Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Moraine State Park - Spring 2010

Our favorite activity on a sunny, Sunday afternoon in the Spring is to head to Moraine State Park and hang out. This year, with two of our three children being proficient bike riders, we decided to add a twist to things and declare a bike ride day on the paved trails. The problem....too many bikes and not enough room....the solution: a creative husband who took the bike rack that fit the car and made it fit the minivan. Marvelous! There were two bikes on the outside, two on the inside plus one bike trailer, a portable grill and food enough for dinner. Impressive!
The kids ended up riding for about 7 miles.....above, we are taking a break at the halfway point. They're still smiling!

We ended the day playing on the beach (no swimming yet, as signs were posted - but it was warm enough!) and grilling out. A stop in Ellwood City for an ice cream cone at our favorite ice cream shop (Berry's - cheap and good!) and we rounded out a very fun day.

Monday, May 24, 2010


The homeschool coop that my children have been involved with during this school year put together a carnival, which was Friday night. The kids spent part of the year planning it, and the proceeds were given to one of our families to help them with the cost of adopting a child from China. Everything at the carnival was donated or lent or homemade, and it came together quite nicely. All who attended had a great time!

I love being part of a community that comes together and actively supports one another! I also love that my kids are learning what it means to be a part of a community and what it looks like when you give back to that community. We had such a good time and learned some valuable life lessons through this experience.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Living Treasures Animal Park

We are certainly enjoying our field trips - they have really helped with our "spring fever". We visited Living Treasures Animal Park on Tuesday. It was cold and rainy, but we still enjoyed this small animal park. We were rewarded with a guided tour by a man who bottle-raised many of the animals at the park (lions, wolves, and leopards included!) He was very interesting and we learned a lot about the animals at the park. What a great experience!
Some of the reptiles he brought out for a closer look.

Alec was able to hold a baby turtle (above) and the peacock was gracious enough (or mad enough) to show us his feathers.

Yes, they really are that crazy!
Ann-Marie and Alec fell in love with the foal!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Raccoon Creek State Park

On Friday, we went on a field trip to Raccoon State Park, hosted by PACyber. We went on a guided wildflower hike, led by a park ranger who has a specialty in botany. The kids really enjoyed it, even Alec who pointed out that we have small Bluets in our backyard. Ann-Marie took her sketch pad and sketched some interesting plants and insects (above, they are looking at a caterpillar that is curled up.)

As a bonus, we met up with another family we knew and hung out with them after the field trip. What a nice way to end our week!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A reminder of a rough winter....

While we were walking around the tidal basin in D.C., heading toward the Jefferson Memorial, we found this....
we were amazed at the age of the tree and reminded of the rough winter we had just been through. It makes us appreciate Spring this year even more (rain and all).

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Science and Geography Fair

Friday night, our homeschool coop had their science and geography fair. This was a way to showcase what the children had learned this year. Each child chose a topic to research and present. Ann-Marie chose Italy - people, places and pizza. Evan chose the 3 biomes of Assateague Island. They worked very hard and did a wonderful job on their displays.
Evan's best buddies - Joseph and Silas.
The preschool crew - Trenton, Judah, Jeslyn, Kaelyn, and Alec.
The other part of the evening was the "press conference." The children were grouped according to a subject they learned about during the year - space, Columbia, 7 wonders of the world, and China. The dads in the audience were given "press passes" and could ask questions of the children pertaining to the subject. The kids did very well and it was an entertaining and informative evening. The preschool also sang a song and recited a verse.

We were very blessed to be a part of this group this year...it truly enriched our first year of homeschooling. The kids are sad that it is over for the school year and are already talking about the Fall!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

On my mind....

The other morning, it was pouring rain when we were getting ready to leave, so I dug into my closet for my trusty black raincoat. As I touched it, I was immediately reminded of my friend in Maryland, whom I hadn't seen for over three years and her kind comment that she made to me when I wore this raincoat in Maryland. My raincoat is not anything special....not particularly fashionable...so this is not about the raincoat, but about the kind words of a friend and how they stuck.

As I was thinking about how powerful kind words are, my mind also went to the power of negative words, or careless words, and how they also stick. This led me to a comment made to me in the 6th grade (yes, that was a LONG time ago!). I have never been a thin person, even as a child I was considered "thick." I remember commenting to a friend in the 6th grade that I was running the mile between my farm and my grandparent's farm for exercise, and he commented, "And you still look like that?" I think that was the first time that I was aware that I felt "fat." Now I'm not sure if he meant this comment to be mean or if it was a careless comment from another child, but it was powerful enough to stick with me all these years. I have since come to appreciate my body type, realizing that I will not be a skinny chick, but a strong, healthy woman that needs to exercise and eat right to keep my healthy form.

The power of words.....I have become more aware of the power of my words, both positive and negative, to the people in my life. So the thought for the day......how are your words affecting those around you? Are they positive or negative? Do they build others up or tear others down? A great quote that my mother-in-law used often was: "Never pass up the opportunity to keep your mouth shut." I'm not sure if it was her quote or one that she got from someone else, but I do think about it when I find my thoughts and words running rampant.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing."

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Happy 7th Birthday, Ann-Marie!

We started Ann-Marie's birthday in our hotel room in Ocean City, MD....doughnuts and breakfast in front of the t.v.....a rarity for us. She chose Taco Bell for lunch, as we were driving to our friends' house in Knoxville, MD. Dinner was a tea party with best friend, Rebekah. They decorated mugs, then dressed up and were served by the moms (dads took boys to park for an hour so we could have true girly tea party.)

Tea party menu - Mac and cheese, baby carrots, grapes, hot chocolate, and cupcakes for dessert.

Tea party pictures:

On Friday, April 30th, Ann-Marie had her friend, Glori, over for dinner and Pap came to celebrate, also. Menu chosen by Ann-Marie was Linguine with Shrimp and Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream. As you can see, Ann-Marie and Glori had fun together doing dress-up. Happy Birthday, Ann-Marie!