Friday, May 29, 2009

Beach camping III

Maddie and Emma with Steph in the sand.

Alma spent hours practicing her skim boarding. She was quite good.
My surfer girl.
Beauty in the midst of naught.
We spent most of our beach time on Holmes Beach which is at the end of SR64 before you head north on Anna Marie Island Beach in Bradenton, FL. The water was so clear you could see your toes four feet down. The waves were big for the Gulf, and the sun was on high. Loved it.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Beach camping II

Many people probably think we plan all of our camping and fun around home schooling, but actually we do not. This day was a perfect example of this. We were minding our own business camping, planning on beaching it and hanging around a pool... Mr. Weather was not playing fair this past week, and so when we woke up Saturday and were still questioning him as showing up as storm clouds, we looked for alternatives.

Hmm, ten minutes away was this old restored Confederate Mansion. They even had tours. So we went. We were not disappointed. The tour guide, Ms. June (she is a must for anyone who wants to visit) was engaging and so incredibly informed. She was a wealth of knowledge and has a passion for restoration and history.

It was a little over an hour, but we left feeling like we had stepped back into the present time and left the sugar plantation back with the soldiers. Take time to go if you are in the area.

Gamble Plantation State Park was an unexpected treat this camping weekend.

The Gamble Plantation

One of the Confederate flags during the war.
The well for the house. The water was naturally purified by the lime rock in the stone.

This was a quaint little corner of the kitchen. I loved it with all the variety of goods.

This was my favorite find. A collection of jars.

Ms. June is talking about roasting coffee beans in that round contraption. She sure knew her stuff.

Here are Steve, Brent, Curtis, Kevin and some of their new friends who do re-enactments on the plantation. Well, not really, they are not in the photo, but don't these men look "for real !"

Beach camping I

This camper does not look like this anymore....more of that story later.

Our family and some great friends headed south this past weekend to camp in Bradenton at a "Yankee" campground. It was not a state park. We are used to woods, ticks, and dirt. This was a wonderful difference. So tucked in among the "permanent RV's" was our lovely little pop-up. I warned them at the front office to put us in an area where the winter guests had left, cause we can get loud. They did. We did.

We had all the comforts of home. HAH! But we did find the air conditioned bathhouse three days into our trip, so my no-showering-athon was over and I did not smell like chlorine for all six days. The pool was WONDERFUL. The pond had a small gator, so the girls were able to go out and use the pedal boat. It was so much fun...and I will tell you more about the beaches, confederate mansion, and getting caught out in a storm later.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Squeals of delight

Okay so it does not take much for this family to be entertained. American Idol did just that last night. Not only did Kris Allen win...oh the girls screamed. Adam wore enough makeup to make Olivia dream of eyeliner and glitter...AND...Steve almost lost control when KISS showed up. Oh, he had his shirt on (thanks for calling Amy) and it made all those past memories of "the greatest rock band of all time" come flooding back. Oh it was so funny to watch. He was like a kid, more than usual. I hope they NEVER go back on tour, Olivia would want to go with him. What fun!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

So proud

Stephanie took this test. This is the test that is given to show competence in Math and Reading at varying grades, Steph took the third grade test. This is not required by the state of Florida, for home schoolers, but we wanted to see how she tested against other third graders. I must admit, I was a little apprehensive, much like I was in the past when I had a classroom full of fifth graders sitting down to take it. I knew they knew it, I knew she knew it.

This of course was a little more personal, since I seemed to feel it would be my fault if she was tested on material I had not taught. Now, without sounding biased, she is an awesome student. She loves to learn, some days I have to remind myself and her of this, especially when the outside is calling her name.

So, I printed the test off the Internet. Did not look at it, I was worried I would do some "last minute" teaching just so she would remember. She had absolutely NO test anxiety. She flew through the math yesterday and scored a 4 out of 5. She was three questions from the cutoff, and it just so happens there were three questions that I had not covered. Today, she took the reading test. She came out beaming from her testing room, handed me the paper and said, that was easy. Well, I guess it was since she got a 5 out of a high score of 5. Shoot howdy! My girl is just fine.

Imagine, we learned all this extra stuff like Colonial times, Pioneer times, read countless books, went on numerous camping trips/field trips, besides a plethora of other topics...and she learned what the state requires. Hmm....I am a state certified educator, so glad for my friends and colleagues who are still in the system, for there might be a day where God leads me back there and my kids will go with me, but for now....Oh, I am so glad we home school.

wordless (almost) wednesday

Tomorrow my dear nephew will be having yet another surgery...he is so strong and an absolute crack up. Here are a few pics to thoroughly embarrass him. We love you man!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Weekend gatherings

Chores must be followed by fun. This seems to be a mantra in our family. So, after a day of pool work, lawn work and housework, Steve went off with the guys for a Star Trek movie night. He gives it a thumbs up. The momma girls went played Mah jong and the little girls just played.

BUT, on the way out the door, Stephanie found this little guy at our front flower garden. He was sooooooo cute. I am sure we upset his whole path in life, but we live close to a busy road, and we thought life on a farm would be so much better. Relocation. Then we found out how much money we could get fined if we were caught with a protected Florida Gopher Tortoise. Crazy. Like hundreds or thousands of dollars. WHAT??!

Sunday dawned early. I mean sun was shining super bright super early. Our church family took it outdoors with a picnic to fellowship and sup. It was a beautiful day. Not too hot, and the BBQ mi-ster, Jeff Light, was on the point with his 100 pounds of smoked pork. HONEY! If we could have kept the yellow flies away (I alone have five bites) it would have been a perfect day.

Time with some special friends later in the day made the day so special, we will remember this for a long time. Being around people of like faith, common goals, hopes eternal and visions of future were threads of conversation that made the day pleasant and full of worth.

Jake has stolen the hearts of the females in this family...come lookin here if he has come up missing. This is love, pure love.

Friday, May 15, 2009

It's a blueberry day!

Bushnell, FL

We went on a little fieldtrip this morning before we started math and phonics. We picked beautiful blueberries! It was a moment to see how they grow on the bush, which to pick, and how their centers are yellow NOT blue! Another example of the amazing work of God's hand.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Spiritual amnesia

If you have about fifteen dollars to spend, I have a plan for it. Buy the book, Crazy Love. Now, let me preempt you with it is not a hot under the collar romance with Harlequin beating down the door, it is not a memoir of some less than competent person seeking after their prince charming.

It is a rock your world, spin you around, sail through the wind, slap your knee amazing challenge written by a man who knows God is love, but wants us to KNOW His love. In just the first thirty pages I was left in silent awe at the Creator's relentless ability to show me His majesty.

pg. 29. "There is an epidemic of spiritual amnesia going around, and none of us is immune. No matter how fascinating details we learn about God's creation, no matter how many pictures we see of His galaxies, and no matter how many sunsets we watch, we still forget." Crazy Love

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech of language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. Psalm 19:1-4

Monday, May 11, 2009

WARNING: not for the squeamish

Nightly visitors have caused quite a commotion around these here parts as of late...Steve has all but got out his shot gun...tonight, he was not giving in...he was going to win this battle and call his land varmint is going to eat our cat's food any longer !

And so my 6'4" hero is still my hero. He did it! He cornered that stinkin' animal, and secured him, and then walked down to an unsuspecting neighbor and let him go across in the field. Yes, another act of random kindness. So special.

No Little Debbies, no flowers, just good ol' opossum.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Amateur paleontologists BIG TIME!

Today as an early Mother's Day Present, my family took me Fossiling. It was great fun. We got up bright and early and headed two hours south.

We met up with my friend Melissa and her family and crew to have a day becoming hunters of fossils. She has written a great curriculum for Florida Fossils, and we were proud to partake. She was super patient with all of us who had tons of questions.

Mostly "What's this?" and after a few scoops, we were moving to a new spot. She clued us in quickly that it is best to stay in one spot and hunt. We were on the Peace River south of Gardner FL. The river is so completely low and so much of the sediment has been washed away, we were finding fossils left and right.

Have collindar will work.

Water shoes are a must. So is sunscreen.

This is a great find. Steve found this shape in the hard limestone. It reminds us of a dinosaur footprint. I put my flop next to it so we could tell how large it is...the only problem, is there was only one print. Steve named it the unipedisaurus...the One Foot Dinosaur. Can you see the three claws and the heel print?

Dugone bones.

We came home with about twenty sharks teeth, even a tiger shark's. This is when you remember that we are on a River. Fresh water. Dead center of the state of Florida. Two hours from salt water, either direction. We were told this center of the state is called "The Valley of the Bones".
We gathered about fifteen dugone, (similar to manatees) bone pieces, one even looked like it had been bitten because of the marks. I am not sure about most of these black things...someone could just be really foolin' me and I would be caught hook line and sinker.

Speaking of a sinker, we found one of those, Olivia thought it was the coolest fossil because it already had holes in it so we could make it into a necklace. Gotta love the girl. I did try and share the truth with her, but she would have none of it.

We all had a complete and utter stinkin' good time, the girls kept saying they can not wait to go again.

It was a wonderful family time to celebrate my special day.