Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Trail of History!

This has been a busy fall with lots of outdoor learning opportunities and good old-fashioned fun! We've been blessed to find some unique ways to tie in our activities with our curriculum.

This past weekend, we attended an event called the Trail of History. We had never gone before, but everyone we spoke with said it was something we would not want to miss, especially in light of our study of the "Little House" books. After paying for our tickets, we started out on a long walk through a beautiful prairie and the trail.

The boys spotted a wooly worm and learned from Daddy that the length of its stripes can reflect how long the winter will last. I won't tell you what this one shows (but I will say I think we're in for it!).

As we came up over the hill, we saw people getting rides on wagons.
Here's the view as we approached the event.

We learned about the weaponry used in battle. Caden tries out this kid-friendly version. (There's a reason his name means "Warrior!")
Here the boys play old-fashioned games. Below, a game of darts using a wreath made of twigs and corn cobs!
Candle making...
This was really scary...the medic's area. These are the tools they had to use in the 1800's and there was NOT anesthesia. Can you imagine???
The boys loved this...the Blacksmith shop.
This is in the Servant's quarters. The children all had to sign a contract and agreed to not whine, complain or bellyache. They were kept in the area until released by one of the masters. Here's Caden grinding corn for cornmeal. He enjoyed that! Both the boys had to carry wood, clean rugs, and grind cinnamon and peppercorns for cooking.

Check out the bull...
This event is truly a walk back in time. All the food and clothing reflect the 1800's. Everyone working the event stays in character the entire time. One of the neat things we learned while there is that the people who "set up shop" for this event actually stay there all night in canvas tents. And they camp out like you would have done back in that time. No modern conveniences whatsoever. Thankfully it was a relatively mild weekend, but they told us that they've come some years and been very cold (it has even snowed).

It definitely caused us to be grateful for all the things we take for granted that make our lives so much easier than those of the early settlers.

We have decided to wrap up our reading of the Little House books. Once we began reading "By the Shores of Silver Lake" we felt it was time to move on. Jack (the dog) dies, Mary loses her sight, and the family is on the move again. Laura is now 13 and is not the carefree, tomboy of a girl she is in the previous books. We've had a blast with the Ingalls family, but we felt it was time to bid them farewell!

Hope you all are enjoying this beautiful time of the year. Our pin oak tree is bright red and the earth is certainly displaying God's majesty. Have a wonderful rest of the week!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009


"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." ~John 15:5
This week, we visited our favorite local apple orchard. We had an absolutely beautiful day for it!
First stop, the petting zoo! The kids enjoyed feeding the goats most of all.
I saw this bench in the restaurant and thought it was so neat. The engraving reads: "Come Lord Jesus, be our Guest. May our home by Thee be blessed."
We went with my friend Diane and her two kids. Here they all are sitting outside the teepee.
Another great photo op that we took while apple picking. Left to right we have Cody, Andrew, Rachel and Caden.
Here is my dear friend, Diane. She knew which kinds of apples to pick for our day of baking (yesterday). We made applesauce, apple cobbler and apple pie. I also have her to thank for teaching me everything I know about making sugar cookies. She has been a great teacher!
Here is Cody standing next to one of the hundreds of apple trees we saw that day. All day, while looking at the bountiful harvest of apples, pumpkins and produce at the farm, I kept thinking of our loving Father, who prunes us and helps cut off the dead branches in us so that we will be most fruitful in our lives. It's not always easy to be "pruned" but God always has a purpose in it! (John 15:1-2)
Here I am with all the kiddos. We picked 25 pounds of apples!
Happy Harvest everyone! I hope you find time to enjoy this beautiful time of year.