Download N Go Expedition China

We did the Expedition China Download N Go last week. We learned all sorts of things about China, the most interesting being that all of the cities we learned about are exactly 12 hours off of our time (eastern) and the temperatures were very similar to our own. For some reason Cameron was fascinated by the fact that there is golf in China.

Expedition China

After we finished the five day study, we went to a Chinese restaurant for dinner. The first thing we were greeted with when we walked in was a lovely water display.
Expedition China

After we ate lots (and lots – it was a buffet) of food, we had fortune cookies.
Expedition China

Expedition China

Another really fun study!

Download N Go: George Washington

Since we are switching to Calvert this fall, we’ve decided to do a “light” version of school for the summer. As part of that, Ani has started joining Cameron for his Download N Go lessons. Last week we learned all about George Washington.
Download N Go: George Washington

Even the guinea pig joins us for lessons sometimes.
Download N Go: George Washington

For three years we lived just a few miles from Mount Vernon, but we never went there. Now we live an hour away, but since the kids learned about George Washington, we decided it was time to take a field trip to see his house. So we went there on Saturday.

When we woke up, our 5 weeks without rain had ended. It was pouring. But the forecast was promising so we went anyway. By the time we got there at 10:30 it was only drizzling and a couple hours later the rain was gone completely. As it turned out, it was a perfect day to go because the rain kept the big crowds away, but the weather didn’t turn out too bad after all (2-3,000 instead of a typical 5-6,000 this time of year).

Download N Go: George Washington
(No pictures inside the mansion itself… they don’t allow photography in there.)

With George, Martha, and two grandchildren.
Download N Go: George Washington

We watched a really cool video. It had two screens, one flat and one rounded. When the cannons went off lights in the theater flashed and the seats rumbled. Fog filled the front of the room at certain points and it even snowed on us while they were at Valley Forge. The kids loved the snow.
Download N Go: George Washington

The education building had a room for kids about 3-8 years old. The kids got to be George, Martha, and two grandkids.
Download N Go: George Washington

They got to play with a big dollhouse made to look just like Mount Vernon.
Download N Go: George Washington

They got to see the different “faces” of George Washington.
Download N Go: George Washington

They even got to dress up like colonial people.
Download N Go: George Washington

The hands-on part of the education center had really neat dioramas.
Download N Go: George Washington

We went down to the farm after we finished at the education center.
Download N Go: George Washington

They have a really nice round barn there.
Download N Go: George Washington

There are lots of animals including sheep, oxen, hogs, and mules.
Download N Go: George Washington

Once we finished at Mount Vernon, we went to the gristmill and distillery just a few miles away. Those were two of George Washington’s money-making ventures (he was an excellent businessman).

Right outside the gristmill are two millstones. They were never used for grinding grain, however. The furrows are too deep for that. They were used to grind seashells to be used for roads. The pattern of the furrows is the same as on the wheat grinding stones.
Download N Go: George Washington

It’s amazing how the water wheel in the gristmill automated the whole process of grinding grain over 200 years ago. We got to watch the whole process from grinding to cooling to sorting (bran, coarse, fine).
Download N Go: George Washington

The distillery is very interesting too. The gristmill was rebuilt in the 1930s by the state of VA. The distillery is much newer. They didn’t even start the archaeology research on the site until the late 90s. They knew it was there in the 1930s, but, of course, it would have been distasteful in the time of prohibition to advertise that our first president made (and sold as a wholesaler) common whiskey.
Download N Go: George Washington

I wasn’t sure it would be worth the price to go to Mount Vernon ($51 for all of us and the little boys are still free), but as it turned out, it was totally worth it. If you live in the northern VA area or are visiting it’s definitely worth visiting (and go to the gristmill and distillery – it costs a little more than Mount Vernon proper alone – because those are absolutely fascinating!).

Simply Soccer

A couple weeks ago Cameron needed to pick his next Download N Go study. I gave him a few choices and we settled on Simply Soccer. A perfect choice since the World Cup started at the same time he started his study.
Simply Soccer

He learned about the history of soccer, some famous soccer players, how to play soccer, and, his favorite, about the RoboCup where robot teams play soccer against each other. He was so impressed by those robots that he has decided he wants to try to build some robots.

Pizza Party!

Last night Cameron threw a pizza party to go along with the Pizza Party Download N Go unit he completed last week.

Cameron and I worked together to make everything from scratch, though Cameron is quick to point out that he did not make the cheese from scratch. As part of the Download N Go unit he learned how mozzarella cheese is made and watched a video about it so he knows now that there’s a lot more to it than just buying a bag of pre-grated cheese at the store.

Cameron made the menu and decided who he was going to invite. In attendance were the six of us and my parents, my aunt and her adult daughter, and two of Cameron’s friends from church.

We had old-fashioned lemonade to drink. Cameron and I juiced a bunch of lemons and added water and sugar.

Pizza Party

We made six pizzas. The night before, Cameron and I made the crusts for five of them and baked them part of the way. I’ve never found a really good pizza crust recipe before, so this one made me very happy since it was quite yummy. We made sauce using cans of tomato sauce and added various herbs like basil and oregano to it. Super easy.

We topped one pizza with regular cheese, one with extra cheese, one with pepperoni, one with various meats (bacon, pepperoni, sausage, and ham), and one with various vegetables (bell pepper, mushrooms, and black olives). We also made a breakfast pizza topped with bacon, egg, and cheese.

Pizza Party

For dessert we had what can only be described as sugar overload. We made giant cookies (one sugar, one M&M) and covered them in icing (vanilla on the sugar cookie, chocolate on the M&M cookie). Then we topped them with sprinkles, Butterfinger pieces, Nerds, chopped up Twizzlers, Gummi Bears, Reese’s Pieces, M&Ms, Skittles, and Hot Fudge Sauce. And as if that wasn’t enough, we served them with whipped cream and mini Oreos.

Pizza Party

Cameron came up with the idea to have cards out labeling what each type of pizza was. He helped me make those, too.

It was quite a wonderful party. Everyone had fun and the pizzas were delicious. As we’ve done more of the Download N Go units, I am even more pleased with them and glad that I went ahead and got a whole year of them. They are really fun and Cameron’s learning a whole lot.