Saturday, September 13, 2014

Tom & Huck

  We've not been to the gravel bar much this year, but this last week we made the trip to see Ducky and Gigi while they camped.  It is one of the 3 ancestral stomping grounds that put me immediately at ease (it and the hills in Platte & Buchanan Cos. in MO as well as the area around Atchison, KS).  We took a buddy with us this time.  What fun we had!
One of my favorite gravel bar picture places
  From the moment we pulled in, Bubby and his buddy were on the ground running.  They took off exploring the area.  Thankfully it was cool so we didn't have to worry about ticks!  The first project became building a raft.  Ducky provided fishing twine & they made up the plan themselves.  They were so proud!
  Of course, they wanted to try it out.  Oh, I am not an adventurous soul, so I squirmed and hemmed and hawed and then caved.  How can you turn down two excited boys? The first attempt ended a little soggily...
 They added some bigger logs for more buoyancy and success!  Of course we had them to a rope we held and they rode close to shore, but it was enough:)
Well, it got a little river weary by the end of it all, but they had fun!  They are now nicknamed Tom Sawyer & Huck Finn! ;)
  The next day they were up at daybreak and Ducky took them out fishing by a fire on the gravel bar.
Then was a tour of all three gravel bars which led to some of them being covered almost head to toe in sticktights.
  The boys weren't the only ones having fun, Mookie went exploring to capture some lovely wildlife shots...
And Shorty was happy just following adventure where he could...

We came home tired, stinky and dirty but we wouldn't have in any other way:) 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Field Trip Thursday: Museum Crawl pt. 2

  Daddy had to travel to NW Missouri again for work today, so we got to tag along - yay!  Field trip!  This is one of the reasons we considered homeschooling in the first place, being able to be together more as a family when Daddy travels alot.  So today this meant visiting more stops on the Museum Crawl in St. Joseph! 
  We started out at Missouri Western State University where they have a Walter Cronkite memorial. 
The Missouri Western mascot
  We were a little early and walked the campus while we waited for the memorial to open.  The kids smiled and greeted the college students - yes homeschoolers are so unsocialized;) 
  The kids had no idea who Walter Cronkite was prior to our visit today, and to tell you the truth without the Museum Crawl, we might never have visited the memorial, but I'm glad it was a good prompt to do so.  The Crawl has certain questions you need to fill out at each stop. Both kids set out to work trying to find the answers while I chased a rambunctious Shorty (he did not tolerate Walter very well and we spent alot of time pushing buttons and riding the elevator and climbing the stairs).  When their questions were finished you could so see the learning styles of the kids come out.  Bubby is a sponge - he wanted to read & watch everything.  Mookie was content to learn a little, but when she accomplished her goal, her interest started to wane without much as far as interactive displays.  We gave Bubby 45 minutes and then had to drag him away. 
  On to the Remington Nature Center.  The kids had been dying to see this one last time and we had to skip it.  I am so glad we were able to give it a good chunk of time today - well worth it! 
  In addition to the questions we needed to complete for the Crawl booklet, the Nature Center gave us a scavenger hunt to complete.  There were 12 miniature plastic apples hidden all over the Center for us to find.  It took us a while, but we found them (with a little help on a couple).
You can see the red apple in the rattlesnake's mouth
  The displays here were great.  They had dioramas, bees, a water cycle and the favorite - animal tracks.  The tracks would appear and disappear on the sand when the narrator talked about them.
animal tracks
Water cycle - you can see the Missouri River in the background
  One of the other favorites was the trail of St. Joesph history.  They started you out in a cave with the Native Americans and worked you through European settlement to modern day.  Lots of hands on things and videos for all kinds of learners.
  This is what I saw most of the time...
I lost track of how many times Shorty and I looped through the history trail (stopping in the saloon with the cool doors each time to get a pretend drink) and back to the animal tracks and then back to the history trail...   I am so glad the other two are independent learners because I didn't do much except keep the short one busy:) 
  We would have preferred to walk the trails outside too but we needed to meet up with Daddy.  The meeting place was actually at the town of New Market, MO which is where my gg-grandpa Oscar Mauzey was born in 1859.  The kids played at the playground while we waited for Daddy to arrive.  It was neat to look around and wonder what structures might have been there when Oscar was alive. 
Resting on account of "stage 4 hiccups" (2 hiccups every 4 seconds)
We had a pretty cheap day today, Walter's memorial was free & Remington cost us $5 for all of us.  The favorite was the Nature Center, but they enjoyed all of it.  I see another trip to St. Joe for museums in our future.  The kids are hooked!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Museum Crawl

  Field Trip Friday resumed today.  We were able to narrow our field of choices because we were going to pick up Daddy from the Kansas City Airport in the afternoon.  I found out that St. Joseph, MO had a "museum crawl" in August through mid-September so since we were looking at making a couple of trips in the near future to that part of the world we decided to join in!
  Our FTF companions Ducky and Gigi joined in the fun.  Boy am I glad that my folks are both retired and can come along!  It sure makes for twice the fun!  For the Crawl, you need complete 10 stops and answer 2 questions at each stop and you earn a small prize.  Our first choice was the Pony Express National Museum.  It was wonderful!  They gave us our Crawl booklets and a little magnifying glass.  Since we said we were homeschooling, she also told us to make sure and pick up a teacher packet at the end.  The museum starts with a 14 minute video on the Pony Express.  Shorty sat for a little of it and then waited expectantly to "go see the horses".
They weave you through the history of the Express and the trails in general.  Excellent displays with extra sensory things thrown in like lightning and heat and sounds.  Our favorite part was the well.  It was one that they had found while excavating the land prior to the museum building.  There was a display showing what artifacts they had found, but the big thing was there was a hand pump attached to the well and it worked!  The kids could pump water and look through a window in the floor to see down the well.  We had to circle back to this area a couple of times;)
the well
  As children of an archaeologist they also enjoyed the area that showed the ground beneath our feet from the excavations.  Bubby had a ball finding all the artifacts left in situ.
  The museum was just chalked full of wonderful kid interactive things.  The play area was great!  Mookie & Shorty stayed there for quite a while.
  This museum was top notch!  I would go back in a heartbeat.  It wasn't that big, but it was so interesting and well laid out!
   We took a lunch break and there are two things of note: 1) do not go to the NE side of St. Joe and expect to easily get to the NW side - not happening.  2) the Chick Fil-A there is the friendliest and most helpful fast food place I have ever been to.  Everything was answered with a "its my pleasure" and I didn't even have to carry the high chair for Shorty or get our own straws.  They waited on us hand and foot!
  Since we couldn't get to our planned stop easily (the nature center, it looks fabulous btw), we went to the NW Missouri Genealogical Society which was also on the Crawl.  Free to get in and well, we could look up family stuff while were were there too!  This was a big kid stop for sure, Bubby & Mookie worked on their research skills by looking up items for the questions in their booklet, Gigi looked up one of my scandalous ggg-grandpa George's marriages (more on him later), and Shorty looked up at Ducky and told him he wanted to go outside and they went for a walk.
  It didn't take long before Mookie (my more active learner) went and joined them, while Bubby took joy in finding more historical gems in the collections at the library.
  Pretty soon we had to take off to grab Daddy, so we climbed in the car for another new adventure - the airport!  We were able to watch the planes come and go for a while and then jumped around excitedly when Daddy walked through the gates (I won't tell you how much of a spectacle we made of ourselves;) ).  The real thrill was the luggage carousel.  I think Shorty was waiting for one of the Toy Story characters to come up the chute.

  Who knows where next week will lead us.  The kids are campaigning heavily to go back to St. Joe.  The really sweet thing was that one of the stops gave us our "prize" for completion of the Crawl a little early since we didn't know if we'd get to do them all in time.  I've been to St. Joe numerous times for family history research and loved it each time, but this time it won my heart as a tourist:) <3 br="">

Friday, June 13, 2014

Basil of Caesarea

  On my wish list of things to read this year were books on the early Christians.   I was pleasantly surprised when I was able to write a review on Basil of Caesarea, part of the Early Church Fathers series put out by Christian Focus Publications.  I had not heard of Basil before, and was anxious to learn of his contributions to early Christian thought.
Basil of Caesarea (taken from Wikipedia)

  This book was great for me: short, but long enough to cover the importance of Basil.  So, why is Basil important?  To start us out the author, Marvin Jones takes us back to the Council of Nicea.  The Council was a biggie because the Early Fathers were debating the nature of the Trinity.  Emperor Constantine had called it so the division between the two factions would be stemmed and unity found.  The major problem being a bishop named Arius and his belief that Jesus was not equal with God the Father.  The discussion on the background of the Council was really interesting to me since I saw a story on Facebook last year talking about how Bishop Nicholas (later St. Nicholas) got so angry at Arius and what he was saying that he crossed the room and slapped him.  Even though the Council set up the Nicene Creed which laid out the important aspects of Christian beliefs, it did not squash Arius and his followers and that is where Basil comes in. 
  Basil was born just after the Council of Nicea, but was mentored under Eustathius of Sebaste who was anti-Arian, although the two did part ways on other issues later.  One neat thing that I took away from this book is that through his teaching on the subject of the Trinity which was an answer to Arian belief - the Arians basically denied the divinity of Christ and the second phase of Arians delied the divinity of the Holy Spirit. Throughout his time addressing all this, Basil really began to solidify his ideas on why he believed what he did.  He began to formulate the differences between each part of the Trinity, and not only shared divinity, but was each divine in nature. Really the book was not just a book on Basil, but an in depth study on the Holy Spirit and why we believe what we believe.  It also lined out why those Early Fathers fought so hard to define it scripturally.  One great quote was, "Basil also developed the concept that without the Spirit there is no contemplation of the Word. Therefore, the Arians who fight the Spirit cannot know Christ since, in their defective theology, the Holy Spirit is not God."
  While the book's main focus was on Basil's outlining of the divinity of Jesus & the Holy Spirit, it had some other important points that I took note of, several could be applied to the church today.  Imagine, the same problems were happening within the church 1500 years ago! Here are my favorite points:
  " For Basil, to love God meant to love man, whatever man’s physical condition or background … His great concern for the needy, the sick, the suffering, and the forgotten received its inspiration from what John the Evangelist wrote: ‘he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, he cannot love God whom he has not seen.’ For Basil, doctrine and canon, worship and ethics, word and behavior were inextricably woven."

  " The Moral Rules describes the actions of Christians based upon the revelation of the Scriptures.  The worldliness of the church only can be dealt with by taking the Scriptures as authoritative for the practice of godly living. Thus, any rejection of the Scriptures assures the negative consequences of a church that has compromised with the world and must repent of its own worldliness. "  I must say, that after reading the description of The Moral Rules (which were basically descriptions of how Christians should act as a result of the revelation of Scripture)  in this book, I'm going to be on the hunt for a book that has the writings of Basil!  

  The author did a great job of tying Basil into the needs of the 21st century church. "Godliness is the solution to the worldly pettiness that has engulfed the contemporary church.  The church simply cannot live worldly and seek God’s glory at the same time. "  
  Since Mr. Jones was dealing with church history from almost two millennia ago, there were a bunch of terms that might not be known to the reader.  Those terms were highlighted and defined in the midst of the text which was great!
  I would definitely recommend this book for anyone wanting to know more about the Early Fathers.  In fact, I just purchased the one on St. Patrick and am looking forward to diving in!
  Thank you to Christian Focus Publications through Cross Focused Reviews for this chance to write a review on these books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Growing Up God's Way

   Cross Focused Reviews came across with the opportunity to review Growing Up God's Way for Girls & Growing Up God's Way for Boys by Dr. Chris Richards & Dr. Liz Jones and we were excited to have the opportunity to use it with our kiddos.  Bubby is 11 and Mookie is 9 and while we have been answering their questions generally about babies & life changes, we haven't had "the talk" per se.  This was a great motivator to get us going on that!  My hubby read the boys book and I read the girls.  Hubby has also been reading on Time for the Talk by Steve Zollos so he could initiate discussions with Bubby.
  Hubby read over the Growing Up God's Way and then passed it to Bubby who then read it all the way through.  I love how these books are set up.  Easy to understand, not too technical, but not too young in their descriptions.  The chronology of the books is great. They walk you through an intro to puberty and then right into marriage and its importance, and then into the body changes and why those are important.  These books focused on alot of the issues that were important to our family: a foundation of marriage that is between a man and a woman, the Biblical importance of it and its structure, and when physical intimacy should take place.  In other words, our kids were not shocked by what was presented.  This was so refreshing when a person can hear all the horror stories of things that can be taught in sex education classes.  This book helped open up some channels of discussion about the hows and whys.  For our scientifically minded Bubby, he thought it was interesting learning how life is created. 

  For Mookie, we took a little different approach.  She's about 17 months younger than Bubby, and while we find ourselves treating them alot like twins because of the closeness in age, we didn't have her read the whole book for this one.  She and I had talked a couple of weeks ago about some of the body changes that would occur, so after I read the book we had her read through the intro, marriage, and body changes parts.  There wasn't anything that she hadn't already been told, it just gave her a little more in depth description about how the body works when its preparing for adulthood. 
  The great thing about these books is that they are pretty much mirror images of each other.  They cover the same things, just highlighting the boy issues for the boys, and the girl issues for the girls. 
This is especially great when your kiddos are close in age like ours, they can discuss with each other what they've learned.  One of the notable things that I found lacking was in the "Going Out and Beyond" chapter.  Our family has decided that courting will be the best for our family.  Don't get me wrong, Hubby and I dated, and it all worked out ok for us, but I think society is lacking a sense of commitment because of the "dating" of today.  The book does stress commitment and the benefits thereof and references the Bible, however it has a section that describes the different forms of "going out" and one of them is "committed (at least for a time)". My question is if we are training our children to be committed just for a time, won't they carried that through to married life? 
  One of my favorite quotes from the book is about modesty and respectfully discussing the topics in these books "It is because of this need for modesty, that God has made us tend to feel embarrassed when we think about these things...such feelings may make you uncomfortable, but they are actually helpful in protecting you against wrong thoughts or interests".  What a wonderful way of putting it. I remember our sex ed classes in public school.  Full of lots of nervous giggles and sending us boys to one room and girls to another.  I am sure enjoying using these books with our homeschool curriculum.  It has helped us to generate great discussions in our family and shows very well that sex is not shameful and therefore must be hidden, but is to be treated with respect and modesty and should remain hidden.
  Thank you to Evangelical Press through Cross Focused Reviews for this chance to write a review on these books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Sunday, May 4, 2014

In Our Own Backyard

  Friday was "Field Trip Friday".  Let me tell you, with all the running around we've been doing as of late I was hard pressed to go and do more!  Bubby came to the rescue!  He had spotted a nature trail on the edge of town that was created on the old railroad track land.  We ended up going in pursuit of an adventure in our own town:) 
  While I did not keep track of the length of our portion of the Landon Trail, it was definitely long enough to tire Shorty out.  He was ready to be carried by the time we had reached the end & made the return trip.  The start of the Overbrook portion begins right across from the grain elevator & continues to a county road that cuts across it. 
  The area was heavily wooded, but we were afforded temporary views of the area beyond the woods, including a pond with ducks on it.  We also saw a fox run across the path, as well as a rabbit and heard numerous birds. 
  This is definitely something we are going to work into our schooling.  In addition to our town's wonderful lake, walking down the Landon Trail is going to be a great way to be out in and study nature!
   Another way our family has been getting out into nature is getting our garden up and running!  We've planted most all of our crops & and are almost ready to get the rest into the ground.

  The kids have their own little plot of ground and this year they are doing a fairy garden. 

Mookie's fairy on the left & Bubby's gnome on the right
  The miniatures for a fairy garden are pretty expensive, so I think the kids are going to improvise & create most of their own.  We did get them some starter pieces to get the ball rolling though:)

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A "Little" Shopping Trip

  Today we took our bi-monthly trip to Jamesport, MO for our grocery shopping at the Amish bulk foods store.  I thought I'd share a little about what we purchase for our home use.  Here is my shopping list. 
I don't get everything each time, but its great to have a master list of what we use most often.  This time I got: baking cocoa, sugar, citric acid, cumin, black pepper, cornmeal, baking powder, rice, powdered sugar, salt, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, quick oats, instant potatoes, elbow macaroni, honey, paprika, chocolate chips, mini colored chocolate drops,  chai tea (they have some wonderful mixes), salt & sea salt.  Oh and the cheese!  I can get 6-ish pounds of cheese for $3.89 to $4 per pound, so I buy a couple of logs of those.

Here's a picture of my haul minus the cheese:

All of this cost around $190.  I did buy a cookie sheet too.  They have excellent kitchen tools, so I'll pick up one every once in a while.
  When we do our trip we take my mom with us and make it into a fun field trip!  Today we went 15 minutes out of our way to do some family history research - and we even found some tidbits!  While we try to make our trip every other month its been since February since our last trip.  I was getting a little desperate...when the cheese is running out, that's our signal to go.  We ran out of cheese a week ago, my kids were going to riot soon;)