Living the Dream

I plan to post glimpses our our Christmas celebration, as well as a couple of low-key January birthdays, but I have a personal policy that when I get behind on blogging (or other things) I continue with the present as my first focus, and catch up on the past (or not) as time allows.  So, December and early January may be forthcoming, but meanwhile, I bring you, today!  Today, we are living the dream as we study Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Our MLK kid quip of the day: After discussing the background, Kieran (6) had one question, “What are white people?” A big sister explained, “Peach skin people are called white.” He nodded soberly, then, a bit disappointed said, “Oh, I thought maybe ghosts or something.”

"I have a dream that one day, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers." -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“I have a dream that one day, little black boys and black girls
will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.”
-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

 

 

Keianna’s Birthday Party (Post III of III)

Two months later, I’m finally wrapping up Keianna’s birthday party posts!  To see the invitation, go to Part I, here, and to see the order of events, and photos of the various attendees, visit Part II, here! Guests arrived in time for second breakfast of scones (fresh from the oven) and tea.  Before they were allowed entrance Gimli (Kieran) greeted them at the front “Dorian” gates which bore an inscription that they must, “Speak Friend to Enter.”  I then took photos of the attendants.  I generally prefer casual, natural, action shots at parties, but I those can be random and I wanted to make sure that each character and costume was documented.  (You can see the “cast photos” in the Part II post.)  Then, the Lady Galadriel (Keianna) presented gifts to the fellowship for their journey.  The children each received a Lorien Leaf bracelet with a few starter Lord of the Rings charms.

Lorien Leaf bracelettes: Members of the fellowship will add charms through their journey.

Lorien Leaf bracelettes: Members of the fellowship will add charms through their journey.

Adults each received a small silver flashlight.  Around each was the message, ” I give you the light of Eärendil, our most beloved star. May it be a light for you in dark places, when all other lights go out.”  As she presented each gift, Keianna (er.. Galadriel) said, “Elen síla lúmenn’ omentielvo.”  (Which is Elvish for, “A star shines upon the hour of our meeting.”) (Yes, she actually said it in Elvish, but had to translate for most of us.)

We divided the group in to two teams.  Because we so enjoyed the friendly competition between Gimli and Legolass in the books and movie, we had a Gimli team and a LegoLass team.

After dividing into teams, we played Pin the tail on the Oliphaunt:

After each game the winner (or in some cases winning team) selected a prize from the prize board.  Most prizes were additional charms for their Lorien-leaf bracelet, but there were other items as well:

Prize Board with charms and other treasures (Click to enlarge to see the charms)

Prize Board with charms and other treasures (Click to enlarge to see the charms)

When a team, rather than an individual won a game, teammates drew numbers from Gandalf’s hat to determine who had first pick from the prize board.

Pinning tails on Oliphaunts is hard work, and we were ready for Elevensies, which consisted of tea and pumpkin, butterscotch muffins. Refreshed from Elevensies, we played Throne of Gondor.  (Similar to musical chairs.)  Aynwen (also known as Kaira) provided harp music for the game:

Throne of Gondor game

Throne of Gondor game

Next, was a hobbit foot race & ring of power relay around Mount Doom.  (Because the weather was unseasonably chilly that first week of October, we put the climbing dome in the barn/garage to represent Mount Doom.  Each team was given a ring of power, and “hobbit feet” to wear.  (Even the adults participated with adult sized  hobbitized flip-flops.)  The teams passed the ring of power through the line as each member shuffled and flip-flopped around Mt. Doom in turn.    We aren’t a flip-flop wearing family, so running in these things was comic.  Each participant got a pair of hobbit feet to take home.  (I’m sure they all wear them often.)

Footwear for the Hobbit-foot/Ring of Power relay

Footwear for the Hobbit-foot/Ring of Power relay

It was time to brave Shelob’s lair!  I didn’t get a photo of the complicated obstacle course of webs strung in the walk-through closet, but each child had to navigate the course, and lost points any time they touched the web.  Once through the web, each participant had to baffle Shelob by tossing decoy rings (so she wouldn’t get the true ring).

Shelob's lair and ring toss

Shelob’s lair and ring toss

Luncheon consisted of Tea (of course), Lembas bread, hearty mushroom soup, cheeses, a relish tray, and English toffee.  For the Lembas leaf wrappers, this blog provided inspiration. (Guests took home extra lembas bread too.)

Elvish Lembas Bread

Elvish Lembas Bread

After defeating Shelob and munching Luncheon, we returned to the barn and commenced to “Raid Farmer Maggot’s garden.” The two teams lined up on one end of the barn and tables of corn waited at the other end.  The first team-member would run to the end, shuck an ear of corn, then come tag the next person in line.  (Yes, it was all part of my clever plan to have guests shuck their own corn for the evening meal!)

In the photos below, you’ll see Bilbo (My Father-in-law, known as Grandpa S), Gandalf (My dad) and Merri (my niece, KT).  Grandpa S (Bilbo) deserves a huge shout out!  I was battling a terrible migraine on party-day.  Tending to the many meals, and facilitating the fun left me very little concentration for photographing.  I was much relieved when Grandpa S, an excellent photographer, agreed to take one of my cameras to record the festivities!  The best photos in this post are his.

 Raiding Farmer Maggot's Garden

Raiding Farmer Maggot’s Garden

Next was an Orc-shooting archery competition!  As I mentioned with the Oliphant picture, I don’t make great claims of artistry, but I actually thought my Orc was pretty good–until Keegan saw me finishing it and said, “Oh, that’s a cute Orc, Mommy.”  Cute?  Really?  Cute was totally not my goal.  A cute Orc is a total failure, but since we were only using it for target practice, I swallowed my pride and let it suffice.

Shoot the Orc

Shoot the Orc

The next relay, “Fill Gimli’s mug” seems to have escaped photo-capture.  Each of the two teams had a stein or tankard marked for equal capacity.  At the other end of the barn, were two “barrels” of ale. (water coolers).  The teams were given shot glasses, and each team member took the shot glass in turn, ran to their barrel, filled the shot-glass, then, trying not to slosh, ran back to their tankard and passed the shot-glass to the next person in line until the first team filled Gimli’s mug.

After filling Gimli’s mug, we had more Orc slaying amid the “Great Eagle Flight”.  I’d created a scarecrow-esque orc, and we attached a swing-seat to the zipline to represent the Great Eagles who carried the hobbits away from the burning forest.  As they rode on the eagles, each child tried to knock over the orc with his or her inflatable sword.

Great Eagle Flight/ Orc Slaying

Great Eagle Flight/ Orc Slaying

Slaying Orcs and riding eagles makes for hungry hobbits, elves and dwarves! Afternoon tea was set with tea, tartlettes, nuts and fruit!

Following tea was presentations to the Lady Galadriel; speaches, music, and gifts were given her.  Aynwen (Kaira) played, “Concerning Hobbits” on harp.  Gimli (Kieran) read, “Over the Misty Mountains” (accompanied by harp), Aynwen played, “In Dreams” on piano, and all the PrairieFrogs accompanied her in voice, then Éowyn (Kendra) echoed with “In Dreams” on dulcimer.

Gimli (Kieran) reads, “Over the Misty Mountains”

“In Dreams”

Galadriel received many lovely tokens!  Among other things, Aragorn gave her his pendant, Merri gave her a lovely necklace, and Gandalf gave her a magic book!

We didn’t get photos of the final games.  The children assembled Smaug Gliders and attempted to return Smaug to the Lonely Mountain (aiming for the climbing dome in the barn.)  Those who got their Smaug into the mountain won!

Smaug Gliders (Photo courtesy of Amazon)

Smaug Gliders (Photo courtesy of Amazon)

Next was sword fighting with the inflatable swords, then on to Dinner!

Our Dwarvish dinner consisted of ale (hot apple cider), tavern beef, baked potatoes with all the fixings, roasted corn, and seed cakes.

The children free-frolicked until the sun set and our guests departed.  It was a grand day in Middle-Earth!

Galadriel and Merri

Galadriel and Merri

Pippin

Pippin

Keianna’s Birthday Party (Post II of III)

Finally, the second (of what will be three, posts, I think) chronicling Keianna’s 10th Birthday party, which we celebrated in Middle-Earth style!

I shared the party invitation and a few introductory remarks in this post, and will share action shots of the games and frolics sometime this next week.  Meanwhile, here is the “cast” of attendees, the party schedule, and a few notes about the edibles!

LOTR Party Schedule

Hobbits:  Back row, left to right: Bilbo Baggins, Lobelia Sackville-Baggins Front Row, left to right Frodo (Keegan), Merri (my niece, KT), Pippin (my nephew, CJ.)

Hobbits: Back row, left to right: Bilbo Baggins, Lobelia Sackville-Baggins Front Row, left to right Frodo (Keegan), Merri (my niece, KT), Pippin (my nephew, CJ.)

Lovely Ladies: Elven and Human Back row, left to right: Aynwen (Kaira), Éowyn (Kendra) Front row left to right: Galadriel (Keianna), Arwen (Kiffanie)

LegoLass, sister to Legolas (My sister, Lorelle), and Gimli (Kieran)

LegoLass, sister to Legolas (My sister, Lorelle), and Gimli (Kieran)

Queen Melian (Me), and Nimrodel (My mom)

Queen Melian (Me), and Nimrodel (My mom)

Gandalf the Grey (My dad) and Nazgûl (Ken)

Gandalf the Grey (My dad) and Nazgûl (Ken)

Aragorn (Ken's brother, Jim), and Arwen (Kiffanie again)

Aragorn (Ken’s brother, Jim), and Arwen (Kiffanie again)

Tolkien Teas; From Andagio teas.  All delicious!  I kept changing my mind as to which is my favorite!

Tolkien Teas; From Andagio teas. All delicious! I kept changing my mind as to which is my favorite!

I didn’t get pictures of the many courses of food–not even a single photo of the seed cakes, but we feasted like Hobbits, and you can see the menu in the “Party Business” image at the top of this post.  Part of Keianna’s gift from us was a set of Tolkien teas, and for each meal she chose two, and I made up two separate pots for everyone to sample!

Stay tuned for action shots of the games and festivities!  I’ll share more about the games and activities in Part III as well!

My Kaira-Girl is 14!

Oh, how I love teens! Every age is fun, but there’s something exciting about the energy, potential, insight, spark, and the free-thinking creativity of the teenage years.  I’m enjoying this young lady–although it hardly seems possible this wee one I held in my arms stands taller than me (as of about one week ago!)

She’ll have a lobster meal (with a huge salad and brownies) per her request this evening.  I have lots of birthday blogging to catch up on (I still haven’t finished posts about Kiffanie’s and Keianna’s birthdays), so it will likely be blogged eventually.  Meanwhile, here’s a glimpse of my girlie!

Happy Birthday, Kaira!  You are an amazing young lady!

‘Ites in the Book Basket

We continue with Early Ancient Greece (Classical Greece is still up the road a bit), as well as visiting lots of “Ite” cultures from the same era.  We rejoin the Israelites about the time of their entering the Promised land, and get acquainted with their neighbors, the Canaanites, Hittites, Moabites, Amorites, and Ammonites.  We throw in the Philistine and Lydian cultures–even though they don’t fit the “ite” theme.  In addition to the books shown in the widgets below, we draw from the Bible, Mystery of History, and Story of the World.

If you are reading via a feed reader and you can’t see the book widgets, click on through!  I hope to get the rest of Keianna’s tenth birthday party up on the blog later this week–meanwhile, school and life rhythms keep a steady beat going here!

Keianna’s Birthday Party (Part I of III)

I’ve been in a slump on getting photos and posts off my hard-drive (or in some cases even to the hard-drive) and onto the blog.  In addition to schoolish busyness, we’ve had a major celebration this month!  Keianna’s birthday is a week before Christmas, and she’ll be ten!  Tenth birthdays are big events for our PrairieFrogs–big themed events with cousins and grandparents getting in on the fun.  A huge celebration one week before Christmas just seemed cramped, and so we time-shifted Keianna’s party to October in the hopes of good weather for outdoor events.  Surely the first weekend in October would bring beautiful, autumn weather, right?  Bwaaahhaaa haa!  Wyoming doesn’t do predictable.  Two days before her party we were hit with a bitter snow storm.   By party-day, roads improved enough for guests to travel, but our yard remained a chilly, soggy, Northern Waste, requiring a few modifications to the activities.  It all worked beautifully though! I’ll share photos over the next week as time allows.)

Invitation to Keianna's Party

Invitation to Keianna’s Party