Monday, November 30, 2015

A Birthday Party for a Princess {Medieval Times}

Rachel doesn't mind getting grubby and climbing trees but she is all princess at heart.  So what better birthday party for her than a princess party and a trip to Medieval Times!

She had to have a small guest list which was really, really, REALLY hard for her.  She is blessed to have so many wonderful friends in her life.


The girls giggled (*a lot*) and sang Happy Birthday to Rachel.


As always, Rachel ate just the frosting off the top of her cupcake.  She never even took a bit of cake!


There was much more giggling and pointing when everyone realized that the blue frosting turned everyone's mouths blue!


Finally, everyone made their way into the white chariot outside and were whisked away to the Dallas castle.


Instead of goody bags, everyone got their own light up princess wand.  What good is a princess without a light up wand, right?


We made it to our seats and the giggling and silliness continued.  They are so cute!


We were seated in the yellow knight's section so we cheered for him throughout the tournament.


The King and his court rode out to greet us.


Dinner began.  There are no utensils provided at Medieval Times.  It's all finger food!  We watched great performances in the arena while we ate.  Then each of the knights rode out to their section.  They kissed a flower and threw it to a girl in the seats.  Rachel knew exactly what was about to happen and was the first to jump up, ready to catch that flower!


A flower for the princess!  At least two other girls in our group also caught flowers from our knight.  And our server gave each of them a flower as well.


Before the tournament began, the King read aloud some special greetings.  Rachel was excited to hear the King welcome her by name and announce her 7th birthday to the crowd.

We watched medieval fights with swords, axes, and shields.  It is always exciting to watch.  


Rachel is just like her Mommy.  Always taking pictures.  During the show, she asked for my phone so she could take pictures of the show herself.


It was a wonderful afternoon and the girls all seemed to have a great time.  We headed back to Rachel's castle where she opened presents and more giggling and silliness ensued while the girls waiting for their moms to arrive to pick them up.  Rachel said it was the best birthday party EVER!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Eyellusions at Sci-Tech Discovery Center


Step back in time...into a world of illusions at Sci-Tech Discovery Center and visit their new exhibit, Eyellusions!  This Victorian-themed magical fun was a delight for our whole family.

We were amazed by some of the activities like the galloping zoetrope and of course, the non-newtonian fluid (think Oobleck!).  We even got into a time machine!

This piece below was pretty cool.  There are several of these little platforms with funny colors on them and a silver pole going up through the middle.  I couldn't figure it out at first but then I saw the reflection in the pole!  Look how cool that is!


I think everyone's favorite was the visit to Alice in Wonderland's house.  Here's a picture of Stuart and Rachel checking it out.  Nothing too unusual, right?


But when they switched spots, suddenly Rachel grew as tall as Stuart!  This was so fun to play with!


This face/vase is a common illusion but the one at Sci-Tech is especially cool because it rotates and the faces really look like they are talking to each other.  You have to see it in person!


Rachel enjoyed playing with the fairies in the garden!


Nicholas turned Daddy into a doll!


Most everything at Sci-Tech is interactive which my kids just love!  We went back in time and Nicholas controlled a dinosaur.


And Rachel worked on a fossil dig site.


Sci-Tech Discovery Center is located at 8004 N. Dallas Parkway in Frisco.  They are open from 10:00 -4:00 Tuesday - Friday, 10:00 - 6:00 Saturday, 12:00 - 6:00 Sunday, closed on Monday.  Admission prices are $8 general admission and teachers get a discounted price of $6.50.  For more information about Sci-Tech, please check out their website at www.mindstretchingfun.org or check out the Sci-Tech Discovery Facebook page.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Ancient Greece: Ships, Minotaurs, and Labyrinths {Tapestry of Grace}

The Ancient Greeks believed in polytheism meaning they believed in many gods and goddesses.  Zeus was at the top of the god chain and there were various levels of other gods and goddesses below him.  These man-created mythologies make for some fascinating stories that have really stood the test of time.

As a child, I recall going to the library many times and checking out D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths.



I loved the stories and colorful illustrations.  I can't tell you how excited I was to see this book on our reading list for this week.  I took the kids to Pizza Hut for lunch to use their free pizza coupons from the Pizza Hut Book It! reading program.  I read the Greek myths to them while we ate.

In about 800 B.C. the Greek poet Homer wrote, The Iliad and The Odyssey, two classic epics that turned Greek myths into full stories.  I was excited to introduce Nicholas to these stories.  Tapestry of Grace recommended the following book for the Dialectic level of study so Nicholas has been reading this....



A few of the other books we've read this week include:









For our co-op time, we discussed the many Greek islands and the importance of ships used for travel, trade, and warfare.  We followed these directions on making a popsicle stick paddle boat.  This project is simple and just uses popsicle sticks, glue, and rubber bands.


Rachel made her boat all by herself completely according to the directions.  She wound up the paddle on the rubber band, and placed the boat in the water.  The stored energy in the rubber band was released and the boat propelled forward!


Nicholas saw the project directions but decided to amp his creation up a bit with two paddles! (Please excuse the scraps of paper glued to his boat. I had them work on paper to keep the glue off the table but didn't think about all of the paper that would then stick to their boats.)


His boat moved across the water but he decided that it was being slowed down by its size and weight.  Back to the drawing board he went!


Here is boat design number 2.  Small, light weight...and very fast!  I'm so proud of how he always takes an idea and expands upon it, adding his own twist and ingenuity.


Next he tried an altered version of his original two paddle boat.  This time the paddles were in line with each other instead of side by side.


What a fun project this has been!  I love that my kids are able to take their time and go deep into fun projects like this.  Who knew that this simple history activity would turn into Nicholas testing out his theories on propulsion, energy, buoyancy, friction, etc.


Next we reviewed the myth of the Minotaur of Crete. The story goes that King Minos was given a beautiful white bull by Poseidon, god of the sea. The King was expected to sacrifice the bull in honor of Poseidon but instead he hid the bull and sacrificed a less perfect bull. Poseidon was so angry that he punished King Minos by causing the creation of the Minotaur, a half bull, half man. The Minotaur ate humans so King Minos has an intricate labyrinth created to contain the beast.

We learned that a labyrinth and a maze are not exactly the same thing. Unlike a maze that has an entrance and an exit, a labyrinth has only an entrance and ends at the center point. A labyrinth also does not have dead ends and tricky turns like a maze.

The kids made their own labyrinths out of cardboard box tops by gluing strips of cardboard as walls.



Nicholas even used a little battery operated mouse toy to run through his labyrinth!


Note: This post contains affiliate links to the books on Amazon.  If you purchase one of these books through these links then I will receive a small percentage that goes back into paying for this blog.  It does not affect the price you pay for the book in any way.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Christmas Ornaments {Color Me Mine}

We had a fun day on a field trip with the Coppell Home School Association.  The kids painted Christmas ornaments at Color Me Mine in Highland Village.  Color Me Mine is a fun studio where you choose a pottery piece to paint then they glaze and fire it for you.

Each child chose two ornaments from about 20 different choices.  There were stockings, Christmas trees, stars, angels, and lots of animals to choose from.  Next they chose the colors they wanted to use.  So many choices!


The colors can be tricky because as you can see from the picture below, the color you see when you paint it on your pottery piece is a little misleading for what it will look like after glazing and firing.  It is also tricky if two colors overlap each other because they just won't turn out quite like you expected.


Nicholas sat down at a table with a friend of his and they quietly painted their ornaments.


He was very absorbed in his work.  He painted a penguin and a moose.


Rachel got to work on her ornaments too.  She chose a gingerbread man and a Christmas tree.


There was a big table to girls and chatting and painting together.  What a fun little group they are!


Notice Rachel's pink eyelids?  I did not notice them before we left the house.  I asked her what she put on her eyelids?  She told me - lip gloss!  I tried to clean her up but she insisted in her Rachel way, "It's fine!  It's fine!  I like it that way!".  I had to explain that she shouldn't use lip gloss on her eyes because it isn't going to feel good if it gets into her eyes.  But she's 7 and she knows best, right?!


I love that we get to go on fun field trips like this with such wonderful friends!


Here are the completed ornaments.


It's only November and I'm already in the Christmas spirit.  I can't wait to hang these on our Christmas tree!