Saturday, June 29, 2013

Cher Ami- The Patriotic Pigeon

By Deborah Pace Rowley

I love activities that teach as well as entertain. The 4th of July is an ideal holiday to combine fun and learning. It is an important day for parents to teach our children about the freedoms we enjoy as Americans and the sacrifices that others have made to keep our country free.

This past school year when we were studying World War 1, I learned the story of Cher Ami- a messenger pigeon used in the Allied conflict in France. I loved this story and my students did too. I thought it would be fun to plan a 4th of July activity around this amazing bird.

First, Katie and I made pigeon cupcakes. I know the eagle gets all the attention this time of year but I wanted our pigeon to have her day in the sun as well. I modeled our pigeon after the Mo Willems pigeon in one of our favorite picture books, Dont' Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!

I simply made a white cupcake and tinted some frosting blue. I also tinted coconut blue for the little tuffs of feathers on top of our pigeon's head.

Then we used large marshmallows and chocolate chips for the eyes and the tip of a gummy worm for the beak.

Once we had our cupcakes prepared, I made this sign to tell guests about Cher Ami.

You can print out the sign here.

Then you could set it out next to the cupcakes with the rest of your Independence Day spread.

If you don't want to print out the sign, you could just print out the QR Code here. Then you could attach the QR Code to each cupcake with a red or blue ribbon.

Or if you would rather just tell Cher Ami's story while you eat the cupcakes, you can find the story here.

Whether or not you make our pigeon cupcakes, I hope you will share the story about this heroic bird and how she saved 194 soldiers' lives this 4th of July.

I was so inspired by her story and I know that you will be too.

Happy 4th of July!

Cher Ami Poster

QR Code Only For Cher Ami

Cher Ami- The Patriotic Pigeon Story

Pin It

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Tell Family Stories

By Deborah Pace Rowley

Recently I read an article in the Christian Science Monitor that was entitled, "Tell Family Stories: It Could Determine their Future" by Jim Sollisch. Here is just an excerpt:

"There is evidence that kids who know their families’ stories are much better adjusted than kids who don’t.
Marshall Duke, a psychologist at Emory University, along with his colleague Robyn Fivush, developed a simple 20-question scale called “Do you know?” It asks things like “Do you know where your grandmother grew up? Do you know where your parents went to high school?”

(My father William Pace as a little boy on his pony Flash) 

They gave the survey to 66 kids and then compared the results with a battery of traditional psychological tests the kids had previously taken. They found an overwhelming correlation: The kids who scored highest on the “Do you know?” scale turned out to have higher levels of emotional well-being.

The more you know about your family’s story, the more you feel a part of something bigger. You see yourself as a character in an ongoing saga, a narrative of successes and failures, of striving – because that’s the story of every family, really. 

So the next time your children ask for a story, you don’t have to conjure up faraway kingdoms and alien creatures. Tell them about the time you hit the game-winning shot.Tell them about their grandmother who, when her husband died, talked her way into his job as a traveling auto parts salesman back in 1944. That’s a story my mother told my brother and me, a story that reminded us we come from a family that doesn’t take no for an answer.

It seems to me that the best stories are the ones only we can tell our children."

Wow! I love that. I have always enjoyed telling my children stories about their heritage. One Christmas I made all of my siblings and their children a collection of family stories that I had copied and bound at a local printing shop. The cover looked like this. My children helped color each one.

My children's favorite story in this book is "Grandma Baptized the Chicken." It is a story about my grandmother Virginia Judd Pace when she was a little girl on a small farm in Coalville, Utah.

This is a picture of my grandmother with her father George Henry Judd. For you to understand this story, you need to know that we are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) and in our faith, children are baptized when they are eight years old. We have been taught that at age 8 children reach the age of accountability and are old enough to make their own choices and understand right from wrong. We are also baptized by immersion which means that we are completely submerged in water rather than being sprinkled.

Now that you know those few details, you can hear how the chicken got involved. This is the story as told in my grandmother's own words:

"My brother Bill and I were pals. One time we were in the corral at the watering trough by the big barn. The trough was large like a bathtub we use nowdays. We decided to play baptize. So we went to the chicken coop and got a hen. We said words, I can't remember what, but then we pushed her under the water. She flipped and fluttered and sputtered and of course, we knew if you don't go very bit all under the water, it doesn't count. The last time under she didn't fight but when she came up her head flopped. She was dead. O grief, what had we done! What would daddy say? Well, maybe if we put her back on the nest she would dry off before Daddy found her. It didn't work, Daddy found her and guessed what had happened. The two of us were questioned and we were honest and confessed. "Well," Daddy said, "Don't you think you should be punished?" Yes, we knew we should be. So Daddy took from his pocket his best knife and said, "Cut some switches for your lickin." We headed to the back of the house where there was a hawthorn tree which had thorns. Bill said "We really have been bad. Better get some with thorns on it, while we are at it." We slowly, humbly, with heads low brought the thorny switches and turned around, waiting for the punishment. We waited, waited, glanced at each other and then guess what? Our dad started laughing and he really laughed so that he couldn't stop. We turned around and he said, "You have learned a lesson. It's ok kids."

(Virginia Judd's Family) 

I am not sure what lesson my children learn from that story. It is okay to accidentally kill farm animals? Couldn't be that! But as a Mom, I have learned that I don't need to take EVERYTHING so seriously and that when my kids make innocent mistakes, sometimes it is okay to just laugh! I think every parent needs to remember a story that teaches that lesson.

Pin It

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Hogwarts Summer School Week 2

By Deborah Pace Rowley

The families participating in our Hogwarts Summer Fun Challenge have just completed Week 2. Here are some of the activities that they participated in.

Growing Gummy Bears in Potions.

Making a crazy ice cream flavor also for Potions.

Making something out of folded paper in Transfigurations. 

And the favorite activity by far was Eye-Bombing for Herbology. 

You can read our previous post on how to have some fun eye-bombing here.

Nothing escaped the magic of these witches and wizards in their eye-bombing frenzy! We even had a park bathroom eye-bombed as well as a baby brother! Hopefully no Muggles were in the vicinity and needed to be mind-wiped as a result!

Now for the winner of the House Cup. The winner for Week 2 is..... *Drum Roll Please.

Gryffindor! The houses have really made it a race this week. Gryffindor is now in the lead with 29 points. Ravenclaw is a close second with 28 points. Slytherin is nipping at their heels with 27 points and Hufflepuff is bringing up the rear with 25 points. Great job to all the houses. Keep up the good work with Week 3!

Pin It

Monday, June 24, 2013

Easy Science Experiment: Dark Vs. White Shirts in the Sun

By Deborah Pace Rowley
During summer camp, we did a simple science experiment that I think would make a great project for a science fair.

We tested the theory that dark shirts are hotter in the sun. The way we tested this theory was to put the kids in both white and black t-shirts.

Then we stuck onto their foreheads those digital thermometers that record body temperature. Ours were called Fever Bugz and came in cute butterfly, caterpillar and ladybug patterns.
You can order them for less than $5.00 here. The kids were excited to see the results after standing in the sun and in the shade for 4 to 5 minutes.

Then we recorded their results on a chart and we were done! I love simple and easy science experiments that can be accomplished in one day. (Although if your child springs their science fair project on you at 10 p.m. the night before it is due.... this one won't exactly work! Not that THAT has happened to me before!!)

Pin It

Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Great Marshmallow Shoot Out

By Deborah Pace Rowley

One day at summer camp we held the Great Marshmallow Shoot Out. We had already made some PVC pipe shooters that we gave to half the campers. You can learn how to make PVC pipe shooters here. Then the other half made Balloon Cup Shooters and we had a competition to see which launcher worked the best. The kids had so much fun with this activity and Balloon Cup Shooters were so easy to make that I knew that we had to share.

To make a Balloon Cup Shooter all you need as a large round balloon, two plastic cups, some scissors and some mini marshmallows. (Large marshmallows would work great with this shooter too!)

First take two plastic cups and cut off the bottoms. Put the two cups together. You need two cups or the pressure from the stretched balloon will just cause the cup to collapse.

Then take your balloon and tie it closed. Then cut off rounded end. (Don't blow it up first.)

Then stretch the balloon around the top (uncut) side of the cups.

That is all there is to it. Now your super Balloon Cup Shooter is ready to go.

To shoot, all you need to do is put a marshmallow or two in the cup and then pull back on the tied balloon and let it go to send the marshmallows flying through the air.

The kids decided that the PVC pipe shooters were easier to aim but the balloon cup shooters had a greater range. Tip" If your balloon cup shooter isn't launching as well as you like, pull the balloon further onto the cups to stretch the balloon a little tighter.

Try making these at your next campout or anytime you have a bunch of kids together (and Dads for that matter) and watch the fun and the marshmallows fly!

Pin It

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Burning Wood with a Magnifying Glass

By Deborah Pace Rowley

What elementary age boy does not go crazy at the thought of burning something with a magnifying glass? Or girl for that matter!

Harness that enthusiasm in a safe and productive way and create a super simple science experiment at the same time. At summer camp this year, we cut a small branch into circles and drilled a hole in one end.

Then we gave each student their own wood medallion and a magnifying glass and had them sit in the sun. It is challenging at first to focus the sun's rays. You need to get a small focused circle of light to shine on the piece of wood. But once you get the hang of it, you can burn your initials into the wood pretty quickly.

Everyone got excited about trying this project and we talked about the power that can come from a single ray of sun. This led to a discussion about sunburns and sunscreen as well as solar panels and solar energy.

After each student had burned their initials into the wood, they were able to string their medallion on a piece of yarn and add some UV sensitive beads to finish up the necklace. It was a great take-home camp project and lots of fun!

Pin It
Blogging tips