Saturday afternoon our family had a rare opportunity. Each time we have gone to Washington, D.C., I have wanted to take my kids to the Vietnam Memorial, but it has never worked out. Well, this weekend the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall made a visit to us in Mississippi and we took advantage.
The replica is a 3/5 scale of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C., and stands six feet in the center. The Traveling Memorial contains the names of those who sacfriced their lives just as the original. It was sobering looking at so many names.
According to their website: "This Traveling Memorial stands as a reminder of the great sacrifices made during the Vietnam War. It was made for the purpose of helping heal and rekindle friendships and to allow people the opportunity to visit loved ones in their home town who otherwise may not be able to make the trip to Washington."
I'm grateful and appreciative of the chance to show my kids the wall and remind them once again of the huge sacrifice so many make for us and our country. Thank you veterans for your service and sacrifice!
On March 21 we visited a "Museum on Wheels." There was a caravan of 30 antique cars and Model T's on a traveling cross county tour that made a stop in our town.
Beginning the day before, our family began a study of Henry Ford and the Model T. The kids, Michael, and I throughly enjoyed ourselves. I even found myself desiring one of these special pieces of history. Which I guess really should come as no surprise, as I love history and antiques. :)
The majority of the models were from 1923.
We learned that even though Henry Ford has been cited for saying “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black" was not always the case. In the beginning the Model T was not even available in black, but only in grey, green, blue, and red. It was not until 1914 that the "any color as long as it is black" policy was put into practice. Why black many people ponder? Many say it was because black paint was cheap and durable, while others say it dried fast and increased production. No matter which one, by 1926 other colors were available again to help boost sales. (Interestingly, our favorite Model T we viewed happened to be black. :) )
1926 Model T Station Wagon
1926 Model T Roadster Pickup
Acetylene gas lamps
Kerosene tail light
Original wooden spokes
The three foot pedals on the Model T - The left pedal made the car go forward, the middle pedal made the car go in reverse, and the right pedal was the brake
What a grand history lesson we had that day!
On the evening of April 7 our family was fortunate to take part in a special commemoration.
April 6 and 7 marked the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Shiloh in the US Civil War.
23,746 men lost their lives during these two days.
One illuminating candle represented each man who perished during the horrific conflict.
The engagement at Shiloh was the first large scale battle of the US Civil War and took both the North and South by surprise.
We followed a 10 mile illuminated path through the park.
Many fields were lit in places that actual men would have been standing 150 years ago. Several places we drove through the center of the battle.
Candles surrounded ponds reflecting the memory of men who fought.
Cannons were illuminated by the lights of the night.
On this special night, lights memorialized men, like the stone and cannon ball memorials have during daylight hours for decades.
the full moon and stars above lit the night sky.
It was a cool and sobering night. On this one special night, lights memorialized the fallen men unlike any stone, cannonball, or other memorial ever has before in Shiloh National Park.
It was truly a GRAND illumination!
RED, WHITE, BLUE, and GREEN
RED, WHITE, BLACK, and BLUE
This weekend we:
Visited the replicas of Columbus' Niña and Pinta,
Treated ourselves to The CrepeMaker,
Baked 3 loaves of Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread and 3 loaves of Banana Bread,
Made 2 quarts of applesauce with cinnamon and cloves.
Last Friday morning we set out on our Annual Apple Picking Adventure. It was a beautiful day as we walked the rows of Arkansas Black, Stayman Winesap, and Pink Ladys. Unbelievably, we were the only ones in the orchard that day and it was very quiet, for the exception of the creaking of the ladder, the honeybees buzzing by, the occasional thump of an apple hitting the ground, the grass under the wagon wheels, and the conversation amongst ourselves. It was a grand adventure!
Now...what to do with that whole bushel of apples? :)
Saturday was a beautiful spring day with temperatures in the low 70's so we decided to take a trip to the zoo.
It had been 10+ years since Michael and I had been to the Memphis Zoo and we were delightfully surprised by how many improvements they have made. Our kids had a great time and the animals were quite entertaining.
The bright pink flamingos stood tall and still.
But, the giraffes stood even more tall and still.
The grizzly bears played and wrestled in the morning sunshine.
The elephants were unimpressed by our visit and continued to eat their lunch of straw hay.
The sea lions performed a very entertaining show including balls balanced on their noses.
This timid small black bear kept his distance.
But,the very LARGE polar bear strutted around.
The panda bears stuffed eucalyptus in their mouths as fast as they could.
The dominant silverback gorilla sniffed a straw hat and tossed it on the ground so he could lay down on the rock.
The lazy hippos lived up to their description and didn't move a muscle.
This African Black-Footed Penguin darted through the water as if flying.
This cheetah perked upon our arrival.
But, the tiger didn't stir when we appeared and continued his sun bathing by the trickling brook.
And the lion absolutely refused to turn around for a picture.
As we always do after a visit to a new place we each voiced our favorite part of our experience. In the end, Isaac's favorite animals were the grizzly bears, Joshua's was the elephants, and Olivia's, Michael's, and mine were the sea lions. It's interesting how minds change with each trip, for 13 months ago when we were at Zoo Atlanta, Olivia enjoyed the flamingos the most, Isaac the meerkats, and Joshua was still to little to give his opinion.
What are your favorite animals to study and watch when you go to the zoo?
I have been doing a unit study with Olivia and Isaac about blindness and deafness. To try to explain the conditions, I blindfolded the kids and let them try to manoeuvre around the house. Then we went outside, covered our ears, and missed the noises that we are used to hearing. When Isaac's "light bulb" went off he said, "Mommy, you mean their eyes are broken? And their ears are broken?" I replied, "Yes, Isaac, unfortunately some people in the world are different from you and are not able to see God's world through their eyes or hear it through their ears. They have to learn to "see," "hear," and "talk" in different ways from you and I."
In learning about these conditions we read about the life of Helen Keller and her beloved teacher Annie Sullivan. We studied what Braille is and tried our hands at sign language. We even watched the movie The Miracle Worker. To have a real hands-on learning experience I scheduled a field trip to Ivy Green, the birthplace of Helen Keller. Olivia has long since wanted to visit Ivy Green as she has read books about the remarkable woman whom shares her same birthday.
An added blessing was having Granddad and Grandma join us on our field tip. During the time at Ivy Green the kids were able to see where Helen lost her hearing and sight (at 19 months of age), but where she also found how to communicate with others and learned how to "see," "hear," and "talk" in a new way (at 6 years old).
The cottage where Helen was born and her parents lived when Helen was a baby sits near to the larger home. This was the room in which she lost her hearing and sight. It is also the cottage that Annie Sullivan brought Helen in order to get her away from her family to really teach her.
This is Annie Sullivan's room in which Helen locked her in and she had to exit by way of the window.
The dining room in which Annie and Helen fought for many hours until Annie finally taught Helen to sit mannerly, eat from her own plate with a spoon, and taught her to fold her own napkin after completing her meal. Previously, she had walked around the table at each meal using her hands to scoop food off each persons plate.
Feeling of braille
The last time I visited Ivy Green was when I was as a Girl Scout around Olivia's age. I can remember standing in this same spot many years ago appreciating this as the place that Helen Keller learned to "see," "hear," and "talk" in a new way. This time I was able to experience it again through my children's eyes.
This is a memorial in honor of Helen by the Lions Club because of the work she did advocating for the disabled.
We were blessed with a beautiful warm day on the day of our visit to Ivy Green. I pray that my children will remember their visit and not limit their ways to "see," "listen," and "speak" to the world. Helen Keller's life is a wonderful example. May we all learn from her.
Here are some of my favorite Helen Keller's quotes:
Life is either a great adventure or nothing.
Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow.
I can see, and that is why I can be happy, in what you call the dark, but which to me is golden. I can see a God-made world, not a manmade world.
Smell is a potent wizard that transports you across thousands of miles and all the years you have lived.
The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched - they must be felt with the heart.
When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.
Do you have a favorite Helen Keller quote?
Olivia is studying the Colonial period in history this year. Since we are in Virginia (visiting my parents), where many areas from the colonial period remain today we decided to have a real-life history lesson today for lunch. We stepped back in time to 1729 when we entered through the doors of the Red Fox Inn. The Red Fox Inn (previously the Beveridge House) is a tavern that was built in 1729 in the village of Middleburg (previously Chinn's Ordinary), so named because it was the "middle" point between Alexandria and Winchester, Virginia, for those riding by coach or horseback. It "provided the overnight resting stop for travelers making the 70-mile overland journey." In 1748 a young surveyor, George Washington, even visited the area.
We enjoyed Virginia Peanut Soup, Virginia Spring Rolls, Red Fox Crab Cakes, a Grilled Virginia Ham and Brie Sandwich, and sweet iced tea.
We had a great time learning while eating regional food and talking about what it might have been like in 1729.
Historical information taken from www.redfoxinn.com
A day at George Washington's Mount Vernon would be pretty neat for a colonial period study of the United States, don't you think? So that's exactly where we took our history lesson today - on the road.
Mom and I took the kids to Mount Vernon and had an incredibly fun day. At the beginning of our visit we were told about the 6 week old pigs that were a must see. And see we did . . . after walking all over the grounds searching for them. People weren't very good at giving directions when trails don't have exact names, ie. "trail that passes by the apple trees." It all turned out alright though. Because in the end we had seen all that there was to see at Mount Vernon. So for that ... thanks little pigs for leading us on a wild goose pig chase. :)
Here are a dozen things we learned while at Mount Vernon:
1. George Washington wanted his mansion to be handsome and impressive and look like white stone. But stone was very expensive, so Washington had the outside made of long wood boards that were chiseled into the shape of stones. Then the boards were whitewashed with paint containing course sand to make them appear and feel like limestone.
2. George Washington did have false teeth, but they were not made of wood. In fact, his false teeth were probably more uncomfortable than wood. In one set of false teeth, his dentist used a cow’s tooth, one of Washington’s own teeth, hippopotamus ivory, metal, and springs.
3. One of George Washington's favorite foods was fish caught in the Potomac River that ran in front of Mount Vernon. In the springtime when many fish swam upstream, slaves would catch the fish (mostly shad and herring) using large nets. They might catch as many as one million fish in a 6 week period!
4. Even though wigs were fashionable at the time, Washington kept his own hair, which he wore long and tied back in a queue, or ponytail. He did, however, powder his hair as was the custom of the time.
5. The last thing George Washington added to his Mount Vernon mansion was a cupola on top of the roof. Because hot air rises, he would open the cupola's windows in the summer to let the heat out.
6. In Washington's time everything had to be written by hand. George Washington wrote hundreds of letters and kept records on everything that happened on his farm. His hired clerk helped him with all of his writing. The clerk would copy things carefully, and Washington would sign the final letter. Because of the urgency of many documents the clerk's quarters on the estate were conveniently located near Washington's office so that he could quickly get to him.
7. George Washington inherited Mount Vernon upon the death of his older half-brother Lawrence. He lived at Mount Vernon from 1754 until his death in 1799. He enlarged the house and expanded the estate from 2100 acres to 8000 acres.
7. Before the Revolutionary War, Washington switched his cash crop from tobacco to wheat. He knew wheat didn't deplete the soil as quickly as tobacco and it had economic advantages as well. Because the British did not tax and regulate the sale of wheat as closely as tobacco Washington had a larger market in which to sell his wheat. A major advantage to growing wheat also was that if the market were bad, the crop could be used to feed the Washington family, slaves, and livestock.
8. George Washington also used a method to conserve his soil and improve long-term productivity with a seven-year crop rotation schedule. Washington and other farmers of his time believed that by rotating crops, their fields would not become "exhausted" or the soil depleted of nourishment.
9. George Washington had no biological children of his own, but he helped raise Martha's two children (John and Patsy) from her previous marriage and informally adopted her two grandchildren (Nelly and Wash) after their fathers' passing.
10. Washington had 300 slaves. In his will he granted them all freedom.
11. Martha Washington loved George dearly. She journeyed to be with him on the battlefield when he served in the Continental Army. She even spent the 1777-1778 winter with him at Valley Forge.
12. It appears that George Washington actually didn't chop down a cherry tree after all.
Mount Vernon taught us much about life in the 1700's on a large estate. Olivia's favorite part of the visit was the walking tour through the mansion and seeing the kitchen. Isaac's highlight was visiting the children's hands-on history room where he was able to play with George Washington (a doll) in a large replica of Mount Vernon and dress up like a colonist. Joshua was thrilled to be outside all day and seeing all of the farm animals. Mom and I thoroughly enjoyed watching the kids enjoy a history lesson through a field trip excursion. There are such rich history lessons like the one we had today to experience in life. And even if you go a wild goose pig chase, no part of the experience is ever wasted. :)
Parts of information from www.mountvernon.org
THE ROYAL GORGE
We started day two with a visit to the Royal Gorge. Almost all of us (my mom stayed back with Joshua) crossed over the bridge to the other side and viewed the Arkansas River 955 feet below us.
According to Wikipedia, "The bridge was not constructed for transportation purposes; instead, it was built with the intent that it serve as a tourist attraction, and has continued to be one of the most-visited tourist attractions in Colorado since its construction."
As we watched the train pass over the tracks under us, my Aunt Jane shared some family history with me related to those very tracks. She told how her last visit to the Royal Gorge had been with my granddad. Granddad shared with her that when he returned home after his service in World War II he took the train home on this very track following the Arkansas River all the way home to Arkansas. Watching the train fade behind the mountains at this point took on a new meaning - very close to my heart. Thank you so much, Aunt Jane, for telling me this story.
GARDEN OF THE GODS
I was in awe of the massive sandstone rocks in Garden of the Gods. I did my best to take the beauty in as we hiked along the walking trail. The Garden of the Gods wins first place of being my favorite spot that we visited during our Colorado sightseeing tour. I am just amazed at the stunning views of these massive rocks. Take a look, wouldn't you have been in awe, too?
Day two in Colorado was a beautiful day to explore God's creation.
Check out more pictures from our day. See "Colorado" in the left hand column under Photo Albums.
If you know me well and know the way my family took trips when I was growing up then you won't be surprised that we visited the Air Force Academy, Focus on the Family, the Anasazi Indian Cliff Dwellings of Manitou Springs, and drove to the summit of Pikes Peak all in ONE day. My dad and I have the mentality of "cover as much as you can as fast as you can." And that's exactly what we did when we arrived in Colorado.
AIR FORCE ACADEMY
I had memories of this terrazzo from when I visited at the age of 13 and watched cadets line up for meal formation. Unfortunately, we didn't get to see a meal formation, but we were able to explore inside the magnificent 17-pointed chapel.
FOCUS ON THE FAMILY
The Focus on the Family Welcome Center is a remarkable place. Their downstairs is devoted solely to entertainment for children. They have slides, an airplane to fly, and many rooms to explore.
Olivia & Isaac enjoy listening to Focus on the Family's Adventures in Odyssey. And if you are a fan of Adventures in Odyssey then you are sure to be familiar with Whit's End and more importantly Whit's End Soda Shoppe. The kids enjoyed eating lunch and then ice cream and stepping back in time in the adorable cafe.
ANASAZI INDIAN CLIFF DWELLINGS
More than 700 years ago the ancestors of the Pueblo, the Anasazi, built these cliff dwellings under a protective red sandstone ledge. We were able to take a fascinating a walk through history.
Views as we drove up
After a 45 minute winding ride to the top we made it to the summit.
Katharine Lee Bates wrote "America the Beautiful" after visiting Pikes Peak in July 1893.
View from the top
Day one in Colorado was an educational, historical, fun, and beautiful way to begin.
Check out more pictures from our day. See "Colorado" in the left hand column under Photo Albums.
Can you guess where we made our way to today?
That's right. The high today was 71 degrees and we spent the day outside visiting the zoo. My mom and dad are in town and Michael took the day off so we could go see lions and tigers and bears and gorillas and otters and elephants and kangaroos and . . .
Olivia's favorite animals from the day - flamingos.
Olivia watching Dottie, the elephant.
Following the bear prints to the . . .
Mama Lun Lun
Baby panda, Xi Lan
Jumping like a kangaroo
Last stop - the petting zoo.
TODAY = PERFECT DAY FOR THE ZOO
My amazing lunch of cedar-plank fire-roasted juniper salmon, three sisters bean salad, wild rice with watercress salad, and cornbread. All items were native cuisine.
Bibles that have been translated into native languages and personalized with the following: left-dyed thread, middle-beads, right-dyed porcupine quills
Native Americans are amazing artists
Every time we go to my mom and dad's we have to make a visit to their local children's Discovery Museum. I am a huge museum enthusiast and when we find a children's museum, it's a homeschool mom's dream. We made two trips because they love exploring so much. J
Here are some highlights of Olivia and Isaac's experiences
Harvesting apples from the orchard, loading them on the truck, and taking them to the market to sell
Testing the physics of motion with balls
Climbing a rock wall
Making our own gears
Testing magnetic pull
My favorite item, "The Slap Organ" - using a flip flop we were able to slap out tunes to "Mary had a Little Lamb" and "Jingle Bells"
EMT Isaac driving Grandma to the hospital for Doctor Olivia to treat
And finally, the Native American route, Moccasin Trail took us to a long house where Olivia ground corn, cooked over the fires, and Isaac played the drum.
At 8:00 A.M. few Pompeians notice the small emissions that nearby Mt. Vesuvius begins to emit. And they definitely don't connect the earthquakes that took place 17 and 15 years ago to these emissions.
People are carrying out their daily work. Such as this lady who is taking her wool and twisting it into thread.
After eating lunch, the same lady can be found playing her lyre along a street in Pompeii.
Suddenly at 1:00 P.M. Mt. Vesuvius erupts with great force. A cloud of volcanic materials quickly rises high above the mountain. A layer of ash begins to cover the area. Within 30 minutes the dark cloud rises about 9 miles above the mountain. People begin to flee the area or seek shelter in buildings. At 8:00 P.M., seismic shocks shake the area and almost 5 feet of volcanic material cover Pompeii. Surprisingly, the scalding flows of volcanic debris has not arrived at Pompeii. The first surge reaches Pompeii at 6:30 A.M. the following day, but is held back by the city's wall. At 7:30 A.M. the story is different. A new series of lava surges overcome the walls and bury Pompeii. The majority of people who died in Pompeii died in this phase of the eruption due to suffocation. By 8:00 A.M. Pompeii is buried and Mt. Vesuvius' height has been reduced by half.
Pompeii remains lost and forgotten for 17 centuries. When rediscovered in the early 1700's, it revealed itself as no other ancient city, so complete and intact. The plaster body casts memorialize those who failed to escape.
It is phenomenal how "what nature destroyed it also preserved."
Last Friday our family went on a field trip to Charlotte, NC. We saw the exhibit "A Day in Pompeii." It was very interesting and well worth the drive for Olivia to see. The exhibit was designed to place you in Pompeii during the year 79 AD. I invite you to join me on a journey back in time to a town in Italy called Pompeii. Keep in mind that all the artifacts are from the year 79 A.D.--that was 1,929 years ago.
The day is August 24, 79 A.D. Pompeii is a very prosperous town with fertile volcanic soils, mild climates, and is an important regional center for processing and selling fish. Many people in Pompeii are wealthy and very comfortable. Residence furnishings were sparse only for the purpose of accentuating the ornate fresco paintings. Beds and reclining couches primarily for eating were simple platforms, but they might also be elaborately carved and/or decorated with ivory or silver. Benches and chairs without backrests and folding legs are common for seating. There are no closets. Clothing is kept in chests, open shelves, or built-in cupboards. Floors are generally decorated in mosaic tiles. Aqueducts provided an abundant supply of water for garden fountains, pools, and canals provide water for shrubbery, flowers, fruit and nut trees, evergreens, and vines.
The day in Pompeii begins with breakfast consisting of bread, cheese, and occasionally leftovers from yesterday. Many times, breakfast is eaten on the run or at an outdoor food stand that lined the streets. A very respectable and often lucrative profession is owning a business. You might sell items such as lush fruits, vegetables, grain, meat, fowl, fish, or seafood. There are many other professions to keep a Pompeian busy. There are olive oil presses, vineyards that make wine, wool traders, potters (that use the volcanic soil and give the clay a distinctive red color), bakers, launderers, restaurants, hotels, and baths. When lunch time approaches, the menu is the same as breakfast. Dinner will likely diversify the taste palate. A typical evening meal consists of 3 courses in the home. The appetizer would be eggs or oysters, a main course of fish, roasted meat, and vegetables, and a dessert of dried or fresh fruits topped with honey or a baked custard. Watered down wine is the drink of choice for all meals.
Pompeians value the cleanliness of their bodies which could explain why there are so many public and private baths. Pompeian women, much like today, want to appear beautiful by using creams, powders, other cosmetics, and keeping up with the latest hair styles. Can you believe that Pompeians even use dyes to hide gray hair?! Jewelry is the final touch that indicates the wearers' social status. Earrings, bracelets, necklaces, and rings made of gold are most common.
The Pompeian doctors who were trained by the Romans were very knowledgeable and very advanced. "Pompeii's doctors set bones, drilled holes in skulls, sutured wounds, performed amputations, and used prostheses to replace lost limbs. They performed minor plastic surgery such as the removal of moles, understood that arteries carried blood, and cleaned their instruments in boiling water after use."
The cemeteries are located outside the city walls because Roman law forbids burial within the city. They are arranged by roads leading to and from the city and are bustling public places.