Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas at the Swedish Institute

The Friday before Christmas we went on a very Christmas-y field trip to the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis. We stopped for coffee and hot chocolate to sip on the 45 minute drive from home and listened to Christmas music and talked about all sorts of things.

The first part of our tour was an informational session about Christmas in Sweden. We learned about St. Lucia's Day, Star Boys and traditional Christmas decorations and foods. We then got to try our hand at making heart ornaments with construction paper. I thought AH would hate this, but he liked this so much he made three!

Our group learns about Christmas in Sweden

AH concentrates on weaving the basket

After the craft we were brought upstairs to the mansion proper. We learned that the Turnblad mansion is in fact classified as a castle because it has turrets and battlements. AH was so proud that he knew what architectural features were required to classify a building as a castle! We learned about the family that built this fabulous home, the Turnblads. During the Holidays, the Swedish Institute has 5 of the rooms decorated especially to represent each of the 5 Nordic nations: Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland.

After the tour, we stopped in to the Kaffestuga, the coffee shop on site. We had lingonberry juice with Swedish cardamom pastries. Yum!

It was a great way to spend a morning before Christmas. It really got us in the Christmas spirit!

AH with one of his finished heart baskets

Visiting Sue

It's good to be blogging again. I guess I just needed one thing off my plate for a while.
While I was taking a break, we have been on a lot of field trips. One of the most interesting was "A T-Rex Named Sue" It is a traveling exhibit from the Field Museum in Chicago.

AH and I woke bright and early to drive about an hour and a half to a small county museum in central Minnesota. We listened to an audio book on the way, so the time flew by. We arrived at the Stearns History Museum early and spent some time in the gift shop while we waited for our tour to begin.

Then we got to meet Sue.

AH took this photo

AH with Sue coming at him!

She is the largest and most complete T-Rex skeleton ever found. What we were seeing was one of 2 replicas that travel the world. She is awesome. That's really all I can say! Along with the skeleton, there are pods to learn more about Sue, the technology used by scientists to study Sue, dinosaur vision and more. We got to look through Stegosauruses eyes and a T-Rex's eyes. Since each animals eyes were placed differently, they each have a very different field of vision. If you find Sue in your neighborhood soon, I would heartily recommend a visit!

Our group gets a good look at Sue's 5 foot skull

A better view of the skull

AH experiencing one of the many educational "pods" located in the exhibit area