First Quarter Done

On Friday we completed the first quarter of the 2017-18 school year. We learned tons in those first 9 weeks thanks to Layers of Learning.

In history, we learned about the Byzantines, barbarians, Islam, Vikings, Anglo Saxons, and started learning about Charlemagne. In Geography, we learned about Turkey, Ireland, the Arabian Peninsula, Norway, Britain, and started learning about France. In Science, we learned about climate and seasons, forecasting, clouds and precipitation, special weather effects, wild weather, and started learning about planets. In the arts, we covered Byzantine art, the illumination, making a commercial, Viking art, King Arthur Tales, and started learning about Carolingian art. We started every day by watching CNN 10 and then working on grammar and spelling using The Nose Tree.

First Quarter Done

Cameron created characters, scenes, and dialogue in creative writing in preparation for writing a short story. He read Lost to the West, Beowulf: A New Telling, Prince: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia, Viking Warrior, The Legend of King Arthur, and half of The Origins of Everything in 100 Pages (more or less). He worked on learning Spanish, playing the piano, and personal finance. His grades were excellent:
History A
Geography A
Science A
Art A
Music A
Spanish A
English A
Math B

Fritz learned about informal logic and continued learning lots of Latin vocabulary and endings. He learned how to play more songs on the piano and to draw better. He learned how to make outlines and take notes and then write paragraphs from those notes. He read Anna of Byzantium, Beowulf: A New Telling, Can It Really Rain Frogs?, Vicious Vikings, Augustine Came to Kent, and half of Son of Charlemagne. In math, he is preparing for pre-algebra. Along with his little brother, he did 1 and 2 Nephi in the Book of Mormon. His grades were also excellent:
History A
Geography A
Science A
Art A
Music A
Religion A
English A
Math A
Logic A
Latin A

Adrian practiced narrating lots of passages from books. He read The Hungry Coat, The Railway Children, The Year at Maple Hill Farm, Stories of Beowulf Told to Children, The Hundredth Name, Clouds, Viking Ships at Sunrise, Pink Snow and Other Weird Weather, Vikings, The Rainbow and You, Who in the World Was the Unready King?, and half of Stories of Roland Told to the Children. He began learning to play the piano and to speak Spanish. He is learning how to multiply multiple digits by multiple digits (which he likes to do in his head!). His grades, like his brothers’, were excellent:
History A
Geography A
Science A
Art A
Music A
Spanish A
Religion A
English A
Math A

History: Vikings

Weeks 6 and 7 of school we learned about Vikings using Layers of Learning, year 2 unit 4.

We added to our timeline.

We looked at the page on Dublinia in our Ireland trip book and talked about what we saw there.

We did some map work.

We learned about longhouses.

We made a Viking ship.

We had a Viking feast. We ate meat soup, honey glazed vegetables, apple bacon, and bread and drank non-alcoholic mead.

After the feast, we provided each other with live entertainment.

We looked at a map of how the settlement of Vinland was laid out.

We held a Viking funeral. It didn’t quite go how we expected it to. It took a lot longer to get the paper boat to ignite, required the addition of rubbing alcohol, and ended with Cameron juggling flaming cotton balls.

We talked about inflation and compared the cost of things in 1938 versus today.

The boys each picked a different famous Viking to teach his brothers about. Cameron picked Harald Bluetooth and finished his report with a youtube video about why we call it bluetooth today.

Cameron created a PowerPoint of Norse beings and presented it to his brothers.

The Arts: Viking Art

Weeks 6 and 7 of school we learned about Viking Art using Layers of Learning, year 2 unit 4.

We drew dragons. Adrian wants everyone to know he just didn’t feel like finishing the details on his.

The boys worked together to design and name a Viking sword.

We made cups out of clay.

We made image stones.

The boys wrote their names in runes.

We made Yggdrasil, the tree of the world.

Science: Special Effects

Weeks 6 and 7 of school we learned about weather special effects using Layers of Learning, year 2 unit 4.

We ate rainbow pancakes.

We made a rainbow haired Roy G. Biv.

We learned about the aurora borealis and made paintings of it.

We learned about fire tornados and made one in a bottle (Cameron was pretty disappointed ours wasn’t made of actual fire).

We demonstrated how mirages work using hot sugar water, room temperature sugar water, and plain water.

Geography: Norway

Weeks 6 and 7 of school we learned about Norway using Layers of Learning, year 2 unit 4.

We did map work. I gave the boys coordinates for cities and bodies of water and they had to find the location on the map.

We watched several YouTube videos to learn about fjords, Edvard Grieg, and stave churches.

The boys acted out The Three Billy Goats Gruff.

We learned about the Sami and their reindeer.

Adrian gave an oral report on reindeer. Fritz gave a report on Knute Rockne and Cameron gave one on Roald Amundsen.

We drew Norwegian flags.

We read East o’ the Sun and West o’ the Moon and made handprint bears.

We Tried Hello Fresh

For the second meal kit service, we tried Hello Fresh. We got three two-serving meals and like when we tried Blue Apron, we made them for lunch so there was plenty for those of us at home during the day.

1.) Each meal was packaged in a bag (plus meat separately) making it easy to pull everything out at once for cooking.
2.) The instructions included pictures to make it easy to see what we were doing in that step.
3.) Very convenient.
4.) The taste was good.
5.) Generous portions.
6.) Meals were marked to say whether they were gluten free.

1.) The meals are expensive compared to getting the ingredients on your own.
2.) Some of the vegetables were looking kind of sad.
3.) The instructions put too many directions for different parts of the meal in each step.
4.) For several weeks of menus I looked at, only two regular meals were gluten free. The third was always a “premium” meal meaning it costs an extra $10 ($5 per serving) to select that one.

The box showed up at about 11 on the date I had requested. They said it would arrive between 8am and 8pm.

Inside the top of the box was the recipe cards and some advertising flyers. The next layer down was three bags containing the vegetables and other things needed to make each meal. The bottom layer was the meat in vacuum packed packages sandwiched between ice packs.

The meal kits looked pretty cool packaged the way they were.

We made the first meal, butter-basted rib-eye steak with thyme-infused mashed potatoes and asparagus the day it arrived. The asparagus was in perfect condition. The potatoes were a little weird, though, because one was big and the rest were small. In addition to the Yukon gold potatoes and asparagus, they sent thyme, chives, a lemon, milk, garlic herb butter, and rib-eye steak.

Fritz helped me with this meal. We told Alexa to play upbeat music on the Echo and got to work. Fritz spent quite a while pulling a teaspoon of the leaves off the thyme.

After I got the potatoes on to boil, I prepped the vegetables. I cut the woody ends off the asparagus, chopped up the chives, and cut the lemon into wedges. I started the rib-eye cooking in a pan on the stove. I spread the asparagus on a cookie sheet, drizzled them with olive oil and seasoned them with salt and pepper, and put them in the oven to roast for a few minutes.

The mashed potatoes were amazing. We simmered the leftover sprigs of thyme in milk for several minutes and then added that thyme-infused milk to the potatoes to mash them. The thyme leaves Fritz pulled off were added to the mashed potatoes. That may have been the best part of the meal and we will definitely be making thyme-infused mashed potatoes again.

This meal was delicious. It was a premium meal, though, so we paid an extra $10 for it. I’m not so sure it was quite that delicious.

We made the second meal, Beef Rice Noodle Bowls with carrots, cucumber, and peanut sauce, two days after the box arrived. They sent a Persian cucumber (it was not in the best condition), two peeled cloves of garlic, a lime, shredded carrots, cilantro, green onions, thai seasoning, peanut butter, siracha, white wine vinegar, soy sauce, rice noodles, and stir-fry beef. The soy sauce made me a bit nervous since the meal was labeled gluten free, but most soy sauces are not. We took the risk that their labeling was correct and, thankfully, none of us got sick so it was, in fact, gluten free soy sauce.

Adrian was my helper for this meal. We put songs by Sabrina Carpenter on the Echo and got to work. I prepped the vegetables and meat while he pulled the leaves off the cilantro and did some dancing. I sliced the cucumber and put it in the vinegar with some salt and sugar (the kit did not include the sugar needed to complete the meal). I minced the garlic, chopped the green onions and separated the whites from the greens, and cut up the lime. I added the thai seasoning, some of the garlic, and some sugar to the beef to prep it for cooking.

I boiled the noodles for about 16 minutes (they were different from the ones in the picture and from the directions given on the card – they included a note with how to adjust the instructions) while prepping the vegetables and cooking the meat. Then I made the peanut sauce and saved half and tossed the noodles with the other half. Then the food was all ready to eat.

While the Beef Rice Noodle Bowls were good, they just weren’t that good. The peanut sauce was kind of blah and the thai seasoning on the beef didn’t add much flavor. The carrots were served with it just raw which was odd. We squeezed the lime wedges on them so they weren’t too bad.

We made the third meal, Figgy Balsamic Pork with roasted green beans and rosemary potatoes, on Thursday. The kit included a shallot, Yukon gold potatoes, green beans, chicken stock concentrate, rosemary, pork tenderloin, fig jam, and balsamic vinegar. The green beans were looking kind of iffy by the time we made this meal.

Ani and Adrian did most of the work for this one. Adrian chose to play Sabrina Carpenter’s music on the Echo while they cooked. They finely chopped the rosemary and shallot and cubed the potatoes.

Ani seared the pork tenderloin on the stove before finishing it in the oven along with the green beans and potatoes.

The figgy sauce was surprisingly easy to make and the pork was cooked very nicely. Even though some of the green beans were on the edge of still being good, once they were roasted they were fine for eating.

I’m not a huge fan of pork, but this turned out quite nice. I was pleasantly surprised by the taste of the fig sauce. I’ll likely make the pork and sauce again, but I might use apricot preserves instead of fig next time.

While we enjoyed trying out Hello Fresh, I doubt we would use them again. The main reason is the cost, but also because I preferred Blue Apron. While, Hello Fresh was good, Blue Apron’s instructions, ingredients, and taste were all just better when comparing the two.

Science: Clouds and Precipitation

We spent one week learning about clouds and precipitation using Layers of Learning, year 2 unit 3. It was an extra fun (and a bit chaotic) day of school because Ani joined us for our experiments with the three-year-old she nannies and I was watching another three-year-old for a friend (the little girls got to take cotton ball clouds and coffee filter snowflakes home with them).

We used cotton balls to show how different clouds look and approximately where in the sky they appear.

We made a cloud in a bottle. We partially filled a 2-liter bottle with hot water and placed a bowl of ice on top. When the hot water vapor rose to the top, it collided with cold air from the ice creating a cloud.

We learned about the water cycle.

We made rain. We held a bowl of ice over a pot of boiling water. The steam condensed on the bowl into water which fell back into the pot like rain.

We demonstraed Bernoulli’s Principle by blowing on paper.

We made snowflakes out of coffee filters.

We demonstrated what happens when cold and warm fronts collide. We added a few drops of red food coloring to hot water and dropped in a couple blue-dyed ice cubes. The cold blue water was sucked under the hot red water.

Geography: Arabian Peninsula

We spent one week learning about the Arabian Peninsula using Layers of Learning, year 2 unit 3.

We identified where all the countries are on the Arabian peninsula and made a puzzle out of them.

We learned about the oil boom and watched part of an episode of Dirty Jobs showing what oil workers do.

We demonstrated how oil comes out of the ground by putting water in a cup and topping it with plastic wrap and sand. Then we stabbed a straw through the sand and plastic wrap. When we took the straw back out, we watched the “oil” bubbling up through the hole in the “ground.”

Each boy picked a country and drew their flag, learned what the colors stand for, and shared what they learned with their brothers. Cameron chose Yemen, Fritz picked Oman, and Adrian chose the United Arab Emirates.

We watched a video of Bedouin dancers (impressive!).

We showed how Bahrain could be surrounded by both fresh and salt water at the same time using eggs. We filled one cup with plain water. The egg sank to the bottom. We filled a second cup with salt water. The egg floated. We partially filled the third cup with salt water and then slowly added plain water dyed blue to the cup. The two types of water did not mix and so the egg stayed in the middle on top of the salt water and below the fresh water.

We watched a video about the oldest skyscraper city (in Yemen).

Each boy chose a different animal to learn about and give reports on to his brothers (Cameron oryx, Fritz dab lizard, Adrian sand cat).

We made gluten free naan bread and ate it with hummus.