2017-18 School Year–Week Twenty

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!

A Korean Feast for the Opening Ceremonies

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 Thursday

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!

 

 

What We’re Reading–All About South Korea

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!

Dinner for the Closing Ceremonies

One last kind of Russian meal, as we say goodbye to the Olympics!

We had chicken Kiev (yes, I know Kiev is in Ukraine, but close enough), rice pilaf (again, close, if not totally authentic), and more of the Russian black bread I made for the Opening Ceremonies.

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As always, the highpoint of the meal was dessert…a White Russian cake!

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Only 2 1/2 more years until the next summer Olympics…I better start planning some Brazilian menus!

A Tea Party for the Winter Olympics

Seeing as how we had a tea party for the London 2012 Olympics, I couldn’t very well let the Sochi games go by without doing something! I even found Russian Caravan tea, which was the perfect selection (or seemed like it at the time…I think it may be the most disgusting thing I have ever put in my mouth!)!

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My theme was Russian (of course), snowflakes, and blue and white…nice, wintry colors. I got to use my new white tablecloth (with an old blue runner), and our beautiful china. And unscented white tea lights and pillar candles from Target made for the perfect centerpiece:

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We has Russian tea cookies:

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And a Russian poppy seed bread (which sadly wasn’t very popular):

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Meringues (which I actually made correctly for the first time ever!):

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Snowflake sugar cookies:

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Snowflake Jell-O:

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An orange poppy seed cake (Did you know that poppy seeds are actually blue? They fit the theme perfectly!):

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English muffins with blueberry preserves:

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And fresh blueberries!

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I thought that this was going to be really hard to put together, from a menu standpoint. As it turns out, it wasn’t that bad at all!

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2013-14 School Year–Week Twenty-One

This was another crazy week! I’m ready for this ride to stop so I can get off…

On Monday, since Moose had the day off, we had a field trip day. St. Louis is celebrating her 250th birthday this year, and last weekend was the official founding date. In honor of the event, the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park opened a new exhibit, 250 in 250, to share the city’s history. We had a fun time checking it out, and looking in on the other exhibits, too!

We tried to get some regular school work done this week, too. The children kept up with their math, spelling, and reading. I used the Olympics as the basis for all of their writing assignments, though, instead of our standard curriculum. We watched two more ballets: Swan Lake, and our favorite version of the Nutcracker. In total, we watched five productions of four different ballets, and got to see two different Russian ballet companies in the process. We learned more about Russian history and culture (although, I fear that in the end, the only thing the children are going to remember are beets!) We also read a few Olympics and winter sports books, including G is for Gold Medal and The Hockey Sweater.

On Thursday afternoon, we had another field trip, to see a curling demonstration. The children really enjoyed seeing the equipment up close, but we didn’t get to see many stones thrown or swept, because the power went out at the ice rink while we there. That was a little disappointing, but at least it happened after we got to hear how the scoring works and what’s involved in curling well!

On Friday, we had a mostly fun day (after math was out of the way). I had the children pick music and design costumes for a figure skating routine. I love what Turkey came up with…he chose to do a pairs routine, and the costumes were modeled after The Doctor and Rose. And, of course, his music was the theme from Doctor Who. We also watched Anastasia, not for true historical accuracy, but just for a little Russian flavor, and fun, of course!

That’s pretty much it for our Olympics school…we’re having a tea party tomorrow, and a family tabletop hockey tournament tomorrow night. We haven’t had as many activities as we did for the London Olympics, but we’ve still managed to find some things to learn and do!

I think I’m relieved that we don’t have anything special planned for next week…all of these events are exhausting!

2013-14 School Year–Week Twenty

This was a really good week of school!

First of all, everybody scored 100% on their math tests…success!

We learned more about Russia and the Winter Olympics…fun!

And, today was Valentine’s Day…more fun!

We did eliminate our regular history and Scottish history studies, to make room for special Russia, Olympics and Valentine’s Day books. We learned about the Winter Olympics and how technology has changed them in Eyewitness: Olympics. We also learned more about figure skating in A is for Axel, a wonderful book by champion figure skater Kurt Browning. And, we read a nice Russian tale in The Littlest Matryoshka, a story about a family of nesting dolls. We also watched the Royal Ballet production of Giselle, one of Bunny’s favorite ballets, as well as the Bolshoi Ballet Nutcracker, and listened to several different Russian composers, as well as some other classical music commonly used in figure skating.

We also made family valentines this week (since we made valentines for others last week). The chidden have gotten very creative in their valentine making! I saw a few Tardis valentines, and I personally received two different valentines that said, “Hello Sweetie!” I guess it’s obvious which show we’ve been watching in the evenings (when we haven’t been watching the Olympics, of course!). Today we read our two favorite Valentine’s Day books…a serious book about the life of Saint Valentine, and a fun little book called The Night Before Valentine’s Day.

Of course, we did our regular schoolwork, too. Turkey and Bunny continued to work on geometry in math, and Ladybug worked more on counting money in different denominations. We continued working on spelling, writing, and reading…we definitely had the “Three Rs” covered! We also started reading The Bronze Bow, and Turkey and Bunny started on the accompanying workbook. Science was another subject that was abandoned this week, in the interest of spending extra time on the arts, but that’s OK…we don’t have very much of the text left, because the children have been so eager to learn about space!

Next week, we’ll probably follow a similar schedule, to make sure we have enough time to finish our Olympics studies. I’m hoping we might fit in a field trip, as well!

Dinner for the Opening Ceremonies

I went with a Russian theme for our dinner tonight…tonight’s menu included:

  • Beef stroganoff over egg noodles
  • Russian black bread
  • Pickled beets
  • Leinenkugel’s Big Eddy Russian Imperial Stout

For dessert (the real triumph of the evening), I made a Russian biscvit cake with a Ptichye Moloko filling, a whipped cream frosting, and a lovely chocolate drizzle:

We’ll still be having a tea party and a closing ceremonies dinner before the end of the Olympics…there’s more Russian cooking and baking yet to come!