Sunday, June 20, 2010

State Capitol Treasure Hunt

Today there was an Art Treasure Hunt at our state capitol. We had never been there and I thought this sounded like a fun way to see it. The best part was that it was FREE! Not only the hunt but also parking since we went on a Sunday. Yeah!!! Can I just say that we all absolutely LOVED it! During our "hunt" we came across a guided tour (free) that was going up to the tippy top where those golden horses are. We tagged along and after winding up some very long stairs....we came out to a balcony and got to stand right next to those gold horses! I was soooooooo winded by the time we got to the top, it was a good thing I could just stand there and catch my breath. The girls were so excited was worth it! The view was magnificent!! They started us off by giving us a large brochure with 12 pictures of the items we had to find. There was a place to put a gold star as we found each one. There were three floors to explore plus the cafeteria down in the basement. Simple, but very effective and FUN!
Yup, Miracle found this one on our list. There were quite a few statues.....but this is the one we needed! She's quite proud of herself! LOL
An "Old Fashioned" phone. LOL I really do feel old! They still have a hard time believing that I didn't have a cell phone or Internet growing up.
Aren't they just the cutest?
Admiring their conquest this afternoon. We found all the artwork on all three floors! We also saw the Senate, House of Reps, Supreme Court and all their corresponding offices.
The architecture was breathtaking, but I'll let Pillar blog about that. She took something like 100 pics before we deleted and organized. As it turns out she has quite the eye for art and architecture.
We came home to a nice clean house that smelled heavenly because of the roast, carrots, and potatoes that I had put in the crock pot before we left. I'm so glad I planned ahead! And to top off our wonderful day we watched Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn before bed. I love old things. Old books, old movies, old buildings. Ahhhhhh! So nice!! I hope you had a wonderful day as well!
PS....I forgot to mention one very important detail about today. One that I mussn't forget!! On our way to the capitol we had to stop at DQ because 2 of the girls accomplished VERY hard goals this week! Pillar completed a two week science module in only one week AND got an A on it and Rosebud did 100 random multiplication problems in 2:36! So we celebrated!! I told was just a really great day!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Ma's Pancake Man

I have to say right up front that I did not find these beauties at a garage sale, but at Goodwill. However, I am as thrilled as can be at discovering them!!! They are not frilly and foofooey at all, and yet they are still feminine. They have little puff sleeves, scalloped edges, pleats and fun necklines. Oh Joy!! And they just happen to be in the perfect colors and style for a certain daughter of mine with particular taste! I am as pleased as can be!!!
Next month we are driving down to Walnut Grove to experience Little House on the Prairie up close and personal! The girls are so excited!!! And so in honor of this little field trip we are reading aloud the Little House Series. This week I am reading Little House in the Big Woods. We've read bits and pieces but never the whole series. I have to say that we have all laughed out loud several times. This morning I tried to make pancake men like Ma did.....but my first attempt looked more like a spider....and thus became one. My second attempt looked more like a snowman....and thus she became one too! After that I gave up and made the girls initials and hearts and fun stuff like that. Of course we had to throw in some chocolate chips too! And just so ya know....I did make another Z that didn't turn out backwards. lol And Pillar made an M for me so I wouldn't feel left out!
The backside of this heart is COVERED with mini chocolate chips!
It was a fun day had by all! Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Summer Reading Programs

We've always enjoyed summer reading programs. We've got a great local library and we've done theirs for sure. And in years past we did other large book stores as well. But most of those only go to 6th grade. So we were thrilled when my wonderful sister in law informed us that these two companies have joined in this summer as well. Yeah!! We especially love ice cream, although The DQ program here only goes through 6th grade. The Half Price Books on the other hand goes through age 14! And the best part is that each child can earn a $3 gift card.....each week....all summer long! The only bummer is that they can't combine them. But we don't mind. Just imagine all the wonderful deals we'll find! We can hardly wait. If you click on the pictures, they should direct you to the correct forms to sign up. If I linked up correctly that is. :-)
I always set a reading goal for the girls each summer and these programs really help keep them motivated. Too bad there isn't one for moms too! LOL

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Dairy Days

We went to the Kelley Farm again for their Dairy Days and we were NOT disappointed! We had so much fun!!! The girls got to churn butter from beginning to end. They used the buttermilk that was left to make biscuits, although we didn't stay for that. We also got to watch curds and whey separate on the stove top. We learned so much!! The pics didn't load right so you'll have to wait till the end to see the butter pics. Sorry!

These baby lambs were so gentle and kind, just like my Miracle.
Pillar and I watched this cat chase and capture this little rodent. It was hard to take a pic with him on the run!
And here's their opinion of the outhouse! LOL

Rosebud could have hung out with the horses all day.
Miracle found the baby kittens. She was amazed at how much they had grown in just one week.
We got to work in the garden for awhile. We started weeding the potatoes, but the ground was pure mud and difficult to work in. We didn't get very far. :-(
We used the "dash" to churn the butter. I didn't realize what a precise system/rhythm is required. And once you can't stop! The temperature has to be just right and if all the different factors are JUST right......a pro might be able to make butter in just 20 minutes. But many times it just doesn't turn out. What a bummer! So we were all thrilled that our butter turned out GREAT! Yeah!!
Now they're gathering all the butter off the top and placing it in cold water.
Yup....pretty nasty, slimy, buttery hands by the time they were done!
And this was our butter!! It was such a great experience. The girls were really glad they didn't have to do this once or twice a week! LOL
It was a great time had by all! Can't wait to go back again!!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

City Wide Garage Sales

This week we were "sellers" at a city wide garage sale in a neighboring city. It was CRAZY busy on Wednesday!!! I've shopped at city wide's before....but never sold. Oh my!! We had prayed that God would bring all the people that needed our clothes, curriculum and daycare items. And He sure did! We made $250 on the first day! Yeah!!! The weather didn't cooperate for the rest of the week, so traffic was pretty slow. Only the diehards would brave the rain and wind. But we still made more than $35o total! I'm thrilled!!! Thrilled to have the cash and thrilled to have successfully de-cluttered my house a bit. What a great feeling!
Here is a better pic of the beautiful chair and ottoman that we were given this week. Only God could give me a piece of furniture that is both functional and the perfect colors! We really needed another place to sit and this one piece of furniture ties together everything else in the room. Only God!!
The girls can bowl two free games everyday this summer through this national program here. But we still have to pay $2.50/person for shoes. Ouch! These shoes were for sale by another family at our garage sale and they blessed us with them. Yeah!! They're even name brand and practically brand new. How nice! We just might learn how to bowl this summer! LOL
It was a wonderful week, an exhausting week. But boy was it worth it!!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Simply Beautiful

There's more than one beautiful thing about this picture.....

Last week I took all three girls in for routine eye exams. And much to my surprise I was told that Pillar's prescription had changed just a tiny bit. Miracle had what the doctor described as "Hawk eyes" or much better than 20/20 and my sweet Rosebud....well, she evidently has a severe astigmatism. Bad enough that they retested three times, just to be sure. Here she is sporting her new glasses that we just picked up today. Isn't she just the cutest thing??? The Dr. was amazed that Rosebud's reading and comprehension were so high given her diagnosis. She said it had to be because we homeschool. I heard this same exact comment about Pillar when she got her glasses years ago. Hmmmmmm. Makes me wonder how many children are having "issues" at school simply because they have "issues" with their eyes that have gone undiagnosed. The Dr. rattled off a list of possible problems she might be having in school that would be caused by this astigmatism. One of them was mixing up letters like "b" and "d". A few of the others were handwriting, being able to stay focused, and getting distracted easily. All of which we have been diligently working on. I'm very curious to see the changes that occur now that she's sporting these new pink beauties!! I think she looks simply smart and adorable. But I guess I'm a bit prejudice since I'm her mom!
The other beautiful thing about this picture you ask????

Well, it's the story behind the chair. It was given to us this week quite unexpectedly. I've wanted one for sometime, but not bad enough to buy one. Well not only is this a great little chair with cute curves and lines, but the color is absolutely PERFECT! It's the same color of red that my hutch is at the other end of the room. And those little circles/flowers are the same color of blue that our couch is. Only God could give me a piece of furniture that would tie together all the rest of the furniture in the room. Just about every piece of our furniture was given to us by a different family at a different time. Each one has a story, a testimony. God has been so very good to us for many many years. And this little chair has brought me some much needed encouragement this week. Thank you Lord!!!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Oliver H. Kelley Farm

Today we went to a living-history farm that was home to a rural American leader and founder of the Grange. It's a restored 1860's farmstead with working fields, vegetable gardens, animals, kitchen cooking and so much more. And all the farmers/employees are in 1860's dress! What fun!! It rained off and on all afternoon so if you look closely at this picture you can see the rain pelting the girls that got the chance to ride up front. This was by far Rosebud's favorite part of the day as she got to personally pick the driver's brain the entire 1/2 hour ride. She loves all things horses and farms!! I'm not sure who enjoyed the ride more though. Rosebud or the driver who thoroughly enjoyed all her questions and curiosity! We had the privilege of spreading manure on the rhubarb garden. According to the girls this smelled worse than the outhouse! LOL

I just have to say that these oxen were HUGE!! I don't know that I've ever seen any up close. And I have a much better appreciation for the scriptures that reference a "yoke" now. What a massive and strong piece of equipment!
We spent a great deal of time in the main house cooking. We fried potatoes in lard. Gross, I know. We made cornbread from one of the very first cookbooks in our state. We also helped make strawberry jam. And learned a ton of fascinating information while doing it!! All cooking was of course done how a 1860's woman would have done it. No standard measurement system yet. No refrigeration. No screens on windows. LOTS of flies. Eeeek! Only the very first primitive stove. It was a blast!!!
We pumped this water ourselves from the well outside and used it for everything from washing potatoes, cleaning dishes and making cornbread. When Rosebud looked inside the cup and saw all the dirt and crud in the cup she asked the "lady" what she was supposed to do with it? Surely she wasn't supposed to put it in the cornbread, right??? Yup, that's what we did! (Don't worry, only the animals get to eat all the food made in this kitchen.)
Wiping the cornbread pan with lard. Another fun tidbit of info is that their aprons doubled as hot pads! When working with the stove or oven they just grabbed their handy!!
Grinding sugar from big chunks into fine granules.
Yup....more lard for the potatoes. The potatoes were cut up into swirls that looked something like the very first curly fries! Very fun!
Bread crumbs for frying. They were hard as a rock!!
Water from the well. It was fun the first few pumps but it took both of them quite a while to fill up the bucket for the kitchen and boy were they glad that we don't have to do that several times a day!! this just fascinated me. Not sure why. Today they were shearing sheep all day. This is what we walked into. This is a young sheep who was doing anything but cooperating with the process. The farmer got a real workout trying to hold it down and shear it.
Every time this farmer repositioned, the sheep fought and struggled to get free. Until once again the farmer gently held it down by putting his leg across his neck. The farmer was as gentle and kind as could be and was only doing what he had keep the sheep safe while he sheared it.
Now, here comes the next sheep. A mother that these three farmers couldn't praise highly enough. They sung her praises the entire time they sheared her. She had birthed twins multiple years in a row, she had birthed a strong ram, her babies were strong and healthy.....and she cared for all her babies well, better than most.
Look at how calm she is. She's not fighting them at all. She's not struggling for freedom.
She was completely at ease as if she knew that when they were done her babies would be able to find milk easier. That she would be cooler this summer. That these gentle farmers would never harm her. She completely trusted them. It was truly amazing to watch these two animals react so very differently to the same gentle farmers. One fought and struggled and made things so tough for itself during the process. The other completely trusted and relaxed during the process and it went much faster and smoother! I think I could take some lessons from this mother!
It was a wonderful day! We can't wait to go back again.