Sunday, May 30, 2010

the (play)house that daddy built

Not necessarily frugal in the tightwad sense, but saved for it and paid cash.....and who knows? maybe someday a selling point for our home....
or not......
They seem pretty happy with it! You're certainly invited over to play.....

Lake Night

Lake Moomaw is about 20 minutes from the house....we took the girls the other evening just around sunset for the first visit of the season:
They could hardly stand it....and with a view like that, neither could I!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

homeschool field trip

Its days like yesterday that, in sum, add up to the busyness of our lives. Of course, no complaints, and I wouldn't change a thing - but an otherwise typical day quickly gets full of exciting adventures when you toss in a field trip with two Littles.
This year we've used the My Father's World curriculum for kindergarten. I'll review it later - we've enjoyed it, and it has been a good fit for the first year of homeschooling. This week we've been studying rocks. For our field trip, we drove a couple of miles up the road to a slate bed outcropping off of a forest service road. We go there every now and then - its a good place to demonstrate erosion, for example. The girls love to climb and slide.
Its the first warm day we've had in awhile, so I was on the lookout for snakes. When we stopped for a turtle crossing the road, I hopped out and almost stepped on a second turtle there on the shoulder. This was a great time to explain reptiles - cold blooded animals, predators (i.e., why a Box Turtle can close up so tightly), creation, and so on. So we scooped up both turtles, popped them on the front seat floorboard, and drove them the 2 miles home.
Now, don't hassle me about these turtles! They are essentially in the same habitat, as our backyard has plenty of wild space, food, and places for them to burrow. We don't plan on keeping them forever - but for now they have a cozy home in Tuggy, a plastic tugboat/sandbox/outside toybox/former mosquito larvae nursery (purchased at a yard sale several years ago for $10 - we've gotten more than our money's worth!). We filled it with uprooted plants from my newly- weeded garden, a plastic tub with creek rocks for our two turtle friends to soak in, a handful (literally) of slugs, a few earthworms, some fresh blueberries and strawberries, and two reticent turtles.
I put two cut up slabs of baby back ribs in the crock pot on "low" first thing in the morning. By the time I scrubbed down to get the turtle potty off of me and the dirt out from under my nails, it was time to baste them with homemade barbecue sauce and finish them off on the grill:

A quick introduction of our new pets to Daddy-o when he got home, supper, and our day was drawing to a close. A very good, busy day!

Homemade Barbecue Sauce (recipe)

Homemade Barbecue Sauce for Meat

1 (small) can tomato paste
1 (8oz) can tomato sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3- 1/2 cup molasses
1 tbs liquid smoke
1 tsp salt
1/3 - 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

Mix all together in saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Allow to simmer 2-3 minutes, turn off heat and let sit until cool or ready to use.  Refrigerate unused portion. 

Saturday, May 15, 2010

day trippin

We took a drive over to Amherst County to surprise the girls by taking them to their first Native American Pow-Wow. It was held in a beautiful setting - in a cattle field (of course!) just beside the Blue Ridge Mountains:

We watched the opening ceremonies and the introduction of the dancers, the Monacan Chief and the other guests of honor.
It was SO hot. I made the girls' dresses out of thin cotton fabric I got from WalMart. Most of the dancers were wearing heavy buckskin, leather and feathers - and headdresses of one sort or another. I don't know how they managed all day with the sun beating down on them. We only ended up staying for 2 hours - too hot!
Hannah was reticent at first as far as having her picture taken with the dancers, but after awhile she got used to the idea (once she was assured there were no tomahawks in sight....)
We met a friendly red-tailed hawk and her dad:
Han and Abbo had no qualms at all about sharp talons and a beak that can crush bone merely inches from their heads...
They each even rubbed her belly to see if she purred like the kitty.
Next up was a visit inside a REAL tipi!
Here they are with a couple of "squaws" - they looked so cute that another lady wanted to get their picture, too (they being the girls + these ladies)!
On the way back we stopped for a quick hike up the Appalachian Trail over near Buena Vista. I didn't know that Han had made a face until I had uploaded the pictures :)
A mountain stream dripping down from some cliffs. Cool relief for our faces and hands.
We crossed this bridge over the James River off of Route 501, and came across these folks beating the heat:

It looked SO FUN and SO WET and SO COOL! I was laughing just as hard as they were - it was hard to show restraint and not join them!

How much fun is that! Tight!

A quick stop at the Ben Salem Wayside on the other side of Buena Vista for the obligatory picnic before the last leg of the journey - then home after a fun day full of adventure!