Sunday, November 23, 2014

Ancient Bling

I think Egypt has the most interesting history of any country we've studied so far.  We keep jumping back there and learning interesting things about what the ancient people of that country did.  We found out that they really liked gold and jewels (who doesn't, right?), so much so that they took over the African country of Nubia so they could take their valuables.  The people of Nubia also introduced incense to the Egyptians.  

The craft for this lesson is pretty obvious.  We made Nubian jewelry out of toilet paper rolls, paint, glitter, and rhinestones.  

Apparently, Naomi thought she was an Egyptian and I was a Nubian because she took my bracelets from me!

Eli didn't feel like participating in this activity, so he hung out by the incense.  I think he was still able to have a very deep, profound experience.

Friday, November 21, 2014

After visiting ancient Africa, we made a stop in China.  We learned about pictograms and tried our hand at creating our own.  Leah's pictograms are on the right.  The top right is her way of writing family.  The bottom right has a variety of her other pictograms.  Noah's pictograms are in the center, right above Leah's head.  I can't translate them into English.  Perhaps you can.  Mine are on the left.  A few pictograms I'm especially proud of are: Dog,--which is right next to the one for rice (it looks like the dog pooped); dragon--which looks like an angry muppet; cow--which my kids say is really a devil-horned, dog-eared, pig-nosed cow; and sushi--which actually looks like sushi, but is not a Chinese food; it's Japanese.  Oops

Thursday, November 20, 2014

See?? Coloring on yourself can be educational!

Recently, we studied a little bit about the people in ancient Africa.  There isn't much known about the people of this place and time, but that didn't stop us from really diving in to the little lesson we had.  I actually can't really remember what we learned about, but I do remember the activity we had.

We did learn that ancient Africans would paint geometric shapes on their hands, probably for important rituals and ceremonies.

Eli thought these red creeper things from mine craft would definitely be the kind of design ancient Africans would go for.

Noah was the only one to get it right.  His shapes are actually geometric.

Leah's more of a party person and she went for the traditional ice cream and party hat designs.

Have you noticed that I like to participate in the activities as well?  That's permanent marker and it took a few days for it to come off.  That didn't stop me!

To go along with our hand art, we had an African feast.  I made chicken legs baked with lemons and figs, papaya fried rice, and fried plantains.  It was very different from what we normally eat.  Noah loved the chicken.  Leah loved the plantains.  Eli didn't love anything.  It's fun to make ethnic food once in a while, but this won't be included as part of our meal rotation any time soon.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Happy Halloween!!

With a sour patch kid, two ninjas and a puppy leading the way, we went out trick-or-treating on Halloween.  The kids had lots of fun. I had fun too, sorting through their piles of candy, taking note of all the chocolate they collected this year!

Monday, November 10, 2014

There's got to be something we can learn from this

During the month of October, Thanksgiving Point puts on a Halloween festival kind of thing called Cornbelly's.  We've lived in the area for 5 years and have never been able to go, until this year.  Mike took the day off and we spent the entire day learning how to play and have fun together.  I think that's a very important lesson that we need to repeat often.  Here are a bunch of pictures from the day:

That's corn kernels the kids are sitting in.  I stuck my feet in.  It felt really cool!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

This science lesson practically crawled out and bit us

A few weeks ago, we were doing yard work at my in-laws' house.  Noah was in the backyard and saw something dead, floating in the pond.  It was this:

(Unfortunately, I didn't put anything in the picture next to it to give you an idea of it's size.  It is sitting on a regular napkin.  It's about 2 1/2 inches long.)

This is the grossest bug I have ever seen.  It's called the Dark Jerusalem Cricket or Creepy, as Noah named it.  When I saw it, I decided there was only one thing to it out and keep it!  Well, maybe not the "keep it" part.  I did fish it out though.  

We had just learned not too long before that our local kids museum has a trading post.  They take things kids find in nature, ask them questions about it, and award points that can be used to get some neat things.  We did keep the bug long enough to do some research and dry it out, so the kids could trade it in.  In case you're wondering, it smelled really bad, so I kept it outside while it was drying.

I don't remember much about Creepy.  The kids were the ones taking the notes and really internalizing the information.  I do remember two important things, though.  We were able to identify it as male, which I thought was pretty neat.  And I learned something funny about the word Jerusalem.  

Apparently, a long time ago, that word used to be a bit of a derogatory exclamation.  You can imaging that if you were out, minding your own business, and something as ugly as this crawled up to you, you'd yell something like, "Holy Jerusalem!!"

The whole experience was so fun and a really great science lesson.  It really got the kids excited about nature and doing research.  Because it has made such an impression on the kids, we currently have two more bugs of other types dried, tacked to our bulletin board, and waiting to be traded.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Leah got baptized!

A few weeks ago, on September 27th, Leah was baptized and confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  We were blessed to have lots of family members there to support Leah and show their love for her.  Unfortunately, not everyone that loves Leah could be there.  For those people, I'm going to post a bunch of pictures from that day so, hopefully, they can get a taste of the happy feeling we had.

This is the best picture I could get of all the cousins that were present.  9 out of 10 facing the camera is pretty good.

These are all the baptized cousins.  Aren't their faces so beautiful?

I had to include some pictures of the food, just because.

Unfortunately, most of the pictures of the people who were there were out of focus.  Fortunately, we all enjoyed the day.  I felt the Spirit all day long.  I just felt happy.

We can take care of all your funeral needs!

A few weeks ago, we learned about how the pharaohs of ancient Egypt were buried.  You already saw how we experimented with making mummies.  Fortunately, the burial process doesn't end there.  And it doesn't begin there either.

It actually begins with canopic jars.  When a pharaoh died, the priests would remove certain organs and place them in special jars.  There were four jars, each one for a specific organ.  Since we already had the mummies, we thought we would do the entire process correctly and make the canopic jars to go along with the mummies.  Here they are:

Traditionally, there four distinct figures on the jars: a man, a monkey, a hawk, and a jackal.  We didn't want to have conventional jars; we wanted ours to be special.  From left to right: Mine is a scarab.  There is no way I cannot participate in such a fun craft.  Noah's is a skull.  He also made some intestine to put inside his jar.  (Gotta love historical accuracy!)  Eli's is a jackal, the only one that is an accurate figure. He uses it to store candy which is an incorrect use and kind of gross if you think about it too long.  And Leah's is a pretty flower.  She uses it to store grass and a special something else that she won't tell me about.

After the mummies are all taken care of, they are placed in a pyramid with all sorts of valuables.  We practiced making our own pyramids using sugar cubes.  We had to work quickly so all the building materials weren't eaten before construction was complete.  Afterward, we had recess to work off all the extra energy we got from the craft.

So if you've reached that certain stage in life and are thinking about your final arrangements, give us a call!  We can help you make your journey into the afterlife with nothing more than some jars, a bit of paper mache, and lots of sugar cubes.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

This lesson got a bit out of hand

We read a lesson this week about how the Egyptians made mummies.  I was only planning on reading a bit to them and doing an activity this coming week about mummies.  The kids were so interested in what I read that they wanted to do something mummy related right then.  So, we stopped what we were doing and did this instead:

Leah and Noah wanted to turn some of their dolls into mummies.  Leah gathered the necessary spices to properly preserve the bodies.  (Our basement smelled like garlic all day)  Leah carefully wrapped her deceased Polly Pocket doll in linen (toilet paper) strips.  Then she put all the spices on it.  She forgot that the spices were supposed to come first, but I don't think it really matters when it comes to a plastic doll.

Noah wanted to mummify a Lego creation.  He included Lego jewels that the Lego guy can take with him to the afterlife.  Both mummies were entombed in shoe boxes.  I think one of them was even buried in the back yard.

Now, why should we let toys have all the fun?  Why can't my kids be made into mummies too?  Well, they can.  It took a lot of toilet paper, but they all got the chance.



Naomi, cutest mummy ever


I like writing in pictures

This week, we learned about how ancient Egyptians and Mesopotamians used to write.  We tried our hands at cuneiform and hieroglyphics. 

Can you read what we wrote on our clay tablets?

Top Left: Eli's is just the letter E in both hieroglyphics and cuneiform. It's turned sideways.
Bottom Left: Noah wrote his name in hieroglyphics
Top Right: I wrote "I love my family" in cuneiform
Bottom Right: Leah wrote in hieroglyphics "Leah's Room"

Everything else on the try was created after, just for fun.

Leah has a scaly thumb

I know green thumbs are for good gardeners.  But what kind of thumb does a good fisherman have?  Whatever it is, Leah has it!  For school last week, we went fishing with Papa (my father-in-law, Doug).  We learned lots as we spent the morning up American Fork Canyon.

Lesson #1: Leah is a good fishergirl!  She caught 3 fish very easily.  She's actually the only one that caught any fish all the way.  I also caught 3 fish, but they all got off the hook before I could do anything but scream with excitement.

Lesson #2: Naomi has no feeling in her legs or feet.  She waded around in that little, very cold, stream right there and didn't care at all.  She was wet the entire morning and never complained about it once.

Lesson #3: Eli has the best attitude.  He didn't catch anything all day.  But that didn't seem to bother him.  He was just happy to be outside, fishing with his Papa.

Lesson #4: Noah just likes to be on a good team.  He didn't catch any fish either, but he figured he did because he said he was on my team.  I know I said before that I didn't catch any fish, but that's really just relative.  We calculated that each fish I reeled in counted for 1/2 a fish.  So, the way Noah saw it, we caught 1 1/2 fish.  And that's pretty good!

Lesson #5: My kids are crazy!  But they're also fun.  And I'm pretty sure I knew that already.