Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Monday...Tuesday...Whatever day it was

We started off with a back to the grind kind of day, literally. This weekend I found a rock tumbler in the science/really a toy section of a store; and after having priced these things on the internet I went with this one. Anyway, we set it up in the morning and used the rocks that came supplied for our first run. We will use the rocks from our mountain trip later.

It is running in the garage, because it has to run continually - for days. The first cycle is 2-4 days, the second cycle is 8-14 (but possibly longer) and the third polishing cycle another 2-4 days. Nearly a month for 1/2-pound of rocks. Not for the impatient.

We read the directions together and talked about why it takes so long and worked to get it up and running. MB helped me while K ran errands for us.

Then we had gymnastics, session 1 for the day.

After gymnastics I realized that it was HOT! The first indication may have been that I kept wanting to strip out of my clothes and walk around the house n*ked. I figured it was time to set up our inflateable wading pool. MB used the air pump to inflate it and K held the hose to fill it up. I sat in the shade and "observed" while reading. When given the opportunity it is really cool what the girls are able to do.

Unfortunately during the filling process we discovered a small tear in the bottom. So emptied back out and located the ever necessary duct tape. Voila - patched pool.

By the time it got filled up the girls got to play 30 minutes before it was time to head over for gymnastics, session 2. MB, decided that she was ready for me not to have to stay there. So we left after she started class and came home.

At home K and EM joined a very happy puppy who had found the pool while we were gone. And I began preparing dinner - cold pasta salad and grilled chicken. Anything to not heat the kitchen up. DH came home and offered to go get MB for me (I think he just wanted to be in the air conditioned car).

We managed to still not turn the AC on (hee, hee 2 months no heat and no ac). I even offered out of the goodness of my pregnant heart last night to turn it on for hubby. It is supposed to cool down this week so we are definetly going to make it into June.

I am reading The Betty Furness Westinghouse Cook Book - copyright 1954. Good, wholesome and economical recipes. I just have to keep changing to : use 4 tablespoons shortening use olive oil for browning purposes.

I am still working on my recipe notebook for better, less expensive, fresh ingredients cooking. It has been alot of fun reading all these cookbooks; from new-age frou-frou cooking, to traditional, culture-specific, to early and mid-20th century american. It isn't always the recipes that get me - the commentary and history that is shared is so interesting.

Have a peaceful day


Tuesday, May 30, 2006


What a wonderful weekend - for everyone. This was one of those holiday weekends that we didn't spend as a family - which wasn't that good just because we weren't together. But, when we came back together last night and talked about our experiences - wow - we all had a great weekend and it was just what we needed.

I went down to the beach on Friday so that MB could meet up with my dad and stepmom for their trip to Myrtle Beach. DH was undecided whether he would come down at all. We all wanted him to come, but he had to work on Friday and Saturday. Finally, we figured that he would stay at home, give the house a good cleaning (which is so difficult with the little ones running around) and have a daddy R&R on the golf course. I stayed at my mom's house with K and EM, and had a wonderful time with them.

We got there early enough on Friday to take everyone over to the aquarium that had just reopened the week before. It was crowded. K really wanted to see the sharks, and unfortunately we got there as they were doing the dive show in the big tank. So, we made plans to come back later in the weekend with just the two little ones (the benefit of a membership).

MB's trip south got delayed by some really severe t'storms that had lined themselves up right on the coast along NC and SC. She ended up having a sleepover at my dad's house with my stepmom and her step-cousin. They did a bunch of girly things and had a ball. Then drove down Saturday morning to meet my dad who was already at the campground.

Mom, the little girls and I did some shopping Saturday, during which I actually found a few pieces of maternity wear. Then we went over to the beach after our naps. Our favorite place is the beach at the actual Fort Macon. It is near a jetty and very busy inlet, so it was generally off limits to anything but fishing. But, about two years ago the beach built itself up and formed tidal pools. These are great places for little ones to explore for shells and play, without actually having to worry about waves. Plus, most don't even know it exists and we can always find parking.

The little girls had a blast. They never once wandered away, and I was actually able to read a little in my book.

The weather was just amazing. And all the boats!! It looked like a city had sprung up across the inlet at Shackleford (uninhabited National Seashore that one has to boat to. Very popular among the boat-party people).

Sunday we went back to try the museum again. This time it was much better. We headed directly to the ocean area and had clear viewing of all the exhibits. I love the way the tanks come down to the floor so that the kids can have good views also. The big tank is so large that it actually has a model of a WWII sub that sits off the coast of Morehead. There are three viewing sides for the tank, one of which is curved so that when you step inside one actually feels as if they are inside the tank with the fish swimming above, below and beside them.

These are Moon Jelly Fish. I had to turn off my flash to get a good picture. Aren't they cool!

We went outside on the marsh walk. K loved watching the crabs walk sideways and make tracks in the mud.

K is really coming into her own - and I so noticed it without MB around. Wow, she is really getting life now. She loved telling people what she had seen, what she had been doing and what she liked. She played with EM, cooked with Mamaw and did things by herself. She was interested in what we were doing and what we planned to do - she was no longer just along for the "ride."

Monday we drove to New Bern and visited with family. On the way home dad called to tell me they were back. Since it was way earlier than I had expected I decided to go ahead and drive home last night with the girls.

MB had a good time on her trip. It boiled down to:

1. Sleeping in a converted bus-to-RV (always cool)
2. Amusement park - rides, games, sweets!
3. Pool Party
4. I wasn't there

What could possibly be more fun to a 6 yr old?

DH thanked me last night for his weekend. I thanked him for catching up on all the laundry, cleaning the kitchen and family room, and vaccuming or sweeping the entire house.

Back to life now.



Friday, May 26, 2006

Summertime's Calling Me

I realize most will not get the reference to the "beach music" song. This is the music I grew up with - love it or hate it.

I am heading to my hometown today, yep the beach on Memorial Day weekend. What was I thinking???

MB will go on a long weekend with my Dad and Stepmom, while I visit, along with my two little ones, with my Mom.

I need to be packing, but how tough is it to throw two pairs of shorts in a bag, because that is all I have to wear right now. What is it with "daisy duke" maternity shorts and tight crop-top tanks? I am not trying to catch a man, because obviously I already let one catch me.

So, we are off to the land of pounding waves, salt upon the breeze, boiled shrimp piled in the middle of the table, and tourists crowding every nook and cranny. Maybe I throw some Buffett on the CD player for the ride down, at least until I get close enough to pick up the oldies station.

"Up on the boardwalk...."



Wednesday, May 24, 2006


That's right kids - dad is going to be home late. Now come inside and eat your dinner...

Building a Fort

MB: K, come help me build a fort!!
Sit here and hold on to this cardboard!

and hold....

and hold.....

and hold...

Tuesday, May 23, 2006



I am a little stunned and a little anxious. I have three girls, what do I know about having a boy. It is even worse than only having daughters. I was raised with a single mom, I only have a sister and all my cousins but one were girls.

I have no idea what I am getting into!

It is healthy, has the cute turned-up nose all my girls had and very long feet and hands!



Growing Things

Yesterday morning was spent with the girls out planting our garden we were not going to have this year. I have never been very successful at the whole growing plants thing. My mom can turn any yard into a beautiful tumble of flowers. I, on the other hand can barely keep anything but weeds alive. But, hubby started it. He bought MB some sunflower seeds, so we had to go out and start clearing the raised bed. We noticed that the basil I had ignored last year was really going to town and we had a bumper crop growing. At Wa*mart on Sunday they had pepper plants marked down so I picked up a couple, along with cucumbers (which seem to do okay with my neglect), lavender and sage.

It was so nice out yesterday, cloudy and not hot, that we decided to clean out another bed and start preparing it for some fall crops. The girls loved finding all the bugs that were under the 2-yr old leaf mulch. I think I am going to a one of those composter barrels to my birthday wish list.

After lunch we pulled out some of my old vegetable gardening books and started researching plants we would want in our late season bed (These will be planted between July and September here). We visited the Agriculture Extension pages for the state and learned even more. We still haven't decided what we would put to the best use, but at least we are in the process.

I also decided to bite the bullet and do something I have been thinking about for awhile. I love sprouts in my sandwhiches instead of lettuce (I like to use baby spinach too, but get a little tired of it). Sprouts are either hard to find or expensive for what you get. Since we homeschool I figured a sprouter could be both educational and practical for us. So I purchased this kit to get us started. We should get it next week. The site also has some very interesting recipes to use the sprouts.

After yesterday I have a list of things that I would like to do - but will never happen:

1. I want a bee hive. I have always loved these things. Pollination for my plants and free honey! Unfortunately, hubby is allergic to bee stings. It won't happen.

2. Keep rabbits and harvest their poop for fertilizer. Yeah, people really do this and you can sell the poop - it is wonderful to use in the garden. I got information about last year at the State Fair. Hubby's response - "eewwhhh!"

3. I don't know if I would do this or not, it is much more possible than the other two. But I would love to have blueberry bushes. They seem to be somewhat hard to get and difficult to care for.

Today, we have a big day. We are having our ultrasound today!!! Hubby is coming home early from work so that he can actually go this time. We will take MB and K with us. EM is going to have quality time with grandmommy.

Be back to let ya'll know later.



Monday, May 22, 2006

That explains it: Intentional Neglect

Your type is: istp —The “Give 'Em Their Space” Mother

“My feelings are my own business. Not theirs.
So I honor their privacy too.”

* Non-intrusive and respectful of differences, the ISTP mother gives her children the personal space they need to develop as separate, self-sufficient individuals. As children grow and mature, she enjoys observing how each one becomes his or her own person. She seeks to accept and honor each child’s interests, opinions, and choices.

* The ISTP mother does not believe in authority or control for its own sake. Instead, she favors a non-directive approach. Yet she has high expectations for each child’s self-discipline as a key to self sufficiency.

* To these ends, the ISTP mother wants to “be there” for her children—to meet their basic needs and keep them safe. Her goal is to help her children think for themselves and take responsibility for their own actions.

You can find this quiz here.

Titles - schmitles!

I can never think of a snappy title. It is too difficult at this hour.

The weekend was good, quiet and peaceful for most of the time. We made it over to the Animal Plant festival, which was CROWDED. I do not do well in crowds, it really ups my anxiety levels and add in the first very warm and humid day - and well, I really wish that we could have stuck with our original plan of DH taking the big two - or at least being able to go with us. Unfortunately, he had to work. I am glad, though, I din't get to miss MB on the Endurance challenge they had set up for kids six and up. MB won her heat for the "Hang in There" - all that monkeying around can come in handy.

She wanted to do the rock climb, but she had put on flip flops before going and could not do that. It was okay the line for the rock climb was insane. Well, all the lines there were insane - we were there for almost 2 hours and did a grand total of 4 things. We had to leave to meet my inlaws who wanted to keep MB overnight.

I spent a lot of time this weekend working to catch up on laundry. I wanted to spend my time this weekend weeding through my homeschool boxes that have been put into storage. I can't, for some reason, get my husband interested in totally emptying out the storage unit to reach the boxes all the way in the back and on the bottom ;) But, I really need to get my homeschooling stuff out of hoc shortly - I am having withdrawls.

In what is apprently a totally subconcious movement of myself towards more life learning and less book learning, I found this cool website for math Living Math. Cool - now we can have two or three days of "math" and the rest of the week incorporate some of these ideas. I know with my track record we will probably end up with one day or less of an organized math lesson - and do this stuff all the time (until I stress out that MB isn't able to show her math work).

Today is an at-home day for us. DH, took my van to work so I am left with the tin can on wheels (my little pet name for his pathfinder). I have some more seeds I would like to get planted in or impromptu garden and various other places in the yard. We will spend some time exploring Mercury today in our science unit. There is no where we need to go today - so this is nice.



Saturday, May 20, 2006

I must be speaking a foreign language

I don't know what it is - but lately I am having zero luck placing any type of food order. A couple weeks ago when we were on the family trip we pulled into a McDs for a quick lunch. I placed the order for three happy meals of various configurations. The nice guy (native english speaker) totally acted like he understood me. Hubby brings food to the table with a grin on his face - "just how many happy meals did you order?"

We got 6 of them. Two of which weren't even close to what I ordered.

Tonight hubby asks me to call in an order at our local italian joint for dinner. I order two of the same entree (they didn't have what I originally wanted). The person taking the order read it back to me - yes , two of those.

DH just calls me from the restaurant. How many entrees did you order?

There was only one --- Grrrrrrr!

I now concede placing any orders goes to hubby - because apparently I don't speak english anymore.


After such a good, productive day on Wednesday I really hated the thought of posting about Thursday and Friday - because hey - I want everyone to see this wonderful world of homeschooling and family togetherness we have going on. But, for some reason we just can't get that train of routine running consistently.

Thursday morning, while I was procrastinating and trying to tame the hair of my two oldest into something resembling a braid - which is hard when they had their hair cut into layers 6 months ago. Yet, they wanted a braid in their hair. We got a call to go meet aome friends at a local lake to see some baby ducks and baby swans. So off we went for a stroll around the lake. Then to lunch with the other family and some adult conversation time. EM fell asleep right in the middle of the kiddie area at this fast-food area - which was a total trip. Have blanket - will sleep.

So, we head home and I figure we have a couple hours to do something before we leave for two hours of gymnastics for MB and two hours of me prying EM off of the tops of tables and folding chairs while other mothers around me gasp in terror. But, on the way home my body did its little "shut down" thing, and the only thing I could even think of doing was lay down for 30 minutes. (This pregnancy has been strange to me, in that I am into my 2nd trimester yet most days I still hit a wall and literally cannot think or move without resting for at least 30 minutes). I tried to get the girls to lay with me and read - but, yeah it is mid-70s and sunny - good luck.

Okay, we will try again on Friday. So, Friday morning I wake-up and remember that it is payday and I have to get bills in the mail. So after my morning computer time I sit down to a round of bill paying. Forty-five minutes later I have made some breakfast, handed it to the kids and continued to pull my hair out over how much everything has gone up this year. Little, tiny increments each month, until you realize how much more it has become. I send up a prayer of thankfulness that we didn't move and have the larger mortgage. I begin to spend my day working on my math problem of the day.

Fast foward a couple hours, the girls have been playing outside and they come inside to have a snack, and spill kool-aid all over the floor. So, we pull out the mop. MB and K take turns mopping the actually kitchen area - until it becomes too boring for them. Then I finish up the whole linoleum area. That area looks so good, the family room looks hideous. So back outside so I can clean up the family room.

Eventually these forsaken, dirt-covered urchins show up and my back door complaining of hunger pains. Apparently, my clean the family room had moved into clean and disinfect the bathroom, scrub the wood molding in the hallway, etc. We ate lunch and MB practiced adding fractions - "hey, mom, you gave me one-half quesadilla and a whole quesadilla. I have 3/2 quesadillas" Then we read 3 more chapters in the second Odyssey book. Nap time for EM and I, back outside to play for the two big ones. MB, came back inside to wake me from my nap to tell me that Earth is the only planet that has water, light and oxygen. Since we have not gotten to that yet (doing the planets in order starting from the sun) I asked her where she learned that and she just tapped her head.

My mommy's helper came over and everybody played while I cleaned the den/office and did some more budget stressing work.

Scheduled schoolwork completed - 0

Fun, clean house, paid bills - 2

Ah, well we have next week.

In a few minutes we are heading out to an Animal Planet festival. Afterwards MB goes to her grandparents for the night.



Wednesday, May 17, 2006

A little blogging break

I have been taking a little blogging break. Trying to wean myself off the computer and motivate myself to get up and do more. I have also been spending the time trying to put together our upcoming unit projects (still).

While putting these units together I have been thinking about our approach. I am still trying to decide what my work the best for us right now. I started off last spring just knowing that The Well-Trained Mind was the way for us to go. Golly, I love the idea of history and literature in sequence. The idea of learning facts and then building upon them.

I still like the classical approach and still plan on incorporating a lot of the ideas, but the amount of work that required sit down time for all us, the writing for MB just really made it difficult. Throw in the fact that MB loves science and that is her passion - we just struggled with it.

So, I have had to think about what is best for us in this season. MB, the kinesthetic, math/science thinker who has an independent streak. K, 3/4 yr old who yells at me when I try to read aloud, and who learns very well by herselfthank you very much. EM, the toddler who gets into - Everything. And me, pregnant and due in the middle of the fall.

I have had to think about why we are homeschooling, what is my goal when we are finished (2 yrs from now or 18 yrs). I want my kids to learn how to learn. I don't want to shove a bunch of information down their throats that they could find out anywhere later on. I want them to know how to find info on their own and enjoy doing it.

I am also not ready at all to turn the process over to them and unschool all the time.

So, for right now, we are going to have a science-centered approach to learning. Every month or so we will have a new science topic and that is going to be the meat of our day. We will still do math, but maybe only a couple days a week out of the math text - the rest active math or daily math. We are going to start grammar and Latin. And, I will still be teaching history in sequence by sneaking in books for MB. I don't have any idea how it will work. But, it is pretty close to what we have been doing this spring - only now I give myself permission (which, for some reason seems pretty important to me).

This week has been very good, since we have "kind-of" begun this. It has been freeing to me to no longer worry about the pages of SOTW I that are going unturned, I know that someday I will pull it back off and read a few pages. MB and I sat down and made a K-W-L chart for the Solar System Study (What I know - What I want to Learn - What I Learned). This gave MB some say in the direction of the study.

We are reading an easy 1st-2nd grade book we downloaded for free on the Sun. We have played with Google Earth to experience neighborhood, city, county, state, country, continent and earth levels (Yes, MB, we do look kind of tiny when pulled out to look as if from outer space). Math today was the playing of several games at the NASA Kids website. We actually pulled out the recorders and had an impromptu music lesson. We are using perler beads to create a solar system model (not to scale). And we are on Chapter 7 of The One-Eyed Giant from Mary Pope Osborne's Odysseus series - at MB's request. This morning before anyone else was up I had to read three chapters to her.

I really am loving the experience of all this. It might be turning my hair gray - but it sure is fun.



Sunday, May 14, 2006

Growing Up - Nostalgia

Dy's comment on the post below about EM moving into a toddler bed has made me a little nostalgic when thinking about how quickly the girls are growing up. Granted, there are times right in the middle of it that I feel like they will never get any older - but yet, I turn around and barely recoginize them. The baby becomes a toddler, the toddler a little girl and the little girl a child.

A year ago I took this picture of EM

A baby, just learning to turn over.

Yesterday, this

A toddler. A bed of her own. A seperate person able to express her needs and loves to play her own version of "I Spy" to learn new words.

But, EM isn't the only one growing up. Three years ago K was this little toddler. All pictures have her with something stuffed in her mouth.

And, just this last week

A little girl participating in a homeschool class on how planes fly.

Then there is MB. My first - the one who started breaking me in.

At less than a year, I turn around and see her standing on the slide. I should have been warned.

At two, the climbing baby had become a pretty little toddler with a spark of trouble in her eyes.

Today, that baby and then toddler is a child. As shown in this self-portrait

The funny thing is I don't even need these photos to remind me. So many times I stop and remember holding MB in my arms as an infant, then K and EM. I find myself amazed not that they were little babies - but that they are no longer little infants.

These are my gifts on Mother's Day.



Friday, May 12, 2006

Big Bed Day

I have been gifted with very active children as toddlers, one who see everything as a climbing challenge.

So, I have never been able to keep any of my girls in the crib beyond 18 months. The fact that EM is the third and there are two climbers ahead her, I should have been ready for this. But, she always seemed so happy in her crib and never tried to climb out of it and I really thought that I wouldn't have to worry until the end of the summer. WRONG!!!

This morning I decided to take my shower while everyone slept. As I got out I heard the ominous thud, follwed by the howl of idignation. Thankfully, she wasn't hurt - just mad. But, I am not going to let her have another chance to actually get hurt. So, quick change of plans and off shopping for toddler beds.

By this evening we had this in the girls' room

EM went down as easily as she normally does in her crib and seemed very happy with her new digs. So, everyone is in one room for right now. And even better everything seems to fit really well. I did splurge on a toddler bed with the drawer underneath for even more storage.

MB went to bed a couple hours after EM, and I guess she didn't want her to be lonely

I love my girls and hubby wonders why we even worry about beds.



Thursday, May 11, 2006

Treasure Hunting and Other Time Wasters

Ahh, Google. What a time-sucker that can become. Most of my on-line time these last few days have been spent tracking down ideas an free lesson plans for some upcoming studies. But, although I have followed many interesting, albeit deadends for my purposes, I have found some serious peices of gold out there.

USGS Educational Page
What a gold mine of unit studies and lesson plans. So much for the study of geography and earth science. Most of it a free download. I picked up one for future use on mining minerals as a follow-up to our recent trip. Activities include mining for chocolate chips in cookies, taking a core sample from a cupcake and using an orange to describe the mysterious plate tetonics. There are also links to use other free internet resources for videos and pictures.

NASA Education Site
Here is another place I have recently spent hours exploring. The lesson plans and variety are not as great as USGS, but I downloaded and printed last night images of the solar system, each individual taken by the reasearch satellites that have been sent out. These have already been hung on our wall to begin our space exploration/astronomy unit.

I have also been looking, but haven't found an appropriate tidal marsh/east coast ocean study yet. Found some neat sites, but nothing for the kiddie crowd. That is okay as the girls will be spending much time down there this summer doing hands-on things, so a complete lesson plan is not necessary, I just wanted to find some materials to supplement.

As another bonus surprise this week - free foreign language CDs. We went to Chicky-legg (as K calls it) for dinner Tuesday before MB's long gymnastics practice. The kids meal prize: German foreign language CDs. How cool was that? This month they are giving these out an also French, Japanese, and Spanish. They do come with a phrase booklet and have about 20 lessons. We have had to listen to it in the car since, except when we *have* to listen to MB's addition facts CD - which has resurfaced as a favorite. I keep waiting for little EM to start spouting off "1+0=1, 1+1=2,..."

Speaking of gymnastics above, this week marks the week that MB begins her new grueling (for me especially) gymnastics classes. Twice a week for two hours each. After spending nearly a year trying to decide whether or not I wanted to go the team route with her, and having her recruited by three different gyms I decided to give it a shot for the next few months. She has pretty much exceeded the "lets play and just have fun" aspect of recreational gymnastics. She loved watching the college teams compete when I took her for that - so we are going to try it out. I was pleased after Tuesday night. MB jumped right into what these girls had been working on for the year and really worked at it. For the first time ever I heard the words "my muscles hurt." Before anyone jumps on me for being a sadist and wanting my child to hurt - this is the good hurt that comes from giving your body a workout and stretching yourself and your preconceived ideas of what you can do. For my child that things come fairly easily to, and one who suffers from complacency, often, I believe this is going to be really good for her.

The school stuff this week has pretty much been what the girls have pulled out of the games/home ed supplies boxes that have been trying to unpack. MB and I have played numerous games of Pictionary Jr. with MB wanting to only read the cards herself and draw for me. K found the plastic humans body model that we never got around to completely finishing and has been trying to put it together and play name the body parts. Who knew she was paying attention during those lessons? MB has totally gotten into the "Cam Jansen" earlier readers (red-haired girl who solves mysteries with her photographic memory) and has been reading to me from them. We have started a new read-aloud "The Sisters Grimm: The Fairy Tale Detectives."

Today we are to go to the airport for our science club, if the rain holds off. So I need to go figure what lunch is going to be.



Monday, May 08, 2006

Weekend Trip

We had a lot of fun on our trip this weekend. It was so nice to get away and the mountains just always calm me and make me want to relax. We got to our in-laws house early Friday afternoon, and all the rain we had riven through just cleared up so that the girls could spend a couple hours running around chasing butterflies, looking at all the wildflowers that are just now blooming and in general burning off all the energy of being cooped up in the car for four hours. As we went up in elevation it was interesting to see the difference in the blooming of the trees and flowers. Where we were the trees were just budding and had not filled out yet, about a month behind home.

Later we rounded everybody back up and headed over to my bil and sil's house for dinner. So much of the time we are only able to see them on the run or in little snatches of time. It was nice to be able to spend several, uninterrupted hours with them. We stopped on the way out of town here and bought a flat of strawberries for them - so the girls gorged on the strawberries and cupcakes that their aunt had made - and the girls helped to ice. We found out the EM really, really likes strawberries and will eat the entire berry if you are not fast enough in cutting off the cap.
Here she is covered in strawberry juice stuffing one of the cupcakes into her mouth.

K helped her aunt ice the cupcakes - mmm doesn't the icing look good.

The next day we decided, after going through all the brochures the in-laws keep at their cabin to head south on the Parkway and go visit some gem/mineral mines. It was about an hour-and-a-half drive down so we made a "facility" stop at the Linville Falls visitor building. DH and the park ranger struck up a conversation, so we ended up talking to him for awhile. He was really good about answering the girls' questions about fishing and storm debris, beaver dens and such. We even got to hear about the flood of 2004 which just about wiped out the entire Linville Falls park area. We decided to save the hike up to the falls viewing for another visit.

This shot was on the banks of the river. MB is holding onto EM because EM keep trying to go In the river.

The next stop was a tiny crossroads called Little Switzerland where we had lunch at a small cafe. This crossroad serves a high-end resort and vaction place so it wasn't your run-of-the-mill cafe. The sandwhiches they served were really good and the girls enjoyed their "fancy" grilled cheese sandwhiches. The cafe was attached to a bookstore that I could have very easily stayed at and let the girls go rock hunting without me. The bookstore sold hardback, out of print books from the early 20th century. And they had comfy, oversized leather chairs with a roaring fire that one could just sink into.

The mine museum was cool and you could walk through part of an old mine that was used in the early 20th century. These were not coal mines. They mined for other rock and minerals that were used in the making of various products. For the girls the most interesting aspect was all the rocks to climb on.

Across the street from the museum, they had an area set up where you pan for your own rocks, minerals and gems. You buy a bucket of mine debris and then sift through it.

We ended up with three bags of rocks and minerals to sift through and identify as soon as I can purchase a guide. Unfortunately we did not strike it rich - but people have actually been known to find emeralds and other precious gems mixed in.

EM just enjoyed herself - rocks, water and wooden boards that make noise.

After a stop by the gift shop for cold drinks and some rock candy we headed back "home." We had thought to stop by the Linville Caverns on the way back but

with all the girls looking like this, we decided we would do the caverns on another trip.

Saturday night the big girls went with DH to watch their uncle sing in a barbershop quartet/choral performance for the community. I stayed behind with a very tired baby. Of course I was very tired too.

Sunday we packed, cleaned and drove home. It was nice to be home - but this had been a really good short trip for us and I was sorry to see it end.



Thursday, May 04, 2006

What Have We Been Doing?

I figured it was time for a catch-up post considering we will be leaving tomorrow for a weekend trip. Nothing says celebrate an anniversary like taking all three of our children on a family weekend.

This has been an interesting week. We started off the week in a very smooth way. School was good and positive and lots of fun. Lets just leave it that it has not continued on like that. Discussing the myth of Atlantis after reading the SOTW on the Minoans, I have decided that MB is so analytical and concrete based we might have some struggles with literature through the years. "That is not true, I can't believe some people actually believed this." Of course she found the whole volcano/island collapsing thing very cool and we had to go off on a tangent there.

We have also had two short-term wildlife additions to our family this week. On Monday we caught the neighborhood mouser crossing our yard with a snake in his mouth. Stopped him, checking to make sure he wasn't carrying home a copperhead. It was just a garter snake, so we "saved" him. I let the girls watch him for a little while before we released him.

Last night we (dh and I) caught the baby possum that has been hanging around our front porch since this weekend. We think his nest might have gotten flooded this past Saturday after a very heavy downpour. Anyway, for most of the week he has just been wandering around our front door. He was getting to the point that he was "used" to us, which isn't good. Also the neighborhood cats were starting to nose around. We put him in the old cat carrier, fed him some overripe melon I was going to put in the compost and let him sleep for the night. This afternoon, after he woke up again we took him out to the woods, further away from our house and let him go. I really hope he does alright.

There have been interesting discussion material about wild animals, habitats and behavior.

At night MB and I have been watching "The Ranch House" on PBS. It has been nice and we have had some good conversations. But, I am disappointed in PBS for taking a very good idea, living and experiencing life in a historical situation, and then allowing it to become more of a "network" reality show. These people are not "experiencing" life as it was lived in 1867 Texas. Instead they keep trying to impose their 21st century morals, beliefs and ideals within the show. I am disappointed in the bickering and hurt feelings, and just general 21st century stuff I am seeing ("I don't barter with terrorist" says Mr. Cooke when the Comanche "kidnap" one of the cowboys and want to trade him for cattle - come on, get with the idea of the program. This is kind of what would happen during this time - although it was more likely that the Native Americans would have just killed the cowboy and been done with him.) Tonight is the last night, I kind of want to see the follow-up to see what these people actually got out of it.

During my downtime, I have been putting together a bunch of modular cube/wall units in the girls room. We have built a "wall of shelves"

This is in preparation for moving EM into the room. We did not have enough space for another dresser, and I wasn't very happy with the ones we had. So this system, I hope, will work for us. The purple, pink and green baskets will be used for the clothing and each girl's special things (I still need to find some more pink). The area to the side, next to where all the dress-up clothes have been pulled out is the toy storage area. Now, we just need to get the dressers out of the room to free up some space as it is looking very cluttered.

Anyway, that is this week in kind of a nut shell. I am looking forward to getting away for a few days. MB and I have several hikes planned, we will see some family and hopefully just generally do some family bonding.



Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Anniversary Card

Today is our 8th anniversary! This morning my husband gave me this card:

Isn't it nice to see that he is finally accepting his life with me :)


A family of six living and learning. You might catch us outside in the mud or working on crafts. We always seem to be on the go, come on and join us.