Showing posts from 2014

Cusco and the Andean Culture

When our family revisited Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu (our first visit was when Marcus was 3-years old) this December, we learned a lot about the Andean culture, still alive and well in Peru today.

The Peruvian-Andean culture dates all the way back to the mysterious Inca empire of the thirteenth century. At its glory, the Inca empire stretched into Columbia, Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina. Its center and command was Cusco.

Cusco is situated in the Andes Mountain range, at an elevation of approximately 3,300 meters above sea level (that is well over 10,000 feet). Cusco features cobbled streets, quaint hole-in-the-wall shops and restaurants (the pizza is good), plus a towering cathedral in the main square and nearby ruins which are hotspots for tourists. Most significantly, Cusco is the portal to Machu Picchu, the hidden Inca city; the only part of the Inca empire not to be plundered by the Spanish conquerors.

The Incas called their empire, Tahuantinsuyu, which mea…

Merry Christmas!

This is such a special week with Christmas just days away. I hope you're enjoying this time with your loved ones. Today, Darcie and I made Christmas cookies together. Tonight my girls watched 2 Christmas romance movies with me while David took the boys out for some father-son time. Tomorrow we are baking some more. Marcus turns 12 on Christmas Eve.We're reading, A Christmas Carol, as a family. I love, love, love this time of year, and so I'm going to take a break from posting for a while and focus my time and energy on my precious family. But, first I wanted to share my Christmas wish with you: My wish is that we all feel our Savior's love for us as we celebrate His birth. What an amazing gift our Heavenly Father gave us: His Son. I was thinking about what I want to give Jesus this year. It's too personal to share, but I mention it because I hope we all want to give our Savior a gift from our hearts this Christmas. Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas.

Family Vacation to Cusco and Machu Picchu

I hope you've enjoyed the Christmas videos I've shared while we've been on our family vacation to Cusco and Machu Picchu and other fun sites in between. I will be sharing more about this trip after Christmas, but here are my favorite highlights:

We started out by flying from Lima to Cusco and checking into a hotel that was two blocks from the main square. Later that afternoon we enjoyed a private tour of the city and nearby ruins, including my favorite, Sacsayhuaman (pronounced a lot like "sexy woman").

We spent two days in Cusco. On the second day we took a private excursion to a little town called, Chincheros, where we were dressed up in native clothing. Our favorite part of the day was touring the salt mines at Maras.
On the third day, we checked out of our hotel. Our next destination was the Sacred Valley. On the way, we stopped at an Awanacancha animal rescue where we saw llamas, alpacas, condors, and other native animals who are being cared for until they c…

What Shall We Give?

The Reason Behind Christmas

O Come, Emmanuel

Wise Men Still Seek Him

This really touched my heart. I hope it touches your heart, too.

He is the Gift

Greek Mythology Unit- Week 2

Although we've been busy settling back into a routine here in Lima, Peru, Marcus and I managed to make time to read about more Greek gods in our National Geographic Treasury of Greek Mythology book. We read about Poseidon (God of the Seas), Athena (Goddess of Wisdom), Hades (God of the Underworld), Demeter (Goddess of the Harvest), Apollo (God of Music) and Artemis (Goddess of the Hunt).

Marcus has also been learning about ancient Greece and Greek mythology in his Liahona history class with Sister Rowley, and for that class he made these adorable Greek columns-

From left to right, his columns represent the following styles: Doric, Ionic, Corinthian and Caryatid
Marcus made these columns out of empty prescription bottles, which we liked because these bottles are taller than toilet paper rolls, but shorter than paper towel rolls. He covered them with felt and used yarn, chenille stems, burlap as decoration.

Marcus also wrote a persuasive essay on why he believes Apollo was the bes…

How We Count Down To Christmas

This year we are celebrating the Christmas season in Peru as we did last year. In our family, we like to end each night with something to remind us of the true meaning of Christmas, the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
A fun and easy way to count down to Christmas is with a paper scripture advent chain. Each alternating red or green link has a scripture verse on it that is either about the birth of Christ or His purpose as our Savior and Redeemer.

Scripture verses I chose for this year's advent chain- 1 Nephi 10:4; 2 Nephi 19:6; 3 Nephi 1:19; Helaman 14:3-4; Helaman 14:5; Alma 7:10; Ether 3:14; Moses 5:57; D&C 3:1-3; D&C 45:71; D&C 76:41; Isaiah 7:14; Micah 5:2; Psalms 89:27; Romans 8:29; Galatians 4:4; Matthew 1:23; Matthew 2:1-2; Luke 1:31; Luke 2:4-5; Luke 2:11; Luke 2:15-16; Luke 18:15-17; John 14:6

These verses can be searched from HERE.

We also like to read a Christmas story together each night leading up to Christmas. We choose meaningful stories such a…

Soda Crusher Experiment

This experiment is from the Steve Spangler website, and Marcus demonstrates it here:

Want to see that again? This experiment requires adult supervision since it uses a stove burner. Wearing gloves is also a good safety measure. Start with an empty soda can, rinsed out. Add one full tablespoon of water, enough to cover the bottom of the can. Fill a bowl with cold water and place next to the stove burner. Have a pair of tongs ready. Heat the soda can under adult supervision. When you can hear the water boiling in the can, and can see puffs of steam, give it a minute more, and then carefully grab the soda can with the tongs and flip it over into the water, so that the opening of the can hits the water first. Do this in one smooth step. As you can see, Marcus had several successes. The second can didn't implode as well because it didn't make it straight to the water.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Of course I am thankful for my family and friends, but living in Peru has taught me to be extra appreciative of other blessings, such as-

*Hot water whenever I need or want it. I end up boiling water often to wash dishes here, and there is no guarantee of a hot shower every day.

*Clean, safe-to-drink tap water. We have to drink bottled water here.

*Automatic dishwashers.

*Milk in jugs and finding an endless supply of milk in jugs in every and any store all the time.

*More than 3 choices of cold cereal or bread or soda or you name it.

*Brown sugar and chocolate chips! Two essentials that every American family stocks up on and covets while living here in Peru.

*Hopping into my car and driving whenever I want, to wherever I want. I take a lot of taxis here and most of the drivers only speak Spanish.

*My modern and comfortable house situated in a beautiful country setting. Here I'm in a big dirty city in someone else's apartment.

And most importantly-

*Enjoying a traditio…

Liahona Distance Education (video)

My youngest two children are in this video, at the very end. I love Liahona Academy's distance program. I absolutely love that they give my children a complete education with the Gospel woven into the academics. It's been an incredible blessing for our family.

Sunday Thoughts

To see more Bible videos, visit The Life of Jesus Christ Bible Videos which are beautifully done.

Greek Mythology Unit- Week 1

We are making up our own Greek Mythology unit, which we started this week. Marcus has been learning a little about ancient Greece from this book-
 which inspired the following crafts-

Greek comedy and tragedy masks
and A Greek paper vase featuring a Cyclops.

As for Greek mythology, we are using this National Geographic book-
which has beautiful, elaborate illustrations.
So far we have read about Gaia (Mother Earth), Uranus (Father Heaven), Cronus (Titan King), Zeus (King of the Gods), Hestia (Goddess of Fire and Hearth).
This was a good time to have a discussion about our basic beliefs verses the beliefs of the ancient Greeks. The ancient Greeks believed in multiple gods who were imperfect and prone to human weaknesses. We, as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, believe in one perfect Godhead made up of God the Father, His Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. We worship God the Father, whom we call, Heavenly Father, and we pray to Him in the name of His Son, J…

Craft Night

Craft days/nights are so much fun and I love to host them in my kitchen. My amazing friend, Steph, donates wood that her husband shapes for us, and we transform it into a decoration for our homes. It's very satisfying to create something with your own hands, and to do it in the company of good friends.

In the past we made this laundry sign-
Which is now hanging up in my laundry room. My friend, Heather, loves her laundry sign because she can keep it up year round.

Last night we made this set of pumpkins-
We also took this owl, which I bought from Walmart, in the craft department-
and turned it into a masterpiece! I wish I had thought to pull out my camera in the middle of all the fun and take pictures of all the owls. There were 5 altogether and they were each unique, just like the women who designed them. But, I only have a picture of mine to share with you-
A warm thank you to all my friends who crafted with me last night. That was a lot of fun!

Marcus' Devotionals

Every month, Marcus creates devotionals for his Liahona Junior class. Since you can't visit his class blog, I thought I'd post my favorite devotional pictures here:

"As we keep the Sabbath day holy, He will bless us, and we will achieve a quiet power for good as individuals, as families, and as nations, that we cannot obtain in any other way." -John H. Groberg

I will do those things on the Sabbath day that will help me feel close to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
"Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy." -Exodus 20:8
Want to create your own devotionals? Chose a favorite scripture verse or quote and draw or take a picture to illustrate it. Then put it altogether on a free photo editor such as PicMonkey.

2014 Fall Happy Hearts

Marcus is a Liahona Warrior this year! This is his second year as a distance student through the awesome Liahona Academy, which is an  LDS (Latter-day Saints)- based private school located in Utah. Marcus is in the combined 5th/6th grade class and has the same teacher from last year, Sister Rowley. She is wonderful. She teaches reading, writing, history and science. These video classes are Monday through Thursday. I continue to teach Marcus math, art, and anything else we choose to explore. We are just starting up a Greek mythology unit and after that we will be read Jules Verne's Around the World in 80 Days, and have a unit with that. This year, the curriculum we are using for his Liahona classes are as follows: The Usborne Encyclopedia of World History
Christian Kids Explore Physics
Learn Math Fast System Volume 2 (fractions, decimals & percentages)
Spelling Made Easy Connie Schenkelberg (includes 290 homonym groups)
Spelling Smart! Cynthia M. Stowe A Reason for Handwriting…

November Blessings

This morning we woke up to a dusting of snow on the ground and roof tops. Marcus was thrilled and hopes this is the sign of more snow to come really come. We only have 3 weeks left until we move back to Lima, Peru, so he is anxious to experience some winter before we return to shorts and flip flop weather. So, today's November blessing is the first snowfall in the valley. It was just a teaser, but it made us happy all the same.

Happy Halloween!

We visited a corn maze after the Pumpkin Walk. There was also a slide and tomahawk throwing. The weather here in Cache Valley has been delightful. We are loving Autumn here in Utah this year.

Happy Halloween!