Friday, February 14, 2014

The Sushi Chef's Apprentice

A few weeks ago, a new sushi place opened in town. We live in a VERY small town (pop. 4,000), so having our own local sushi bar is a VERY special luxury. Last year, the same place was rented out by a different sushi chef, and Lu and I were there sometimes twice a week. Lu made friends with the crew and they taught him how to roll like a pro. They were only here for a short time, but this new sushi crew wants to stay. Hurray!

So, we went to give it a try and, again, Lu made friends with the sushi crew, and negotiated an apprenticeship! So, the following week, Lu - apron in hand - went for his first day as a sushi chef's apprentice. 

He started with some washing and chopping,

and grating ginger (lots of it).

He ran some errands to the downstairs kitchen.

and helped make the side salads.

(yes, that does say Tantric Octopus Tempura, and I'm trying to be inconspicuous at the furthest table, drinking a beer)

After doing all the preps, it was time to get to the good stuff -

Making dumplings!

He also took my order (very professionally):
one spicy tuna roll and one dark beer (yes, another one).
Extra wasabi please.

He did a great job!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Improv Show, Being Present, and Dancing Paprika

Last weekend, Lu was in an Improv Theater dinner show with his improv crew. They worked hard to put a lovely show together which included a three-course meal served by the actors.

Lu did some hooping.

And the improv skits were funny.

Improv is a great way for kids to practice quick/clever response,
develop verbal agility, and build confidence in general.

Lu also debuted his song: "Face to Face"

It was a wonderful evening.

 *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Our year starts in January, 
and this was our second week back from break.
This year, we're not quite sure what grade we're in.

Last year we were in 5th grade, but we didn't quite get to everything. See, I spread myself a little too thin, taking on more work (dance classes), and leaving Lu to try to do the work on his own. I thought that the independence and responsibility would be good for him, but it was too much. Math skills and handwriting suffered the most. So we need some time to catch up in these areas - not catch up to some standard, but to where Lu would be if it hadn't been for my absence. Also, because I was so busy running around between assigning assignments to Lu (that I didn't even have time to check), and working, I was Stressy. All. The. Time. 

And that is not how I want to be.

So, we're calling it 5th/6th for now, because we'll be doing 5th grade math and 6th grade language arts. But really, all the rest of it (history, science, geography...) is pretty... gradeless, as in who knows what grade this would be taught in at a regular school.

And I am not taking on any work until the afternoons, so that I can have all my focus on being a present and good-humored learning partner for Lu again.

Guitar lesson via YouTube tutorial.

 We do math in Spanish from Mon-Thurs

 Here Lu is learning about the Mayan numeration system.

 On Fridays, we do math in English with Arithmetricks.
Lu LOVES this book. Yay!

He reads a chapter or two,

and then explains the tricks to me.

In this week's science experiment,
Lu made paprika dance!

In History, we're reading about feudalism, castles, lords, vassals, and knights, and Lu's interest in history is returning having been briefly lost during the collapse of Ancient Rome.
In Geography, Lu learned about
the Scandinavian Countries, the Lower Countries,
and the British Isles.

We have a collection of mythology books from around the world that I like to keep handy. They get used a lot. Whenever we start learning about new places, people, cultures... we pull out one of our books and read a myth or legend from that place or culture. This week Lu read several Norse myths.

Not only does Lu love them, 
but they connect us to something essential and magical 
about those places and cultures.

 This week, Lu made Arroz con Chorizo,
from his Colombian cook book.

 Accompanied by diced zucchini, garlic, and onion curry.

It was really delicious!
 (not the best pic, sorry, but I had to show it cause it was so YUM)

And Strawberry Mousse for dessert!