Friday, September 28, 2007

Old Time Horse Farmers Gathering

Today we went on a field trip with our homeschool group. The young explorers' club meets every Friday for trips to museums, festivals, ballets, plays, etc. We did this club last year but it was every other Friday. Our first trip of the year was to the annual Old Time Horse Farmers Gathering in Blackville, SC. This description of the event was taken from their website.
"Come relive and enjoy the past, when the mule was king and the horse was in style. Events such as this educational living history demonstration help to teach our children about the past, as well as bring back the good old days of our grandpas. Experience farming and farm life before the tractor.

There were booths set up around the farm with volunteers teaching the kids about the different aspects of farm life during that time period. The girls watched and helped peel, press and cook apples for juice, cider, sauce and apple butter. (we got tastes of everything too.)

We made corn husks dolls at another booth

And the kids used the wash board and clothes press

A blacksmith

We watched and learned about spinning wool. She showed us how they comb the wool and shape it so that they can prepare it for spinning. They also had pictures of plants that they used for dying the wools and had examples of all different colors and a few samples of things she had made from her wool. We also got to see and pet sheep before and after being sheared.

There was live music in front of the farm house. The inside of the farmhouse was designed for the period as well. In the kitchen was a working wood stove that they were frying potatoes and baking bread in. They also demonstrated how to churn butter. They told us that it was usually a child's responsibility to churn the butter once a week for an hour. The girls didn't really like that idea too much.:)

This was the most fun for me--watching the horse plows. The kids had a blast working the fields. They were amazed at all the work that went into growing food. The horses were beautiful. The gentlemen and all the people working at this event were so kind and good with the kids. They loved showing off their animals and tools and teaching these kids about the way their life used to be.

wagon, sleigh, and Bare back riding. . .

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Saturday, September 22, 2007

spiders, pigeons, Charlotte, and date night

We have been watching our pet writing spider. (also known as common garden spider or orb weaver) Every few days Daniel will catch a cricket or grasshopper and throw it on the web and we all watch as the spider quickly wraps its prey in its web and starts to eat its insides. It is all very fascinating. This same spider has been on our back porch for several weeks now. We are waiting to see what happens next.

We also went downtown to do some pigeon watching. We counted and sorted pigeons after learning all about them from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website. They have great information for "citizen scientists" as a part of their Urban Bird Studies series. We gathered information about the different pigeons and we will go out one more time to collect some more data before sending it off to the lab.

We also went to Discovery Place Museum and the Nature Center in Charlotte on Friday. We loved getting hands and close up experience with all kinds of local creatures (skunks, owls, snakes, turtles, insects, etc.) My favorite were the butterflies. We also observed some chemistry lab experiments in the Discovery Place's Einstein's Corner. We have not read or studied much about chemistry but it was cool to watch the scientist in his tie dye coat doing experiments with balloons, gases, bubbles, fire.

The main purpose of our trip to charlotte was a party for my good friend Kelly who had twins. She was my roommate in college and now lives in Seattle. I loved showing off my girls and Ellen and Arianna were such troopers attending a party where they knew no one. They loved seeing the baby twins and got to hold Kanah. It was great for me to get to see some old friends.

Lastly, Daniel and I got a much needed date night. We dropped the girls off with some friends that are in Daniel's department at USC. Sonya and Gordon were happy to help out. The girls were very shy at first but after they were treated to a warm soy coco drink and Tom and Jerry cartoons they were able to relax and enjoy! Daniel and I scooted over to Five Points and watched the USC/LSU game while enjoying some snacks and drinks. This is Daniel when I told him to pose for a blog picture. We both got a good laugh out of that one:)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Party Report

Saturday was the big day for Ellen's 6th birthday party. First we woke up and had homeade biscuits. Then I started getting ready for the party and Daniel took the girls to the mall. Our present to Ellen was ear piercing. She has been talking about it for a while and Daniel told her that he would get one of his done at the same time. He is saving his other ear for Arianna's 5th birthday in February. She was very brave and came home with a huge smile on her face. Turning 6 is a big deal. It just seems like she is so much older now. For example, I thought it was great when she turned down the balloon that the clerk offered her at the grocery store the other day. She said she just didn't want one. Up until now that has been an exciting part of our grocery trips but I could tell that this time it just wasn't that important to her. I can think of so many examples of ways that she has grown this year and I'm so proud of the little girl that she is becoming.

She wanted to have a pajama party, but I knew that I couldn't have all her friends sleep at our house at the same time. So we made it a pretend slumber party and invited everyone to come to a pajama/no-parents-allowed early evening (3-5pm) party! The girls started off at the dining room table decorating crowns. Then they moved into the playroom for puppet shows and some play before the scavenger hunt that ended at he number 6 pinata. We had cake and opened presents and everyone played and had a blast. I thought I might go crazy a few times while trying to serve cake and drinks to all 17 girls. This is after the party:)

Three of the girls stayed the night for a sleep over. They are the sisters that we went to the beach with in the summer. So our evening continued with dinner and a movie. The girls all piled on a big pallet on our living room floor.

We woke up this morning (well they woke us up at 6:30 am) and had a bagel breakfast. Arianna actually came into my room before it was even fully light outside to ask for a piece of her candy from the pinata. We had to make them wait till 9 to jump on the trampoline. They were all so full of energy and so excited to be together. So many smiles and laughs.

Gail and Anna were also here. They helped out during the party cleaning and playing. Anna helped me paint some fingernails and apply a few temp. tattoos. They all had a ride on the new scooter after the party. So glad to be close to our family.

I didn't take many pictures during the party but William did and here are just a few from his camera. I will post more later in the week when I receive them in the mail. These were taken before the party while opening family presents.

sorry for the delay

This is the longest stretch of time that I have been without posting. We made a trip to Boone and Mtn. City beginning of last week for mom's birthday and then had Ellen's party yesterday. We are still entertaining the last 3 girls from the sleep over. I will post pictures and stories soon. I know there are tons of people out there anxiously awaiting my posts!!!!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

fun at the zoo

We had a few hours of free time so we decided to go the zoo this afternoon. We walked in right as they were about to begin their bird show so we decided to check it out. The girls volunteered to hold the hoola hoops as "Houdini" the hawk flew in and through them. They were excited and amazed as his wings touched both of them.

We then walked on to the 3D movie called Animal Adventures. It is a short film and it was the perfect length for our first 3D experience. I was afraid that Arianna might get scared but she didn't even want to sit with me. She's such a big girl now:) I was the one that needed to look away. I got a little dizzy a few times. In the movie, the audience was seeing the world through different animal's eyes. Pretty cool but kinda sickening (for me) as we swooped and dived! Ellen had a huge smile on her face during the movie and made very loud comments about how she felt like she was going to fall out of her seat or the animals were touching her. I could tell Arianna was working hard at being brave and quietly sat at the edge of her seat.

bird show at zoo

Monday, September 03, 2007

more pre-birthday celebration

We had an early birthday celebration on Saturday. Ellen's actual birthday is on September 15. She'll be 6!!!! (I'm sure I'll write more about that later.) Since her best friend Lily will not be able to come to her party on that weekend she came over Saturday instead. Shael, Tom, Lily and Cole brought vegan cupcakes, Trader Joe's balloons and gave her some real construction tools. Tom even made a little board with real nails and screws to practice with. Doesn't she look authentic with those tattoos and all! They spent the night and drove back to Greenville Sunday afternoon. We always love having those guys over.

pre birthday celebration

Saturday Celebration. Thanks for everything Shael, Tom, Lily and Cole!!!!!WE LOVE YOU