Thursday, August 23, 2012

Everything's better with homemade butter!

In the past, the girls and I were part of an American Girl Club through our homeschool group.  Due to some scheduling issues and my desire to cut way back, we are no longer in the group.  However, we're still doing activities at home (and field trips) that relate to the books we're reading.  We're currently studying Kirsten, the doll whose family immigrated to Minnesota from Sweden.

Today's activity involved tracing Kirsten's family's route from Sweden to New York, across to Chicago, up the Mississippi into central Minnesota.  We used a globe, a flat world map, a flat map of the US and a map of Minnesota.  We used the internet to look up photos of the sailing ship, the old steam trains, paddleboats, and other methods of transportation during that time period.  We read some of the historical background of the time period, and then talked about what Kirsten's life would've been like.  And we made butter.

This is something that I remember doing as a child, and doing as a pre-k/PPCD teacher.  Somehow, my kids made it to this point without making butter.  Honestly, they were surprised at the simple process.  We talked about it in detail, but to make our own butter we simply put whipping cream in a container, spent about 20 minutes shaking it vigorously, and then skimmed off the milk.  The girls drank the milk and then we used the delicious, sweet butter on our homemade honey-oatmeal bread.  What a yummy snack!

While they "churned" their butter, we discussed how boring it would've been if that was your daily chore.  We taught each other some sing-songs and catchy poems to pass the time, just like Kirsten would've probably done.

Belle charting the immigrant's path.

Sunshine charting the immigrant's path.

Measuring the cream.

Shake it up!

Singing a song!

She lasted about 30 seconds and was d-o-n-e!

Delicious, sweet butter!

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