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Monday, May 28, 2012

4th Annual Graduation Luau

Officially summer vacation has begun! Every year the start of summer is marked by our Annual Graduation Luau. I think out of all the things I do with my extended family, this has to be my favorite. Christmas and Thanksgiving are wonderful, but I LOVE this party. It's a time to dress up, eat some good food, watch some entertainment, and give honor to our children. The weather always cooperates and is beautiful. It makes for an unforgettable night spending quality time as a family!

graduation luau
graduation luau
Every year I like to shop at the dollar store and add new luau decorations to the stock pile. We're starting to get quite a collection! This time of year the dollar store seems to specialize in Luau. Summer is the best time for a party! We found a pack of a dozen or so different luau pictures. Because they were double-sided I couldn't see taping them to a wall. I punched a hole and hung them throughout the trees with yarn. I love how they pop up in various pictures at the party!

graduation luau
Normally we liked to BBQ for this party, but I wanted to go for something different this year. Since our theme was Hawaiian, we went for our family favorite, Waikiki Meatballs. They were delicious! My mom completed the meal by making some fried rice.

Our dessert was adorable graduation caps! I saw the idea on the Family Fun website. They went perfect with punch and were very easy to put together.

Miniature peanut butter cups
Frosting or peanut butter
Chocolate-covered graham crackers
Fruit chews

Place a miniature peanut butter cup, bottom up, on a plate. Top with a small dot of frosting or peanut butter, then press on a chocolate-covered graham cracker.

For a tassel, cut fringe on one end and attach the other end to the center of the graham cracker with another dab of frosting or peanut butter.

(My mom made these and added a chocolate chip on top of the fruit chew. I think it added something to the treat!)

graduation caps made of chocolate Reese's peanut butter cup
Our ceremony always begins with the pledge of allegiance. This time all of our children couldn't even remember the words to it. It's a good thing we had a refresher for them!

Ariel led us in the elementary school song and Gabriel led us in the pledge. We included both things in our program so all the adults could follow along.

Our next portion of the evening is always my favorite, TALENTS. Each year the kids get to choose something they have learned to share with us. We've had some pretty fun things in the past. I can remember one year my niece playing the recorder with her nose! Talk about talent.

Gabriel started us off. He had two different things to share with us. His first thing was an optical illusion. If you look closely at the picture below, you will see it is a young girl and also at the same time an old woman. Gabriel shared the secret with us.

optical illusion old lady or young girl

The second trick that Gabe shared was something he called "Math Magic". He first asked for a volunteer from the audience. (We all got a turn in the end.) The volunteer must think of a number between 1 and 63 without saying it out loud. Gabe had six different cards full of numbers. He would hold each one up and ask if your number was on that card. After you answered for all six cards, he could tell you the number you were thinking of. Gabriel loved to dazzle us with this trick!

I found a website that has the trick on it if you'd like to try it for yourself.

Our next performance was done by Ariel. She also had two things to share with us. The first was a science experiment called "Elephant's Toothpaste" and for the second part she gave us an oral report on Hawaii, something she had studied at length this past quarter.

elephant's toothpaste science experiment recipe

Elephant's Toothpaste

The experiment is to be done in the kitchen sink with proper eye protection. We chose to use the grass in the backyard!

1.) Pour 1/2 cup of 6% hydrogen peroxide (found in a beauty supply store) into a clean 2-liter plastic pop bottle. (You can use 3%, but it doesn't work as well.)
2.) Add 1 to 2 squirts of dish detergent
3.) Add food coloring if desired
4.) In a separate container mix 1 package of yeast in 1 cup of warm water
5.) Pour the yeast solution into the pop bottle and watch the bubbles rise
6.) Remember this is an exothermic chemical change, so the pop bottle will be warm

elephant's toothpaste

This is an experiment Ariel learned at her gifted classes. Towards the end of the year they did many chemistry experiments!

Mikaela read us a report she wrote on her hero. It was so good! I was very proud of her, and I asked for my own special copy of it for my keepsake box. Her first hero she told about was Tim Tebow, and she concluded with her hero who by far surpasses him, Jesus Christ. For the fun part, she read the report with a British/ Australian accent.

You can't have a graduation ceremony without some diplomas. We always like to give out awards for the special things they have done through the year.

Zechariah was awarded for "doing an awesome job learning A-B-C-D, being Mom's special leader and for entering a new level of obedience!"

We always try to give out a spiritual growth award too. This area is just as important as feeding the mind.

"This honor was bestowed upon Zechariah for excellent participation with Grandma in Bible Study and nurturing your spirit through daily prayer journaling with Mom."

Gabriel got the High Achiever Award for "the successful completion of 2nd grade and for having 3 books published with a 4th awaiting final publisher's approval!!" His spiritual growth award read the same as Zechariah's.

Ariel received an All Star Student for ACADEMICS award in recognition of "your completion of elementary school and the gifted program with exemplary excellence."

Grandma read a note written about Ariel from the overseer of the gifted education program. "Ariel is an all-around great student! She has very good academic skills in all subject areas. Her strengths include both language arts and math. Ariel demonstrates good control of the English language; she is able to speak and write extremely well. In reading, Ariel displays good comprehension and she reads all types of books. Ariel is a good thinker and problem solver. If there is something she does not know, she will find a way to figure it out. She sets her goals high and is a hard worker. Ariel has outstanding leadership qualities; she has many friends and she is kind and respectful to everyone. Ariel is fair, kind, understanding, and makes good decisions. Ariel is a wonderful young lady!" What high praise for her!

Ariel's spiritual growth award was a little different than the boys. 5th grade marks the end of many things, but also the beginning. "This honor is bestowed upon Ariel for excellent participation with Grandma in Bible study and nurturing your spirit through daily Prayer Journaling with Mom. You are now leaving behind E.K.A.P Club (elementary age prayer club at our church) and before school prayer and are entering into a new level of prayer- personal prayer journaling!"

Since kindergarten I have been doing prayer journaling with my daughter every day before school starts. Middle school begins minutes after my boys are just waking up. We will no longer be able to have our prayer time at 8am as a family. Ariel will be on her own, learning to put into practice all that she has learned! New beginnings!

Congratulations, Graduates, for a job well done!!

I thought this picture was hilarious! When Gabe threw his hat up, it got stuck in the luau sign. After that he kept jumping to see if he could fit his head into it. It looks like he's being hung by the hat!

I believe we will be doing this graduation ceremony until all my kids graduate from high school. I was contemplating this year if my kids would ever outgrow it, but I believe even if they feel they have, it will still be a necessity. Humility is always good for a person. We may not always make paper hats. We may change the style a little. But we will always celebrate all that they have accomplished. I love giving them a night where we the parents and grandparents take time to honor all their hard work. They have earned it!

1 comment:

  1. Amanda,

    What a fun graduation party idea. It definitely looks like you all had fun. My little guy is graduating from Preschool this Friday and he's pretty excited.

    I followed you over from the Tip Junkie linky party. I would love if you stopped by my blog.

    Thanks for sharing,



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