Friday, January 29, 2010

My New Toy

Okay, I have been wanting to upgrade my camera for awhile now. Bob asked me what I wanted for X-mas two years ago, and I replied that I wanted to get a new camera. By the time this past X-mas rolled around I was still undecided on which one to get - I wanted the quality of photos that you would get from a DSLR but in a camera with a more compact frame. So I was waiting for the reviews on the new micro 4/3 cameras that Olympus and Panasonic debuted last fall. Well, I finally bit the bullet and we splurged on the Panasonic GF1 with the 20mm lens which we picked up just yesterday. Ideally if I could build my dream camera I would get the Olympus EP-1 body with the Panasonic pancake lens but that would be way too expensive and I am only an amateur.

I was so excited to try out the camera I immediately took some test shots of my cutie pie. Here they are: just auto setting and no post processing.

Of course a picture is only as good as the photographer. I'm just starting to learn so hopefully I'll get better at this!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Doggies in the Park

We saw a group of dogs having their own playdate at the park the other day. =P

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Mini Masterpiece

Ethan's first art project. It was the result of a fun activity where you place a piece of paper at the bottom of a box, drizzle some non-toxic washable paint on top, add a couple of marbles and roll/shake the box to your heart's content. Another variation: roll matchbox cars over the paint to make tracks. Of course you could just finger paint or paint with brushes but this was a bit more fun.

Since I am on the topic of activities (we have been having some rainy days here), here are some other ideas:

1) Making a shaker. We took an old water bottle then added some glitter, colored rice, and some colored noodles. Next up was decorating the bottle with some stickers. This is good for developing fine motor skills (twisting the bottle cap on/off, placing objects through a small opening).

2) Since it is too cold to use our water table outside we moved it indoors and filled it with beans instead. It's fun to play with the different texture and if you add some cups and the child learns how to fill, pour and dump. If you have different sized containers or shapes, you can learn about volume: the amount of beans the fill a small bowl will barely cover the bottom of a larger one, the round bowl will hold a different amount from the same sized square bowl, etc. Other variations to introduce different textures: fill with rice, sand, marbles, or add dry pasta shapes in water and they can watch how the noodles expand and change texture with water.

3) This was when Ethan was much younger, but he still sometimes plays with the bottles. Fill empty bottles (we used mini shampoo bottles from the toiletry kit at hotels) with different colored water, sand or beans. The different objects make different sounds when you shake it and adding different colors teaches you, well about colors. =P Add some liquid soap and you get bubbles when you shake the bottle. Ethan actually learned his colors this way. Plan toys actually makes some cool toys with the same concept:

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Big Budda

Back in November we took a trip to visit the Big Budda and Po Lin Monastery which is on Lantau Island. You can either take a bus or take the Ngong Ping cable car to reach this destination. We opted for the latter even though it has already built up quite a reputation. It was actually a very peaceful and enjoyable ride. Ethan loved looking at the scenery below him. We visited the Big Budda, browsed amongst the stores in the small village (tourist traps!), and had a bite to eat before heading back home. All in all it was a fun day trip!

Ethan modelling the windblown hair look.
We are so high up! Mike and his girlfriend Venus.
Some funky trees.
A display of cable cars.Ethan trying his best to shimmy his way into a one.
Mike and Ethan, the poseurs.
Enjoying some desserts after dinner from Honeymoon Desserts, a popular chain in HK.