Thursday, April 28, 2011


Last year I wrote about the scariest thing I’d heard that day.  Terrifying yes, but not as terrifying as hearing that a tornado a half mile wide is barreling down on the city you live in. I’m not one to normally panic, but I have to say that the word tornado is really scary. Especially so when you don’t have a basement to seek cover in. And how on earth do you avoid something of that size? 

According to reports, six tornados touched down in our community yesterday and if you haven’t watched the news, the state of Alabama, like much of the South has experienced terrible devastation.

My family is safe. I’m thankful that while hundreds lost their lives and many lost their homes, we suffer only a mild inconvenience in comparison. We are without electric and expect not to have any for the next four to five days. Thankfully, we do have our home, food, safe drinking water, candles, flashlights and most of all we have each other.

You won’t hear from me until next week. In the meantime, will you join me in praying for those families that have lost everything?  Those who have lost their homes, have experienced injury?  Or those who no longer have their father, mother, husband, wife or child?

And will you do me another favor? Next time you hear a tornado siren, please don’t ignore it.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Mid-Week Highlights: a Few Interesting Links

I’ve wanted to share some of my favorite links as a regular feature but I’ve just never gotten around to it. Well, this week I’m going to change that. From now on I’m going to attempt to have a mid-week highlight post where I give some linky love to those in the blogosphere.

trip across canada I like to take you on field trips across the US and throughout Alabama, but Honey at  Sunflower Schoolhouse has created a unit study to take her readers on A Trip Across Canada.    The study is laid out week by week and offers a wealth of information that includes recipes, printables, a game and more with adorable graphics that were created by Honey.   

squidoo If I’m going to mention Canada, I may as well mention the US too. Kris from Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers has written a great Squidoo lens , What are 50 State Fridays? where she shares how she incorporated an easy study of the 50 States with her children. This is a great post for those who think they just don’t have enough time to fit one more thing into their schedule and she shows you how to make it fun!

Heart of the Matter Online featured an excellent post that I wish I’d written called “Little Schoolhouse on the Highway”. Not only did the author write an article that I can really relate too, she also listed some great resources for planning road trips. If you’re planning a spring or summer getaway, you really should take the time to read this post!

kids love 75 Speaking of resources, I was thrilled to see that some of my favorite travel guides,the Kids Love Travel series, are now available as e-books! Woo HOO!

I can’t wait to get my hands on the Kids Love I-75- I’m sure it will come in handy when we travel to Georgia for football games later this year.  

Amy at Raising Arrows has recently written a couple posts about large family traveling that I thought were great. You can read Amy’s thoughts on Have Kids, Will Travel…Alone (I still remember how terrifying that was for me with only three children in tow!) and Have Kids, Will Travel…Overnight.     


sixsuitcasetravel2_02 And for those of you that have a large family, you know that sometimes it’s really hard to find a hotel room to accommodate your family in one room. You’ll appreciate SixSuitCase Travel for hotel and travel recommendations for larger families.  

Just for fun I’ve been reading a couple full-time RV family blogs because it’s been almost a year since we settled down and I’m getting a bit antsy. Year Long Adventure  and The Lundy 5 have helped fill that void a little bit.

Speaking of families no longer on the road, the Vogel Family just finished a three year bike ride from the Arctic to Patagonia. Talk about perseverance, determination and stamina! I think you’ll enjoy reading about their adventures at A Wayward Journey.

There you have it, the first ever Mid-Week Highlights, just a few of the blogs and websites that I’ve enjoyed.  

What do you think? Do you like this new feature? Would you like to see more of this type of post? Please share your thoughts and while you’re at it, why not leave a link to a post that you especially enjoyed this past week? Just remember this is a G-rated blog. Let’s keep the links family friendly. :) 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Join me at The Homeschool Classroom as I Share Ideas for Socializing your Teens

ballroom dancing

Not long ago a friend of mine sent me an email and asked the following question:

“I was just wondering what your kids do for fun with other kids and how that gets organized? My son seems to think he is missing out on some of the fun.”

Do your kids ever feel like they are missing out? I think it’s normal for teenagers to think that way on occasion, whether or not they are homeschooled.  I know mine do and it doesn’t seem to matter how busy we can be or what we’ve been up to. I especially noticed this when we moved and they were no longer surrounded by their close friends. So in an effort to meet new people and to discourage the uttering of the dreaded, “Mom, I’m bored”, we branched out of our comfort zone and took a peek into our community to see what activities are offered for teens.

Curious? I hope you’ll pop on over to The Homeschool Classroom and read the rest of the article, Socializing Your Teens, and share some of the ways that you encourage your teens to meet and interact with others. 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Ten Things I Learned When my Kids took a CPR/AED/First Aid Class

cpr class 018 

The bulk of our homeschooling over the past several years has been in the form of field trips. When my kids suggested that they learn how to perform CPR, I jumped at the chance to schedule a class for some area homeschooled teens. Our local Red Cross chapter was willing to do a class that included CPR/AED and Basic First Aid at their location for $60 a student for an 8 hour class.

I wasn’t sure what to expect and even though the class was my children’s idea, they were a bit apprehensive when the big day finally arrived. I think their fears were put to rest when we arrived at the classroom and they met the instructor. He was really down to earth and put the kids right at ease. Though I’d initially planned to pop in and out of the classroom just to check and see how things were going, I was fascinated and stayed the entire day.

Here are some of the things I learned during the class that I thought were helpful.

1. When there is an emergency situation you need to check the scene to make sure it is safe to help, call 9-1-1 when you find a life threatening condition and administer care.

2. You should always keep a list handy of emergency numbers. The very first number on on your list should be 9-1-1. It may seem like common sense, but in an emergency situation you never know how you will react. 

3. When calling from a cell phone, even if your phone says that you don’t have service, try to call 9-1-1 anyway. Another cell phone tower may pick up your call and by law they have to route your call for free.

4. It your home phone operates and has power, the phone company will also route your call, even if you don’t have a contract or service through a phone company.

5. Another interesting fact I learned is that hot dogs are the number one cause of choking deaths in children aged 3-4. Choking is so common that the pediatricians and the FDA are calling for the redesign of hot dogs. 

6. When it comes to adults, most choking victims are found in the bathroom. If you are choking, do not remove yourself from people. No one has ever died of embarrassment, but people have died from leaving the aid of others. 

7. If you are choking in a building and you are alone, call 9-1-1 and run outside where the EMT’s will find you. 

8. A universal sign of choking is that the victim will grab their throats. 

9. When the kids learned CPR they kept time with a metronome. I found it surprising that the instructor shared two songs that keep the beat of the compression rate, Staying Alive by the Bee Gee’s or Another One Bites the Dust by Queen.   I fail to see how either would be appropriate to sing as you administer CPR.

10. My kids also learned how to administer the AED or Automatic External Defibrillator. Did you know that when Phillips tested their new model, they did so on five year olds? They wanted to make sure that the directions were clear and easy to understand. The five year olds followed the instructions perfectly.  

I also learned some facts that repulsed me. Don’t ever assume that someone called 9-1-1 just because you asked them too. Surprisingly, sometimes people won’t make that call because they are in a hurry and don’t want to take the time or they just don’t want to get involved. 

I also learned that it is common for bystanders to arrive at the scene of an accident not to help, but to take pictures with their cell phones? Really? What’s wrong with people? I can only hope that people would have the decency to ask themselves, what if that was me lying there, or if it was someone I loved?

My kids learned so much during their training and I’m really proud of them for completing the course. My kids all said that they hope they never need to administer CPR but at least they will be able to if needed.

Have you taken a CPR/AED/Basic First Aid Class? What’s holding you back?

This post is linked to Oh Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday click the button below to join in: top-ten-tuesday

The World’s Largest Bat~ Louisville, Kentucky

Ohio road trip 024

Roadside attractions remind me of my childhood days when I’d travel with my grandparents to Port Clinton, Ohio to see the now closed Prehistoric Forest and Mystery Hill or the Blue Hole in Castalia, also now closed. 

I don’t know what thrilled me about these attractions, but the fascination has continued into my own adulthood. Now with children of my own, I still find myself like a giddy little girl when we travel and pass by the unusual. And the excitement is contagious as my own children now point out the extraordinary sites that we encounter. Whether it is the Big Chicken in Marietta, Georgia, the Field of Corn in Dublin, Ohio or the Dolly Parton statue in Sevierville, Tennessee, Roadside Attractions never fail to catch my eye.

In fact, I’ve been known to seek out a roadside attraction a time or two, which was the case on our recent Ohio Road Trip when I planned to stop in Louisville, Kentucky with the sole purpose of viewing the World’s Largest Bat with my own eyes.

Leaning against the Louisville Slugger Museum, you’ll find the 120 foot tall, 34 ton, hollow carbon steel baseball bat that has been on display since 1995 as you cruise down Main Street.   

And while you’re there, make sure you keep an eye out for another roadside attraction which just happens to be another of the World’s Largest Bats, but this one happens to be the nocturnal, blood sucking variety which is only three blocks down the road.       

What's your favorite Roadside Attraction?

Friday, April 22, 2011

A Few More National Parks We’ve Enjoyed Visiting Over the Years

National Park sign

In case you missed it, this week is National Park Week.  The parks that charge admission are offering free entrance to the parks until Sunday, April 24th so you still have time to enjoy a park near you.

This week I’ve shared our trip to The Wright Brothers National Memorial at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, our favorite park- Assateague Island National Seashore, and ten National Parks that I want to visit on our trip West.  I’d like to wrap up the week by sharing a few of the posts I’ve written in the past about some of our National Park adventures along with a tip or two for each.

road trip day 3 020

When my husband and I got married nearly 19 years ago, we decided that we were going to honeymoon at Mammoth Caves National Park. Our wedding wasn’t one of those beautiful, elaborate weddings. It was more along the lines of “let’s get married on Thursday’ sort of thing and off we went. We didn’t plan anything, which was really a bummer because when we arrived at Mammoth Caves early in the morning, we discovered that all the tours were sold for the day.

Since then we’ve visited Mammoth Caves and made the trip underground several times. If anyone asks me for tips I always recommend that you purchase your tour tickets in advance regardless of what time of year you plan to visit and remember that Mammoth Caves is in Central Standard Time- just in case you’re heading from a different time zone.    


Sometimes visiting a National Park doesn’t require a great deal of travel. We’re fortunate to have one of those gems about an hour from our home in Alabama. Russell Cave National Monument has become a favorite place to stop and stretch our legs on the way to Chattanooga or Atlanta.  You may enjoy reading about our first visit- especially the hike- and then see how our opinion changed after our second visit. All I can say is don’t try the hike if the ground is wet. If you read my post, you’ll understand what I mean. 

Statue of Liberty

Our trip to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island certainly brings back fond memories. We grabbed the ferry from the New Jersey side, which was less crowded, and I remember when I saw Miss Liberty for the first time as the ferry pulled around Ellis Island, it was breathtaking. I used our trip to New York to show how our travels have extended into our homeschool classroom.  If you plan to travel to New Jersey or New York to see this National Landmark allow plenty of time. The traffic can really back up so plan to have plenty of car games handy for the little ones along for the ride. In fact, you can print the Jr. Ranger booklet before you leave home and your children can work on it along the way.    

chickamauga visitors center

The menfolk or history buffs in the household won’t turn down visiting a battlefield. My kids loved reading  Across Five Aprils *when they realized that we’d the majority of battlefields mentioned in the book. One of the battlefields that they really enjoyed touring was the Chickamauga-Chattanooga National Military Park. If you plan to see the entire park make sure you allow plenty of time. An hour or two isn’t enough time to explore the Visitor’s Center, battlefield and Lookout Mountain. Many of the national parks are also now offering cell phone tours and Chickamauga-Chattanooga National Military Park is one of them so make sure you don’t miss it. 

Now it’s your turn. Which National Parks have you enjoyed visiting?

*Just so you know, the link for Across Five Aprils is an affiliate link.

The Homeschool Mother’s Journal~ Week 14

The Homeschool Mother’s Journal meme is hosted by Homeschool Sue a.k.a. The Homeschool Chick. You can click the link or the button below to see how you can participate or to read other link ups.  

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

In my life this week…

We’ve been BUSY! Although that’s becoming a regular part of life. We’ve had a great week- but I have fallen a bit behind in the housework department. That doesn’t make me happy. :(  

In our homeschool this week…

cpr mannequins

We’ve been very productive. All three of my kids earned their CPR/AED/Basic First Aid certification in an eight hour class that they attended at our local Red Cross Chapter on Monday. They did a great job and my kids, who have never been in a traditional school setting, were very appreciative that they aren’t forced to sit in those hard chairs for hours on end!

At home they’ve been plugging along through the book work. We’ve loved using the Nutrition 101: Choose Life! curriculum, my son is still making headway through ALEKS math (which I’m thrilled with), and I started my daughter on some remedial math drill.  She wasn’t too happy about that, but sometimes it’s necessary to take a step backwards.

My kids have been reading quite a bit. My 16 year old has been reading about Pearl Harbor and WWII (one of his favorite subjects), my oldest has been reading comics this week (at least he’s reading, right?) and my daughter dove in to The Phantom of the Opera.

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

After church on Sunday we are going to go camping. I can’t wait to hit the hiking trails and see some of the wild flowers that we’ve been missing.

My favorite thing this week was…

My oldest son got his license- he was really pleased. Of course now he doesn’t want to drive, but in his words… “it’s nice to have that option”.

The fact that Nickolaus doesn’t want to drive is really aggravating Josh who wants to drive everywhere. The good news for Josh is that he’s been able to drive around in his Nickolaus’ Camaro. The fact that Nickolaus allows Josh to drive as often as he does truly amazes me- Josh just has to pay for his own gas. I guess that’s a pretty good deal.   

What’s working/not working for us…

This isn’t exactly homeschool related but I’ll share anyway.  We’ve been busy. The boys have started football training for the fall season and their team is pretty intense. Practice starts around 5 and isn’t over until 7- right smack in the middle of our meal time. Family mealtime has always been a big deal to us. My husband is starved and food is always done when he gets home from work,  but now we aren’t able to eat together. I’m thinking that I’m going to begin making some crock pot meals on the days the boys have practice so if you can point me towards a yummy crock pot recipe, I’d appreciate it. We won’t be able to eat as a family but at least everyone will have something warm when they do eat.      

Homeschool questions/thoughts I have…

We’re planning a trip out West that we are really looking forward too. I’d love to know if anyone has a favorite living book suggestion on the subject of Lewis and Clark, the Westward Expansion or the Wild West?

A photo, video, link, or quote to share…

travel trivia 003

This isn’t a great picture with all the light streaming in through the window, but I love it anyway. We love books and when my kids were younger we read thousands of picture books- I think we read like 1200 for kindergarten!  I found one of their favorite bedtime stories, How do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight, and though my kids are “too old” for a bedtime story, they really wanted me to be the one to read this book to them, just like old times.

Just a reminder that your kids are never to old for you to read to them. We don’t make it a point to read picture books but hey, they loved it.

Until next week ~ Happy Homeschooling!

Would you consider stopping by Circle of Moms and voting for Live the Adventure as one of the Top 25 Homeschool blogs? I’d really appreciate it. :)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Our Favorite National Park: Assateague Island National Seashore

road trip day 3 024

I can imagine myself in a beautiful beach house that sits on a cliff overlooking the ocean below. My dream home would have floor to ceiling windows, minus curtains because it’d be far from civilization. Everything in my home would be white,  or shades of white. The entire home would be pristine. I’ve dreamed of this home since I was a small girl and vacationed with my family for the first time in the Outer Banks and later in Chincoteague, Virginia.

Perhaps it’s because of that incredible vacation, my first real trip out of state and to the ocean that Assateague Island National Seashore holds a special place in my heart. Of all the National Parks that we’ve been to over the years, I’d have to say to date that this one is without a doubt, my favorite.

When my husband and I visited Washington D.C. with our kids several years ago, I’d planned a quick stopover in Assateague for some R & R, somewhere away from the busyness of our nation’s capital. Assateague Island National Seashore in Maryland didn’t disappoint. The first day anyway.

I’d planned to camp at a nearly primitive campsite. It cost less than $20 a night, provided a port-a-pot, cold showers and drinking water. Not ideal, but the beach was literally a two minute walk and that part was nearly perfect.     

We pitched our tent in the beautiful, balmy, seventy degree weather….

assateague island tent

gathered our beach toys….


and left the Wild Ponies behind in our campsite….


as we headed for the beach.


I remember commenting to my husband that we should stay for several days but he cautioned me to take it slow, after all we enjoy camping, but prefer electricity and warm running water.

That night, the wind kicked up and if it hadn’t been for the extra long tent spikes I’d had the forethought to buy, I’m sure our tent would have blown away with us in it. We spent the night rocking back in forth in the minivan and awoke the next morning to a drizzly cold front.


No, I’m not angry, my face is red because I really was freezing! Needless to say we didn’t stick around long. We trotted down the beach for a quick walk in search of seashells and hightailed it back to the campsite, to tear down and hit the road.

We drove about 2-3 hours to the other side of the park in Virginia. I can’t say it was much warmer but they did have a really nice Visitor’s Center with a touch tank and bird viewing station.


My kids even completed the Jr. Ranger program.


We’ve visited Assateague Island National Seashore several times since our camping fiasco. We’ve not ever tried to camp again, but we have enjoyed beachcombing, bird watching and walking along the trails with the wildlife, mainly the famous Assateague ponies.

Just a bit of friendly advice, if you plan to camp at Assateague, you may prefer camping near the bay instead of the ocean side. It’s more protected from the winds that often kick up. Don’t forget your extra long tent stakes and make sure you don’t leave anything uncovered in your campground! We made the mistake of leaving the back of our van open only to find a pony nosing around our things. And he wasn’t in too big of a hurry to leave either!  

Have you ever gone on a vacation and decided it was better after it was over?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Bit of Sunshine for My Dreary Week

Today was not the best day. I’ve been a bit ho hum the past couple days. I even asked my husband if he thought I was depressed and needed medicated! lol I’m not really depressed. I know exactly what my problem is. Every time I go to Ohio and visit my friends and family, I miss Ohio…even though Alabama finally feels like home. I can’t help but get a teeny, tiny bit melancholy.

It doesn’t help that after my trip this time, my husband received a job offer to go back to Ohio, right after I’d returned home, when I was really missing everyone! Part of me is tempted to pack my bags and run, part of me is resentful of the offer. After all, we don’t really want to move. We love our friends, our church, the absence of snow (I certainly don’t miss that white stuff)…I could go on but I think you get the picture. We are happy here. It took awhile for me to say that, but we’re blooming where we’ve been planted.  Something that I didn’t think would ever happen.

So, I’ve moped around this week and today I received an email that brightened my day. It seems that someone nominated my blog for one of the Top 25 Homeschool Blogs! That’s so cool- so if that was you, thank you…you made my day!

If you appreciate my blog and feel Live the Adventure is worthy, I’d love for you to take a minute to stop by and vote at a Circle of Mom’s. You can vote once a day until voting ends on May 11th. All you have to do is click on the cute little button below and click the thumbs up button for Live the Adventure.   

Thanks so much! I’m truly grateful!

Nutrition 101: Choose Life! ~ A Review


I know I keep telling you that I love the products I’ve been reviewing, but I really do and this recent product is no exception. I love products that don’t assume that their product is the only one I’m using in my homeschool. A product that is simple, straightforward and easy to use gets high votes from this busy mom!   Nutrition 101: Choose Life! A Family Nutrition and Health Program by Debra Rayburn, N.D., Sera Johnson, Laura Hopkins and Karen Hopkins did not disappoint.

I really, really cannot emphasize enough how much I enjoyed using this program with my children. This program takes a look at what we eat, what the foods we choose do to our body, and how we can make better choices using key scriptures that show us how important it is to care for the temple the Lord has blessed us with.


This course is very timely for my family as we strive to make choices that will strengthen our bodies not only now, but in the long run. Nutrition 101: Choose Life! is set up as a unit study for all ages, from toddler up, but I really think that it is most appropriate for middle school and up. Each easy to use unit is broken down into chapters that can easily be completed  in a week following the suggested loose lesson plan.

Nutrition 101: Choose Life! covers the 12 main body systems in six units, the Brain and Nervous system, the Digestive system, the Respiratory, Olfactory, Auditory and Visual systems, the Muscular and Skeletal systems, the Cardiovascular and Immune systems and the Endocrine system and Emotions.  Each unit includes an overview of the body system, discussion questions, suggested activities to choose from for both elementary and secondary students, recipes and more activities (including some experiments), that encourage you and your children to make healthy food choices.  And for the interested high school student or parent, there are additional resources that allow you to dig a bit deeper.

Nutrition 101: Choose Life! is a great resource for anyone that is looking for a beginner’s guide to healthy eating and living. Not only does it cover why we should make wise choices, it also addresses what happens to our body when we don’t. Plus, it gives helpful information about supplements and exercise that I found very helpful. This is NOT your run of the mill health book, if you’ve ever been curious about incorporating whole foods or healthier options to your diet,  you’ll find yourself referring to this resource again and again!

Nutrition 101: Choose Life! is available as an e-product on CD-Rom for $79.95, as a 448 page, beautifully hardbound book for $99.95, or as a combination of the two (CD-Rom and hardbound book) for $129.95, which allows you to easily print the charts and recipes that are included in the book as needed.

I’m pleased to announce that for a limited time, my readers can purchase materials from Growing Healthy Homes at a 15% discount using the code TOSCrew11.     

Nutrition 101: Choose Life is a product from Growing Healthy Homes. You can find out more about the this product and others that they offer to promote healthy living at their website or by calling 918-841-2934.

You can stop over at The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew to read what other crew members had to say about this product.  

Just so you know, I received an e-product of Nutrition 101: Choose Life! free of charge as part of the TOS Crew for the sole purpose of reviewing the product and sharing my honest opinion with my readers. I have not been paid for my review. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Ten National Parks that I Want to Visit

road trip day 3 024

My family has traveled pretty extensively East of the Mississippi. Sure there are some regions that we’ve yet to explore, like the New England States, but other than that, I think we’ve visited every other state at least once.

It’s time that we venture West a bit and we’re hoping that 2011 is the year that dream will finally come true. We’re busy planning a trip to Seattle, Washington and along the way we’d like to spend time in some of the National Parks. I know we won’t have time to explore them all but if time and money were no object, here are ten that I’d love to visit.

1. The Gateway Arch, which is part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial,  in St. Louis, Missouri

How could we not enter the West without visiting the Museum of Westward Expansion? This just seems like a logical stop to me.     

2. Mt. Rushmore National Memorial, South Dakota

For as long as I remember, I’ve wanted to see Mt. Rushmore. This is a definite stop, even if we have to drive out of our way to get there! 

3. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, Montana and Idaho

Any park that spans three states is worthy of a vacation all on it’s own. Unfortunately we won’t have the luxury to fully explore Yellowstone this time around but we can’t travel out West and miss stepping foot in the very first National Park.  I haven’t even begun to plan this stop, but I know my family will want to see some of the hot springs and Old Faithful.  My boys probably wouldn’t be too disappointed if they saw a bear, bison or elk and as long as they weren’t too close, I’d be okay with that too.

4. The Badlands National Park, South Dakota

The Badlands have been recommended to me on more than one occasion and the pictures certainly look beautiful, though I’ve been told that they really don’t do the area justice. I guess it’s just one of those places that you have to see for yourself.

5. Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

I didn’t even know such a beautiful picture perfect place existed until I participated in a post card exchange when my children were younger. We received a picture of a mountain reflected in a beautiful lake. Ahhh….how could we resist?

6. Mt. Rainier Glacier National Park, Washington

This stop is personal, a dear friend of ours that has since passed often spoke fondly of her visits to Mt. Rainier and encouraged us to visit if we ever had to the chance. This stop is for her, our dearly missed adopted grandmother. 

7. Mt. St. Helen’s National Volcanic Monument, Washington

I was in 4th grade when this volcano blew its top. I still remember being envious when a classmates’ grandparent’s sent him a jar of ash. It’s time for me to go buy my own bottle of dust. 

8. The Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

If we are able to make it to this National Park on this trip, I will be amazed for more reasons than one.

9. Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado

If we do make it a bit South this time around, I don’t want to miss the opportunity to check out the cliff dwellings.

10. Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico

It seems that I keep adding and adding to our trip. See, that’s my problem. I just never know when to stop.

Have you been to any of these National Parks? I’d love to hear any tips that you have to offer or recommendations of other parks that you really loved- especially those in the Northwest.  

This post is linked to Oh Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday.


Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Wright Brothers Memorial, one of our Favorite National Parks

road trip day 3 024

My family loves to visit National Parks. You can bet that if there is a National Park along our route anytime we take a trip, we try to fit it in if at all possible. We’ve been fortunate to have walked in some of the nations most historic and scenic parks and we look forward to seeing even more of what the National Park system has to offer when we take a trip out West later this year.

I have a hard time determining our favorite park because with the exception of two, we’ve loved them all. And we can’t really blame having a bad day or family squabble against the two that didn’t win high marks, now can we?

I asked my husband and asked my kids which parks they have loved and though the Great Smokey Mountains, the Statue of Liberty, and Shiloh National Battlefield have all received a thumbs up, there is one that we think was really fun. 

When we first began traveling with my husband’s job, one of our first stops was to Virginia Beach. I loved temporarily living in the Hampton Roads area- there was certainly no shortage of things to do and with Jamestown, Yorktown and Colonial Williamsburg about an hour away, it’s great for those that love American History.

Centrally located, Virginia Beach is an easy three hour drive to Eastern Virginia, home of Assateague Island National Seashore and the Wild Ponies of Chincoteague, while three hours in the opposite direction leads you to the famous Outer Banks of North Carolina. It was there that we found Fort Raleigh, home of the Lost Colony.

misc 014

You’re probably aware of the mystery surrounding this National Historic Site.  Fort Raleigh is now known as the Lost Colony because the colonists, which included Virginia Dare, the first English child born in the New World, disappeared without a trace in the late 1580’s.     

Though we enjoyed our visit here, I have to admit that we were all a bit creeped out by the disappearance of the colonists. We’d also arrived too early in the season to enjoy the beautiful Elizabethan Gardens that I’d seen as a child or to enjoy The Lost Colony Outdoor Drama that has been performed since 1937.

Our really fun stop was located minutes away at Kitty Hawk, the Wright Brothers National Memorial. This stop didn’t appeal to me. In fact, I really didn’t care to go. We were from Ohio, we’d heard so much about the Wright Brothers. I thought we’d stop for a minute, see where they’d taken their first flight and hit the road. I had no idea what I was in for.

misc 007

This National Park site has easily become one of our favorites in part because of the Rangers.  We spent about an hour and a half at the memorial and really should have allowed more time for our visit. Since my kids were younger then, they participated in the Jr. Ranger program, and LOVED it. They took part in a fun scavenger hunt that led them around the grounds, and we sat in on one of the Ranger’s demonstrations where he described the hardships that the Wright Brothers endured as they attempted to get their plane off the ground. 

The Ranger’s gave us free educational material, pointed out a nutria on the property (a rodent much like a ground hog),  and gave the kids permission to fly Styrofoam gliders on the grounds before we rushed off as the gates closed.  This was certainly a fun and educational stop and one I’m glad that we didn’t miss.    

 misc 010

If you’d like to share some of your National Park stories, you can join the link-up on my post from last week.  

What has been your most memorable National Park experience, and why?

Friday, April 15, 2011

For the Love of our National Parks

road trip day 3 024

One of the first things I do when I begin to make travel arrangements is to search the National Parks website to determine if there is a park located along or nearby the route to our destination. Often free or low-cost, family friendly, relaxing, educational, and sometimes entertaining, what’s not to love about the National Park system? 

April 16th through April 24th, is National Park Week. This week ALL parks offer free admission and have arranged special programming that focus on this year’s theme Healthy Parks, Healthy People.  The park system has planned some really special activities so if you have a National Park near you, this may be a great week for a field trip!

In honor of my family’s love of our National Parks, I’ll be taking the next week to share some of the parks that we’ve visited and enjoyed, as well as some of the tips I’ve learned over the years when it comes to making the most out of your visit.  

I’d love to hear about some of your favorite parks too so I’ve decided to offer a link-up. There aren’t any rules, you don’t even need to link back to my sight (though I would appreciate it), so if you’ve ever written about an experience you’ve had at one of our National Treasures, feel free to join in!

The Homeschool Mother’s Journal ~ Week 13

The Homeschool Mother’s Journal meme is hosted by Sue a.k.a. The Homeschool Chick. You can click the link or the button below to see how you can participate or to read other link ups.  

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

In my life this week…

I’ve felt a tiny bit overwhelmed with schooling, housework and life in general.   

In our homeschool this week…

I’ve felt like a failure. Chalk it up to one of those weeks. We returned from our Ohio Road Trip on Monday night. The rest of the week became a mess of much needed errands, vet visits, doctor appointments for physicals and tax time…need I say more? 

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

I am a Great Aunt! Yep, my niece had baby boy on Monday and we will be traveling to Knoxville this weekend to see him. I can’t wait!

My favorite thing this week was…

Returning from our road trip. There’s just no place like home.

What’s working/not working for us…

Lately I’ve felt that we’ve been on the road too much and I just really long for one complete day at home with no running around. That won’t happen for a bit longer, as the boys begin football next week but that will cut down on the out of the area travel for a bit.

Homeschool questions/thoughts I have…

My mind is not working this week so can’t say I really have anything to share.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share…

We’ve had our share of rain and stormy weather. This picture was taken minutes after the tornado warning expired, as the hail began to fall. These two thought they'd run outside and grab a few ice pellets which is what prompted a discussion on storm safety. Ugghh…I’m sure we’ve had this discussion before…


Until next week~ Happy Homeschoolin’ and Be Safe!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Day in the Life of a Homeschool Family

day in the life

Do you ever wonder what homeschooling looks like in everyone else’s home? I’d wager to guess that answer is yes. Here’s you chance to see what a typical day looks like for someone else while allowing you to share a day of your own! The Homeschool Blogger Company Front Porch is hosting a link-up this week encouraging homeschool families to share a typical, non-typical, best, or worst homeschooling day with the world! Well, maybe not the world, just the Homeschool Blogger readership, how’s that? This is your chance to encourage another homeschooler.

You can read my post for the week, Adventures in Relaxed Homeschooling : A Peek Inside our Home on HSB, and don’t forget to share one of your own!  

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Ohio Road Trip: Day 4, The Trip Home


If you’re just stopping by you may want to read Day 1 and Days 2 & 3 of our Ohio Road Trip. 

Ohio Road Trip blog buttonTalk about a short and sweet trip!  The kids and I actually began our return trip to Alabama on Sunday night. We drove three hours to Cincinnati before stopping at a Red Roof Inn. I have to admit that I’ve never stayed at a Red Roof Inn and since I got a really great coupon rate I wasn’t expecting anything grand but I was pleasantly surprised when I stepped into the lobby and saw a beautifully updated modern decor. Our room was also updated and fresh. Not bad for $39!

ohio 009

When I spoke to my husband Sunday night, he mentioned that we really should sleep in before heading back on the road on Monday. Imagine my surprise when he texted me at 7:00 surprised because I wasn’t up yet! Hello, seven in the morning is not this night owls idea of sleeping in but once awake, it’s often hard for me to go back to sleep. I woke the kids up and we did all our necessary on-the-road-morning-routines. You know, brush our hair and teeth, check Facebook, e-mails, etc.

When we finally peered outside we were disappointed to find that it was raining. That kind of spoiled my plans for the outdoor stops.

I had planned to stop at the Patton Museum in Fort Knox, KY but the website stated that there is a five minute walk from the parking lot to the museum entrance, since it was raining we opted not to go.

We continued on our way and got stuck in traffic instead. We decided to people watch and after a few minutes decided that wasn’t such a good idea. Just in case you have ever wondered, driving naked isn’t the best thought that could ever pop into your head. You know, just in case you get stuck in traffic. (Please tell me that man really had on pants! )

Oh yeah, if your dentures need cleaned, you may think that cleaning them in a traffic jam is a great idea but I beg to differ. 

road trip day 3 003

By the time we’d reached Cave City we knew it was time to get out and stretch our legs and how could we resist rummaging through the Olde General Store? 

road trip day 3 014 

There was a ton of stuff littering the outside and if you love to go through junk like I do, it’s just the place to waste some time. I happily picked up some post cards for our little traveler but I had yet to run into a penny pressing machine and I had promised a custom piece to Maureen of Spell Out Loud, the winner of the Ohio Road Trip Getaway and Giveaway package. 

road trip day 3 008

I was so excited to see not one but two penning pressing machines! I couldn’t dig out my quarters fast enough!

road trip day 3 011They even offer free pennies for the machines! I thought that was the best idea! Lucky for them I ran out of those quarters!

road trip day 3 012

Across the street from The Olde General Store is Dinosaur World. We didn’t stop for a tour but who could resist snapping a few pictures?

road trip day 3 016

Isn’t this the coolest thing? RRRRRR….RUN!!!!

road trip day 3 004

Mammoth Caves is literally minutes away…one of my favorite national parks!

road trip day 3 026 

My new driver was disappointed that he wasn’t able to drive for the entire trip, but I have such a hard time giving up that driver’s seat! I just love to drive. Plain and simple.  I did manage to allow him to drive for several hours though along both legs of the trip which seemed to appease him.

road trip day 3 028

I couldn’t wait to get a glimpse of that rocket because that meant we were only minutes away from home.

road trip day 3 040

Four days. 19 hours. 1140 miles. Whew…what a trip!

Until next time~ Happy Road Trippin’!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...