Field Trip: Old Salem

We had a fantastic visit to Old Salem on Museum Day

Grace and Beth planned where to go using the map. The girls had a scavenger hunt and had fun searching for the answers!  

 Daddy tried out a colonial method of sawing! HARD work! 

Each of the girl shad a turn helping turn a table leg. The interactive nature of our visit was a superb experience for them!
 I loved seeing some of the fall decorations! 

The girls adored getting to try their hand at quilting! They would have stayed here for hours I think. I will have to get some hand-sewing projects up and going around here for them! 
The old well pump is beautiful!  They had fun pumping the water and even trying a taste! 

The pottery house was so beautiful! The craftsman there was so kind and involved the kids in his teaching! 

The replica microscopes were so neat! The girls had fun exploring at the doctor’s house. 

 The upstairs of the boys’ schoolhouse provided a fantastic learning opportunity for music! My girls have seen the insides of our grand piano at church, but this model helped them see a little more closely how it worked. Oh how I would love to have this for my piano students!

I told my family I couldn’t leave without seeing the giant coffee pot! I adore funny unique things and giant tin coffee pots certainly make the list! 

2 Weeks in Review: October 3-14

This year I am following a very strict 6 weeks of school, 1 week off schedule unless we have vacation week sooner than 6 weeks for some reason. Our week off was October 3-7 which coincided with Grace’s 7th birthday. My baby is 7…wow…

We have had fun doing “light school” with Life of Fred and books of the girls’ choosing. We also have been taking some fun field trips.We had a lighter week this week as well because we tagged along with my husband for District Conference with the Christian and Missionary Alliance. It was fun to get away!

The reason for this is because I noticed after about 6 weeks we all just need a break. The refreshing is so good! Little did I know that this is actually a “thing” already called Sabbath Schooling. I was explaining what we were doing to a friend and she told me they had thought about Sabbath Schooling too. My facial expression made it clear I really didn’t know what she was talking about! So I googled and found out this is a practice others follow as well with the mindset of 6 weeks of work and one of rest is a biblical practice. This isn’t why I picked the numbers. Honestly I don’t know why I picked 6 weeks and then off a week. Either way, it’s working for us! 

Here are some pictures of some fun field trips…

SC Zoo and Acquarium
Above: A field organ from the SC Military Museum
Below: Trying out different uniforms at the SC Law Enforcement Hall of Fame

Above: The world’s largest fire hydrant!
Below: SC Fire Museum

It was a really fun couple of weeks off from our regular routine filled with may learning opportunities. Next week we are back to whatever normal the week brings. At the very least we will be schooling more normally. 

Why We Teach: Heart of Dakota and Field Trips

 One of the wonderful things about Heart of Dakota is it has given my girls a love of history. Throughout our studies we have opportunity to discuss the hard things of our nation’s past, like slavery. This week we had the opportunity to visit a historical plantation. The tour of the house was interesting, but I found the slave quarters more important. Both Bigger Hearts for His Glory and Preparing Hearts for His Glory address events which are sometimes difficult to approach except to explain that with sin in our world, there are many horrible things that happen. Slavery is one of those things and so we learn.. As I tell my girls each time they ask, we study history to know where we came from and to remember that which we do not wish to repeat. 

I think what surprised all of us the most was when our guide told us that these slave quarters were some of the most advanced and upscale of the time. This is hard to believe as we observe the sparse and still quite small rooms for the number of people living in them. It is a time in history we should always remember for several reasons. One is because many once defended slavery by twisting and contorting Scripture to mean something it didn’t. We see this happening in many churches today, defending that which God condemns.


Secondly, this was a time in history when those who were vulnerable were criminalized for self-preservation. As slavery ended many more atrocities in our nations history began. Even now we are battling against the evil of racism that led to the founding and promotion of abortion clinics around the country. We observe the fallout of racial tensions around us daily. We can see where history has led…we can see the hand of the evil one upon our nation.


And this…this…is why we teach. 

There are many benefits and wonderful things which homeschooling affords us, but you can do this same teaching whether you traditional school or homeschool.  We feel the incredible burden to raise our daughters to see everything in the light of our Creator, that they would begin to realize and discern the battles of spiritual warfare, and that they would know how to fall to their knees to engaged in battle. The battles before us will not be won in an election or through legislation. We must pray as we never have before, always keeping at the forefront of our minds His sovereignty. 
No matter how your children are schooled, make this your big-picture priority.


Field Trip: Greensboro Science Center

It’s been a while since I posted about a field trip we took. Honestly, it’s sort of been a while since we took an intentional field trip. Life gets busy and these things don’t really happen unless they are planned in advance. Monday was our 13th wedding anniversary and since we spent the weekend away to celebrate we chose to spend Memorial day with the girls at the Greensboro Science Center which consists of a sciquarium, zoo, and museum. This was a really fun experience for the girls and we completed our visit in a little under 4 hours.

The girls enjoyed seeing the Maned
Wolves as well as many other animals in the Animal Discovery Zoo. There were many, many animals housed here in quite spacious facilities. They seemed very healthy and well cared for which is always encouraging at a zoo. We’ve been to zoos where the animals and their habitats were less than stellar to put it nicely. I can say in all honesty this was one of the nicest zoos we have been to as a family.

I really liked the beehives. They were right out in the open and my girls were a little nervous about the hives, but it has opened up some interesting discussions about bees and why they sting and what happens to them after they use their stingers. My grandfather used to keep bees and these hives reminded me a lot of him. 
Yes, this is a snake…and yes they are touching it! They enjoyed checking out this little snake named Pebbles and I enjoyed taking the pictures, not touching it. Yeah, I’m not that brave but I’m glad my girls are! 
 There were also some really cool viewing spots for the kids to enjoy.

The highlight of our visit was definitely the Sciquarium. We went through this area twice! This was a small aquarium compared to others we have been to, but the girls had more fun here than at the other really large aquarium we visited a couple of years ago. The interactive experience was priceless. 
The stingray petting area was amazing! Beautiful, clear pools with stingray gliding all around intrigued my girls. I think they would have stayed there all day if we let them! We did visit this area for a very long time both times we were in this area. 
This adorable little guy followed my girls as they stood and seemed to enjoy watching them as much as they enjoyed watching him! 
Our visit was spectacular. We had so much fun celebrating our anniversary with our three darlings. Did you love their matching dresses? My mom took the girls shopping and they loved the idea of getting the same dress. Then they insisted on wearing them for our field trip! I love my girls! 

2 Weeks in Review: May 12-23

Two weeks is better than four, right? This time I had a little better reason…we were on vacation! We left after church on Mother’s Day for Florida and had a wonderful time on vacation. Here are some of our highlights…including an awesome field trip!

Disney!!!! No, this is not the field trip I mentioned, although it was awesome. We saved up for a one-day trip to the Magic Kingdom. The girls had a great time and had amazing attitudes considering our crazy our day was. We arrived before the park opened and left just 30 minutes before it closed. We managed only one melt-down which occurred just a little while before we left and didn’t last long at all. They were patient and kind with one another and thanked us frequently throughout the day for bringing them. All of the stuff we did was fun, but for me the best part was having everyone get along so well!

Then we headed further south to my husband’s parent’s house. The girls had a great time in their pool.

It is a tradition to always get Dairy Queen when we visit with Grampy! It is his favorite. This is the first of two different DQ visits.

Here is our field trip to Gumbo Limbo Nature Center. It was sooooo much fun! Make sure to follow the link to see more pictures from this visit.

There was a lot of playing and just plain fun! I spent a lot of time reading and working on my scrapbooks. No pictures of that to show though!

We’re back home now and life is settling back down. Next week will be another week off from regular lessons as we work through standardized testing. I’ve got some field trip plans in the works for the summer and hopefully some of those will pan out soon.

Gumbo Limbo Nature Center: Field Trip

This is the first field trip I’ve blogged about in a while. We’ve been on a few, but some of the ones I had planned fell through at the last minute. We’ll hopefully get a few more in now that things have calmed down a bit with other things in our life!

Gumbo Limbo Nature Center was recommended to us by a good friend for when we visited family in Florida the next time. I’m so glad we gave it a chance! This beautiful nature preserve is tucked away in Boca Raton, FL and worth the drive no matter where you are in the South Florida area.

I have a strong desire to instill in my girls how important it is for us to be good stewards of the earth given to us by our Creator. I love how Gumbo Limbo is more than just an aquarium. They work in coordination with Florida Atlantic University and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to rehabilitate and help injured sea turtles along 5 miles of the east coast of Florida. Admission is free to the public and the volunteers are extremely knowledgeable.

In the main building there are lots of aquariums housing all sorts of reptiles in addition to the large salt-water aquarium pictured above. These were some really fun things to see.

Rose enjoyed the bird guessing wall. It may have a different name, but this is what she called it! Birds which are native to Florida are pictured along with their names on the bottom along with a button. When you push the button the correct bird lights up on the board! She really enjoyed guessing these.

We were incredibly blessed to arrive about 10 minutes before feeding time! We didn’t realize it when we got there but the nice lady at the front desk let us know we’d want to hang around for that.

Can you see the eel? There are three eels in the tank and they have to use a special contraction in order to let them eat. Otherwise the other fish will devour the little shrimp!

Next we got to see the seahorse feeding! The girls thought this was really cool because they dump a bunch of food in and the sear horses look like they vacuum up each piece with their noses!

Next came the sea turtle tanks! In these tanks are injured and baby sea turtles who are waiting to be released back into the ocean. This was probably my favorite part!

Here is one of the little babies waving to us…reminds me of Squirt from Finding Nemo!

We also very much enjoyed the butterfly trail. 
I wouldn’t begin to call myself even an amateur, but I do enjoy dallying in nature photography every once in a while. The trail and garden provide many opportunities for this. We saw many beauties fluttering around as well, but they never stayed still long enough for me to capture them. It may have had something to do with my own three little beauties flitting and dancing their way through the garden rather boisterously. 
Just outside the main building is a fun little play area with sea turtle statues. My daughters loved this part. These beautiful sculptures are available for climbing, sliding, and overall enormous amounts of fun! The girls hopped from one to the other singing, laughing, and playing. 

This was an excellent field trip for us. If you are going to be in South Florida make plans to travel up to Boca Raton for a few hours and check out this truly amazing facility with genuine, pleasant, and knowledgeable staff. You won’t be disappointed!

Field Trip: Diego’s Chemo Treatment at Duke Children’s Hospital (Diego’s Journey Part 2)

Talk about a unique field trip! Our family was blessed to join our little friend Diego for his next-to-last chemotherapy treatment. It was such a good experience for all of us. We now know much better how to pray for Diego. Here is a little bit of what we experienced…

Diego couldn’t wait to take the girls down the tunnel from the parking garage. The hospital does have valet parking available which is nice for families with really little kids.
Just outside the Children’s Hospital is a small courtyard area. The kids were happy to pose for us out here even though it was one of our coldest days yet this fall! 

Beth and Diego are in the same grade and have been so close. We moved in when they were both one. Diego feels more like the girls’ brother than anything else. Before he got sick he was over here in our yard or house all the time. They are both missing their top front teeth at the moment so I took the chance to get a photo of their gaps! 
Diego treated us to Einstein Brothers Bagel’s, a tradition he and his mother have before chemo treatment. It’s a small little shop, but they are very nice there and we enjoyed bagel sandwiches, plain bagels, muffins, smoothies, and juice. We all loved this tradition!
The children’s hospital has such a pleasant atmosphere. I remember when they built this hospital and how much effort was put into making it as nice as possible for the kids. They have a table where people bring in gifts for the kids who come in for tests and treatment and their siblings. The guy at the table was so nice! When the girls asked if they could get something I explained that even though it felt like Diego was their brother he really wasn’t and we should save the gifts for the other kids who came in. He flashed a sweet smile, gave them a wink, and said, “Go ahead girls. You can be his sisters for today!” So all four kids received sweet gifts from local school children. 
Diego has been blessed with an iPad mini from Journey 4 A Cure. I knew there were lots of organizations out there to help with cancer research, just not how many there actually were. Diego is really enjoying this and it has been very nice for him on the days he’s not feeling well enough for school because there are lots of educational games available for him. 
Diego’s Child Life Specialist, Katie, assists during the treatment and took a lot of time with the girls. Here she and Diego are explaining to the girls about the parts of blood. They use this to explain to kids about the diseases in blood, white cells, red blood cells, and the medicine and how it helps them. It is very cute and Diego remembered most of it even though he hadn’t seen it in a while. 
This is a little doll used to explain to kids about the port, the medicine, and show them exactly what is going to happen. Katie let my girls have a chance to “access” the doll’s port including all the cleaning and taping involved. Rose was the one to actually put the needle into the doll and she was very thoughtful throughout the process.

They also got to give the doll medicine through its port. They drew the medicine and pushed it through the port. Grace really liked doing this part. She doesn’t understand a lot about this entire thing, but ever since our visit she prays multiple times a day for Diego’s medicine to make him all better. 
Beth told me after my surgery last year that she wanted to be a nurse. Unfortunately she seemed to think she already knew what to do and didn’t listen very well. She did seem to really enjoy the process and was very eager to participate. I was so grateful for Katie who talked in a matter-of-fact manner about the process on a kid-friendly level. I’m sure they are trained to do this, but seeing these special people in action gave me even greater appreciation for what they do and how much they love these kids on a daily basis. 
I learned something really cool they do for the kids. Everyone in the room while the port is being accessed must wear a face mask to prevent infection and germs from entering. Since chemotherapy can make odors stronger and harder to tolerate they give kids flavored chapstick to put on their masks. The girls got to flavor a mask even though they did not stay in during the access or treatment. 

We were advised it would be best for the girls to remain outside while Diego’s port was accessed, so my husband took them to the waiting room. I stayed there with him and his mother at his request. I now have a much better understanding of how scary this really is for a kid. I think Diego is in an in-between age of understanding a lot, but not everything. This is really frightening for him even though he has done this lots of times now. 
Something which really stuck me was what Diego requested before they did anything. “Wait, wait wait! You need to pray!” This is his request every time. You see, Diego asked Jesus to be his Savior a little over a year ago. He knows of God’s love for him and knows the peace of relying on that love. It doesn’t mean things are easy, but he knows just where to go when he is scared. What a testimony! Katie told us he is the only patient she has ever known to ask for prayer. 
This was a powerful field trip for our family. We have been as much a part of this journey with Diego as we have been able and this really helped our entire family know how to pray for and encourage Diego even more. Also how to pray for nurses, doctors, and others who work with kids who are sick like Diego. Their tender care and mercy shown towards children was beautiful to watch. I also know their hearts must break when their patients do not survive the fight. We are grateful Diego’s prognosis is very good, but there is still a long journey ahead over the next year as his body continues to recover from surgery and the chemotherapy. 

Field Trip: Mrs. Kate Carpenter Concert!

(All music title links will send you to hear the full song on Mrs. Kate’s website!)

A field trip on a Sunday? Not usually, but I just had to write about Mrs. Kate Carpenter’s concert we just came home from. She is a a very dear friend of ours and we were so excited when she called to say she was coming on tour our way all the way from Florida! We’ve been Mrs. Kate fans for a long time and Rose even named her first baby doll Baby Kate after her! 

Mrs. Kate is a pastor’s wife from Florida and sings inspiration and motivational songs for kids and adults. She is passionate about sharing Christ with the world and uses her music to inspire. She also frequently performs in schools for anti-bullying and anti-drug programs. Her lively folk tunes get everyone moving and her concerts are full of audience participation much to the joy of the children!
Beth got to be one of the first helpers and used her baton to march along with S-M-I-L-E. This is huge. I just can’t tell you how huge! Beth loves to sing and has a beautiful voice, but I have not been able to get her up in front of anyone for something like this, even when the kids sing! She has had once of the worst cases I’ve seen of stage fright, but this time she actually volunteered to participate and had a blast doing so. 
Rose helped out with Lord This is Your Day and Habit the Rabit Loves Manners. She wanted to do every song! She also used to have stage fright, but thankfully this has passed for the most part. She has grown up with Mrs. Kate and just loved the chance to see her in person. Mrs. Kate also spent some time in our home this afternoon. It was like hosting a celebrity. 
Little Grace didn’t want any part of being on stage…until the very end! She sang Down Under…sort of. You can see her there in the green pants. She seemed much more nervous than I expected, but she was excited to hang out on stage with Brooke, Mrs. Kate’s assistant. She loved her and enjoyed playing with her all afternoon. 
Mrs Kate is a celebrity in our house and the afternoon as been one filled with giggles and glee. Her assistant, Brooke, spent all afternoon playing with the girls and spending lots of time with them. Take some time to check out Mrs. Kate’s music and like her facebook page. She is a simply fabulous musician, but her character and passion for Jesus are greater still. I am privileged to call her my friend. If you ever have a chance to go see her in concert, don’t miss out! 

Art of Brick: Field Trip

There’s just something about Legos…am I right? I haven’t met a kid who didn’t love them and my girls are no exception. They build according to the models and only rarely branched out to make their own creations…until today! We had the chance to visit the free exhibit The Art of Brick, hosted by the Alamance County Arts Council.

The Arts Council is housed in a house preserved for its history. It may not look like a museum from the outside, but once step into its doors and you are immediately surrounded by art. Volunteers greeted us and made sure we knew not to touch or even accidentally bump into the exhibits. Although they are glued together, they were not glued to their stands and even jumping could dislodge them. We made sure the girls understood this rule, especially since we had just been visiting a much more hands-on museum prior to this!

Some of the sculptures were housed at the Children’s Museum of Alamance County so we saw those first. The opened book with a castle and moat surrounding it was my favorite. A story-poem was written on the book and it was fun to share it with my girls. Grace said it looked like a pop-up book and I think she’s right!

The crayons were another fun sculpture for the girls!

The boy looking at his reflection entranced Beth and Rose.

Many of the sculptures were of people. The genius of this artwork goes beyond the ability to create sculptures out of Legos. The creativity and ideas behind the art seem endless.

This one looked like someone was squeezing the clouds to make it rain on the city!

“Mommy, look! His heart is floating!

Grace’s face while she looks at this one is just fabulous! 
This is just so cool! Grace loved this one and spent a long time looking at it and talking with me about it. Grace is almost 4 and here she is discussing art with me. Wow!
Hopefully this won’t be the only time we see Mt. Rushmore, but even if it is, it’s a pretty cool way! 
Beth and Grace enjoyed talking about this one and why it was titled Lonely Yellow. We chatted about why only one brick was yellow, what it represented, and why only light would be on in the city. 
Here is a self-portrait of the artist made entirely of Legos. How cool would family pictures like this be?
After we toured the exhibit we watched a short video of the artist talking about how he started out and why he made these sculptures. The girls were very entertained by him and I really enjoyed hearing about his past. What struck me most about what he said was how much it meant to him that families came to his exhibits. He said families who typically wouldn’t go to an art exhibit would come to The Art of Brick. Boy was he right! The art museum really wasn’t on my radar for a field trip until the girls were much older. I’m now reconsidering it. Talking with the girls about the sculptures, what they represented, and just discussing them was so much fun!
The girls were also inspired to come home and create on their own. Rose, my by-the-book girl, didn’t once look at her instruction sheets for her Lego sets when she came home. I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen her do that! The Art of Brick was a fabulous exhibit and a really fun way to introduce art to your kids if you haven’t yet! Check here to see if there is an exhibit near you!
Family Friendly: 10
Kids Engagement: 10
Likelihood to return: 10

Children’s Museum of Alamance County: Field Trip

I’m always on the lookout for fun field trips for our girls. I found out recently there was a children’s museum we’ve never been to which is close enough for a day trip! The Children’s Museum of Alamance County generously hosted our family for the day and we had an absolutely splendid time! 

The children’s museum is laid out as in one long, open building. Following the model of many current children’s museums it is all about experiential learning. Multiple rooms flow from one room to another. The opportunities to explore are endless! I’m going to highlight as many as I can, but I’m sure there are some things we missed. 
The first area for exploration is filled with all things science. Microscopes, models, skeletons, books…so many things to touch and explore! My girls love science so they were very happy here for quite some time! 
The girls loved the dentist and doctor areas located in the science section. Beth especially loved playing nurse because she has decided this is what she wants to when she grows up. I can see her being a very good nurse as she is caring and gentle, but also has a mind for memorization!
The next area is for arts and crafts. My girls were in heaven! We didn’t get spend as much time here as they would have liked because a couple of large school groups were there and so it was a little crowded. They did get a chance to enjoy the giant clear-walled room for painting. After donning their smocks they eagerly painted all over the walls! When they get too much paint on them museum workers spray them down with an water hose installed in the ceiling and squeegee the walls. The water goes down a drain in the center of the room which in and of itself is fun to watch!
Right beside the painting room is a large climbing structure which goes from floor to ceiling. Rose loved this and made it all the way to the top. Grace and Beth were a bit more timid, but went partway up. We experienced a structure like this earlier this year at another children’s museum, but it was so large it intimidated my younger two to the point they didn’t want anything to do with it. This one wasn’t as frightening to them and even though they didn’t make it all the way to the top, they did make it farther than the last one. 

Next came the cafe. The girls took orders, cooked, worked the cash register, and made change with replicas of the real thing. Beth loves to play like this at home all the time, so to have a full-size version of a restaurant made her day!
The train room awaited the girls in the next section. What a room! While they have played with a train set like this before, never have they played in such a beautifully painted area! A wall mural of a days-of-old train filled the room. Like every other room, themed books were available for kids at all times. I love how literature is a part of every exhibit. My girls weren’t as drawn to this because we read together all the time, but I observed many children from the school groups enjoying the books with their adult chaperones and it made me happy to see this!
The last indoor section was a farm. This was my favorite part! Model raised beds lined with brown felt for dirt had holes in rows so kids could plant and harvest their produce. Also in this area was an adorable little farm house, which was filled with children almost the entire time we were there. Beth collected chicken eggs and Rose enjoyed driving the delivery truck. Grace planted veggies in the garden, but never got to harvest any because other kids kept coming up to do the job. She still had fun though. 
Just outside this building is a courtyard filled with fun! A flowing creek with a small waterfall was Rose and Grace’s favorite part outside. They floated boats and enjoyed the water. Beth loves to dig so she spent most of her time in the sand! There are also lots of outdoor toys for kids to play with, but our girls preferred these two areas.
I commented to my husband as we left that all of the things the girls experienced today are what we think of as typical childhood fun, yet most kids don’t get to experience them on a regular basis. Our girls already do many of these activities, just on a smaller scale. I wondered how many of the children visiting may have been experiencing this type of exploration for the first time  or the first time in a long time. I loved watching my girls play in the man-made creek as I recalled playing in creeks myself as a little girl. We don’t have one on our property, but they do love exploring the woods behind my parents house which has a small swampy area. 
The Children’s Museum of Alamance County was a joy to visit and the price is a bargain at only $5 per person! The girls could have stayed from open to close and I imagine they could visit repeatedly without ever getting board. If you are able to make it to Alamance County, North Carolina make sure you take time to visit this museum. Your kids will thank you!
Family Friendly: 10
Kids Engagement: 10 (geared towards elementary)
Likelihood to return: 10  
We received admission for our family to the Children’s Museum of Alamance County in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. No other compensation was received.