“You don’t have to be Polish to polish off a paczki”

Paczkis @ Three Cornered HugGrowing up in Michigan, I don’t remember hearing the term “Mardi Gras” much. The parades, King Cakes, and purple beads weren’t at all familiar to me.

No, in MI Fat Tuesday is lovingly referred to as “Paczki Day”, thanks to the large Polish population found in and around Hamtramck. Pronounced “poonch-key”, these rich little jelly or custard filled doughnut-like pastries are definitely worthy of their own holiday.

Unfortunately, for all the years I spent in Kentucky, I never saw a single Paczki. I guess we were close enough to Louisiana that only Mardi Gras was recognized. BUT, here in Colorado, they apparently know a sweet opportunity when they see one. I saw these tasty treats advertised, and immediately set out pick some up.

Paczkis @ Three Cornered Hug

If you’re committed to introducing new foods the way we are, this is a good chance for your kids to be exposed to something new. If you’re a homechooler, you can totally use this chance to ignore the ### calories, and call it an educational experience.

You can find out more about Paczkis at this about.com page where they even have a video on how to make them. Enjoy!

Paczkis @ Three Cornered Hug

Don’t Ever Use the Word “Gifted”

Gifted Children @ Three Cornered Hug

I’ve seen a lot of posts lately about gifted children. These have ranged from complaints that the public schools can’t handle them, to comments on how teachers think you’re saying your child is “better”, to parents who want people to wake up and realize that every child is gifted. While all of these have elements of truth to them, when I hear this word, I’ve a completely different thought. Grandma.

If you’ve read my blog regularly, you may know that my paternal grandmother was a retired teacher who fully supported my homeschooling endeavors. At an early age, she recognized that my son was extremely bright. And although we were both excited at the opportunities that homeschooling offers for such a child, she gave me one piece of advice that I’ll never forget: “Sarah, never use the word ‘gifted’ in front of him”.

I didn’t ask her what she meant, but have followed her directions to this day.

Now this is the place that I could go on forever with commentary about my thoughts on this subject, but I think I will leave you to ponder this statement, the ramifications of using such a word, or whether it matters at all…just as she allowed me to do.

Video

Free Printable Board Game

I’ve had the privilege of meeting some very extraordinary young men since we’ve moved here. Not only are they engineers, but together they’re the brains behind a new company, Boulder Board Games. While many other young people are spending their free time on facebook whapping each other with pretend pillows or buying imaginary cows on Farmville, these fellas have been using their spare time cooking up come fun of their own.

It’s my understanding that their first game, Thrive, was invented during a school break while they attended the University of Colorado. This game is available in .pdf form for print, and includes a manual. Thrive is a game involving Geopolitics and energy independence. Find it here.

Their most recent game, Raid, is full of pirate fun. The game is not only expandable, but can be tailored to your needs– you determine the length of play. You can see a sample of the game in the video below. This one will be up on Kickstarter in April to raise some funding to have the game produced.

It’s nice to see younger folks doing something with those great minds they’ve got. In addition, as avid game players my family is always looking for something new. Check out Boulder Board Games and show some support.

You NEED this compass

You know those irritating compasses? The ones that are half eye-stabber, half pencil, and 100% irritating? The ones that somehow keep getting bigger as you use them, so instead of making a nice circle, you wind up with a drawing of a snail?

Well, leave your snails behind and get this great SAFE-T compass. While it’s not perfect, we’ve found it to be SOOOOOOOO much better than your average math tool. At this cheap price (just over a buck+shipping), you can’t lose!

Find it here.

SAFE-T Compass @ Three Corneered Hug

We Skip School

…and you should too.

Three Cornered Hug“We’ve been wondering, do you guys get snow days?”, asked our next door neighbor. “No, we take “sun” days.”

We’ve often surprised people with our year-round school schedule. Snowy days–we do play outside. BUT we also do school. There’s no reason not to. Summer days are the same way. Remember those long, boring dog days of summer? We don’t have those. Yes, we go swimming and do theme parks. BUT we also do school. That’s how we fill up the rest of the time when our friends are on vacation, etc.

So, do we ever take time off? Absolutely. You know those wonderful, sun-shiny days, when the temperature is just right? When the smell of the fresh air is intoxicating, and your eyes keep wandering toward the window? That’s when we call up some friends and run away to the park or go hiking. WE SKIP SCHOOL.

There have been other times as well. One beautiful fall, we just randomly took a week off and ran away to Chicago to visit my Aunt. (However, I guess going to the Museum of Science and Industry or visiting Chinatown would qualify for educational experiences.) When my husband has the chance to go somewhere cool for work- we go too. (Again, arguably still school.) When my mom had surgery and needed help, when my sister was in a car accident- WE SKIPPED SCHOOL.

That’s the great thing about homeschooling, the great thing about doing school the way we do: a flexible schedule. There’s such a freedom in it. We can take off and not sweat it. Do I want my child to know that learning is important? YES. However, I also want him to know that enjoying life is equally important. I want him to realize that there’s more to know than what can be learned inside of four walls.

SOCHI 2014 Toolkit: Free Printable Olympics Activities

Figure Skater Sonja Henie

Figure Skater Sonja Henie

Do you know the Olympic Creed?

The Spirit of the Games
“The most important thing in the Olympic
Games is not to win but to take part, just as the
most important thing in life is not the triumph
but the struggle. The essential thing is not to
have conquered but to have fought well.”
— Pierre De Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympic Games

 

Where did I find find this fun fact to stuff in your noodle?

A quick search lead me to this great link to a whole packet of Olympic Activies, including great links, and printables such as an Olympic scavenger hunt (pg 23)!

Find the pdf here.

*Disclaimer: I have not read every page of this file yet, therefore I don’t want to give the impression that I share whatever views may be found therein. But then, I might. I just won’t know till I look at the whole thing. See?

BONUS: See a really neat slide show of vintage Olympic Games Pics here at the Weather Channel’s Site.