Sunday, June 21, 2015

Weekly Wrapup 6/21

We had a lot of fun this week doing various things in preparation for our big cross country trip to Disney World.

First, the kids are relieved that we have taken a bit of a break from our normal studies (until we return) and have instead focused more on the countries that are represented in the World Showcase at Epcot.  Epcot is one of those parts of the park most people find boring - the World Showcase doesn't have any rides (there use to be one in Norway but it is now being dismantled for the upcoming Frozen ride that will open sometime next year).  Because Epcot is more of an Educational experience and not like the other 3 parks, many people, especially those with smaller kids, find it to be their least favorite park. My husband and I , however, find Epcot to be probably our favorite park out of the 4 and have already planned 3 days there during our 8 day trip.  However, we also wanted the kids to enjoy it and understand it as well, so we had an International week this week featuring foods and studies from 7 of the 11 countries at Epcot. We figured if the kids were familiar with each country and it's culture they would be more excited to explore these places in the World Showcase, interact with the people from those countries at the various shops and restaurants and be somewhat familiar with regional cuisine as well.

The entire family was involved in this trip around the world as we all learned together.  Each day we would eat a lunch from our country of the day, then I would hook up my computer to the television and together we would fly through the various Amanda Bennett unit studies that I had for that country.  (These units are meant to be used over the course of a week, which we did in about 2 hours.. lol).. Then we would work together to make an authentic dinner from the same country.   Some of these countries were reviews for Garrett and Ashleigh, who had already done the unit studies, but others were new for them. Charles, Alyssa and myself also learned much that we did not know about each country.

On Monday we studied the United Kingdom. This was somewhat a review for Ash and Garrett and they remembered much of what we studied earlier in our school year.  For our lunch I made Scotch Eggs and small cucumber sandwiches. Scotch eggs are always a hit in our house; everyone loves them but I do not make them often so they are always a treat when I do.  If your unfamiliar with this treat, it's basically a hard boiled egg wrapped in breakfast sausage and then coated with bread crumbs. Then its pan fried until the sausage is cooked. It's very rich and savory and worked well with the lighter bit sized sandwiches. For  the sandwiches I just took two sliced of bread, put a small amount of Philly Onion and Chives cream cheese spread and sliced of cucumbers, cut off the crust and cut it into four individual bite sized sandwiches.  We then sat down and talked about the four countries that make up the United Kingdom, looked at each of their flags, did a virtual tour of Big Ben and Westminster Abby, discussed the Queen and her family and looked at some of the various animals that are native to the UK.

For our dinner we made Bangers and Mash hand pies.  While Bangers and Mash are not typically served as a hand pie, I knew that Ashleigh, my picky eater, would not be too thrilled with the dish if served as is. However, for some reason, if you put it in hot pocket form, she will eat just about anything. Sure enough, these proved to be a hit with the kids and Ashleigh even asked for an extra pie.  The recipe can be found here at the Betty Crocker website.

For Tuesday we visited Germany.  This time we had Kraut Bierok (German Cabbage pockets) for lunch. (Again, hot pockets are always a good thing lol).. This is basically seasoned ground beef, onion and cabbage stuffed inside a biscuit and baked.  We did find out that this wasn't really an authentic German dish but was more of a Polish food brought to Germany with the Polish Immigrants who relocated there.  This proved to be another hit with the kids.  While "visiting" Germany we discussed Berlin and the Brandenburg Gate, Reichstag, Hamburg, Frankfurt, and talked about Johannes Gutenberg.  For dinner I made a traditional German dinner of beef rouladen with potato dumplings and red cabbage.  The rouladen and dumplings were a success but the kids did not like the red cabbage and my husband found it to be too sweet for his liking.

Wednesday was France.. We started the day with a nice lunch of Croque Monsieur which is a really sooped up ham and cheese sandwich.. I had never made a bachamel sauce before and I was really shocked I didn't screw this up.. LOL  This was a HUGE hit with everyone.. Our discussions today took us to Paris and the Eiffel Tower, The Statue of Liberty and it's history before coming to America, the Montgolfier brothers and the first hot air balloon, Lyon Cathedral and the Louve museum.  Dinner consisted of Chicken Cordon Bleu with roasted green beans and a caesar salad.  Another hit with the family.. Mom's on a roll :)

Thursday was Canada day.  This was another review for the two little ones because we had studied
Poutine: Proof God loves Canada
Canada earlier in the year..  My oldest and I had spent much time in Western Canada in Alberta when we visited friends in Edmonton and have visited Toronto in Ontario many times as well, so we were very familiar with Canada.  To start the day off we had Poutine for lunch.  Poutine is one of the most amazing foods every created and it is so very simple.  All it is is french fries smothered in beef gravy and with cheese curds melted on top. Unfortunately we do not have access to cheese curds so we had to substitute really high quality mozzarella cheese instead but it was just as wonderful as I remembered..  For our studies we talked about animals such as beavers and moose, the Canadian Flag, Maple trees and making Maple Syrup (I plan on buying them some Maple syrup candy while we are at Epcot), Hockey, Niagara Falls and the Hoodoos of Drumheller.  Dinner was suppose to be Canadian Cheddar Cheese soup but we had to drive to the Department of Motor Vehicles to get the registration on my car taken care of, get myself a new drivers license and...........

We had to allow my daughter to take her written test to allow her to get her learners permit to start driving.. She did really well and passed her test on her first try and so now she has permit in hand.. So LOOK OUT CALIFORNIA!!!

The Beautiful Wall Unit still at my friends house
Friday was suppose to be Morocco day but we found out that we were acquiring a brand new entertainment center from a friend who is moving. One of the terrible things about military life is that you make friends and then they leave and unfortunately, one of our closer friends is heading to the East Coast. While we are very happy for them, it's heartbreaking to see them go. Unfortunately, they tried without any success to sell the entertainment center and they did not have room on their moving truck for it so we're taking it.  It's an absolutely beautiful piece of furniture that they purchased in Turkey but it is  very large and will take up the entire wall.  Because of this, we spent Friday shampooing our carpets and moving our current furniture to other parts of the house to accommodate it.  We also bought their couches and a rolltop desk from them so once all the furniture gets moved in today, we're basically going to have a completely new living room..

The awesome news with all this cleaning and moving is that I got to claim the dining area as my school area. So now, I have everything together and organized in one area rather than having to search through three different bookshelves or my bedroom.. I'm VERY excited about this.

Finally, we've been busy packing and getting ready for our big trip. Unfortunately, it looks like it's going to be a somewhat soggy trip, as we've been keeping track of the weather and its extremely hot but rainy.  As we having been in humidity of any kind in 4 years, I have a feeling we will take a few days to acclimate to it and will probably be rather wilted for the first half of the trip.. LOL We've planned accordingly by running to walmart and buying ponchos, sunscreen, and flip flops so that even if we get rained on, we can still have fun.  Florida is notorious for afternoon thunderstorms so we expected those however, it looks as if we will be contending with rainy weather for all of our trip, or at least as much of it as we can see currently in the forecast.

The kids have been routinely tearing a link off of our countdown chain every morning when they wake up. They are great about taking turns doing it every morning, Garrett gets to tear off the orange links while Ashleigh gets to tear the yellow ones.  They know the black link means it's time to pack up the car because the following day we are leaving!!!   Our chain as shrunk considerably since we made it.

What is is.. and what it was when we started

We probably will not have a weekly wrapup next week as we will be on the road heading to Florida but we will be blogging once we get and hopefully we will have a really great Weekly Wrap up for everyone in 2 weeks :) 

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