Part 1 – Why Texas? Why Christmas 2020?
I live in Wapakoneta, Ohio. We didn’t get to go to Texas for Thanksgiving – that’s where two of my kids live. My son-in-law was exposed to Covid before Thanksgiving. His test came back negative two days later, but his insurance didn’t allow for any more tests – so we really didn’t know if he had it, or not.
I’m 61 and a diabetic so I should be in one of the early groups to get the vaccine. I didn’t want to risk getting covid. My son-in-law wouldn’t know, unless he had symptoms, that he was covid-free until December 5th. THAT was a WEEK after Thanksgiving.
I made the decision after we traveled 1/3 of the way to Texas – NOT to go BEFORE Thanksgiving. It was the first one that I’ve ever had with just my husband. In 35 years of marriage, we’ve always seen both of our families, plus our kids after they were born.
After Thanksgiving I also decided not to go to Texas for Christmas. Why? The nightly news was scary. Covid was everywhere! I told my daughter we weren’t coming. She reacted the way I do – she cried. Guess what? It worked! My husband caved so we were on the road December 16th, for a Texas Christmas!
Look at the map of the US. Can you guess how we got to Texas?
I bet it’s not the route we took – we went to the lake in northeastern TN first, and then we drove to TX.
That was 3 days of driving, and I loved it! Why? I can sleep and read in the car because my husband drives. I’m lucky!
Part 2 – A Road Trip to Texas
My husband and I broke our trip into 3 parts. It’s a long way to Texas! The 1st day took 5 to 6 hours to get from Wapakoneta, Ohio to Lafollette, Tennessee. We followed I75 south all the way to the lake exit. That’s the map on the left for the GPS route. (Global Positioning System). Don’t forget to look for Kentucky! Here’s the link: LaFollette, Tennessee to Wapakoneta, Ohio 45895 - Google Maps
On the 2nd day we spent about 8 hours in the car driving south-west from Lafollette to Vicksburgh, Mississippi. That’s where we stopped for the night. The next day it took about 7 hours to reach Temple, Texas. Don’t forget to look for Georgia, Alabama, and Louisiana along the way. That’s 7 states in 1 trip!
We took lots of roads on the 2nd and 3rd day. Click the link, then enlarge the map, and you can see the roads we took. GPS is wonderful! It warns you about tricky places before you hit them.
LaFollette, Tennessee to Temple, Texas - Google Maps
Part 3 – Beach Family Christmas Customs, Texas Style
We arrived on the 20th. We stayed with my daughter and her husband. Ashley’s all about family traditions. We made Chex Mix one day. Next up were Christmas cookies. They’re both family recipes.
Christmas shopping is something my daughter and I do together. With Covid we were in and out. Our masks were on the whole time.
We didn’t make it to Christmas Eve service. It’s the first time since I started dating my husband that we haven’t, but this year we felt safer doing it online. It wasn’t the same, but it was good, in its own way. Every Christmas I look forward to hearing the story of Jesus’s birth.
We got to open presents twice, first with my daughter, and a few days later with my son. He lives in Houston so we made another road trip. Because of Covid, we did a porch visit with him, his wife, and baby girl. Christmas is a double holiday for her so we brought both Christmas and birthday presents. We spent an afternoon together. It ended too soon, but it was lovely!
Part 4 – The Road Home
It was a lovely Christmas vacation, but too short. We started the long drive back on the 29th, This time we took the northern route, the shortest drive. The link may look the same, but we drove all the way to Memphis Tennessee before we stopped for the night.
Look underneath the route to Memphis, and you’ll see 2 other options. The one in the middle should look familiar – it’s the one we took to Texas. You don’t see Vicksburg this time, but I think it’s where the bottom two options come together. Do you see Shreveport, Louisiana? We passed by it on our way to Texas. Link: LaFollette, Tennessee to Temple, Texas - Google Maps
Part 5 – Always a Buckeye
We returned to Lafollette the day before New Year’s Eve. I’m glad I had a chance to rest before New Year’s Day. No Rose Parade, but the video they made was wonderful.
My Buckeyes played Clemson in the College Football Playoff on New Year’s Day. I’m glad I rested! I shopped the whole game. That’s my superstition. It helps me get through the rollar coaster of emotions.
It worked! OSU beat Clemson 49 – 28.
We made it back to Ohio a day before the National Championship. I didn’t have a day to rest. I was busy catching up on our mail, and my mother’s. Maybe that’s what went wrong!
On Monday January 11th the Buckeyes played Alabama. It wasn’t to be. I shopped my heart out, but it didn’t work. The Buckeyes lost 52 – 24.
It was a horrible loss, but if 3 plays had gone differently the score would have been 38-31. Alabama scored with two 4th down plays in the 1st half. OSU had a 4th down red zone play. They didn’t make it, but they’re winners in my eyes. They almost didn’t have a season, yet they wound up in the National Championship.
Guess when I’ll be making my next road trip to Texas? Probably May. That’s when my new grandboy is coming. Here’s to May, a covid shot, and cuddling 2 grandkids!
Thanksgiving Trivia Part 3 – Becoming a National Holiday
5. Which president of the United States made Thanksgiving a national holiday?
Abe Lincoln Andrew Jackson
Ben Franklin John Adams
6. Which author convinced him to do it? Bonus Points if you know her most famous book.
Louisa May Alcott Harriet Beecher Stowe Sarah Josepha Hale
And the answers are . . .
Here are the multiple choice answers, in historical order. Are you ready for the answer?
5. The man who helped build this cabin in Indiana when he was a boy, was the president who made Thanksgiving a national holiday. Did you guess Abraham Lincoln? Wow! What took so long!
2 Fun Facts – Andrew Jackson, our 7th president, was the first president who was not one of our founding fathers.
He lost to John Quincy Adams, the son of the 2nd president, on his 1st try. Jackson was an outsider to Washington. He was born in the Carolinas, but came to the White House from the great state of Tennessee.
Meet the authors! Which one looks like she fought a 17 year battle to make Thanksgiving a holiday?
6. Who do you think talked Abe Lincoln into making Thanksgiving a holiday? It was the woman who lived in this house.
Her name – Sarah Josepha Hale. I didn’t know her name either, even though I had a book about her in my 2nd grade collection. My daughter has it now.
Sarah was persistent! She talked to president after president for 17 years before Abe finally thought it was a good idea.
You may not know her name, but I bet you know her most famous story – Mary Had a Little Lamb. It’s still sold on Amazon! I think it’s wonderful that the author with the youngest audience is the one who persuaded Abe to make Thanksgiving a holiday. This year I’m thankful for Sarah Josepha Hale!
Do you see Louisa’s book? It’s a middle grade novel, and it’s still sold on Amazon. The cover was its 150th anniversary edition. That makes it a classic, and it’s still relevant – Amazon has recent videos for sale.
Harriet’s book is last. It’s written for adults, and it had a huge effect on its readers. It was written by a woman, who couldn’t even vote. When she met President Lincoln, he said, “So you’re the little woman who wrote the book that made this great war.” WOW! That’s powerful! What a great compliment from an American hero!
Thanksgiving Trivia Part 2 - The Meal
3. How many people attended the first Thanksgiving?
53 90 105 143
4. Which food was NOT on the menu?
Turkey Mashed Potatoes Lobster
And the answers are . . .
3. There were 143 people at the first Thanksgiving.
There were 105 pilgrims on the Mayflower, but only 53 of them made it through that first year – 4 women, 22 men, and 25 children/teenagers. It was a terrible year!
They wouldn’t have made it to that first harvest without the help of Chief Massasoit. They invited him and 90 Wampanoag Indians to their big feast.
4. Mashed potatoes weren’t on the menu. Potatoes came from South America. The Spanish conquistadors brought them back to Spain, but they weren’t popular enough in England to have made it back to the colonies.
Wild turkeys were definitely on the menu. So were ducks, geese, and swans.
Can you believe lobsters made it to the feast? The bay was full of them! The Pilgrims also caught mussels, bass, clams, and oysters.
Cranberries were also on the table, the whole berry. But without sugar, there was no sauce.
Their stuffing was a mixture of herbs, onions or nuts. There was no flour to make bread or pie crust.
They might have made pumpkin custard. Early settlers mixed pumpkin, milk, honey, and spices into an empty pumpkin. They would have roasted it in hot ashes. No ovens yet either!
Source: 1. History.com | Date Updated: November 25, 2019 - great resource for Thanksgiving food.
3. History of the First Thanksgiving (historyofmassachusetts.org) - Great place to find out who was there!
Thanksgiving Trivia Part 1 - The Landing
It’s November 23. Time to think Thanksgiving thoughts. Here are your first two trivia questions . . .
1. What’s the name of the spot in Massachusetts where we think the Pilgrims landed?
New Jersey Plymouth Rock Boston Nantucket Island
2. When did they land in 1620? Nov. 11 Nov. 26 Dec. 10 Dec. 18
And the answers are . . .
1. This is Plymouth Rock. It’s where we think the Pilgrims landed back in 1620. See! It’s on the rock!
But the Pilgrims never refered to Plymouth Rock in any of their writing. The first known written reference was in 1715. That was almost 100 years later. Did they still remember, a rock?
The first documented claim was in 1741 by Elder Thomas Faunce. How did he know? He wrote about it – 121 years later!
2. The Pilgrims didn’t land on November 11th. The Mayflower was sitting in Provincetown Harbor. No Plymouth Rock – in sight! That’s when the men signed the Mayflower Compact. This photo’s the Mayflower, but it’s only a copy of the original.
It wasn’t November 26th either. There’s nothing on the calendar until December 10th. That’s when a scouting group found a good harbor on the west side of Cape Cod Bay. In between the pilgrim men sent out search party after search party looking for a great landing spot.
Why? They needed a place for ships to land. They would still need supplies to come from England. Eventually they’d ship out their own goods/products to sell back to English markets.
They finally landed on December 18th, one week before Christmas of 1620. Why didn’t they land sooner? Bad weather! Can you imagine living aboard ship in December without a heater, or, trying to build new homes in the cold New England winter? YIKES!
Plymouth Harbor Source: By Linear77 - Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=34890560
Plymouth Rock: By jjron - Own work, GFDL 1.2, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19571461
Mayflower II: By GmaJoli - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=51381537
Information Sources: 1. en.wikipedia.org
3. Mayflower Lands at Plymouth - HISTORY (This site has great photos and quick video clips)
Part 1 - The Branches of the US Military
1. Which military branch was established first?Army Marines Air Force Navy Coast Guard
2. Can you put them in order historically, first to last?
3. What is the newest branch that was founded by President Trump?
And the answers . . .
1. The Army was first to be created.
2. The Historical Order for our Military Branches
June 14, 1775 The Army’s established.
October 13, 1775 The Navy’s created
November 10, 1775 The Marine Corp are formed
August 4, 1790 The Coast Guard’s established.
September 18, 1947 The Air Force is created.
*** Bonus Question ***
Why did the US form three military branches in 1775?
We were in the run-up to the Declaration of Independence. It came out on July 4th, 1776. The Revolutionary War would soon follow
3. The Air Force Space Command was formed on September 1st, 1982. It became an independent branch, The Space Force on December 20, 2019.
Sources: More Info: en.wikipedia.org
Part 2 – The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
4. Which part of the military guards the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington, Virginia?
Army Navy Air Force Marines
5. Where is the Tomb of the Unknowns?
Washington, DC Arlington, Virginia
6. Which war did the first Unknown Soldier serve in?
The American Revolution The Civil War
Custer’s Last Stand World War I
And the answers . . .
4. The US Army guards the tomb. It was first guarded by the 3rd Calvary from Fort Myer, Virginia. The 3rd Infantry Regiment took over April 6, 1948,
Many soldiers volunteer for this service, but only 20% are accepted for training. Then only a small fraction of those will actually become guards.
The sentry in the photo is ‘walking the mat.’
- He marches south for 21 steps.
- Then he faces east for 21 seconds.
- He faces north, switches his weapon arm, and waits 21 seconds.
- Next he marches north 21 steps.
- He faces east again for 21 seconds.
- Then he faces south, switches his weapon arm, and waits 21 seconds.
The sentry will repeat this march until the guard is changed, and he’s relieved of service.
Why all the 21’s? It’s our highest military honor – a 21-gun salute.
The weapon arm is always on the shoulder nearest visitors. It protects and honors the Unknown Soldier. Source: More Info: en.wikipedia.org.
5. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is in Arlington, Virginia. That’s only 6.6 miles from Washington, D.C.
6. The Unknown Soldier served in World War I. Congress approved the memorial on March 4, 1921. Sgt. Edward F. Younger, a highly decorated soldier, was selected to choose the unknown.
He was shown four caskets from a cemetery in France. He picked the third one. It was sent home. The other three caskets are interred, buried in France.
That third casket lay in State in the Capitol Rotunda. It was interred at Arlington National Cemetery on November 11, 1921, where it’s still guarded today.
I thought there was just one unknown soldier, but there are four. The other three are on the west side of the Tomb. They represent the unknown from World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.
The other unknowns are in flush tombs. That means their caskets lie under a slab of white marble.
The Unknowns are guarded 365 days a year. Day and night, in all kinds of weather, men and women watch over them in silence, never knowing their name, but honoring their service. In this photo, with a rose. Source: More Info: en.wikipedia.org.
Part 3 – American Military Cemeteries
7. Which state has a military cemetery that belongs to England?
New York Massachusetts Virginia North Carolina
8. There are enemy combatants buried in Arlington National Cemetery. True or False?
9. How many American military cemeteries are located around the world? 16 20 26 30
And the answers . . .
7. This is the English cemetery, on the island of Ocracoke, in North Carolina. How did it get there? Here’s its story . . .
Back in 1942 German U-boats targeted American ships leaving from the Atlantic coast. They were sailing to Europe with supplies for the Allies. The Germans sank 35 American ships in January alone.
The US asked Great Britain for help. They sent ships to patrol the eastern seaboard. One of them, the Bedfordshire, was sunk by a German U-Boat in May of 1942. Everyone was lost. Four bodies washed ashore on Ocracoke.
The islanders buried them and built the monument in the photo. They also leased the land to Great Britain in perpetuity, forever.
Every May Americans and Brits come together to remember the sacrifice of the crew from the Bedfordshire.
Question Source: BBC | Date Updated: September 3, 2020
9. There are 26 military cemeteries for American servicemen and women around the world. There are also 30 memorials, monuments and markers. Here are 6 of them.
These cemeteries and monuments are found in 17 countries around the world including France, Belgium, the United Kingdom, the Philippines, Panama, Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, Tunisia, the Solomon Islands, South Korea, Papua New Guinea, Gibraltar, New Zealand, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Morocco. There’s even a monument, a tree, in Cuba.
Click on this link and you’ll find an interactive map, plus more information. https://www.abmc.gov/cemeteries-memorials/cemeteries-memorials-map
Part 1 – Meet Melanie – She’s a German teacher by day, and the school year of course. But at any other time, she’s a writer.
Melanie is from Southern Maine. If you’re trying to picture Maine, think New England, then go to the north-east corner of the Atlantic seaboard. Go across the border, and you’re in Canada, the nation to the north.
very musical – she sings, plays the piano, the recorder, and a few other instruments. She IS super talented!
Her website is titled Schreibenfreude, and it’s about sharing the joy of books, words, writing, and language. I think she’s on her way! If you’d like to learn more, visit her at https://melaniekyer.com/
This is Melanie with one of her favorite people, Gibran Graham from The Briar Patch. He helped her with presales. That’s when you buy a book before it’s published. Why? So you can be one of the first people to read it. It’s pretty exciting for authors, and for readers.
This is Melanie’s debut book, her very first. Your first is so exciting – for you, your family, for everyone you know. It’s a lot like your first child. You love all your kids, but there’s something special about that first one.
December is a month full of holidays, and they come from cultures all over the world. From religions like Buddhist to Christian to Jewish, and so many more. When eight cookies from different cultures come together, there’s a scramble to be the top cookie. Thank goodness for Indian Shortbread, who pushed to make peace.
Enjoy this rhyming picture book. It’s full of recipes and facts about traditional cookies from Greece, Germany, Israel, central Africa, the US, and Mexico.
Take a look at this map. You can find all of these countries. But to find the US and Mexico, this map would need to extend across the Atlantic Ocean.
Greece (in pink) Germany (green) Israel (red)
India (pink) I can’t see the name, but Pakistan (green) is west of India. I checked on a larger map 😊
Niger and Chad (green and yellow) are part of the continent of Africa. They’re in the north. Central Africa would be farther south.
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.
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!