Friday, April 22, 2016

Fun with French--Twister

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     When I was a kid, I thought Twister looked like a really awesome game.  When I was a little older, I thought it looked like a really awkward game.  And then, when I was 35, I thought it looked like a fun way to practice a little vocabulary!  I'm not sure I ever played it before, but I did take a turn with the kids and I'm here to tell you that it hurts.  Kind of a lot.  You may be called upon to twist your body in unnatural ways.  My kids complained, but they also loved it!  Especially telling someone else what to do!

French Vocab:

la main= hand
le pied=foot
jaune=yellow (I find this one hard to pronounce for some reason.)

I don't understand why some adjectives have masculine and feminine versions and some apparently don't. Is that right?  The things I don't know about French are endless, so any help is appreciated!  But I do my best--better than no second language, I hope!  

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Science--Nutrition Week

Enjoying custom made fresh juice.


The kid's filled a bowl with their choices of fruits and veggies for juice.

The kid's made their own healthy lunches. 

     Bee taught a great week on nutrition and healthy eating choices.  These are just the highlights! 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

World Cultures--Hungary

Placing the stickers.

Auntie Bee showing us a vase that she got in Hungary.

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      This year, we are studying world cultures.  My favorite resources are picture books that tell a realistic story from a culture, both in modern and older times, revealing details through illustrations, phrases from the language, and so on without sacrificing plot.  However, that's not always easy to come by. We always find the country on the map and globe.  For Hungary, we did a page about folk dancers in our Usborne Sticker Dolly Dressing book and looked at a vase that came directly from Hungary in Auntie Bee's suitcase.  I probably could have had a more informative presentation prepared if I remembered that she had been there!  We also watched a youtube video of Hungarian folk dancers.


Monday, April 18, 2016

Squeezing Biceps and Triceps Into a Tight Schedule

      I know it's a problem everyone has: fitting everything into the day.  Lately I've been working out with weights while the kids do their morning centers.  Of course, I have to stop repeatedly to help someone with scissors or a book or a project...but it's a step in the right direction, I hope.  How do you get a little extra physical activity into your day?

I had to take a break from bicep curls to cut out this awesome superhero paper doll for my nephew--can you see the cape hanging from his shoulders?

Friday, April 15, 2016

Maple Syrup Week--Maple Field Trip


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     We have a great living history museum in the next town, Willowbrook, that has provided several field trips this year.  Maine and New Hampshire have Maple weekends every year, so the kids have seen modern evaporators before, even the latest reverse osmosis set-ups (not that they are ready to understand that technology!)  However, Willowbrook has historical equipment to check out.  We had read and very much enjoyed Little House in the Big Woods earlier this winter, so we had a solid background in old-fashioned sapping. 

Similar set-up to Grandpa's in the big woods.
The original sap set-up, wooden spile and hollowed out log.
Looking in a sap bucket.

Picture of old-time sap house

Collection of wooden spiles.

Feeding the evaporator with new friend.
Sap collector.


Thursday, April 14, 2016

Maple Syrup Week--Sap to Syrup Ratio

     It was a fun event, but it was a messy event: we used gallon milk jugs to ferry 40 gallons of water from the kitchen sink to the big bathtub in order to visualize how much sap it takes to make one gallon of syrup.  (40:1 is the ratio I always learned, though one of our books said 35:1.  Not an exact science, I guess.)  This was a great opportunity to learn the word "ratio" and figure out a few.  (Note: I wrote it, they looked over my shoulder and figured out the answers.) We also talked a little bit about the relationship between the amount of work it takes to make syrup and the high price tag.  All I can say is good thing it was a warm day, because everyone ended up wet!  Too wet to take pictures...

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Maple Syrup Week--Taste Test

Comparing real and "fake" syrup
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Early spring in New England means maple syrup!  We learned about maple syrup making by first reading several books about it. Next, we had a taste test!  We had waffles for lunch and tested them with "fake" and real syrup.  I really wanted to get a graded sampler like this:

, but I didn't get around to it.  However, upon inspecting our bottles, my sister and I discovered that we actually already had different grades, light and dark amber.  Since there are only three grades now, that wasn't a bad showing.   (There is no grade B--I can only assume we didn't want any syrup to get hurt feelings.  :)  In all honesty, though, some home boilers preferred B for it's strong flavor, so I guess it deserved a higher rating.)

     This was a great opportunity, or so I thought, for graphing the preferences of our taste testers, but I couldn't get my act together and pretty much everyone preferred real, anyway!  There was some disagreement about light vs. dark amber, though.

     As usual, I had a pinboard full of ideas that I didn't get to use.  You can check it out here. 
Everyone got in on the action.
We will probably revisit this topic every year, so I'll get my chance!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016