Chickadee has really been enjoying the Winter Olympics. During the Rio Summer Olympics, she tried “Bolting” and the “Mobot.” This time, we’ve been watching a lot of figure skating, so she’s got the whole “hand heart” thing figure out!
She also decided that it’s been too long since Dolly has been in a picture with her, so she insisted that they both be in the photo!
While this was a normal school week for us, I have to admit that we spent most of the week looking forward to the start of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics and our first experience with Korean food. We did manage to work that into school, though, so at least we kept busy while we waited!
In addition to learning a bit about the history of Korea, and some of the current challenges that peninsula faces, I also came up with a reading list to help us learn about Korea. We especially enjoyed reading some Korean folk tales this week…you can learn a lot about a country by seeing how they tried to explain things! We also made shield kites, after learning about what an anticipated event kite-flying is in Korea, especially for the Lunar New Year, which occurs next week. They’re not exactly sky-worthy, but they look really cool. And we identified all of the different cities who have hosted the Winter Olympics since they began in 1924. Trying to label that many European cities on a fairly small map was quite a challenge!
We did all of our regular schoolwork, too, but nothing was particularly notable. Next week, though, we’re celebrating our “official” 100th day of school!
The Opening Ceremonies of any Olympics are always reason for a feast!
I have been so excited all week, because I have been planning a Korean dinner to celebrate PyeongChang 2018. I spent a lot of time looking through the Korean cookbook I purchased just for this occasion, and choosing the things I wanted to cook for our Korean feast. When I finally came up with the menu, I realized there were quite a few ingredients in the meal that were new to us:
I had fun cooking all of the various components of our dinner…especially those that required me to work on my wok skills:
We had sweet potato starch noodles with stir-fried vegetables and beef (japchae), panfried tofu with spicy seasoning sauce (dububuchim-yangnyeomjang), and kimchi. I made everything except the kimchi, and originally, I had planned to make that, too, but I think I’ve watched too much Food Network, and it scared me a little!
It was a delicious dinner, and to my surprise, everyone enjoyed the tofu, which was probably the most foreign item on the menu!
For dessert, I had planned to make panfried sweet rice cakes with edible flowers (hwajeon) to go with the pear punch (baesuk) that has been steeping in the fridge all week. When I couldn’t find the necessary edible flowers, I bought a package of Korean rice cookies instead. But then Ladybug and I decided that mint leaves might work instead of the flowers, and you know what? They were delicious!
We had a really fun time trying out some very new-to-us Korean foods, and not only did I love cooking some new foods, I was pleased with how much everyone enjoyed the things I made. We have a few other fun foods to try during the Olympics…I hope they’re as popular as tonight’s dinner!
Chickadee has really been enjoying all the Korean folk tales we’ve been reading this week in anticipation of the start of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics!
Some of the books we’ll be using to learn about South Korea during this year’s Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang have already been covered in our “Learning About Asia” book list. I looked for some new titles (many by Linda Sue Park, who is of Korean heritage), with good reviews though, (to be honest, however, we don’t have them all at home, and I don’t know yet if we’ll be able to get them from the library), and also found a new cookbook, so we’ll be trying some Korean cuisine, as well!
Tonight, we had one last Olympics-themed feast. Originally, we were going to have one last Brazilian meal, but I ended up making that last week. And then I thought about making a Japanese meal, to signify the passing of the torch from Rio to Tokyo. In the end, however, I decided that I wanted to do something simple, since our first day of school is tomorrow, and I’ve been busy getting ready for that. So I settled on an all-American meal!
We started with a snack, just like we did the day of the Opening Ceremony. This time, I made pretzel rod torches that symbolize the Olympic flame being snuffed out. I also made a red, white, and blue “mocktail” that was a huge hit with the children. I added some Olympics-inspired Hershey’s miniatures, just for fun.
For dinner, we went with a traditional American meal…hot dogs, corn on the cob, potato chips, root beer, and brownies with vanilla ice cream for dessert. Easy to make, and something everyone likes!
I’m going to miss the Olympics. We’ve had a fun time over the last 16 days, learning about Rio, sampling some new foods, watching lots of sports, and keeping track of the medal count. At least it’s only about 18 months until the Winter Olympics!
With apologies to Charles Dickens, who I must quote (badly), because I hope this could be said about my Olympic spirit:
“And it was always said of her, that she knew how to keep the Olympics well, if any one alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us!”
Our 2016 summer school wrapped up today. We finished our overview of geography with longitude and latitude, and how to find a place based on its geographical coordinates. We learned more about some famous past Olympians. We also had an interesting current events discussion about the actions of some of the US swimmers, and I had an ethical/bioethical conversation with my oldest students about the issues surrounding runner Caster Semenya. The children had one last fun creative assignment…they each designed an Olympic medal for a future Olympiad.
We also tried one last Brazilian meal. We enjoyed the children’s two favorite recipes that I’ve made recently again: Pao de Queijo and the Brazilian lemonade. I also made Brazilian rice again, to go with a delicious Brazilian fish stew. Since I was feeling adventurous, I even made Brazilian collard greens, which sadly only Ladybug and I enjoyed, but at least everyone tried them! For dessert, we had a double coconut cake, which was delicious!
Our adventures in Brazilian cooking have been interesting. I’ve used a lot of black beans and peppers in the last two weeks, as well as coconut and coconut milk. I’ve really enjoyed learning how to cook new things, and teaching my children some cooking skills and wisdom (I don’t think they’ll ever forget that “ganache covers a multitude of sins!). I’m especially glad that everyone was adventurous enough to try (and mostly enjoy) everything I made!
Chickadee is really in the Olympic spirit. She loves gymnastics and has been having a great time coming up with her own “floor routines!”
Even though the rhythmic gymnastics competition hasn’t been held yet, we got a sneak peek of the ribbon at the gymnastics gala, and Chickadee has really been having fun making up performances with the ribbon I bought this summer:
And she had to show off her “gold medal” by our medal chart:
Even with all of that fun, I think the highlight of her day was Moose coming home from his first day of fifth grade!
Our study of geography while we learn about (and watch!) the Olympics has continued. We’ve moved on to the geography of South America, as well as looking at Brazil in greater detail. I’ve had the children look through a travel book, and choose what their must-see sights in Brazil are. I was happy to see that they chose places that are a little off the beaten path. We also talked about each of the host cities of the previous Summer Games, and talked a bit about some of the issues unique to each Olympics.
We haven’t just been learning though…we’ve also been having fun and being silly! Four years ago, we “Bolted” and did the “Mobot.” Since we have seen both Usain Bolt and Mo Farah compete in Brazil, win their races, and do their signature moves, we decided to give it a try again:
During the London 2012 Olympics, one of our crafts was making rhythmic gymnastics style ribbons, which was fun, even if they didn’t work quite as well as I wanted them to. I decided to do better this time around, so I purchased a ribbon like you might see the gymnasts use. We’ve really had fun playing with it, and Chickadee discovered that if she’s really nice, she might even get her big brother to play with her!
We have a little more geography left to cover, another Brazilian meal to try, and one last craft to do before the Olympics are over…stay tuned!