"…And she smiles at the future." ~Proverbs 31:25

Posts tagged ‘field trip’

The butterfly chase

Our first field trip of the school year was to the Museum of Natural Science.  We started with a picnic, of course—the unwritten rule of field trips in our family!

While there, the girls and I explored the Butterfly Center.

The combination of exotic plants and beautiful butterflies made it a dream world for Addison. I think she would happily have moved right in!

Her goal to be landed on was achieved not once…

….not twice…

…but three different times, which made for a very happy Addy.

These photos—not cropped at all—show how closely we were able to view so many gorgeous varieties of butterflies:

I am so thankful we live in a place with lots of fun, educational opportunities.

I’m looking forward to more fun field trips throughout the year, so here’s my question for you: What were your favorite field trips when you were in school? Which outings do you fondly remember taking, and where did you always wish you could have gone?

Thanks for stopping by!


Wild change of plans

Sometimes things just don’t go the way we plan—and for some of us, that’s hard to stomach. But this past weekend was a perfect reminder that even when our plans go astray, the outcome can still be spectacular!

It was supposed to be a family weekend, but at the last minute Troy ended up having to stay behind due to a work-related situation.  I piled all the kids into the SUV and we took off on our own, determined to make the best of our time, even without him along. Within two minutes—and I mean literally, within two minutes on the road—the rain began to pour down, and it continued for almost the entire trip.

Our friend, Cindy, had invited us to stay at her bed-and-breakfast. We arrived in the dark, in the pouring rain, via a circuitous route (compliments of our practical-joke-loving GPS), but at least we were safely there.

The next morning, it became clear that the rain which had made traveling so crazy was also responsible for the incredible smell coming from all the gorgeous, dripping plants around the property.

The place was beautiful and Cindy made us feel right at home. We had this whole wing to ourselves:

What a gift! (Thank you, Cindy!) She also blessed us with some incredible breakfasts.

Even though we weren’t able to do some of the things we’d planned for that day, we all still had a great time together.

Changed plans reigned again the next day as the weather made our original itinerary impossible, but the happy result was that we were able to spend the whole day with my brother and with Cindy and her son, doing some really cool things like visiting this place:

It was one of those drive-through safaris where you get to be up close and personal with lots of different wildlife, feeding them and laughing hysterically when they stick their heads right in through your open window to say hello! The weather was perfect, and the day with family and friends was better than anything we could have planned.

Here’s a small sampling of the animals we enjoyed. (Note that I was using a camera with very little zoom. They were just this close!)

This one was so sweet. It looked exactly like he was wearing a toupee!

We started lining the food pellets up on the windowsills for a closer view.

Addy was riding in this car in front of us, so we got to watch her feeding the animals…

…and hear her laugh and scream whenever they got too close…

Ever feel like you’re being followed? At one point I looked up into my rear-view mirror, and here’s what I saw:

After our drive and some lunch, we headed over to the petting area, where the girls became quite enamored of the little goats.

As you can see, this one especially loved snacking on Remi’s skirt.

Addy’s shirt must have been pretty tasty, too.

I thought all the lemurs were cute…

…but this one cracked me up! Just kickin’ back…

My bird lover was overjoyed to get her hands on a colorful feather from the macaw cages.

At the end of the day, Uncle Kyle gave all the kiddos coins so they could each choose an animal and press a souvenir penny. They took this very seriously…

Thanks for coming along to see what made me smile this weekend. I hope you’re smiling, too! (If not, check this funny guy out. I’m quite certain God has a hilarious sense of humor!)

Thanks for stopping by.

Once in a lifetime

Did you see it?

I certainly wouldn’t call myself an astronomy buff, but when I heard about the transit of Venus, and when I found out that it would be visible this evening but never again in the lifetime of anyone in existence today, you can bet I loaded the kids in the car and took off for the closest viewing area I could find.

A local museum had several powerful telescopes set up with special filters (thus all the duct tape) where we’d be able to see Venus passing between us and the sun.  Very, very cool…

Scientists say that this phenomenon won’t be seen again until the year 2117, so I’m thrilled we were able to get in on this once-in-a-lifetime experience today.

Thankfully, it was a beautiful, clear evening, which made for great viewing. But although I could see it with my own eyes, I just couldn’t manage to capture the amazing sight with my camera. Then we found this guy…

…who’d brought his giant, self-built telescope…

…and had the brilliant idea of projecting the image onto a white surface, which allowed me to finally get the picture I’d been hoping for:

As expected, the reflection photo doesn’t do justice to what we really saw. (To our eyes, the sun was a brilliant red.) But at least you can see how clear the view of the transit was. The darkest spot is, of course, Venus, and the others are sun spots (places where the temperature is cooler).

My favorite photo of the evening was taken as Chandler put on some disposable viewing lenses. I happened to catch him just as he looked through them for the first time, caught a glimpse of the rare occurrence, and  said…..you guessed it…..WOW!

Because really, what else can you say?

The heavens are telling of the glory of God;

And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.

There is no speech, nor are there words…

(Psalm 19: 1, 3)

Did any of you get to experience this, too? If so, I’d love to hear about it.

Thanks for stopping by!


I guess it’s impossible for a young child to NOT be affected by living in a home where three older children are being homeschooled daily. But the reminders of these effects pop up at unexpected times…

…like while we were watching a family movie which showed a grown man sitting at a table, writing in a book. Remington, our three-year-old, glanced at him and shrugged one shoulder, then stated matter-of-factly, “He’s doing his science.”

This morning she said to me, “Mommy, I want to take a walk with you. I want to go into a field. So we can have a field trip.”

I can always tell when Remi has been “helping” me fill the other kids’ workboxes…

This morning I found the generous donation of a tube of Chapstick in one. I often find a small board book inside, which she has graciously decided to share with her siblings, who actually enjoy finding these little surprises–this evidence she was thinking about them.  Looking back, I realize that she’s been doing this ever since she could stand by herself!

I once asked her to tell me what the big kids do all day. Here was her answer:

They do school! They write, and do their science, and grammar.                                                                                                                                            They listen to music and look at their no-picture books. They get drinks.                                                                                                                               And they play with me for a few minutes. Because they love me.

The fact that she recognizes that her older siblings are not too busy for her makes me so happy!  I love that she gets that the reason they occasionally take breaks to play with her is that they truly love her, and love having her around.

Thinking back even further, I remember a statement my oldest son made when he was eight years old. Addison had just started wanting to “do school” with us, and I was worried about how frustrating I thought it must be for Chandler to have his 2-year-old sister underfoot while he was working. She  always wanted to be involved in whatever we were doing…

My concern dissipated when Chandler smiled at her and said (to me), “I can’t imagine if we had to leave her all day long. We’d miss all the funny things she says and does. We’d miss HER.

So, I guess we’re all affected by this incredible lifestyle. And I am thankful.

What are you thankful for today?

Thanks for stopping by!

Stepping back in time

“When it rains it pours.”

Whoever first said that sure knew what he was talking about. Lately my growing pile of aggravations has been threatening to bury me. Thankfully, I’ve got a secret weapon. Want to know what it is?

I’ve noticed that the more frustration I have to deal with, the more crucial it becomes for me to focus on all the things I’m thankful for in life…to really, truly count my blessings so that they’re at the forefront of my mind, blocking out that mass of junk that’s totally out of my control, anyway.

As we stepped back in time today during our field trip, it was easy to add to my list of thankful things.

I watched the demonstrators and was thankful that I don’t have to wear four to seven layers of clothes…and a corset. (Well, sometimes I wish we DID wear corsets…but then I remember how much I like being able to breathe.)

I watched a whole lot of work being done to produce all the simple tools and products we take for granted every day, and I was thankful that my daily work is so light by comparison.

I watched the kids in the print shop and was thankful for all the technology that sometimes makes me want to pull my hair out…because other times, it makes my life much easier. I was thankful, too, for good books…especially, THE Good Book.

I watched them playing with the old-fashioned toys and was thankful that all of my children are healthy and have the energy and creativity to play.

I listened to some marvelous banjo playing and was thankful for music and the ways it affects us, and for the talent so many have, and their willingness to share it with the rest of us.

I watched my children enjoying the day with their friends, and was thankful for all the special people God has put in our lives and the ways we are able to help each other through trying times. I was thankful for fun and laughter and friendship.

We toured the old homes, and I was thankful for air conditioning and electronics and convenient appliances.

We sat in a one-room schoolhouse, and I was thankful for all the things I’m being privileged to learn alongside my children. And…I was thankful for field trips.

Thanks for stopping by!

Our Great Smoky Mountains Adventure

When we made the long drive to Sevierville, Tennessee to attend Polishing the Pulpit, we knew it would be a busy, busy week. And in fact, on most days we were running from one class or activity to another from early in the morning until late at night. There were, however, two days where we found ourselves with a chunk of free time in the middle of the afternoon, and we were able to make some great family memories during those times.

On Saturday afternoon, we made the short drive to The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where the scenery was absolutely breathtaking! We grabbed some sandwiches on the way so we could start the afternoon with a picnic lunch.

Then we went on what started out as a family hike at Chimney Tops.

How cool is that tree? Here’s another view:

It soon became apparent that a family with a 16-year-old and a two-year-old will not all hike at the same pace…so we sent Troy and the big kids on their way and Remi and I did the snail’s-pace version on our own.

Not surprisingly, the homeschool mom in me came to the forefront, and our hike became a very interesting little preschool field trip. We inspected rocks, leaves, moss, bark, spiders, butterflies, berries, roots, squirrels, acorns, streams, webs, logs, beetles, petrified wood, seeds, and even a couple of millipedes. (I had no idea they could be that big!)

Next up was a splash in the Little Pigeon River.

Everywhere I looked, there seemed to be more beauty than I could drink in. How gorgeous is this old bridge?

At one point we looked up to find that my little brother’s family had chosen the same spot for their afternoon off. The kiddos were thrilled to be able to splash, climb and explore with their cousins.

How fun to be a kid in a place like this!

Finally, here are my two favorite photo-captured memories from the day:

To be honest, I don’t even remember why he was laughing so hard. I only know that I can’t help but smile every time I see this picture.

It just makes me happy. 

And as for this one…well, I probably don’t need to explain why I love it so much…

“ You are worthy, O Lord,
      To receive glory and honor and power; 
      For You created all things, 
      And by Your will they exist and were created.”

(Revelation 4:11)

Thanks for stopping by!

Want to learn more about Polishing the Pulpit? Check out all these related posts:

What exactly is PTP?

PTP highlights

What I learned at PTP (Part 1)

What I learned at PTP (Part 2)

What I learned at PTP (Part 3)

Traveling Smiles

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