Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Quick Look at Korean Heritage with a Korean Kite Instructable

We continued our travels around the world this week at American Heritage Girls.  I found an awesome deal at Mardel's this week and was able to pick up these Passports and print off some flags on sticker paper.  The girls now receive a "stamp" in their Passports for each country they visit!  This week's stop: Korea!

Folk Tale: Korea's Creation Myth
A tiger and a bear asked the son of the ruler of heaven if he would make them human.  He agreed, but only if they could endure 100 days in a cave eating nothing but garlic and mugwort.  The steadfast bear endured and became a beautiful woman who gave birth to Tangun, the legendary father of Korea in 2333BC.  But the tiger grew hungry and impatient.  He left he cave early unable to cope with the hunger, and has been prowling about the Korean mountains ever since.

The tiger in this legend is a Korean Tiger, which is also known as a Siberian or Amur Tiger.  They are the largest living cat.  Like you and me, they have a backbone, which makes them vertebrates.  They also give birth to their young, are warm-blooded, and have fur, so they are classified as mammals.  What kind of food was the legendary tiger was so hungry for?  Siberian tigers eat mainly wild boar, elk, and deer.

Korea's Location, Flag, and Climate:

As a result of WWII, Korea was split along a fortified demilitarized zone (DMZ) into North and South Korea.  Color North and South Korea on a map and be sure to draw in the DMZ line.  We are going to focus mainly on South Korea.  

Take a look at their flag, called the Taegukgi.  You will notice it has a white background, which symbolizes homogeneity, integrity, peace-loving, and nature.  In the middle of the flag is the Taeguk, which symbolizes balance.  Surrounding the Taeguk are four Trigams.  
Based on the Trigams, how many seasons do you think Korea has?  They have four seasons, just like we do!  They have a wet and humid summer from June to August and a bitterly cold and dry winter from December to March.  A traditional winter game is kite flying, so what does that tell you about the wind?

ACTIVITY: Paper Dolls in traditional Hanbok.
A traditional women's hanbok has two parts. The top part, called jeogori, is blouse-like with long sleeves stretching down to the high waist.  The bottom skit, called chima, has a high pleated waist.  Commoners traditionaly wore white, while the upper class wore bright colors and accessories such as foot gear, headdresses, and jewelry.  A durumagi was worn over regular clothes for warmth in the winter.  Print out and have fun with these Hanbok Paper Dolls.

CRAFT: Korean Kite
Kite flying, as well as the more competitive kite fighting, is traditionally enjoyed from New Year's Day to Daeboreum, a Korean holiday celebrating the first full moon, when the kite string is cut for it to fly away.  The kites were generally made of bamboo with paper attached.

In center of paper, cut out approximately a 4" circle.  I used a roll of duct tape as my guide.

Lay the paper sail right side (printed or decorated side of your paper) down.  Cut a piece of bamboo approximately 13" and lay across the top of your paper sail so that it extends by 1/2" on each side.  Fold top of sail over the bamboo and glue securely.

Cut a stick the length of the sail, and lay it down the center of the sail.  Secure with tape at the top and bottom.

Cut your diagonal pieces of bamboo so they will extend 1/2" past the top.  Secure with tape at the bottom of the sail.  (We will be securing at the top with string)

Wrap a 30" string around the two sticks at one corner to secure them together.  Repeat another 30" string at the other corner.

Cut a 16" string.  Secure to one corner then stretch the string across to the other corner.  Bow the stick to make it 2" in the center from the string to the horizontal stick.  Tie off and secure the other corner of your kite.  (NOTE: Bamboo skewers are cost effect for large group kite making, but too thick to bow effectively.  You can skip this step or bow your kite the best you can).  

Approximately midway down from the circle to the bottom, along the center of the stick, place a piece of paper tape to reinforce the sail.  Cut a small slit on both sides of the stick.  Flip your sail right side up and thread a 30" string through the slits.  Knot securely.

Cut a fly line and wind onto a hobby stick or toilet paper roll.  Securely and so your strings are even, tie together the three bridle strings and your fly line.  We kept this as a simple knot for ease, but you can research different methods of making adjustable bridles for more advanced kite flying.

Let's go fly a kite!

Taekwondo, a Korean martial art, was developed during the 1940s and 1950s.  Invite an instructor to teach the basics and demonstration some Taekwondo forms, sparring, and/or breaking.

SNACK: Seaweed and Rice

MUSIC and Dance:
We finished with a game of Freeze Dance with Traditional and Pop Korean Music.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Travel Thursday: Queen Wilhelmina State Park

Queen Wilhelmina is a child's paradise and remains one of our favorite Arkansas State Parks.  Not only are there gorgeous scenic views all around, but there are endless activities for the whole family.  

We even had a beautiful view from the RV!  See that big field across from our campsite?  Perfect for playing ball, throwing a frisbee, or numerous other games and sports.  There are even some great trees for climbing!

Spring Trail was closed during our stay, but we were able to hike Lovers Leap and the Reservoir Trail.  

Lovers Leap is a 1.3 mile moderate trail with breathtaking views!  The first time we started behind the lodge, and the second time we hiked it in reverse starting in front of the lodge.  You capture different views depending on which way you hike the trail, but all of the views are magnificent.  

The highlight is the overlook on a high rock bluff.  

Part of the trail has some small boulders to climb and there are a couple of steep climbs.

We carried our 5 month and 2 year old.  Our 3 year old was able to complete the trail (with a lesson in endurance and doing everything without complaining and grumbling).  Our 5 &6 year old had no problems completing the trail.  I would highly recommend this hike for families!  Bring a snack (or picnic lunch) to take a rest and enjoy God's beauty displayed at the overlook!

The Reservoir Trail is a 2/3 mile round trip hike down the hill to a stone reservoir.  There are no spectacular views of the mountain or valley below, but we saw dozens of beautiful butterflies.  

“Creation is the vocal chords of God speaking each day through the colors of the sunrise, the vastness of the night sky,the teeming of life in the ocean, the majesty of the mountains.” 

― Eric Samuel TimmStatic Jedi: The Art of Hearing God Through the Noise

When you are done hiking, take a stop in Mountain Glory Station (open Memorial Day thru Labor Day). Enjoy an ice cream cone or sundae to cool off and then board the miniature train for a scenic ride around the mountain.  

There is also a train engine, which was another big hit with the kids!

Tuckered out?  Sit on one of the rocking chairs at the newly renovated lodge and enjoy the view!

I also recommend that at some point during the stay you check out some of the park programs.  We thoroughly enjoyed Sunset Art in the Park and Nature Art.  

Caldera Chicken Curry

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Quick Look at Vietnam Heritage

This lesson was designed for a one hour American Heritage Girls lesson on Vietnam as part of the World Heritage badge, but I have included some additional activities and recipes you can use to create a day or week long Unit Study on Vietnam.

Vietnam is on the east coast of a peninsula in Asia.  It is 127,243 square miles which is about the size of New Mexico.  Unlike New Mexico, however, Vietnam is a long, skinny country.  It stretches 1,027 miles from north to south and on average about 380 miles east to west, although in some places the land is as narrow as 30 miles!  Off the Southern tip of Vietnam is the Gulf of Thailand.  To the east is the South China Sea.  Off of the northern coast is The Gulf of Tonkin.  

ACTIVITY: On a world map, mark and label the location of Vietnam. 

Two important rivers, the Mekong and Red River, flow through Vietnam.  Their river deltas make up a fourth of the land and yield enormous quantities of rice.    In fact, much of the land is flat with good, rich soil for farming.   The northern part of Vietnam has some mountains.  The tallest peak in Vietnam is called Fen Si Pen at 10,036 feet.  Because of the varying latitudes and topography, the weather in Vietnam is diverse.  South Vietnam is only 8 degrees North of the Equator so it is approximately 80 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit all year, with a rainy season from May to November and and dry season from February to March.  In the winter (November thru March), temperatures over much of Vietnam hover around 60 degrees, but you will find much cooler temperatures in the Northern regions.

A clickable map of Vietnam exhibiting its provinces.

In addition to the two major rivers, Vietnam has more than 1,800 miles of canals and dikes.  What do you think is the main mode of transportation in Vietnam?  

OPTIONAL ACTIVITY: Make and race a Vietnamese Dragon Boat!

Approximately 90 million people live in Vietnam, making it one of the most populated countries.  About 87 percent of the population is ethnic Vietnamese and approximately 50 minority groups live in the remote mountain regions.  Vietnam has a history of invasions and war, which has greatly influenced their culture.  The Chinese occupied the north country for over 1,000 years, shaping Vietnam's pottery, painting, opera, silk weaving, and musical styles.  The official language of Vietnam is Vietnamese which uses Chinese characters.  

ACTIVITY:  Can you say some basic Vietnamese words?
basic vietnamese

Can you introduce yourself in Veitnamese?

China also influenced the Vietnamese folk religion which is structured by the doctrines of Confucianism and Taoism.  There is also a strong tradition of Buddhism.

DISCUSSION:  How do these religions differ from Christianity?

The Vietnam flag has a red background with a 5-pointed golden-yellow.  The five points of the star stand for farmers, workers, intellectuals, soldiers, and youth all united under Communist leadership.  

ACTIVITY: Draw (using a stencil of a 5-pointed star if necessary) a Vietnam flag.  While coloring the flag discuss the difference between Communist leadership and Democratic leadership.  

One of the points on the star represent the youth of the country.  What are some things youth in our country enjoy doing?  Vietnamese children like to tell stories, play games, and have fun just like you do!  

GAME: Rong Ran Len May is a popular game in Vietnam.  The "doctor" reads aloud a folk poem.  The rest of the children stand in a line holding onto the hip of the person in front of them.  The "doctor" then tries to tag one of the children.  He cannot tag the first person in line, so the first person in line should help block the "doctor".  Watch the YouTube video for a demonstration of this game.

The game is best played with a large group and wide open space.  This was something the children really enjoyed.  I read "Food for the Emperor" (a story from Vietnam) out of the book Around the World in 80 Tales by Saviour Pirotta.  You can find other legends and folk lore on Viet-American Foundation.  

In North Vietnam, the folk performing art of Vietnamese traditional theater "Cheo".  Cheo tells tales of  chiefs, heroes, and lovely maidens in a mix of romance, tragedy, and comedy.  The characters are the soul of the play.  Vietnamese masks, painted on bamboo, reflect the emotions of the characters of Cheo.  Vietnamese masks are easily found in Old Quarter, Hanoi city.  

CRAFT:  Cut out a cardboard circle and draw a Vietnamese inspired mask that reflects an emotion.  Alternatively, you may paint the back of a bamboo basket to more accurately reflect the Vietnamese masks.

When you are done with your lesson, celebrate with a traditional Vietnamese recipe.  Here are some you might want to try:

Don't forget to celebrate Treemngay (Children's Day) on June 1st.  It is a day where children in Vietnam are recognized and celebrated with special trips, gifts, and fun to prove they are loved and cherished!

I'd love for you to share your photos with us on Instagram!  Tag #pocketfuloftreasures and follow me @pocketful_of_treasures.  

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Friday, April 15, 2016

Cake Decorating for Kids

When I asked our daughter what American Heritage Girl badge she wanted to work on first she emphatically exclaimed "Cake Decorating, after all I am a Baker and cake is yummy!"  Well I may be a Baker by marriage, but I have zero experience in cake decorating, so we set off learning together.

Step 1: Be Inspired

My brother and sister in-law had just received four foster children and one of them was about to have his 3rd birthday.  The little boy just loved buses, so we thought how awesome would it be if his foster cousin made him a bus cake for his birthday.  So my daughter and I started searching the Internet (thank you fellow bloggers and Pinterest!) for inspiration.  There are some pretty awesome cakes out there, including 3D cakes, but we decided on trying something similar to this awesome cake by What's Cooking on Planet Byn:

Step 2: Gather Supplies

Once we decided on a general theme and design, we headed to the store.  We kept things pretty simple for our first cake.  I'll share some other cakes we made in a bed that we used special decorating tips, but for this first cake we just loaded the icing into a ziploc bag and cup a small hole in the corner of the bag.  We also used a boxed cake mix.  We made our own icing for this first cake to try to avoid some of the preservatives in canned icing, but we did learn on our second cake that icing needs to be just right otherwise it does not work well with some decorating tips (especially the star) so we have used canned icing for our others cakes.  We bought several different kinds of food coloring and gel.  It's nice to have a variety and some extra icing for Step 3!

Step 3: Experiment and Practice

If you have extra supplies, scoop about 1/4 cup of icing into several different bowls.  Experiment with the different food coloring dyes and gels.  We found that it is much easier to make black icing if you start with chocolate icing.  Once you are satisfied with your colors, fill a pastry bag or ziploc bag and practice making straight, curved, zigzagged lines, and writing the alphabet on parchment paper. If you do not have extra icing, you can always practice a bit and then scrape the icing back into your pastry bag.

TIP:  If you put your pastry or plastic bag into a mug and fold the top of it down over the mug, it will be much easier to spoon your icing into the bag.

*How do different color icing's taste?  Some coloring may make your icing taste bitter.  We were very pleased with the taste and texture of the Wilton food coloring gel.

*How does changing the degree that you hold the pastry bag affect your design?  When making writing and lines it is best to hold the bag at approximately 45 degree angle to the right.  When making stars or dots you want to hold the pastry bag at a 90 degree angle (or perpendicular) to the cake.  Holding it straight up and down when making lines or too far off of the cake was a common mistake she made in the beginning.

*What happens if you smooth the icing out with a finger wet with warm water?  This was a really fun technique she used on her Darth Vader cake!  

Step 4: Bake!

Bake your cake according to the directions on the box, or follow the recipe if baking by scratch.  If you are looking for a gluten free cake mix, I can say that the Pillsbury Confetti Cake Mix is very good!  Be sure to allow your cake to cool completely before icing.  This can take several hours, so plan accordingly.  Be creative and open to using other food items to decorate with.  

Step 5: Start decorating!

PATIENCE, PATIENCE, PATIENCE!!!!  Remember, it is not a race to see how fast you can decorate the cake.  It took us several hours to do our first cake.  I used an index card and toothpick to mark in the icing some of the straight lines to make it easier to follow.  Since we had some extra icing we decided it would also be fun to decorate the aluminum foil.  We used mini chocolate chips to be the gravel road. Our daughter came up with the idea of using a Hershey kiss for the light on the bus.  We could not find small enough gluten free donuts, so we used some of the cake we had cut away to make the hood of the bus to make the wheels. Have fun and use your imagination!  And remember, it's ok to make mistakes.  Some mistakes are easily fixed; others lead for opportunities to be a bit creative. 

Step 6:  Clean up!

We finished the cake and I breathed a huge sigh of relief that our littles ones managed to play so well while I helped our daughter with her project.  BUT I let my guard down for just a minute to go to the bathroom before cleaning up. I won't be making that mistake again!!!

Step 7:  Eat and enjoy the fruit of your labors!!!

Of course, cake is always best shared with friends and family, so if you do not have a reason to celebrate, find one!

Step 8:  Review and Repeat!

What lessons were learned?  What would you like to try next?  My sister-in-law held a cupcake decorating workshop on Easter for her nieces.  My daughter really enjoyed using the star tip and wanted to try to decorate a cake using it.  We attempting to make a flag cake using the star tip, but our icing was too runny.  

So, we tried again using canned icing and had much better results!


Next project:  Make a Darth Vader cake for our son Luke's 1st birthday (my husband is always saying, "Luke, I am your Father", so we thought it would be a fun theme!). 

Luke sure enjoyed it!!!

Our daughter is already looking at ideas for making a train cake for her other brother.  

Follow us on Instagram @pocketful_of_treasures and tag us if you make a cake! We'd love to see your child's creations. Check out the Homeschool Tab and American Heritage Tab for more fun learning ideas.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Native American Unit Study and American Heritage Girls Badge

We have been studying early American history, including Native Americans.  We have really enjoyed learning about these incredible people, their culture, and their respect for the natural world.  I hope you will enjoy learning too!

Just for fun, we did most of our studying and learning in a teepee tent!  It was something different and fun that the children really enjoyed!  We also started the unit by drawing a picture of a Native American in our journals.

Let's take a look at the lives of some Indians that played an important role in history:

*Sacagawea - With just a two month old baby on her back, this Shoshone Indian accompanied the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery expedition in 1805-06.  Read more on History and in the American Heritage Girls handbook. 

*Tecumseh - An American folk hero and mighty warrior fought with pro-British forces in the War of 1812.  Read more on History.

*Pocahontas - Daughter of Powhatan, this Native American is most notable for her association with the colonial settlement of Jamestown.  Pocohontas was captured by the English, converted to Christianity, renamed Rebecca, and married John Rolfe.  Read more from the National Park Service.  Learn more about Powhatan and his people on this Powhatan Indian Fact Sheet.

*Squanto - Friended the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock and helped them to survive.  Learn more from Mayflower History.  We also enjoyed reading about Squanto in our homeschool history book Stories of the Pilgrims by Christian Liberty Press.

We write with letters, but the Native Americans used symbols and pictographs to tell their stories.  Using Native American Pictograph Stories write a letter to a friend or family member.  See if they are able to decipher it.  Have some fun and write some creative stories using pictographs in the dirt with a stick.  

There were many Native American tribes located across the United States.  On a blank map of the United States mark the regions where the Cherokee, Iroquois, Navajo, Tlingit, Sioux, Inuit, and Pomo tribes lived.  
Use the link on this map for reference:
How were the Woodland tribes different from the Plains Tribes?  Make a teepee or a wigwam.

What are some uses for clay bowls?  We attended a Native American Pottery workshop at Toltec Mounds State Park but you can also use this Native American Ceramics Lesson to learn more.  Make a pinch pot, coil pot, or effigy pot (designed to look like something or someone).  Learn more about the different Native American pottery and designs.

Through the art of weaving the Indians could make baskets, blankets, carpets, and more.  Weave a paper "blanket".  

What foods were eaten by the Native Americans local to your area?  The Plum Bayou people are native to Central Arkansas and in addition to hunting and fishing they gathered greens, squash, gourds, nuts, and berries.  Create a platter with several native foods to try for snack time or lunch.  If you are feeling adventurous, try fishing, hunting, or foraging for your lunch!

If you are in the Arkansas area, I highly recommend a trip to Toltec Mounds State Park.  You can print off a Children's Guide and take a stroll along Knapp Trail.  Use your imagination as you learn about the Plum Bayou people.  The State Park also hosts several workshops and events that are fun and educational.  

For additional Field Trip ideas, check out our post on Window Rock and Hubbell Trading Post as well as Canyon de Chelly.

Follow all of our homeschool adventures on Instagram @pocketful_of_treasures.