Field Trip Friday: Camp Bayou

Last Friday’s field trip was a half family field trip. It was more of a school thing for the youngers, so dad, baby and the teens stayed home to do other things.

The rest of us headed down to Camp Bayou in Ruskin, Florida for a class on weaving and a class on hut construction. When we got there they split us into two groups — ages 7 and up started with hut construction and ages 6 and down started with weaving. That worked out perfectly for everyone except me who had kids in both groups. I had to keep running back and forth to get pictures of both classes. Aerobics

I stayed with Jesse’s group first as he’s usually a little lot nervous about me leaving him anywhere.

The instructors first showed the children how weaving would work. Once Jesse had a turn, I ran over to check on hut construction. Happily, Jesse stayed with his group.

They were still standing around talking so I ran back to weaving!

After Jesse’s mat was done, we ran back to the hut construction, but it was over. That quick those kids had constructed a hut and then taken it down again! Oh well!! The groups switched and it was John and Sophia’s turn to do weaving and the little guys got to build a hut. First the instructor let them examine a hut that was constructed by the boy scouts for an eagle scout project.

Then it was on to building their own hut!

Once hut construction was complete, Jesse and I (he wouldn’t let me leave him this time) ran over to check on the weavers.

They were doing totally fine on their own so we ran back to make sure we didn’t miss anything at the end of hut construction. Good thing we did. They were just about to take a group picture of the kids in their hut!

I couldn’t help snapping a pic of the moms snapping pics with their phones and cameras. We do all love taking pictures of our kids, don’t we? Pleasure

After deconstruction to ready the activity for the next group, the instructor led them around the grounds. They were pretty interested in the gator trap!

When Jesse and I walked back to weaving, Sophia was running around playing tag while John and a few others finished up. What a great little place and a fun time learning new things!!

DeSoto National Memorial

The whole family drove down to Bradenton yesterday to get baby’s handprint made for our wall collage. When he was done, we headed over to the DeSoto National Memorial.

It was QUITE chilly for Florida, but we thought the location was a hidden treasure.

The kids had a great time climbing around on the rocks. Mom was only a little nervous.

After running about outside for a while, we retreated into the visitors’ center to watch a 20 minute video about Hernando DeSoto. Overall, we found the story to be quite sad for both the natives and the explorers. I’m happy, however, for my children to have a more vivid account of one of the famous explorers than I ever had from school. After an obligatory shot of all the kids at the memorial monument, we headed home to get the kids ready for church today.

Field Trip Friday: Return to Apple Tree Farm

A couple of weekends ago, the kids and Kenny and I returned to our favorite Apple Orchard for their annual Farm Fest. Of course, I wanted to get the kids’ photo in front of the orchard’s sign like I did the previous two years. And, of course, the sign was not there this year. 🙁 But they had some cool decor on the porch to use as a photo backdrop.

Just for reference, here are the group pics from 2011 and 2012:

Riverview 2011 with wm

Poor Jesse didn’t even make it into this one. I had no idea it would become a tradition! I took this pic at the end so I bet he was asleep in the sling. 🙂 Just so he doesn’t get skipped, here is one of my favorite pics of him from that year:

Jesse eating apple 2011 wm

Riverview 2012

Wow. Just wow. What a difference a year makes in the life of a teenager!! They change as quickly as babies!! Here is the shot from this year:

Riverview Orchard 2013

Some of my favorites: 🙂

Jesse laughing at dad
No idea what was on Jesse’s mind in the hay maze!

John hayride
John Elijah on the hayride.

dadandboys behind the wagon
There was no room on the hayride for Dad and the boys so they walked down to the orchard. You can see them if you look closely.

sophia with apple bag
Sophia wanted to carry the apple bag.

jesse with apple bag
The minute she sat it down, Jesse ran off with it!

abe and kenny apple picking
Abe and Kenny came up with a way to get the high apples!

wes and kenny picking apples
Wesley had to try it, too! Good thing Dad’s been working out!!

jesse picking apple
Just a cute apple picking photo.

mom and kids on hayride
Proof that I was actually there. Thank, Abe. 🙂

big boys at the apple farm
My handsome young men.

I’m so glad we’re still in New York at apple picking time. We were sad when we thought we might have to leave in August and miss it. In fact, I think we may have to walk down to the orchard this weekend and pick a few more!

Field Trip Friday — Clark Museum in Williamstown, Mass.

It’s been a while since I posted a Field Trip Friday post! I had lots more to tell about the Kentucky trip, but the summer got away from me. Most of you know I started a new blog, Daffodils at Home. I’ve been working very hard on making that blog a part time job and it’s left little time for other blogging. I will still be popping in from time to time here, though. My ultimate goal is to have Daffodils at Home as my home/decor blog, Daffodil Days as a personal blog to talk about the goings on in the family (funny stories, kid birthdays, etc.), and a separate blog (can you guess the name?) to cover all things homeschool. I know. It sounds like a lot! But I’ll only be blogging here and at the homeschool blog once or twice a week.

With all that said, I will backtrack and post pictures of the Kentucky trip and the recent kid birthdays over the next few weeks. For today, I want to talk about an absolutely AMAZING museum we found quite by chance in Williamstown, Massachusetts. I saw an article in the Sunday newspaper about three weeks ago telling about an exhibit by Winslow Homer that was soon to close. I had never heard of Winslow Homer but was working hard on the new school schedule at the time and was in the middle of scheduling artists for the year. (We study one artist in depth each term of the school year.) I saw the words “Famous American Artist”, “from Boston”, and “ending soon” and was hooked. We had to go! I looked it up on Google maps and found out it was only 49 miles away.

I quickly fell in love with Winslow Homer. Born in Boston in the late 1800s, he is most well known for his marine paintings. My favorite so far is called Boys in a Pasture. I now have a framed print of it on the wall of our school room:

dining room homer print

We drove about an hour and a half to get to the museum so the first thing we did was have a picnic lunch. I’m glad we grabbed some food before we left home because we seemed to be out in the boonies with an expensive museum lunch as the only alternative. It was a beautiful day for a picnic!

Clark picnic

Clark picnic John

After the picnic, all the kids wanted to see the “brain” on the side of the tree. I’m guessing it’s some kind of protection because a limb was removed?

Clark brain on the tree

When we got into the museum, they told us the Homer exhibit was upstairs and part of their permanent collection was downstairs. I thought it would be a good idea to glance at the permanent collection first because we would be tired and want to go home after seeing all of the Homer stuff. The first room we walked into was full of paintings by John Singer Sargent such as this one titled Mademoiselle Jourdain:

Clark Sargent 2

The next room had a Paul Gauguin (!) called Young Christian Girl:

Clark Gaugain 2

There was also a Renior in this room called Bather Arranging Her Hair. I won’t post the picture as the bather is nude. You can look it up if you’re interested. Abe didn’t want to go into this room at all because of it, but I dragged him in (letting him turn his head away from the Renoir to make him feel better) because, people, THERE WAS A MONET IN THIS ROOM!!!!

Rouen Cathedral: The Facade in Sunlight
Monet Rouen Cathedral

I nearly cried. Monet is my favorite. 🙂 I wish you could see it in real life. I wish I could go back and stare at it longer!! There was so much more. We saw several more by Renoir, Manet, Louis-David, Fragonard, Corot, Rousseau, Toulouse-Lautrec, Millet, Delacroix, Turner. I’m sure there were others equally famous. Those were just a few that the children and I have studied over the years.

There was a statue called Little Dancer Aged Fourteen by Edgar Degas:

degas little dancer

It was stunning. I had completely forgotten that Degas also did sculptures. The one that had me nearly in tears, though, was this one:

Virgin and Child with Saint John the Baptist by Sandro Botticelli

I’m so glad they allowed photography. (with no flash, of course) I’m nearly in tears all over again looking through all the photos. I made all the kids stand and drink in that Botticelli as long as was decent.

Needless to say, we didn’t get a huge amount of time on the Homer exhibit. By the time we got to it, the littles had nearly had it. (Some of the bigs were getting a little museum weary, too.) Here are a couple that I particularly liked:

Homer summer squall
Summer Squall

Homer shepherdess of houghton farm
Shepherdess of Houghton Farm

Homer the eagle's nest
The Eagle’s Nest

I had to stop a guard on the way out and tell her how moved I was by the museum’s exhibits. She told me to plan to come back next year because half the museum was closed for renovations. You better believe that trip is on my to do list for 2014! Really, I’d make the trip again just for the Monet and the Botticelli.

Field Trip Friday — Niagara Falls!

Last week when we set out on our week long adventure to a retreat in Kentucky (and yes, this trip will provide fodder for Field Trip Friday posts for several weeks!), we had no intention of stopping at Niagara Falls. It wasn’t even on our scope. But as we were driving down the road, Kenny mentions that we’ll pass right by it. What?! Really!? Can we stop?!!! Wonderful man that he is, he says yes — even though it cost us about 2 hours of driving time.

Since we didn’t plan to stop at Niagara, we didn’t really know what we were doing. We had rented a Chevy Tahoe for the trip which had built in GPS so we just plugged Niagara Falls into the system and clicked on the first thing that came up. It did get us to Niagara Falls, New York.

wecome to nf sign

In my mind, I think Niagara Falls, New York, was just a big giant waterfall with maybe a post office next to it. And maybe a hotel.

It’s actually a bustling city and the falls are not that easily accessible. I’d say we wasted at least another half an hour trying to locate them. We finally found them in a state park. We paid $10 for parking and had to walk a little ways to get to the actual falls.

walking to the falls

Oh. my. goodness. It was SO worth it. Breathtaking.

I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.

Falls 1

Falls 3Falls 4Falls 2Falls 5

We saw some Canadians…


When we looked out at the coast of Canada through the mist we saw them again. I think they got wet!

Falls at Canada

Of course, we had to ask someone to take a picture of the whole family at the Falls!

Falls whole fam

And Abe kindly (although with a bit of grumbling over the kissing!) took romantic pics of mom and dad at Niagara Falls.

Falls mom and dad

Falls kissin

I also got a couple of great kid shots. 🙂

Falls Nov

Falls Dad and Jesse

If you’re ever in the vicinity, you must stop! We can’t wait to go back with passports and look from the Canadian side, too!