Saturday, November 18, 2006

A Christmas Tradition

Every year after Thanksgiving, my kids are excited about preparing their gift for Jesus. Christmas is the time when we celebrate our Savior’s birth. We want to give Him gifts.  First, each kid picks a  wrapper for his or her own box. After the (empty) boxes are wrapped, I cut a slit (about 2-3 inches long) on top of each box. Then the fun begins. The kids are all trying to please Jesus by being kind, helpful, thoughtful, encouraging, generous, humble, polite, self-controlled, patient, etc. Each time my husband or I catches one of the kids doing what pleases Jesus, we write down what he/she did on a little piece of paper and then put it in his/her box. On Christmas Day, after my husband reads the Christmas story from the Bible, we pray and then the kids give Jesus their gifts. Each one opens up his/her box and we take turns reading each piece of paper. They all beam with the biggest smiles as they realize that Jesus has been honored and pleased by what they have done. They would like to do this tradition all year round but it would take manyyyyyyy days to read all the pieces of paper. Well…even without the boxes, they do try to please Jesus everyday anyhow (sometimes they fail but the desire is there)!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Geography Fair

Last Wednesday, our homeschool group held a geography fair.  My kids and I did "Sweden."  My husband’s ancestors came from Sweden; therefore, we have a special interest in learning more about his heritage.  I personally love geography; I love to learn about different cultures, people, land, nature, places, historical aspects, arts & crafts, etc.  I had so much fun helping my kids research about Sweden.  We read several books about Sweden, watched videos about Sweden, searched the internet about Sweden, and baked Swedish butter cookies.  I also made a Dala horse (symbol of Sweden) out of felt, yarn, and laces.  My daughter liked it so much that she asked me to give it to her for a Christmas present :) .

Have you ever heard of the Ice Hotel in Jukkasjarvi, Sweden?  Every winter they build a new hotel using ice from the Torne River.  Every summer the hotel melts away.  It is open for only 4 months from December to March.  Everything there… ( the walls, floors, beds, furnitures, etc.) is made of ice.  Isn’t that so cool (or cold rather)?  My kids got curious about ice toilets; they wondered if a person’s bottom could get stuck to the toilet seat when he/she tries to get up (just like you can get your tongue stuck on a very cold popsicle!).  In any case, ice toilet seats just cannot be that comfortable :)

We learned about the Vikings.  My 5 yo son colored a Viking boy and his outfit.  So cute :) .  We even watched Veggie Tales’ Lyle the Kindly Viking for an extra bonus :) .

In addition, we learned about some famous Swedes such as Alfred Nobel (the guy who invented dynamite and didn’t want to be remembered as someone who invented things that blew up and killed people so he established the "Nobel Prize"), Carolus Linnaeus (Father of Botany who came up with a classification system for plants and animals using genus name followed by species name), Anders Celsius (the scientist who invented the Celsius thermometer), and Astrid Lingren (the author of Pippi Longstocking).

Did you know Volvo and Saab are made in Sweden?  Do you remember that song sung by Templeton the Rat in Charlotte’s Web?  Smorgasbord… smorgasbord…smorgasbord!  Sweden started it :) .  They sure know how to feast :) .