December 17, 2008

Volunteer work

The kids have really put their heart into the volunteer activities we've participated in this Fall. Mary, Britany and Lizzy fed the homeless with our Sunday School class in November, and all of the kids participated in packing lunches which would be passed out to anyone who came in for a meal. In December all of us went with our Sunday School class to sing Christmas Carols at the VA's convelescent home. While we were there, the kids passed out reindeer candy canes that we all made. Britany and I also volunteer in AWANA Cubbies. I do the story and she does the puppet show.

I've been really impressed with all of the kids desire to give. They have truly given their all to each activity we're had the opportunity to be involved in.

Britany, Cubbie and Zippy


Once we became 8 we found it necessary to move out of our happy little schoolroom...

...and begin transforming the basement. Everyone helped...

...and now we are settled in...

...with plenty of room for everyone.

Mary's first day of school

I'm hoping to utilize the Christmas break to catch up on our blog!

These pictures are from Mary's first day of school with us. We went to the airport for a tour, the highlight of which was a look at their fire department. Mary had the opportunity to put on one of their suits, and also to sit in the massive (and I do mean MASSIVE) fire truck. The most memorable fact of the day was that the stuff they spray on an airplane which is on fire is made of a combination of water and cat-gut. It smells as bad as the whole idea of it sounds!

December 8, 2008

Intercity Ballet presents the Nutcracker

In December we went to the Nutcracker Ballet performed by the Intercity Ballet at the Eastman Auditorium. We all enjoyed it when it snowed inside the auditorium. (Really it was paper hole punches.)
  • Mary's favorite part was the dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies.
  • Britany liked the Mouse King the best.
  • Gracie liked the Dancing Snowflakes in the Land of Snow most.
  • Alli liked it best when the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Cavalier danced at the end.
  • Mitchell and Ronnie most enjoyed the fight scene between the Mouse King and the Nutcracker and their armies.

November 17, 2008


By Mary
My name is Mary and my dog Pugly sleeps with me. He snores really loud at night time. Sometimes he will wake up and start scratching. He likes to snuggle with me at night time. Pugly is my best friend and I love him very much.

The Niagara Falls

By Ronnie
Niagara falls is beautiful. You can take a boat up to the falls where you get soaked even though you have a poncho on. The falls are 180 feet tall and are very misty. The Niagara River is in both Canada and America; half goes to each country. You can get in the falls or stand as high as the falls by climbing more than 100 steps to get to a platform that is right next to the falls. When it's a nice sunny day, a beauty full rainbow appears. It's a really neat thing to see.

By Lizzy
My dad took me and my brother to Niagara Falls where we rode a big boat called Maid of the Mist. Before we got on, we had to put on a big blue poncho. We got on the boat and saw it had two levels, but, of course we rode up top. We learned that the US Canada border is in the middle of the falls. When we went by the falls it was very loud, like a roaring train passing by with a thousand carts. We all got very wet. It was like a massive thunder storm without lightning. Boy, am I glad I wore that big poncho.

November 13, 2008

Welcome Home[school]

We welcome Lizzy and Mary to our homeschool and blog. Mary began with us in September and Lizzy joined us in October. We are 7 kids now, ages 3 1/2 to almost 15.

In Line for the McCain Rally

John McCain Rally

John McCain Rally
by Lizzy

On November 3, 2008, we went to a rally for John McCain. We had to wait in a long line to get through security. When we got in the hanger it was very crowded so that anyone under six feet could barely see. We listened to many politicians speak, and one of the Statler Brothers sang. We all sang songs, like "America the Beautiful", the "National Anthem", and "Rocky Top". I liked it best when he sang "Pretty Woman" and dedicated it to Sarah Palin. After our intense wait we saw John McCain's plane finally landed. We held the little kids on our shoulders so they could see, until we had to put them down because we ached. John McCain got on stage and talked about all sorts of issues including the coal mines. We listened to him for about twenty minutes before he had to leave. When he got on the plane we waved goodbye, then waited for the big hanger doors to open. We rushed out, all eager to sit in the car after three hours of standing.

The Long Wait

The Long Wait
by Ronnie

When I was in line to go into the hanger to listen to McCain I was very excited. McCain wasn't there yet, so we had to listen to other politicians speak about why we should vote for McCain and not Obama. We sang songs and listened to them speak for hours. Finally McCain arrived in a special airplane and everyone was screaming and hollering and taking pictures. When McCain was done speaking my back hurt from standing so long, and when I got out of the hanger I couldn't wait to sit down. It was a very exciting experience.

The Mudslinging of Politics

The Mudslinging of Politics
by Britany

Barack Obama and John McCain are running for president as part of opposing parties. They both like to boast on themselves and try to win everyone's vote. When I was watching the debate, I noticed that they were arguing with each other, interrupting each other, and putting each other down. Then we saw John McCain at a rally at Tri-Cities airport. All McCain talked about was winning the election and making fun of Obama. If I were able to vote I wouldn't vote, because they argue to much.

Different Party, Same Family

Different Party, Same Family
by Mary

People should be able to vote for different people like my mom and my dad did. My mom and my dad talk to each other about why they voted for different people, but they do not fight about it, because they love each other. Last night I read an article on the computer about Obama, and my dad read one to me about McCain. I love my dad, but I would vote with my mom, because she voted for Obama. My aunt Nicole was trying to teach us about both candidates, but she likes McCain better.

October 24, 2008

Coop, Making Mini-Books

We are responsible for preparing the Handi-Craft for coop, and this time we taught the kids how to make mini-scrapbooks. They picked their own cover paper and then assembled them together step by step.

We also did an artist study together.

All of the little kids did another art project together.

September 26, 2008

Coop, Learning How to Knit

We taught our friends how to knit for a handicraft at coop.

September 15, 2008

Cooking at Rocky Mount

Cooking in 1791
by Ronnie

When we went to Rocky Mount we cooked bacon, corn bread, and tea the way they did it in 1791. In wealthy homes the kitchen was a separate building from the house, because if the kitchen burned down, the whole house would. A slave cooked for the whole family, and lived in the attic above the kitchen. We made our own tea bags, and put spices in our tea from the garden. We cooked corn bread from scratch in a cast iron pot called a dutch oven. Everything we cooked was cooked over an open fire. The room felt like it was at least 200 degrees. We were told that more women died because of the kitchen fire than childbirth. In 1791 the children had chores to keep a good supply of water throughout the day for the slave, and to keep the dishes washed. I am awfully glad that I live in the year 2008, with an oven, running water and electricity!

Cooking at Rocky Mount
by Britany

At Rocky Mount we were able to take a cooking class so that we could understand how the cooking was done in the 1970’s. Megan, Jemma and I were in the corn bread group, Ronnie, Keegan and Mitchell were in the tea group, and a couple other kids made bacon. When we made the corn bread we used one and one-half cup corn meal, one egg, one tablespoon of oil, and one and one-half cup of milk. We stirred it until it was mixed well. Then, we set the pan of batter on hot coals that we scooped out of the fire, and scooped out more hot coals to put on the lid. It took about 15 to 20 minutes to cook. While we were waiting for the corn break to cook, we went outside to see the Spring House, and gather some mint leaves for the tea. We gathered spearmint, peppermint, and lemon balm leaves. When we got back to the kitchen the corn bread wasn’t quite finished yet, so we finished the tea and sat around talking for a few minutes. When it was done, we all enjoyed the snack we had made. It was very good. When we were done we had to wash our own dishes and put them away.

September 12, 2008

Rock Creek Recreation Area Hike

Our trip to Rock Creek Recreation Area was officially a Nature Study outing, but it turned into so much more. We had a picnic and then did, in fact, study nature some.

There was some searching for termites, and then a dirt clod fights.The boys enjoyed swimming in the lake until it started pouring rain. Typically the kids have to get out of the water at the first sign of rain here, because lightning almost always accompanies the rain, but this time was unusual because there was no lighting. Mitchell took advantage of the oddity by floating on his back in the lake with the rain coming down on him for quite some time.

While we stayed at the trail-head, Britany and some of the other teens and parents when on a hike to the falls.
By Britany

We went to Rock Creek Recreation area with our co-op group, and a few of us had an opportunity to go on a hike up to a waterfall. We were expecting the hike up to the falls to be four hours long, but we didn't have that much time, so we didn't know if we would be able to go all the way to the top. Even though we knew we might not make it to see the waterfall, we were still excited to go on the hike.

All around the trail was very pretty. We saw many interesting plants, and fungus. We talked about the plants we had passed and even identified some of them.

We made it to the waterfall quicker than we expected. When we got there we took off our shoes and socks and went to play in the water. Megan and I sat on a ledge, and the water rushed past us. It was cool and refreshing.

On our way back to the cars it started to rain. We ran on some of the flat parts of land. When we were running the rain was hitting us on the face.

When we got back to the cars, we met up with the people who didn't go on the hike. We left the park at about four o'clock in the afternoon. Even though we were wet and cold, we were happy that we reached the waterfall.

September 7, 2008

5 little monkeys swingin' from a tree (at Rocky Mount)

The big girls' tree
(The local "hangout"...)
The boys' tree
(The location of the 2008 apple war...)
The little girls' tree
(Really just ... ahhhhhh)

I won't show you the mama's tree -
it had been cut down and built into a picnic table. ;-)

The McClung House

Photograph by Mitchell
Build in the 1790's, this house is thought to have been used as a hospital
for wounded soldiers during the Civil War.

An Interesting Cabin

An Interesting Cabin
by: Britany
Photograph by Mitchell

At the Appalachian museum I saw the actual cabin that Mark Twain lived in as a child, and it was interesting how similar it was to the one that is in my book, "The Little House in The Big Woods". In Twain's cabin was a trundle bed right below the regular bed. In my book Mary and Laura slept in the trundle bed. In a corner in the back of the room I saw a baby crib which was like the one that baby Carrie slept in. In front of the fireplace there was a butter churn. Mary used the butter churn to make butter. Above the fireplace hung a gun. In my book Pa would come home from a long day in the forest, and hang his gun over the fireplace. In the front of the cabin, in the left hand corner, there was a fiddle sitting on a table. In the evenings Pa would play his fiddle until the girls were asleep. Looking at Twain's cabin really brought the book I'm reading to life.

September 5, 2008

Blueberry Picking

Blueberry Picking
by Ronnie
Photograph by Mitchell
When we went blueberry picking there were tons of bushes to pick blueberries off of. There were big blueberries and small ones, but we wanted to get as many big ones as we could fit in our buckets, because they were the tastiest ones. We all plowed through bushes, picking blueberries and eating lots of them too. After a couple of hours of picking we had five gallons of blueberries. We made blueberry cobbler with some of them, and it was good!

August 30, 2008

Six boys in a stream

Six boys in a stream = Old fashioned socialization.

Angler Fish

This is the Angler Fish that lives in the abyss. He has a bright light that is illuminecent like a fire fly, and he attracts fish with it. When the fish come to check out the light, the Angler Fish eats them! The Angler Fish is real cool.

August 23, 2008

Flying Creatures of the 5th Day

Last year we studied science using the book, "Exploring Creation: Zoology I, Flying Creatures of the 5th Day" by Jeanie Fulbright. Science is definitely a favorite for all of us, and this book series is terrific! We built birdhouses, made suit, started a life book to record all the birds we've seen and many other fun things.

How to Make Suet
By Britany
May 2008

Many birds like suet, including the Yellow Bellied Sapsucker, the Hearty Wood Pecker, and even the White Breasted Nuthatch. These might live in your area, or they may fly through while migrating. If you make suet you will see more birds in your yard. All you need is: crunchy peanut butter, lard, raisins, sugar, oats, and bird seed. First, you melt the lard and peanut butter in a small pot over low heat. When the lard and peanut butter is melted add all of the other ingredients together and mix well. When you're finished, put it in the freezer to harden. When you are ready to put it outside you will need to put it in a suet feeder, and hang it from a tree. Making the suet was fun, but watching the different birds coming to the feeder to eat what I made for them is the best part about it.

August 12, 2008

Bay's Mountain

This time we went to Bay's Mountain just to wander about looking at the animals. Kim and Grayson came with us. While we were there, they brought out the Horned Owl. We've never been there when any of the animals have been out, and he was really neat. Later, we stopped by the lake to have a picnic.

The turtles were out sunbathing this time.