Tuesday, October 27, 2015

It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

Like most American households, it is our annual tradition to watch this gem every Halloween, It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.  We love it.
Because Maggie doesn't get the advantage of having holiday class parties like Al and I remember so fondly, we decided to make some fun treats to surprise her with while we watched ol' Charlie this year.  Beforehand, I had purchased these awesome little plates and napkins from Oriental Trading.
 Then, I made some Halloween snack mix with white cheddar popcorn, pretzel sticks, candy corn, and Reese's Pieces.
I found a great idea for another snack at http://bubblynaturecreations.com/2014/10/pumpkin-patch-pudding-cups-easy-halloween-snack.html, called "Full Moon Pumpkin Patch Pudding Cups."  I made them and redubbed them "The Great Pumpkin Patch Pudding Cups."  They were so easy to make with chocolate pudding cups, Oreos (both crushed and halves with the icing intact), candy pumpkins, and a green gel writer.  They turned out so cute!
 For drinks, I bought Fanta orange soda in the mini bottles and removed their labels, then added green curling ribbon for "vines."
I laid out a couple of Sharpies so we could each draw out own Jack-o-lanterns onto the bottles!
To be silly, my husband put a rock on Maggie's plate to remind her that Charlie "got a rock" instead of treats.
But we filled her up after that little laugh!
Then, it was time for the show!
See you soon!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Olympic Games

Today we covered Lesson 41 in our history curriculum, The Mystery of History, Volume I, entitled, "The Olympic Games."
After reading about the Olympic Games from our text, we looked in The Usborne Encyclopedia of World History to see what it had to offer.
It always gives great pictures that our text doesn't.
Next, we looked at the different depictions of athletes on the vases and plates in this If I Were a Kid in Ancient Greece book (by Cricket Books).
We also looked through The Usborne Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece, specifically, at pages 90-91, entitled, "The Games."
We made special note of this section that mentioned laurel wreaths, because that was one of the projects we had planned (see below).
In our Evan-Moor History Pockets: Ancient Civilizations workbook (Grades 1-3), we got instructions on making a paper laurel wreath of our own (page 66).
First, we cut leaves from green paper.
Then we cut the curved, outer edge off of a paper plate, and cut out the middle to shape it like the ring you see below.
To this, we added our paper leaves with glue.
Once done, here is what our laurel wreath looked like!
Fit for a champion!
To complete one more project for this lesson, we used this Crafts From the Past: The Greeks book from Chick-Fil-A to make an "Olympic Plate" (pages 6-7).
First, we painted a paper plate orange.
Once the orange had dried, we went back and painted stripes along the edge of the plate in alternating colors, brown and black, to simulate the art from that time.
Once that was done, we painted a cardboard circle that would fit in the center, the same orange color as the rest of the plate.  Next, Maggie added to it a picture depicting herself in her sport of choice, swimming.  
We glued the circle to the plate and her craft was complete.  
Here is Mags, holding her champion's awards -- her laurel wreath crown and her Olympic plate for swimming!  Way to go, Mags!
There's no mystery why we love history!

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!