Baking With History

On our (second) trip through Story of the World 1, we have sometimes picked activities that we’ve done before. However, sometimes the kids choose to do something that we haven’t tried before.

In Chapter 24, one of the activities is making a Gingerbread Parthenon. Since we didn’t do Gingerbread Houses for Christmas this year, the kids were wild about trying their hands at an Athenian temple. (Note:  We’ve only done Gingerbread Houses one Christmas & I purchased the pieces “ready made” from a local lady who sells them for only $5 and includes a great frosting recipe. So, it didn’t actually involve me having to MAKE anything. The kids did the assembly, frosting, and decorating.)

In retrospect, I think the instructions really meant for the Parthenon to be 2-D like this one. The thought really didn’t cross my mind at the time. So, we made the recipe in the Activity Guide blissfully unaware that we wouldn’t have enough gingerbread. (The instructions clearly state there would be enough for TWO Parthenons. I figured we’d be rolling in the dough. Pun intended.) Continue reading

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Struggling Reader Turns into a Reading Lover

My older two have struggled to become readers. And, once they can read, they have struggled to read fluently.

I have written before about the time my oldest asked my husband if he liked to read. She told him that she didn’t have the “patience” for it. If you can’t read fluently, chances are you don’t enjoy it and you aren’t reading for pleasure.

My second child would frequently complain about my oldest always having her nose in a book. She was so mad (and a bit jealous, I think) that she wasn’t getting play time because oldest was too busy reading.

Finally, after a summer spent voluntarily reading picture books to her younger siblings and listening to probably a hundred audiobooks, dd#2 took the plunge into loving reading in a big way.

Near the end of the summer, DD#2 purchased a book at the library called “Magykal Papers.” She enjoyed the cover and picked through the contents slowly. She wanted to know more and said there looked like there were more books in the series. Continue reading

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Missing My Father

This poem struck my heart this morning. The stories and comments at the bottom show that I am not alone in missing my father – no matter how long it has been.

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Bells Palsy in a Child

It was a normal Saturday afternoon at our house.

My six year old was reading aloud to me. I chided her a couple of times about the funny face she was giving me. She hotly denied making a funny face.

Later that night, I saw my daughter smile spontaneously and realized something was terribly wrong.

She looked like my aunt who had a stroke over two years ago. One side of her face was smiling and the other side was just sitting there – doing nothing. (She later said she looked like “Two Face” from the Batman comics.)

And then we found out she couldn’t close the eyelid on that side of her face all the way either, even while trying very hard and squinching up the other eye tight.

After a quick internet search (which came up with something called, “Bells Palsy”), I called the after-hours pediatrician line and talked to one of their nurses. She came up with Bells Palsy as a possibility after much questioning, but felt like we’d let it go too long (4+ hours from onset) without heading to the hospital. She wanted me to call 911 and have an ambulance take my daughter as quickly as possible to the nearest hospital rather than drive her myself. (I’m not sure if she was over-reacting or I am just really laid back, but this seemed very extreme to me. Perhaps there was something on her screen that pointed to a really serious condition where we needed immediate help.) Continue reading

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Dreams of My Father

No, this is not a review of the Barack Obama book. That’s Dreams From My Father.

I sometimes have very vivid dreams. This caused me some trouble as a youngster as I would wake up in a panic about something terrible that had just ‘happened’ in my dream. As I got older, the real-to-me dreams continued. Continue reading

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Mummifying a Chicken (Cornish Game Hen)

As part of our studies of Ancient History (Nomads/First Civilizations through Fall of Rome) using Story of the World I, we are mummifying a chicken. Well, not a chicken. We decided to scale the project down to Cornish game hen size.

First – For our family, this is a Man Project. I turn the Activity Guide with the instructions in it over to my husband. He is the one that obtains the materials (other than the hen, which I picked up at the store) and sets aside time for the project each day/week with the necessary child-involvement.

Second – This is our second time doing this particular mummification project. Four years ago, the older two girls helped out. This time, it is child #2 (second time through) and child #3. I anticipate something like this occurring in another four years with child #3 (second time), child #4, and child #5. Too early to plan that far ahead, however.

Third – My darling husband tweaks the instructions because he is a miser with his salt solution. We liberally employ the hair dryer to help dry the chicken out faster. We encourage others to do the same.

Fourth – Remember, wash your hands frequently & well when handling & when finished handling the hen.Every day for the first several days (week?), he pulls out the hen, brushes off the salt, pulls out the hair dryer, and then repacks new salt solution into the bag. Eventually, it is ready to rub in oil & wrap in linen. We’re almost one week in & are definitely still in the drying-out stage. (Post updated at the bottom with ‘finished’ pictures.) Continue reading

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Memorization in our school

During the years when we’ve had some memory work (poems, bible verses), I find that the kids remember their other work (math facts, history stories, science definitions) better than in the years where I’ve slacked off. (Here is a free compilation of memory work for the grammar stage (roughly 1st – 5th grade) if you want some ideas.)

Do you still remember sayings/slogans you heard on the radio or TV when you were little? (Previous links were for “You got your chocolate in my peanut butter!” and “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.” How about Wendy’s “Parts is parts” or “Where’s the beef?“) Can you still remember songs from your favorite TV shows from way back when? (I can remember everything from the A-Team to Jem to Greatest American Hero.) When you are young, your brain just soaks up all sorts of information. My job is to put USEFUL information into those brain-sponges so they aren’t just drinking in the words to Spongebob’s theme song. Continue reading

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