Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Plymouth Plantation + $500 Christmas Giveaway!

Monday, November 15th, 2021

plymouth-plantation

How would you like to walk through a reproduction of the original Plymouth Plantation, as if you were one of the Pilgrims landing in America for the first time? Today we will give you a virtual tour! A few months ago, my family was able to visit extended family on the east coast, and one of our field trips was Plymouth Plantation in Massachussetts. I was pleasantly surprised at how extensive the property is. You can see the ocean from the village, and each house had furniture from the 1620’s.

Plymouth Plantation Tour

At the beginning of the tour, we saw a Wampanoag longhouse. From the outside it looks small, but inside it’s very large. First the Native Americans built the structure with bent sticks. Then they filled it in with bark and other materials. They had openings in the ceiling, where smoke could escape.

wampanoag-longhouse

As you can see from the video, the inside of the Wampanoag longhouse had ribs, and the walls were lined with blankets and furs to keep everyone warm. The fire would have been kindled in the middle of the room for warmth as well as for cooking.

wampanoag-longhouse

The Pilgrim village had people that were dressed in period costumes as well as tour guides that gave demontrations. I filmed snippets of several of these actors and tour guides. A couple of women were singing an old melodic hymn, a Pilgrim man in one of the cabins was talking about what life was like back in the 1620’s, and a tour guide gave me a demonstration of cooking in that era. It was all very interesting.

plymouth-plantation-village

I enjoyed seeing the furniture in each of the houses. The beds each had curtains around them to keep in the warmth and to have privacy from the rest of the cabin. Each house had a chimney with a place to cook over a fire for the kitchen area. A small table and chairs rounded out the furniture in each house. The Pilgrims were simple folk.

plymouth-inside-cottage

At the head of the street was a fort, where cannons were kept as well as places to look out above the village, to see if danger was coming. This fort had a place downstairs that looked like it would have been used for school or church, since the entire village could have fit in it.

plymouth-plantation-fort

I also loved the animals and gardens surrounding each Pilgrim house. It really felt like we went back in time!

plymouth-village

For more hands-on activities for this time period, take a look at our Pilgrims Unit Study, on sale right now for only $5!


The Christmas Blessings Giveaway is in its 8th year, and we are excited to once again bless not one family, but two, with some cash for the holiday season! I’m teaming up with an amazing group of bloggers with the hope of making this Christmas the best yet for TWO families by giving away $500 in Paypal cash to each family!

While we wish we could bless many more families, we were able to come up with a big prize for TWO families – $500 each (delivered via Paypal) – that we pray will make a big difference in their lives this Christmas season – whether it’s to fulfill their kids’ Christmas wishes, pay off some bills, or to help build some savings, our prayer is that it helps to lessen any financial burden and/or fills a specific need.

There are lots of entry options in the Rafflecopter form below – the more you enter, the better your chance of winning!  I know it can seem tedious and time consuming to go through all the entries, but isn’t a chance at $500 worth it? I think it is!  Plus, all of these amazing bloggers donated their own money toward the cash prizes, so this giveaway wouldn’t be possible without them.  I hope you’ll take the time to check out each one. Who knows, maybe you will find some new blogs to follow.

The giveaway will run from Monday, November 15th through Wednesday, November 24th (ends at 11:59pm EST). Winner will be notified by email shortly after the giveaway ends and will have 48 hours to respond to claim the prize or another winner will be drawn. You must have a Paypal account to win.  By entering this giveaway, you agree to be added to the email lists of the participating bloggers.  Please be sure to read the Rafflecopter terms and conditions upon entering.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Mayflower Tour

Thursday, September 23rd, 2021

mayflower-tour

Last month my family flew to the east coast for a family reunion with my husband’s family, and one of our favorite activities was touring the Mayflower! The ship is a replica of the original ship, which went back to England and eventually deteriorated.

Mayflower Tour

Here is our tour of the ship:

My husband’s sister lives in Massachussetts, which is the area where the Pilgrims landed in the New World back in 1620. We hadn’t seen this side of our family in six years, so my kids were excited to see how much their cousins had grown. We had a wonderful time re-connecting.

plymouth-rock-sign

Plymouth Rock is still there, even though it has been chipped away by tourists for years, making it better called Plymouth Pebble. It’s a bit anti-climactic for present-day tourists, who look down on it from the cage or jail cell where it now resides near the beach where the Mayflower ship replica is harbored.

plymouth-rock

When we climbed aboard the Mayflower, we stepped back in time. The ship is actually quite small! Above deck, we walked around the ship, which is not very much exercise, since the entire ship from front to back is only about a dozen steps in total.

on-deck-mayflower

Below deck, it was easy to envision the cramped conditions of the 102 men, women, and children who were living down here for 66 days–over two months! I felt sorry for them, since their conditions didn’t improve that much when they arrived in the New World, only to die of starvation.

inside-mayflower

No wonder Thanksgiving Day really affects our hearts, to know that the Native Americans helped the Pilgrims to survive in this unknown land. We give thanks every year for all the many blessings we take for granted, which the Pilgrims had to mostly do without.

This was a really fun educational field trip for American history that I’d always wanted to do with my kids. It was worth doing, and I’m glad we got to do it with our extended family.

If you want more hands-on activities for this time period, check out our Pilgrims Unit Study!

Nostalgia from a 1950’s Diner

Monday, February 18th, 2019

1950s-diner

Recently my dad has been in and out of the emergency room as he is getting blood clots, has difficulty breathing, and is fighting cancer. He’s at home now, although weak. When I was sitting in the hospital room, watching him sleep, I had plenty of time to think back over all the years I’ve known him, special memories of growing up. One of those memories was my dad getting out his 1950’s records, blasting the tunes while my sisters and I danced all silly and slid across the floor in our woolen slippers. It still makes me smile.

So when I came across these pictures of my husband and I with our children in a 1950’s malt shop in Spokane, I stopped and thought about why the 1950’s meant so much to me, even though it was long before I was born. It meant a lot to me because it meant a lot to my dad.

diner-from-the-1950s

I remember back when I lived in California, I took my dad to a fun 1950’s malt shop where we were able to experience the ambiance of my dad’s favorite decade, from 1950’s music to the decor to the flavors of the food. His face lit up with joy because he was transported back in time.

strawberry-malt

My dad looked so happy, sitting in the booth with me, eating his burger and fries with a malt. He was quite emotional. It was like going back to your grandma’s house after many decades, breathing in the familiar environment where so many happy memories were made. The aroma of my own grandma’s house would always transport me back to childhood, and I felt young and free again, with the whole world opening up before me, full of endless possibilities.

flipping-burgers

Now I sit looking at these photographs of my own husband and kids, enjoying a modern history field trip where we were able to experience the 1950’s as if we had lived through that time period for real.

Some day my own kids will look back on their own memories of their parents blasting through the house our favorite decade music–the 1980’s. My own kids have a love for 1980’s music because it was played the same way my dad played his music, with joy and nostalgia.

To see the 1950’s birthday party I threw my dad several years ago (including pictures of my jukebox cake and poodle skirt), click here.

High School Government Series

Monday, December 4th, 2017

high-school-government

If you are a parent of a student in high school, at some point your student has to take a class on government. To make the study of high school government more enjoyable, your student will LOVE these goofy videos and hands-on activities!

High School Government Videos:

  1. Types of Government: A fun video re-enacting dictatorship, oligarchy, monarchy, republic, true democracy, and anarchy. Includes my kids dressed up as playing cards.
  2. How a Bill Becomes a Law: My daughter (a bill) is pushed around by her brothers (Congress and the President) through the process of making a bill into a law.
  3. Preamble to the Constitution: A simple reading of the Preamble to the Constitution, with skits of various kinds to humorously bring to life each segment.
  4. Presidential Line of Succession: The President keels over, to be replaced by the Vice-President; who keels over to be replaced by the Speaker of the House; who keels over to be replaced…
  5. What are the Federal Executive Departments? Each of the Federal Executive Departments are dramatized by goofy kids in order to understand each department better.
  6. How the Judicial System Works: A Chicago gangster is counterfeiting money in his basement. Two federal agents break into his house and tell him he in under arrest. The remainder of the short video depicts how the judicial system works.
  7. The Bill of Rights: The first ten amendments of the U.S. Constitution are dramatized in this fun video.
  8. Make Your Own State Tourism Brochures: We take a break from all of our skits to show how to make a tourist pamphlet for your state. A couple of my kids have humorous pamphlets.
  9. Typical Campaign Promises: A silly skit by a candidate running for President, promising outlandish things that can never be fulfilled.
  10. How Government Gets Its Money: No matter what you do with your money, the government will want a piece of the action. Watch each scene from federal, state, and local taxes to see how the government holds out his hand for money to be forked over.

A couple of other hands-on activities go well with the study of high school government:

  1. Civitas Government Game: My kids loved this game, re-enacted it, and filmed it from the roof of my house. Make their risk worth it by watching their video, which was created, filmed, and edited entirely by my teen sons.
  2. Government Activity Books for High School: These Dover Publications books include pop-up Presidents, a 3-D White House model, and activity books that include other hands-on craft ideas. There are detailed coloring pages that can be used for notebooking, along with word searches, crossword puzzles, and code breakers.

Hopefully these skits and hands-on activities will make your students enjoy their study of high school government!