Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Cobb Youth Museum

This trip to the Cobb County Youth Museum with our friends from GA-EPH and my nephew, Walker, was one of our best field trips ever! American History leading up to and including the revolution came alive as the kids acted out key events.

I think some of the kids had more fun with this than they expected!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Bayou Boating and a Shipyard Tour

Cullen and my youngest sister, Tia, and I drove down to the southernmost part of Mississippi this past weekend for a family reunion and some time hanging out with my Dad, known as Pop by the grandkids. Tia is a kid at heart, and she and Cullen have a great time together.

We always look forward to paddling around in the little aluminum boat, but this time Cullen got to take it out solo for the first time. Well, sort of solo, because we kept a long rope tied to the dock just in case we had to pull him back.

My Dad gassed up the motor boat, and we piled in for a ride.

Not far from his house, there is a "ghost ship" washed ashore many years ago by a hurricane. I won't be at all surprised to see this popping in up in Cullen's creative writing. He thought this was awesomely creepy!

These two had the best seats on the boat.

Riding out toward the shipbuilding and port area at the mouth of the river, we got to see and hear a train run over the water.

Several ships were in for repair, and it looked like one was under construction. Even on the weekend, there were a number of cranes running and workers all over the ships. Cullen is crazy for ships of any kind right now, so he thoroughly enjoyed this! Though it was pretty hard to get photos from a moving boat with the sun so bright in my eyes, here's a favorite:

This oil rig was in for some work. The sheer hugeness of it was incredible!

Before we left to come home, Cullen spotted this small piece of driftwood floating in the bayou, so we paddled over to pick it up. Once I'm sure it's bacteria-free, he can keep it in his room. (Which reminds me that I need to get it out of the back of my car and spray it down with Lysol.)

On our next visit, I really want to visit the Pascagoula River Audubon Center and take a swamp tour with a naturalist. The birds in the area are plentiful and so beautiful, and I would love to know what they are.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Lazy D Farm's Sheep to Shawl

Yesterday, we drove up to Ball Ground, GA, to the Lazy D Farm for their annual Sheep to Shawl event. The weather was absolutely perfect for spending the day outdoors.

Of course, the new lambs were the center of attention!

Though the sheep were not eager to be held for shearing, they remained relatively calm once it began. That is probably a really good thing, considering their horns!

The shearer took a great deal of care not to hurt tender bellies.

Washed wool was then carded and spun. Visitors could try a hand at a drop spindle or just handle the wool. Smaller children could make a small woolly sheep to take home. This spindle operated on foot power. I was surprised at how quickly the whole process worked.

A local scout troop was involved with parking for the event, and they also made peach cobbler in cast iron dutch ovens over a fire. Helpings of cobbler were sold to raise money. My husband told me later how incredibly good it was. I'm not sure how he managed to buy a serving and eat it completely without me even noticing! Apparently, he didn't feel like sharing. Here is one of the scouts working a loom with dyed yarns.

The Lazy D Farm raises Angora Rabbits as well as sheep. This cuddly bunny sat in the lap of a lady who spun tufts of his shedding fur as she pet him. She would just pull off a bit here and there, then add it to her spinning.

Cullen tried washing clothes the old-fashioned way.

Some of the kids had never seen a gourd before. We enjoyed an informative talk on all the ways a dried gourd could be useful. Simple, but interesting.

Our friends, Hannah and Amber, looking through the crocheted items on display.

Cullen and his Dad were interested in the carvings and wooden toys.

This gentleman demonstrated chair caning. I wouldn't mind learning this myself!

A potter worked at her wheel alongside a booth selling some of her finished pieces.

One booth featured bees and honey-making. I almost couldn't get Cullen away from bee-watching. He has decided that he's no longer afraid of them!

My dream of having a small hobby farm was really stirred up by this outing! Maybe one day...

Friday, April 9, 2010

An Overdue Update

This has been our Spring Break week, and we've both been enjoying a break. Tuesday through Thursday, Cullen spent most of each day at a mini gymnastics camp where he takes his regular classes. He came home each day completely exhausted, but raring to go again the next morning! I felt pretty strange to be without his company for so long, but did manage to clean out a particularly messy closet. Yes, it took me all three days.

The previous week, we spent a little time in the Elizabethan era, just beginning to learn about Shakespeare and Galileo. Cullen is reading Frindle right now to go along with part of a unit in our language arts. A great story with plenty of humor, it has us talking about how words are made. I foresee a bit more willing use of the dictionary as an aftereffect.

A highlight of the week was a tour of the CNN Center in Atlanta with our friends from Wednesday enrichment classes. My nephew, Walker, joined us for this one. Here are the two of them hamming it up at the anchor desk.

The basic subjects are moving along nicely. Math was a little more exciting because of the most basic algebraic equations being introduced in his Horizons math curriculum. Figuring out the value of a variable is more like solving a mystery than just filling in a blank. Cullen likes treating each side of the equation equally to keep it balanced.

In addition to his assignments from me, he's been writing in a new journal (inspired by the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, of which he blew through all four, plus the movie edition over the past several weeks on his own) and composed a paragraph about boats. He also completed his short chapter book, Star Navy: Rise of Abor.

During our Easter Sunday worship at church, Cullen was baptized as an expression of his recent decision to follow Christ. He was so excited, and we are so proud of him! After church, most of our family gathered at our house for lunch and just enjoying time together. I didn't eat, though. There was our cute little grandbaby, and I'd much rather hold him!