Friday, February 8, 2008

Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich Instructions

Addison and Michaella were given the assignment to write instructions for someone to follow that would result in a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Addison said that he liked peanut butter and banana sandwiches so we altered his assignment accordingly. Below is Michaella's finished assignment with an accompanying photo that should be self-explanatory.

How to Make a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich.

By Michaella Snyder.

Step 1

In order to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, you have to get these ingredients: peanut butter, your favorite jelly, two whole slices of bread, a butter knife, and a plate.

Step 2

Next take the handle of the butter knife, and with the flat edge of the knife spread peanut butter about as thick as corrugated cardboard. This should cover the entire top surface of the slice of bread evenly. Now take the other slice of bread and the butter knife by the handle. Then spread with the flat edge of your knife, an amount of jelly as thick as corrugated cardboard. Cover the entire top surface of the second slice of bread evenly. Last but not least, place the first slice of bread on top of the second slice with the peanut butter and jelly together, and you’re done.

Here's Addison's instructions for his famous Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich!

Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich

By Addison Snyder

Today we are going to make a peanut butter and banana sandwich. Now you should get all the ingredients out. Then put them on the counter next to the plate. They are a jar of peanut butter, a banana, two whole equal pieces of bread, a butter knife, and a spoon.

Take the handle of the knife in your hand and using the flat side of the knife, spread a layer of peanut butter that is as thick as corrugated cardboard on the top side of one of the pieces of bread. Make sure you completely and evenly cover the bread in peanut butter. Peel the banana and cut it in half. Further cut one of the halves of banana, so there is enough small slices (8-10) to cover the peanut butter that is spread on the bread. When that is finished put the other slice of bread on top of the peanut butter and bananas and put it on the plate. You are finished. You can eat it yourself or give it to a friend to eat.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

All I Want for Christmas is My Two or Three or....

The Snyder School of Higher Learning currently has two students enrolled, Addison and Michaella. I hope that in the future I will also have the privilege of enrolling their younger sister, Bronwyn. I have included a photo of her here. The photo clearly tells the story of what Bronwyn wants for Christmas - several teeth! When all those teeth finally come in, maybe it will be time for her to come to the Snyder School of Higher Learning.

Here's Michaella's history of Christmas and some facts on Italian Christmas traditions. We've also included a photo of Addison and Michaella playing with the dreidel.

Christmas Beginnings and Italian Christmas traditions

Christmas was not started as the celebration of the birth of Christ, but as the rebirth of the sun. It started with the celebration of the winter solstice which falls on Dec. 21 or 22. The solstice is when the days begin to get longer and the sun is said to be reborn.

There were similar celebrations around the Mediterranean Sea. In Egypt, the people celebrated the birth of the sun god, Horace. In Greece, they honoured Dionysis, the god of vegetation and fertility. In Scandinavian countries, they celebrated the birth of Frey on December 25. Frey was their fertility god, responsible for bringing sunshine and rain necessary for good harvests. The Romans held a festival in honor of Saturn, the god of agriculture. The festival was to ask Saturn to give them a plentiful harvest. Even though the sun was not yet at its most powerful, it showed promise of the spring to come. Much of the food that was stored was used in the feast and people gave each other magnificent gifts.

When Christians started to celebrate the nativity, it first fell on April 25, then June 24, and later January 6. The first fathers of the Christian church did not like that the pagan festivals continued. The people would not give them up. The church decided to make the feast of the birth of Christ on Dec. 25 so that the honour that was given to the pagan gods could be changed to the one true God, Christ.

At first there was a lot of trouble about the change but a wise church father, Saint Augustine, changed a lot of people’s minds. He would tell his followers, “Remember that we are celebrating today not the birth of the sun, but to honour God who created it.”

The Italians that live in Italy today are descended from the Romans that once worshipped Saturn. Many Italians today are Christians and celebrate Christmas differently than their ancestors.

Children in Italy get gifts from a little witchlike, wrinkled old lady known as La Befana. The story states that she was busy cleaning her house when the Three Wise Men came to ask her to help them find the Christ Child. She refused saying she had too much to do. The next day, La Befana changed her mind and decided to try and catch up to the wise men. She is said to still be looking for the Christ Child. She slides down the chimney on her broom handle going into houses and looks down on children always asking, “Is this the child?” She then leaves candy and toys for good children and stones, charcoal or ashes for bad children. This takes place on January 6, the day of Epiphany.

Christmas in Italy starts the beginning of the novena (eight days before Christmas) and continues until after Twelfth-night which is the Feast of Epiphany. Christmas is a time for visits from relatives and friends. Children talk about plans and practice plays and poems to tell the Christmas story at school. They go from place to place reciting Christmas poems and songs which they are given coins for, then they can go and buy treats.

All families that can, display a presepio which is a nativity scene. The best and biggest presepio is in Rome at the Ara Coeli Church. From its high platform, children like to deliver little sermons, poems and tell the story of Jesus.

In some places, a strict fast is held for 24 hours before Chirstmas Eve. After the fast, each family has as big a feast as they can afford. Then everyone picks a present from the “Urn of Fate”. At sunset the cannon is fired from the Castle of St. Angelo in Rome to tell of the opening of the Holy Season. Everyone goes to the churches by 9:00 p.m. to watch the procession of the church officials and participate in the mass.

Children in Rome go to the Piazza Navona Christmas market. There people sell unusual items to decorate their manager. They can hear bagpipers playing Christmas songs and they visit Santa Claus and his sleigh.

In other parts of Italy, Christmas begins with Midnight Mass. Families eat a traditional Christmas Eve meal of fish and many types of fried foods. Christmas dinner is traditionally a stuffed chicken. Families also make sweet bread called panettone that is made with candied fruit. They also have tangerines, sparkling wine and torrone, which is a white candy made with nuts. Each region in Italy has its own traditions about Christmas candies and cakes.

There are different traditions in the way that people wait for Midnight Mass. One region leaves the table filled with food and the door open so that people in trouble or the poor feel welcome to come and eat. Another town acts out the story of the nativity in the open fields. Everyone comes to pay honour to the Holy Family on Christmas night. They hold a competition to decide who will be Mary, mother of Jesus.

In the south of Italy, fires are lit in the town squares and each family brings pieces of wood. As the fire is being lit, everyone exchanges good wishes. This tradition is held in the homes where the head of the family lights the largest log. Smaller pieces of wood are arranged around the big piece for each member in the family.

In the province of Cosenza and other places, it is believed that on Christmas Eve, the animals in the manger were given the gift of speech. Farmers give their animals plenty of special food so that at midnight, when the animals can talk, they will not say how cruel their owners are.

It is believed that Jesus brings gifts for children on Christmas night. In the morning, the streets fill with the children showing off their gifts that they found under their tree or by their manger.

As you can see there are many traditions that are celebrated in the country of Italy. Some of these traditions date back to the early Roman celebrations like the feast and giving of gifts. Some of the traditions are much newer like La Befana and Santa Claus. People in Italy set out their nativity scenes and celebrate the Birth of Jesus in their homes and churches as do many other people around the world.

The Christmas Projects - Finally Published!

We may be a little tardy, but better late than never. Here are Addison and Michaella's research assignment. They were told to research Christmas traditions outside North America. Here is Addison's project.

Hanukkah - a Jewish Celebration

Hanukkah which can be written, Hannuka or Chanukah means, Feast of light or Feast of Dedication. Hanukkah begins on the eve of the 25th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev (approximately December). Gifts are exchanged and contributions to the poor are made. On the first evening of Hanukkah one candle is lit in an eight branch candelabra, called a menorah or hanukkiyah. Candles are lit for eight nights by using a separate candle called Shamash (shamus).

The story of Hanukkah was written in two books of the Apocrypha (a number of books from the Old Testament). For thousands of years, Jewish leaders or rabbis studied the Torah, which are the first five and most important books of the Hebrew Bible. The Jews believed God first revealed the Torah to Moses. Torah, which means “guidance” and “teaching”, was also translated as “law.” As well as history, the Torah contained 613 commandments on which Jewish life was based. The rabbis wrote the results of their work in commentaries that motivated further scholarly writings. The most important of all these works was the Talmud, which contained guidance on Jewish Law and Biblical descriptions.

Hanukkah began in 161 B.C.E. (before current era) when the Greek king Antiochus planned to make every one into a Greek. Most countries agreed, but the people from Judea, a small province bordering Egypt did not. The Judeans or Jews didn’t reject everything the Greeks did. They liked the way the Greek cities were governing themselves and they admired the wisdom of the Greek philosophers. They liked only one language being spoken all over the world. However the Jews refused to replace their own God, who had delivered them from slavery and was the one true God, the God of Israel.

Antiochus was afraid that other groups in lands that he was trying to conform, would rebel against his wishes. Antiochus tried to use brutal force to conform the Jews. He sent an army to invade Jerusalem and take over the Temple. The Jews were chased by the Greek army but by using surprise tactics were able to fight. When Mattathias, who was a Jewish priest and had lead the rebellion died, his son Judah was made commander. They called Judah “Maccabee”, which was thought to mean, “Hammerer,” because they hammered the armies of the Greeks. Antiochus gathered an enormous army with war elephants to crush the Maccabees. The Maccabees shot the elephant trainers and the elephants without trainers panicked. The panicked elephants broke up the army and the Maccabees were able to win the battle. After a three year struggle lead by Judah Maccabee, the Jews in Judea defeated the Syrian tyrant Antiochus IV.

According to the Talmud, written many centuries after the event, the Maccabees entered Jerusalem in November of 164 B. C. E. They led the soldiers to the Temple, which was empty and polluted. The Jews destroyed the Syrian idols that were in the Temple. The Maccabee and the people of Jerusalem cleaned the Temple and found only one small flask of oil that had not been spoiled by the Greeks. On the 25th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev they rededicated the Temple to God. They used the oil to light their holy lamps. The small amount of oil was only enough for one day; however it lasted for 8 days. This was long enough for more oil to be brought to Jerusalem. The ceremony lasted for 8 days. This was the first Hanukkah or dedication.

As Jews light the menorah, they remember the miracle of the oil and how a tiny band of heroic men and women defeated a mighty empire and won the right to worship God in their own way. Other sources tell of a torch light parade in the Temple, which may have contributed to the tradition of lighting candles on Hanukkah.

An important traditional image of Hanukkah is the dreidel or sivivon as it is known in Hebrew. The dreidel is a four sided top that was used by children to play games. The tradition of the dreidel may have originated as a result of the Bar Kokhba revolution against the Romans in 135C.E. After putting down the revolution the Roman emperor Hadrian banned the Jewish religion. The Jews were forbidden to study the Torah which is the first five books of the Hebrew bible. The Jews believed God first revealed them to Moses. Torah means “guidance” and “teaching” but it also translates as “law.” As well as History the Torah contains 613 commandments on which Jewish life is based. If the Jews were caught studying the Torah by the Romans they were put to death.

Hadrian’s ban failed. Jews continued to worship and study in attics, cellars and caves. A lookout that kept watch would warn the worshipers if the Romans were coming and the Jews would hide the scrolls. When the Romans found a group of suspected worshippers they found them playing a gambling game with a child’s top. They knew that religious Jews would never gamble so the Jews were safe. The Romans thought they could not be studying the Torah. The letters on the sides remind Jews that God freed their ancestors and would do so again.

The four Hebrew letters on the side of the dreidel stand for the words nes, gadol, haya, and sham, which mean “A great miracle happened there.” Dreidel used in Israel substitute the letter peh, for the letter shin. The letters Nun, gimel, hey, peh stand for the words nes, gadol, haya, poh, which means “A great miracle happened here.” This is because the miracle of Hanukkah happened in Israel. The miracle was the small jar of oil that burned for 8 days.

You play dreidel with pennies, nuts, candy, or anything on hand. You divide the pennies equally among the number of players. Everyone puts a penny into the pot. The first player spins. You must put in what ever the letter on the side of the dreidel says. The letters mean, nun – nothing, shin – put, hey – half, gimel – all.

If the dreidel falls on nun, then nothing happens and everyone puts in another penny. Then the second player spins. If it falls on shin then the player puts in a penny. Everyone, including the second player puts in another penny. The third player spins, if it falls on hey then the player takes all the pennies in the pot. Then everyone puts in a penny. The fourth player spins and if it falls on gimel then the player takes the whole pot. Everyone puts in a penny and the game goes on. The game goes on till one person wins all the pennies.

Hanukkah has many other traditions associated with it. Like some of our holidays there are special songs and foods that are enjoyed during this festival of Lights.

World Book 2000 ed. Vol. H - Written by B Barry Levy

Chanukah – Greenfeld, Howard.

Illustrated Dictionary of Religions – Wilkinson, Philip

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Millennial Generation

I saw a segment on last week’s edition of Sixty Minutes about the ‘Millennial Generation’. The definition of 'millennial generation' varies slightly but generally to be a member, your birth year has to be at or after 1984. I have two children that are members of this group but fortunately my kids don’t have the characteristics of this generalized group. I find it odd that when I was making the decision to home-school these same two children, most of the reasons that I wanted to home-school was because I didn’t want my kids to turn out like the members of the ‘Millennial Generation’. I had no idea at the time that someday these characteristics would be attributed to the current generation of young people.

My two kids tell me that they can’t believe how unprepared their Millennial Generation classmates are for the real world. My daughter said that she couldn’t understand why their orientation was a week long. At the end of the second day, she said “How many ‘get-to-know-you’ games do we have to play - let’s get on with classes!” She didn’t need to attend the orientation session that showed students how to run a washing machine or a dryer either.

I have always said that the education system is exactly what parents want. It’s a quasi-daycare center that makes their children feel good about themselves. Bill Gates warned parents and post-secondary institutions that by continuing down this path of non-justified rewarding will produce individuals who are ‘sissy’ and can’t take criticism of any kind. Essentially he stated that the kids will not grow up in the real world and they won’t be ready when they graduate because they won’t be able to cope. I guess he was right.

I can hardly wait to say “I told you so” to all those nay-sayers that criticized me for my home-schooling decision. My two children have flown the nest, are paying for their own university education (through wages that they earned themselves) and fighting their own battles because I have given them the tools to do so. They also know how to separate their white clothes from the darks. Imagine that!

Monday, November 5, 2007

My Trip to A New World

Here's Michaella's interpretation of the assignment on pretending to be a turkey on her turkey farm. Enjoy!

When I was in an egg, it felt hot and sticky. All I heard was a little peeping noise. It was too cramped and I had to get out of that turkey egg! So I started to peck at the egg wall. I was almost out but I was so tired that I had to take a nap. When I woke up, I started to peck at the shell and I heard a big crack. Then I was free from the egg at last.

As I laid there beside my shell, all wet and weak, I fell asleep. When I opened my eyes, I was soft, fluffy and dry. A giant came and moved me to a box with several of my friends. All I heard was the giant talking and I felt the box jiggle. Then the giant moved the box to the sorting room and sorted us into two boxes, one for hens and one for toms. Then we were put on a huge truck.

Inside the truck it smelled different than inside my egg. My egg home was clean and cozy. The truck home is dirty from all my friend’s poop. I sure hope I get off this truck soon.

It was a long trip because the giant that was driving the truck kept stopping. Outside the truck, I heard loud and scary sounds that rumbled and beeped. They sounded like monsters. Then I felt a jerk and the truck stopped, and the door opened. Another big giant picked up the box I was in and dumped me into a new world.

In my new world it is warm and dry. There is food and water for all of us to eat and drink. We have wiggly jiggly red stuff to peck and it tastes good. I have made lots of new friends in this new world and I love living here.

A Poult's Life

Here is Addison's story based on the assignment that he was to pretend that he was a turkey on his farm. We hope you enjoy his efforts.

It’s crowded and hot in the truck and it can be quite bumpy. With all the other polts peeping in here it’s very noisy. There are many stops along the way. I can hear sounds of traffic and the heater that’s keeping us warm. I can see some lights out of the holes in this box. I smell stinky car fumes in the back of this truck and the cardboard under my feet feels weird because the cardboard is bumpy. The truck has stopped and I’m being taken into a gigantic barn. I wonder what will happen to me next.

Oh my gosh! I’m being dumped in a huge cardboard circle. There are so many of us in a big pile and it’s hard to get off my back. My feet are in the air and I can’t get up! A huge person flips me over so I’m back on my feet. There are soft and comfortable wood shavings all around me. There is food and water, and it is very clean. These heaters are nice to take a nap under and it’s very warm. There is very good and nutritious red jelly that wiggles when I peck at it.

Huge people wearing old dusty shirts and pants come every day and clean the cardboard circle with a long wooden arm with fingers on it. The fingers are taking the top layer of dirty shavings out of my cardboard circle leaving me a clean area to live in with my friends. The huge people also put in new water and food. My friends and I sometimes sleep in the food dishes and the huge people have to move us from it. Every two days the huge person moves the walls of our cardboard circle, then there is more room to run and explore in this huge barn. My yellow fuzzy feathers are turning into big white bird feathers. I try to fly and don’t get very high.

When the huge person comes in I go running to see him because I’m curious to see what he will do next. This farm will be a great place to grow up.