Friday, December 26, 2014

Merry Christmas!

 We had a fabulous Christmas here today despite some sickness.  Poor Madeline has had a fever for the past 2 days.  And she ended up throwing up this morning while opening presents.  But, thankfully she is feeling better now.  I think Andrew counted about 70 presents under our tree this year.  And only about half of those were from us.  The kids love to shop and make things for each other.  So, the tree was already pretty full before we even put our gifts under it. 

 Andrew scored this little Christmas village at an auction this fall for under a $1.  It was a fun little addition this year.   


 We started with stockings once Nana and Papa arrived.
 
 Oliver was so fun to watch this morning.  He was so excited about everything. 
video

 Eloise has been very happy to sit on the presents all week. I guess they are just the perfect size to make a seat for her. 



I think Eloise's favorite gift was her toothbrushes.  I like easy-to-please kids.   

 
And one more of Oliver. I hope you had a very Merry Christmas too! 
video

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Leaves!

One of our kids' favorite things about the Fall are leaf piles.  Thankfully (for them at least) we have 2 big trees in our yard and one of them has dropped all of its leaves.  So, Andrew revved up the leaf blower and made a huge pile for the kids.  




Eloise loves a good leaf pile, just like the rest of 'em.  


 A few too many leaves in the boot.  



Lucy didn't like the loud leaf blower.  So, she watched from the steps until Daddy was done.  

Once the large pile was made, there was hours of fun to be had.  











Now we just have to wait on tree #2.  

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Claude Moore Colonial Farm

A few weeks ago, the kids and I met up with some other homeschooling families from our area at the Claude Moore Colonial Farm.  It happens to be right beside the CIA in DC.  So, when my GPS told me to take the exit for the CIA, I was expecting the farm to be on a road before actually entering the CIA.  But, nope, that exit drops you right off at the gate.  Not having a government ID, probably having a very confused look on my face and 4 kids in the back, the guards kindly helped me make a u-turn and then told me where to go. There were nice, but very serious about not using my cell phone there. 

So, we finally made it to the farm.  We were early since I was expecting horrible traffic. But, since 5 people definitely counts for HOV, we flew past everyone.  This gave us time to explore around the woods while we were waiting.  We found these cool Osage oranges to play with.  


Madeline also found these awesome teeth.  Being the wonderful mother that I am, I told her that I would look at them when we got back from the farm.  Well, when we got back, someone else had picked them up and claimed them.  How I wish I had just told her to pick them up and bring them to me.  But, hindsight is 20/20.  There were major tears the entire ride home.  But, at least we got a picture.  Now we are on the search for something even better in the woods.  


Once all the families arrived, we walked back to their market area for our farm skills classes.

We didn't know most of the people there.  But, we did know our friends, the Holmes.  And we met several new people. 

  
This farm is a living museum set in 1771.  So, we were able to learn about and experience life before the Revolutionary War.  We started with carding.  You put some wool on the edge of a wooden card with lots of spikes on it (like a brush).  Then you pull the wool with another card until all the wool is on the 2nd card.  This cleans the wool and makes it ready to spin.  




Once we carded our wool, we learned how to spin it into yarn.  Our hands ended up really soft from all the lanolin in the wool.    




Then we learned about candle making.  

We each got to make our own candle.  They had a path set up with about 5 or 6 buckets of tallow.  You dip the wick into a bucket and then walk to the next bucket.  By the time you walked to the next bucket, it was dry enough to dip again.  You just walk around and around until your candle was as big as you wanted.   




Our funny little candles.  


Then we learned about corn.  In 1771 everyone was required by law to plant corn so that they would not starve.  When they planted the corn, they always added a little fish from the Potomac into the ground with the seed.  Then they also planted squash around it to give shade to keep the weeds from growing.  And then they would plant pole beans to grow up the corn stalks.  The corn, squash and beans are called the "3 sisters".  They were able to grind a little corn into cornmeal as well.   


Before our time was up, we got to play a few games that kids would have played in 1771.  



After our farm skills classes, we ate lunch and explore the farm a little more.  This was the tobacco shed.  

A little farther away, they had a little house that had been recently tarred for weather proofing.  The two people that lived inside were available to answer any questions we had about how they lived, ate and dressed.  


We aren't studying American history this year.  But, it is still fun to get a little perspective about how people used to live.  It makes me excited for studying American history though.  We are about to start on Ancient Egypt.  I'm pretty sure we won't be making a trip there, no matter how much Madeline asks.