Friday, 29 March 2013

Facebook and an Award

I got two great announcements to share with you today.  First I have finally gotten a Facebook page for Life's Adventures, YAY!!!  So after 3 years of blogging and one year of thinking about forming a Facebook  page I finally accomplished it this past weekend.   I will be sharing homeschool links, freebies and other positive homeschool sites with you.  It is my new adventure in the world of technology, I am still learning so  please bear with me while I figure out this new media, but I hope you will join me in this new adventure:)

Next, I was honored with a Blog award a couple of weeks ago and am just now getting around to passing it on.  Chris is from Campfires and Cleats and she has a great blog so click on over to see her wonderful family and blog.

I took this from Chris's page as to what does Liebster mean:
liebster is German for~
 "sweetest," "kindest," "nicest," "dearest," "beloved," 
"valued," "endearing," and "welcoming."

Thanks Chris, it was wonderful to find this in my inbox and despite my lateness in getting a write up written, I really do appreciate the award!

So the rules of this award are as follows:

1. List 11 facts about yourself.

1.   I was never a tea drinker until I moved to the UK now I drink at least 2 cups a day, sometimes more
2.   I still can't cook a proper English Sunday roast dinner and I have lived in the UK nearly 5 years.
3.   I did learn this year to make a proper English Christmas pudding and Christmas Cake and it was good!!!
4.   I love history
5.   I love traveling
6.   I love learning new things
7.   I enjoy crafting and art and wish I was better at it than I really am
8.   I wished I knew how to play an instrument, but I don't, so I am making my kids learn the piano to satisfy my need:)
9.   I mostly read historical fiction books
10.  According to my family I take way too many pictures of flowers;) it makes me happy
11.  I buy myself fresh flowers every single week to put in the living room.  It is my one selfish splurge/pleasure

2. Answer the 11 questions 
1. Where did you grow up?
I am a military brat so I grew up in lots of places...I was born in Scotland, but lived in Taiwan, Okinawa, Maryland, Virginia, Maine, Enlgand--However I consider Maryland home as that is where I lived the longest.

2. If you could live anywhere, where would that be?
Oh that is a hard one somewhere warm and near water, maybe Hawaii or San Fransico

3. What is your favorite book? ( Yes, pick ONE! LOL.!Okay, really, any number of faves!)
Another hard favorite book is usually the one I am currently reading

4 Favorite movie?
When Harry met Sally -- it always makes me laugh

5. Hobby?
Before kids, I did stained glass and basket making, I even taught adult ed classes

6. Why did you begin your blog?
I started one year after moving to England and one year after beginning our Homeschooling journey.  Mostly to keep family informed of our traveling and homeschooling adventures

87. What's your fairy tale wedding like?
I had mine already, marrying my husband in a vineyard, small and intimate, it was perfect!

8. If you could have dinner with a-n-y-o-n-e, who would that be?
Oh, someone from the Tudor period either Henry the 8th or Elizabeth the 1st.

9.  Louisa May Alcott or Jane Austen?
That's a tough one but Louisa May Alcott wins by a tiny bit

10.  Best spot for a relaxing dinner with the family?
Outdoor at our patio table with the sun shining, the grill on and watching the kids play

11.  Favorite saint?
I can't answer this one as I am Lutheran :)

4. Choose 11 bloggers and pass on the award 
In no particular order, I enjoy the following blogs

Hope you enjoy passing on the award to other well deserving blogs, I look forward to seeing who you nominate:)

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Music from India

Continuing our study on India we had the opportunity to hear a musical presentation on traditional Indian instruments--the sitar and the tabla.  It was wonderful opportunity.  We were told that while there are some basic rules to the playing of the instruments, a lot of it is improvisational.  There are also no written notes like in western music.  This got a bit confusing for me so not sure I can explain it properly.

We met at the Indian Cultural Center  in the city and two musician gave a short introduction to the two instruments

We learned that the Sitar has 22 strings, and is very light and made from a large gourd

Close up view of the strings

The other tool needed to play this instrument was a metal clip for the plucking of strings.  It had to be quite tight on the finger which was very uncomfortable.

After a quick introduction to the nuances of the instruments the  children got to try to play the instruments learning a few notes and the proper way to sit.  We were asked to remove our sock from our left foot this is so the instrument can rest on our foot.  However many of us were unable to sit and properly hold the instruments:(

Little man having a try

Since this field trip was in the evening  Daddy was able to join us and got to have a try with the instruments.  When it was over even he said he learned something new and had a great time:)!

The next instrument we got to try was the tabla

The top of the drum have three rings to help with sounds

After a quick instruction on how to place our hands we learn a few notes.  It was a lot harder than it looks

Then everyone was able to pair up with someone and give a little performance.

After the lesson we went out to dinner at an Indian restaurant.  The kids tried Tandoori chicken and both said they loved it.
 I found this you tube video of the instruments being played.  I posted it in case you wan to hear what these instruments sound like:)  Enjoy!

Monday, 25 March 2013

Roman dig

We had the opportunity to go with our homeschool group to see a real Roman dig in action.  The University in Cambridge wants to expand their campus and as I understand it in England whenever you wish to build you need to first do a archeology discovery, which is paid for by the developers of the project.  A set amount of time and money is given to explore the area looking for any archeology finds.

This property was once farmland

Our first stop was to the educational center which we had an overview of  what is an archeologist and how they find things in the ground and what they look for

We then walked out to the sight.  Here we are shown an place of a round house.  The holes were where post where and the guide explained the variation in the soil and what that might signal to the archeologist.  
Here was pointed out the dark stripe in the ground was once a Roman road and it eventually ran right thru the house that we just looked at.  Which was one of the ways they knew the house was older than Roman times.

The layers of the soil were explained

We watched from a distance a man digging out an area.  Unfortunately we weren't able to get very close as it had rained  the previous day and the field was extremely muddy 

Next the guide showed us a map of the area and the amount of area they needed to cover.  They had only been given 6 months to complete their excavation.  So far they had not found any great finds in the area

they did find broken pits of pottery

funeral urns 

Butchered animal bones.  Kids got to see actual knife scores on the bones.  they believe this area was mainly a farming area based on the finds they had found so far.
a few unbroken pottery containers 

We had a good day out and it was fun to see how archeologist work in the field.  Also the kids got to know not every site will yield magnificent finds such as the Staffordshire hoard or Sutton Hoo.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Weekly Wrap Up

We have been so very busy that it seems as if time is flying by.  While I was on target for most of my school goals in January, I now seem to be behind in almost everything:(.  There seems to be an abundance of field trips opening up and we are doing most of them.  I feel like I have to get it all in as we are leaving England soon and I am not sure when these opportunities will come to us again.

The kids and I went to a working Roman dig site locally and spoke with a student archeologist about the site and what they have found.  I have a post coming up about it next week.  Princess had girl scouts this evening, my husband usually takes her so I can have an evening off.  He sits at the local coffee shop and surfs the web while the meeting is going on:).

We had a full day of actual learning at home, then in the early evening we headed out to the local Indian Cultural Center to hear traditional Indian music the Sitar and the Tabla.  This field trip, I coordinated with the homeschool group, was to help with our study on India which we hope to complete by the end of March.  Normally we have Martial arts in the evenings but we had to skip due to the music presentation.  Afterwards we had dinner at an Indian restaurant and the kids tried Tandoori Chicken which they both said they loved.

Today we had friends over.  Three of the kids decided they were going to make lunch for everyone.  They chose the menu last week and they made nachos, chicken noodle soup, French bread and blackberry cobbler for desert.  They did an awesome job working together.    My friend and I prepared our science lesson today which was constructing a Hubble telescope paper model,  you can find the directions here.  We got about half way done before stopping and each family plans on completing the project at their own homes.

This day always feels like my busiest day of the week!  We do school from 9-11:15ish then we  have swim lessons at noon, rush home to do a little more school, and then we rushed out the door to have horse riding lesson late afternoon.   Since Little man has boy scouts in the evening we head straight for the base where we visit the library and I go grocery shopping.  Usually we met Daddy for dinner  and then attend the boy scout meeting.    Thursdays are usually a blur to me, we don't get home until 7:30ish and then it is get the kids showered and ready for bed.

I scheduled another field trip for this day-- a glass mosaic art class for the kids (I don't normally schedule so many field trips in one week)  One of the local home ed Mom has her own studio in her back yard and she holds classes once a month.  So for the next few months one Friday a month we will be doing glass art classes
Tonight Princess and I are going to see the Opera Carmen at a local venue.  My daughter's best friend will be singing in this performance and we are going to show our support and cheer her on.  Princess has been invited to spend the night at her friends house and she is very excited.  I will bring her home after lunch on Saturday.

So that is it our crazy week in a nutshell.  Next week looks just as busy but that is the life of a homeschooler!

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Viking Crafts

This past weekend was Regia Anglorum national training weekend for the re enactment group we belong too.  It is a time for the members to get together to share knowledge and practice battle techniques.  My husband usually spends the day fighting, while the kids and I wonder about looking for things to do.  This time however there were several new Viking era crafts to try so Princess and I decided to give them a try.

First we tried our hand at making viking glass beads.  We did use modern equipment for this

Princess did great and wasn't at all afraid of the flame

Here she is molding a glass bead using a graphite paddle (forgot what it is really called)

In between waiting to have her turn she read her book and Little Man played his DS.  He didn't want to try and I was a bit nervous having him around flames as he tends to be a tad impulsive 

I had a go and really enjoyed it.

Here are our finished beads (the two green beads and the 2 blue and white beads.)  not bad for our first time

Next I took a workshop to learn a little about Pewter Casting...Princess deserted me at this time as she found some kids to play with:)

During our period most mold would have been made of wax and then encased in clay.  Once the pewter was pours into the mold the wax would melt and the clay would need to be broken in order to reach the pewter casting.  Which means only one casting could be done at any time.

This mold is using cuttle fish bone; a shape would be carved into the bone and then hot pewter would be added..  Several pewter castings could be done before the mold would no longer hold shape.  

Another method was to use soap stone which would be carved into a shape.  Pewter casting on this method could be reused many times.

Lastly and the modern way of  of pewter casting is using silicone  molds

Here is my casting efforts, I just need to clean it up a bit!
Next Princess and I signed up for Repousse which is metal work.    Which basically consists of using hammers and different shape medal pins to score into copper or other metal to make designs.  This was used on helmets, shields and other metal items to add decoration

After you hammer in a design the metal becomes inflexible and no longer takes the shape of the tools so the metal needs to be resoftened.  We do this by adding it to the fire for a few minutes.

and cool it down in water

then you can continue to hammer in your shape.  I did RA for the name of our group Regia Anglorum 

We also worked on our archery skills using the long bow.  Princess was getting pretty good hitting the target and even a couple of bull eyes:)

Hubby had a turn

and so did I

Little Man pretty much stayed in the hall playing his electronic games during this trip.  He is the only one of the family who finds this whole re enactment thing a bit overwhelming to his senses:).

Monday, 18 March 2013

Buddhist Center

Last week we had the opportunity to visit a local Buddhist center in order to further understand the Buddhist religion.

We met up with some other homeschoolers at the center

Prior to our field trip the kids and I have been reading and watching DVD's on Buddhism and learning all we can about this religion.  First a little background on who is Buddha.  Siddhartha Gautama was born in India around 500 B.C.  He was born into a wealthy family and he was very sheltered from the real world.  One day he snuck outside and saw a sick man, dead man, and a old man and wondered why there was so much suffering.  Next, he saw an monk who was content and again he wondered why.  Siddhartha decided then to leave his wife and child and become a monk in search of answers to the meaning of life.

The center has 3 different shrines and meditation rooms.   The Buddhist religion does not have any deity (god).  The Rupas (statues of buddha) are not to be worshiped, according to the center--they are only there to remind people of the Buddha's life and the purpose of mediation (find the meaning of life)

Buddhists believe there are 4 Noble Truths in which we must accept in order to find enlightenment:
1.  Life involves suffering and sorrow
2.  The reason we suffer is that we want things for ourselves.
3.  Suffering can end when we reduce when selfishness
4.  The cure for suffering is to find enlightenment

We were told that a statue of Buddha could depend very heavily on the artist interpretation.   Some Rupas have more western features while others have more asian features.  Buddha did not want people to worship him only to find their own way to enlightenment

Throughout the center we saw many different Rupas and learned the different meaning of the hand placements.  My kids already knew this from visiting the British museum last month.

After a tour of the center and seeing each of the Rupas and hearing about Buddha story we headed for the largest shrine room

Where the kids learned about Tai Chi

We also learned that around the Shrine of the Buddhist there are flowers which represent life and death.  Candles that represent the light of the world. Incense represent the spread of Buddhism (think of the smell of the incense spreading around)

The kids also had another chance to practice mediation

Buddhist hand signal when he reached enlightenment; supposedly, when he touched the ground the earth shook
 We had a great morning out learning about Buddhism.  We are now going to move on to learning about 2 more popular religions found in India: Sikhism and Jainism.  The next religious temple we are schedule to visit is a Mosque in a few weeks and we will also be learning about Islam.