Friday, October 30, 2009

Spooky Halloween Story by Ellen

First of all, my camera broke this week and so Ellen has been taking pictures with her camera for me. I also wanted to post this story that she wrote for her writing class. She came up with it all by herself and I helped her with spelling and punctuation. They had been learning about how to write conversations and spent last week sharing Halloween stories with each other in preparation for writing their own. We carved pumpkins last night and this is a picture of hers. She hasn't come up with a title yet but here is her spooky Halloween story.

One October evening on a Halloween night I was getting into my costume for trick or treating. My parents and sister were across the street talking to our neighbors. When I was done getting dressed I suddenly heard the back door creek open. I went to see what it was. I saw nothing but I heard a deep scary voice. It said, "Follow me." I asked, "How can I follow you when I can't see you?" He told me "follow my voice!" So I followed his deep voice. While me and the voice were walking I was trying to think who or what this voice was. I thought that it might be a ghost. But before I could think about it any more the voice said, "We are here." I looked up and there towering above me was what looked like a haunted house. It had creepy vines winding in and out of windows and bats flying around the top. I asked, "Do I have to go in there?!" It said, "Of course you have to go in there. Isn't it beautiful!" I thought, "He is definitely a ghost!!!!!!!" Then suddenly I found myself off the ground and sailing through the air. Before I knew it I was in the haunted house! A witch had carried me through the air and set me down in the Haunted House.

It was very creepy inside. There were spiders hanging from slimy walls. I saw vampires making evil potions. I saw skulls all over the ground. Four vampires were sitting around a table drinking blood. They said, "This blood is good! Come have a drink with us!" I said, "No thank you," and I walked on. Soon I came to a big group of ghosts watching tv. My Halloween costume was an alley cat. When they looked at me they thought I was a real alley cat. They whispered, "Here Kitty Kitty." I don't have any idea why, but I went to them. Then suddenly a werewolf chased me out of the haunted house and back to my home.

So, if you don't want to see a real haunted house with creepy things inside it never listen to a scary voice on Halloween.

Monday, October 26, 2009


The girls had the flu last week, or at least that's what I think they had. First Arianna started feeling bad with a headache and fever, then she got nauseous and started coughing. She was sick with a fever for about 3 days. Ellen came down with the exact symptoms 2 days after Arianna and had it about 4 days. I watched them closely and kept them home to rest. I gave them these natural remedies:

Starting from the left, I gave them echinacea and elderberry syrup. They are both immune boosters and elderberry is specifically good (studies show it shortens duration) for colds, flu, and bronchitis. Then there are the vitamins--the regular dose of multivitamins and the zinc and vitamin C combo for extra immunity support. I also gave them an assortment of homeopathic remedies. We also sat outside in the sun for Vit. D and had them drink tons of water. I told them to drink water even though they weren't thirsty. I believe that probably helped them more than anything.

The girls really did not like taking all these remedies, or drinking all the water. It is nice that they are old enough to understand that when you're sick you just have to do things you don't want to do. I'm not sure what if any of these things helped them get better. I'm just glad to be through it!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Renaissance Festival

Last week we drove to Charlotte for the Carolina Renaissance Festival. We met up with our good friends who drove in from Chapel Hill. The girls were so happy to see their old friends and they had a wonderful time together. This was our second trip to the Ren Fest. The last time we went was 2 years ago. I was a little disappointed in the "educational" aspect of the event. Between the rides (which all cost extra money) and the circus type shows (that were taking tips) there wasn't much room for learning about the Renaissance time period. For example, the falconry show was really good but it was more like a zoo program. They told us all about 3 different beautiful birds of prey but didn't talk about how they were used or related to the Renaissance theme. Here's a picture of the great horned owl who was amazing to see anyway.

I loved all the musicians that were wondering around. They would stop and play a tune and then speak to us in accents and language that was appropriate for the Renaissance time period. The costumes were all beautiful of course.

The jousting tournament is always really well done. They are all dressed up in armor and the king and queen are there presiding over the event. The crowd is very involved and cheers for the knight on their side.

The other entertainment was certainly a lot of fun! Here are all the girls on the camel ride.
This juggler guy had chosen Arianna and her friend Rose to be a part of the act to hold spinning plates.
I didn't get a picture of the man powered rides, the maze, or the other circus shows. The whole event was worth the trip this time although I don't think we'll go back.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Fall break Topsail Island 2009

This was our third year in a row to spend Fall Break at a NC beach with our good friends Lesley, Jason, Alder, and Heath. The weather was perfect--warm enough to play comfortably in the water with beautiful sunny skies. We shared a small house at the end of the island where we enjoyed wonderful home-cooked meals together and had a blast hanging out talking and laughing late into the night. We spent 2 full days playing (well, Daniel played but I was mostly relaxing) at the beach. Our girls LOVE the beach and stayed out running, swimming, building as much as they could. We saw an amazing rainbow after a quick rain shower on Saturday night. It really was a perfect way to end a perfect weekend. I've put together a slide show but the pictures are out of order and the captions don't make as much sense. Missing Les and Jason and the boys already...

A little more background to the story--Lesley and I have been friends since her family moved to Baton Rouge when we were in the 6th grade. We went to highschool together, were roommates in college, and bridesmaids in each other's weddings. I am so thankful for her friendship and that our husbands/families get along so well together. We are separated by a few states for now but I'm hoping to be living a lot closer one of these days. Annual beach trips will have to do for now!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Fall Garden 2009

We are growing a lot of the same things that we did last year but we've added lots of new stuff to the soil. Over the past few weeks, Daniel has added many bales of hay, another load of free wood chips, and a load of municipal compost to the garden. All the plants in these beds we started from seed indoors a few months ago.
Here is a batch of compost tea brewing. Daniel made and applied 2 batches to the garden so far. We were inspired by this gardener in Alaska who sells tea brewing kits and grows amazingly huge veggies. Here is the youtube video about his product--we didn't buy it but made something similar of our own.

The lettuces are looking beautiful and just about ready to harvest.

This is the biggest cabbage we've had. Still has a bit of growing to do.
Here is a bed of kale that has been hit hard by slugs.

Here is a close up. Once Daniel figured out what was destroying these greens, he started going out "slugging" after dark with a flashlight (picking off the slugs). There has been a lot of caterpillars on most of the greens so he's also been on the lookout for those guys during the day. He also sprayed some BT, an organic pesticide. A few of the transplants didn't make it but most of them are starting to come back with new leaves.
Here is a bed of lacinato kale that we've already been harvesting from. In the back of the row are the huge eggplants that are still producing. Behind the eggplants are a few small brussels sprouts that you can't see.
Here's broccoli.
Collards, sweet potatoes and other left over summer veggies.

Our weather is finally cool enough so we can enjoy a fire in the evening. It was a nice way to finish our weekend.