Friday, October 23, 2015

The Duchess Bakes a Cake

This week, we rowed The Duchess Bakes a Cake by Virginia Kahl.  Amazon's synopsis of it reads,
" 'A long time ago there lived over the waters,
A Duchess, a Duke and their family of daughters.'
Everything went smoothly and happily in this large family, until one day the Duchess decided to make:
'A lovely light luscious delectable cake.'
Would she take the cook's advice?  No, she would not.  The Duchess put many things into the cake, adding the yeast six times for good measure.  So the cake rose, and the Duchess with it -- and how were they to get her down again?  It is Gunhilde, the youngest of the daughters, who suggests a happy solution."

Maggie enjoyed this book a lot, especially the rhyme scheme throughout.
After we read it, she placed the story disk for this book over some of our many other disks in Europe, a place where castles were once a prominent part of society.
Then we delved into The Usborne Encyclopedia of World History to read about medieval times, specifically, about kings, nobles, and peasants, knights, soldiers and war, and life in a castle (pages 220-225).
(Here are some of the pages from the book.)
We love Usborne books!
After that book, we moved onto this awesome Usborne book called Peek Inside: Knights' Castle by Richard Jewitt,
It opens up really big to reveal layers and layers of activity inside!
She had so much fun spying on everyone!
We also examined The Usborne Book of Living Long Ago: Everyday Life Through the Ages by Felicity Brooks and Helen Odom.  In it, we read about clothes in medieval times (pages 10-11), castles (pages 34-35), medieval food and banquets (pages 58-61), and travel at that time (pages 84-85).
The book challenged us to make a medieval pouch, so using a circle of felt, we cut small, 1-inch slits into it all the way around.
Next, Maggie weaved some string into and out of the slits.
Once it was strung all the way through, we pulled it taut to make our pouch!
We kept the string long enough to tie around her waist and she put a few coins in it for keeping!
We talked more about medieval clothing, particularly what the knights wore, with our Usborne Sticker Dressing: Knights sticker book.
She dressed all of the knights in this book and we read the pages together to learn even more.
We also looked at the different dress of different knights over time with our Dover Medieval Knights sticker book.
Also from Dover, this Easy-to-Make Castle by A. G. Smith allowed us to make our own cardboard replica of a medieval castle!  It really wasn't that hard with a good pair of fine scissors and some clear tape.
Here is ours, put together and well-guarded!
 We used our plastic knights (a Toob set) to pose as the approaching enemy.
(Mags had a lot of fun with this.)
 We even have a miniature catapult that we launched paper balls from.
All week during this book study, we also read stories from this Usborne Stories of Knights & Castles by Anna Milbourne.  (She LOVED these stories!)
We even broke long enough to watch Disney's The Sword in the Stone ...
... paying close attention to the details of the castle in the animation!
In our Language Arts study of The Duchess Bakes a Cake, we talked a lot about synonyms, as the duchess "pushed [the cake] and pummeled it, punched it and pat on it ..."  We tried to think of synonyms for different words in the book and then used The Usborne Not-Your-Everyday Illustrated Thesaurus to find more.
We even found a page in there on different synonyms for knights and castles!  How cool!  We used these in different sentences about knights.
 For art, we noted the Type Style Old English lettering in the illustrations.  This is Gunhilde.
I found an M in this font online for Maggie to color and once she did, we mounted it onto cardstock.  (She is very proud of it.)
We also talked about minstrel music and listened to a few videos on YouTube featuring the same.  Here are two of those videos.
Then, while I read more stories about knights to her, she painted this canvas kit that we found cheaply at Michael's craft store (it comes with the acrylic paints, brush, and paint pot.  We only had to open it.)
For math, we talked about measurements and how the duchess should have used some of these to avoid her cake disaster.  We got out some of our measuring tools and decided to make the cake in The Five in a Row Cookbook for this book ("Light Cake," page 108).
Ready to measure!
We giggled that the brand of our cake flour was King Arthur Flour!
We measured and mixed, poured and prayed, and our cake came out pretty and smelling delicious thirty minutes later.
Once the cake had cooled, however, we ran into a few catastrophes (some of our cake stayed behind in the pan when we went to shake it out, our whipped cream wouldn't thicken, etc.), but we found solutions just like the duchess did!  This cake is full of yummy fruit!
We ended up pouring our cream over it like a glaze instead, and it turned out pretty enough.
 And there we had it ... a lovely light luscious delectable cake.  Crises averted.
 It was actually scrumptious!  I can't say we'll ever make it the exact same way again (mistakes and all), but we can try.  At least we measured, unlike that duchess!
Next row?  Mr. Gumpy's Motor Car!  Stay tuned!

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