A Greek Peek into “Children Around the World”

It’s all Greek to me.

Literally.

Last night, we ate Greek food for dinner. It was all Greek to me (and to my husband and son who ate the meal with me). Whether or not you’ve eaten Greek food before, I am here to convince you that you’re due for a Greek feast. And here’s why:

Reason #1 to Eat Greek: The taste. Greek food is insanely scrumptious. The combination of fresh ingredients with unique flavors will surprise and delight you!

Reason #2 to Eat Greek: The Olympics. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate and learn about the ancient Olympic Games, than by watching the 2016 Summer Olympics while enjoying a traditional Greek feast.

Reason #3 to Eat Greek: The educational opportunities. You’ll get a sensational preview to WinterPromise’s Children Around the World themed program. And that’s the purpose of this post today!

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Children Around the World is a geography and culture program for 2nd through 6th graders. The program features Cultural Gatherings to help your student learn about the food, music, entertainment, and other traditions of thirty countries around the world.

The Cultural Gathering Planning Guide has a few pages featuring each of the thirty countries, and these pages include a cultural focus, tips for the cultural presentation, suggested supplies and decorations, entertainment ideas, a suggested menu, and more. The Greece focus is the Greek Olympic Games, which again, makes this a perfect activity for you to do this summer!

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The resource book called Fun & Traditions from Many Lands contains a plethora of multicultural activities that your student can reference when planning the Cultural Gatherings. The pages about Greece feature a game, an online activity to design Greek pottery, and four Greek recipes.

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I chose to make the Moussaka, a Grecian Salad, and the sweet, scrumptious, luscious, lovely Baklava.

Moussaka is a traditional Greek casserole containing eggplant layered with a ground meat, tomato, and spice mixture, and it is topped with a custardy sauce. Click here to download the recipe for Moussaka so you can make it yourself. My tips for making this Moussaka recipe with your family are:

  1. Make one layer at a time. I had three burners going at once to simmer the meat mixture, fry the eggplant, and make the topping. However, your student will find it a lot easier to focus on one part at a time.
  2. If you don’t want to use lamb, feel free to substitute beef. However, I was actually surprised that the ground lamb at my grocery store was not much more expensive than the beef I usually buy.
  3. Use a smaller dish than I did. I used a 13”x9” pan, and I thought the Moussaka was a little thin, so use a smaller dish, if you have one.

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Be sure to serve a Greek salad with the Moussaka. My Greek salad had kale, tomatoes, cucumber, green pepper, feta cheese, and a simple vinaigrette with olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano, salt, and pepper. Olives would have taken this salad to another level!

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Now, if you’re at all apprehensive about Greek food, start with baklava. It is a crunchy, sticky, sweet decadent treat made with nuts, honey, and phyllo dough. Making baklava was so simple that I feel like it’s a crime that I’ve been paying $3.00 for a couple pieces at the Greek bakery. Click here to download the recipe, but first read my tips for making baklava with a little helper:

  1. Be gentle with the phyllo dough, but don’t stress. If the phyllo tears or is wrinkly or crinkly, your baklava will still turn out glorious.
  2. Don’t let your sugar-water-honey mixture boil over. Hot sugar water makes a mess. (Don’t ask me how I know this.)
  3. Be sure to have an adult help with cutting the baklava. You need a really sharp knife to cut through all the layers neatly.

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To learn more about Children Around the World click here for more information. There are 29 other countries to be explored!

Now, go give the recipes a try, have a Greek feast, and be sure to tell us how it goes. Baklava is dangerously delicious, so be sure share it with someone you love. Opa!

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My Maiden Voyage with Adventures in the Sea and Sky!

I’ve sailed on the great waters of Lake Erie and Lake Michigan since I was a toddler. I competed in (and won) a 24-hour long sailboat race through thunderstorms and dead calms. I grew up hearing my grandpa’s stories about serving in the US Air Force; he told about war times, hunting hurricanes, and earning a purple heart. But today, I cannot be more excited to tell you about the adventures that await you and your family in Winter Promise’s Adventures in the Sea and Sky.

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As I dipped my toes into the gorgeously illustrated and masterfully written curriculum, my first stop was the activity book Sailors, Whalers, and Astronauts: Life on Ships that Sail and Soar. For someone who’s dreamt about sailing around the world, activities regarding “life on ships that sail” seemed like the perfect maiden voyage for me.

Alright, let’s set sail! (Don’t worry. I’ll try not to overwhelm you with sailing puns!)

Adventures in the Sea and Sky is a one year history and science program for 3rd through 9th graders. One of the resources included in this themed curriculum is the 90-page activity book called Sailors, Whalers, and Astronauts: Life on Ships that Sail and Soar. If it sounds like 30-year-old me is geeking-out over this curriculum, you better believe that 3rd grade me would be even more thrilled to learn history and science through the eyes of sailors, whalers, and astronauts.

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The first activity that caught my eye in Sailors, Whalers, and Astronauts was “Knots Used by Sailors” (pages 32 and 33). Why did it catch my eye? Because I already consider myself somewhat of a knot nerd, and I knew I wouldn’t let you down with my knot-tying skills!

The two page activity has diagrams of a few knots as well as an explanation of why knots are important to sailors. The Adventures in the Sea and Sky guide has recommended websites for more knot exploration including steps to tie a nautical rug and more nautical knots (page 127). I also highly recommend searching for videos online as they’re extremely helpful to watch while learning to tie knots.

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When knot tying made me a little hungry, I decided to whip up a snack from the “Food and Drink” activity on pages 34 through 37 of Sailors, Whalers, and Astronauts.

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After a couple pages explaining the food and drink of sailors, your learner can try his or her hand at making dandyfunk or lobscouse. These dishes were completely foreign to me, but I knew they couldn’t be too hard to make, especially considering I’d be cooking in my kitchen, as opposed to a cramped, constantly swaying galley on a ship.

So, I chose to make some dandyfunk. Yes, dandyfunk is what it’s called! I already had most of the ingredients, so it really was quite simple to make. I’d describe dandyfunk as more funky, than dandy, however I’m positive you’ll have fun making it.

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Want more info about Adventures in the Sea and Sky? Check out all the details and an exciting video here.

Smooth sailing to you all, until we meet again!

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