Monday, June 25, 2012

Japan Week!

Japan Week was so much fun!  There are so many interesting cultural activities having to do with Japan.  Kids Web Japan is a super site that has innumerable activities, videos and facts.  Since there was some rain this week, we did quite a few crafting activities.  We made some paper lanterns out of origami paper. They came out lovely, and now adorn our window in the living room. 

Eva got some books from Oma Nana (or Tschomana, as Eva has always called her) that were perfect for this week.  We used the atlas to locate Japan and Eva learned that Japan is a series of mountainous islands.  Another great book, Kinder dieser Welt, has an entire page devoted to how kids in Japan live.  Menschen is another book that explores differences and similarities between many different cultures.  She also gave Eva an Origami book which we used to make some frogs and a hen with chicks.  There are so many other cool animals to make, but most are too complicated for Eva to do at this point.  For stories, we read from two books Eva already has:  The Dream Eater and Folk Tales. 

Another nice craft we did was Japanese wood block painting using a Styrofoam tray.  The tutorial is here.  We also made a beautiful carp kite for Father's day, which Daniel will proudly hang at his window at work. 

Eva worked on a Japanese lapbook, where she learned about the Japanese alphabet, animals from Japan, Kimonos, bento boxes and so on.

We made some delicious sushi with carrots and cucumbers.  Eva loved rolling them up as well as eating them!  We also sampled some seaweed salad.  Eva used her chimpsticks, which are a great set of chopsticks for little hands. 

We have an update from last week's activity day!  When Eva did all of those activities (rock climbing, vespa riding, bull riding, etc...  she was entered in a raffle to win one of 5 prizes.  We got a gift certificate for a day at a relaxation spa for the whole family!  Yippee!  We had a great time the last time we went to a thermal spa all together, so I am sure good times will be had by all.

Here is Eva working on her fish craft.  I cut out the scales, and she carefully arranged them on the colored paper to make a fish. 

Here is the completed koi fish kite, ready to go to work with Papa.

Here are all of the books I mentioned.  The Kinder-Weltatlas, Menschen, Kinder dieser Welt and Folk Tales are all great resources, because they can be used to learn about places all around the world.

Our home-made sushi!  We made some inside out rolls as well as traditional rolls.

Here are the origami animals we made: Hens with chicks, and 2 frogs.

The results of our block painting.  On the left are Eva's crocodiles, and on the right, my flowers.  We are planning to cut the pictures out and paste them to cardstock to make cards.

Our paper lanterns.

This is an excerpt from the book, "Kinder dieser Welt".   Here you can see the Japan page.  Kids can lift the flaps to learn more about each item.  What fun!

This is a puzzle map I found for only 2 Francs at a second hand store, still in original wrapping!
Here is our little princess, not so thrilled about her bandana.  This is a bit of a Bruce Springsteen look with the denim. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Human Body Week

Hello again!  This week we had lots of fun learning about the human body.  We first read the book "The Magic School Bus"  which takes a trip through the human body.  The kids in the book did an experiment where they observed their cheek cells under the microscope, so we did the same thing.  Here are some simple instructions to do this at home.  Eva rubbed the inside of her cheek with a Q-tip and then put it on a glass slide with some water and iodine to stain the cells.  We used my microscope to observe the cells.  Sadly, I don't have a camera on my microscope, so I can't share how they look with you!  I may buy Eva one of those kids microscopes with USB hookup and camera so she can take photos like that.  She will have to wait for her birthday though!  After observing the cells under the microscope, we talked about the functions of different types of specialized cells, and watched some youtube videos about cells.  After that, we made a model of a cell out of items we had around the house.  Can you figure out what each component is?  Eva also made a life-size drawing of a human body by laying on a piece of paper and letting me trace her.  She then drew in the various body parts.  When we got to the heart, we discussed how it pumps our blood all throughout the body, and listened to our own hearts with a stethoscope. We made a mini book that compared Eva's measurements now to those at birth, as well as to Emma's measurements.

An important part of this week was learning how to keep our bodies healthy.  We chewed on plaque tablets you can buy at the Apotheke, to see where plaque builds up on our teeth.  Now we know where to be extra careful about brushing!  This led to a discussion about bacteria and germs in general.  We did some experiments growing bacteria from our bodies and house (see photos below).  We also made some cool germ paintings.

A cool kit that you can buy if you are interested in learning about the body is "Der Kleine Medicus".  We only got to a few experiments, but we had fun building a skeleton model and making a model of teeth.  There are all sorts of cool things in there, like models of different types of joints,a lightbox with radiographs, and learning about the pleural cavity.  What fun! 

looking at some cheek cells
Here are our blood agar plates before we inoculated them with: unwashed hands, washed hands, a scraping from Eva's mouth, and the keyboard from the computer I use to write this blog :)

Here are our plates days later.  Each colony started as one bacterium that kept dividing.  From left to right are unwashed hands, washed hands, mouth and keyboard.  You can see a clear zone around some colonies in the mouth and unwashed hands group, which indicates hemolysis.  The washed hands were not as clean as we had hypothesized.  Yikes!  Do you like our light table we made out of an ipad?
This is just a cute photo Eva took of Emma.  I am always surprised by random photos Eva takes!

Here is Eva using a straw to blow paint around.  We added googly eyes to the crazy shapes to make germs!

Eva reading about the heart while listening to her own heart beat!

A model of teeth and gums that we built!
Here are the plaque tablets we chewed....

Oops, looks like there is some plaque in between the teeth!  This is why flossing is important!

Here is the fun kit we used this week. 
These are the books we used this week.  The Forscherbuch had lots of great experiments for kids to do.

Here is an experiment where we observed how gas builds up in the stomach, making us burp!  Always say "excuse me"!

It is always important to get lots of rest!

Here is our model of the cell.  Can you identify the parts? 
 We always try to lead by example for our kids that staying active is an important part of taking care of our bodies!  Daniel happened to have a bike race that week, so it was a perfect fit to this week!  There was also a kids activity day at the site of the race, so we had lots to do while cheering Papa on.  The only activity I didn't get a photo of was the mechanical bull riding, because she fell off so fast and decided not to try it again!  I was proud of all the things she did: rock climbing, segway driving and Luge racing :)  Eva was the littlest kid trying all of the activities. 

Here is Eva on the carousel.  She chose the bike for her first round!  She rode on this multiple times because all of the activities were FREE! 

Playing in the bouncy house.  Plop!

Papa telling Eva he will be back soon!  And he's off!

Getting in her harness to climb the rock wall.  She was disappointed that they didn't let her climb up the whole thing!  Video is below

This activity made me laugh so hard: Segway driving.

There was also free face painting.  All the girls ahead of us wanted princess makeup. Eva decided on a night sky, with a moon and bats.  Plus, she wanted her lips black!  The lady asked me if it was ok, and I said of course, not like it's a tattoo :)  She definitely got some second glances once her face was painted!

Here is my spooky critter.  Apparently, the boy behind her in line thought it looked cool, because we later saw him running around with the same thing!

Rock wall climbing
Luge racing
Segway adventure
This is just a cute video of Emma playing with a balloon.  I only recommend this if you are watching the baby very closely since the thread poses a strangulation challenge!  Notice Eva is totally zoned out watching TV!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Emma's Baptism and Netherlands Week

This has been our busiest week yet!  Emma was being baptized, so we had out of town guests.  My Aunt Carla and Uncle Robert from Holland (Emma's new Godparents!) and Tschomana (Emma and Eva's grandmother from Germany) all came to visit.  We decided this would be a good week to do "The Netherlands Week".  Of course, we were busy with lots of other stuff, but we still got to do some learning about that special country. 
Auntie Carla and Uncle Robert brought this cool book so that Eva could learn some useful Dutch Words!  Uncle Robert read it to her the first night he was here, and somehow he got roped in to reading many more stories as well!

These are biscuits with pink and white Muisjes that Carla and Robert served at the Baptism "Apero".  They are traditionally served at baptisms in Holland, pink for girls and blue for boys!  I feel bad that I don't have other photos of all the wonderful food Carla and Robert prepared for us, because we were busy entertaining!

Here is a windmill that Eva made with the whole family.  The little tulip stickers were a present from Carla and Robert and fit to the theme perfectly!

Here are Eva and Robert making traditional Dutch Appelflappen.  They were delicious!
The completed Appelflappen

Here is Uncle Robert with a delicious Dutch meal: Hutspot with sausage, red cabbage and appelflappen.  

The bapstism went very nicely, and we had many guests come to celebrate with us.  We were so glad that Emma and Eva behaved so nicely.  Eva was very pleased because she got to bring her own baptism candle to be lit during the ceremony.  Speaking of baptism candles, Carla and Robert made a lovely one for Emma.  Daniel wanted to bring his, but sadly it burned down to the end during our wedding!
Emma and Eva's candles side by side.
 And now some baptism photos featuring the top of Emma's head!

Godparents Carla and Robert
With the one and only Tschomana
Here is our church, isn't it pretty?
 As always when we have guests, some touristy attractions were visited, and we learned even more about the country we live in.  In the photo below, we are touring the Cardinal Brewery Museum in Fribourg.  The great grandson of the founder of the brewery gave us an excellent impromptu tour!  Swiss people rock!
After all of that nice man's kindness, Robert still tried to steal a keg.  Tsk tsk.

We also visited the beautiful  St.Petersinsel, for a fine day of walking, a nice restaurant visit and more walking since we missed the last boat home.  Daniel and Robert biked there from home, with loads of technical problems such as 3 flat tires.  Hurrah!
Here is Eva on St. Petersinsel showing that biking is not so hard

Robert and Carla had a very amazing experience paragliding in interlaken. I am jealous, because I don't quite have it in me to do this, but it looks awesome!

Having a blast with Mickey
Here I am, feet firmly on the ground with my little treasure.  Giving birth to her was all the thrills I needed for one year!

Emma meeting Tschomana for the first time

Eva very excited to see her Tschomana
Bye Tschomana!
I love smiling.  It's my favorite :)

This is how my husband looks when he comes home from mountain biking.  There is horse poo on those trails.  He gets his welcome home kiss after he showers :)


Loving sisters
 We also visited the Muenster church in our town.  It is beautiful!  Robert was especially interested in the pipe organ, and even bought some original pipes for fun at home annoying the cats and wife :)