Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Bits and Pieces of the Last week or so

The last couple of weeks have been long and full some of the things included have been:
-I attended the Christian Homeschool Association of Pennsylvania Curriculum Fair. It was in Harrisburg, PA and one of the highlights is always driving up with my friend Cheryl and her daughter and staying at friend of her's home with other homeschoolers and have a chat fest into the night. Oh yeah, I bought some good curriculum and used books and came back encouraged for the task.

-I celebrated a birthday and got to have dinner out at a local restaurant, Abbraccio, here in W. Philly and really enjoyed the meal and not having to cook.

-My kids finished up their homeschool coop and we got to hear them sing and had a special PE day.

-Finished reading a good book called The Camel Bookmobile which my dad had sent me. It was good, it raises lots of questions about culture and cultural perspective/expectations, learning, identity, what constitutes "help".

-Started a new book from the library called The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznik. It is a FAT, heavy book, for juvenile readers, part prose, part drawings. I had heard good things about it and am enjoying it a lot so far.

-Went hiking in Ridley Creek State Park with my family for Memorial Day. This is a favorite family destination and always fun. My son had fun blazing the way (both on and off the trail) and my daughter brought her sketch book and spent time going slowly and observing and occasionally recording in word or drawing what struck her fancy. The funny thing was that when Paul asked them if they wanted to "do school" that day they didn't realise that they already where.

-Watched a movie called The Big Kahuna with Paul. It is not a movie to watch when drowsy because much of it is dialogue based. It is very interesting and well done though and a great movie for discussing issues of faith and the faith/work/witnessing intersection.

-Went opening weekend to see Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End with my friend and her two teen daughters. It was a fun movie and fun to share it with these friends. I am a big Johnny Depp fan (ever since his 21 Jump Street Days) (there I go giving hints on what birthday I just had) but even given that you can't go wrong with watching him and Orlando Bloom be swashbuckling for 2 plus hours it was great fun. It also has a lot more story line and moral/theological content then it is given credit for. (see link on my husband's web site).

-Today they were preparing our street for repaving so we got to watch all kinds of trucks and activity (field trip with out leaving home) we found out what certain trucks were for, why they hooked one up to the fire hydrant, why one had an extra pair of tires that didn't seem to touch the ground, looked at a broken pieces of road paving stuff and shared watermelon slices with the workers during lunch. The highlight was when they asked if Andrew wanted to come up in the drivers seat of the big stripper truck. What a great day. To find out what we learned you will have to ask Andrew, and yes I took pictures and no I don't know how to add them to my blog like my younger and saavier sisters in law.

-Oh yeah and Vicky is reading Winnie the Pooh ("This is the real story by Mr. Milne not the movie story Andrew")out loud to Andrew (her choice not my suggestion)


Friday, May 04, 2007


Nature Trips: Real and Imaginary

We have had a couple of forays into nature this week. The first was imaginary: On Tuesday on the way to the dentist the kids decided they were going to be Rain Forest Explorers. They turned parked cars, sidewalks, streets, stray cats and garden plants into rain forest components and had a grand time expanding on the theme for the the rest of Tuesday and part of Wednesday. I was converted into an equipment trailer (nothing like type casting) with my backpack acting as a portable data base center where they could enter or find information. At the library after the dentist Vicky headed not for her usual destination of the video but for the Dewey decimal poster to figure out where to start looking for rain forest books. She had five in her hand before I caught up with her including one at a level Andrew could read without too much help.

Friday we accompanied another family from our home shool co-op on a trip to the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum. We had a great time wandering around a small portion of the facility on a lovely day. It is a protected marsh land. The two boys my 6 yr. old and their 9 yr old. Quickly had sticks that became light sabers or swords by turns. The girls my 8 year old and their 14 year old were more interested in using their binoculars and sketch books. It was great to be outside, to see my kids forming friendships, enjoy nature etc. It also made me miss my Mother in Law who is a knowledgeable out door person but especially is a birder and photographer. We saw the following in the 2 hours or so we were there: Great Blue Herons (3), Canada Goose, American Robin, Red Wing Black Bird (many), Barn Swallow (lots, some very up close), Duck (mallard?) and a number of other birds we didn't ID. We also saw painted turtles, a rabbit, a groundhog, a fish, deer hoof prints, butterflies of various sorts.
We will have to figure out how to get there on public transit and should take Grammy on her next visit.

Thursday, May 03, 2007


Digging up the Presidents House

For those of you who aren't aware of it the President of the United States didn't always live in Washington DC. The first official residence was right here in Philadelphia on Independence Mall, across the street from Independence Hall. Recently they have been doing some archaeological work on the site where it stood. In part this is being done to investigate the history of slavery in colonial times since slave quarters were also probably part of the complex. They are making some interesting discoveries that show how written documents don't always show the whole story and how archaeology can add to our understanding. If you can make it down to the mall in the next few weeks it looks like you would be able to view the excavations. If not check out the web site for the project where there are photos, video, floor plans and updates on finds.

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