Lego Chicago

On the last day of school last week, Turkey, Bunny, and Ladybug built the Lego Architecture Chicago skyline. While we’ve built a number of landmarks in the Architecture line over the years, this is only the second skyline we’ve constructed. I was shocked at how fast of a build it was, but just because it was completed quickly doesn’t mean it’s lacking in details!

The assortment of pieces was more colorful than I was expecting:

As always, the base was the first thing Turkey assembled:

And then the landmarks: The Bean and Big Red, which were both built by Turkey, Willis (Sears) Tower, which Ladybug begged to build, DuSable Bridge, the Wrigley Building, and the John Hancock Center, all completed by Bunny. The Hancock Center was an especially fascinating build to me!

It’s a beautiful little set!

For our first day of school in August, we’ll be taking a break from the Architecture series for something extra special…stay tuned!

2016-17 School Year–The End

And just like that, my ninth year of homeschooling is finished!

There wasn’t too much work this week. Turkey and Bunny took their last science test, and they both had perfect scores. We went through the study of “We Didn’t Start the Fire” that I had prepared. I think we were all surprised by how many of the pop culture references from the 50s that they recognized from watching I Love Lucy!

The only other thing we did this week was attend the final homeschool day of the school year at the Missouri History Museum. This month’s topic was war (particularly WWI), and how St. Louis was involved. We got to attend a flag folding workshop hosted by a retired colonel of the Air Force, which was really interesting. Not only did we learn how to properly fold an American flag, we also learned the meaning of each of the 13 folds. We studied propaganda posters from WWI, and talked about what kinds of emotions they were trying to stir up. There was a fun poppy craft, and an opportunity to write letters to soldiers. We missed the WWII rationing workshop, so I led my own workshop in that gallery, instead, which was interesting…my children had no qualms about serving liver and onions for dinner, but I have my doubts about whether or not they’d actually eat it!

This morning, Turkey, Bunny, and Ladybug built the Lego Architecture set that I had set aside for today. Since they visited Chicago last May, they had a pretty good idea of what the skyline looks like, and we were able to discuss the specific landmarks they built: Big Red (the CNA Center), the Bean (Cloud Gate), the Sears Tower (Willis Tower to some of you, I suppose), the Wrigley Building, the DuSable Bridge, and the John Hancock Center.

So that’s it for this year. Turkey and Bunny have now completed K-8 at home, and are looking forward to starting high school here in August, and we celebrated their eighth grade graduation with a trip to Starbucks this afternoon.

Ladybug has now finished fourth grade, and can’t wait to begin fifth grade in the fall. And Chickadee will be a kindergartener come August! Time flies here at Veritas Academy!

London Skyline

I finally had some time this afternoon to build the Lego Architecture London skyline!

It was a fun little build. The landmarks included are the National Gallery, Nelson’s Column, Big Ben, the London Eye, Tower Bridge (complete with ship), and even the River Thames:

Tower Bridge was the most time-consuming part of the build, because it was the largest element, but the London Eye also took some time, mostly because it involved a rather unusual building technique.

I may not be able to look at the actual London skyline with my own eyes, but at least I can admire it in Lego form!

Chickadee Thursday

Every year, we buy two Lego Advent calendars–one for the boys, and one for the big girls. This has worked out well in the past, with everyone getting 12 of the small builds over the course of December. With Chickadee getting older, however, we needed a new solution, so she didn’t feel left out.

Enter a Lego free-with-purchase I received earlier this year. It also contains 24 mini Lego builds, but because the set has fewer pieces, they can’t all be constructed at the same time. The instructions, however, are more detailed, which is great for Chickadee’s somewhat limited Lego skills. She was very excited to start her set today…the first build was a boat, and she was able to put most of it together herself. I’m really grateful Lego solved this problem for us, and without costing me any more money!

Here’s a bonus picture of Chickadee and Ladybug from Tuesday’s walk through Belleville’s Christkindlemarkt:

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And a bonus story from yesterday. We were leaving Schnucks, and Chickadee kept stepping in front of the cart Turkey was driving, forcing him to continually stop suddenly to avoid hitting her. I told her she needed to move to the side of the cart, and that she needed some sense, to which she replied: “I have three pennies!” That’s a pretty sophisticated word play for a four-year-old, to go from sense to cents…I think I may be in as much trouble with her as I was with Bunny at that age!

The Lego Winter Holiday Train

Thanks to the great sink fiasco of 2016, we were a day late building our Lego Christmas set for the year, but this evening, we sat down and got it done.

Each member of our family had a specific task:

In addition to the train itself, there were five new minifigs and a whole bunch of Lego toys and Christmas presents, which were built by Bunny and Chickadee:

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Ryan started with the engine:

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And Moose built the coal car:

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Turkey took car of the toy car, which also includes a cool revolving Christmas tree:

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And I built the passenger car/caboose:

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The track just fits around the base of our living room Christmas tree, and the gingerbread house that Ladybug built is the perfect complement to the set:

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This is the first Christmas set that we’ve built that isn’t a part of our winter village display, but I love having a train around our tree! And if we want to in the future, we can add Lego Power Functions to it, so that it can actually go!

A Trio of Double-Decker Buses

I didn’t realize it until Ryan pointed it out to me, but I appear to be collecting Lego double-decker buses:

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The first one I got came with the Tower Bridge as a kind of micro build, and I thought it was tiny…but I was still impressed by the amount of detail in it, and how immediately identifiable it was. Of course, I didn’t know tiny until I built the even smaller bus that came with Buckingham Palace! And yet, despite the fact that it uses only seven bricks, it’s still also identifiable! My largest bus came as a free-with-purchase, and while it completely dwarfs the other two, it’s still nowhere near minifig scale.

They look pretty cute together!

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Now that I have these three displayed in various places around the house, I have to hope that someday, Lego will offer a dedicated double-decker bus set. Maybe minifig scale, or even bigger? But not too much bigger, because there’s no way I’d ever be able to afford a bus set built on the same scale as the Mini Cooper and the VW Beetle that Lego has offered in recent years!

Lego Buckingham Palace

I spent the afternoon today working on my latest Lego London landmark: Buckingham Palace!

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I was impressed right from the start with the tiling that represents the street, the gardens, and the pedestrian access:

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There were tons of tiny pieces in this set. I also encountered some very unique building techniques, but it still came together rather quickly.

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As always, I was impressed with the level of detail in the set, including the fence out front, the double decker bus (my third of varying sizes!), the flag flying over the palace (I guess Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is in?), and the Victoria Memorial out front:

One of the best parts of the Architecture series are the instruction books. They don’t just include directions for building the model, they also include a history of the building, trivia, and some beautiful photos!

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I’m very happy with how it turned out!

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We now have Tower Bridge and Buckingham Palace decorating our living room. The large-scale Big Ben will be joining them eventually (the smaller Architecture model is in our school room), and I’ve heard a rumor that next year, there is also going to be a Lego London skyline Architecture set, which I’m really excited about! The more London landmarks that decorate our home, the happier I am. Even if I can’t visit that city, I can admire its beautiful architecture, Lego style!