Sunday, December 20, 2015

Year 3: Exploring Countries and Cultures, Guten Morgan, Germany!

     We made our way to Germany.  Now, I will say that with the holidays right around the corner, I feel like we zipped right through this country.  The only thing that really slowed things down (in a good way) was reading about George Müeller.

     Are you familiar with George Müeller?  Talk about a man with faith!  What other kind of man could feed children with absolutely nothing in the house except their gratitude to our Lord!

     We also had the opportunity to visit the Ronald Reagan Library.  They had a couple of special exhibits, one of which was Christmas Around the World, which featured Christmas trees decorated to represent different countries.  The one below, from China, was my kids' favorite.

  Below is a close-up of the origami on the tree representing Japan:

     A quote from Reagan's diary that speaks volumes and one that we should all live by:

     How appropriate that my kids crawled through a replica of the Berlin Wall!  That was definitely part of our study, though we didn't go into too much detail.  We'll save that for the next time we come around to Exploring Countries and Cultures.

     Of course, no country study would be complete without a meal from Germany.  We are very lucky to have a German restaurant right in our neighborhood.  The owner, from Germany, came out to greet us and was excited to know that we were studying Germany.  She even taught us how to say "Merry Christmas" in German!
     Clockwise from the top left:  German bread, G’Hackets mit Hörnli better known as "Mac and Cheese" (more Swiss than German, but the kids wanted it), Rahm-Schnitzel and Zürcher Gschnätzlets with Rosti.  It was all so delicious!  We plan on going back, but we won't wait for our next study of Germany.

     Finally, as we were nearing our time off and the holidays, I captured this moment during their book basket time.  Just a glimpse into our homeschool day!

     Have a joyful Christmas and a blessed New Year!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Year 3: Exploring Countries and Cultures, Bonjour France!

     Our study of France began with saddened hearts and prayer.  It just so happened that after the tragedy in Paris, we were leaving Norway and making our way to France.  Even the librarian asked if our study was prompted by the attacks.  It was not.  It just happened to fall on our calendar that way.  We prayed for those affected by the attacks.  So, so sad.

     Our Thanksgiving break was in the middle of our study, so I feel like we didn't do enough France "stuff".  However, if you can tell by my posts we are a foodie family so we will always get the FOOD part in.  Ha!  Here my kids are having their first bite of escargot:

      Since it was so close to the holidays the restaurant had a special dessert, a Bûche de Noël, also known as a Yule Log.  We shared this along with a Mille-feuille, more commonly known as a Napoleon.  We all agreed the log was better.

     The kids dabbled in water colors, painting a bunch of grapes.  You know, because France is known for wine.  (They knew this already because The Principal could also be a sommelier [a wine steward]).  My daughter also drew the Eiffel Tower, but I have no idea where she put it!

     We also watched Kings of Pastry which we found fascinating.  I used to work at well-regarded culinary school (in the admissions office) and my favorite chef happened to be French.  He would always send someone down to the offices when the students made Bouillabaisse so that we could have some before it was all gone.  It was my first taste of it and it was scrumptious!  Working there was probably one of my favorite places of employment for many reasons (I made a lot of wonderful friends there and still keep in touch with them).  The employees also got free food!  Can you imagine a cafeteria loaded with foods from all over the world, made by up and coming chefs; you didn't have to pay a dime for it AND you can come back for seconds?  I  mean these weren't samples.  These were full on meals, made by the students for the students and staff.  They put in 8-hour days, sometimes longer, so they deserved a nice hot meal!

     We enjoyed our study of France, despite the sad beginning.  I think if we were to travel anywhere, France would be my kids' first choice.  Some day.  Au revoir!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Year 3: Exploring Countries and Cultures, Hallo, Norway!

     When I was in the sixth grade we had to partner up with another classmate and report on a particular country.  I remember that the country my partner and I reported on was Norway.  We also had to do an oral report on what we learned.  We even presented food from the county.  Other partners would share food, art or something the created specifically for the report.  I remember that we had crackers and some other food item.  I remember my dad helped me draw the map of Scandinavia and that my report cover was red.  I feel like I still have it somewhere.

     Anyway, as you can tell we spent a couple of weeks in Norway.  The kids tried a little Rosemaling.  Here they are practicing:

     I found a print for them to actually paint:

     We opted to do it on paper since I did not have a box for them to paint on.  Plus, my son wouldn't know what to do with that box (I guess he could have given it to someone for Christmas) and my daughter likes to hang her art up.

     We end every country with a summary report.  Since my son sometimes has difficulties organizing his thoughts and putting them onto paper, I created a simple sheet that he has to fill it at the end of the study.  My daughter, however, likes to be a little more creative and chose to make a travel pamphlet this time around:

     The top off our study we made Risgrøt (Rice Pudding) for breakfast.  The recipe I used was not from this site linked.  We got ours from a Norwegian cookbook we borrowed from the library.

     The rice pudding smelled creamy and cinnamony (not a word, I know).  Oddly enough, the time which we had it coincided with the time in Norway that this would typically be served (I believe it was first dinner, around 5 pm).  This is also sometimes made for Christmas, as a dessert.  We made it in our slow cooker.  The consistency reminded me of a chocolate version I used to have for breakfast when I was little, which I promised to make the kids some time.

     Later that evening. I made a simple seafood stew and luckily we had in our freezer some cookies from Solvang:

     All in all we enjoyed our adventure in Norway but can't wait to move on to France!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Year 3: Exploring Countries and Cultures, Olá Brasil!

     We've spent the last 3 weeks in Brazil and it's been such a blast.  The kids learned plenty about the Amazon rainforest and its animals, along with all the countries of South America.

     Here they are looking at our wall map in week 9 so that they could label their maps:

     Here they are a few days later helping each other label North and South America:

     By our last week in Brazil, week 11, they were able to label all the countries on North and South America, with zero help in 3 minutes and 51 seconds.

     We also finished reading YWAM's Nate Saint.  I can't relay to you just how much we love reading these stories together as a family.  We get to hear how God's hands were (and still is) on those who serve Him.  This story in particular, showed how God used a tragedy to bring others to Christ.  Even The Principal got choked up reading it.

     We also had our Brazilian feast.  Luckily, I have a wonderful Brazilian friend who gave me her recipe for Brigadeiros ( a Brazilian candy similar to a truffle) and also directed me to our local Brazilian market, a hidden gem for all things Brazilian!  Below are the kids checking out the marketplace:
     This is the Brigadeiros in it's cooked but cooling form:

     Here they are rolling the Brigadeiros into tiny balls.  The Brazilian market even had tiny cups (smaller than a mini cupcake liner) for the candy to sit in.  I read that condensed milk in Brazil is much sweeter than what we have here, thus a little candy goes a long way!

     They also made Carnival masks and I simply told them it was a party.  That's all there is to it, for now.

     Last but not least, a picture of our feast.  My husband grilled Brazilian-style steak with a Chimichurri Sauce, Feijoada (a delicious black bean stew I cooked with meat we purchased from the market), some roasted plantains and Pao de Quiejo (cheese bread).  It was all scrumptious!

     We're taking a week off, then we'll make our way through Europe!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Year 3: Exploring Countries and Cultures, O Canada!

     That was a very, very quick trip to Canada.  We didn't even get to have a Canadian feast to bid farewell to all the provinces!  (We just have so much going on, I didn't get a chance to even figure out what to make.)  You can also tell that we didn't get to decorate as much.  This was the quickest thing I could come up with to welcome my kids to Canada as they "crossed the border" into the dining room.

     I suppose our journey through Canada went so quickly because we had a few appointments during Week 7 and we brought homeschooling with us. Then, I was out of town during the end of Week 8, so I didn't get a chance to really close the week out with the kids.  However, I was blessed to be at our church's Women's Retreat and therefore had to call a sub:

The Principal reading aloud to our students.
          By the way, the sub made them do jumping jacks before they sat down and got to work.  They got a kick out of that!

     What both kids enjoyed about Canada was learning the French words.  They were fascinated with it and kept trying to carry on a conversation with the limited vocabulary they learned.  We finished currently reading YWAM's Cameron Townsend and I feel like my kids would be ones who would love to translate the Bible in another language.

     While at the retreat, I got to hear wonderful testimonies from a few lovely women and even received prophetic prayer.  I'd love to share that story with you sometime, but I'll save that for a separate post.

This is where our retreat was.

This was waiting for me when I got home.

     That's about it.  A bit short, eh?

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Year 3: Exploring Countries and Cultures, ¡Hola Mexico!

     We've left the U.S and have entered Mexico for weeks 5 and 6.

     Our dining room is homeschool central, so before they could cross into the dining room I had to check their passports:

     From what I could see inside (along with the applications The Principal had to "process"), everything seemed legit *wink wink*.

     Halfway through our adventures in Mexico, we took a break to see family.  We were thrilled to see everyone.  We even got to squeeze in a little field trip:

Jelly Belly Factory

     Here's a tip for you when visiting the Jelly Belly Factory:  Plan on going during the week while the factory is actually operating.  Tours are held 7 days a week, even on some holidays BUT to actually see the factory in action, visiting during the weekdays are best.  Either way, you'll get free samples and will likely need a separate carry-on for the goodies you're going to bring back home!

     Since we took the week off, but were back from our trip with a few days left,  I gave the kids Highlight's Top Secret Adventures to work on.  I discovered these shortly after our decision to use My Father's World and thought they would be a wonderful supplement to the curriculum.  Of course, this particular top secret adventure was set in Mexico!

     They completed their adventure quickly, but enjoyed being secret agents in the process.  I liked that they had to find clues while reading about Mexico.

     Being in Mexico, we studied deserts.  Below are pictures of our experiment with transpiration.  In the first picture they are gathering their materials.  I had them write their hypothesis on the whiteboard.  The last picture shows them making their observations.

     Of course, a trip to Mexico would not be complete with a fiesta!  We had to decorate, so we made Papel picado.

We also made tissue paper flowers.

     We couldn't forget the sombreros!

     Then we decorated.

     Our neighbor down the street heard we were having a fiesta so she brought over a couple of sombreros for the kids to wear while we ate.  As Mariachi music played in the background we sat down to Carne Asada Nachos (the kids discovered nachos a few months ago and LOVED it) black beans, Pollo Asado (for mom and dad; we kept it Paleo) along with shredded lettuce, plantain chips, salsa and guacamole.

     As a special treat we got the kids some churros!  I don't know how authentic Mexican all of this was.  We had a busy day and I knew I could only do so much.  So, I did what I could.  Either way, we all had a wonderful time.  The kids had a blast and can't wait to see where we travel next.

     ¡Hasta luego!