Tag Archive | Magic Tree House

Happy Chinese New Year!!

Chinese New Year has great meaning for our family. Please enjoy my resources and recounting of our yearly celebration a few months late.

It is that time of year again, when we celebrate as we were taught by our dear friends who are family back home. I have already sent off my red envelopes and this year special knots to my god daughters and their sibling. This is actually one of the big events that brings me right back to that homesick state of mind.

Neko-Chan got in the groove with Kai Lan as well.

Neko-Chan got in the groove with Kai Lan as well.

We cleaned the house and sorted out many containers of clothes and toys that we donated this year. We decluttered and made some big choices about broken or half forgotten items. Nothing motivates this brood like the realization that we need to clean for the lunar celebration. It is a reminder of home and love and tradition that the whole family enjoys.

Each of the kids had a trim or haircut, and received new clothes. I lucked out hugely on Amazon with a momentary sale on Qing Dynasty dresses for the girls’ 18 inch dolls. Echo’s new dress matched her doll nearly perfectly. There are other Dynasty reproductions the girls have hinted at wanting. (not hugely subtle hints)

Gavin on left

Gavin on left

20180216_113439We had a lovely home made lunch. Zander basically put together the festival rice solo (Gavin helped him with ingredient prep the night before). He used the recipe out of the Runaway Wok book which is a family favourite, minus nuts.20180216_122241

20180216_120250Trinity tried making rice balls from a recipe off Educaton.com, though it struck us more as a Japanese rice ball and was too heavy on the rice wine vinegar for anyone to fall in love.20180216_120915

I made a sweet glutinous rice cake from a recipe shared by All About Ami. I think I will make it again in a larger pan to make thinner slices. I enjoyed it, the kids are only half sold.20180216_123844

After lunch we had our sweets, as usual I tried to branch out to new options. I couldn’t find moon cakes so I picked up something called Wife Cakes.. nope, and the almond cookies didn’t quite cut it.20180216_101643

Don’t forget the red envelopes.20180216_124301

I have been working on my knotting skills and made lucky knots for my god daughters back home using Chinese cord and had the kids make their own very simplified braided version with a charm that represents their Zodiac symbol.IMG_20180203_002402_423

We did our t shirts the day before since the day of we also had homeschool friends coming for a visit.

Then that evening I went to my class as usual, so much fun! And then Ken and I got take out from our favourite Chinese restaurant, Rose Garden. A great way to end the day.20180216_191205

Happy Chinese New Year everyone!!! Welcome year of the dog!!! 新年快乐 / 新年快樂 (Xīnnián kuàilè)

Resources for this year were varied and fun, but since I have shared a lot in the past years this year I am going to give you the best books we found! No links just titles so give them a search and enjoy!

  • Fortune Cookies Fortunes by Grace Lin… I loved this book because she discusses how fortune cookies are an Asian American food in her educational blurb at the back. We also read as a family her book The Year of the Dog. Grace Lin includes fun illustrations along with her entertaining reminisces in this one.
  • The Runaway Wok by Ying Chang Compestine… we loved this one enough to purchase it brand new. We also have his the Runaway Rice Cake which was a lucky library find in their booksale.
  • We had 3 Magic Tree House books this year… A Perfect Time for Pandas (for Emanuel and his panda report), Day of the Dragon King and the companion to this book China Land of the Emperor’s Great Wall. Our landmark report lined up beautifully with our unit study – The Great Wall of China was fun to research.
  • You Wouldn’t Want to Work on the Great Wall of China! By Jacqueline Morley was helpful, of course.
  • We briefly talked about Mulan with the book Mulan by Li Jian, I was gifted the book Mulan by Shiamin Kwa and Wilt L. Idema which I am determined to make a summer read. I have really been in the research and expand the mind feel lately.
  • Another family favourite that is on the to buy list is The Nian Monster by Andrea Wang.
  • Videos…  Celebrate With Kai Lan and Nature Pandas (an older film by NATURE) were fun. I am sure we used a second Kai Lan dvd but it isn’t coming to mind.20180216_110922

I hope these inspire you to check out the library. Researching and enjoying other cultures is such a privilege.

Our Chinese Characters work.

Our Chinese Characters work.

Abraham Lincoln and the Declaration of Independence

As I write that it totally looks like I am saying Lincoln was AT the signing… rather we covered BOTH of these rather interesting topics recently and I figured why not bundle the two together for the blog post?

The 2016/2017 school year has had a focus more towards history and the United States of America. It has been a learning experience for students AND teacher. These two topics were the twins’ choice. We started with the Declaration of Independence. Such an important piece of paper. We used a lot of sheets from Education.com HERE.

We had a few books we requested from the library that were helpful:

  • What is the Declaration of Independence by Michael C. Harris HERE
  • The Declaration of Independence by Don Nardo HERE
  • American Documents: The Declaration of Independence by Judith Lloyd Yero HERE
  • The Declaration of Independence by Lori Mortensen HERE

I have to share a rather interesting link passed along by a good friend (and fellow twin mom)… this one looks at what happened to the signers of the Declaration of Independence AFTER they signed at USHistory.org. They truly risked life and limb to do so, as they were really committing treason against the crown and King of England. The twins spent quite a bit of time picking out some interesting people to put into our hand out and report folder.

Abraham Lincoln was a huge success. The boys have always had a vague interest in him with his distinctive look and hat that he apparently kept things in. Our final conclusion was that Abraham Lincoln was a great president, one of the best, BUT his life seemed rather miserable. Granted there was a shorter life expectancy and much higher general death rate but… wow… so much sadness, death and difficulty in the life of someone who now is seen as such an inspirational figure.

We ended up choosing a labook set up that was not free, but it was well worth it. We went with a Knowledge Box product you can find for 5.00 (US) HERE. They have a study guide, lapbook and clear instructions.20170320_200116

20170320_200124You can check out my Education.com collection of worksheets HERE. Activity Village has some very helpful worksheets as well (sadly these are all pay for sites to get the full experience, but we have found it well worth it.) HERE. You can do a helpful search on EnchantedLearning as well to get these pages HERE.

Books:

  • I am Abraham Lincoln by Brad Meltzer HERE
  • Abraham Lincoln: Lawyer, President, Emancipator by Pamela Hill Nettleton HERE
  • Abraham Lincoln by Barbara Knox HERE
  • Abe Lincoln: The boy who loved books by Kay Winters HERE
  • Abraham Lincoln by Tanya Lee Stone HERE
  • Encyclopedia of Presidents and Their Times by David Rubel HERE
  • Magic Tree House #47: Abe Lincoln at Last! by Mary Pope Osborne HERE
  • Abraham Lincoln by Sarah Hansen HERE

DVD:

  • Getting to Know The U.S. Presidents: Lincoln HERE

These were wonderful topics for us to cover one after the other. We really haven’t spent as much time on US history as we have researching countries from other parts of the world. I can’t say we will stick with these kind of topics, but the more we can cover and find interest in the better. From Lincoln it is a quick jump to Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks. I will share our resources from these topics to. From slavery to a country declaring independence, to a man realizing that a whole group of people also deserved their independence… then to a man who made sure that it was realized that segregation is wrong and a woman who helped courageously help attain that dream. Not bad for taking topics the kids chose themselves!

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

101_6301101_6308

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!

101_6293

101_6328

101_6306

101_6325