Remembering Apollo 11, 50 Years Later

Who else is partying like it’s 1969?!? The 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing has me in a festive, mid-century mood!

In the interest of full disclosure, I should point out that our big Apollo 11 anniversary party was last Saturday, because I knew that the majority of our family wouldn’t be home today. So I started on my preparations extra early:

I found a lot of cool stuff, both around the house (it’s not like we’ve never studied space before!) and at the store. These Moon Landing Oreos were a huge hit!

I planned our party in several parts. I decided to really achieve the proper 1960s atmosphere, we should have a “cocktail hour.” I tried to come up with period appropriate appetizers, which wasn’t too hard. The menu included deviled eggs, cocktail meatballs in grape jelly, “California dip” (you know, the classic Lipton’s onion soup dip), shrimp cocktail, olives, cheese, and Chex mix (a relative of the especially appropriate nuts and bolts snack mix that I have only the vaguest memories of). For our “cocktail” I made Shirley Temples, complete with swizzle sticks!

We spent the day watching both documentaries and movies related to the Apollo program. We also built Lego’s new Lunar Lander, which was a really fun project, and looks great (if not to scale) with our Lego Saturn V rocket!

I tried to go with a 1960s dinner, as well, which was a little more challenging. After considering my options, I decided on Chicken Kiev for the main course. We also had mashed potatoes, cauliflower topped with Cheez Whiz and browned Ritz crackers (a holiday staple from my childhood!), and orange Jell-O (there had to be Jell-O, and since I was feeling nice, I didn’t even make a weird flavor with vegetables!). We also had the astronauts’ drink of champions (Tang) and Schlafly’s Lunar Lagers for the adults. The meal was a hit. Well, except for the cauliflower, which I’m pretty sure only I liked!

For dessert, we had cake (pineapple upside down, another mid-century classic) and (astronaut) ice cream.

If you know me, you know I even had the perfect outfit to wear, from my moon earrings to my space skirt, and even a cool brooch!

And a few treats for today, the actual anniversary, for those of us at home…Moon Pies (of course), and Moonsicle soda made by a local bottling company, Excel, to commemorate the anniversary of the moon landing:

I’m not sure I’ve had this much fun with a special theme since The Great American Eclipse…I wonder what event we’ll celebrate next?

Markel Family Combo Breaker Getaway–Day Four

Last Saturday, we were really hoping the rain would miss us, because we had lots of outdoor plans for the day…and for the most part, it did!

We started at Brookfield Zoo, a place we visited in January. We wanted to see what it was like in the springtime, and we wanted to see the Brick Safari LEGO exhibit (more details on that in the future)!

After a quick stop at the hotel, we headed to Giordano’s for a dinner of appetizers (calamari, a sampler platter, a wings flight, and fried cheese curds), plus a very delicious dessert (Nutella cannoli bites):

And then we made the short trip to Northwestern Medicine Field to see the Kane County Cougars, a Class A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, take on the Beloit Snappers:

We didn’t stay for the whole game…at 9 pm, after two-and-a-half hours of play, they were still in the sixth inning, and the Cougars were winning 8-1 (the final score was 10-1), so feeling confident in the Cougars imminent victory, we headed back to the hotel for a little more Combo Breaker fun:

Next up: The final day of Combo Breaker!

2018-19 School Year–Week Thirty-Six

That’s a wrap on the 2018-19 school year!

Most of the real work was actually done last week. Turkey and Bunny finished Algebra 2 and did a good job on the final exam. They completed their study of the medieval world by learning about the Crusades. They also finished their study of Old English and Medieval Poetry, Prose, and Drama. In chemistry, they got to play around with pH paper and other indicators in their last experiment of the year, which was a lot of fun!

Ladybug also finished up math and had her final exam for the year, and she was very happy with her grade. She wrapped up her writing curriculum (minus one paper that we’re saving for summer school, because the topic fit). She also completed her equine science course by learning a bit more about horse behavior. Her final history lesson was on the sinking of the Spanish Armada.

Chickadee finished her spelling curriculum for the year…she’s really come a long way! She also took her final math test, and did a great job! She read Summer, which seemed appropriate, and Snow (just for fun), plus Little Bear.

Yesterday, we attended the final Missouri History Museum Homeschool Day of the year…and this time, it was held at Soldiers Memorial Military Museum, a place we hadn’t previously toured. We really enjoyed having an opportunity to learn about St. Louisans who served in various wars, as well as St. Louis’ contributions to those conflicts. There were some fun and educational craft projects, as well. It was an excellent field trip for the end of the year, especially so close to Memorial Day!

We enjoyed what seemed like a rare nice day with a walk around downtown St. Louis while we were out:

Today we wrapped up the loose strings of a few subjects (we finally finished reading To Kill a Mockingbird, Ladybug had her final history review, and Chickadee finished her handwriting curriculum), and built our annual end-of-the-school-year Lego set. This time, I chose the San Francisco skyline Lego Architecture model, which is one of the few we hadn’t yet built.

I asked my students a few questions to end the school year…What was your favorite book? What was your favorite subject? Who was the historical figure you enjoyed learning about the most? What was your favorite field trip? What subject are you most looking forward to next year? Here are their responses:

  • TurkeyThe Planets: The Definitive Visual Guide to Our Solar System; Algebra 2; Robert the Fox; Chicago’s Field Museum; Pre-Calculus
  • BunnyThe Astronaut Wives Club; Literature; Rugila the Hun (Attila’s uncle); Chicago’s Field Museum; Literature
  • LadybugMisty of Chincoteague; Equine Science; Elizabeth I; Chicago’s Field Museum; Literature
  • ChickadeeSummer; reading; Mary I; Soldiers Memorial Military Museum; Astronomy

We’ll have some time off before we start this year’s summer school…we’re going to be (vicariously) traveling all around Europe with Rick Steves!

Twelve!

Today is Ladybug’s 12th birthday!

We got an early start to the day, so she could open her presents before breakfast. She received a lot of new Lego: Avengers sets, which she was very excited about. She had, however, figured out what our gift to her was before she opened it, which was disappointing to me.

She planned out every detail of her day, which involved watching a lot of Avengers movies (including Iron Man and The Avengers), plus the Lego Movie 2. I was a big fan of the dinner she chose, because it’s also my favorite…Reuben casserole. And she picked a very chocolaty cake for dessert, filled with both dark and white chocolate mousse, and topped with a whipped chocolate ganache. I couldn’t resist adding trick candles!

I think it was a very fun birthday…I hope she had as good a time as I did!

SIXTEEN!!!

Today is Turkey’s SIXTEENTH birthday…I can’t even believe it!

He wanted to get up early and open his presents before Moose went to school:

He got a car for his birthday…a Lego car. It’s a huge set, and he’s been working on it for a good portion of the day, and it still isn’t done. It has a lot of cool features!!!

In addition to the car and a Lego Movie 2 set from his siblings, he also received some Lego gift cards, so we went to the mall this morning, and he picked up a set he’s wanted for a long time. That one didn’t take so long to build:

He decided he wanted a trifle for his birthday, which included a homemade chocolate mocha custard…I think he enjoyed it!

I can’t believe we have a sixteen-year-old in the house. I know I say that about every new age, but 16 is getting awfully close to legal adult status, which makes me feel a tiny bit old!

Lego–Mission: Imagination

A few weeks ago, Legoland Florida tweeted about a Lego contest related to the new Lego movie that comes out this week. Turkey has always asked me to keep an eye out for Lego contests he can enter, so I told him about it, and he came up with a few models for his entries. It only took a few days from when he entered to when I got the phone call saying he had won! We think this is the winning entry:

Even though the rules said it could six to eight weeks for him to receive his prize, it was delivered today:

As soon as school was done for the day, Turkey got to work building Emmet’s Dream House/Rescue Rocket!

As always, it didn’t take him too long to complete the project:

He’s very excited to have his Lego-Building skill recognized by Lego, and to be rewarded for it!


Construo LEGOrum!

Lego has finally added a new line of Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts sets to their store! We missed out on the Harry Potter sets the last time Lego made them, so we’re very excited about the new wave. In honor of this auspicious occasion, I’ve come up with a special Harry Potter style spell to assist you in your Lego building…Construo LEGOrum!

So far, our family owns three of the sets (Hogwarts Great Hall, Hogwarts Express, and Aragog’s Lair), plus some of the minifigs from the new series. The set we all hope to build someday, however, is the new Hogwarts Castle, which is as beautiful as it is gigantic!

Lego Main Street–2018 Edition

Now that the Assembly Square is finally completed, our modular Main Street has a different look!

I’m still undecided about adding the Downtown Diner to this streetscape. I don’t really feel like it “goes” with the current aesthetic, but I’m waiting to see what the 2019 modular building is before I decide for sure!

Lego Assembly Square–Night Six

The final set of bags for the Lego Assembly Square included builds for an upstairs apartment, the fountain in the plaza out front, a fun tower, and the addition of our very first Lego baby minifig!

The completed set is GORGEOUS! I love everything about it…the size, the colors, the great architectural details, the lovely homages to past modular buildings:

Since the Assembly Square has been released, there has also been another addition to the Lego modular collection…the Downtown Diner. Even though it has a cool, 1950s retro vibe that is right up my alley, I haven’t purchased it yet, because I’m not sure it goes with the overall look of my Modular Main Street. I am looking forward to seeing what the next building will be, though, and hopefully it will be something I’ll add to my Lego neighborhood!

First Day of School 2018

We have officially begun the 2018-19 school year!

Our first day of school is pretty much the same from year to year…the children get their new workbooks, and open their schultüte:

We do a little work (today that included religion, foreign language, and reading time):

And then build our first day of school Lego set…this year, it’s the Hogwarts Great Hall!

Tomorrow we’ll get into more serious work, but for today, we mostly had fun!