Saturday, June 28, 2014

Adventure Science Center

During our trip to Nashville, we visited Adventure Science Center.  The children had been asking to go back.  I had joined our local science center and found out that we could visit Adventure Science Center for free.

A few of the exhibits had changed since our last visit.  Egee and I tried building an arch.  This was fun, yet difficult.

Little Man ventured over to a jet simulator.  I think he could have played on it all day!

We learned more about the human body and took 'x-rays'.  They both loved feeding the digestion exhibit.  Little Man tried his best to work the giant hand and catch a ball.

Egee's favorite part is the moon walk simulator. She stood in line for almost thirty minutes!  Of course, she didn't mind.  Little Man had wanted to do the simulator, but decided he didn't want to stand in the long line.

This is always a fun outing for the kids.  We will be back again in the fall!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Opryland Resort

Hubby's conference this year was at Opryland Resort in Nashville, TN.  Normally, his conference is held downtown Nashville.  So, the kids and I had a new place to explore!

The children were in awe of resort.  It was huge!  We were very impressed with the organization of checking in and the valet services.  We arrived during peak hours of check in and things went very smooth.  We were given a map of the resort and directions to our room.

The Cascades area was like walking into a tropical paradise.  Little Man was completely captivated by the pools of water and the koi living in them.  The splashing sounds of the waterfalls filled the open area and drowned out the people noise.

Our room opened to the Cascades area.  I was expecting to hear the noise in our room, but that was not the case.  The room was very quiet!  Even when we opened the doors to the balcony, we didn't hear overwhelming amounts of noise. 

Hubby would head out early to his conference on the other side of the resort every morning.  The children and I would get up later in the morning and go out to explore.

We walked along the paths of the Garden Conservatory.  Looking closely at the different plants and taking a new path each time.

We made our way to the Delta region on several occasions.  We would window shop as we walked the 'streets'.  We ate at the pizza and burger joints of the Delta.  We rode the Delta cruise several times.  (We purchased an All Stay pass.)  We enjoyed the light and water show at the fountain.  This was always the kids favorite destination.

One morning, we enjoyed strolling through the outdoor Magnolia area.  The children were hoping the Magnolia pool was open, but it wasn't.  Although, no one told the duck in the pool.

We enjoyed the Relache indoor pool.  The weather was unseasonably cool during our stay, so we spent more time in the indoor pool.  The children swam a few times in the outdoor Cascades pool.  Fortunately, the outdoor pool was heated.  Too bad the air wasn't!

We ate at several restaurants at the resort during our stay.  Hubby would meet us and we could grab dinner.  Like any resort, be prepared to spend quite a bit on the food.  The food was good, but a tad overpriced.

If you ever have a chance to visit Nashville, this is a great place to see or stay.  The kids were disappointed to find out the conference is going to be held in a different venue next year.  They wanted to come back and stay at resort again.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Happy Cow!

One of our home school groups took a field trip to the last remaining dairy farm in Greenville County.  Happy Cow Creamery is a local family owned dairy that has remained successful in today's corporate world of farming.  I have been wanting to take the children there for a while, so we jumped at the opportunity to visit and do the tour.

The children had never been on a working farm before.  I have taken them to zoos, petting zoos, horseback riding and the like.  However, a trip to a dairy farm was a new experience.

We arrived at the farm and of course, the noticeable smell of farm life was prevalent.  Luckily, my children aren't bothered by the smell that livestock create.  In fact, they like the farm smell and didn't complain one bit.  Oh, how they take after me!

We had a large group of children and adults.  Ages ranged from infants to teens.  The tour operators are more accustomed to giving tours to younger elementary aged children.  However, the diversity of our group was not an issue.

Our group was split into two smaller groups.  Half went on the tractor tour of the farm and the other went on the operational tour.  Then we switched.

We learned about the type of cows and how they are cared for on the farm.  The tour operator told us about the struggles of Farmer Tom and how he just happened to 'fall' into dairy farming.  We got to see inside the milking room and were shown how the cows were milked.  The children were definitely intrigued.  Egee decided it was much easier to milk the cow with the machine instead of by hand.

Before switching to the tractor tour, everyone was treated to Happy Cow milk.  Each child was given a small cup and a sample of milk was given.  Everyone was eager to try it, but as the children began to drink the milk their faces began to pucker.  The tour guide was perplexed.  Then she realized instead of pouring plain white milk for the children, she had mistakenly given them buttermilk!  A quick correction was made and white milk was given.  The children's faces brightened and praise over the milk began.  Everyone sampled white, chocolate, and strawberry milk flavors.

After the taste testing, we loaded onto the tractor tour.  We saw small parts of the farm during this tour.  The guide explained to us how the farm is actually called Twelve Aprils Farm.  This is do to the ability to grow alfalfa almost year round for the cows to consume.  We learned more about the operation of the farm during the tour.

After the tour, we ventured into the farm store and purchased ice cream made at the creamery.  The ice cream was very rich!  I wish we lived closer to this dairy!  Luckily, the milk is carried in a few local spots convenient to our house. The cost of the milk may be a bit more than the giant corporation brands, but knowing that our purchase helps a local farm is well worth the price.  Plus, we know what is in this milk!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


One of the best things about unschooling the children is the ability to just follow their interests.  Both have shown an interest in archery.  Their grandad purchased a bow and arrow set from a local sporting goods store about two years ago.  When they go to the grandparents' house, they usually end up outside shooting at the target.  Hubby bought the same one for our house and Little Man is often out with it.

When a fellow homeschooling mom set up a trip to a local archery range, the children eagerly wanted to attend.  They were going to learn how to use a compound bow.  Little Man was super excited.  Egee was curious.

We drove to the range, which was about an hour from our house.  The excitement mounted and the questions about the class filled the car.

We finally arrived at Saluda River Archery!  The facility was very easy to find.  It is large building with a target marking the spot.

Once in the building the children found some of their friends.  They talked and waited for the class to begin.  Of course, the boys gravitated to the bows and other merchandise in the retail shop.  The girls caught up on the latest things each had done.

After all the participants arrived, class began.  The instructor was very straight forward with the children.  He went over the rules and expectations.  The children listened and watched as another instructor demonstrated how to shoot the compound bow.  They couldn't wait to have a turn.

Our class had over twenty children.  The instructors grouped them according to height and then had one child from each group come forward to shoot.  Each child received one on one attention with an instructor and safety was stressed.

Each child shot six arrows per turn.  They were encouraged and given tips to improve their form.  Little Man thought the experience was totally cool.  It was different than shooting the basic bow that he had at home.  Egee was a natural.  Although outdoor sports aren't her thing, she does a great job.  One of the instructors approached me and told me that she was naturally talented at shooting.  I couldn't believe it.  She did shoot nice groupings with her arrows.

Every child was able to shoot three times.  They were all smiles after the class.  Little Man has decided he needs a compound bow.  He will have to wait.  We will definitely try to make it back to Saluda River Archery for another class in the near future!

Saturday, June 14, 2014


Learning is much more fun and remember-able when observed and hands-on.  I had been wanting the kids to witness complete metamorphosis for a time now.  I just never could find tadpoles or when we did find them, they didn't live long.

We had moved the turtles outdoors and still have the turtle tank set up in the house.  So, when the children collected a mess of tadpoles during a play date, we had a perfect environment to keep them viable.   

The tadpoles seemed to adjust to the tank quite well.  We were not sure what to feed them and scoured the internet for advice.  From dried ground lettuce to fish flakes, everyone had an opinion.  We decided to go with fish flakes, since we had them on hand.  I crumbled the flakes daily and fed the tadpoles.  They are hardy eaters!

Little Man woke every day and raced to the tank.  Had the tadpoles changed?  Were they getting legs?  For a few weeks, nothing looked different on them.  When were they going to change?

On the fourth week, we began to notice little leg buds.  Those buds quickly turned to back legs and then front legs seemed to just appear without warning.  The tails were still there and our little tadpoles looked funny as they swam in the tank.

One morning, we noticed that we had an actual frog!  Soon the tank was filling with little frogs known as Spring Peepers.

Little Man was put in charge of removing them from the tank and placing them outside in the bushes.  Now, when we are out at night, we hear our little frogs sing.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Spring Recital 2014

Egee's first dance recital was this spring.  She has only been taking dance for six months, but had done great.  She was so excited for us to see the performance.

I was unsure how she would do at dance.  I don't know why.  When Egee decides she wants to do something, she does it with all her heart.  Last fall, she announced that she wanted to learn how to clog.  I dismissed it and told her to just look up steps from YouTube.

Well, sure enough she took my advice and started teaching herself to clog.  She had learned many basic steps and longed for more formal instruction.  Seeing that she was determined, we enrolled her in a clog/Irish dance class.  She loved it!

One day the director called me in to talk about Egee.  I didn't know what was going on, I figured Egee had twisted an ankle during class.  Come to find out the director wanted to know where Egee had taken lesson before.  I told her she hadn't.  I explained the Egee had taught herself.  The director could not believe it.  She told me that Egee had perfect sound and was a natural at both clogging and Irish.  I was so proud of my girl.

Egee continued to work hard and learn her dances for recital.  She practiced daily and everywhere!

The big day arrived and we sat through three and a half hours of recital to see her perform.  We wouldn't have missed it for a thing.  She was beautiful up on stage doing her thing.

We are so proud of our Egee!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Vegetable Garden

This year I had a friend come over and till up my garden spot with his tractor.  My how a tractor makes the task much more manageable.  I would have slaved for a couple days with the hand tiller.  I happened to be late putting in my garden this season.  But, have quickly realized that late is better than never!

We had the backyard fenced this spring and the side yard was just sitting bare.  I had tried to garden in the side yard a few years prior, but the weed quickly won the battle of wills.  I then resorted to raised gardening around our pool.  Then turned the no longer used dog pen into a fenced gardening area.  However, my heart still longed for a bigger more traditional gardening space.

I marked an area of 30 x 75 feet and let my friend work magic.  The ground is rocky, but the soil is not clay like the rest of our yard.  We actually have nice dirt!  Now being from upstate South Carolina that is rare.  I figure the area would make for a great garden.

 The garden spot

After my friend tilled the area, I let it sit for little over a week.  We had to go out of town.  By the time we returned the bits of grass and wild onion bulbs were withered.  It was time to plant!

I planted lettuce, carrots, spinach, bush green beans, black beans, pinto beans, yellow squash, zucchini, radishes, nasturtiums, tomatoes, peppers, okra, corn, pumpkins, watermelon, cantaloupe, and sunflowers. 

 Everything is coming up!

 This is four weeks after planting.  Only 3/4 of the garden space is used.




More tomatoes

Beans, squash, zucchini, and lettuce

After planting and planting, I realized I still had more garden space to plant!  So, I am now trying to decide what exactly I am going to do with extra space.  I realized I had yet planted cucumbers.  So, those will be added shortly.  I will probably start a row or two of turnips and try growing parsnips.  Maybe compost a section to have a larger asparagus bed next year.  The possibilities are endless!