Tag Archives: outdoors

Time In The Sun

I’ll be honest. We don’t get nearly enough time in the sun. The girls’ extra-curricular activities are indoors. Their exercise is indoors. It is difficult for them to do schoolwork outdoors when they have to spread out quite a bit with books, notebooks, pens, pencils, and more. So, outdoors is just not as common a place for us to spend time.

We recently took advantage of the spring break for dance and headed to The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden for a field trip. (Yes, even high schoolers get field trips!) It is springtime so the tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths were in full bloom. The tulips were the big draw for me and they were beautiful! We also saw some cherry trees in bloom and several other flowers. There were some gorgeous topiaries in the shapes of peacocks with the tails done in blooms. We saw plenty of water features and enjoyed the sunshine. It was a lovely few hours of sunshine, walking, and family time.

It was a joy to spend this time with the whole family and the girls really enjoyed it, too. And that’s not just their mom speaking hopefully. They said it over and over. They were glad we spent the time and money to do this outing, even if we were all tired at the end of the day.

Time in the sun. Time together.

Lori, At Home.

Conner Prairie ~ Mega Field Trip

Conner Prairie

For several years, I have been looking for an opportunity to visit Conner Prairie, thanks to Home Sweet Life. Carol, the author at Home Sweet Life, and her family have volunteered at Conner Prairie for years and so I have been following all of her posts.

Conner Prairie is a living history museum located just north of Indianapolis, Indiana. There is an admission price to this museum and it gives you access to almost everything on the site. You will find several areas to visit that represent different times in history, specifically Indiana history.

1836 Prairietown
1863 Civil War Journey
Lenape Indian Camp
Animal Encounters
William Conner House
Treetop Outpost
. . . and more.

Our first stop was, well, the gift shop. But after that, we visited the Lenape Indian Camp. We listened to stories told and watched while a man worked on beading. He talked with the girls about how the Lenape got beads, where they came from, etc. He also showed them the technique he used to attach beads and create the difficult patterns he was making.

We visited the animal encounter where we saw several different animals – sheep and goats mainly. These animals are special breeds (heirloom breeds?) and are very lovely.

We visited Prairietown where we saw the school and the potters and several other places. The school was one of my favorite places because the school teacher was very knowledgeable. She was able to answer all of the girls questions and tell us about how much of the town worked and the students learned. I was interested in the math triangle that was used. I also really liked the discipline policies, very family based.

The weaver’s shed was really interesting. The lady working there had a younger girl working with her. They both shared about the textiles they were working with and what they were doing. It was really interesting. Miss E was really interested in this part and happy to stay there for as long as she wanted. Miss J was more interesting the potters. The young ladies working there were creating ink wells and talking about how they did their work. The kiln was going to be fired in a week or so and they had quite a lot of items ready to be fired. Lots of questions came from that stop. Miss L really liked seeing the butterflies in the garden. 🙂

The treetop outpost was fun, with lots of exploration and hands-on activities. Miss J really enjoying this part, as well. Up and down and up and down. Miss E found the library at the bottom of the treehouse and stayed there for a while. Miss L spent some time with the giant building blocks and items.

The Civil War journey turned out to be interesting. This area had some technology built in and was fun. It covered the invasion of a group from the south and how they plundered a large area. There was a home there that incorporated some recorded video and audio that tells of how the invasion affected the family. There was a hospital building where the young man talked about much of the medicine available at the time. He also talked about how many soldiers had to have amputations to save their lives. He walked us through what an amputation would have been like. Um – almost too much information for me! One of the buildings included a recorded presentation that showed three different perspectives of the war.

The William Conner house stands overlooking the prairie that the area is named for. The home is furnished and has a number of interesting items. There are several interactive areas – in the kitchen there are spices to sniff and see if you can identify, in one of the rooms there is a building table where you can choose how to settle the land, there are letters to look at and trunks to explore.

I am certain I have left a ton out of this day long visit. It was a neat place. We go to meet Carol from Home Sweet Life (I was so excited!) and she acted our own tour guide. It made the day absolutely wonderful and interesting.

At Home.

This is part of a series titled Mega Field Trip.


Texas Bucket List – Gulf Coast ~ Blogging Through the Alphabet


Honestly, I am not a water person. I don’t enjoy swimming. I don’t desire to sit by the water and “just enjoy” it. I would rather be in the shade with a book. But, with a family that loves to ocean and swimming and all that comes with it, I am learning to appreciate the joy and the beauty of the coast. The Texas Gulf Coast has tons of lovely beaches and we have been able to experience several of them.

Each spring the question begins getting asked “when are we going to the beach this year?”

Gulf Coast 2

Some years we make it a spur of the moment trip. Other times, we plan well ahead for it. Either way, we always rent a small house so that the girls can run and play and we don’t have to worry about disturbing those above or below us in a hotel or condo. It has always worked well (except for the time we found out after we got there that the water was unsuitable for drinking or cooking and we had to go find a store to buy water).

Playing in the surf is always a joy for the girls. Now that they are getting older, I imagine I will enjoy it more since I won’t worry quite so much about them in the water.

My favorite part is always the lovely sounds and the animals we get to find and observe. There is so much life on the coast and we always see something new.

Gulf Coast

A trip to the coast is always worth it.

At Home.

Previous Letters in the series:
A – Abilene’s Storybook Sculpture Project 
B – Big Bend
C – Congress Avenue Bridge and the Bat Colony
D – Dr Pepper Museum
E – Enchanted Rock
F – Flowers


This is a weekly series and will be linked weekly with the Blogging Through The Alphabet co-hosts:
Amanda at Hopkins Homeschool
Kirsten at Doodle Mom
Jennifer at Worth a Bowed Head
Kimberley at Vintage Blue Suitcase
Desiree at Our Homeschool Notebook
Markie at My Life As Mrs. Cooks
Hilary at Walking Fruitfully

Antique Rose Emporium, Independence, TX – field trip

The Antique Rose Emporium in Independence, TX, is a fantastic garden center to visit. There are tons of unique and interesting plants for sale but also the arrangement of the area is just beautiful.

waterfall and butterflies

We enjoyed walking around the butterfly garden and asking about the various plants that were drawing the butterflies this time of year. We saw some lovely blossoms and enjoyed many fragrances.

butterflies and blossoms

The shade gardens were beautiful and we enjoyed the various greens we saw.

The gravesite for the broken pottery is a fun little side plot that Miss E absolutely adored. She had been wanting to visit since she saw the pictures from this summer.

broken pot graveyard

The maze! What can I say? This was just fun. We chased each other around and around on the little brick paths and laughed and giggled and just enjoyed it. I would love one of these strange shade “trees”.

fun and mazes

The ladies who work here are more than happy to answer questions and to point out interesting plants. They enjoyed talking to the girls and even called them over to show them a plant that eats bugs. What a joy to meet people who truly love what they do.

The blossoms during our visit in October were definitely different than those that we saw back in June. What an interesting comparison to make. And what a fun place to visit.

At Home.

Hiking in New Mexico

Hiking In NM

During our trip to New Mexico, we spent some time hiking in one of the canyons above Bonito Lake. Just a few miles from where I grew up, this is something I enjoyed doing growing up and still enjoy now. The mountains are so peaceful (in spite of all the RVs leaving the forest on the day we were there). Listening to the wind blow through the pines. The cold water flowing through the creek. The grass whispering as it waves. Such a relaxing, joyful time.

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There is so much to be gained from experiences like this for our city-girls. The experience of just being able to run and play and explore without thinking of traffic or neighbors is so relaxing. Trying out new things like gold panning is fun. Seeing the variety of flowers that bloom in the mountains, some of which are the same ones we see and others which are different. Finding an elk hoof and talking about why it is there on the side of the mountain. Seeing the damage of the forest fires and the regrowth that happens with time. Fungi, new trees, weeds, seeds – so much variety of plants to look at. Learning the basics of traversing a mountain, even. Wonderful growth experiences you just can’t have in a city.

It was pleasant to just sit and watch the girls romp in the river and to explore as far as they felt bold enough to go. Panning for gold was a fun experience for them, though not productive this time around. I enjoyed the time and the hike up the canyon. We ended our day perfectly with a campfire and smores.

At Home.

Erosion Help – Middle School Monday

While we were at my parent’s house a couple of weeks ago, we took a picnic to a favorite area. We sat under the pine trees (oh did they smell good!) and ate lunch, enjoying a pleasantly warm day.

After lunch was over, we took a short walk up the creek to where one of my brothers had constructed a bridge while in high school. He had created the bridge so that bicyclists would be able to ride across the creek without getting off their bikes. Over the years, erosion had washed out the banks of the creek and it was no longer a bridge bicyclists could ride over.

In addition, due to floods and time, the under side of the bridge had become clogged with debris and rocks. The creek no longer flowed smoothly under and was beginning to pool and create a new path. So, with assistance from grandpa, the girls set about dealing with cleaning out the bridge and moving rocks to assist with and help prevent some of the erosion.

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The girls, especially Miss E, determinedly worked at digging out the bridge. She worked really, really hard at pulling out the nasty pine needles and sticks and pinecones that had wedged their way under. She moved rocks, big and small, working and working and working. She kept making progress and having to reach farther and farther under. I was honestly afraid I might see her go headfirst off the bridge but I didn’t want to stop her because she was so determined!

creek work 9

And her determination paid off – after an hour or so of working really hard, there was obvious progress made in the flow of water and its course. Additionally, they removed a few items that don’t belong in the wild – toy boat, rubber duckie, utility flag. All in all, a successful project. And the middle schooler had lots of fun. She finished it all with a huge smile.

Another successful project for this middle schooler.

At Home.

Lake Field Trip – always new

Always New

Do you have a field trip that you take over and over because it is always new. Can fresh eyes, looking for something specific, or a change of season make this place seem very different? No matter how many time you go to this favorite place, there is always something new or different about it?

For me, that place is the lake. It seems like no matter how often we stop by the lake and walk the dam, we always find something new to admire, “ooh” and “ahh” over, or just marvel at. Yesterday was no different.

Always new - flood

We were driving home from church and we noticed that they were letting water out of the lake, trying to lower the water level. (If you know our area, you know that we have had a lot of water in the past few weeks and the lake was quite flooded, though no people were injured and no houses flooded that I know about.) It is interesting to see the lake level being lowered and the water coming through the dam gates. So, we decided that we would walk along the dam to look at it.

Along the way, we observed wildlife, insects, plants, and people. The area always looks different, especially when we are looking at flooded areas as we were last evening.

Always new spider Always new insects Always new deer

The water coming out of the dam was rushing and loud, powerful. It is a marvelous experience and I never tire of it. And, it is always new and different. There was more water being released than I have seen before and the river downstream was rolling from the power of the water flow. The rush of the water created a roar that we could hear long before we could see the it. It left me in awe of God and His power, no matter the situation. His beauty is everywhere and I enjoy visiting the dam and the lake because His presence is always evident, always new.

Always new water


Y is for … yesterday outside

Y outside

Yesterday was a beautiful day so we decided to spend some of it outside, enjoying a local park before the summer fully arrives and it is hot. So, we took our normal Friday library trip. And then we had a picnic at a park. We packed a lunch and found a place without very many people around. We ate lunch while reading “The Door In The Wall”. Then the girls did some of their school work. We got some journal writing done, which includes a sketch each day. We did some independent reading, as well. All in all, it was a nice day outside.

P1140576 P1140579

I spent some time getting familiar with a new product. Take a look at the new Field Trip Journal from Apologia! This review will be coming up in a few weeks.


That is, until the bees got to bee too friendly! So, we packed up the schoolwork and headed off to explore some of the other parts of the park. (Our local park has several hundred acres and lots of different sections.) We checked out a place where two rivers meet and talked some about boating as we watched a buoy float in the water. The girls have had very little to do with boats so we talked a bit about what I know. I also have had very little to do with boats. Well, we did have a canoe that we took to Elephant Butte just about every year while growing up but the boats around here are very different from a canoe! We also went to a place that is titled Lover’s Leap. I imagine you guess the local lore that is associated with those cliffs. The girls enjoy the view from there and at this time of year, it is beautifully lush and green.


We headed home after that and finished up a bit of school work. It was a relaxing day with experiential learning going on. That is a successful school day in my opinion. And, it was fun!

At Home.

W is for … water and wildflowers

W water and wildflowersIf you are in Texas, know someone in Texas, or used to be from Texas, maybe even if you are within 1,000 miles of Texas, you know that it has been bluebonnet season down here. Everyone goes crazy for bluebonnets. Even me. And I am not a Texan. (I’ve been here for a long time now and once in a while, I’ll claim Texas but I will always be a New Mexico girl at heart. Just sayin’.)

I love the bluebonnets, though. They are beautiful. They are fun. They smell amazingly sweet. They brighten up my days for about two weeks. And then they are gone until the next year. So, I take pictures of them and of my girls in them. There is nothing better to mark their growth than an annual picture. And Texans tend to choose to do them with bluebonnets. (Yep, there’s one of those times that I guess I have to claim being a Texan.)

W smiles in wildflowers

We took a fun field trip to hunt down a really good, publicly accessible field of bluebonnets. And Indian paintbrushes. Because around here, they grow together. We drove about 20 miles and found a lovely little lake to have a picnic by, explore a bit, and enjoy the bluebonnets. It even had a cute little playground for the girls to play at.

W pirate ship playgroundW study wildflowers

After our picnic, the girls sat down and drew the bluebonnets. They got down on the ground and studied them. It was interesting to see the differences in what they noticed about the flowers. And, of course, we took pictures in the bluebonnets.

W water

We also spent an hour or an hour and a half, exploring the edges of the lake. Climbing over limestone, seeing the erosion water creates, finding shells from freshwater clams, seeing how trash gets trapped and rots (gross but educational), and so much more.

It was a terribly fun day. We enjoyed Water and Wildflowers.

At Home.

I is for … Inspiring Beauty

I is forWhile visiting family this holiday season, we have been treated to beauty that can only be created by The Creator. God is amazing in what he places all around us and in what he gives us through the Bible. The beautiful scenery by which we have been surrounded is awe inspiring and I am blessed to have seen it. Even if it did delay our travel plans by several days. Enjoy the scenery. At Home.weather 1 weather 2 weather 3 weather 4 weather 5 weather 6 weather 7 weather 8 weather 9 weather 10

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