Cows grazing.

I arranged a field trip to Amy’s Farm – an organic farm in Orange County with produce and animals – including chickens, horses, cows, pigs, and worms. Here are some photos of our time there.

Children grooming the miniature horse, Crystal.

Mishy hearing the plans of the tour.

Mishy loved meeting Heidi, our tour guide. She wants to return to the farm, as long as Heidi will be leading the tour again. Thank you, Heidi, for an informative and enjoyable tour.

Walking towards the organic fields.

Smelling and tasting the organic herbs.

While the children were tasting the organic herbs and delicious cauliflower, Heidi was showcasing the organic produce and picking some salad for Honey Bun.

Feeding Honey Bun part of the organic salad.

Petting the sheeps and goats.

Mishy after she pets the animals.

Feeding the chickens some greens.

Heidi gave each child and adult some greens to tear up and feed the chickens.

Getting ready to milk Honey Bun.

Mishy and Heidi milking Honey Bun together. Every child had a turn. Adults too. Mishy took my turn.

Thanking Honey Bun.

Digging for worms in the compost. We found a dozen.

Details:

Amy’s Farm

http://www.amysfarm.com/

 

 

 

 

 

Notice the legs and feet? Those are Mishy's.

As part of my need to build community, I organized an organic strawberry picking tour at Tanaka Farms in Irvine, CA. Over thirty parents and children of various ages joined my daughter and me on a wagon ride throughout the farm as our guide brought us an array of organic and incredibly fresh fruits and vegetables to sample and learn about. How do you know if something is a fruit? If it has seeds. Is a pepper a fruit? Yes. A squash? Yes. How about a cucumber or avocado or even zucchini? All fruit because they all have seeds. What is the one vegetable that has flowers? Chinese greens. This tour was educational and delicious.

Mishy eating the roots of a spring onion.

Two years ago, my husband, daughter and I went on this very same tour. Our daughter wasn’t even a year old so I wanted to bring her back. My husband had to work. Perhaps this will become an annual tradition? I would love that. I think my daughter would love it too. Maybe next year my husband will join us? He still remembers the sweet spring onions and he normally detests onions. Mishy nibbled on the roots of the spring onion. She said they were sweet. (Later I went home and used the onions for a shrimp broccoli brown rice dish.)

When we got off the wagon and onto the organic strawberry fields, after a quick tutorial on how to pick strawberries – with two hands and with care so that you are just breaking the stems off and not hurting the rest of the plant, especially if there are any flowers on the plant because each flower is a potential strawberry. The group walked carefully along the strawberry fields and ate as many strawberries as our bellies could contain. The tour includes one pound container of strawberries per child and while the parents were eating, the children were adding to their containers. Mishy said she was on a quest to find the most delicious strawberry in the world. Right before we were to go back on the wagon, Mishy found it and ate it and said, “I just had the most delicious strawberry in the world!” Mishy told this to the tour guide as well.

Mishy on the organic strawberry fields.

Tanaka Farms has been offering tours of their certified organic farm for a number of years and they have it down to a science. It’s really a fun and educational adventure on a real working organic farm in Orange County.

Here are a few tips about organic farming: Tanaka Farms plants their strawberries with their spring onions to deter insects and other animals from eating their strawberries. Want an easy way to stimulate this in your home garden? Crush a clove of garlic. Mix it with water and put it in a spray bottle. Spray the strawberry plant or any plant in your garden to deter insects from eating in. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do about rabbits eating your vegetables or fruits – maybe read Peter Rabbit by Beatrice Potter?

A scarecrow with our guide by banana trees.

I remember when I was younger my favorite field trips were going to the farm. I dressed in my jean jacket and jeans and wished I could live on a farm. Now, I wish my daughter and I could go visit Tanaka Farms once a week and continue to find the best strawberry in the world. I’ll be organizing a watermelon tour for July. Details to be posted on the FieldTripsSOCAL yahoo group.

Details:

Tanaka Farms

They offer organic strawberry tours yearly from March-June, watermelon tours where you pick your own watermelon from June-August as well as Pick Your Own Pumpkin tour in the fall and a Christmas tour in the winter. Please check their website for other special events and information on their CSA – to get organic produce delivered to your home or near your home and continue supporting Tanaka Farms and organic farming.

http://www.tanakafarms.com/

Mishy holding on to her Media Pass as people set up to break the world record.

How many people can fit under a bubble? On Monday, April 4th, 2011, it was 118 and a new Guinness Book of World Record for Fan Yang, Bubble Master extraordinaire at the Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana. Mishy and I were invited to be one of the many people inside the bubble. When we arrived after the quota of children under five feet tall was already filled, we became part of the Press. Mishy wore her own Media Pass. It’s a different perspective being part of the press. We were treated differently. Instead of waiting in line to get inside the Bubblefest tent, we were able to walk right in and there was food for us to snack on. Mishy had a bit of a sandwich before she mingled while photographers took pictures of her. They called her cute.

Fan Yang being interviewed.

Being a reporter felt like being on a movie set. There was a lot of waiting. The photographers waited with their cameras sitting on the seats, while newscasters and reporters interviewed Fan Yang. I opted not to interview him, because I felt kind of funny being surrounded by reporters from major news stations. Instead, I interviewed a mom, Olga, who had been going to see the Bubblefest shows for ten years and was extremely excited to be part of the world record with her son. Olga said she found out about the event by the Discovery Science Center’s website and would have arrived earlier to check in if she parked in the other Macy’s parking lot. Unfortunately, the mishap caused her to arrive later and her daughter didn’t make the quota. Her youngest daughter wasn’t able to participate inside the bubble due to her size. She sat with us as the 118 walked on stage to take their place in history.

Pricilla, the host of Bubble Fest.

Priscilla, the host of Bubblefest appeared and started the proceedings. Groups of people made their place on stage and waited as others got into position.

Fan Yang preparing the bubbles for the Guinness Book of World Record.

Once everyone was on stage, Fan Yang, fluffed up the bubble solution which had already been placed around the edges of the stage by his assistants. He then attempted three times to break the world record. Once the world record was confirmed, more bubbles filled the stage as we all celebrated.

118 people inside a bubble to break the Guinness Book of World Record.

Mishy playing with the bubbles.

Fan Yang and his co-workers with the owner of Discovery Science Center and the representative from Guinness with his official certificate of his achievement.

After the celebration, Mishy and I headed inside to play. Discovery Science Center is a fun, educational experience. Currently, the temporary exhibit, Sesame Street Presents: The Body, is one of the highlights for us. Throughout the day, visitors are able to meet Elmo. I wrote about our time at the exhibit in another blog post: Elmo, Idolatry, and Never Let Me Go – http://wp.me/pN7Op-iu

Mishy lying on a bed of nails.

After visiting Elmo, we naturally lay on a bed of nails. Mishy went first and she gave me instructions – “Put your arms around yourself like you’re hugging Momma. Put your legs together and don’t move.” She said the nails tickled a little. I told her the nails hurt me. They were sharp. She didn’t find it so.

We then spent time in the earthquake room, took in the Bubblefest show and went back home to Santa Monica. Well, first, Mishy picked out a large T-Rex dinosaur figurine. She hugged it while she dozed off in the car as I drove and missed most of rush hour traffic.

Need more information about Bubblefest? Here’s the link: http://www.discoverycube.org/programs.aspx?q=74

* Natural Traveling Momma is excited to be giving away 4 tickets to see Bubblefest 15: A Mega Dose of Bubbles as well as entry tickets to Discovery Science Center – a retail value of over $100 to one lucky winner. The tickets are for any Bubblefest show on April 21st, 2011. To enter, please comment below. To gain an additional entry, click on to the Discovery Science Center and comment below again. The contest ends on April 12th, 2011 at midnight. Good luck!

www.discoverycube.org

Last Sunday, we went to see the mesmerizing Golden Dragon Acrobats at the Torrance Cultural Arts Center. Every detail of this show was carefully thought out and well executed. It’s visually beautiful with its colorful costumes and simple, yet effective lighting design and props. The movements were extremely precise, astonishing, and done with flair, fun, and control. Neither myself, nor my husband, or Mishy have seen an acrobat show that left our mouths hanging open the whole time we were lucky enough to be part of the audience. We could not believe what we saw was physically possible and the talented performers made it seem so easy.

Several men spinning together.

The show touched on several cultural icons and symbols – from Thai mystical figures, to Indian Goddesses, to Mexican hat tricks. It was a marriage of artfully executed human feats with a travelogue around the world. It also featured modern dance movements and futuristic creations that were both dark and light. The dark not being scary, but interesting, and a shift in tone.

Mishy painting a fan.

Prior to the performance, during intermission, as well as after the show, the audience members were invited to paint fans in the lobby. This was led by Art To Grow On Children’s Arts Center Inc., a local South Bay area arts enrichment programs which provides services to preschools, elementary schools, not-profits organizations, parks and recreation services, camps, corporate day care facilities and more.

The Torrance Cultural Arts Center is a comfortable and modern theatre which seats five hundred and two. It also features two spacious outdoor plazas and a Japanese Garden. They offer a variety of family and adult programming and entertainment. Their upcoming show for families includes, The Chipper Experience, Where Comedy and Magic Collide on April 30th, 2011 at 2PM and 8PM. Chipper has been named “Comedy Magician of the Year!” by the International Magicians Society for the second time. According to the press release, he has a unique brand of wit, original comedy magic and audience participation that has delighted literally thousands of audiences for over a decade. This show also features guest performer, Jade, who took the male-dominated world of magic by storm in 1990, when she won first place in the International Brotherhood of Magicians’ World Magic Competition.

Parking at the Torrance Cultural Arts Center is free and very easy.

Details:

Torrance Cultural Arts Center Foundation

http://www.torrancearts.org/

The Chipper Experience. Where Comedy and Magic Collide

http://www.torrancearts.org/chipper_experience.html

Art To Grow On Children’s Arts Center Inc

www.art2growon.com

We were given press tickets to see Golden Dragon Acrobats. Our opinions are our own.

The Madrona Marsh Nature Center in Torance, CA is a nature preserve devoted to letting people experience nature in the last remaining vernal marsh in Los Angeles County. From it’s website, “A vernal marsh is a depression flooded by runoff water from surrounding upland slopes. Vernal means spring, thus by connotation the marsh is fed by winter and spring storms. After the rainy season passes, evaporation, percolation and transpiration reduce the water depth by about one fourth inch per day. By the end of August, the wetland is dry and remains dry until the next rainy season.”

The Madrona Marsh Nature Center offers family hikes, homeschooling tours, school tours, bird watching gatherings, senior strolls, habitat restoration opportunities as well as others in programs for the public. The programs at the marsh are by donation. Here is the link to their calendar:

http://www.friendsofmadronamarsh.com/calendar.htm

On Friday mornings, Cindy Reid hosts a program for 3-6 year olds called Friday Fun. We’ve had the pleasure in participating in two Friday Funs. Friday Fun consists of an overall theme regarding nature. After the children find their name tags, they sit on a carpeted area while Cindy reads them a book related to the theme of the day. When we went, the themes were the marsh and springtime flowers.  A fun learning activity such as demonstrating the food chain follows and then a puppet show, an art exploration and finally, a hike in the marsh. The teachers are incredibly dedicated to letting the children learn and experience in their own way and it reminds me of the science camps I loved attending when I was younger. Here is a photo essay of our days there.

Cindy Reid reading a story.

Carol demonstrating the food chain in nature.

Cindy Reid performing a puppet show about the food chain while Carol and the children watch.

Mishy creating nature inspired art.

Looking at the marsh on our hike.

The group of children, parents and teachers on the trail.

The clouds on the day of our hike.

By the marsh to look for insects.

Looking for insects in the water.

Mishy standing by the marsh.

Looking at gopher or mole holes.

Looking for the FBIs - fungus, bacteria, and insects.

Mishy points to a mole hole.

Details:

Madrona Marsh Nature Center

http://www.friendsofmadronamarsh.com

Bonus photos:

Mishy watching the turtle after it's eaten

Mishy touching the snake skin on display inside the nature center.

Cindy Reid showing Mishy the seeds in the spring flowers.

Lori, M, and Mishy looking at the young blossoms.

These photos were taken with my new camera – the Panasonic Lumix. I love this camera! I bought it when I thought my former camera was lost. While it turned out I didn’t need to buy another camera because my husband found the other camera, I am happy to have purchased this one. It has a Lecia lens. Most importantly, I bought it used on Amazon.com. Here’s the link for more details on amazon with reviews:

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Charlotte Diamond in concert

(Our camera was lost and now it’s been found so this is being posted a bit late.)

On a Monday, a couple of weeks ago, we returned from Northridge, where we  were invited to hear Charlotte Diamond perform to a completely sold out audience of children, teachers, mothers, and grandmothers, fathers and grandfathers. For those who are unfamiliar with Charlotte Diamond, she is a Canadian gem of singer who has devoted her professional life to children’s music. She has won numerous awards including several Junos, the Canadian equivalent to the Grammys.  Her craftmanship, sense of humor, comfort, and ease is evident seeing her perform live. While we watched, she sang, blew bubbles, played her guitar, invited children to walk around on stage and even had someone dress up as a pizza slice – not all at the same time, of course. She will be returning to the Southern California area in August and will be performing at the South Coast Botanical Gardens as part of their summer concert series on August 28th, 2011. I can’t wait!

A preschool joins Charlotte Diamond on stage

Catching bubbles

Audience clapping first of many times

Mishy dancing with a concert souvenir

Details:

Charlotte Diamond

http://www.charlottediamond.com/

If you would like to hear Charlotte Diamond sooner rather than later, her CD, 10 Carrot Diamond, features her greatest hits. Here is a link to Amazon.com for the CD:

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Mishy loves this CD, particularly, the songs, Four Hugs A Day, and I Want To Be A Dog. I really like listening to this CD too because it’s fun and loving towards children and animals.

Mishy holds her unicorn bubble wand and streamer

Bonus Photos:

Mishy told me to take this picture

Mishy wanted me to take this picture too

She continued to ask me to take pictures. Here's another one.

And another requested photo by Mishy

Last requested photo taken

We were invited to a special media event to celebrate Elmo’s third birthday at the Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana. Currently, they have an exhibit – Sesame Street Presents: The Body in support of Michelle Obama’s stance on healthy eating and exercise to prevent childhood obesity in America. We were given a VIP pass where we could meet and take pictures of Elmo. Mishy didn’t want to leave. She loves Elmo. We don’t have a television, but we let her watch some DVDs and Youtube videos. Two Youtube videos she loves is Pizza Elmo and Elmo on the potty. Her time with Elmo and pure delight in seeing him made me think that celebrity idolatry starts young.

The exhibition itself is hands on and interactive that supports ways to eat and exercise to help a child’s healthy growth. Mishy loves to sing the Raffi song right now, “I’m wondering if I’m growing,” so this exhibit has special meaning to her.

This was our first time at the Discovery Center. While it is far from us, there are several exhibits at the center which are worth the drive. Their earthquake room – with three buttons to push that stimulates difference earthquakes and a video monitor that explains three different earthquakes was fun for my daughter who loves shakes. She laughed while she was sitting in the room while some adults were clearly nervous. Their outdoor rocket exhibit where children can launch rockets into space by using different methods was a particular favorite of mine. I also enjoyed the hand pump which stimulates how blood flows, that is located on the second floor.

Parking is $4 and it is located off the 1-5. Elmo will be visiting every Saturday and Sunday during the run of the Sesame Street Presents: The Body exhibit – which runs to April 2011.

Details:

http://www.discoverycube.org/