Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Holiday Cookies

Our homeschooling group got together for a somewhat impromptu holiday cookie decorating.  We used up the leftover dough from the gingerbread house adventure.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Our Annual Historic Gingerbread

We were introduced to the gingerbread house contest at the Carolina Inn last year thanks to some friends of ours and decided to make it our holiday tradition to enter a historic gingerbread house each year.  This year the kids wanted to do something with trains, and after some research we found out about the Historic Burgaw Depot.

The Burgaw Depot is the oldest train station in North Carolina and one of two surviving antebellum depots.  At the time it was built it was on the longest railway in the world, and was involved in the Civil War as part of the supply line between Wilmington and Richmond.  The Depot was expanded in 1898, 1916-17, and 1941.  We had found some awesome sites and info online at the time that we were doing our research, but I cannot relocate most of them now that I'm finally doing the blogpost--one of them was a pdf of the Civil War Trail sign outside the Depot.  In looking for those pages and sites, however, I found out that they had their Grand Opening after recent renovations shortly before we had stopped in to do physical research for the gingerbread house!

Because of our size constraints for the competition (18"x18"x18") we decided to not do the platform; as it was we had to scale it to approximately 1-inch per 9-feet and put it at an angle to fit.

The perimeter on parchment, with the base board.

Eldest working on preparing gingerbread for cutting.

Wee-one doing his part.

The base of the warehouse section with its surrounding platform/walkway,
ready to bake in the oven.

Stacking the layers.

With the base of the roof.

Gingerbread railroad ties.

Royal iced sides, dried green onion for grass,
food-colored dried minced onion for railroad gravel.

Layers of yellow cake for the roof.

Roof over waiting rooms and baggage room.

Progress continues....

All gussied up and ready to go!

The circle of fondant was for writing the entry number on with
an edible marker.  Last year they had an issue with the entry
number placards being migrated about by visiting school
 children so the pictures of the winners did not match
the info for the winners.

We added another bit of fondant that indicated the Depot
was being shown circa 1916/1917.

We really enjoy doing historicals because it provides us with a finite opportunity to learn a little something extra, but unfortunately it's difficult to compete with the whimsical imaginations of the other entries.  They always have a fabulous turn-out!

This year's winner in the adult category was Amalia Bolivar.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Battleship North Carolina

After we finished at the Historic Burgaw Depot, we decided to continue the approximately 20mi to the USS North Carolina to check it out---y'know, since we were there anyway.  Now, this had not been part of our original plan for the day.  We noted the billboard on our way to Burgaw, and since Burgaw took no time at all (compared to House in the Horseshoe last year), we decided to check it out in anticipation of our upcoming studies of World War II.

The Visitor Center had a short movie (on loop) about the USS North Carolina that was narrated by a gentleman who served on another ship and witnessed some of work of the North Carolina.  During one battle it was thought the North Carolina was on fire because they were firing off so much artillery the resultant smoke was hanging thick about the ship.  Also in the Visitor Center is a model of each of the USS North Carolinas commissioned throughout the history of the United States Navy.

A model of the original USS North Carolina, a ship of the line
 authorized by Congress in 1816.

Eldest said that if he had served on the USS North Carolina
he would have liked to be assigned to Turret 1.   Wee-one
said he would have liked to work one of the deck-mounted
machine guns.

Tight sleeping quarters.  This isn't even a "room," it's an area that is
passed through to get from one section of the ship to another.
A sign on the patio of the Visitor Center where lunches can be enjoyed
looking out over the Battleship and its mooring slip off the Cape Fear River.

Another USS North Carolina has been commissioned. 

(Each USS North Carolina hyperlink in this blogpost takes you somewhere different...check them out!)

Burgaw Depot


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Holocaust Survivor: Hank Brodt

Hank "the Tank" speaking at Temple Emmanuel about some of his
experiences as a Polish Jew during the Holocaust.
From an email received regarding the event:
Hank Brodt, a member of Temple Emanuel, is a Holocaust survivor of five camps.  It took him a long time to open up and address children and other groups about his past life. For years he did not tell anybody the story, refusing even to speak to his own children about his experiences, but when he opened up and spoke to his congregation here in Greensboro, it made him feel at home and he is now willing to share his experiences. Hank is a spokesman for those who cannot tell their story. He will be speaking about his experiences, in memory of those who perished and for those who cannot say Kaddish.

Hank immigrated to the United States in March of 1949 and was drafted into the American Army in 1950 during the Korean War. He has two daughters and two grandchildren. He and his wife Aida have lived in High Point for the last five years. He has been on four March of The Living trips with Temple Emanuel. When he was on the 2007 March of the Living, Rabbi Guttman asked him to light one of six candles at Birkenau. When he lit that candle, he pledged to himself that he would never turn down a request to speak about his experiences.

We are so lucky to have Hank in our congregation. We invite everyone to come and hear him speak; all ages are welcome.
It was quite remarkable to listen to Mr. Brodt speak.  We had attended because of the kids' interest in World War II and our intentions to start studying it after the holidays.  Unfortunately, the kids didn't gain as much from it as I would have liked--he has a lingering accent which was difficult for Eldest to understand--and he spoke conversationally rather than as a presenter of information (like a seminar or workshop).  It was similar to a conversation with me, tangenting off occasionally and not always chronological--it was enjoyable and IMO the best way to learn from another's experience, but my kids couldn't keep it straight, especially with not having prior knowledge of the main events.  So the kids felt a little lost.  If nothing else, it was great practice for sitting and listening respectively, and being respectful in a house of worship they were unfamiliar with.

He has added his story, or testimony, to the audio repositories of WWII stories.  He survived five concentration camps, the first of which he had been sorted into the line of those to be disposed of, but when asked his age he lied and said he was 16 which moved him to the line of those to be put to work.  If I recall correctly, he was 13yo when Germany invaded Poland.  The first camp he was in was Plaszow.  I didn't catch the name of the second one well enough to guess at the spelling in order to look it up online later.  His third camp was Mauthausen.  The fourth one sounded like "Melk" and he said it was 80km from Vienna, but I haven't found it yet.  The fifth one I have not yet located either, despite a list of Nazi Concentration Camps.  It sounded like he said Edenhausen, he said it had three crematoriums and he was liberated 6 May 1945.

Some articles about Mr. Brodt (or quoting him):



His interview with Wake Forest University for their Holocaust repository:

Monday, November 15, 2010

Wounded Warriors

Our homeschooling group got together to do some art for Wounded Warriors.
Marine museum seeks young artists

The National Museum of the Marine Corps is looking for young artists to decorate the walls of the Wounded Warrior wing of the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.

"Art for wounded warriors is one more way that the museum extends its support outside our four walls to Marines everywhere," said Lin Ezell, museum director.

"I hope there is so much art submitted for this program that we can offer it to other hospitals where veterans are recovering."

Children should draw a picture, and write a supportive message, on an 8-by-11 sheet of paper. It should have their name, hometown and grade level on the back.

The museum will accept drawings, paintings or colorings; all art must be submitted in a flat, rigid envelope, postmarked by Nov. 30.

Submissions should be mailed to: National Museum of the Marine Corps, Attn: Teacher in Residence, 18900 Jefferson Davis Highway, Triangle, Va., 22172-1938.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Marbles Museum

[placeholder for a post that i need to sit down and write]

Child Labor

I haven't stopped by for quite sometime, but Nony at A Slob Comes Clean had posted once about doing a detailed cleaning list for her kids.  I finally sat down and did one for mine.  I started with their bathroom, which I'm horrified our guests have to share with them, and then I divied the tasks between them throughout the week.  Because of the disgusting nature of their bathroom, and the fact that it's the one available to company, it will be receiving more frequent attention than most might give to any given area of the house besides the kitchen.

Then I added other household tasks that they should be, or will be, taking care of.

I'll post a pic when I get them printed out (have to fetch ink, and I also have to turn on DH's computer to access the printer through the router).

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Water Wheel Build

[placeholder for a post that will hopefully happen one of these days]

Monday, October 11, 2010

Rocky Mountain National Park

After a weekend of short fuses, and a Monday morning starting to look the same way, we took off for the incomparable Rocky Mountain National Park in Estes Park, Colorado.  For those of you who are fans of The Shining, the Stanley Hotel where the movie was filmed is in Estes Park.  I was told years ago that they charge non-guests who wish to enter--I've never looked into it as parts of that movie still disturb me.

Once again we left later in the day than I wanted, so we only had a couple hours available once we arrived; and once again, we were tardy in picking up Grandma from the office.  The good news?  The kids finished earned their Junior Ranger Badges for RMNP this afternoon!  Our $20 entry fee is good for the week, so if life (and gas money) cooperates we might go back Wednesday to see more of the park--and take more pictures since we've been a bit slim on the shutterbugging.

Due to time constraints we only made it to the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center on Hwy36 out of Estes Park and the Moraine Park Visitor Center around the corner.  Today was the first day this fall that the Trail Ridge Road has been closed, they were hoping to have it reopened tomorrow.  Maybe we'll be lucky and it'll be open Wednesday if we can make it back.  Regardless, it's pretty much unheard of for it to have remained without closure for so long!

An information plaque outside the restrooms of the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center.
It faces the part of the visitor center building that has the detail in the bottom right frame.

At Beaver Meadows we collected our passport stamp, the kids' Junior Ranger booklets (different booklets for different age groups at this park), and purchased Junior Ranger pencils and 12 postcards.  Two maps of the park were acquired at the entrance gate when we paid our fee.

We arrived at Moraine Park just in time for the last Portraits of the Past tour of the season.  Today was closing day for the Moraine Park Visitor Center.  (If Trail Ridge had been open it would have been the last day for the Alpine Visitor Center as well--the highest visitor center in the National Parks system).  The tour had to do with Abner Sprague and his family settling the Moraine Park area, the resort they started, the improvements the various family members did on their respective 160acre lots from the Homestead Act.  It also talked about Imogene who stayed with Abner and his wife Alberta for 6-weeks from Wisconsin and felt the breathtaking views of the mountains healed her heart after a painful divorce from her first husband (a Civil War veteran whom she started a soldiers' home with in WI).  She ultimately started her own lodge on the 160acres she purchased for $200.  The dance/reception hall was the last building she had built on the property, and it is the only one the government kept when they bought the property from her grandkids for $40,000.  It is now the Moraine Park Visitor Center.

View of a hilltop across Moraine Park from the parking area of the visitor center.
FYI--we're on a hillside, you can't actually see the meadow in between,
(or Bear Lake Road) just the Ponderosas in the immediate foreground
of a gentler part of the slope.

During the tour we stopped on the front porch of the William Allen White cabin, a newspaper editor from Kansas (Emporia, I believe).  He, his wife, and their two children (Bill and Mary) would spend the entire summer at their cabin in Moraine Park (until Mary's death due to a horse-riding accident back in Kansas).  William had built a studio--we should have taken a picture of the steep steps up the hillside to it--where he'd spend his days writing.  He wrote over 20 books (24 or 28, can't recall now) from that little studio cabin and his wife would carry his meals up to him three times a day when he was on a good writing streak.  There was even a bed in there!

The White's cabin is used by the Park for their Artist in Residence program during the summer.  A different artist lives there for 2weeks all throughout summer.  They are selected via juried application and are required to provide two free programs to the public, and one piece of art to the Park.  This summer they had two painters, a composer...and I suddenly don't recall the other two or three.  Previously they've had dancers, quilters, all kinds of art genres!  The studio is not available for the artists' use, nor for public gawking.

When the tour finished, the kids and I tromped up to the studio and sat on the porch to finish up their Junior Ranger booklets so we could dash off to fetch Grandma from the office.  The view from that little porch was absolutely superb--if I had a means of ensuring we could eat regular meals I'd live somewhere like that!!  The pictures just don't do it justice!

Looking up the studio steps.  There's a quantity of stone steps going
down the hillside between here and the cabin.

Longs Peak from the studio porch looking across Moraine Park
(with the fuzzy edge of my red sweater creeping in)

Possibly Hallett Peak...Or Taylor Peak, or Otis Peak, or Flattop Mountain...
didn't have a Ranger with us to help identify.  As viewed from the porch of the studio.

An attempt at a better pic of the recently snow-capped mountains,
on the 'upper road' heading from the White cabin to the visitor center--
believe it's Deer Mountain.
Bear Lake Road is barely peeking through the Ponderosa
in the left foreground.

Once the booklets were completed we made our way back down to the main trail to return to the visitor center and the now-needed restroom.  I mention this because of the humor/disaster that followed.  I had not zipped up all the pockets on my little backpack and when I got momentarily caught between the door and the uber-high-mounted toilet paper holder trying to get into the stall, my calendar popped out of the pocket and landed squarely in the unused toilet.  Gratitude is expressed that there's only 2.5months left in it so I don't feel absolutely wretched that I've wasted an ENTIRE calendar.  The Rangers were kind enough to fetch a trash bag for me so I could safely carry it home....

A picture of a magpie SecondBorn took in the parking lot. 
There were two of them muttering along, and we made other sightings
of magpies while we were on the tour.

A picture I took of a magpie while we were waiting for the tour to start.
Immediately after snapping the pic it started eating stuff off the plant.

We stopped in Estes Park for a drive-thru bite to eat, opting for Taco Bell since both locations in Cheyenne should be completely shut down for wretched service and horrifying food.  Placed our order, paid for our order, received our change....and sat waiting for at least five-minutes.  I was actually taking the opportunity to do some facebooking so didn't note the specific time passed.  There was nobody waiting behind us.  Finally, a gentleman poked his head out the window and asked what I needed, "I haven't received my food yet."  He turned around, and a moment later our bag was passed out.  At least it was edible, and it wasn't a mess in a wrapper like in Cheyenne.

A brief history of RMNP can be found at http://estes.on-line.com/rmnp/articles/briefhis.html.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Not That I Want to Talk About Food

...at least at this point of the pregnancy.  But a dear friend certainly does!!  After frequently posting links for that evening's recipe on Facebook she's started her very own blog!

Check out Emily in the Kitchen for dinner ideas, recipes, and practical kitchen tips.  And if you have the opportunity, she's totally awesome to sit over a cuppa and just dish with!

...just don't come chattering back to me about food and such.  *bleh*  I think I'm going to simply attempt some graham crackers and milk.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Monday, October 4, 2010

Off the Radar

We hit croup, and are still battling whatever crud he settled into (yay for spasmodic croup---hit the croup first, the allergic reaction or cold second...).  Grandma has been battling crud as well.  So we're all a bit off-the-radar and I may never catch up on chronicling our adventures at Grandma's.

BUT...there are three girlfriends from highschool that I adore, and one of them has started a new blog about her family's latest adventures!!  See what an Air Force wife does with her kiddos in Madison, Wisconsin at Mad Gone Mom.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Ft. Laramie--Part 2

[placeholder for post that needs to happen one of these days]

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Roaring Mama Syndrome

I have adventures to catch up on blogging about, as well as their pictures.  The plan had been to take care of that this afternoon while the kids were resting....but the kids haven't been following any directions today (well, FirstBorn did clean the bathroom somewhat this morning, and SecondBorn removed his now-dried clothes from the floor of the landing this morning...but that's about it).  It has been such a frustratingly aggrevating day that I think my head is going to pop off with such force that it will be orbiting Jupiter within an hour.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Friday, September 17, 2010

It's Yer Birfday

Yesterday was my dear husband's birthday.  He's been very good natured about our teasing about him getting old--I think it helps that a few weeks ago when he was talking about the stray whites in his facial hair I commented that they were sexy.  ;-)  He's only five years older than me, but I figure it's fair game to tease him about being an old sexy man when he's been teasing me for YEARS about things that are 'before my time.'

Second-born stated that DH was turning 63yrs.  DH commented that it was close enough to count (though for the record I believe it's his father's age...I'd have to verify with the genealogy records boxed up at home; I can never remember his birth year).

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Adventures in Nebraska

We headed out to Cabela's in Sidney, Nebraska.  There aren't any within easy distance of our home (though we do enjoy Bass Pro Shop) so we decided to go adventuring there.

DH, Grandma, and the kids found sunglasses that worked for them, I found some little travel binoculars with a compass for the boys (since I left their binoculars, compasses, and leaf presses at home unintentionally), and I picked up a hip pack that has removeable shoulder straps to replace my purse while we're here--to better enable my functionality on our adventures.

The top of a massive taxidermy display in the store.

After grabbing some lunch on the go we headed back towards the Wyoming border--only to be stopped towards the end of a construction zone by a dark blue pick-up truck parked sideways across the only lane of traffic.  As we came to a stop behind the traffic ahead of us we noticed some similar pick-ups with flashing blue lights coming up the on-ramp, escorting a massive truck with a long string of fully-armed humvees behind it....and two very low-flying helicopters flying back and forth across the interstate surveying the surroundings.  Once the convoy was on the interstate our line of traffic was allowed to continue forward.  They all stayed in the right lane, and even waved us around when we got to the transporter.

Our deductions?  Once they got that truck moving they weren't stopping or slowing down for anything.  The blue pick-ups blocked subsequent on-ramps until the convoy passed so there wasn't any merging concerns--same reason for the interstate traffic being stopped when the convoy was merging on.  It was really interesting to observe it all, and I'm really grateful that they didn't block the interstate until they arrived at their destination---that would have been a really inconvenient pain.

DH, ever the comedian, joked that it must be Obama's teleprompter.  He also suggested I take pics of the entourage, etc.  I explained that if they had that much firepower escorting it, I didn't need to be getting anybody's goat up by snapping pictures for the kids' scrapbook.  They'll just have to engrave it on their brain instead.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Things to do in Cheyenne

We only had the afternoon and evening with Grandma.  The original plan was to head to the State Museum, but there were a couple of errands to run first.  After errands, we swung past the Tree House that Urban Forestry runs to find out the hours.  We also found out that they have an exploratory room in their office that we are welcome to venture into and observe at our own pace and interest.

Next, we headed to the Children's Garden to get their hours and their calendar of events.  What an AWESOME facility!!

We finished off our afternoon out with a stop at the library.  They moved to a new location since we were last here and it is FABULOUS!  The entire second floor is the kids and teens section, with the teen nook quarantined from the younger crowd.  A homeschooling open house was just finishing up when we arrived so we snuck in and signed the kids up for a couple of book club events that are happening during our visit.  The library also has a weekly chess club for Eldest's age range, and an oversized chess game with hollow plastic pieces that are about knee-high on me.  Oh, and their selection of pioneer related materials is fantastic (as one would hope given that some four trails pass through Wyoming).

Monday, September 13, 2010

Ft. Laramie--Part 1

The plan was to head out to Ft. Laramie, Register Cliffs, and the Oregon Trail ruts in Guernsey, WY.  As always, life is what happens while making plans...

We traveled from Cheyenne to Torrington, where we spied the Cold Springs marker.

We also stopped at a Rock Shop on the outskirts of Torrington, WY where we picked up some petrified Wyoming Palm Wood (if I heard him correctly it was found around Rock Springs, WY), and a small chunk of fossilized snails and shellfish.

Our error was in not also stopping for an early lunch....

As we approached Ft. Laramie we also spied markers for Ft. Platte:
and "The Greatest Ride in History" during the Red Cloud War:

Can you imagine trying to pack your prized earthly possessions AND several months worth of supplies in this cramped little space??

Ft. Laramie played a major role in diplomatic and military operations, as well as resupplying pioneers heading west.  The building behind the prairie schooner could house two regiments of cavalry.  And in the field to the right (and slightly behind) this display of mobility is what is left of the canon:

There's a stream or two that meander near the site of the storeowner's home and the cavalry barracks; it also meanders along the path the picture of the canon was taken from.  While strolling, DH spied a fish swimming in the too-shallow water (at least one third of its back was exposed and that branch of the creek ended in a mushy bit of grass), so he caught it to transport it to the deeper section of the creek.

We poked about the Visitor Center a bit, asked about the Junior Rangers program, and watched their overview movie about the fort and its many incarnations.  Then we realized it was 2pm, we were all famished and what was left of their Junior Ranger booklets was going to take awhile.  We decided we would come back to Ft. Laramie at another time, and instead continue on to Guernsey for lunch and the sites we were going to visit there.  To our dismay, we didn't locate anything viable to eat so we cut our field trip short and hightailed it back to Cheyenne for an early dinner.

So, at some point in the next few weeks the boys and I will be heading back--better prepared.  In the meantime, I leave you with a picture of the map of Ft. Laramie.

Monday, August 16, 2010



these are SOOO cool looking!!  and so is there gallery of lunch ideas!

but i HAVE to go to bed, so I'll have to peruse further another time--but I couldn't go to bed without letting y'all know about this fantastic giveaway and this fantastic company being showcased!


A Redirected Day

Yes, I know I still haven't gotten around to moving the old blog over.  It's not a high priority at this time.  Look at it this way--I'm taking the Creative Memories mantra to heart: start with now, then work your way back as you're able.  *wink*

So the current "now" is today, and how today didn't exactly go as planned.

The original plan for today was a parkdate with lunch at home and brief lessonwork; but life happens while making plans and the parkdate fell through.  Additionally, a good friend was unexpectedly available and looking for something to do.  We decided to head out to the recently renovated art museum.

So, the second plan was to go to the art museum and then maybe look at some legos while we were in that neck of the woods.  As mentioned previously, life happens while making plans....none of us remembered that the art museum is closed on Mondays.  We decided to head to the natural history museum instead.

Amazingly, that actually happened!  We had a pretty nice time looking at things.  The kids and I had been a couple of times, but our friends had never been.  And they're into "mysteries," so when a hidden doorway in the rockwall of an exhibit was discovered we had to determine what it was for--as any good homeschooler would, right??  *lol*

We gathered data, we plotted maps, we compared locations.  We investigated details from the floor above.  We also continued to explore the museum during this.  Afterwards, we returned to the scene of the mystery and discussed our findings and honed our hypothesis--though the hypothesis was not quite a unanimous agreement.  Then we decided that since there weren't designated docents in designated areas that we would go to the front desk (on our way out) and check with them.

Upon arriving at the desk the two eldest children chickened out about speaking, so I hoisted up second-born, so he could see, and briefly explained the above.  One of the young ladies behind the desk asked who came up with the hypothesis, and second-born piped up with the exact verbage he'd given during our discussion--I wish I'd documented it!  Something about the water going up the pipe and down the waterfall to the fish.  She gave him a high-five, told him he was absolutely right and then the eldest two opted to be involved in the conversation.  *wry grin*

She was so tickled with second-born and his adorable intelligence that she took us up to see what was behind the door.  Then she took us to see one of the hidden kittens in the wall murals.  And after that she took us to one of the behind-the-scenes animal rooms where we visited a variety of turtles, snakes, baby American alligators, owls, doves, guinea pigs, hampsters, rabbits, and mice.  Oh, and a fabulous tortoise.  She and one of the animal curators also informed us of homeschool days, and their Junior Curator program (which is a few years off for us age-wise).

The only bummer of the day?  We never got her name...and we didn't quite catch the curator's name when she had introduced us.  I'll have to try to call in the morning to see if I can get that information.  We were so bushwacked, and she had other work she had to run off to take care of that we didn't get to have a parting conversation.

One of the best parts of the day?  Besides all of the awesomeness above??  Second-born kept his hands in his pockets the ENTIRE time we were in the critter room!!!

Afterwards we headed to the mall for an over-priced snack (not doing that again) and a quick look at legos.  I picked up a couple of 32x32 platforms so we can work on micropolis scales.  We took backroads home to avoid the inane rush hour and didn't get home until almost 6pm!

I have a couple of pics--will try to upload them later.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

It's a Small, Small World...

Now that I have this song stuck in your head (be grateful you aren't my husband who was stuck on a broken Small World ride for three hours directly in front of one of the speakers blaring the song on loop), I have a tidbit to share about how small the internet makes this world.

Occasionally, I get a little fancy-free and click that nifty little button at the top left labeled "Next Blog," just to see where it takes me.  Tonight when I clicked it I landed at heidiopolis whose post about being a night owl (which is so NOT me *cough*sputter*) lured me in--hook, line, and sinker.  I scrolled down, admiring her sidebar entries about co-sleeping, non-circ, breastfeeding, baby-wearing, HOMESCHOOLING (*angel's singing*)....how could I NOT follow her???

What does this have to do with an annoyingly cheerful song, you ask?  During my sidebar perusal I noticed that Heidi follows the wife of an old high school buddy.  So there's my small world story.  Once again I've decided to not follow wifey, despite her fantastic cakes and adorable kiddos--I have her hubby on Facebook; don't want them to think I'm stalking them or anything.  *lol*  Which is the reason I haven't friended wifey on Facebook either--afterall, I haven't seen her hubby since what, 1994 or so??  Just feels like it would be encroachment or something.

Oh, and I didn't get fully prepped for tomorrow or this week because I was too busy vegging in front of other people's blogs after a long, busy weekend.  We might have a parkdate in the morning anyway--that buys me an extra day, doesn't it?  *whistling innocently*  Our field trip is coming up soon...we need to shift into high gear.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Lego Lessons

Lessons that could be learned (or practiced) with Legos:

-Math: counting
-Math: sorting
-Math: calculating scale for models
-Art: architectural design
-Art: aesthetics--paying attention to how the eye is drawn to/along the design; as in photography: leading lines, fore/mid/background, rule of thirds, lighting...
-Art: color (and the use thereof--integral to aesthetics)
-Creative Play
-Planning: layout, determing supplies needed
-Money-management: planning how to get and manage funds to increase lego supply and feed builds/Lego addiction
-Presentation/Public Speaking (if involved in a group, or a public display)
-Logistics of transporting displays safely
-Teamwork when involved in group displays, group builds, or group events

Of course this list would be longer if the Mindstorm/NXT was involved. :D

Which Lego Lessons can you add to the list??

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Mowing Down

Due to rain, a broken drive belt, then a broken deck belt, and DH getting sick last weekend, our yard didn't get mowed for at least 3wks.  Fortunately, it was mowed last night!

We found a large white capped mushroom over in the side yard.  I took some pictures but they're on DH's camera (my phone spazzed out).

A small, dark toad was hiding underneath the grill.  The kids and I herded it up to the mound so it was out of harm's way while mowing.  Those pics are on the other camera as well.

When I took some water out to DH he was corraling a baby snake to move it out of the way.  It had snapped at him--his eyes were clouded over so he's preparing to shed soon.  We tucked him underneath the back stoop so he'd be protected.

DH also said the 5-lined skinks were freaking out and instead of hiding up underneath the lip of our vinyl siding were leaping off the brickwork in front of the lawn tractor...except for one tiny juvenille that was maybe two-inches nose to tail--he went in the opposite direction along the bricks.

No pics of the skinks or snake, but when I get a chance to post pics I'll dig out the pic of a snakeling that was flushed out of the grass a few years ago, it's the same markings.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

...or Not...

Today totally turned on ear. Athletics and fall curricula are out the window. Instead we have an extended fieldtrip on the horizon. We're VERY excited!

Possible studies to link with our outing:
Native American tribes
Lewis & Clark (possibly)
Family History
cow tanks

I know I'm forgetting tons!

Soccer Mom

I'm officially a soccer mom, as of Monday. Wee-one is beyond excited, to the extent of trying to go to bed in cleats.

To the extent that Wee-one kept bouncing around the house instead napping in the afternoon. Ears were a complete figment of the imagination, nothing stated was heeded.

Which meant that somebody passed out on the way to practice. We all know that an interrupted nap is generally worse than no nap at all....

It also meant that somebody neglected to leave with their water as they had been instructed and reminded to do.

The resulting equation? One overly-tired child, plus heat and thirst (the water fountain just wasn't cutting it), equals one hot mess and one grumpy mama.

I will be the nap-nazi today!

Monday, July 19, 2010

CSN Giveaway @ Confessions of a Homeschooler

My sister called last night. It was good to chat with her...especially since we haven't had the opportunity for a number of months. I was telling her about how we're gearing up to transition to workboxes, which progressed into a conversation about what to do with a 2yo.

So this morning, while my children were sleeping in (amazingly), I started Googling "workboxes for preschoolers."

One of the links I opened was Confessions of a Homeschooler. Who just happens to be having a giveaway of a $40 coupon for CSN (does not cover shipping).

I'm eyeballing all kinds of things that would earn me the title of "Auntie of the Year!" CSN carries Guidecraft, Plan Toys...seriously, check out their developmental and educational toys!! I'm going to have to pass the site on to Grandma so we can get my sister well-stocked despite their starving-college-student budget. Of course, my kids would love to acquire some goods as well. *wink*

Monday is starting out pretty decent I'd say....kids slept in, found a great blog, entered in a giveaway that holds value for my family, and actually started blogging for our homeschool again. One of these days I'll get around to moving the rest of the blog over here....but in the meantime, check out the awesomeness at Confessions of a Homeschooler. Good stuff there...I'll easily waste hours upon hours this week catching up on posts prior to my discovering it! *grin*