Monday, April 30, 2012

Colonial games and pasttimes

We got together a few weeks ago and played some of the games that colonists played, but since I had a migraine and the other Mom had two million things going on that day our GRAND AND OVERARCHING PLANS failed……

Instead we did two easy to reenact games, especially if you’re a former teacher who did the old “marble in the jar trick” for every time you caught someone being good.  Seriously I have a big huge box of marbles……..
We discovered that it was super easy on our paved concrete driveway with a slight tilt downhill to get marbles out of the circle.  Not so easy on the not completely level and bumpy mud that the colonists probably played on.  The kids all agreed they did not like playing it like this.


They all enjoyed playing hopscotch, which we couldn’t agree on what the rules are, which led to a discussion on variations on rules in different areas.

Then I challenged them to come up with a game of their own involving chalk and marbles.

The first group with a lot of eye rolling and “Do we have to’s” came up with a sort of pictionary with marbles.

The second group came up with a combination of hopscotch and marbles.  You rolled the marble and got that many points for the number your marble stopped in.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Science Sunday: Popping Popcorn in Illinois


I was trying to think what I wanted to do with popcorn late one night, and all I kept thinking of was charting what their favorite flavors were, and that didn’t sound exciting.  It sounded boring, mainly because I’d done that a lot when I was teaching public school.


Then in a flash of insight I popped out of bed and grabbed some bowls and pour 1/4 cup of popcorn into three bowls.  I started soaking one in water, another in oil, and left the third plain for a control.  About halfway through I had a vague memory of Almost Unschoolers doing something similar, so I looked up and they did an experiment with strawberry extract.  Interestingly enough we had very different results.


The next day at geography co-op we read about popcorn and how each one has a little drop of water in it.  Then we predicted which would pop best.


The majority thought the water soaked popcorn would pop best, but we had one holding out for our control and one for the oil.


There was a lot of very excited watching of the popcorn popping.  It amused me to see my kids who normally ignore our popcorn popper absolutely enthralled by it.


From left to right: oil, water, control.  The oil and control popped about the same amount (I got flustered getting ready to leave and left my giant measuring cup at home).  There was mixed feelings on which of them tasted better, but it leaned more towards the oil one.


Everyone was very surprised by the result of the water one.  It didn’t pop at all.  The kernel size was noticeably bigger and apparently it didn’t react well to absorbing all that water.


Our results are different that the google results I got when trying to find the science behind this.  Or the “best popcorn secret,”  I’m guessing the difference is don’t soak it for over 12 hours, that’s the difference.


So, do you think I’m right, it’s the extra time soaking that makes the difference?


Let’s see what others did this week:

Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational shared Origami Bats, I wish I was good at origami.


Enjoying the Journey shared her tips for making rock candy.  One of the rare times someone has shared it and the project worked right.


Homeschool Mo shared her preschool flower studies, I love the flowers they made to go with it.


Science Sunday button

Saturday, April 28, 2012

My kids amuse me

We’re in the process of driving back and I have a lot of pictures to go through, but I wanted to share these which cracked me up from the kids visit to a salad bar:


Superman created a salad about 6 inches high, of cheese, lettuce, and the equivalent of a can of olives.  He actually ate a fair amount of that.



Princess got exactly 3 slices of cucumbers, 3 pieces of pineapple, and 2 scoops of cheese.  It was only two because I wouldn’t let her get 3.


Batman got a fairly normal salad and then proceeded to drown it in about a cup of ranch dressing.


I love my kids, they make me laugh almost every day.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Yorktown Victory Center

Whereas yesterday was little girl heaven with the carriage ride, today was little big boy heaven, with lots of pretending to be soldiers and firing of weapons.

The boys even got to participate in the “firing of a cannon."
1.  The Sergeant (the man with the clipboard) gives the order to prepare to fire.

2.  Add in your carefully measured scoop of powder and then add in the cannon ball or in this case bomb.

3.  Set the range using what looked rather similar to an astrolabe (no picture because of poor angle).

4.  Clear the cannon and set the fuse.

5.  Light the fuse.

6.  BOOM!  (this shot is of course from the actual trained people firing it)

I’ll write a more concise and what we learned type post on another day.  For now I’m going to read a little bit and then go to sleep……..  Maybe even before midnight, what a novel concept.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Taking a carriage ride

On Princess’ list of things to do since we got here: TAKE A CARRAIGE RIDE, well she’s only young enough to really want to do this once, so we decided to let her do it.


First we had to pet the horses and take some time to enjoy them.


Then we rode around town in it with a grinning 5 year old.


She did have to be reminded on a fairly regular basis to sit  back down.  Then we went on the “Bits and Bridles” tour, which will be the subject of a Science Sunday post later on, but that was not as fun because she didn’t get to pet any of the animals.  However her day was made when one of the carriage drivers offered to give us a ride back to the historic district.


018And SCORE it was a “pretty carriage that the princess rides in when she marries the prince.”


Batman was just happy to be allowed to bring his gun and be a soldier.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Jamestown Settlement

Can you tell the kids are excited holding their animals skins and “17th century computer” (also known as a navigation tool)?

We wandered through the museum for a while, where I was not allowed to take any pictures.  Poor me, that and I was frustrated by poorly labeled displays.

After spending a good hour or so at the museum we headed out to the displays, braving the COLD and RAIN, did I mention the COLD!  and wet toes!  I’m sure you can guess the first thing the boys headed to.
The armor, they happily tried on armor every opportunity they got, and arrested poor Jeff.
They were even more impressed with watching a musket being fired, I wish I’d gotten better step by step pictures, but it was hard to catch it as quickly as he did it (the steps are more or less in order clockwise, top left).

Superman was supremely amused by the church and had to preach a sermon.  All three of them would have done so as well, but we had to hurry off to watch the muskets be fired.

It was a loud and happy sermon, with many quotations of “love God.”

We toured the three ships in dock, but the kids were getting cold and it started raining fairly hard while we were the first one, so not much time spent there.  We were mainly amazed at the cramped quarters and how small the beds were.  The boys were able to stretch out on it, but I certainly couldn’t.  It was a very crowded place, but what really amazed me was they left before Christmas to come here, and they didn’t make it until a few days from now (Thursday, April 25).  How is that for crazy?

We ended up spending the longest amount of time in the Powhatan village, mainly because there was a nice warm fire, which let me dry my feet a little and restore feeling to cold toes.
All in all a fun, if somewhat cold day.  Which ended with our eating at the worst Chinese buffet I’ve ever eaten at, how can you mess up Jello?  And my buying a POUND OF FUDGE!  YUM YUM YUM!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

More hands on stuff at Williamsburg

001I can tell I’m going to run out of creative ways to title these posts.  Though, I’ve been told creative titles are not all that useful for when people are searching for your blog.  Oh well…..

Today was cold, wet, and rainy.  ALL day long.  That did mean that the city was mostly empty.  It also meant we didn’t stay until crazy late today, we were only there until 4 something.

We started off our day at the Powell House, a new addition that is a kid friendly exhibit area with all reproductions so kids can touch and muss about as much as they want.  They had period appropriate games, toys, and chores for the kids to do.  My kids favorite part, feeding the chickens lettuce.
I hadn’t known that chickens could eat lettuce, but the interpreter explained to us that they would eat whatever kitchen scraps they were given.  So, I learned a few new things today.

From there we went to the Capitol building where Jeff and I enjoyed discussing with the docent about the writing of the Virginia Declaration of Rights.  It’s an interesting document that inspired our Declaration of Independence.  The kids did a remarkably good job of being relatively calm through the discussion, and the docent was quite impressed with how well they did.  He had actually tried to warn us off of the tour beforehand.

From there we went to the jail and had quite a bit of fun listening to tales of Blackbeard’s men who had been tried there, and relating this all back to the Felicity story we listened to on the way to Williamsburg.  One of the minor characters is in jail there for failing to pay his debts.

From there we went to the Charlton Coffee House, where we weren’t allowed to use flash photography, so some of my pictures didn’t turn out.  The interpreters there did an excellent job of treating us like we were in 1766, and thoroughly entertained us as they warned us about the “dangers of allowing our young children to taste chocolate, or coffee and allow them to be too stimulated.”  My kids took one sip of the “chocolate” (what we would now call hot chocolate) and were quick unhappy with it.  It’s not as sweet as our chocolate, more close to a baker’s chocolate.  It somewhat reminded me of the hot chocolate drink that is sold on the Mexican food aisle at the grocery stores in Texas.

From there Princess and I went on to the weaver’s and got to see yarn being spun from wool and cotton and I happily got to discuss with him for almost an hour as Princess happily collected samples of yarn, thread, and other things.

She quite amused everyone we encountered there and she asked quite a lot of questions, some of which were very insightful for a 5 year old.

Amusingly enough, we ran into one of the couples that Princess was amusing back at our hotel, and when they met her tonight they said, “We met a ‘Princess’ at the spinner’s this afternoon.”  Then he suddenly realized she was the same girl and was quite amused by it.  I was very amused because he recognized Princess first, and didn’t recognize me for a while, partially because I was now in a swimsuit in the pool, and not huddled up in a hoodie with glasses on.

Before we left, we allowed the kids to get their souveneirs for the trip.  Batman stuck with his original plan of getting a musket, Princess and Superman both were able to get several small things.
And yes that is a fire on in the hotel room. We I was that cold when we got back.  It was turned off a few minutes later when my toes were finally dry.
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