Friday, September 30, 2011

Belle Meade Plantation {Civil War Days}

Tuesday morning Adam and I set out with Maggie and Aidan in tow and we visited one of our favorite field trip sites in Nashville...Belle Meade Plantation.




Belle Meade is a stunning historical plantation situated on 30 acres of land. They have a restaurant and winery on their grounds. This plantation was owned by generations of thoroughbred horse breeders. They offer tons of wonderful Homeschool programming and this time we took part in their "Life On the Plantation During the Civil War" program.



We went on a scavenger hunt around the grounds of the plantation.





Both Maggie and Aidan had a turn at writing with quill and ink. Which turned out to be much harder than it looked.





Aidan learned how to be part of an infantry and how to load and shoot a {wooden} musket...


How to send signals using Morse Code...



And how soldiers communicated with flag signals on the fields. They got this idea from the Native American's smoke signals.


There was enough gunpowder fired to make my ears bleed. And cause a couple near coronaries.



Our program ended with a firing of the cannon. As if my ears had not had enough explosives for the day.



Did I mention I have an affinity for moss?


If ever you find yourself in Nashville, this is a must see stop.

Linking up at The Homeschool Post Field Trippin'

"My every mortal breath, is Grace and nothing less"

Monday, September 26, 2011

Butterfly Babies and Biology {Our First Month of School}

We are about a month and a half into our 2011-2012 school year, and loving every minute of it.

Seriously, I'm not sure why some years are easier than others, or why some years present more obstacles, or why some years I just find myself in a "funk", but this year we are moving full steam ahead and having a blast!

photo (4)

We started by moving our schoolroom back downstairs. We tried it upstairs, but not only was it impractical to be upstairs all day, but the teenager really wanted to move in.

I was inspired by Jamie's school area and even found a table similar to hers on Craigslist.

So back down into our living room we came.

I won't lie. It was much nicer when it was all stuffed upstairs out of sight and out of my way. But seeing how much more productive we can be in a work space that flows with our day to day life is helping me to tell the perfectionist within to get over it.


Biology is our focus in Science this year so we started by picking our favorite animals and classifying them. Maggie chose the horse and Aidan chose the cheetah.

It was so neat to see why they shared the same Kingdom, Phylum, and Class, but could not be in the same Order.

We also made an Edible Animal Cell that was not only fun to make but yummy as well.

I shared the step by step instructions here.

photo (3)

Thanks to Groupon we were able to get these caterpillar larvae from Insect Lore. We recieved 5 Painted Lady butterfly larvae complete with food.

photo (28)

Before long they were making their way to the top of the lid, forming their chrysalis.

photo (7)

Once we placed them in the Butterfly garden, all we had to do was wait.


It only took a few days.

We woke up one morning to find an adult Painted Lady butterfly in our garden.

Isn't she beautiful?

Yes, I'm assuming it is a she.

The kids were able to see one of the butterflies coming out of the chrysalis from start to finish.



This little guy had a wing that did not dry correctly.

Poor thing.

When we released them all, he could not fly on away on his own.

He did however manage to flop over to the grass giving it all he had.

We prayed for him but I assume he didn't make it very far. :-/


So far, this school year could not be going better if I tried.

I am so thankful and do not take it for granted.

How about you?

Is your year off to a good start?

What fun things are you learning about this year?

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"My every mortal breath, is Grace and nothing less"

Monday, September 19, 2011

Let Me Hold You Longer


This precious little man turned 9 today.

It has pretty much wrecked this momma.

He is my baby.

My last.

I could write a whole post on the flood of mixed emotions that come with realizing that there are certain things you will never do again as a mom.

As much as I try to "love all the stages" like everyone says, it is just suffocating at times.

I try to remember his skin on mine as I rocked him to sleep.

His grunts during our middle of the night feedings.

The way his voice sounded when he would stretch his chubby little arms up to me and say, "on holdchu momma."

I try so hard...but I just can't.

It seems so unfair.

Time flies.

Memories fade.

I hate it.


So as I do my best to wipe my snotty face and celebrate my sweet funny faced, makes me laugh like no other, random, affectionate, sensitive, tender little guy today, let me share this with you.

If you are a mother to young ones, and maybe it feels like you will never sleep, shower, or carry on adult conversations again...maybe this will encourage you to slow down.

Soak it up.

Don't wish a minute of it away.

It really is true what they say about time.

Unfortunately, sometimes time is the only way we are convinced.

If you are in the boat with me, navigating the unsettling waters of watching your babies become young ladies and young men...get your tissues.


Let Me Hold You Longer
By: Karen Kingsbury

"Long ago you came to me, a miracle of firsts:
First smiles and teeth and baby steps, a sunbeam on the burst.
But one day you will move away and leave to me your past,
And I will be left thinking of a lifetime of your lasts.
The last time that I held a bottle to your baby lips.
The last time that I lifted you and held you on my hip.
The last time when you woke up crying needing to be walked.
When last you crawled up with your blanket, wanting to be rocked.
The last time that you ran to me still small enough to hold,
The last time when you said you'd marry me when you grew old.
Precious, simple moments and bright flashes from the past -
Would I have held you longer if I'd known they were the last?
Our last adventure to the park, your final midday nap,
The last time when you wore your favorite faded baseball cap.
Your last few hours of kindergarten, last days of first grade,
Your last at bat in Little League, last colored picture made.
I never said goodbye to all your yesterdays long past.
So what about tomorrow -- will I recognize your lasts?
The last time that you catch a frog in that old backyard pond.
The last time that you run barefoot across our fresh-cut lawn.
Silly, scattered images will represent your past.
I keep on taking pictures, never quite sure of your lasts...
The last time that I comb your hair or stop a pillow fight.
The last that I pray with you and tuck you in at night.
The last time that we cuddle with a book, just me and you.
The last time you jump in our bed and sleep between us two.
The last piano lesson, last vacation to the lake.
Your last few weeks of middle school, last soccer goal you make.
I look ahead and dream of days that haven't come to pass.
But as I do, I sometimes miss today's sweet, precious lasts...
The last time that I help you with a math or spelling test.
The last when I should that yes, your room is still a mess.
The last time that you need me for a ride from here to there.
The last time that you spend the night with your old tattered bear.
My life keeps moving faster, stealing precious days that pass.
I want to hold on longer -- want to recognize your lasts...
The last time that you need my help with details of a dance.
The last time that you ask me for advice about romance.
The last time that you talk to me about your hopes and dreams.
The last time that you wear a jersey for your high school team.
I've watched you grow and barely noticed seasons as they pass.
If I could freeze the hands of time, I'd hold on to your lasts.
For come some bright fall morning you'll be going far away.
College life will beckon in a brilliant sort of way.
One last hug, one last good-bye, one quick and hurried kiss.
One last time to understand just how much you will be missed.
I'll watch you leave and think how fast our times together passed.
Let me hold on longer God, to every precious last.

Sweet Shot Day

"My every mortal breath, is Grace and nothing less"

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Eight Years of Tradition {Destin}

After 12 years of marriage my husband may not have me figured out entirely, but there is one thing he knows without a doubt...

Momma needs the beach.

If momma does not get to stick her toes in the sand at least once within a 12 month stretch, momma gets cranky.

And so every year we head to Destin.


This year's trip meant eight years of tradition for us.


Eight years of sitting on the beach at sunrise with my best friend. Coffee in hand.

Eight years of hanging at The Donut Hole.

Eight years of tradition.

Don't you just love a place that becomes so familiar and comfortable to you that it feels like going home?

A place where you can navigate your way around on back roads and the kids say things like, "Are we gonna hunt crabs tonight like we always do?"

It gives me so much joy to see them anticipating us doing something, simply because "we always do".

destin family

This was our first time to Destin back in 2004.



destin adam & aidan

Seriously this is brutal.

There are times when time feels like a friend.

And times when it feels like a thief.

Back then we were changing diapers and doing our best to keep pacifiers out of the sand.

Now, we are watching them skim board and taking them on spontaneous donut runs at midnight.

Time marches on...with our without my permission.

Of course what would a trip to Destin be without "family picture night"?

I have to be honest, this endeavor can be a real killjoy. I have yet to figure out how to enjoy this more.

If you are a photographer, and you have the secret to shooting your own family without threatening them within and inch of their lives, feel free to help a sister out.







Speaking of tradition, this is a shot I get every year without fail. I insist even though they grumble. So amazing to look at last year's picture and see how much they have grown.


Does your family have a traditional vacation spot?

A traditional family portrait?

Sweet Shot Day

"My every mortal breath, is Grace and nothing less"

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Edible Animal Cell Model {Biology Project}


Today we made a {yummy} model of an animal cell.

Biology is my focus in Science this year with Maggie and Aidan. So far we are loving it.

Tyler is taking Biology as a Sophomore through our tutorial so this was a project that we could all enjoy together.


I used this picture as inspiration.

Feel free to use whatever you choose to represent each part of the cell.

The possibilities are endless really.

Be creative.

Have fun with it.

Here is what we used:

  • Glass pan (Cell Membrane)
  • Jello (Cytoplasm)
  • Plum (Nucleus)
  • Plum Pit (Nucleolus)
  • Plum Skin (Nuclear Membrane)
  • Raisins (Mitochondrion)
  • Cookie Frosting Tube to create the "ribbon like" effect (Golgi Body)
  • Gobstoppers (Vacuole)
  • Candy Sprinkles (Ribosomes)
  • Gummy Worms (Smooth ER)
  • Sour Gummy Worms (Rough ER)
  • Gumdrops (Centrosome)
  • M&M's (Lysosome)

    **Candy sprinkles and frosting were not pictured above. I forgot them and it was too late to take another picture when I realized.


    We started by making the jello. We let it sit in refrigerator for about an hour or until it was mostly solidified but not completely set.


    As the kids added each piece to our model, I had the laptop on hand to research it's unique function within the cell. And to see an actual picture if possible.


    There you have it. An animal cell.

    An animal that obviously has an affinity for M&Ms.

    Wonder if that's what my cells look like?

    No, mine have this written all over them for sure.



    The best part about the project?

    Partaking of the leftover supplies.

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    "My every mortal breath, is Grace and nothing less"

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