Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Apples and Amicalola Falls

UPDATE: Click HERE to see Noah on 11Alive!

I have lived in Georgia for 28 years and today I took my first trip to the great city of Elijay! Elijay is famous for apple orchards, and we took a field trip with our homeschool play group. We visited Hillcrest Orchards...where the kids got to...
practice milking a cow on this "fake" model.... then later they got to actually milk a real cow. Both Katie and Noah tried it, but I wasn't able to be at a good angle for a picture.

They also got to shell corn.

While the kids watched a show with an animatronic bull educating them about cows (which provided quite a few laughs for the grown-ups! HA!), a lady came over to ask if we would mind if a couple of the children from our group were videoed picking apples for Channel 11 News from Atlanta. We of course agreed, and Noah, and another girl from our group were excited to cooperate!

It is supposed to be on the 11pm, 6am, and Saturday morning news. I will be excited to see if they are on there! We also got videoed during the time the kids were milking the cow, which is part of the reason I didn't get a good photo.

Here is the group on the wagon ready to ride through the orchard to the petting farm.

Here is Noah with his friend, Maccoy. They were waiting for the pig races. Behind us in the building was the Moonshine Museum, which, sadly (for the two dads in the group, HA!) not included in the school tour! ha ha ha!!!

A shot of the pig races.

I had to include this shot, because it is so funny! Getting ready for....

THIS shot! lol.

The BIG slide at the play area. Noah slid first...

Then Katie decided to slide...if Meme went with her...
she loved it!

It turned out that the picnic area (we all brought lunches) was RIGHT AT the petting zoo area! So, we decided to drive over to a nearby state park for lunch instead. We drove to Amicalola Falls State Park. It sits at the base of the entrance to the Appalachain Trail! AND we actually hiked part of it (well the, approach trail)! I thought that was really cool!

These photos were taken around the picnic area.

Now, these were taken as we hiked to the "bottom" of the 729 foot falls.

This photo was taken at the actual bottom of the falls with the top far up in the background, but the lighting did not treat us well, so you can't see :(

my mom with the kids at the bottom of the 165 step ascent to the next observation deck.

Now heading back down...

These homeschoolers had to wake up while it was still DARK outside this morning! ha ha!
Needless to say..they were BEAT at the end of the hike!

It was a really awesomely fun day!
I hope to make the trip up to the falls again when Corey can come with us.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Soccer in the rain...Tellus in the rain....

Noah posing before his soccer game. It ended up raining again.
Not terribly, but enough to need an umbrella and change of clothes afterward.

You can see his hair is a little wet.
He was actually not "in" during the heaviest rain and was under an umbrella.

Before we left this morning, I got on facebook and saw that a few people had posted that they were going to visit a local museum as part of the Smithsonian's Free Museum Day. All we had to do was fill out a form, print out a pass and it was good for one person plus a guest. I signed both Corey and myself up and we decided to head over for a visit after the game and lunch. This museum opened up this past spring (I believe) and we had not visited yet. I was so glad that my friends posted that they were going because I had totally forgotten that it was free day.

It was VERY soggy when we arrived. They were directing traffic into the hotel parking lot next door because it was so crowded and we hiked across a VERY wet field around mud puddles and water to get to the door. When we got there, a sign on the door told us that only one pass was allowed per family. I was slightly annoyed because we had trudged across the muddy field and would not have come on such a very crowded day if we had known we were going to have to pay for any of us.
Well, as we were standing there calculating how much it would cost, a man came over and said, "If you will come over here we had another line where they are trying to expedite the process."
The man at the end of that line came over and asked for our pass and asked how old our kids were. We told him and he said, "Do you have an extra pass?" And we did, because I had printed one for both Corey and myself. He said, "Each pass is good for two people." And he gave us stickers for all four of us to wear, so we didn't have to pay after all! YAY!!!!!!

The Tellus Museum has a little bit of everything. Our first stop was the dinosaur exhibit.

Katie and Noah enjoyed getting to touch some fossils. Katie even touched what they said was dinosaur poop! lol. She touched it before he told her what it was! Then Noah didn't want anything to do with it!

This was Katie's pose in almost every single photo today. Not sure why....

They also had a room with transportation exhibits, with buggies, a replica of the Wright brothers airplane, a helicopter, and space rockets.

There was also a kid's section with all kinds of interactive displays but it was VERY crowded in there! We were telling ourselves that it really didn't seem that crowded for being free day, and when we got in that part we knew why! Everyone was in there! We didn't get to do the gemstone mining area or the fossil dig..the line to get in those classrooms was EXTREMELY long and not moving! We also didn't do the planetarium. I guess we will have to go again when it isn't free day to do the rest.
UPDATE: I have since heard from a friend who works at the museum that they had 3700 visitors yesterday!!!! She said a typical Saturday runs 900 and a busy day around 1100.
WOW! The great thing is...she invited us to come another day as her guests!!! Yay!

Here is a picture of when we were leaving. Corey had gone to get the car and drive it up because it was POURING rain! But, there was nowhere near the door to park at all, so he just parked in the parking lot this time and brought umbrellas. The umbrellas did NO good though, because it was pouring so hard that they ground was just puddled up with water and our pants and shoes got soaked through! The rain was pouring off the edge of the umbrellas and soaking our sleeves. The parking lot was flooding too and it was just miserable trying to get out! Ugh!
It was a fun visit though...a true value! I am so glad I checked on facebook this morning to see my friends were going so we knew about it.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

On My Mind

2 Thessalonians 1

Verse 3:
We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing.

Verse 11:
With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Daybook for the First Day of Fall

I got this idea from another blog and thought it would be a fun thing to do on the first day of fall...

**September 22, 2009**

Outside my window... the sun is shining and the trees are waving. Somewhere out there between here and the other side of Nashville, Corey is on his way HOME after 10 days of being gone for work!

I am thinking... about going to see a piece of land today that my heart is aching to buy! It is such a great deal and a PERFECT location for us! After this rain, it would be a great day to check it out. Only $30,000 for 3 acres in Bartow...OH my heart is longing!!!!

I am thankful... that I am about to go downstairs with my children and have school together.

Learning at home... We just started piano lessons and are working on an apple lapbook in preparation for our trip to Hillcrest Orchards next Wednesday.

From the kitchen... that delicious chocolate cake that was pictured yesterday is awaiting... and we are out of bread so I am considering trying to make some again. I've never had luck with it before...any easy recipes to suggest?

I am reading... actually nothing really right now. Mostly blogs, ha ha. I will be reading the Bible study we are about to start...Esther. Oh, I did start Little Women again last week... such a sweet classic read.

To live the Word...(I changed this from liturgy since I got this from a Catholic friend's blog and I am not sure how that would apply to us :)
I want to start doing more to "physically" see this in our daily life. I was inspired by my friend who commemorates all the Catholic yearly celebrations with recipes, crafts, and activities in their daily lives. I want to do something like that with maybe doing more activities to go along with the Bible stories we are hearing and verses we are memorizing, or traditional recipes or arts. I should start researching this. We already do Bible devotional and prayer time in our school day and a family devotional and prayer time in the evenings. I know that we should inwardly and spiritually live the Word, but I want to "do" more of it in an age appropriate way with my kids...does that make sense?

I am creating... a throw. Well, I started it last year and since today is the first day of fall it is time to pull it out again! ha! I am a seasonal knitter...meaning...I only knit during the fall and winter because I can't stand to have yarn strewn across me during the hot spring and summertime! :)

Around the house... just finished cleaning and straightening in preparation for Corey to get home. I don't know why, but when he has been gone I always try to get everything all perfectly straightened before he gets home. He isn't one to really care or complain if it isn't, but it makes me feel better and leaves me more free time when he does get home.

I am hearing... Noah playing a video game on the DS and really nothing else. Katie was just in here asking me a question but now she went to brush her teeth. The clicking of the keyboard.... some cars outside... and Katie just RAN in here and yelled, "Is it on OFF yet?!?! It's on OFF!" in reference to the dishwasher. They tried to empty it earlier when it was on a pause in the cycle so I had to explain when to tell it was really done. They are SO eager to unload it! ha ha! (see yesterday's post).

One of my favorite things... right now is teaching Noah to read. Katie was pretty much self-taught after I showed her how to read long vowel words one time, ha ha. But Noah, well.... he isn't one to just grab up a book and practice reading all the time. He does enjoy it, but he also really loves video games and action figures and running around, etc, etc. It is AMAZING to be able to sit down and teach him lessons and see the light bulb go off in his head and for him to feel so proud of himself along the way. Truly one of the most favorite experiences of my life!

A few plans for the rest of the week... not much. Soccer practice on Thursday. Soccer game on Saturday morning. My last free weekend before my work begins for October at the Pumpkin Patch!

A picture thought I am sharing...

Monday, September 21, 2009

My Rainy Day Helpers

This morning I baked a beautiful and yummy homemade from scratch Chocolate Texas Sheet Cake. Mmmmmm.......
I baked it for our Bible Study that was supposed to start tonight, but within a couple of hours of it being frosted, it was decided that with the flood warnings and road closures that we should postpone until next week.
What to do with that fresh chocolate cake?

Well..... Katie and Noah were a big help by unloading the dishwasher for me, working together to do so. I decided we should ALL enjoy a piece of the delicious cake since I wouldn't be taking it anywhere tonight.
After having such a sweet reward for helping me out, Katie and Noah got inspired..... and then loaded the dishwasher for me as well (while I called and emailed and facebooked people about the class cancellation).
Here they are....even "pre-washing" the dishes in the sink....

This is what a dishwasher might look like if loaded by a 5 and 6 year old...
completely unassisted.... :)

Proudly even drying off the dishes before placing them in the dishwasher...

Washing out the mixing bowl before loading in the dishwasher

I guess we might need a lesson in how to load the dishwasher,
but THIS way kills SO much more time! ha ha!
Especially on a rainy RAINY day!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

It's Tough Being a Woman!

Our next girls' book club at Graceland starts tomorrow night! I am very excited about it. I actually attended a few of the sessions at the other church campus and it was very good! GREAT for women of course as it is an in depth study of the book of Esther.
I am excited to be in on all of the sessions this time and have a great time with my friends at Graceland!
Each week she will speak on topics in Esther by filling in the blank:
It's Tough Being a Woman ___________________.
The first session is: "It's Tough Being a Woman in Another Woman's Shadow."
I am also baking the Texas Sheet Cake recipe I baked a couple of weeks ago that I got from the Beth Moore blog site. I thought that would be a fun thing to have for a snack for the first night! We are also giving away some fun doorprizes as a treat to kick things off! I am really looking forward to it!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Buttons n' Bows

I went to the consignment sale Thursday night to look for a new costume for Noah. We didn't find anything as we were NOT the first ones in the door to run over to grab the best! lol! I did find some very good deals though. I have already put Noah's pants into wash, but I found him some great corduroy pants pretty much exactly like THESE. I paid $3! They are the Kelly's Kids brand, though I didn't realize it when I bought them... I just thought they were a good deal and in great shape regardless of the brand!

I also found Katie two pairs of dressy/casual shoes for the fall and winter. I am SUPER picky about used shoes..I don't love buying used shoes at all, but for this style which won't be worn very often and in such fantastic shape, I will go for it! These were $3 for each pair!

And, my splurge item. I was undecided about it but when Katie tried on the jacket she absolutely loved it, so I went for it. $7 for a two piece leather jacket and skirt outfit!
I need help deciding what to put under it...thoughts/ideas?!?!

Katie and Noah also each picked out $1 item from the toy area. So, I spent $18 and got a great variety of finds in my opinion!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Secret

Katie's and Noah's latest poetry recitation.

Noah almost sneezed at the end! lol. This was about take 22, so we plowed through! ha!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Soft French Vanilla Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are some delicious cookies I baked this afternoon. The recipe was part of my Christmas baking last year and I like them even more now that I have tried them with whole wheat flour!

I have made a discovery about whole wheat flour.... you get what you pay for! I will only buy King Arthur Whole Wheat flour now! Instead of making things taste just "heavy" it really makes them taste "hearty" instead and really flavorful!!! I also used a different sugar for part of the white sugar portion, but I probably won't do that again because it made these turn out flatter than usual....but they were still tasty! The aroma of the french vanilla pudding makes the kitchen smell like a coffee shop and the flavor is just SO perfect! Give them a try! Oh, I also used regular sized chocolate chips this time, but it didn't turn out as well is the way to go! (or mini M&Ms like I used at Christmas!)

2 1/4 cups flour
(I use 1 cup King Arthur Whole Wheat and 1 1/4 cups white all purpose)
1 t. baking soda
2 C butter, softened
3/4 C brown sugar
1/4 C white sugar
1 regular size box french vanilla instant pudding mix
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
1 bag of mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together flours and baking soda. Cream butter and sugars in mixer. Beat in vanilla pudding mix. Stir in eggs and vanilla. Blend in the flour mixture. Fold in chocolate chips.

Drop by a teaspoon onto baking sheet.

Bake 10-12 minutes, cool about 5 minutes on baking sheet. Transfer to rack for remainder of cooling time.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Soccer and Scouts

Activities are in full swing around here! I am so thankful for the way our schedule has worked itself out this year. We are enjoying plenty of at home time with just the right amount of "going" and "doing." Now that the summer musical is over, and the fall schedule is going, I can see that we made the right choices about what to cut out and what to add in. I feel like we are getting more quality and just the right quantity.

Our music curriculum came in last week, and the CDs have been added to my Ipod, so this week will be week one of that! I am so thrilled for the kids, they are going to love it! We still have our art curriculum. We have actually completed 38 or so days of school already! We are well past the first 6-week mark! Yay for a head start in July!

Noah is playing Upward Soccer with the same league he was in last year when I coached. It is AS EXPECTED going much better with an experienced coach at the helm! lol. Noah is such a great athlete! He really gives his all at every single practice, never complains, and follows directions very well. He is getting better and better each week and actually scored 2 goals at the last game! GO NOAH! I actually missed the last game because Katie and I were at a very important meeting....about...

Katie is beginning a journey with Girl Scouts with the kindergarten/1st grade group called "Daisy Scouts." A local homeschool mom heads up a troop that meets at a hotel just 10 miles down the interstate from us! I thought that Katie might enjoy being a girl scout and after the meeting I am even more convinced! Here is the tunic she will wear (for Daisies they can choose this tunic or a vest, but the tunic stays on better from what I hear! lol)

She will be working toward earning all the petals on her daisy and the patch that is actually shown on this one.
Daisy Learning Petals --- girls are given petals when they demonstrate understanding through their words and deeds their true meaning.
Blue Center: Learn the Girl Scout Promise
Light Blue: Honest & Fair
Yellow: Friendly & Helpful
Spring Green: Considerate & Caring
Red: Courageous & Strong
Orange: Responsible for what I say and do
Purple: Respect Myself & Others
Magenta: Respect Authority
Green: Use Resources Wisely
Rose: Make the world a better place
Violet: Be a sister to every Girl Scout

Their first journey will be all about flowers and gardening...something that Katie just ADORES already! When we went to the meeting we discovered that there are some girls Katie already knows from the homeschool group in our area and one in particular that is part of our play group and her mom which I have spent a lot of time getting to know already through dance classes. I am so excited for her! They will earn other patches as well and participate in FUND-RAISING for their troop so get ready everyone! lol.

Katie is already so serious about being a girl scout. I think that is going to really help her be receptive toward what they are trying to teach them and I know it will be good for her to learn about and demonstrate all the qualities on the petals. I am optimistic that this will be a very good and healthy experience for her!