Tuesday, December 19, 2017

A New Adventure for the Kids

This fall, we signed the kids (minus Irene, who isn't old enough yet) up for Trail Life and American Heritage Girls (I'm sure you can figure out who is in which group...) The groups are Boy and Girl Scout alternatives that hold fast to conservative Christian values and teachings while giving kids hands-on learning in all kinds of really cool areas. They even have to do a certain number of hours of community service each year.

The boys have been primarily learning about all aspects of safety, like fire, electrical, water and so on. The can earn badges in a number of areas, and just as soon as I can get the handbook, I'll be able to figure out exactly what those areas are. :)

The girls have been learning all kinds of stuff. Emma is in the youngest of the groups, so she doesn't earn badges this year, but Olivia is hard at work trying to earn hers. She has earned the Joining Award, which meant she had learned the Motto, Creed, History and various facts about the AHG and the things they do. Already, she's picked out a few badges to work towards and I tell you what: they are not easy. She's definitely got a lot of work to do!

Hopefully the kids' enjoyment and dedication to the groups continues and they can use it as an opportunity to make new friends and learn some very handy skills!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Hannukah 2017

It's that time of year again! Hanukkah is one of our favorite times because we make it a point to set aside each and every day to do something all together as a family. 
Our yard hanukkiah went up on time this year with a couple of improvements. Firstly, I got a light so it could be see all night long. Then I figured out how to put a long toothpick through the candles to hold the flames in place in the wind that kep pulling it apart last year. :)

We pulled out the decorations from previous years along with the hand hanukkiahs they made.

On the first night, we went to VoB for a service and they had put a light on the huge hanukkiah out front. Driving up, though, all you could see was the giant shadow on the side of the building, wich made it even cooler!
One of the things we did as a family was to go to the Greensboro Children's Museum together. Out front, they built this gigantic climbing maze that has two pyramids that are 30 feet high. Stretching between the two, about 24 feet off the ground is a web tunnel. 
In order to reach it, you have to climb all the way up through the maze of ropes and nets. The kids went right up, begging me to come along. I told them that I thought I was over the weight restrictions, so one of them ran inside to ask. Unfortunately, they came back out and cheered because there isn't a restriction on adults climbing it... Lucky me.
So... up I climbed. But I didn't go alone. Rebecca climbed up, too. Even the littles went.
Once at the top, it takes a bit of an effort to get in there. Fortunately, there aren't any pictures of me flopping like a landed fish trying to get myself into the tunnel. 
Once inside, it's a bit of a crawl for an adult, but a fairly easy crouch for a kid to get across to the other pyramid.
Once there, we climbed down to a very fast metal slide. Rather sadly for me, the only way I could get into it was headfirst, so it launched me out onto my face. The kids thought it was great fun, tho. A little hard on the butt, maybe, but still fun.

Then Ezra decided to recreate my first time through it.
Only I wasn't so graceful.

On another day, we made Hanukkah slime! 
It was pretty fun, but kinda gross, too. It stuck to everything. 
I found it on clothes, towels, walls, the floor... everywhere.
It was fun to play with, tho. :)
On another day, Rebecca took the kids to the Winston-Salem Children's Museum. They have such cool stuff at that one! This whole thing was hand-knitted by a Japanese lady!

The beanstalk in the middle of the museum is awesome! 
And the donut factory is appropriate since donuts (sufganiyot) are a traditional Hanukkah treat.

This room, with the air tubes and scarves, is a huge favorite. It's cool to let the scarves go in one end and watch them fly through the tubes to be spit out somewhere else.

After our regular Shabbat service, we had an afternoon of games and fun. One of the adults dressed up as Antiochus Epiphanies (that's what the A on the mask stands for. It's definitely NOT Captain America) and the kids had to beat him at Connect4 to kick him out of Jerusalem. 
While not exactly historically accurate, it was fun nonetheless. 
We also had a hanukkiah contest again this year. We won it last year with our block hanukkiah. This year we made one out of Perler beads. Want to guess how many we used? Actually we're not really sure exactly, but the flat base alone took about 3000, so we guessed maybe 4500. Sadly, tho, we didn't win. 

We did some other things that we didn't get pictures of, like going to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi one day. We also ate a TON of donuts. I mean a literal ton. At least, that's how big I felt at the end of it...

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

EMMA Arts and Sciences Night - Fall 2017

Well, another semester is gone and it was time for the EMMA classes Arts & Sciences night! This was the first time we had four kids all in classes. This term, Olivia took Spanish, Chemistry and Physics, and General Science. The boys took Geography, Science, and Art. Emma had an activities class that went for 2 hours and an art class. All the kids took PE and Music. 
 Olivia doubled up on her science this year, so she had to do 2 projects. Her Chemistry and Physics project was to make a lava lamp using water, oil and Alka-Seltzer. It was a fun one, for sure. 
 For General Science, she had to choose a famous scientist and do a presentation about him, so she chose Galileo and did very well. 
 For the boys' Science project, they had to choose an animal from Africa, the Amazon or Australia and make a posterboard. Gabe chose the Green Anaconda, the largest snake in the world. 
 Ezra, however, went more cuddly and chose the kinkajou, which is kind of like an Amazonian raccoon, only cuter and less hazardous to my chickens!
 Emma did really well for her first time taking classes. She loved her teachers and really loved doing her art.  

Kid's got a future, am I right? 
 The boys were also proud to show off their works of art.


The highlight of the evening, though, was the play. All 4 kids were in it. The younger 3 were singing in the choir, but Olivia grabbed a small solo part, which she was super excited about. They had such a fun time! If you're feeling froggy, you can watch the whole thing below. Beware! It's half an hour long!

If you're in the GSO/HP area and are considering a homeschooling co-op, I would highly recommend EMMA. The staff and teachers are fantastic and the kids are having a great time learning each week!