Mukilteo.  We decided that we wanted a slower pace of life and one that would be a great place for kids.  Langley is a beautiful, peaceful place.  For now we are renting while we decide if this is the right place for us
I will never get tired of the view from our house or as I drive along the roads here!

Another great perk is the seafood, especially the ones you can get for free at the beach!
Fresh dungeness crab provided by some generous neighbors!
Another favorite thing to do is visit the beaches.  This is Saratoga beach which is just a very short walk from our house.  The best is low tide when we can play in the sand and search for baby crabs.

Double Bluff beach is about 10 minutes drive from the house and another great place. I could spend everyday of summer at these beaches.

We had a junco bird lay 3 eggs in my potted plant.  I think one of the eggs was a different species.  Here they are looking pretty unsightly still.
...and here he is nearly grown up and looking more like a bird ready to take flight.
Mike repainted and fixed up Millie's swing and we found a perfect tree for her to swing on.
Millie still loves making her fairy houses.  The deer like to come by and visit.
I think it only rained 4 days this whole summer here in the Northwest.  (Driest summer I have experienced, so far!)  On one of those rainy days we love to spend the day playing with play-do.
Looks good enough to eat!
Shortly after moving on the island, I found out about a horse camp.  That was one of Millie's favorite things this summer.  She looked forward to that camp so much, we decided to continue with horse lessons once a week.  It's great to see her gaining confidence while doing something so fun.
Making new friends while enjoying our first visit to the Whidbey Island Fair.

Mike definitely prefers commuting to work by ferry boat and then a 10 minute bus ride rather than his  hour and half to 2 hour commute through heavy traffic.
This area has an overwhelming amount of gardeners and farms.  It has been so beautiful to drive around and see all these u-pick farmsIt seems everyone has something pretty growing at their house.
A real highlight has been the time Millie and I have spent volunteering at the West garden located in Clinton.  Millie learned so much from the gardeners there while having an amazing time. They have taught her about bees, flowers, growing fruits and vegetables and how to prepare what we harvested that day into a meal that we share each time for lunch.   Most of the food from the garden goes to the local food bank here on the island.

Millie and the apprentice gardener, Alexa harvesting lettuce.

Millie and Alexa bagging carrots for the food bank.
At mid-day we always stop to share a meal together.  I have continued to volunteer here every Thursday.  Millie is now in school, but we are so lucky that the gardeners from this garden visit her elementary school every 2 weeks for a lesson on gardening.  The second graders, including Millie's 2nd grade class, are in charge of the school garden.  They planted radishes last week.
And lastly, we never tire of seeing a beautiful sunset at the end of a summer day.  Can't wait to discover what fall is like here.