Wednesday, 31 October 2012


Happy Halloween

It is that time of year for pumpkins.  The actual carving and scooping out the guts of the pumpkin has been designated to my husband since the beginning of this tradition.  I really don't like the slimy feeling.

years ago I bought some pumpkin faces that the kids use to decorate their pumpkin

They love coming up with pumpkin faces!

Princess always makes her pumpkin 2 faced--side 1

side 2 of the pumpkin
This year Little Man decide to insert every single face piece into his pumpkin

He called it his Zombie pumpkin

While the kids were entertained with building their creations, Daddy got to work on the Jack-O-Lantern.  This year he got lucky as the children chose an easy design for him to do.  We always let the children decide which pattern to use for the family Jack-O-Lantern.

Every year Princess asks to try to help with the scooping out of the pumpkin and every year she thinks it is gross:)!

Great job Daddy!!

Monday, 29 October 2012

Mesopotania crafts

We are continuing our studies and while looking at some books decided to create a house from the Catal Huyuk period and a river fishing boat from 4000 BC used in the River Euprates.  We had left over clay from when we practiced our Cuneiform writing.
Learning about water travel between the two River

Pinching the clay into a round shape

Making a mast

and adding it to the boat

poking holes to help with rigging strings which we will add once boat is dry

Completed fishing boat.  We are hoping to paint it and then see if it floats once it is completely dry.

Princess decided to recreate one of the homes from the Catal Huyuk period she found it interesting that the homes had no doorways and people entered the homes from the roof tops.

Rolling out our clay to make her model house

Building construction begins, great exercise on measuring (math skills)

Adding a hole in the roof and building up the edges as noted in the book

Using toothpicks to represent the wooden beams in the homes

constructing a wooden ladder
Completed house from Catal Huyuk
 We had a fun day learning and creating!  Kids were so excited to show Daddy what they had made!

Friday, 26 October 2012

Cuneiform Writing activity

Having begun our studies in Mesopotamia we took a slight detour to understand the history of writing.  This discussion came up after visiting the British Museum and seeing cuneiform writing and the famous Rosetta Stone.

While observing the Rosetta Stone (this is a model) the children were able to see the 3 different writings on the Rosetta Stone; Greek, Demotic and Hieroglyphs.  Which then brought out the question, "how do we know what cuneiform says and is there something out there similar to the Rosetta stone that helps us decipher Cuneiform."  While browsing the museum bookstore I a bought the book The Story of Writing by Carol Donoughue.

Cuneiform writing means "wedge shaped" and is believed to be first written around 3000BC.  The book first explains that the very earliest writing was pictogram shapes and then slowly evolved into more straight lines as it was easier to do on clay or stone.  The last cuneiform writing that has been found has been dated to 75 AD and then this type of writing fell out of favor as other forms of writing became more popular.

It wasn't until Sir Henry Rawlinson found a gigantic inscription in 1840 on a cliff near the town of Bisitum in Iraq that cuneiform writing began to be deciphered.  Here writings were found in Old Persian, Babylonian and Cuneiform.  Once Sir Rawlinson deciphered Persian and Babylonian he was able to decipher the Cuneiform writing.

The kids and I got out some clay and tried a little Cuneiform writing of our own.

Rolling out the dough to get a smooth surface

Looking at the book to get some ideas

First we tried drawing a pictogram of a fish (top of the clay) and then tried writing it in Cuneiform form (below) to see if curve lines were really harder to do in clay than straight lines.

Next we found the alphabet and attempted to write out names.  Now we read that of most cuneiform writing doesn't have vowels but our cuneiform alphabet did.

Princess did well with this type of writing.

Little Man's attempt.  He thought this was very difficult and got easily frustrated.
It was a fun activity for us to try, but both kids felt our modern alphabet was a whole lot easier:)!!  Maybe they will complain less when doing their writing assignments from this point forward...I can only hope:).

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Serengeti Wall Mural

 The wall mural idea started nearly 4 years ago when I first started home schooling the kids and they have since created 5 different murals that we have put up throughout the house.  It is a art project they still enjoy doing.  Since coming home from Tanzania the kids have been working on creating a wall mural  to show case all the different animals we saw in the Serengeti.

First the kids decided what elements of the Serengeti they wanted to include in the mural.  They decide on a watering hole,  Kopjes and a Acacia tree.  They then planned out the layout and began to paint.  We use large packing paper that I saved from our move.  I still have a few pieces left from our move 4 years ago:)
The kids spent time coloring the pictures and deciding where the pictures should go in relations to our landscape
I wanted the kids to add the Swahili names to all the animals but they thought that it distracted from their art! So instead we just discussed the names
We hung the mural up and I think I only have room for one more large scale mural but the kids have ideas for many, many more! Here is a link to some other murals we have created, plus its kind of cute to see my kids and how they have grown up:) in the last 4 years.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Reanactment Fair

I know I have done lots of re-enactment posts since we have moved to the UK.  However I have mostly concentrated on Vikings as that is my family's interest.  Recently, we went to an event that show cased some more modern eras. 
Here is an 1930-1940's group

We got to see an impromptu dance to the music of the era

Love the cars:)

WWI encampment

WWI supplies

showing how soldiers protect themselves

First aid tent

Here we met a British re-enactor pretending to be a US war correspondent:) during WWII

Supplies needed by a WWII correspondent

Military vechicles

We watched soldiers going out on patrol, using point men and hand signals

Modern day military

UK soldier today

Kids got to hold and examine weapons

Some of the weapons used today; for instance, we saw rubber bullets and tear gas canisters.

Looking at a different kind of weapon

More military vehicles

I think these were early War re-enactors walking about

Another military camp from  modern time
It was quite interesting to see how military uniforms, weapons and vehicles changed over time.  Another great day out!