Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Family Camping

We just came home from a lovely weekend camping with some other sweet families!

We were at the Briar Bottom Campground near Micaville, NC.  The kids loved exploring the woods and finding all sorts of mushrooms and creatures.

We all went on a waterfall hike.  The little ones stayed at the bottom of the falls, while the older kids hiked to the top.

Reed even got in some push-ups and a refreshing shower!

A neighboring campground offered ranger programs, so a few of the parents and all the kids walked down to learn about "skulls and skins".
General resting and silliness was had, late night rummy and spades were played, campfire songs and good food were shared!

I was sad to leave and I'm already looking forward to next year's campout!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Fire Station!

I started a Young Homeschoolers Play Group a couple months ago and it's going really well!  I find around age 4 and 5 that it's hard for homeschoolers, as most of the friends they have made go off to school.  So, I started this group to build community for Blossom's age group.

We do a couple park days and a couple field trips each month.  One for this month was the fire station!
Kids got to climb in and explore the various trucks.  Then, they saw a firefighter put on all his gear so they won't be scared of him if he's in their house to rescue them!  This was everyone's favorite part.
This fire station was downtown.  Afterwards, we walked across the street to the big park and splash pad.  Blossom hasn't been here in such a long time, it was seemingly all new to her, and I was surprised that she jumped right in!

Great way to cool off on a hot July day!!  Hope you all are having lots of fun Summer adventures as well!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Banner Elk Holiday

Blossom and I went to Banner Elk for the 4th of July holiday.  We stayed at Grandma's condo with her, 2 uncles, 1 aunt and a couple sweet cousins.  The parade was very cute!

There's something you don't see every day - a sheepdog pulling a pig!

Most of the floats and walkers were tossing candy out to the kids.  They were quite pleased with their loot.
When the parade was done, everyone walked down the main street to the park where there were games and an art fair.  The cousins did none of that and stayed completely entertained with playing with each other :) (great photo from my sis-in-law Julia!)

We love cousin time!  Blossom also got to see the swelling belly of her aunt and daydream about holding her new baby cousin, though we have to wait until November for it to make an appearance!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Just the 3 of Us

The boys are in Memphis for 2 weeks with their grandparents.  Usually in this time, I get to work a lot, and get some good time with ZB (doing activities just geared for her).  She's going to camp at her preschool this coming week, and then a VBS at the church on our block the following week.  Hopefully she'll like both of them, so she'll be staying busy (at least in the mornings)!

A few days ago, we met with some other homeschooling families with young kids to go to the Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary.  I haven't been there in about 16 years, I can't believe I'd never taken the kids.  What a sweet spot!  The favorite spot of most of the children was this climbing tree:
They climbed for a solid half hour and then wandered down the path to ooh and aah over all the turtles in the lake :)  We have lots of fun activities planned with this sweet group this Summer.  It seems even in break times, we stay awfully busy!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

1 to the 5

Clay turned 15 this week!!  He has been working so much doing yard work, that he is pretty beat on his off-days usually.  He decided to have a low-key birthday and celebrate by bringing a couple friends on a day trip to the Cherokee, NC skate park.  It's one of the best in the area, and it's free!
ZB and one of her friends also joined us for the day (that minivan does come in handy!).  Across the street from the skatepark is a playground.  The little guys were quickly bored by the playground and went exploring.  Hidden by some trees was the gentle Oconaluftee River!
The kids caught minnows and water skeeters and were even visited by a family of ducks including 3 fuzzy ducklings.  How sweet!
We walked back to the skatepark, and had a picnic lunch with the teens.  Once I realized they were not nearly done skating yet, it was time to think of a new activity.  We walked over the footbridge of the river to the "main drag" of Cherokee, and I spied a gem mining tourist trap spot.
They loved it!  Neither had done that before, and it was a fun treasure hunt for them.  They took about 20 minutes to get through their bags of dirt, and then examined their finds!
Each child wanted to pose for a photo with their finds - though it turns out ZB just wanted to pose for a photo.
We went back and played around the skatepark and watched the guys skate a little longer before it was time to head home.
We enjoyed some ice cream at another little tourist shop on our way back through the mountains.  I'm glad the rain held off and gave us a great day to get out and enjoy the mountains for this birthday!

Monday, May 25, 2015

May Out and About

May is a fun month for us.  A lot more time opens up from various homeschool activities ending for the semester, and the weather is so beautiful that new activites are added to the calendar very quickly!

Clay has been doing LOTS of yard work this month to save up for his Summer Camp in Pennsylvania.  He's nearly at the finish line, he's been working for 2 or 3 families every week doing mulching, weeding, building garden boxes, sanding and painting sheds, stuff he's good at and doesn't mind doing.

Most of Reed's classes and homeschool activities are actually lasting through this month, so he'll start Summer in June.  Until then, he's plugging along, mostly loving his Thursday homeschool classes - Art and Creative Writing.  He and I are also busy planning our trip up to New York this August (it will just be him, ZB and myself).  We had hoped to see Fallingwater since he's really interested in architecture, but looks like no little kids allowed.  So, we're still on the search of what to do between NC and Niagara Falls!  (suggestions??)

ZB kicked off the month by attending the Tiny Tykes festival - a fun little festival in downtown just for little kids.  We met some friends there and one of their favorite things was the little train.
Sweet Buddies (and I just love that her 2yo BFF is wearing the dress I made for Blossom at that same age):

Our homeschool co-op ended the Spring semester mid-May, and will continue with field trips through the Summer so everyone can stay connected.  We had great fun visiting the Cradle of Forestry with that group this week.
We got a kid-centered tour of old-time toys and lifestyles from the days when there was a little town in this spot of the forest.  I had no idea that the Pisgah Forest was once all owned by George Vanderbilt (built the Biltmore Estate here in Asheville).  The land was all run down farms and clear-cut, and he wanted to reforest it, so started the first ever (in America) School of Forestry right there.  Pretty neat history! 

After taking the tour, they led our group to the pond where the kids used nets to find out what little creatures lived on the edge of the pond.  They found baby salamanders, dragonfly larvae, giant tadpoles and water beetles.  A favorite tool was these neat viewers that you could look into from the top with a magnifying glass, or from the side and view the underbelly.  ZB and Reed had a great time!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

April Mash Up

Here's a catch up since I've last posted!
ZB's birthday was over her preschool's Spring Break, so they celebrated her "School Birthday" in April.  The teacher told her the story of the Rainbow Bridge, and how she used to be an angel, and how she had decided to come live on earth with her parents and brothers.  To get to earth, she had to cross the Rainbow Bridge.  She got to act out the story by running into my arms at the end!
Then we went outside and shared a treat, while ZB got to hear a snippet of what things she did each year of her life and light a candle for each year (and then blow them all out!).

At our Homeschool Co-op Spring semester,  I was co-teaching a "Book and Cook" class for grade schoolers, and an "Exploring Animals" class for preschoolers.  We had such fun in both classes.  In the animals class, we learned about the different classifications of animals and focused each class theme around them.  On our amphibian day, we took a trip to a local pond to catch tadpoles.
 We even got a surprise by finding a baby snapping turtle!!

Our co-op has started doing field trips, and one was to the Nature Center.  The older kids went off exploring on their own.  ZB liked to take her time and thoroughly explore each part!  Can't blame her - it's a great place, they even have a farm animal petting zoo.

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