Category Archives: Family Happenings

Here comes the rain again- Hurricane Musings

So here we are a new school year! I was about to start us my first entry back about what we are doing this year when I was sidetracked by Mother Nature. Not only were we hit by a 5.8 earthquake, but we are also in the process of preparing for Hurricane Irene. Don’t worry, at the time of me posting the hurricane is actually 3 hours away and we are currently safe.

Here are some links if you want to know how you can be prepared for a hurricane:

FEMA’s Hurricane Guide

Hurricane Center’s Pet Preparedness Plan

This past week, I managed to purchase a lot of batteries, waters and since we are campers so I have a camping stove and lanterns in case we lose power. One thing I could not find was lamp oil for my hurricane lamps. So after googling alternatives I found the following:

Make Your Own Olive Oil Lamp

I couldn’t wrap my mind around what I was reading (it had been a long week) so I found visuals on YouTube which lead me to this interesting video. The person says you can eat the tuna after, but I think I might pass on that if I am ever in the position to try it out.

After the earthquake, BrainPop featured a video about earthquakes. For the weekend the featured video is about hurricanes.  I let Gilbert re-watch those along with the news to properly prepare him for the weekend’s event. The last time a hurricane hit our area he was only 2.

I am hoping the next time I post, I can report clear skies and minimal damage to our neighborhood. To anyone who is facing the coming storm, good luck and stay safe!

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Still here!

Quick update points:
Gilbert took his end of year test. Waiting for the results.
I believe I have now have CVC reader.
I am getting ready to map out what I want to accomplish next year with both boys. I may lean heavy on the CK Month by Month Guide while using WTM resources.
I decided to take a class over the summer.
I received the first 3 Oxford books in the mail. I really, like them. I would like to have Gilbert start a timeline book next year but I don’t know what method to use.
It is strawberry season.

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Buying and Wrapping and Wrapping and Buying

It has been a quiet few weeks on the home front. The temperature has dropped and we are finding ourselves staying home and nestling on the couch reading books and watching movies rather than going out and walking around.

Me and the boys put up our first live tree and I even managed to string the lights to the house all by myself. There was lots of hand raising and fist pumping on my part. I wanted the boys to see how easy it was to do these things if they had the right tools and the right motivation.

I have been spending my online time at they always have really great deals around the holidays. Not only for Christmas presents but also for our schooling endeavor. Case in point:


Regularly $70+ right now $17.99

Regularly $30+ right now $12.99


I snagged the above for future science experiments.  December is also the time of the year that Snap Circuits go on sale for really cheap. You can usually get the 300 kit for $30 and the expansion kits for under $20 each. Today there is apparently going to be a sale on the Snap Circuit Alternative Energy Kit:

Regularly $45 on sale for ???


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Wordless Wednesday: Autumn


Fall has arrived!



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Now for something a little different

After spending the last 3 days at Colonial Williamsburg, I thought it was time to expand out horizons. Today we took our very first trip to the Jamestown Settlement.

This week Jamestown is also having their homeschool days, homeschoolers have 14 days to take part in different programs and tours both outside and inside of the museum. Since Sullivan is very fidgety and I believe (and I need to call to confirm) parents need to be in the room, I thought it was best to spend our time exploring independently.

First we walked through a re-created Powhatan village. What I loved about this was that visitors get a chance to actually touch things and walk through the huts. When the boys heard this they walked into the nearest hut and began investigating.  Gilbert enjoying pounding corn into flour while Sullivan enjoyed investigating the beds and animals skins.

pounding corn into flour

"tickle, tickle"

After we completed our time in the village, we walked over to Jamestown ships. During our visit the ships present were the Susan Constant, Discovery, and the Elizabeth. While the Godspeed replica was there, I believe they are repairing it.

Susan Constant

Sullivan was convinced it was a pirate ship and it was off to the side because the pirates were naughty.  The boys enjoyed the Susan C0nstant the most, I however have learned being tall in the 17th and 18th century must have really sucked.

We then walked to the fort area. This was a treat for Gilbert. We have been working on a paper replica of the settlement so it was nice to see the real thing. During our time in the fort we had the chance to not only look and hold different muskets and swords, the armory guard also put on a shooting presentation.

I was told that they were very heavy

Overall a very nice day.

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Day Three: The Talk That Wasn’t

We returned to CW for the mythical creatures talk. Unfortunately, the line getting onto the shuttle was too long and we did not get on the bus that would have gotten us to the talk on time. Arriving 15 minutes later, Gilbert felt very uncomfortable slipping in. It also did not help that when I sheepishly asked, the normal nice curator, if she had an extra sketch book  she pointed out that we were late and if we wanted a sketch book “you should have arrived earlier if you wanted you child to have a sketch book”. Blush. At that point Gilbert got up and slinked away.

Do not frown dear reader! This was actually a blessing in disguise. For we decided to wander the museum. This building is deceptively (like most of CW) huge. You enter a small building go down a few stairs and then BAM! You are in a huge (for the area) museum. We walked around and saw a lot of really cool exhibits.

Let's make lemonade!


Hidden treasure: There is a children’s section that has a few older toys and books  on display. The boys and I took some time to color and then after walking over to the quilt exhibit tried our hand at building quilt patterns.

We spent a good 2 hours in the museum and left fairly pleased at our adventure. I will say since this is day 3, we have finally figured out how to navigate the shuttles and the different points of interest. Special celebrity sighting. On the way to revisit the Governor’s Mansion we noticed this family was in attendance. Interesting to see them in person.

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Day 2: A Trip to the Gardens

Today we spent the majority of our time at the plantation and the Governor’s Palace.

Great Hopes Plantation
This is one of the first stops before you enter the town. It stands as a reminder that once upon a time neighbors were far apart and the land was mostly farms with few to no towns for miles.  They also teach the land was all you had, so you had to learn to do most things at home. Yesterday, when we arrived most of the interpreters were gone for the day so we just wandered around. Today, most of the buildings had interpreters so we got a chance to listen to life on the plantation before, during and after the revolution from an owner to slave’s perspective.

Remember the oxen from yesterday? Today, we saw them in action leveling the fields of corn. The boys had a chance to stack, corn stalks. I had a problem pulling them away.

Manual Labor!

Next we headed over to the Governor’s Mansion where we decided to walk around the garden.  From the outside, you expect a small plot, but once you go through the gate area, there is a very large a beautiful plot of land in the back, with a pond with koi. There was even a maze that the kids ran around in.

Garden View from the Governor's Palace

View from the Mount showing the maze

After the maze we walked down Duke of Gloucester Street again. We walked into the shops and enjoyed listening to the interpreters.

At the end of day 2, we are just in love with Colonial Williamsburg. Tomorrow I am hoping to bring Gilbert to the Mythical Creatures talk at the museum.

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Colonial Williamsburg Homeschool days: Day 1

This week marks the fall session of Colonial Williamsburg’s Homeschool Days. In the past, we have opted out of this event because our history  had not brought us to the time period. That changed this year since we are spending our fall semester studying the American Revolution.

Since I live so close I decided to purchase a five day ticket and take three to four days of  our time getting to know the grounds.
day one:

Getting to know you…

We arrived at 1pm after lunch. Very important either pack a lunch or eat lunch before you go, there will be a lot of walking and thus your hunger (and thirst) will be enormous! Also if you have a child who is not used to a lot of walking and can still fit in a sturdy stroller consider it. Sullivan is a young 4, the first day we went without a stroller, I learned my lesson by the end of the day.

When you leave the visitor center you cross a bridge back into the 18th century. Take time to read the plaques going toward the plantation.

Plaque back to the 18th century

When we got to the plantation there were not a lot interpreters (people who work there in costume who tell you about life in the area you are visiting) but we did take time to visit the oxen and look at the tobacco house and the slave quarters.

After a short 5 minute walk, we entered the Kid’s Corner at the Gateway. This was a great first stop. The interpreter took time to teach the boys how to play a few games and told us about spots of interest.

Interpreter teaching Sullivan how to play game

We then walked over to the Governor’s Mansion. There was a presentation about to happen so our visit here was very quick. We then walked down Duke of Gloucester Street into the Magazine. This is not a stroller friendly building so be warned.

After a small water break we walked into Revolutionary City and arrived to receive news from Lafayette. What a treat!

We  learned there was a special Crack the Code presentation being held at the museum. So after the Lafayette presentation we walked tot he museum and learned about the different coding techniques they learned in the early days of Revolution and the War of Independence.

At the end of the day both boys were tired so we walked over to Merchant’s Square and popped into the candy shop. There is a shuttle stop just a few steps from the shop that will drive you to the Visitor’s Center. Just know, the later it is in the day, the more packed the bus will be.

Tomorrow plans to be a cooler day, so we plan to take in a few more sites on property. We missed the maze and the gardens (Gilbert’s pick) so we plan to hit those tomorrow.

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Around town: Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum

In today’s edition of getting to know the area after living here for over a decade I bring you our stumble upon the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.

Portsmouth Naval Shipyard

So much of Portsmouth’s history is tied into shipbuilding. This museum, however, serves as a museum about the various war efforts (from the Revolution to the present), labor workers and a history of the development of Portsmouth.

It is a fairly small museum, but it is filled with a lot of artifacts and fun activities for the kids to learn about the area. Gilbert was sent on a scavenger hunt, while Sullivan looked at a scale model of Colonial Portsmouth.

Looking at the present day shipyard

Looking at Colonial Portsmouth

The second added bonus was that our free day also allowed us to visit the Lightship museum. What is a Lightship? Well, it is a ship that is permanently moored in an area where a real lighthouse would stand, if one could be built.


When we went aboard, we were welcomed by former shipmates that volunteer their time to let people know about the ship’s history and the effort that was made to restore it. Both my husband and Gilbert had a lot of fun touring the ship and hearing about its history.

Are you wondering about price? Like I said previously, we stumbled upon the museum on a free day. Which in the warmer months is the first Saturday of the month (this may vary call before showing up). Regular admission is $3 for adults and $1 for children (2-17).  The website for both these museums is:

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Going with the flow

The most interesting thing just happened. Sullivan had just had a small lunch when I heard the bread bag rustling. I figured he wanted a slice a bread and didn’t think too much of it. When I didn’t see him come back out to the living room my curiosity was piqued.

Apparently, he had a hankering for a sandwich and he decided to retrieve a stool and the peanut butter from the pantry. He did very well constructing his sandwich until he realized he could have instant gratification if he licked the butter knife. Got to keep my eye to make sure that part does not turn into a habit. LOL.

Guess I should look for a preschooler friendly cook book.

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