19 October 2008

FieldTrip: Mt. Vernon

The place where it all began. Our long and illustrious line of presidents, that is.
The facade of this home is gorgeous!

Such a fine day for a field trip. This was only last week too! 70 degrees and sunny.

We came upon a woman sewing clothing for one of Mr. Washington's slaves. She showed us the contents of her sewing basket and engaged the kids in a logic puzzle.

In the Upper Garden, an archaeological dig underway to determine the footprint of the original gardens and paths. Fascinating stuff to this wannabe archaeologist.

Middle daughter snapped this photo of what she affectionately called, "Brain Flower."
(Also known as "celosia" or "cockscomb")

The Washington family hosted several foreign dignitaries and American founding fathers at their Mt. Vernon plantation.
If I were invited to stay, and they suddenly ran out of beds...

... I'd happily sleep in the greenhouse.


16 October 2008

Family Race III: President Over All *

* Alternate title: The Parade of Goobers

Finally, I expose my own embarrassing high hopes for power and prestige. And yet, the chinks in my armor are so darned apparent. I worked in the yard most of yesterday. I was given only one hour notice before I had to take the stage. I borrowed a powdered wig. I stole the American flag. I tried to posture like a politician. Mostly, I tried to be frank and honest. Don't voters want honest politicians?

But then... along came this landslide speech by my opponent.

Listen to the crowd. They love him.
I never even had a gasp of hope.


Family Race II: For a Congressional Seat in the House

The kids decorated the sofa and curtains to be their stage. "It's our platform, Mom. We have to stand on it to say our speech."

After dinner last night, we spent a few minutes jotting down notes for our speeches. Some rushed around choosing a costume to wow the audience, while others decided to play the "I'm just a regular girl" card.

I'm so impressed. These two candidates had positively no input from anyone when they wrote their speeches.


Family Race I: For Supreme Judge of the House

We had a ball last night. If the camera is jiggly, it's because I was laughing too hard.

Stiff competition for sure.

The Curmudgeon Vs. The Cutie

Cast your vote!

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15 October 2008

The Kitchen Reform Party

So today's homeschool activity is an impromptu election. We held a candy election yesterday in our co-op, and the girls had such a fun time voting that they wanted to do it again. Happy to oblige them, I said to discuss what they wanted to vote on, to gather the candidates, make some ballots, set up the voting center, and we'd have an election when Daddy got home.

I thought maybe we would be voting for our favorite stuffed animal.
Or which dress looked the cutest on the Felicity doll.
Maybe what to have for dessert tonight.

C'mon Mom. Really.
Those are such small potatoes.

I have just duly been informed that we are setting up a household government. The middle two daughters are running for Household Congress. The youngest is running against her dad for the position of Supreme Judge. I am apparently on the ballot for the office of President of the Family. Running against my husband.
After dinner we will stump for our parties. We will debate the issues with our opponents. Then we will cast our free and democratic votes. I wonder who will win? Such an important election, you know.

One daughter asked me what political party I'm with.
Um, well, uh... since I didn't know I was running for office until 20 minutes ago... um... let me think... how about... The Kitchen Reform Party.

Dinner's in an hour. I better think up my campaign strategy. Any killer ideas?



10 October 2008

Proud to Be Demublicans

Our KONOS wisdom unit has gathered our family at the debate table every morning, noon, and night.
I am honestly the least politically-minded person around. (So imagine living in the Washington DC area these days. (Yeah. Like Dorothy and Toto riding a house through a tornado.)) My brain does not readily grasp political spin-speak. I don't typically care one way or the other about watching debates or reading position papers, picketing, polling, or posturing.
I make sure to honor our democratic right to vote, every year. I vote my conscience. It's just that my conscience is often woefully uneducated when I walk into the voting center. (Like a lot of other Americans, I'm afraid.)

This year though, things are different. I'm teaching it. So I better know a little bit about what I'm teaching, right? I better care about the issues and platforms before I couch them in terms a 5th and 3rd grader, and a Pre-K kiddo can grasp, right? Right.
Though my brain is about to turn to mush over it, I'm totally enjoying our family debate table.

When teaching our future voters to make wise choices, I can get bogged down in the mudslinging, the emotion, the picking nits from someone's particular campaign weave, and the charged language surrounding an election, but sometimes the best indicators are as obvious as the sun in the sky. We need to learn to evaluate life with the Lord's wisdom.

Here is a significant question floating around our house these days:

- Can a person's character be separated from how they act in office?
Should it?

To quote a very good book, "Even a child is known by his actions."


09 October 2008

FieldTrip: Geocaching

Arm child with a hand-held GPS system and the coordinates for a hidden treasure, care of Geocaching.com.
Orienteering and map reading skills.

Follow GPS coordinates to within 50ft- give or take a few- of the treasure location. Decode the scrambled letters to the extra hint, if necessary. Search high and low. Think outside the box. Get a little dirty, perhaps.
Creative thinking, problem solving, nature walks.

Taste the thrill of victory when you finally find it!
Improve self-esteem.

Open the weather proof container and choose a trinket treasure.
Decision making skills.

Leave a trinket in exchange in the spirit of geocaching comeraderie.

Sign the log book to prove you found the treasure cache.

Return geocache to its location for other treasure hunters to find. Pick up any trash you might see lying around.
Responsibility, stewardship.

Go home happy.
Refreshment, family bonding.

Bring your friends and relations geocaching with you next time.


02 October 2008

Backpacks for Christmas

I know many people like to give to Angel Tree, Compassion International, or local abuse shelters, etc. around the holidays. Many times these organizations ask people to pack a backpack full of school supplies, toys and toiletries for the kids in their specific field of ministry. (Our old church in Texas takes a bunch of filled backpacks down to the school kids in Mexico every year.)

We bought these at The Children's Place yesterday for $6.99 each. Markdowns on back-to-school items are rampant! And I really like the backpacks at TCP because they are well padded, roomy, and come in some dern fun styles. Who can beat $6.99???

Also if you're looking for an alternative to Christmas wrapping paper this year (like I am), think backpacks, laptop cases, messenger bags. The Children's Place had them all. For cheap.

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01 October 2008

A Woman Unhappily In Love

This is for Christine.

Oh the vast differences between being happily in love and...
souffles can tell a lot about a love life.