Archive | March 2014

History, Snacks and Other Fun

February 22-25

What to do on a weekend when we plan to be home for it? Well… have company! Childhood friend Christopher and his wife Renee who is due any day with their 3rd (boy) and their sons Nathan and Evan. They came over for lunch and playtime. Younger than our boys the kids still managed to have a lot of fun. Of course Skylanders came out and Legos and such. It was nice to have company over where the adults could just sit around and chat (or craft).101_6276

Walking Tacos

Walking Tacos

We ended our Saturday calmly with a movie. Really not much to report beyond a great visit with old friends.101_6278

Sunday was totally a crafty day… after Sunday school. I had to get EVERYTHING out and package up my big commission from a friend up north… she requested I make her a variety of critters for her to gift etc this year… I think I covered the spectrum and had a blast honing my skills while doing it. Is it ever hard to wait until she gets it to find out her thoughts!!!101_6279

And then for a more local (but still mailing away) craft… one I have not done in ages – an infant knotted tutu. Using glitter tulle so I am on the hunt for the escaped glitter now. Really glitter is EVIL!101_6280

Monday was back to work… and back to swimming for the twins. I am really impressed how much more RELAXED they are each time.

We had some more sporty drawing to enjoy. Art for Kids (on right) put up a stick figure figure skating… something Trinity was quick to say SHE wanted to draw.101_6281

We decided to create our own Olympic medals. I love the 4 different interpretations… Zander’s all had his name on them, Gavin recreated the official ones for this year… the other two were equally creative. I got our template from Activity Village HERE. We used the 3 sizes of circles to show the different places as I really didn’t want to print out enough that we had 4 sets of large circles!101_6282

Emanuel and I are working on our Magic Treehouse dinosaur themed story still. It is so much fun reading one on one with him. His own reading skills are increasing by leaps and bounds!101_6283

We added a new animal to our Wild Kratts list – the Meadow Vole. The twins have come up with a new idea along the same lines. They want to watch Dirty Jobs episodes with Mike Rowe and pick one of the jobs of the episode to research further. We have been working on our Google searching and how we type in a specific topic or sentence and then reading through articles… with adult supervision of course.101_6286

The weather is just too yuck for the little ones so we pulled out our rainy day fun bucket and did some creative sticker and face shape crafting. Echo especially found this  to be great fun!101_6287

101_6289Tuesday was a rather special day… of course we still did our basics including some Lego time…101_6291

BUT Tuesdays 5-8 pm are free admission at the Minnesota History Center!101_6295

101_6335There was tons to see and do and not enough time for us to do it all. We had only an hour (5-6) before we needed to be back for Ken to go to his weekly gaming night but we made good use of it. We went straight to the area that was the most hands on for the kids. I want to go back and see the prohibition era limited time display in the following weeks.

There was tons about the fur trade and the Native Americans…101_6304

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Reproducing bead patterns

Reproducing bead patterns

A great display about the use of Bison…101_6321

And so much more.101_6297

101_6312101_6326The 4 big kids and Ken tried out the mine area as Echo was having nothing to do with the noise and darker ambiance.101_6330

It was so much fun to head out and just enjoy learning about the state we now live in. Together time well worth it! And how to end the evening with Daddy gone to gaming? With a late snack food supper and a movie… THOUGH I hasten to say – fun mommy was only for ONE night… the next night we planned bacon wrapped pork and vegetables…101_6337

The joy of learning not only at home but out in the open air!

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China… a Family Study

We do love our Chinese New Year celebrations. All thanks to some of the family we chose… specifically the den Otters! So even here in Minnesota we do our best to hold onto the new traditions we added to our family while in Alberta. One of these is to spend a month on China, Chinese New Year and Chinese characters. This year we chose to do another poster… and of course with that comes a boatload of resources!

Books!

  • Celebrating Chinese New Year by Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith
  • Chinese New Year by Alice K. Flanagan
  • Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations Chinese New Year by Ann Heinrichs
  • Sam and the Lucky Money by Karen Chinn
  • Children Just Like Me Celebrations by Anabel Kindersley
  • I Wonder Why Countries Fly Flags by Philip Steele
  • Kai-Lan’s Great Trip to China by Mickie Matheis
  • Pandas by Donna K. Grosvenor
  • Chinese New Year by Lola M. Schaefer
  • Max Celebrates Chinese New Year by Adria F. Klein
  • A Gift by Yong Chen
  • The Runaway Wok by Ying Chen Compestine
  • Chinese New Year by Fay Robinson
  • Asian Holidays by Faith Winchester
  • National Geographic Kids March 2014 issue (special focus on twin baby pandas)
  • Celebrate Chinese New Year by Carolyn Otto
  • Happy Chinese New Year, Kai-Lan! by Lauryn Silverhardt

Videos!

  • Celebrate With Kai-Lan! HERE
  • Ching’s Chinese New Year HERE

Our general helpful links!

  • Activity Village is the place to go for printables! First Chinese New Year itself list HERE.
  • The Horse of the Zodiac specifically HERE.
  • China specific HERE.
  • And of course the horse as an animal HERE.

Chinese Flag!

  • Gotta cover the flag right? You can find out printable HERE thanks to Rainbowkids.com.
  • If you want to find out some history on the flag check out this link HERE thanks to the site A China Family Adventure.

Dragon Dance!

  • GMA News Online’s image for 2014 HERE. What a gorgeous looking dragon!
  • And then there was the video we watched. I do so love watching the dances. This one was done in Hong Kong in 2013. The dancers are AMAZING and well worth a watch. Thanks to HongKongMap on youTube.

Chinese Music/Instruments! We did not cover a ton on the music. More of a surprise addition when I came across a neat picture of what is commonly called a guitar. So I grabbed a couple website, some music and an image to colour.

  • The YueQin on Confucius Institute Online HERE
  • Top 10 Chinese Instruments on China Whisper HERE. This girl was amazing. Thanks to NoodlesFaced on youTube. This is XiaoMu Ming.

    • Our second video was of some traditional Chinese music entitled Shepherdess’ Song. Thanks to MadePossible on youTube. 

  • Our original printable that started this train of interest is found on Rainbowkids.com HERE. They have a great list of resources on their site HERE. It is an adoption site with some great printables for kids. 

The horse itself!

    • Animal Facts HERE thanks to Science Kids.
    • More facts and breed information on Ducksters HERE.
    • A great video of wild horses thanks to National Geographic.

  • Zander wanted to know all about the world’s tallest horse so I had to help him out and check into that fact. HERE Guinness World Records site.
  • A great list of horse related crafts thanks to Activity Village HERE.

Check out some Zodiac predictions for 2014 HERE. (Huffpost Living Canada)

Links for the three places of interest covered by Ken and the kids:

  • Terracotta army thanks to Ducksters HERE
  • Great Wall of China thanks to Science Kids HERE
  • Shanghai Tower thanks to Wiki HERE
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Paul Bunyan and Other Topics of Interest

February 19-21

Mid week and we dove right back into the stories. I am loving our reading time. There can never be enough of it!101_6261

We watched a great episode on Minnesota from an aerial series. I asked the kids to draw what they thought was the most interesting, most memorable. And for the first time in ages the three boys drew the same thing – PAUL BUNYAN. So guess what Mommy has to jump on the internet to research and request? I thought for sure one of them would want to learn more about the Mississippi river or… some sort of city building or something but NOPE giant lumberjack and blue ox for the win! So keep an eye out for our further information! Watch the video HERE thanks to the Smithsonian Channel.101_6258

The kids and I finished our Chinese New Year binder. It is amazing how much we actually end up doing when we totally get into a topic! So much creativity and learning. You can, of course, check out the resource blog entry HERE.101_6259

Thursday was a read to the family sort of day. The twins are totally our leaders of story time and WILLING leaders now!101_6256

Emanuel read this one to me!

Emanuel read this one to me!

I found a wonderful resource to split up the portions of a story into sections to map out a story in a castle shape that the twins tried as well. Anything to get us looking at the parts of a story to make more in depth and well thought out stories. You can find this amazing resource HERE thanks to This Reading Mama.101_6262

Trinity and I are still trucking through the Valentines books…101_6263

And Emanuel and I started a Dinosaur book that was sent to us in a set from Gammie for Valentines. We are going chapter by chapter and then I write down  a couple sentences that Emanuel remembers as the main details and he draws a picture. It is fun reading together and including dinosaurs. I totally want to get back to the dinosaur research we have been doing but I admit it – we have been lazy. The obvious dinosaurs are covered.101_6264

We borrowed a series of 10 Veggie Tales videos from the library as well. So each day we watch a video and then I have been printing out Sunday School resources… the little 3 do the colouring page and the twins the 4th page. The next day we do the first two read and discussion pages together. You can find the pages we have been using HERE. I am not including A LOT of religion in our class time but this is a chance to enjoy a wholesome program and reflect on some very important lessons for life and love. Lets use any resource we can to find the best ways to interact with each other.101_6265

101_6266The kids all finally got around to wearing their Valentines day craft t shirts. Gotta love the heavy Minecraft theme. But it was so much fun and definitely something we want to repeat!101_6268

And then…. MORE SNOW… I swear we have feet and feet of snow!!! The kids are getting sick of it even!

The inside of their snow structure looks so cozy!

The inside of their snow structure looks so cozy!

101_6271With more snow comes more inside time… so more books…101_6273

101_6272Dressing up…101_6274

Playing on the electronics…101_6275

And then BANG the week is done! The time goes fast but slowly at the same time it seems!!!101_6255