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  Santa Cruz Parent Santa Cruz County
Mushrooms for All Ages
January 1, 2010
From the Editor
Suki's Blog: There's a Fungus Amongus!
Fresh Prep
Hands On Learning, Heddi's Blog
This Week
Save the Date!
Click to view our Business Directory
  From the Editor

(Site Photos) LaGloriaSchool.jpgDear Parents,

We spent some late 2009 time exploring and enjoying some of the museums nearby and also a little farther away. A sweet little museum to visit with the family is La Gloria School House.  As a former teacher I feel nostalgic about old one room schoolhouses. If you get near King City put this on your list.  In the same museum complex there's a truck museum, very cool if you like trucks!

I knew someone who was a teacher in one of the last of these in Nebraska.  She reported to a board who essentially left her alone.  She was using a Carden curriculum, so I'm sure the children were receiving a quality education. 

(Site Photos) Truck1914.jpgIn contrast to today's era a one room school teacher must have experienced both an exhilarating feeling of freedom to teach what needed teaching and an awesome responsibility for her charges, not to mention a knowledge of many subjects and skill levels. Come to think of it, today's version of that is a homeschooling parent!

Visit our descriptive list of museums and perhaps you will be inspired to do a museum a month!  Before you get started with the far away, read Suki's blog about the upcoming "live museum of mushrooms".  If you know of a museum we've missed, please tell us!

Parmalee                                                                 

  Suki's Blog: There's a Fungus Amongus!

(Site Photos) SukiRedHead_138.jpgOne of the things I love to do with this blog is point other parents toward really great resources and events in our community. Here is one that I can't speak more highly of: The annual Santa Cruz Fungus Fair sponsored by the Fungus Federation of Santa Cruz.

The fungus fair celebrates something about the Santa Cruz Mountains that you may have not noticed yet: it's full of weird, wonderful, and delicious fungus! Our mountains are host to some of the deadliest fungus on earth, the Amanita Muscaria and Amanita Phalloides.

(Site Photos) Chanterelles.jpgThen there are all the wonderfully tasty mushrooms: The boletes, the chanterelles.

And the weird and beautiful: One time I decided to see if I could bring mushroom-growing materials into my son's classroom. I found a man who was running a successful mushroom company who agreed to give me some spawn for the kids to grow in the classroom. When I was at his mushroom-growing facility, I asked him how he got into mushrooms.

"Oh, you know," he said. "First I was into the fun ones, magic mushrooms. And then I got interested in the other kinds."

Mushrooms have all sorts of properties: hallucinogenic, healing, dyeing, nutritive.

(Site Photos) MushroomDyedYarn.jpgMushroom dyes make gorgeous colors. They're not bright or fancy, but they are deep and mysterious. There is always a vendor of mushroom dyed cloth at the Fungus Fair. I've never wanted to spend as much money as she (rightfully) demands, but one year they let the kids dip pieces of silk into a mushroom bath. My son still has the piece he dipped, brown and warm and mysterious.

Some highlights of the Fungus Fair:

My kids remember first the food: candy cap mushroom ice cream, mushroom chowder, mushroom lasagne. The biggest room they occupy at Louden Nelson is taken over with a huge mushroom habitat: Mushroomers from all over bring in samples of mushrooms growing where they grow best: logs with gorgeous fungi sprouting out of them. The forest floor which gives us both chanterelles and amanitas. All the mushrooms are labeled with their common name, their Latin name, and most importantly, with their level of edibility: a knife and fork for "yum, yum, good!" and a skull and crossbones for "don't even think about it."

There's a kids room with crafts and learning. Microscopes with slices of fungus. There are rooms where you can buy stuff: mushroom posters, mushroom growing kits, mushroom-themed art, actual mushrooms to eat.

(Site Photos) MushroomGrowingKit.jpgOne of the things that is great to do with kids is to get one of the mushroom-growing kits. (Do this last - they're heavy!) You buy an ordinary box of dirt, add water, keep it out of sunlight, and voila! you get beautiful, edible mushrooms.

Mushrooms have a completely different life cycle than plants. The actual organism is the mycelium, which lives underground. When the mycelium feels threatened, like when a downpour of rain comes down, the mycelium sprouts its fruiting body (mushrooms or fungus) which give off spores, which are like the seeds of the mushroom organism.

If you like to do activities with your kids or if you homeschool, mushrooms are a great subject to study in Santa Cruz County in the wintertime. You can download this mushroom workbook from the American Mushroom Institute.

I made this diagram to show kids in my son's kindergarten class how mushrooms are different from plants:

(Icons/Graphics) MushroomDiagram.jpg

The other great thing you can do with kids is just go out into the forest and look. Any redwood forest has a great variety of fungus at this time of year. We live next to Nisene Marks and the stuff we find is fabulous. All the photos in this blog were taken by me somewhere in our county.

If you are knowledgeable about mushrooms, and ONLY if you are knowledgeable about mushrooms, going mushrooming is fabulous for kids. Our earth offers us a bounty of amazing food, and to get amazing mushrooms, all you have to do is look. My brother decided a few years back to educate himself, and since then, we have been the beneficiaries of many a fine mushroom feast at my parents' house, such as this bunch of chanterelles at Thanksgiving:

Just on my parents' property near Corralitos, we have found probably thousands of dollars worth of mushrooms over the years. But we never sold an ounce of them!

Mushrooms are fun, delicious, beautiful, fascinating, and very local. Happy mushroom season!

We borrowed Suki's entire blog because it's so timely!  To read more of Suki's writings go here.

  Fresh Prep

(Site Photos) Chicken_Pot_Pie.jpgFresh Prep Kitchens January Menu

All-American Pot Roast * Asian-Infused Flank Steak * Chicken di Tuscany * Baked Chicken,

Tilapia or Tofu with Olive and Tomato Sauce * Southwest Beef or Vegetable Fajitas

Sloppy Joes! * Savory Turkey Meatloaf with Apricot Pepper Glaze * Apple Blueberry Crisp 

Homestyle Chicken Pot Pie * Greek Seasoned Pork Kabobs 
View Our Complete Menu

  Hands On Learning, Heddi's Blog

(Products/Books) Othello.jpgOthello has been around for 30 years or more, making it a "classic" board game. It is a fairly straightforward strategy game for two players and a great introduction to strategy games in general. The 64 identical pieces are two sided- one black and one white. Players take turns putting down a single new piece and "capturing" the other color between the piece they put down and one already on the board of their color. "Captured" pieces are turned over to expose the player's color. The game board is ever changing and moves that capture many pieces in one turn can spell disaster in the next.

Buried in the rules is way to help even the game out between more and less experienced players. It turns out the corners of the board are important because they cannot be captured once played, so placing four pieces of the weaker player's color in the corners gives that player some advantage.

My son began enjoying this game around age eight, but his six year old sister can also play. Beginning players first learn how to logic out which spots allow the most captures, later players start to think ahead and sometimes take lesser pieces for greater pieces later.

Although I think part of the fun of the game is the physical act of flipping the pieces back and forth, there are also free versions on the web.

To read about more hands on learning materials, go to Heddi's Blog!

  This Week

Event CalendarBelow is only a partial list of upcoming events and activities so be sure to click on our EVENT CALENDAR so you do not miss anything >>

Use the PARENT PLANNER to click on events and resources you are interested in and click PRINT MY PLANNER to print or email your list.

Camp Calendar | School Schedules | Movie Showtimes

 

(Icons/Graphics) SchoolHouseRed.jpgOpen Houses

 

Gateway K-5 1/9

Waldorf 1/12

Gateway 1/12

Chartwell 1/14

Museum Adventures

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New Class, Tap/Ballet Combo
Ages 3-5

Free class
Jan 9-13

Tuesdays 2:30pm
Wednesdays 4:30pm
Saturdays 9:30 & 10:30am

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Mushroom
Adventures

Take a Class!

 

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(Site Photos) DogYawningPuppy.jpg

 Save the Date!

(Business Logos) CCISF180.jpgWelcome to the 8th Annual Central Coast Independent School Fair Featuring K12 Schools and Preschools

* Meet Representatives of the Finest Independent Schools on the Central Coast
* Panel Discussion: Why Choose an Independent School?
* Educational Prizes
* Interactive Activities Table by Educational Resource Center
* Refreshments by Whole Foods

This is a great opportunity to meet, talk with, and ask questions of representatives and parents from Central Coast independent K-12 schools and licensed preschools.

January 20, 6:30-9pm, Markey Community Center, Resurrection Church, Soquel & State Park Dr., Aptos

www.IndependentSchoolFair.com

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Elephant Seal Walks
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  Elephant Seal Walks
State Park Ano Nuevo
Date: Every day (Oct 20-Mar 31)
Ages: All: (Lots of walking)
Details: 3 mile hike over sand and sloping terrain to see thousands of elephant seals, including newborn pups, their mothers, and bulls
Special Instructions: Dec 15 - Mar 31
City: Pescadero Phone: (650) 879-2025 view all details >>
     
     
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