Tuesday, March 26

We Were There at the Battle of the Bulge


***Pick up your FREE Activity Pack***

The Battle of the Bulge was the largest battle on the Western Front of World War 2.  It lasted from December 16, 1944 to January 16, 1945.  It was called the “Bulge” because the German troops formed a bulge in the Ardennes Forest, trying to push through the American defenses.

A surprise attack through this forest had worked out well for Hitler in 1940, and the Nazi situation was looking bad, so he tried to use the same tactic again...striking his enemy by surprise.  On December 26, the German ring around the town of Bastogne was broken by General Patton and his Sherman tanks.

The winter weather was slowing down the German advance, the roads were a muddy mess, and the Nazis were running out of supplies.  Both sides dug in for the long haul through the cold.  When weather improved, the Allied pilots began counterattacks against the Germans.  After a month of fighting, the battle officially ended.

The Allies lost 1/7th of their soldiers, but the Germans took a much bigger hit, with 1/5th of their soldiers dying during the battle.  This second major victory for the Allies helped to clench the end of World War 2.  Because of this outcome, Germany was defeated, and the end of war in Europe came, sooner.

Read

Make / Do 
Watch
Define / Identify
  • 101st Airborne Division
  • Ardennes
  • Bastogne
  • Belgium
  • D-Day
  • Luxembourg
  • Panzer
Think
  • How would history have been different if the Germans had won the Battle of the Bulge?
  • What was the Allies’ goal in the Ardennes Forest?

Check out all of our We Were There unit studies!

Monday, March 25

Healthier Breakfast Options : Kefir

There's a new phenomenon showing up on the dairy aisle of even the most mundane grocery stores....it's a kefir revolution!  The products can be expensive, though, and maybe you haven't given it a shot yet.  Not to worry...you can make it at home for considerably less!

If you're a milk drinker, kefir is probably going to taste a little 'off' at first, but it's an aquired taste, and one that's well worth it!  Kefir’s tart and refreshing flavor is similar to a drinking-style yogurt, but it contains beneficial yeast as well as friendly ‘probiotic’ bacteria found in yogurt. 

The naturally occurring bacteria and yeast in kefir combine symbiotically to give superior health benefits when consumed regularly. It is loaded with valuable vitamins and minerals and contains easily digestible complete proteins. 

Make Your Own Kefir (for way cheaper than you can buy it!)
Makes 1 cup

Ingredients

1 cup milk, preferably whole fat (see Recipe Notes)
1 teaspoon active kefir grains (See Recipe Notes)
Equipment
1 pint-sized glass jar
Cheesecloth, paper towel, or clean napkin
Rubberband
Small strainer (preferably plastic, but metal is ok)
Storage container with lid

Instructions

Note: Avoid prolonged contact between the kefir and metal both during and after brewing. This can affect the flavor of your kefir and weaken the grains over time.
  1. Combine the milk and the grains in a jar: Pour the milk into a clean glass jar (not metal) and stir in the kefir grains. The milk can be cold or room temperature, either is fine.
  2. Cover the jar: Cover the jar with cheesecloth, a paper towel, or a clean napkin and secure it with a rubber band. Do not screw a lid onto the jar as the build up of carbon dioxide from the fermenting grains can cause pressure to build in the jar, and in extreme cases, cause the jar to burst.
  3. Ferment for 12 to 48 hours: Store the jar at room temperature (ideally around 70°F) away from direct sunlight. Check the jar every few hours. When the milk has thickened and tastes tangy, it's ready. This will usually take about 24 hours at average room temperatures; the milk will ferment faster at warmer temperatures and slower at cool temperatures. If your milk hasn't fermented after 48 hours, strain out the grains and try again in a fresh batch (this sometimes happens when using new kefir grains, when refreshing dried kefir grains, or when using grains that have been refrigerated).
  4. Strain out the kefir grains: Place a small strainer over the container you'll use to store the kefir. Strain the kefir into the container, catching the grains in the strainer.
  5. Transfer the grains to fresh milk: Stir the grains into a fresh batch of milk and allow to ferment again. This way, you can make a fresh batch of kefir roughly every 24 hours. To take a break from making kefir, place the grains in fresh milk, cover tightly, and refrigerate.
  6. Drink or refrigerate the milk kefir: The prepared milk kefir can be used or drunk immediately, or covered tightly and stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Recipe Notes

  • Activating Dried Kefir Grains: If you bought your kefir grains in a dried form, rehydrate them by soaking them in fresh milk at room temperature. Change the milk every 24 hours until the grains begin to culture the milk and make kefir. It may take 3 to 7 days for the kefir grains to become fully active.
  • What Milk to Use: Kefir works best with whole-fat cow, goat, sheep, or other animal milk. You can use low-fat milks, but refresh the grains in whole fat milk if they stop fermenting the kefir properly. Raw and pasteurized milks can be used, but avoid ultra-high temperature (UHT) pasteurized milks.
  • Making More or Less Kefir: You'll need about a teaspoon of grains to ferment 1 to 2 cups of milk. You can also ferment less milk than this, but fermentation will go more quickly. Your grains will start to multiply over time, allowing you to ferment more milk if you like. Maintain a ratio of about a teaspoon of grains to 1 cup of milk.
  • Taking a Break from Making Kefir: To take a break from making kefir, transfer the grains into a fresh container of milk, cover tightly, and refrigerate for up to a month.
  • What to Do if Your Kefir Separates: Sometimes kefir will separate into a solid layer and milky layer if left too long. This is fine! Shake the jar or whisk the kefir to recombine and carry on. If this happens regularly, start checking your kefir sooner.
Other Ways to Use Kefir

  • Use as a substitute for buttermilke
  • Soak your grains in it, to release more nutrients
  • Mix with herbs for a salad dressing
  • Substitute it for milk in ice cream (we have not tried this one yet)

Wednesday, March 20

War-Torn Heart {Review} + Pearl Harbor Unit



War-Torn Heart (Allison Wells)

Abigail Walker, a young woman from rural South Carolina, is on the cusp of womanhood, aching to be able to run wild as the younger children do, yet yearning for things she has yet to understand.  Awkward and unsure of herself, Abby is flustered when she meets Harvey Nicholas, a cadet from Clemson College. As summer begins, Abby finds herself constantly in the company of Harvey and falling quickly in love with him.

As rumors of war begin to reach the States, Abby begins to fear what may come for her older brother and Harvey.  Once Pearl Harbor is bombed, the boys are eager to protect their home and the women they love. But will Abby and Harvey's love be able to withstand distance, rumors, loss, and hurt? Or will the war be what tears apart Abby's heart?  War-Torn Heart is a kleenex-box book with a story of hope, of love, and of perseverance through World War II, which will make the reader cry, scream, and long for more.

Our thoughts...
As an adult, I really enjoyed the story.  The characters had some depth, and the novel showed many different perspectives on the war, both from a soldier's point of view and from the homefront.  Some of the novel was predictable, but there was a few twists.  The author does a good job of setting the scene in 1940s South Carolina, and I could feel that I was on the road trip from Greenville to Charleston.  The one thing I took issue to was this -- it is a novel targeted at a teen audience, but there are many graphic scenes (not sex scenes, just graphically romantic) throughout the novel.  Removing, or downplaying, them would not have affected the plot or story at all, and so I wonder why they were included.  As a parent, I would say that this is only for the maturest of teens, and probably not a story that boys would be interested in anyway.  Again, as an adult, I enjoyed the book.

Visit the World War 2 Christmas unit study, hosted at Gypsy Road.

Read
Make / Do
Watch
Define / Identify
  • Battleship Row
  • Pearl Harbor
  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt
  • U.S.S. Arizona
  • Japan
  • Hawaii
  • Hong Kong
  • Guam
  • Philippine Islands
  • Wake Island
  • Midway Island
Think
  • Why do you think President Franklin Roosevelt called the bombing of Pearl Harbor “a date that will live in infamy?”
  • Why was there no declaration of war before the attack?  Why do you thing that Japanese Admiral Yamamoto feared that the attack on Pearl Harbor would eventually be detrimental to Japan’s cause?


War Torn Heart blog & review tour

Welcome to the Blog & Review Tour –and Giveaway –for War-Torn Heart by Allison Wells, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Allison-Wells-300x200

Allison Wells is a new author, but for the most part she’s a Southern wife and mother. With four active children, she spends most of her time in the car, but when she can she loves to sit down and read or write. Allison is a graduate of Clemson University in the beautiful foothills of South Carolina and she still lives close enough to hear football games on Saturdays. 

CONNECT WITH ALLISON: website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

war-torn heart giveaway

TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will win a print copy of War-Torn Heart (US only)
(1) winner will win an ebook copy of War-Torn Heart (open internationally) 

Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight March 18, 2019 and last through 11:59 pm March 25, 2019. Void where prohibited by law. Winners will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!
cropped-justread-logo.png

Tuesday, March 19

Drive Thru History - Acts to Revelation {Review}


Teen boys aren't the easiest ones to get into Bible study or Biblical history, but Drive Thru History® videos get the job done! Recently, we watched Drive Thru History® "Acts to Revelation", which, as the title would indicate, is all about the these books of the New Testament. 

Drive Thru History® "Acts to Revelation" has 18 episodes in the series - each is half an hour long – and it also includes an accompanying study guide. Our boys are in middle and high school, and while they have both thoroughly enjoyed Drive Thru History in the past, it was really the older one who enjoyed this particular series. It is geared more toward adults and older children, and isn't as goofy as some of the earlier Drive Thru History videos, such as the Ancient History or Revolution series. That’s not to say that the younger one didn’t like it, but some of the material was over his head, and since it wasn’t as goofy as previous series, it was less entertaining for him.

Our one son who is very much into archaeology and ancient history really loved the series. He learned “how to cross-reference history books with the Bible” (his words), and was very excited by that! While the main focus is Biblical history, and the teachings of the disciples, there is also a lot of timeline work and archaeology incorporated into this series.

Videos
The series centers around the first Christians, in the time right after the crucifixion, as told primarily through the Book of Acts and letters from Paul. Other important figures in history, such as Peter, James, Silas, and Timothy - some of the earliest missionaries - are featured as well.

The film crew visited a multitude of sites throughout Turkey, Greece, Rome, and the islands of Malta and Cyprus as they delved back into time and connected the past with the present.  In addition to the boys, my husband and I, who both love to travel but haven’t made it very far overseas, both appreciated and enjoyed the virtual field trips and the beautiful cinematography of the footage….it really makes it feel as though you’re walking through these landscapes.

Episodes
  • The Gospel Shared at Pentecost
  • The Church Grows in Jerusalem
  • The Gospel Spreads to the Gentiles
  • Saul of Tarsus & the Road to Damascus
  • Paul’s First Missionary Journey – The Island of Cyprus
  • The Journey Continues – Pamphylia, Galatia & Asia Minor
  • The Jerusalem Council & Paul’s Second Missionary Journey
  • The Second Journey Continues – Philippi and Thessalonica
  • A Road Trip to Athens
  • Ancient Corinth
  • Paul’s Third Missionary Journey -- Ephesus
  • Paul’s Final Trip to Jerusalem & Caesarea
  • Adventures at Sea – The Island of Malta
  • A Final Journey to Rome
  • The Martyrdom of Paul & Peter
  • John and the Island of Patmos
  • The Seven Churches of Revelation
  • The Book Closes on the New Testament Period
Study Guide
The 118-page study guide covers each of the episodes separately, and includes stunning photos, discussion questions, inspirational quotes, and ideas for further study. If you’ve been wanting to incorporate Bible study into your curriculum, but (a) the kids aren’t into it; (b) the material you’ve previously used seems dry; or (c) it’s just not at all engaging….then you should give Drive Thru History a shot!

Each of the lessons in the study guide begins with the title and a quote from scripture, set against beautiful photography.  This is followed by a summary of the episode.    The next page has discussion questions, scripture recommendations for further reading, more (relevant) photography, and a 'side road.'  These side roads are a favorite of my children, as they introduce historic concepts and archaeological finds.  The final page of the lesson is an exquisite two-page spread of the geographic area covered in that episode.  (The answers to discussion questions are found at the very end of the study guide.)

For an engaging religious studies class, this is the perfect series for middle and high school. It's informative and entertaining, and the narrator is just goofy enough to keep you wondering what will happen next! The cinematography is well-done, and the history is presented at an age-appropriate level for children to understand and adults to want to learn by their side.

See what others are saying about 
Drive Thru History® "Acts to Revelation" at the Schoolhouse Review Crew!
Crew DisclaimerDrive Thru History®

Monday, March 18

The Dragon Pearl & Korean Mythology

***Shout out to our 15yo...who found this to be the most difficult of the Modern Mythology posts!***


There are three types of myths in Korean culture - the shin, cheonseol, and mindam.  Shin stories are about ghosts or spirits, and are usually supernatural tales.  Cheonseol is based on Confucianism, and shows humans who rise above their station in life to challenge the gods.  These stories are often handed down, like folklore, and usually involve something that was left behind, such as a flower or rock.  Mindam stories might have someone overcoming a difficult situation through luck or trickery.  These stories are about common people.  Unlike western myths, the spirits in Korean myths are not always evil.  Life and death are considered part of the same process, and life can co-exist with death.

Creation story
The world did not exist until Yul-ryeo, a god, and the goddess Mago both appeared.  Yul-ryeo died, but Mago gave birth to Gung-hee and So-hee, two goddesses.  Each of the girls gave birth to two Men of Heaven and two Women of Heaven...these were the Heavenly People

Then Yul-ryeo was revived, and the earth, oceans, souls, fire, water, and earth were created.  These became the plants and animals of the world.  The Heavenly People ruled from a fortress called Magoseong, in honor of the goddess Mago.
CharacterPronunciationMeaning
shin                                shin                   spirit, god, divine, supernatural
hwahwa                    words, to talk
cheoncheon                    transmit, hand down
seolseol                                  to say, to speak
minmin                    people, mankind, folk
damdam                    to talk, to converse

Read
  • The Dragon Pearl
    • Min comes from a long line of fox spirits, but you'd never know it by looking at her. To keep the family safe, Min's mother insists that none of them use any fox-magic, such as Charm or shape-shifting. They must appear human at all times.  Min feels hemmed in by the household rules and resents the endless chores, the cousins who crowd her, and the aunties who judge her. She would like nothing more than to escape Jinju, her neglected, dust-ridden, and impoverished planet. She's counting the days until she can follow her older brother, Jun, into the Space Forces and see more of the Thousand Worlds.  When word arrives that Jun is suspected of leaving his post to go in search of the Dragon Pearl, Min knows that something is wrong. Jun would never desert his battle cruiser, even for a mystical object rumored to have tremendous power. She decides to run away to find him and clear his name.  Min's quest will have her meeting gamblers, pirates, and vengeful ghosts. It will involve deception, lies, and sabotage. She will be forced to use more fox-magic than ever before, and to rely on all of her cleverness and bravery. The outcome may not be what she had hoped, but it has the potential to exceed her wildest dreams.
Make / Do
Watch / Listen
Define / Identify
  • Sang-je
  • Mireuk
  • Seokga
  • Haemosu
  • Dalnim
  • Jacheongbi
  • Yeomna
  • Paritegi
  • Samshin-halmang
  • Gameunjang-aegi
  • Jowangshin
Think
  • How does Korean mythology compare to Greek or Roman mythology?
  • Write a short (one or two paragraph) myth that falls into one of the three categories of Korean mythology.

Thursday, March 14

DIY Greens for Pennies


One of my favorite ways to utilize the abundance of greens, which seem to come in feast or famine cycles, is by making greens powder.

Greens are considered one of the best sources of nutrition available. This can include any type of greens: kale, collards, beet greens, herbs such as parsley and cilantro, lettuce, and even weeds such as purslane, clover, and dandelions. 

They are very alkalinizing, meaning they help restore a healthy acid-alkaline balance in the body. But keep in mind that greens aren’t a replacement for other vegetables in your diet. It’s still vital to consume a wide variety of fresh vegetables and fruits.

Making your own green powder has many advantages
  • it is a great way to use leftover greens
  • saves money - A LOT of money!
  • puts you in charge of knowing where your nutrients have been

Easy-Peasy Organic Greens Powder
  • Take off the stems. Thicker greens have stems that become quite hard when dehydrated, and can be difficult to turn into powder.
  • Dehydrate. Pop into a dehydrator for 4-8 hours, or in the oven at 200 for two hours. They shrink quite a bit, so put them close but not over top of each other. (This is my favorite dehydrator.)
    • Note : Cooking the greens reduces the amount of oxalic acid, which may be a good option for those with certain health conditions such as kidney stones.
  • Grind into powder. Then strain through mesh into a jar or into another container of your choice. Keep sealed and in a cool, dark place or a refrigerator to keep fresh.
Not ready to make your own yet?   Here are some of the best greens on the market :
Looking for more herbal wisdom from your garden?  Check out Simple Kitchen Fixes: Using Everyday Herbs.

Tuesday, March 12

Legends of the Southwest + Native American Mythology


One thing that is important to understand is that the Native Americans didn't have one mythology. They had many different stories, and it depended on what tribe you belonged to and where you lived. Each had stories passed down from generation to generation, and they slow changed. 

There were some things that they all believed though. Most of them believed in nature, spirits, and things such as the moon. They believed that everything had a spirit, from living things to inanimate objects. This is one of the oldest forms of religion. Much of their religion and history were interlinked to form myths and stories. 

There are several similarities, like how the creator gods created everything from life to death. The primary gods for most of the tribes were Mother Earth and Father Sky, but there were other gods as well, such as the Spider Woman, Napi, or Awonawilona. 

Most of the deities, besides the creators, were things like tricksters and shape shifters. They wanted to keep the spirits happy, to avoid any conflict with them. Tricksters often took the shape of animals to cause havoc. Commons shapes were the coyote, the spider, or the rabbit. The Native American mythology is so varied that it makes it hard to study as a whole.


Creation Story
First there was only darkness over everything. It filled all space. It covered the whole world. The ancient Sun Father, dwelling in the Great Outer Spaces, gazed around with his all-seeing eyes and saw that all was covered with water. So he rubbed his hands together and from the skin that flaked off, he formed two great balls. 

Raising one arm high, he flung one of the balls into the water. It melted slowly and spread far and wide and grew bigger and bigger. As it grew, part of it sank into the water and it became Mother Earth. Then he threw the second ball into the water. That, too, spread all over, growing even larger than the first. It drew up all the water that was left by the first ball and became Father Sky. (Slowly increase the brightness of the starfield). So there is water on Mother Earth and water in Father Sky — and that is why the sky is blue. 

Time went on and Mother Earth gave birth to man and creatures. One day Mother Earth and Father Sky held a great council. “How will our children live?” said Mother Earth. “We must have food for our children. How, after they are born, shall they live and be guided?” Father Sky answered, “They will be guided by my hands when I am not near. Behold!” He spread out his great hands, palms downward. There was golden yellow corn kernels in every line and wrinkle of his palms and fingers. “The shining kernels will tell them what to do and how to live. They will be their guiding stars!” That, say the Zuni, was in the beginning

Read
Make / Do
Watch
Vocabulary
  • Alliance
  • Ancestors
  • Barter
  • Blood-brother
  • Bluff
  • Breech-cloth
  • Ceremonial
  • Communal
  • Elders
  • Father Sun
  • Garb
  • Gourd
  • Headdress
  • Insufficient
  • Kinship
  • Long house
  • Maize
  • Mohawk
  • Pow-wow
  • Pueblo
  • Reservation
  • Rite
  • Sachem
  • Shaman
  • Succotash
  • Totem pole
  • Wampum
  • Wily
Think
  • How is the Native American creation myth similar to other cultures' creation myths?  How is it different?
  • How do the myths reflect how the Native Americans viewed the world around them?