Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Freedom Celebration: One not to be Missed

We are a music loving family. I remember listening to a wide range of music growing up...Peter, Paul and Mary, the Beatles, Michael Jackson, Eric Clapton, Alabama, Elvis, Survivor, Rush, Kiss...you name it...I listened to it. Though I still enjoy listening to a wide range of tunes, the majority of what we listen to as a family falls into the Contemporary Christian category. When we attended Soulstock, we were thrilled to hear about another upcoming concert which was held last Sunday at Flint River Baptist Church in Hazel Green, Alabama. This time I took my own advice from 15 Tips to Maximize Enjoyment at Outdoor Summer Concerts and packed a cooler full of cold water and wore light colored clothes. Of course we arrived a bit later in the evening so the temperature had dropped to 92 degrees, so it wasn't quite as hot as it had been at Soulstock.

The Freedom Celebration was a full blown festival. Not only did they have great music, they also had a car show...

Of course the guys found a few they were interested in. My oldest son has been debating whether or not to sell his car. After the car show he decided he'd keep it just to show in upcoming shows.
There were hot air balloon rides, vendors, rides and lots of inflatable games.

Incredible music and amazing testimonies offered by Rush of Fools and Newsong (there was also an up and coming artist performing, McKenzie Lockart, but we didn't hear her). I was so impressed by the bands, not only have both of the bands recorded some of my favorite songs, but they also have a heart for sharing the gospel.

We loved Rush of Fools and the lead singer even waved at my daughter, wouldn't you know that would be the picture that I accidentally deleted? Ooops!

The kids were able to meet Wally from Way-FM. He's a super nice guy and we all enjoy listening to him on Total Axxess.

Newsong was amazing!

We didn't spend a penny- the entire event was free unless you chose to ride a Segway ride, hot air balloon, or purchase food.

I can't even begin to tell you how awesome the fireworks display was. It is said to be the best show in Northern Alabama and though we haven't seen any other local displays, I do know we've never seen a show like it. It was absolutely phenomenal. You really have to see this video my daughter took to see what I'm talking about...and this wasn't even the grand finale!
One more thing, this event was all about freedom..the freedom we have in Christ...the freedom we have to worship freely... and a tribute to those men and women that have served and are serving our country to make sure that we continue to have those freedoms. What are you celebrating this 4th of July?

Another Blog Walk: Week 3

I've really been finding some incredible new blogs. I hope you're enjoying the weekly blog walk!

1. All American Family
2. Growing Fruit
3. Learning to Teach
4. Codex Young Author’s Publishing Program
5. Stairsteps Homeschool Academy
6. Kingdom Academy
7. Living Sola Gratia
8. Wynfield Christian Academy
9. The Cow Queen
10. Peace Creek on the Prairie

Monday, June 28, 2010

Field of Corn: An Amazing and Quirky Roadside Attraction

On the return trip to Alabama I decided to stop by the Field of Corn in Dublin, Ohio. The kids and I had discovered this unique roadside attraction many years ago when my husband was working on a huge project right down the road. Initially, I'd read about it in a FamilyFun Vacation Guide and knew it would be something my family would enjoy seeing. I was right. The kids thought it was hilarious!

Right in the midst of corporate America stands a field full of 6 foot tall ears of corn. 109 to be exact. You may be tempted to think that this field is simply art, but it's not. There is an underlying political message. Can you guess what it is?

I thought I'd share this video- it's not very long, won't offer any additional information on the structures, but does give you a fun up close and personal view of this amazing but quirky corn field.

Want to plan a visit of your own? You'll find this unique park at 4995 Rings Rd, Dublin, OH, minutes from 270 and the Tuttle Crossing Mall.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Field Trip Friday: Tennessee Aquarium

It's that time again. Have you been on a field trip this week that you'd like to share?

This week’s Field Trip Friday is actually from an outing that we took as a family on Father’s Day Weekend. Summer has been met with some incredibly hot temperatures and as hard as I tried to convince my husband to spend 3 or 4 hours hiking in the humid outdoors, he just wasn’t going for it. Nope. Instead, he suggested that we trek via van to Chattanooga to visit the Tennessee Aquarium and he couldn’t have made a better suggestion.

The Tennessee Aquarium is voted one of the highest rated aquariums in the United States and we could quickly see why. Spanning two buildings, plus a separate IMAX movie theater, the complex is amazing! We started our visit in the River Journey but if you’ve never been here and get a chance to visit, I’d recommend not following our lead. Of the two buildings, the river was by far the most spectacular. After our self guided tour, we were disappointed in the Ocean Journey and couldn’t believe it was over. So, just my two cents…if this attraction is in your neck of the woods, or you find yourself passing through Chattanooga don’t forget that the River Journey is the best so make sure you save that for last.

We began our tour with a quick look around the Seahorse exhibit. I’ve always found seahorses fascinating so we had to stop and try to take a few pictures but it was a bit difficult to get a good look because it was so crowded in this area.

Next we rode an escalator up and up and up to begin our River Journey experience high in the mountains. After all, that is where the Tennessee River begins and this building is devoted to the grand river from beginning to end in the Mississippi Delta and everything in between.

It does look like you're in the mountains though, doesn't it? For a few minutes we could pretend that we really were hiking in the outdoors...without the heat! Who can beat that?

We saw otters...

...and Trout...

...and touched Sturgeon

We watched the divers feeding the Stingray...

My kids were fascinated...

Did I mention that the tanks are like four stories high? They seem to go on forever!

Exiting the building there was a nice display of art known in the Tennessee River Region and we were excited to recognize these pieces that look like Jerry Brown Pottery.

Next we began our Ocean Journey...
where we saw Macaws...

Touched Stingray...

...and passed through the butterfly exhibit...

On the way to see these cute little gentlemen...the penguins...

We saw a huge jelly fish exhibit...speaking of which, my son got stung by one when we were in Virginia Beach...not fun...

There was a neat art exhibit incorporated into the aquarium...

I just love blown glass...

The Ocean Journey also had huge tanks with tortoises, thousands of species of fish and a few sharks but the tanks certainly weren't as massive as they had been along the River Journey. Even so, this was an incredible place to visit. A bit pricey for a family, but it takes money to operate an aquarium too. We found that purchasing an annual membership was less expensive than it would have been to pay a single time admission since we now pay adult prices for each of our children. Now we can go back as much as we like, plus we get the benefit of a reciprocal admission to other attractions.

We skipped the IMAX movie but found that we still spent about 3 to 3 1/2 hours at the aquarium. I don't think I need to tell you where the bulk of our time was spent.

If you live near Chattanooga or are planning a trip to this amazing city, you may want to take a peak at the special pricing the aquarium is offering for the Homeschool Day this September. In fact, I plan to go back with the kids for the behind the scenes tour at that time.

Thank you for stopping by for this week's edition of Field Trip Friday. If you're just joining us make sure you take a peek at some of the other excursions we've taken.

Have a field trip that you'd like to share? Link up to Field Trip Friday below. It's not mandatory, but I'd be grateful if you'd include a link back here in your original post and feel free to grab your cute button:

Who Wears them Best?

OK, I have to admit, this is not my original work. Nope. I stole it from my daughters Facebook page because I thought it was hilarious. My dear daughter just bought a pair of those huge sunglasses that take up half your face. Personally, I don't understand it. You see, she laughs at pictures of me from high school when I'm caught wearing something similar and yet she just had to have a pair herself? Hmmm...whatever....but the really funny thing is that she talked her dad and brothers into trying them on and allowing her to photograph them!

I wonder if they realized that the pictures would show up on Facebook and my blog for all the world to see?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Dream Rocket Project, Now's the Time to Get Involved!

Last fall my husband told me about a really neat project underway that would be perfect as a homeschool venture. Businesses, classrooms, various groups, clubs and individuals all around the world are attempting to cover the 363 foot tall Saturn V rocket that is on display at the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama in a one of a kind blanket of dreams. Each group will design a 2’x2’ quilt square that represents their dreams for the future.

Once submitted, these squares will be sown together in what will become the world’s largest cumulative art project. The cover will be unveiled in 2011 as a reminder of JFK’s challenge to America in the midst of the space race of “landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to Earth.” It will take 8000 fabric squares to cover the 37 story tall rocket and it is hoped that the project will unite participants from 100 countries and all 50 states.

Of course I was interested, but it cost $100 to reserve your space, a bit high for an individual family, right? Well, I was thrilled to discover that now, for a limited time; just over 3,000 spaces can be reserved for only $20. So I jumped on the opportunity to participate.

So what are you waiting for? What is your dream for a better tomorrow?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Decisions. Decisions. Which Way Should We Go?

Last week I hinted that I’d have an exciting announcement soon. I think I lied. I was going to tell you that we were going to settle down and move into a house. Big news for us. Something I can say that we’ve been looking forward to for the past three months. It’s funny how I’ve loved being in the camper until I found out we’d be moving back into a house. Then I began thinking of how nice it would be to take a long, hot shower without leaving the camper. How nice it would be to have my own washer and dryer again. How nice it would be for the kids to have their own room. How nice it would be to have room for all of our stuff. And how nice it would be to have some privacy. Today I found out that the house we were going to move into did not pass the home inspection. It seems that it has a slight trouble spot. Well…maybe a huge trouble spot that starts with the letter M or technically the letter B. Black. Mold. Hmmm…maybe we don’t want to go there after all. The last house had a problem with a leaking basement. What’s next?

To complicate matters further, remember when my husband was away a few months ago in North Carolina? Well, he was attending a special training session to become an instructor in his line of work. Now he is able to travel anywhere in the US and train other installers and contractors and he will actually get paid for it. All travel expenses paid, plus, a paycheck. Something that hasn’t happened since we started traveling. See, in the past all travel expenses come out of our pocket. Of course we can write them off but we pay, period. In fact, if I hadn’t been working at a hotel when this all started and gotten rooms for $25 a night, we’d never have been able to afford it. Then again, if we hadn’t traveled for work, my husband wouldn’t have had any work. I guess we were kind of in a catch 22. Sure we could have gotten jobs that paid less, but at that time we couldn’t have worked enough jobs at McDonald’s between the two of us to pay our monthly expenses. I’m happy to say that though the road has been terribly difficult, especially the past year; we’ve paid off almost all of our debt. However, that’s a long painful story. One I’ll share another time in case someone reading this may be in the same boat we were in.

So, in light of this new opportunity my husband has, we are also considering an upgrade to our camper instead of a house. Something that would be a better fit for our family. Decisions. Decisions. I’m at a loss but appreciate you allowing me to ramble. Ha! Until next time...

Curious to know what we decided? Then you should read this post.

Weekly Homeschooling Blog Walk: Round Two

Last week, I invited you to take a walk with me as I began exploring the blogs from my fellow TOS Crew members. Each week I'll be adding a new list until I've personally visited all 200 and some new blogs. Whew, that's a lot of blogs isn't it? If you're up for some fun, and interested in discovering some new homeschool blogs too, why not join me for my week two blog walk?

1. Second Star to the Right and Straight On Till Morning
2. Surviving The Testosterone
3. Family Style School
4. School Around The Bible
5. 1628 The Story of The Goebels 5
6. Morris Family Madness
7. Homeschool Musings
8. Homeschooling (and then some!)
9. Heartfelt Homeschooling
10. following Him home

Monday, June 21, 2010

Take Time for Family

This morning I was awakened by the sound of my phone ringing. You may have gotten one of those calls before; the one that wakes you up from a dead sleep and then frightens you because you realize that no one in their right mind would be calling you at this hour of the day. As soon as I saw who was calling I knew in my heart what the call was about. My grandmother that the kids and I had driven to Ohio to see a couple weeks earlier had passed away. Her heart stopped this morning and though the hospital staff did all they could do, this time the Lord chose to take her home. And I’m thankful for that…I really am…I just wish it didn’t hurt me so much, but I am happy that her suffering is over even if I would selfishly liked to have seen her just one more time.

I am thankful that I made that spur of the moment decision to rent a car and see her two weeks ago but more than that, I’m thankful for the time my kids took out of our homeschooling schedule each week before we began traveling that I designated family day. Each Friday we would visit my grandparents, my children’s great grandparents. I thought it was so valuable for them to spend time with their elders and it’s a decision I have never, ever regretted. When you homeschool sometimes it’s so easy to get wrapped up in all the busyness of the season and neglect the things that really matter. I just want to encourage you to make time for your loved ones. We lost my grandfather on our first day of school two years ago, my grandmother passed away last November and today I lost my last living grandmother. They won’t always be there, but the lessons you can learn from them are invaluable and the memories you’ll make will be priceless.

Can You Keep a Secret?

Are you concerned with the clothing styles that are available for young girls today? Do you find it a constant struggle to find clothes that you deem ‘appropriate’ for your preteen daughter? Do you find yourself explaining time and time again to your daughter why she can’t dress like all her friends? Do you long to spend more time with your daughter one on one? If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, I urge you to take a look at Secret Keeper Girl: Eight Great Dates for You and Your Daughter Kit 1: Beauty.

This incredible bible study, written specifically for mothers of daughters between the ages of 8-12 and teaches the truth of God’s word in a fun and memorable way. Designed to teach young girls the importance of purity, by focusing on modesty this study teaches each participant that they are a masterpiece created by God! Oh how I wish I could have learned these important truths when I was a young girl!

SKG is set up to be a series of 8 dates for you to embark on with your daughter. These ‘dates’ include special treats like facials, manicures, a tea party, shopping and a trip to a local art museum while sharing a key scripture on each date and incorporating important biblical truths each step of the way. Each date is written exclusively to moms and daughters, except the final date which is a special father/daughter date that is sure to be a highlight of the study.

I hope I've gotten your attention. You'll find the rest of the article at The Curriculum Choice.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Field Trip Friday: The One That Almost Didn’t Happen

Well I have to admit that it was harder to fit in a field trip this week than I thought it would be. Not only has the weather been really hot, but we’ve also had terrible thunderstorms almost daily. Not exactly the type of weather that makes an outdoor field trip seem appealing.

This morning we got up early hoping to avoid some of the rain and intense heat that we’ve been experiencing so we could investigate an adorable little town called Mooresville. Actually some of you may have visited this quaint, historic town in the 1995 Disney movie "Tom and Huck". I know we’ve watched it before, but we are certainly going to be ordering it from Netflix so we can watch it from a new perspective.

Mooresville, Alabama can be found in Northern Alabama, less than an hour from the Tennessee border and literally a minute from the Interstate 565. It's bordered by the Wheeler Wildlife Refuge.

Mooresville was first settled in 1805 on land that once belonged to the Chickasaw Indians. In November of 1818 the town was recognized and incorporated by the Territorial Legislature of Alabama, almost exactly a month before Alabama became a state. The entire town is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Our first stop was to the post office, thought to have been built after 1840 because of the sawmill lumber that was used in its construction. However, the handmade bricks of the chimney seem to have been made at an earlier time. Inside the Post Office we met the very friendly and helpful Post Master who shared with us a bit of local history. The Mooresville Post Office is the oldest continually operating post office in Alabama. The front room was also a General Store at some point.
Today you can see the original post boxes that are still in use. I thought it was very interesting that some families have had the same box number for generations. In days gone by, the stagecoach would have delivered the mail three times a week. When it arrived, the bell at the Brick Church would ring, notifying the townsfolk of its arrival. The small frame building behind the Post Office has housed a blacksmith, auto repair shop and grist mill.
The Brick Church was built in the Greek Revival period. I loved the steeple. What do you think?
My favorite house is a simple little cottage that is a Downing Gothic design, characterized by the curved brackets of the porch and the extreme vertical proportions of the windows. The house was built by a black carpenter, Zack Simmons, in 1890. He lived in the home with his wife for many years until their death. The Stagecoach Inn and Tavern was built before 1925. It is thought that the mail was handed out to the townsfolk through the small window on the porch but other documented stagecoach inns having similar windows claim they were used to sell liquor after hours.
The beaded joint door is thought to be original.
You can see the kids taking a break from the heat.
The Church of Christ was built in 1854 by a congregation of Disciples of Christ. Behind this sign, if you look really closely, you can barely see a pumpkin colored house in the background. This house was used in the "Tom and Huck" movie. We wanted to get a better picture but there were people working outside.

General James A. Garfield preached here during the Civil War while encamped nearby with the 42nd Regiment of the Ohio Volunteers. The Bible he preached from was used at the church until recently.
Regular church services were held in the church building until the 1990's.

We saw a home that has been renovated in the Victorian style that President Andrew Johnson may have roomed at when he apprenticed to a local tailor, Joseph Sloss. Mr. Sloss was known for his exceptional skill in making frock coats. Did I mention that the area is also known for it's abundance of shade trees? Pretty obvious from this view! This Federal period home was guarded by Yankee soldiers during the occupation of Mooresville. The homeowner heard soldiers prowling around outside and went to the commanding officer to complain. He accompanied her back to her home and stationed a guard nearby to watch over the grounds.
Not only did we see some great examples architectural features, we also learned a bit about the local history. By the time we left this charming town, my son was convinced that he's found a new place to live. Want to learn more about this charming town? You can visit the Mooresville website here.

What historic towns have you traveled through?

That's about it for this week's edition of Field Trip Friday. If you're just joining us make sure you stop by and take a peek at some of the other excursions we've taken.

Have a field trip that you'd like to share? Link up to Field Trip Friday below. It's not mandatory, but I'd be grateful if you'd include a link back here in your original post and don't forget to grab your cute button:
Until next week....Happy Field Trippin'!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...