Moving along with the alphabet, Sophia and Olivia explored several different hobbies that begin with the letter "L": Lego building, listening to music, and living history.
Olivia started taking an interest in Legos when she was about 8 years old. She would build a variety of things from Legos as well as follow directions and build specific projects in kits.
One year, she used Legos to create a place for a visit from the Tooth Fairy.
December 24, 2012
For Olivia's 10th birthday, she wanted to visit the Lego Store at Mall of America. There was an entire wall of colorful Lego pieces.
January 18, 2013
We went back to the Mall of America later that year, and the girls both created sculptures with the Lego bricks there.
October 11, 2013
In 2014, she began a weekly challenge in which there was an "assignment" using Legos. During January, one of the challenges was to use Legos for a practical purpose. She built a pencil and pen holder with them.
January 31, 2014
March 24, 2014
She also created nature scenes like the one below with trees, flowers, and a horse.
June 4, 2014
It kind of reminds me of one of our pastures with the big oak tree and wildflowers that we see from Spring to Fall.
Listening to Music
One of the things that we have enjoyed doing is listening to live music. Each year there is an Asian festival with dragon boat races. We went one year and heard some great music - including a performance on the gamelan.
July 12, 2009
What is a gamelan? Here's the definition from Wikipedia:
A gamelan is a musical ensemble from Indonesia, typically from the islands of Bali or Java, featuring a variety of instruments such as metallophones, xylophones, drums and gongs; bamboo flutes, bowed and plucked strings. Vocalists may also be included.
The term refers more to the set of instruments than to the players of those instruments.
A gamelan is a set of instruments as a distinct entity, built and tuned to stay together — instruments from different gamelan are generally not interchangeable.
Listening to music that's part of a game also was fun for the girls. At a Halloween party, there was a cake walk...though I don't think there were cakes for prizes. There was something else for the kids.
October 30, 2010
Both Sophia and Olivia did the game. Sophia's wearing the purple princess dress and Olivia is in the blue pioneer dress in the photo below.
October 30, 2010
We also enjoyed going to concerts at the Minnesota Orchestra. There were reduced-fee tickets for students during the day which gave us the opportunity to see and hear beautiful orchestral music.
December 2, 2010
Because of Olivia's vision challenges at the time, we were given excellent seats. We had great views of the stage and players. Olivia could see everything which made the concerts all the better.
January 27, 2011
The performances were about an hour long and had a variety of pieces. The conductor would explain what to listen for or share information about the piece.
November 10, 2011
When the girls were older, they began listening to music in the car to pass the time. They had headphones and earbuds.
December 7, 2012
Many of the places we drive to are at least a half hour away if not 45 minutes to an hour. So, having music that is enjoyable to listen to makes the time go by quickly.
On September 6, 2008, we went to North West Company Fur Post in Pine City, Minnesota, on the way to Duluth. It was the first day of homeschooling for the 2008-09 school year. Sophia was 7 years old and Olivia was 5 years old.
The North West Company Fur Post is a reconstruction of a fur trading post as it was operated by trader John Sayer in 1804 on the Snake River.
Sophia took this picture of a tipi that she wanted to remember.
This is an example of a cradleboard that was used by the Ojibwe. Last year as part of Sophia's homeschooling she did a unit study about the Nez Perce and Native Americans (using the Kaya books as part of the American Girl history series).
She learned about cradleboards during that time, and was excited to see an example of one (even though it was made and used by another tribe).
Throughout the years, we've visited Gammelgarden Museum many times. The best times to visit it are when there are celebrations - like the one in June - that has Swedish dancers.
June 25, 2011
The buildings are opening and there are guides to explain the artifacts that are in each home, barn, and structure.
June 25, 2011
On May 27, 2012, it was opening weekend for the museum. The girls participated in many hands-on activities. They learned how to make homemade lemonade.
Olivia shucked corn.
The following year, on May 26, 2013, Olivia learned how to use a laundry board to scrub and wash clothes. When the clothes were washed by the visitors, they were hung on a folding clothes rack.
Sophia learned how to use the hand-wringer to squeeze out the water from the clothes.
The girls enjoyed seeing the life-size dala horse sculptures at Gammelgarden - including the one that Olivia is sitting on below.
During 2015-16, Olivia designed and painted 18 barn quilts. She oversaw volunteers (from 8-86 years old) who helped with the construction, painting, and installation of the barn quilts. The first barn quilt painted and installed is at Gammelgarden Museum.
At the annual celebration in June, the director of Gammelgarden Museum asked Olivia to share a bit about the Barn Quilt Trail. Olivia got up in front of hundreds of people and did an impromptu speech. She did very well, and I was impressed with her self-confidence and public speaking skills.
June 20, 2015
In the winter, I would have the girls sit by the display in the entry way at Gammelgarden.
December 5, 2008
In the photo above, Sophia and Olivia were 7 and 5 years old respectively. Below, they were 8 and 6 years old.
December 5, 2009
A couple years passed...and they were already 10 and 8 years old. It's interesting to compare what they looked like when they were both 8 years old. Sophia is 8 years old in the blue jacket above and Olivia is 8 years old in the blue jacket below.
December 4, 2011
In 2012, only Olivia would sit by the gnome display.
December 8, 2012
Sophia preferred to hold a gnome instead.
December 8, 2012
They both stood next to the gnomes in 2013 - when Sophia was 12 years old and Olivia was 10 years old.
December 1, 2013
How quickly the years went by...and how much they changed in those years!
Coming up in a month, Olivia and I will be visiting Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park in southeast Minnesota. There are tours of this pioneer town. When the railroad bypassed the town in 1868, many of the townspeople and businesses left. Thomas Meighen owned the general store and by 1899 employed everyone left in the village and rented them houses.
At Forestville, visitors can see through the eyes of the Meighen family and learn about the hardships faced by a town experiencing economic and population decline.