Question 1 –
What vegetable was traditionally carved long before pumpkins?
Turnips Beeetroot Cabbage Potatoes
And the answer is . . . TURNIPS!
I can’t imagine hollowing out any of these vegetables, but evidently back in the 18th century (the 1700’s) pranksters used to hollow out turnips. Then they’d carve scary faces into them and turn them into lanterns. Some people said those faces represented evil spirits. Others said the faces kept evil spirits away.
Question 2 –
So where did those first jack-o-lanterns come from?
United States Ireland France Transylvania
And the answer is . . . Ireland!
Here’s the map of Europe. Do you see, France and Romania? They’re both in purple.
d you eliminate Transylvania? It’s not even a country. It’s actually in the center of Romania.
Ireland is in yellow, and the Irish were the ones who started making jack-o-lanterns out of turnips. It’s based on this old Irish folk tale . . .
Stingy Jack tricked the Devil out of his soul, but the Devil got even. He made Jack walk through the underworld with a lantern. It was really a turnip, held on a stick, lit by coal.
The Irish started making their own lanterns using a big turnip or potato. When immigrants came to the US, they brought their lanterns with them.
We switched to the pumpkin, a much bigger and better vegetable! The US isn’t on this map. You’d have to go west from Ireland across the Atlantic Ocean to find the US.
More Info: www.history.com
Part 2 – The Roots of Halloween
Question 3 –
Who is at the roots of Halloween?
The Celts (Kelts) The Romans
Question 4 –
What’s the name of their original festival?
Samhain (sow-in like cow)
Question 5 –
Why did they need this festival?
To speak with dead ancestors
To make predictions for the future
The answers . . . The Celts were at the roots of Halloween. If you look at the map above, they originally came from Ireland, the United Kingdom (England), and France. The first photo is a wooden Celtic figure.
Their Festival was known as Samhain. It started the night of October 31st, when the fall harvest was ending. The Celts believed that ghosts returned to cause trouble and damage their crops. They also believed those ghosts made it easier for the Druids, the Celtic priests, to predict the future. A Druid is in the last picture.
The Druids made huge bonfires. The people burned food and animals in them as sacrifices to their gods. The Celts wore animal heads and skins. They told fortunes for each other. Their festival helped them survive a long, cold winter with no grocery stores or new crops till spring.
The sacrifices, are now our treats. We exchanged the animal heads and skins for costumes, and the fortune telling became the trick part of Trick or Treat.
Tricks have mostly disappeared, but early Americans used to celebrate their harvests by telling ghost stories and fortunes, or by singing and dancing. Maybe with Covid this year, we should go back to those roots.
Please check out this source. It has a short video, 12 seconds, plus 4 sets of photos with the ghosts of Halloween past.
Part 3 – Halloween and Pop-Culture
Question 6 –
Which weighed more?
The Titanic OR One year of trick or treat candy
Question 7 –
When did kids trick or treat for coins, toys, and home-made sweets?
30’s & 40’s 50’s & 60’s 70’s & 80’s
Question 8 –
What is the most popular Halloween song of all time?
Dark Masquerade Farewell Forever Monster Mash Awaken
The answers . . . I can’t believe it . . . Halloween candy! The Titanic weighed a mere 100 million pounds, and it was one of the biggest ships of all time!
Every year we buy about 600 million pounds for one Halloween. That’s six Titanic’s! We must love our kids and their candy!
In the 1950’s and 1960’s kids got coins or toys or home-made sweets. I trick-or-treated in the 60’s, and I never got a single toy. Not one! Candy was cheaper to give away. When I started, we got regular size candy bars. When I finished, people gave out the miniature ones.
Home-made treats – I didn’t get them very often. By then more and more moms were working and didn’t have time to bake. Besides, would you rather have a chocolate chip cookie or candy? I’d pick candy every time!
By the 70’s and 80’s people started putting bad things in the treats. I remember hospitals would x-ray candy for kids. It’s a sad day when you can’t trust Halloween candy.
The most popular Halloween song – THE MONSTER MASH! Perhaps you’ve heard it! I have – ever since 1962 when I was 3 years old! It’s been a Halloween hit ever since for Bobby “Boris” Pickett.
Here’s the link for an animated version of Boris’ song. I remember the stairs and the blinking eyes from my childhood. Enjoy!
Part 1 – Celebrating a Socially Distant Halloween Trick or Treat
Project #1 – A Halloween Candy Slide
Trick or treat, anyone?
If your community is holding one this year,
here’s the perfect way to use social distancing, with PVC pipe. Here’s a basic supply list:
PVC pipe Spray Paint Cheese cloth
Skull Skeleton Acrylic Paint
Tools: glue gun scissors Hacksaw.
To get started, click on this link. It’s my source, and it also starts with a video: https://www.instructables.com/Halloween-Candy-Slide/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email
You might watch this video before trying this project. I added in photos and quick directions below to help you decide if it’s right for you.
1. Cut the pipes into the right lengths. 2. Assemble the bases.
3. Add the lips. 4. Paint the stands. Theirs is in black, but you could
use white, or, a different color.
5. Add the slide. 6. Decorate! You can use skeletons, witches, or
whatever’s on sale. Happy Trick or Treat!
Project #2 – A Halloween Cooler – OR – Walk by Candy Containers
I was looking for another socially distant way to pass out candy, and I think this could work. The project is done as a cooler, but I can imagine a string of pumpkins sitting at the end of my driveway. Let kids take one or two treats out of each pumpkin. It would be cute, fun, AND SAFE!
Here’s my source link, but no video. It doesn’t need one.
I’m sharing some steps with quick basic directions to help you decide if this project’s for you.
1. Draw a line to help you cut the top of your pumpkin. Cut, then scoop out the pumpkin pulp.
2. Repeat step 1 with the side of your pumpkin. Then give it a bleach bath.
It will keep your pumpkin from rotting for as long as possible. Then decorate.
3. Line your pumpkin with plastic wrap. Add ice if you need a cooler.
Add treats if you’re using your pumpkin as a candy dish.
Now, get ready . . . get set . . .
GO Trick or Treat, 2020 style.
Part 2 – Three Cute Costumes
#1 – Paper Butterfly This is one cute costume whether you follow the directions on the site, or make up your own. Here are photos for the wings, abdomen, and head.
Costume 2 – Spiderboy/girl What kid wouldn’t love this costume? The spider legs are black socks stuffed with newspaper. You hold them in place using cardboard and a black bag. His mom used face paint for his mask. She made two sketches before actually painting his face. You could do the same with a real mask. Link: https://www.instructables.com/Spider-Costume/
First sketch Second Face Paint
Costume 3 – Shower Anyone? Try this one! The other two shots show the tricky parts, the framework. Link: https://www.instructables.com/Shower-Costume/
Looking for something unique, try this one: https://www.instructables.com/Toilet-Costume/
If you still didn’t find a costume, try this link: https://www.instructables.com/howto/costumes/
Part 3 – Snack Time!
Snack 1 – Broomstick Anyone? If a picture’s worth 1000 words, these two equal this recipe. All you need are some pretzel sticks and cheese. The strip that goes around the cheese, is Nori (seaweed), but you could substitute anything long and stringy. Licorice could work, but I don’t know how it would taste. Link: https://www.instructables.com/Witches-Brooms/
Snack – Sand-witch? These three pictures are worth a recipe too, but I’d click on the link for some of the details. The author gives you a list of possible foods for each piece of the witch. She also has some basic patterns to help you cut your food. Finally there’s a video from Susan’s mother. She invented the sand-witch to get Susan to eat. If you want to be as cool as Susan’s mom, try red food-coloring in your milk, and you can pretend to be a vampire too!
Snack 3 – These eyes have it! WOW! They do! Would you believe that these eyeballs are made with fruit? I didn’t – till I read the recipe. The other ingredients hold it together. Click on this link, and then have some fun!
Part 4 – Projects Please!
Project 1 – A Haunted House This project came from a Kindergarten teacher.
She started with the letter H, made from strips of construction paper.
You’ll need black markers next. Add the roof, then the sides. Doors and windows come last.
Finish by drawing in the other details. Miss Kelly has her kids draw with pencil, then color in with marker. Link: https://www.instructables.com/Arts-and-Crafts-for-the-Letter-H/
Project 2 – Pastel Haunted House I love each and every one of these houses. They’re all different!
1. Pick two watercolors. Then mix them together on your page. Let it dry COMPLETELY.
2. Draw lightly with pencil. Put in everything you want – Graves, Trees, Bats, Moon, a Ghost. Don’t forget a house with doors and windows. Everything you draw will be colored in yellow, or black.
3. Start with your yellow Pastel. Don’t overdo it. Keep the focus on black. Let the yellow pop out.
4. Finish up with black Pastel. You’re done when your paper is filled by paint or Pastels.
Project 3 – Blockhead/Headless Robots Too cute! But you need to be old enough to use an Xacto knife, or have a parent do it for you. Click on the link for directions and for PDF’s to download and print out. The robots come in 2 sizes, with and without color.
What is the capital of Noordrhien-Westfalen (North Rhine-Westphalia)?
Dortmund Düsseldorf Essen Köln (Cologne)
This is a map of Germany's states.
This is just Nordrhein-Wetfalen.
I couldn’t answer even though I’ve been to North Rhine Westphalia four times. Quiz Club offered me a 50/50 chance, and I took it! I’ll give it to you too. It’s either –
Düsseldorf Köln or Cologne
What do you think?
I guessed Köln, but I was wrong. It’s Düsseldorf! I’ve never been there, not once.
Part 2 – Fun Facts about Düsseldorf
1. North Rhine-Westphalia has more people than any other state in Germany, but Düsseldorf is the 2nd biggest city, and its capital.
2. ‘Dorf’ means village in German. It’s a funny name for a HUGE city.
3. The biggest city in North Rhine-Westphalia is Köln. I can say Cologne, but not Köln. I just can’t do vowels with double dots, and we don’t have that sound in English.
4. Düsseldorf is the sixth best city IN THE world to live in.
5. Its airport is the 3rd busiest in Germany. Frankfurt and Munich are busier.
6. Düsseldorf is an international business and financial center. It’s known for its fashion and trade fairs.
7. It’s also known for its Rhenish Carnival. It’s in 3rd place behind Köln and Mainz. Do you know what a Rhenish Carnival is? Think ‘Carnival . . .’ In the US we call it Mardi Gras!
Part 3 – My Favorite Place in Germany
Find Münster and Osnabrück on the map. My favorite place is in-between. Lengerich is 18 miles north-east of Münster. It’s 9 miles south-west of Osnabrück. I love both cities, but not as much as Lengerich.
Lengerich and my hometown Wapakoneta, are sister cities. I discovered Lengerich in 2007 when I chaperoned a sister cities trip for my son and his classmates. I didn’t know then, that my life would never be the same again.
I found two photos on the internet of Lengerich, and I’ve been to both.
This is a Fachwerkhaus. That’s German for half-timbered house, and it’s their traditional style home. Half- timber comes from its wooden frame.
This Fachwerkhaus isn’t a home anymore. It’s a store with a parking lot.
The address – Im Hook 5. I’ve sent letters to a friend who lives on this street. Back in 2007 I would never have dreamed I’d have a German friend.
This is the Gatehouse from Lengerich. It’s called the Römer, and it’s one of the places Lengerich Sister Cities loves to share.
The gate was built by the Romans when the Empire was alive and well. It’s incredible to stand beside a structure that’s probably 1000 years older than our country.
I’ve walked through the Römer, but I’ve never been inside. It looks like a Fachwerkhaus.
Back when I walked through Lengerich that first time, I never dreamed of writing. I was a wife, a mom, and a teacher. Writing wasn’t on my radar, but I’ll share that story in another post.
Lake Trivia for Me and You
That’s the name of my newest book so it’s the perfect trivia post for Memorial Day weekend, the start of summer vacation. Here we go! Good Luck!
First Up – The Great Lake Challenge, With Two Questions -
1. How many US states touch at least one Great Lake? 5 8 11 13
2. What word can help you remember all 5 Great Lakes. Hint – it’s an acronym with one letter from each lake so the word has an S, M, H, O, and an E. Good luck!
There are . . . 8 states. In ABC order, they are Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Can you find them on the map?
Do you know which country touches 4 of the Great Lakes?
If you guessed Canada, you’re right!
The Lake left out . . . Michigan.
The lakes from West to East are SMHOE (small hoe, for a garden)
And the acronym – did you guess HOMES?
H – Huron O – Ontario M – Michigan E – Erie S - Superior
Next Up – The Great Salt Lake and Two More Questions: I picked these images to give you an idea how big the lake is. The first is a 2018 satellite shot. The second is from an airplane window. And now, your questions!
1. Which state is home to the Great Salt Lake? Colorado Utah Arizona Nevada
2. Which body of water has the most salt?
The Great Salt Lake The Dead Sea The Oceans
Sources: 1. https://www.traveltrivia.com/answer-which-u-s-state-features-the-great-salt-lake-2/
It’s Utah! Look on the map above to find the Great Salt Lake. I think it’s the big white dot.
In first for salt content with 33.7% is The Dead Sea. No wonder nothing lives there.
Look at the satellite image above. The lake is 2 different colors. A causeway for trains divides the actual lake. The northern part has 30% salinity, right behind the Dead Sea.
The southern part ranges from 5 to 27%. I remember visiting when I was little, but what I remember most, is how much it stunk. I wonder if the Dead Sea stinks 3% more.
The ocean – only 3.5%. No wonder it’s so full of life! The Great Salt Lake has brine shrimp, brine flies, and algae in the water. Birds also live here or visit when they’re migrating.
BTW, this causeway photo is for cars not trains, but it gives you an idea what the lake looks like, up close.
Third in Line – The Underground Lake and Two More Questions: These underground lakes are huge, and they're in Europe. There is one in the US that’s 140 feet below the surface and 5 acres in size.
Where is that lake? West Virginia Virginia Kentucky Tennessee
Who discovered it? A cave explorer A geologist A child
Sources: 1. https://www.traveltrivia.com/answer-where-is-the-largest-underground-lake-in-the-u-s/
Look for this huge lake under the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains in Sweetwater, Tennessee. The Lost Sea is about an hour south of Knoxville. The Cherokee found shelter there in the 1820’s. Confederate soldiers made gunpowder there during the Civil War, but no one ever found the lake.
It took a 13-year-old boy. Ben Sands was exploring the cave in 1905. He found an opening about as wide as a bike tire. I wouldn’t crawl inside, but Ben did, about 40 feet. When the shaft stopped, Ben dropped into the lake and waded out until the water hit his knees. I’m glad he decided to go back and tell someone what he’d found. BTW – a school bus is about 30 feet in length. Walk 10 more steps. That’s how far Ben crawled.
Last, but not Least – One Final Question about Smoky Mountain Lakes: The Lost Sea is below ground, but there are lakes above ground in the Smokies. You’ll find them in Western North Carolina and East Tennessee. This is my lake, Norris Lake. It’s north of Knoxville, in East Tennessee.
How many lakes can you find in the Smokies?
4 7 10 13
If you guessed 10, you’re right! The Smoky Mountain Lakes are:
Fontana Lake, North Carolina Lake Nantahalas, North Carolina
Douglas Lake, Tennessee Wolf Creek Lake, North Carolina
Lake Glenville, North Carolina Tanesee Creek Lake, North Carolina
Bear Creek Lake, North Carolina Tellico Lake, Tennessee
Norris Reservoir and Lake, Tennessee Melton Hill Lake, Tennessee
There are also 3 creeks inside the park. They are: Eagle Creek, Forney Creek, and Hazel Creek.
Do you recognize Norris Lake on my book cover? I wrote about the fun my family had there. I hope you’ll take a look at it, then get out to your favorite lake for some fun too. The best part about the book – there’s room for you to record your own lake fun, then go home with your own personalized souvenir.
Do you recognize the story in this picture? It’s from the Bible, the story of Moses, how he led his people out of Egypt. Do you see the Red Sea? I think Moses already crossed it, and he’s leading his people to the other side, to the promised land.
My research said every year, with/without Corona, you clean out your house. For Jews this harkens back to that first Passover when they left Egypt behind. You could only take what you could carry. Imagine looking around your house and thinking what you’d take. I’d need a car and a huge trailer!
For Passover, they also cleaned all the leaven out of their houses. Leaven is probably a form of yeast, because it makes bread rise. When Moses said let’s go, the people took their bread, as is. There wasn’t time to add leaven to it.
Finally my source also said this is a good time to look at yourself. Do you have any habits that don’t belong, that you’re better without? This is a great time to try a change. It might do you good! I’m not Jewish, but I like the idea.
This is a table set for a Seder (say-der) dinner. Family and friends gather together to eat, to celebrate, to remember. Usually they gather together in homes, synagogues, hotels, and camps. Not this year!
Some people will have family, but some will be alone. You can look at what you’re missing, OR, you can look at what you’ll gain. If it’s just family, you can slow down to a family-friendly pace. If you only have adults, you can go adult speed. If you’re alone, just please yourself! There ARE opportunities!
Some will do their Seders on social media. They’ll skype, zoom, or face-time to have a family or a congregation together. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty darn good. Some observant Jews won’t be able to do this. They don’t use technology on holidays, but I’ll bet a matzah they’ll find a way to make this Passover meaningful too.
This is a kosher grocery at Passover.
A Kosher grocery means it stocks foods that are special to the Jewish religion. Other foods won’t be there because they’re forbidden, like cuts of beef that come from the backend of a cow like flank or round steak. If you’d like to read more, click on this link: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/what-is-kosher#animal-products
It’s Passover time in this grocery. My proof - some foods are covered in plastic. That way customers won’t pick up the wrong ones that have leaven/yeast in them. They’re not allowed during Passover.
Back in March suppliers said the special Passover foods like Matzah would be in stock, but last week shoppers were worried that deliveries would be cancelled, or they wouldn’t be able to get in, in time with the limited number of shoppers. Passover 2020 started on April 9th, and it will end on the 16th.
This is Matzah, the most important Passover food. It’s the unleavened bread the Jews took to the promised land. A Rabbi from Senegal (a minister in Western Africa), said he would have Matzah even if he had to make it himself, starting with real wheat, the kind from a farmers’ field.
Someone from Washington, D.C. was planning to host her first Seder, but she had to cancel. She’ll still see her family through social media, but she said she’d miss the meal, not the food. She meant the part when everyone’s in the kitchen making dinner. I hope she thought of doing social networking from everyone’s kitchen. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
This is a Haggadah from the 1300’s. It’s a book, but it’s only used once a year. Its purpose – to guide you through your Seder dinner. Passover is more than just matzah, more than a meal. It’s a way to retell the story of Moses so that it will never be forgotten.
You can read the story in the Bible. Start at Exodus, and read all the way to the end of Deuteronomy. If you don’t have a Bible, just google Exodus. Your computer can pull up the pages.
The Haggadah will guide you through the ceremony’s fifteen steps. This year two sections might change. Both feature the youngest person in the room. This year, it could be a senior citizen.
Whoever it is gets to ask Four Questions, “Why is this night different from all other nights?” This year it’s possible our youngster will find himself both asking and answering those four questions. This only happens when there’s one person at the table.
In another part of the Seder the Matzah is broken in two. The larger part, the afikomen, will be hidden, and later found. If you’re all alone, you’ll have to do both jobs, but, when you find it, you won’t have to share your dessert.
This year you can look at what’s missing, celebrate what you have, or – take another option . . .
Pesach Sheni. It means – Second Passover. It started when ancient Jews were too late with their sacrifice. They needed another chance. So, if you need a do-over, save the date! May 9th, one month after the first day of Passover.
To learn more about the Seder or Passover, click on any of these links:
For kids in third grade on, you have tests every year. Learning to think your way through questions and answers is key. I love trivia questions. I hope you can use these for practice. Just think, you could even test your parents!
Question 1 – What is the least densely populated U.S. state?
Can you eliminate two states? Think about population.
Alaska Hawaii New Mexico Wyoming
AK HI NM WY
Who did you eliminate? Hawaii was easy. The weather is beautiful! It’s a popular tourist destination so there are lots of people on a small amount of land. That means a higher density.
I also guessed New Mexico. It’s way warmer than Wyoming or Alaska. I think of it as desert, but I thought it would have more people than the other two. It turns out I was right, so far!
That leaves Alaska and Wyoming. Which one has the least number of people per mile? Guess and check below.
Did you guess Alaska? It was my very first answer. Why? Because Alaska is so cold, and it’s not heavily populated. I think it’s a vast wilderness. And . . . IT’S THE RIGHT ANSWER!!!
Alaska has 1.6 people per mile. Wyoming is second with 6.0, and New Mexico is sixth with 17.2. Hawaii didn’t even make the list.
But if you asked the question a little differently, the answer changes. Which state has the smallest population? Wyoming would win with 578,759 people. Alaska is now in sixth place with 731,545. Hawaii is in fourteenth with 1,415,872, and New Mexico is at eighteenth with 2,096,829.
WOW! The way you ask a question makes a huge difference in the answer. If you have to take a test, first read the question and answers carefully. Then start your reasoning!
Question from: https://www.traveltrivia.com/answer-what-is-the-least-densely-populated-u-s-state/
Question 2 – Which US city receives the most hours of sunshine per year, on average?
Can you reason out the answer? Think weather – sunshine and rain!
Houston, TX San Diego, CA Miami, FL Yuma, AZ
Texas California Florida Arizona
If you guessed Yuma, Arizona, you’re right! I was too!
Here’s how I figured it out . . . I eliminated Florida right away. During the summer it clouds up and rains almost every day, but only for five or ten minutes. Then I looked at the other three cities and thought about rain. I think Arizona is a lot like New Mexico, hot and dry, and I think Texas and California get a little more rain. I guessed and picked Arizona.
Click on this link to find out the 10 sunniest cities in the world. https://www.earth.com/news/sunniest-cities-united-states/ Would you believe three of them are in Arizona? They’re Yuma, Phoenix, and Flagstaff.
California had three sunny cities – Redding, Fresno, and Sacramento. Sorry, San Diego! Texas had one sunny city – El Paso. Sorry, Houston! Poor Florida! The sunshine state didn’t have one city on this list. Shucks! Question Source: https://www.traveltrivia.com/answer-what-u-s-city-receives-the-most-hours-of-sunshine-per-year-on-average/
My original idea for the alphabet post started with two questions for quizclub.com. They asked how many letters were in the English and German alphabets.
I was curious so I asked a search engine, DuckDuckGo. My source said about a thousand, but they were based on a hundred alphabets that could be boiled down to nine. After writing about each one, I never got back to the two original questions. Tonight I tried again, but the post grew once more. I found eleven languages. Here’s that world map to help you locate each one. They include:
English, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, Italian, French, Greek, and German
My Source: https://wordcounter.net/blog/2015/11/24/10950_how-many-letters-alphabet.html
Do you recognize the English alphabet, and do you know the importance of this phrase?
It uses all 26 letters.
Did you know two hundred years ago there were 27? The dropped letter is still used today. Curious? It’s &!
Phrase Source: By No machine-readable author provided. Moyogo assumed (based on copyright claims). - No machine-readable source provided. Own work assumed (based on copyright claims)., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=701210
Can you read this? Me neither! It’s a sample from the Arabic alphabet.
عندما يريد العالم أن يتكلّم ، فهو يتحدّث بلغة يونيكود. تسجّل
It has 28 letters, but, they’re all consonants. Arabic has vowels, but you add them with a mark beside the consonant, like this – ‘a.
You read and write Arabic from right to left, and it’s all done in cursive. English is the exact opposite. It’s printed from left to right.
Arabic has contextual letterforms. That means a letter is shaped by its position within a word, depending on if it’s first, in the middle or last. If it stands alone, it may have yet another shape.
I’ll stick with English, but I love how Arabic flows across a page!
OH NO! There’s something harder than Arabic – Chinese! It doesn’t have a letter alphabet representing sounds. They use ideas and pictures, i.e. ideograms or pictograms.
I read that if you want to have functional literacy, you need to know three to four thousand characters. Would you believe there are TENS of THOUSANDS of Chinese characters? Thank goodness for English!
Ancient Chinese was even harder. It ran in columns from top to bottom, like that green sign with orange letters. It also ran from right to left, like Arabic.
Today it’s a little more like English, running across the page from left to right. It still goes from top to bottom. The Bus Stop sign reads 2E 6C 6F. Then 41 45.
If you’d like to try reading a little Chinese, click on this link, I picked up a teeny tiny bit! https://www.forbes.com/sites/bruceupbin/2013/04/25/learn-to-read-chinese-in-eight-minutes/#56ff63a2179
Picture Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Written_Chinese
By Maloongkai - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8004756
4. The next alphabet is a little easier than Chinese, and it also comes from Asia. Do you recognize it? It’s Japanese. I know – it looks a lot like Chinese, or Korean. That’s probably because they come from the same part of the globe. To read basic Japanese, you need to recognize about 2000 symbols from three different alphabets.
The first is called Kanji, and it’s based on those Chinese pictograms. The other two alphabets are phonetic. Both hiragana and katakana have 46 letters each, 92 total. Only 1908 more Kanji symbols to learn. Easy Peasy!
Long ago you read Japanese from top to bottom in columns. It was called vertical writing. You started on page right and moved left.
Today there’s horizontal writing. It moves from left to right. It’s more like how we read English. There’s still one big difference. Japanese book spines are on the right. The book cover is on the back, and the back cover is on the front. To read Japanese, you start at the back and read to the front.
5. This could be Chinese or Japanese, but supposedly it’s easier to read than the other two. Did you recognize it as Korean? South Korea uses Hangul, and the North uses Chosan’gul. Modern Hangul has 14 consonants and 11 vowels, 24 total. Chosan’gul has 19 consonants and 21 vowels, 40 total.
The hardest part of reading or writing Korean is that it’s written in syllable blocks. I see 2 symbols to the left, then 3 and 3. I might be right, but there might be more symbols that I don’t see.
Korean was once written vertically, but now it’s horizontal, going from left to right. Looking at that red sign again, I’m not sure if there are three syllables or three words because Korean has space between its syllables, and its words, if I read correctly. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hangul
6. Drive down this highway, and you’ll need to read, write, and speak Russian, but you can keep going. Explore Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and the rest of the former Soviet Union too.
The Russian alphabet is based on Cyrillic. Modern Russian has 21 consonants, 10 vowels, and 2 extra symbols, or 33 total. It’s phonetic so you can learn the letters and sounds at the same time. Best of all you can still read from left to right, from top to bottom.
7. This alphabet is golden! It’s Greek to me, but it’s one of the oldest alphabets still in use. Did you know the Latin and Cyrillic alphabets came from Ancient Greece? They only had capital letters. It was the Romans who later developed lower case letters for the Latin alphabet.
The Greek alphabet has grown and changed over the centuries. Now it has 24 letters that match up with English. No Greek J’s or V’s.
If you want to learn Greek, you’ll have to learn to write in syllables. Start with 1, 2, or 3. Then you can move into longer words with more syllables. Greeks like to make l-o-n-g words!
Today the Greek alphabet is still used in technical symbols and labels. If you go into some fields, you must master Greek.
8. Can you read the sign? I can, but it’s not in English. It’s Spanish. I’d mangle every single word on those signs except for Valencia. That’s because there’s one in California. The Valencia below is near Madrid, in Spain.
Spanish doesn’t belong to just Spain. Thanks to the conquistadors, it’s the official language for most of Central and South America, who are also called Latin America.
My original source said there are 29 letters in Spanish, but if they have 4 extra letters (ch, ll, ñ and rr) shouldn’t there be 30?
The letters look like our English ones, except they have accent marks. (papá or güero) Those marks change the pronunciation, even the meaning. Letters in Spanish sound different. For example, their “h” is always silent. In our English word ‘house,’ it’s voiced, but not in ‘hour.’
9. Here are more signs that look English, but they’re actually Italian. My only clue, Roma. Americans always write it as ‘Rome.’ If you want to see and hear Italian, take a trip to Italy, San Marino, Vatican City, Slovenia, and Croatia.
Yay! The Italian alphabet has 21 letters, only 21! It matches up to our alphabet, but it uses foreign letters like ‘j, k, w, x, and y’ for foreign words with those sounds. The Italian alphabet has 3 different kinds of accent marks. You can see them in Métro, pescà, or genî.
10. This sign looks like it’s from a farmers’ market – in France. It uses the French alphabet, and it’s spoken/written in France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Monaco, and Switzerland.
You’ll also find it used in former French colonies in Africa, Asia, North/South America, and Oceania. I didn’t recognize Oceania so I googled. It’s made up of Micronesia, Polynesia, Australasia (Australia, New Zealand, and the islands around them), and Melanesia (the islands from New Guinea to Tonga).
The French alphabet has 26 letters, including all 20 of our consonants. It also has all 5 of our vowels (aeiou) – plus y. Y is only a vowel in French, never a consonant. W and K’s are mostly used in foreign words.
French, like the other European languages, uses accents on its vowels. Examples: à, é, î, ü. They also combine them – æ and œ. And C’s look like this: ç.
11. I can’t begin to read this sign, but I see double dots on the last word. That’s German! The sign says stay off the ice. Deutschland or Germany is where 78% of German is spoken.
You’ll also find it in Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Belgium, and South Tyrol, Italy. Three of those countries also speak French. My guess is that German’s spoken in the north, and French in the south. It’s also spoken in the former German colonies and in the Amish, Mennonite, and Hutterite communities in North America. I googled again – the Hutterites are found in the Great Plains and in Western Canada.
The German alphabet has the same 26 letters as our English alphabet, but the pronunciation of some of them doesn’t exist in English. The G, CH, and the R are pronounced from the back of the throat. I can’t imagine how!
They also have a few letters with double dots, plus a fancy B – ä, ö, ü and are ß. BTW, if you’re curious, the sign says stay off the ice. I knew it was important . . . there are 2 exclamation marks. Sources: https://www.thoughtco.com/where-is-german-spoken-1444314
How many alphabets are being used around the world? 100 9 1000
Depending on how you define alphabet, it could be all three. I found each answer from a source below. The top one from Quora made sense to me. It said if you look at pure alphabets that have a letter for every sound, there’s about 100, and they boil down to these nine:
Latin, Greek, Cyrillic, Armenian, Korean, Hebrew, Arabic, Braille, and Georgian
Tomorrow, I’ll look for pictures of each one. I’m curious to see how they’re alike and different.
Here’s a world map so you can find each of these nine alphabets.
1. This is the Latin alphabet. It’s everywhere, North and South America, Europe, India, Australia, and most of Africa. Click on the source link to see the ground it covers. The Latin alphabet looks a lot like ours. Did you notice anything missing, like the letters J, U, and W?
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latin_alphabet Photo by Joannes Arnoldus Bergellus -
http://wally.rit.edu/cary/cc_db/16th_century/9.htmlhttp://www.bl.uk/collections/early/1540.html, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4409965
2. The letters on this piece of pottery are from the Greek Alphabet. It only reached the land around the country of Greece. If you’d like to see the map, the pottery, or learn more about the Greek alphabet, click on this link:
3. This is the Cyrillic alphabet. It spread – across the entire former Soviet Union, all of it!
Do you recognize this writing? It’s from the book of Matthew. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyrillic_alphabets
Unknown - Герранъ мія̈нъ. Шондю-руохтынанъ святой іôванг̧ели матвѣйста, Карьяланъ кїӗлѣлля, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15401241
4. This is the Armenian alphabet, from Armenia, of course. Where is Armenia? It was once part of the Soviet Union. Now it’s its own country. It shares borders with Turkey, Iran, Azerbaijan, and Georgia so it’s north of the Middle East, and it was in the southern part of the former Soviet Union. ( I looked it up!)
5. This is the Korean alphabet, and it’s found on the Korean Peninsula, of course. Did you know it has two names? In South Korea, it’s called Hangul. In North Korea, it’s called Chosŏn'gŭl. (I had to paste that in. I’m missing three important keys.)
Photo by Kbarends - cropped from en:Image:Hunminjeongeumhaerye.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4210804
6. This isn’t my computer keyboard, and it probably isn’t yours either. It was designed for people who use the Hebrew alphabet. If you’re Jewish, or live in the country of Israel, this might be your keyboard.
7. Here’s another keyboard. I bet you recognize half the letters, but not the other half. That’s because they’re from the Arabic Alphabet. You’d find this keyboard in the Middle East and in northern Africa.
Article Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabic_alphabet
Keyboard By Mohsen Madi - Intellaren Inc., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14688041
8. Do you see two books? One looks like a real book, in German. The other is a notebook of bumpy paper. That’s a braille book.
Braille is an alphabet made up of bumps. Its letters match up with other alphabets from around the world, like English or German. My source listed 104 alphabets that have been translated into braille.
If you’re blind, you can’t see so you read with your fingers. You can read paper books or special computer screens. You can write with a slate and stylus or with special computers and printers. Source: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Braille
9. Can you read the letters on the car? Me neither! It’s a police car, but police is written in Georgian, the country, not one of our 50 states.
The country of Georgia was once part of the Soviet Union. It’s bordered by the Black Sea, Russia, Turkey, Armenia, and Azerbaijan.
There are three different ways to write Georgian. The most common is Mkhedruli. That’s what you see on the car. The other two, Asomtavruli and Nuskhuri, are only used by the Georgian Orthodox Church.
Besides America, what country is home to the most McDonald’s restaurants?
China Japan Canada France
The US is #1 for McDonald's with 14,146 locations. We love our Golden Arches! Did you figure out who's in second place?
t’s not even close, but Japan claims the honor with 2,975 restaurants in the country. You can still get Big Macs, Quarter Pounders, Happy Meals, and McFlurries, but in Japan you can also order Mega Macs, Bacon Lettuce Burgers, Ebi Filet-O, and McPork. Warning – you’ll have to give up your supersize drinks and free refills. They’re not on the menu.
Click on this link to find Mcdonald's ten happiest countries.
Question source: https://www.traveltrivia.com/answer-besides-america-what-country-is-home-to-the-most-mcdonalds-restaurants/.”
Map Source: By Connormah - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,
Source for menu (with pictures): https://delishably.com/dining-out/JapanMcDonalds
Take a look at that world map again. Which country has the only ski-through McDonald’s?
Canada France Russia Sweden
It’s Sweden. Want to visit? Take a trip to the Lindvallen ski resort. It’s 200 miles north of Stockholm. The ski-through opened in 2014, and it’s still going strong.
You can go inside. There’s room for 140 people. But if you’re in a hurry, you’ll ski up to the window, place your order, and pick it up. No need to mess with coats and gloves. You’re back on the slopes – and you’re loving it!
Click on the first source if you’d like to look at the Swedish ski-through.
Delish | Date Updated: December 18, 2019
My map source: By Rob984 - Derived from File:Germany on the globe (Germany centered).svg, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=70142703
What food is named in the words of this old commercial?
The words . . . 2 all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese , pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun.
The answer: The McDonald’s Big Mac
Would you believe I missed it by one word? I had ‘and’ instead of ‘on a sesame seed bun.’ The commercial originally aired December of 1974. That was 46 years ago. I was a high school sophomore. Not bad! I didn’t catch my error until I looked at the YouTube link. Not bad for my 60-year-old memory!
That’s great in the world of memory retention! To get my last teacher’s license, I took a brain class about six years ago. My teacher said jingles were a great way to remember something. Do you remember ‘Plop, plop, fizz, fizz. Oh what a relief it is.’ That’s the old Alka-Seltzer jingle, written in 1953. I was born in 1959.
It worked on my second graders! I used it to teach them animals (mammal, insect, etc.) and for landforms (plateaus, plains, etc.) I thought my kids did better later on those tricky tests too. My brain teacher said her students would lip-sinc those songs during tests. Too True! Some of my second graders did too!
PS – Want to add another layer to help your memory along? Try adding motions. I did it with landforms. (Example – arm held straight out was a plain – flat land.)
Click the link to hear this ad from 1974. Watch for Gordon Jump. (He was the station manager for the old TV show, WKRP in Cincinnati.
This link was from 1975. My brain teacher would say ‘repeat to remember. Remember to repeat.’ That’s what this commercial had us doing back in 1974/75. Oh, the good old days. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dK2qBbDn5W0
Enjoy! I hope you’re loving it! (No LOL – that's another McDonald’s commercial.)
Christmas is almost here, and so is Christmas trivia.
What is glögg?
A Christmas coffee Hot cocoa
Mulled wine Spiced Cider
Glögg is a special mulled wine that’s made just for Advent. Answer the next question to find out where it comes from. Click the information link, and you can try it without crossing the Atlantic.
Where do you go for a glass of glögg?
Sweden France Germany Spain
Go to Sweden, but only during Advent. That’s when you can get a glass of glögg. Traditionally it’s served in small glasses.
FYI – the spices were originally added because back then the wine didn’t taste so good, but now it’s added because it’s tradition. Don’t forget to put the almonds and raisins in your glass before you pour in the glögg. Cheers!
For More Info: www.swedishfood.com
Where was the Advent Wreath invented? England Sweden Germany Italy
Welcome to Germany where Johan Hinrich Wichern invented the Advent Wreath in 1839. His version was made of wood, and it had 24 candles, 4 big ones for Sundays and 20 little ones for weekdays.
Today’s Advent wreath is made with fir branches and cones, ribbons, ornaments, and those original 4 candles. One for each week like the one to the left.
What did a mother from Munich invent to keep herself sane when her son asked every day how long till Christmas? A calendar An advent calendar A paper chain Balloon bouquet to pop
In 1885 Gerhard Lang’s mother did. He saw the first Advent candle lit and didn’t understand waiting till his mother drew 24 squares on a box. Each square equaled one day, getting up once and going to bed. From then on, Gerhard got a calendar every year until he outgrew them.
Around 1900 Gerhard started a publishing company. During a slow sales period, he remembered his old calendars, and in 1904 he sold the first “Munich Christmas Calendar.” Its subtitle was “The 24 Waiting Days,” and it sold for 30 pfennigs or about 15 cents. Today you can buy cardboard ones, felt ones, bags on strings, and little towns, but, they all still share 24 days of waiting.
My Sources: Kaiserslautern American | Date Updated: December 6, 2019
What’s the name of the little town where Jesus was born? Bethlehem Jerusalem Judea Samaria
Bonus Points: What’s the song title that tells the story of that birth?
The Song – O Little Town of Bethlehem – Sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir
For More Info: en.wikipedia.org
Who made Mary and Joseph go to Bethlehem?
His father King Herod Caesar Augustus
Why? A Family visit To worship the new king For a census of the Roman Empire
The Gospel of Luke said (Luke 2: 1 – 5; paraphrasing) Caesar Augustus ordered a census of the entire Roman world. Everyone went to their family’s hometown to register and be counted. Joseph left Nazareth in Galilee. He traveled to Bethlehem in Judea because that’s where his family came from. Joseph was descended from King David’s family. In Bethlehem he registered with his fiancee Mary. She was going to have a baby.
This is a Nativity Scene. I grew up with one, and so did my kids.
Who was really there when Jesus was born, and who wasn’t?
Mary, Joseph and Jesus Shepherds Wise Men Animals Angels
According to Luke 2: 7-21, paraphrasing, Mary gave birth to a baby boy. She wrapped him in cloth and laid him in a manger. There was no other place for them to stay.
That night the shepherds were out in the field with their sheep. An angel appeared, and the shepherds were terrified until the angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I bring good news for all people. Today in Bethlehem your savior was born. The baby is wrapped in cloth, laying in a manger, which is a feeding trough for animals.”
Then a group of angels appeared. They said, “Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on Earth.” The angels returned to heaven, and the shepherds hurried off to Bethlehem. They found the baby in the manger. The shepherds returned home, telling everyone what they’d seen and heard. Eight days later Jesus was named and circumcised.
So a Nativity according to Luke would look like this –baby Jesus would be lying in a manger with Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds looking on.
No animals are mentioned, but the most likely ones would be an ox and a donkey. That’s what Saint Francis of Assisi used, and he made the first nativity scene. I don’t know about the sheep. If the shepherds were in a hurry like Luke said, they probably would have left the sheep behind. Maybe a young shepherd watched over them until the others returned.
The angels only went out to the fields to send the shepherds into Bethlehem. Then they returned home to heaven.
As for the wise men, here’s their story according to Matthew 2:1-12, paraphrased . . . After Jesus was born, Magi from the east came to ask King Herod about the star. They followed it to Jerusalem. They wanted to worship the new king of the Jews.
They’re called Magi in Luke, but in other stories they’re called kings or wise men. Usually nativities have 3 kings, but Luke never mentioned a number.
Herod sent for his chief priests and teachers. They looked back to Micah, who prophesied that the baby would be born in Bethlehem in Judea. Herod sent the Magi there. He told them to worship the child, and then report back so he could visit him too.
The Magi followed the star, this time to the baby in Bethlehem. They might have looked something like this when they bowed down to worship the child in the manger.
The Magi gave him gifts fit for a king – gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Frankincense is a tree sap that was burned to worship the gods. Myrrh was a perfume made from sap too. It was either burnt as incense or used as oil for anointing someone. All three gifts were part of Temple worship.
When I write, I can only have one voice in my head, mine. A little noise is fine. But too much, or worse yet, WORDS, and I must change rooms or pull out headphones. Then I can write on!