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