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Monday, September 28, 2009

We Ate the Louisiana Purchase!

We discovered several years ago that salt-dough maps were not worth making. After all, what can you do with them when you're done? So we converted to cookie maps. We recently finished up a study on the Lewis & Clark Expedition. Here is our cookie map.

From School Year 2009-2010


Lewis and Clark are not to scale. Well, actually the whole thing is not to scale, but Lewis and Clark are particularly large! At this size, it wouldn't have been much of a trip!

From School Year 2009-2010


We used candy corn for the Indian tribes,orange slices for the mountains, and chocolate chips for the Buffalo herds.

From School Year 2009-2010


It was a fun project. After taking photos, we dug right in. Nothing much is left . . .

We are seriously considering a "Lewis & Clark Expedition" of our own next summer. We are looking into renting canoes for the Ft. Benton to Judith Landing portion in Montana and/or a hike on Lolo Pass in Idaho. Would anyone like to join us in St. Louis and head west?

Here is another fun picture from last week's school. Nathan built a periodic table from Lego for his chemistry class at co-op.

From School Year 2009-2010

Monday, September 21, 2009

Noah's Birthday

From Sept 09 - Noah's Birthday


I can't believe Noah is ten today! He celebrated his birthday on Saturday with a party at the lakefront in our neighborhood. He invited his brothers and the neighborhood kids to a "Survivor" party. Rebecca and I helped plan the team challenges. They had a treasure hunt, filled buckets with lake water using only one cup per team (and a little help from a rainstorm), had an eating challenge where they ate baby food, and hunted for the right key to the pool gate at the bottom of the neighborhood pool. It was a simple but fun party! Here are some photos:

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Our Spot

From Sept 09 Camping Trip


It seems that most families have a spot that they love to return to over and over. For many, it's a place on the beach or in the mountains or maybe even Disney World. When I was growing up, our spot was Gunner Pool - a camping spot on a clear creek in Arkansas. Our family added another spot - Devil's Den - in later years. Terry's family's "spot" was his grandparent's cabin on Boone Lake (which ended up being our first home!). These places bring back great memories of adventure and togetherness.

Terry and I found our spot thirteen years ago at Little Oak Campground on S. Holston Lake near the Tennessee/Virginia border. It's a little hard to get to - you need to travel more than 20 min. down a deserted gravel road - but for us it has been worth the drive. It's a great place for skiing since there is a slalom ski course in a cove just five minutes from the campsite. The campsites are huge and have great views. There is no electricity, but that just serves to keep the crowds down.There is nothing like the combination of mountains, a clear lake and quietness to nourish your soul.

Here is a slide show of our weekend there.



Also, I've been trying a great free program for doing something called a "photosynth" (you can use it free at www.photosyth.com). Anyway, I tried a couple with our spot at S. Holston, the first one is in the fog - the second in the sunshine. It's a fun tool for photos!



Tuesday, September 8, 2009

My First Bagels!

From For Blog - created Sept 09


First, a little background. My kids are starting to eat us out of house and home! My older two are especially fond of blueberry bagels. If I allowed just Nathan to eat his fill, I have calculated that my bagel budget would be $40 per month! And that's just for one child. So I decided to try making them myself - mostly just to see if I could save some money but also because I was curious about the process.

You see, I've had some excellent bagels when visiting different parts of the country, but we don't have much in the way of gourmet bagels around here. You are pretty much stuck buying Sara Lee at Walmart. There is a nice bagel shop (Manna Bagel) run by some Messianic Jews in the next town over, but they visit the Holy Land and close their shop about six months of the year - plus my cost savings would definitely disappear if I went that route. So having had a Southern Baptist grandmother instead of a Jewish grandmother, I had to rely on the internet for this one.

I used the recipe on this website and added dried blueberries. Rebecca thought they looked like huge, soggy Honey Nut Cheerios when they were cooking.

From For Blog - created Sept 09


In spite of that unappetizing metaphor, they actually turned out quite good!

From For Blog - created Sept 09


They were crispy and crunchy with a nice blueberry flavor. They really needed a few more blueberries to be wonderful - which may put my cost up in the Sara Lee category unless I can find a cheap source of blueberries. It really wasn't difficult or messy to make them, and they have no added fat -which leaves plenty of calories left for the cream cheese! I can't wait to try some new flavors like cinnamon, chocolate, bacon,cheese & onion, Asiago cheese, etc.