The Nagasawa family photos July of 2011
John went to Aquarium Camp during the first week of July. This was his second time going; he went last year when the theme was "Tidepool Trekkers". This year, the theme was "Marine Mammals." He got to see seals at the Aquarium, whales just outside Boston Harbor, and tidepool animals in Sandwich MA on an overnight sleepover.
I took the kids, along with friends, to the Taza Chocolate Factory in Somerville, MA. They use a process from Mexico using stone ground chocolate, with only 1 - 2 other ingredients. They do a very thoughtful job with Direct Trade, a step above Fair Trade. They visit their farmers at least once a year and make sure they are growing more diverse crops than cocoa. This makes the farmers more self-sufficient as they grow their own food, are not dependent on price fluctuations in the global market, and are not overly vulnerable to crop diseases.
Below is chocolate flavored with orange. Mmmm!!
The employee at the factory described the chocolate making process from start to finish. It was fascinating. The cacao nut is rather large and grows on trees.
After the insides of the cacao nut is brought here, it goes through a roaster at 145 degrees F. Then the shells are cracked off and you get the bitter cacao bean.
Then the bean is ground into a paste using authentic Mexican stones, like the one I'm holding here.
The chocolate is mashed into a paste, mixed with water and raw sugar, and infused with maybe 1 or 2 more natural ingredients. Some of those include: yerba mate tea, orange extract, salt and pepper, etc.
Then the chocolate is wrapped and boxed by hand. The factory uses bicycles only to deliver the chocolate to stores and markets around Boston. So their carbon footprint is really small.
This month, I've done a mini school with John and Zoe. We're doing work in math, spelling, history (focus on Abraham Lincoln), and art (focus on pencil drawing techniques). We are reading Les Miserables together, which we were inspired to do because the kids love the musical so much. We're also studying the Life and Psalms of David, about every other day, and they've been really quick to pick up how this all applies to how God wants a shepherd to care for other people, and a mediator to stand between Himself and others. This has been really great to develop in them a sense of God's mission. The kids have also done Tenacity, a tennis camp, with our neighborhood friend Briana. This August, they will do Zoo Camp at the Franklin Park Zoo.
The Nagasawa family took a five day, four night vacation to Cape Cod during July. Other friends of ours met us there so we all had a great time. Thankfully, we missed some really hot days in Boston, as the Cape is about 10 degrees cooler than the city. Here is Miss Harriet's car on the left, and ours on the right, stopping for a bathroom break.
We went camping, biking, and swimming. Here's our tent at Nickerson State Park in Brewster, MA on Cape Cod. We got there Monday afternoon.
This beach was called East Dennis Beach, on the Atlantic Ocean side. Here we are on Tuesday with our friends Miss Harriet and her grandkids Terron and Tiffany, and Miss Marge with her grandson Zach.
This was the forest at Nickerson in the morning, with the sun peeking through.
On Wednesday, we rode on one of the bike trails.
We got to a beach on the bay side.
It was low tide and the water had gone out.
Classic Cape Cod picture?
After eating our ice cream, we biked back.
Then we went to a freshwater pond in Nickerson State Park
We saw Will and Coli Cole-French on Wednesday evening! They were in Nickerson also, primarily to ride the bike trails.
On Thursday, Dan and Liza and Jacob Cagua-Koo, along with Jose Cintron, drove up. Here is little Jacob playing on the beach with our kids.
Jose made an awesome sand shark sculpture.
Back at our campground, we relaxed and got a fire going for dinner.
Ming made her famous fresh salsa, of course!
The kids kept reading Harry Potter books.
Jose manned the grill, making hot dogs, burgers, corn, and salmon.
Dan and Liza stopped Jacob from getting too close the fire.
Then it was time for Jose and the Cagua-Koos to depart.
On Friday morning, we discovered a toad.
In the morning we went for a bike ride towards Coast Guard Beach, a beach on the Atlantic Side with some actual waves. Having been raised in CA, and spent a lot of time on the beaches, I'm a Pacific Ocean snob. The Atlantic doesn't have very big waves at all, at least in Massachusetts. Sad.
We drove 30 minutes north out towards Provincetown, because we had heard that wild seals were gathering on the beaches. We trekked out to this sandy area on a very hot day. Is the ocean just over that ridge?
Yes! Thank goodness.
The seals were swimming around in the ocean.
Going back, you can appreciate how far we walked in the hot, hot sand.
Off to the left, there were sand dunes.
On our way back, the kids read Harry Potter books. We wanted to see the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Museum, but it was only open on Mon and Thu. Next time!
And since it was too hot to go home, we stopped at a movie theater to see Harry Potter 7 part 2!