Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Monk's Supper - Lentil Soup

To finish off our week of studying monks there was a suggestion of preparing a monk's supper. We began by preparing the recommended (and delicious) Lentil Soup. We began by chopping up onions, carrots and celery and then adding garlic, oregano and basil. How beautiful are these veggies?
 After the veggies had cooked for a bit we added lentils, water and crushed tomatoes.
 After letting it simmer for an hour (or more) we added vinegar and spinach along with salt and pepper to taste. This was so delicious!
 We followed the recommendation of adding crusty bread (thank you Trader Joe's), cheddar cheese and sliced apples along with water to drink.
 The kids fixing their plates.

This was such a yummy supper! Tim thought it was too fancy for a monk's dinner. I have to admit it was significantly better than I thought it would be and my kids definitely don't view cheese and apples as a hardship! :) We'll be eating like monk's again in the future for sure! :)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Medieval Illuminations

As well as learning how monks copied books we learned how they decorated the books with illuminations. So as another art project during the week the girls designed and completed their own illuminations. We again used the book "Across a Dark and Wild Sea" by Don Brown as well as our coloring pages as inspiration. Both of the girls began by drawing their plan on a regular piece of paper. They then recreated their work on cardstock and we added gold leaf.
 Here are the girl's finished products. Kennedy's is on the left and Reagan's is on the right. Like the monks, we concentrated on using primarily vibrant colors (blue, green, red and yellow) along with the gold leaf to enhance the look of our illuminations.
 Because Reagan didn't follow the directions she became somewhat frustrated with this project and ended up getting quite a bit of assistance from Tim.
Kennedy did a fabulous job, however, and really enjoyed the process of design through completion. Kennedy's bird did crack me up a bit though. First of all she drew it entirely by herself which again impressed me. I tried and tried to convince her it would be so pretty to do the entire belly of the bird in gold leaf. She refused insisting it would not be realistic for a robin to have a gold belly. We went back and forth over this throughout the design and up until the end of her completed work. So after she insisted it would NOT be realistic to use gold for a robin's belly she went a colored her robin blue!?!?! What a little goofball! lol :) She definitely gave me a good laugh with her ever so realistic robin, which as you can see does not have an entirely gold belly...

Medieval Writing and Tim's B-Day

While we have been spending a good deal of time exploring our solar system this Fall we certainly have not been neglecting our Story of the World studies. Our third week of Story of the World was "Christianity Comes to Britain." We learned how the Pope sent Augustine to England and how Augustine became the first Archbishop of Canterbury. We also learned about Medieval Monasteries and how monks painstakingly copied books by hand. We enjoyed the story "Across a Dark and Wild Sea" which is about an Irish monk, Comcille, and how he spent his life as a scribe. As a craft project the girls made and used Quill Pens.
To make quills you begin by placing feathers in warm, soapy water and allowing them to soak for 15 minutes.
After the feathers have finished soaking you removed the first couple of inches of the feather and trim the end of the stalk at an angle. You then clean out any debris (we used a toothpick to do this).

We had been learning about illuminations so as well as the pages of "Across a Dark and Wild Sea" I put out a couple of the girl's coloring pages from the week to look at for ideas of what to write.
We purchased ink from Michael's and used a piece of felt as a blotter to remove excess ink from our quills

As you can see, it was a little bit tricky learning how to control the flow of ink so it appeared evenly. The girls were perhaps not the best at remembering to use the blotter each time they dipped their quills in the ink either... This activity definitely makes me thankful for modern pens!
Notice the dirty finger tips, again I'm thankful for modern writing tools! :)
We're throwing Tim's birthday/kiddo picture in here because the girl's both made cards for him with their quills and ink.

This was a neat project. Not the best one we've ever done, but relatively simple and the kids enjoyed the process of both making the quill and using them.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Earth Art Project

During our study of space we did an art project of Earth using shaving cream and paint. It was quite simple, lots of fun, and turned out so well!
To begin all you need is a can of shaving cream, blue and green paint, toothpicks, white circles (heavier paper such as cardstock), a cake tin (or equivalent to hold the shaving cream), and ruler (or something with a sharp{ish} edge).
 You begin by spraying and spreading your shaving cream around in your container of choice.
 Squirt your paint in any quantity and pattern you desire.
 Take a toothpick and mix your paint around. You can mix as much as you like, but it does work a little better to leave some white and not mix the colors together completely.
Shaving cream after mixing
 Once your colors are satisfactorily mixed with the shaving cream you place a white circle on top of the paint and press down. We discovered you do need to press down sufficiently to guarantee the entire circle picks up paint. Otherwise you end up with blank spaces that are not as pretty when the project is complete.
 After you have placed your circles in the shaving cream and paint you need to let it dry for a few minutes. 
 Finally you take a ruler and scrape (not too hard!) the excess shaving cream off the circles and here is what you can expect from your finished Earth!
 I loved how well this turned out and highly recommend this art project. The only thing I did was cut out the circles (thank you Creative Memories circle cutters) and scrape off the shaving cream. It is a super kid friendly project and turns out basically no matter what you/they do! Here are the girls with their Earths.
Thanks again Pinterest! If you're interested in more details, here is my original source: .
In other news... While the big kids were doing this project Tim was feeding McKinley. Things don't usually get quite this messy, but Tim joked I needed to take a picture and title it "What I look like when Daddy feeds me..." Poor Daddy! lol :)

Galaxy Play Dough

We spent the month of September studying space. One of the fun activities we did was make Galaxy Play Dough. I found this idea on Pinterest a year or more ago and had been waiting until we did a space unit to make it with the kids. You use a basic play dough recipe with black food coloring and then add glitter for the stars. So much fun!
 We had our friend, Addison, over the afternoon we were adding glitter to our Galaxy Play Dough (I decided to mix up the black ahead of time although I generally let the kids help me with that).
 Missy K was at gymnastics when the rest of us were working on mixing up the play dough, but she really wanted to add some stars (glitter) too so we let her mix up a bit after bath time.
 Here is what the finished product looks like. How cool is this?!?!? 
 The kids love play dough in general (I'm usually the stick in the mud that doesn't necessarily want to pull everything out) so as you can imagine this play dough was a big hit throughout the month.
 Jackson cutting out stars in the Galaxy

Sunday, October 6, 2013

First Day of Classical Conversations - 2013

The Monday after Labor Day, we began Classical Conversations. While we have been doing a lot of the CC work since late last winter/early spring and throughout the summer (as well as play dates with our CC friends) we hadn't had the opportunity to attend the classes. The girls were both very excited to begin our official Classical Conversations school year.
Jackson and McKinley weren't quite so excited but had the opportunity to tag along anyway... :)
 Ready with new backpacks from Grammy 
  We did class pictures for the yearbook the first day (and since I took them I decided to include my munchkin's pictures in this post :). Reagan is 6 1/2 yrs old and in the first grade. Kennedy is nearly 5 and in Kindergarten. 
  Jackson, 3 years old, and McKinley, 6 1/2 months old, get to chill out in the nursery class and at home participate in projects as they wish. We are working on preschool work with Jackson this year. We are currently focusing on recognizing letters and numbers. Miss McKinley is working on being the cutest and happiest baby around and doing quite a good job if I do say so myself! :)
 I spent some time in Kennedy's class the first morning and was able to take a couple of pictures of her work. I was impressed with how well she was able to trace the continents since we had never tried this at home. She also did a great job of identifying each of the continents and oceans during an M&M game (on the table). 
 I was completely amazed by this bird she drew. Her teacher provided some instructions but she did this entirely on her own. Missy K is becoming quite the artist and I also have to say quite good at listening to and following directions when we're doing schoolwork or projects.
One of the reasons I have been looking forward to joining Classical Conversations is the weekly science experiments the classes do together. The teacher leads the students through each experiment using the Scientific Method (purpose, hypothesis, material, procedure, results and conclusions). So far I have been very impressed with this aspect of the classroom instruction the girls receive. Here is Missy K working on making her hypothesis as well as recording the results.
 This was such a great demonstration of the speed required of satellites in orbit. In this experiment the tree was the sun, the teacher was the earth and Missy K was the moon. As you can probably tell the moon has to move significantly faster than the earth in order to stay in orbit.
 I didn't get to spend as much time in Reagan's classroom the first day, but I did get there near the end to see part of the review. The kids loved playing a version of "Headbands" with the Timeline cards. They had to ask each other questions in order to determine what they had on their head. For example Creation & the Fall, The Flood & the Tower of Babel, Mesopotamia & Sumer, Egyptians, Indus River Valley Civilization, and Minoans & Mycenaeans were some of the choices. Reagan had the Minoans & Mycenaeans on her head and she figured it out when it was her turn. Way to go Miss Reagan! :)
  It appears our first day completely wore out my two little snuggle bunnies. :) These two don't actually sleep together, but Tim wasn't home and McKinley wasn't asleep when Jackson was ready to go to bed and he wanted me to snuggle with him. The three of us lay down together and I simply couldn't resist this photo op when to my surprise they both fell asleep. They were too precious and sweet sleeping snuggling together with their little arms crossed and pacis in their mouths. :) 
We had a great first day at Classical Conversations and are so looking forward to participating with this Homeschool group for many years to come.