Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Knights & Dragons Week! H Fam Summer Camp Week 4

Our Fourth week brings us to Knights, Castles, and Dragons!

This week I honestly didn't do as much as normal. Once again the dog had to go back to the vet. Only for post surgery check up, hopefully we're done for the year now! Then we tried to get in pool time on days that were warm enough. A couple other days I decided to unpack the last two boxes of garage stuff (yes we moved two years ago) and the boys just played outside for hours. I also could of sworn I took more pictures than I apparently did!?

Our medieval table décor... I got more of a positive response to this one than last week's much anticipated space table décor. It was fun throwing it together! It's a mix of fall & Christmas décor with a scarf of mine on the chandelier, haha! Our first morning we had some porridge (oatmeal) to try to be a little authentic, even if it was a stretch!

We did do our normal trip to the library to get lots of books on medieval life, knights, castles, and some fun fiction books with dragons as their main character.

Many of the books showed pictures of the churches that were built during this time and the beautiful stain glass windows. So we did a little "stained glass" activity of our own. This one was harder for them because you don't paint it, you actually just use your brush to drop the paint instead. I'd bought this kit a long time ago when I found it on sale at some craft store for like $2 or something.

Then once I unpacked the last two garage boxes, I was able to cut the boxes up to make shield and armor. We never did get around to the armor though!

The shields turned out so neat. Cut out the shield shape with a box cutter, put on a bit of glue, then covered with foil. Wrapped the edges of foil to the back and duct taped down. I just ducted taped some wide wired ribbon to the back for arm straps/handles.



For the weekend we went to Medieval Times located near Baltimore, MD which is about an hour or so away. When we first got there, I'll admit, I thought maybe we made a mistake. It was a zoo! Once seated it was so much fun. Jake declared it the best dinner ever!

The different colored sections

We were for the yellow knight! (yellow was our section)

Show started with a legend about a knight & his horse

A nice grainy selfie of us in the dark

The rest of our house

Our Knight of Yellow

A Falconer

If you've never been to a Medieval Times, I recommend going once. How often do you get to eat a meal with your hands (tomato soup, bread, half a chicken, potato, a spare rib and an apple strudel for dessert!). It was fun to cheer for our knight, and watch the tournament events! There was also a bad knight that came to fight the champion knight... he looked a lot like Jon Snow (HBO's Game of Thrones anyone? We love it! I'm currently on the third book). They had the whole thing very well orchestrated and put on a good show! It certainly brought to life all the stuff we'd been learning during the week.

Also, throughout the week each morning there was a rolled up scroll of paper outlining the quests, deeds (like escourt the queen on her journeys, take the canine to see the castle healer), etc... that they need to complete to gain knighthood. I completely forgot come Friday... oops!

"Fairy tales are more than true:
not because they tell us that dragons exist,
but because they tell use that dragons can be beaten"
 ~ G.K. Chesterton

Monday, August 4, 2014

Space Week! H Family Summer Camp Week 3

This week was highly anticipated. Evan requested Space Week way back in the winter when he started to become fascinated about all things space!

I've always tried to do a fun little table set-up to go with each theme on our dining room table. The night before Space Week started, BOTH big boys told me that they were so excited to see the table in the morning. Ummmm, they've never said a word about it before. Talk about pressure!

I don't ever plan it out, I just wing it the night before. I hit a complete brick wall once they expressed such anticipation. Finally I was able to throw a black tablecloth, cut out a white circle for the moon, some stars leftover from 4th of July bike decorations. Along with some random circles punches that were left in the hole puncher (lol!) then topped off with some glitter! The end of the table I just used the books we got from the library for decorations and on the china cabinet I put up two posters that were in the back of one of Evan's space books. I topped it off with printing out and hanging a space shuttle and astronaut from the chandelier. Oh and I just snagged some stuff from the garage that looked silver or techie, and a strand of Christmas lights!

Unfortunately they were pretty let down. I don't know what in the heck they were expecting... but oh well, guess I'm just helping to teach them disappointment. ha. Greg was also gone this week, so I knew it was going to be a long week and needed to keep them on their toes!

We had lots of fun looking through all the space books we checked out at the library. I learned a lot myself! Space truly is fascinating! Here are some other things we did throughout the week:

Watched the Delta IV launch live online. That was NOT planned, it was just lucky hit!

Went to the Rock Creek Park Planetarium in D.C. It was quite a drive to get there as always, but still worth it. It's a free show that shows for little kids every Wednesday at 4pm. I've read reviews that call it cheesey... but umm, it's for kids... they loved it! We saw the sun set & the moon rise, went to our moon and then blasted off to Jupiter's moon of Europa! Cool stuff! When the park ranger asked how many moons Jupiter had... Evan enthusiastically yelled out 67 and also knew the Milky Way Galaxy when he asked the group! I'm telling you, he LOVES space!

Then since that was prime rush hour traffic, I packed a craft to do and a picnic dinner.

The Earth orbits the Sun, the Moon orbits Earth
Worked out pretty well until I realized the nature center closed at 5pm and it was 6pm and we needed a bathroom. So I checked out the map of the park and there was a restroom that I could stop at and be heading the direction we needed to go! Crisis averted!

We made some moon-dough (just baby oil & flour) and experimented with various sized rocks (like meteors) hitting "the moon".

Pack it sort of flat first

Please excuse the hay, it was our lame attempt at cheaply growing some more grass

Collect rocks to be the meteors!

Watch out!

The surface of our Moon

Usually, I challenge myself to do these themes and not spend any money. This time I did spend $15 on some astronaut food (the mint chocolate chip ice cream was the best!) and $15 on a model solar system. The planetarium was free though! We spent a good part of one day working on our solar system mobile. Then hung that from our chandelier as well... neighbors probably think we're the goofiest family when they walk by the dining room window!

Space Food!

Jake painted the Inner Planets

Evan did the gas giants and the sun

Luke did some watercolor painting

Also learning a little bit about the moon phases (shut in the bathroom with lights off with a flashlight and some balls, they thought I'd lost it!) and did a fun treat by using Oreos!

One day we had a head injury that basically threw that day for a loop. Evan fell in the garage and hit his head on his bike. It was the biggest goose egg I've ever seen! I won't share that picture, it was insane looking! The ice started to help the swelling and all seemed pretty well. I wasn't going to bother with going to the doctor. Then I checked his eyes and the one under the goose egg was dilating much slower. So of course I call the office and they say I have to bring him in... he was totally and completely fine by the time we got there and waited to be seen. Sheesh. That morning was filled with a few Magic School Bus space episodes off Netflix! I really like that show & books!

The week went so well they were able to use their new found knowledge to push each others buttons. As in Jake telling Evan that Jupiter isn't a gas giant and it's made out of rock. That right there reduced Evan to tears... "No it's not! It's a gas giant, made mostly of gas!"... oh boy.

But you read it here first... Evan says he's going to be the first person to go to Mars! I adore his dreams and believe if he decides to do it... it probably is going to happen!

"That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind"
~ Neil Armstrong July 20, 1969

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Pirates! H Fam Summer Camp Week 2

Once we were home from our family vacation to the Outer Banks, it was evident they needed something to keep their attention. They were borderline going nuts! Or maybe that was just me?

I saw that our county was having their first "Pirate Fest" the following weekend. My mom had recently sent a huge box of goodies with various handmade pirate costumes for each boy. Plus we had tons of stuff leftover from when they were Jake & Cubby from the Disney Neverland Pirates and their combined birthday party from a few years ago.

So Pirate Week it became!

I decorated the dining room table with our theme like I did last year! A sail at the end of the table, twine from the chandelier, a centerpiece with a plastic skulls tray with candles, moss, shells, and twine bag. Eye patches at their seats.

Yah the sail looks more like a tent. They were thrilled, so whatever ;)
Pajama Pirates! Well two, the other had a crocodile shirt on :)
First stop was to go to the library on Monday like we usually do. Trying to teach the oldest how to use the call numbers to find the books. For Evan he just had to find the aisle that the number would be in. Luke just needed to stay with us and not have a fit. Everyone had their job!

I will admit that doing this right after we got back from vacation, some things were quite a stretch. I did create a spelling list of sorts for Jake. I had him type them up on the computer and printed out two. One for Jake to work on learning the spellings of 10 different pirate related words (gold, treasure, cannons, etc...) and one for Evan to learn by sight and work on sounding them out to read.

We also read about the Jolly Roger... the flag the pirates put up when they were going into battle and they'd show no mercy! Looked at all the various flags used by pirates and each boy came up with their own to put on the back of their chair the rest of the week. I luckily had exactly three pieces of black construction paper left (whew!). The oldest wanted to use white crayon, and the younger two used white paint! They were very proud of their flags!

Luke's looks like a mug shot, lol

One morning for fun and since they love "Eggs-in-a-Frame" for breakfast, I put a spin on them calling them the North Star. Making these are pretty labor intensive, so I don't often make them, so it was a treat for them!

I had some plans to check out a pirate themed playground near DC and to take them to a pirate themed waterpark that's about 45 minutes south of us.  However, during this week we had the dog in for her teeth cleaning. I had to stay home in case they called and had issues. She ended up needing 6 teeth pulled, the poor doggy! I wanted to stay close to home the next day too, to make sure she was recovering okay. Which she totally did. That took up a lot of time this week. Not to mention that put a huge dent in the wallet, yikes! We did make some coconut macaroons as well, they were on sale at the grocery store. They were yummy when fresh out of the oven, but once cooled talk about some dense cookies.

The crowning glory of the week was going to the Pirate Fest on Saturday! I couldn't do the full awesome outfits that my mom made because it was going to be a very hot day. So I pieced outfits together from their clothes (white tees and seersucker shorts), the past Halloween costumes (I even did some extra "fringing"), and the stuff my mom made. First thing Luke did was rip part of his vest from the shirt... but hey pirates are a disheveled sort, so it worked ;)

We got compliments on their outfits!
We got there at 10am when it started and it was already really hot and lots of lines. We did get to see lots of stuff that would of been used on the ship for cleaning, cooking, eating, maintenance, fighting, etc... during the time of pirates. Some volunteers had great costumes. They got temporary tattoos and did a bunch of bounce house/obstacle course type stuff. They were given a "bag of gold" with our admission to "pay" for their activities.

As the day went on, various parts of the costumes were shed and my pirates were getting hot and surly with no ocean in sight! Argh! So we treated them to expensive lemonades and we all split a funnel cake in a sliver of shade we found at the edge of the field. You can't go to a festival and not have some carnie food!

We had a change of clothes in the car and found an air conditioned place to eat lunch before we headed home. Evan even told me "When you first said we were going to Pirate Fest, I thought it'd be boring. But it wasn't! I had fun!". Thanks kid. So I guess it wasn't too bad afterall for a bunch of unruly pirates!

For comparison sake... look at Jake (4) and Evan (2) in the costumes in 2011. You can see part of Evan's cubby costume reused for Luke. Jake's shirt was reused on Evan. Guess time does flies... looooong days and weeks but quick years!