Saturday, April 14, 2012

Recreating History - Titanic's 3rd Class

One of the things we have tried to do with the kids, is find creative ways to learn about historical events. And yes, the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic seemed like a perfect time for something a little different. I suppose we COULD have watched Leonardo DiCaprio sink into the sea, but that seemed a little too predictable. So instead we decided to turn our learning into a "dinner experience."

In looking about online, I managed to find all sorts of interesting facts & photos to make tonight's dinner as authentic as possible. One of the more shocking facts is that the most expensive 1st class tickets aboard the Titanic cost $4350... in 1912! The average third class ticket on the other hand, cost $30. With numbers like that, (and after staring aghast at the 10-course meal that was served in first class) I decided it would make the most sense to dine as if we were third class passengers.

When Mrs. Sarah Roth, a third class passenger aboard the Titanic was rescued, she discovered she had managed to save a copy of the third class menu within her handbag. It was sold seven years ago for $44,650, but lucky for us images of this were EVERYWHERE on the internet, so a printed copy became part of our centerpiece alongside a vase of roses. On the menu for dinnertime (tea) on April 14th 1912 was:
* Cold Meat
* Cheese
* Pickles
* Fresh Bread & Butter
* Stewed Figs & Rice
* and of course Tea.

We substituted rice pudding for the stewed figs & rice because I had NO idea where to shop for fresh figs in April. Other than that, the menu was followed exactly.

Because the kids are constantly telling me that, while I require essays from them I never write them myself, I wrote a two-page micro essay describing what life aboard the Titanic would have been like, complete with photos of several of the rooms and a printed copy of a third class ticket.

There were printed images of first-class (I know, I know... but they were prettier!) boarding tickets at each place, and to our dinner & servingware I glued printouts of the White Star logo - to simulate the stoneware actually used in 3rd class and by the crew aboard the Titanic. I also found a list of songs played by the White Star Line (for 1st & 2nd class... but it was still music popular at the right time!) that played softly in the background while we ate.

The kids are about to start watching the documentary Titanica, before we all play Just Dance together... as third class passengers would have finished their night singing & dancing in the general room. It's been an interesting evening so far, and the kids really seemed to love discussing the differences between 1st & 3rd class life.

We will NOT however be going on any boats tonight!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Happy Easter!!!

Oh boy, have our lives gotten busy over the past month! I JUST managed to take a few photos of our Easter decorations this afternoon!

In our house, we try to keep Easter low-key. Not because it isn't important - but because I prefer to have room for fresh dandelions & mason jars of crabapple or forsythia branches rather than heaps of random items. So the house takes on a very "fresh" look as it's scoured of nearly every glittery goodie from the winter months and bowls of pretty rocks & feathers take their place.

But on to our decorations! We leave the front door the same, for St. Patrick's Day AND Easter. Likewise, the hurricane vases of split peas & tealights are still displayed - they've just moved to a different table in the living room.

On the little accent table in our living room, we have a cutting from our crabapple tree with feather birds wired onto the branches and a tiny grapevine nest of teeny tiny eggs. Small pebbles & pretty bits of bark keep coming & going from this table as we find them, but at the moment we've swept it clear for Easter morning.

In the kitchen niche, I have my glittered chicks that were inspired by vintage greeting cards and a bouquet of silk flowers. (I did say NEARLY every glittery goodie!)

Our dining room is where most of our Easter decorations tend to find themselves. The chandelier is draped with a pretty floral garland, and the hutch is filled with all of the little critters we've made or picked up over the years... as well as the tiny plastic canvas houses my grandmother made years ago.

On my china cupboard sits the little blackboard that I FINALLY finished, and a teeny tiny Easter garden that I grew to share with my Children's Church class. The kids really seemed to enjoy peeking in, and double-checking that yes, the "tomb" was indeed empty.

And on the sewing table, are a few more reminders of what Easter is REALLY all about! (The lamb is in honor of Jesus; The Lamb of God... my daughter's idea!)

All I did to finish preparing our home for Easter, was add a few mason jars of fresh flowers on my favorite vintage tablecloth. We'll have a full house tomorrow with friends & family as we celebrate the most important day of the year.