Tag Archives: Texas

The Storm of the Century ~ Book Club

This will be the last book club of 2018. Hard to imagine things have gone so fast, isn’t it? With the types of weather that has been experienced by the country this year, this book choice just kind of fits in. Part of our Mega Field Trip was to New Bern, NC. If you will remember, it was hit hard by Hurricane Florence this year. And we skeedaddled out of the way of Hurricane Michael while we were on the homeward stretch of the trip. So, The Storm of the Century kind of fits. 

Written by Al Roker (yes, the weather man), this book is subtitled “tragedy, heroism, survival and the epic true story of America’s deadliest natural disaster: The Great Gulf Hurricane of 1900.” This book definitely lives up to its name. It is an engaging, thrilling, heart-wrenching book on everything related to that unparalleled disaster. From the stories of the people, to what causes these storms, to the influence of politics on the outcome of storms like this, it is an understatement to say I learned a lot. 

While I really enjoy the human stories of triumph amid tragedy that are shared so detailed here, I find they are enriched by the backstories of the history and science that Mr. Roker so clearly and openly shares here. The stories of the people are interwoven throughout the book so that you are easily able to follow that thread and see how it connects to things like the creation of the Weather Service and the political situation in Cuba and to the formation of the rain clouds that eventually grew to a storm of montrous proportions. 

Mr. Roker does a wonderful job of using language and expressions in a way that you can easily place yourself in the story that he is telling. When he is describing the horror that Isaac Cline felt when he realized that Galveston was, indeed, going to experience a disaster, you feel it yourself. When the little girl is picked off a floating piece of debris and brought to huddle with other survivors you feel relief and hope for her. When you read about Cassie heart-wrenchingly wishing she had died in the storm, you feel the great fear and despair she must have felt. The people are brought to life and you can’t help but feel a little bit of what they must have felt. 

One unexpected thing you will experience in reading this particular book is a growth of knowledge. I had no idea that almost all Atlantic hurricanes begin in the same place over Africa and the many forces that must act on those rain clouds to become a major storm. I had no idea that the political tensions in Cuba would have had a devastating effect on the loss of life in Galveston (a ban on communications stopped men who felt they truly understood the storm from being able to communicate with anyone who would listen to them in America). Honestly, I had no idea that the Cuban monks had such extensive knowledge of weather and were considered some of the best in the world. Yet, since it was believed at the time that weather could not be predicted very well and especially not storms, they were not allowed to share their information and understanding. What a shame! 

This is a fascinating book that I would highly recommend. I am thrilled to find that Mr. Roker is a talented writer that I enjoyed reading. 

As I close, I just want to share that I am reimagining what is going to happen with the Book Club for 2019. I haven’t finalized that but be looking for something a bit different in January. 

Blessings,
At Home.

Book club:Ladybug Daydrams and At Home where life happens

Texas Bucket List – Z: zoos ~ Blogging Through The Alphabet

Z

Z can be an interesting letter to try to find something for and there were some options but nothing that I really thought “ooh, I’d like to do that” except for zoological parks. I enjoy visiting zoos and animal habitat places. So, I thought I would just quickly mention a few that are found here in Texas. Some I have been to, though it has been a few years for a couple of them; some I have never visited but dream of visiting. Kind of all over the place, you know?

Cameron Park Zoo – I have to start with local, you know! The Cameron Park Zoo is quite fun and they have done a great job with the animal enclosures there. It is not a huge zoo and the price is not huge, either. We can go and spend a couple of hours and see just about everything. We really enjoy the orangutans and the giraffes, the aquariums (especially the Brazos River exhibit) and the birds. It is a paved walk throughout and we always enjoy our visit to the buffalo or the bears, the otters and the rhinos. The otter slide is lots of fun, though the girls are just about all too big for it. The otter slide is a clear slide the kids can slide down that goes through the water of the otter exhibit, so they feel a bit like they are playing with the otters. There are so many neat animals at the Cameron Park Zoo that we always enjoy our visits.

Fort Worth Zoo – I have not been to this one in quite a while but loved it the last time we went. Their animal habitats were very well done and the way the exhibits were was quite different. I do remember this zoo being a bit more pricey but it was a fun visit when we went.

Dallas Zoo – Again, I haven’t been in a while but it was quite the experience. The habitat areas are extremely well done and the animals are grouped somewhat by the part of the world and the habitats they live in. It was a very expensive zoo and several of the areas had additional expenses if you wanted the full experience. Still, we enjoy the zoo very much when we last went.

Houston Zoo – I have not been to this zoo and I don’t know anything about it, except what I could find on the website. So, maybe this one needs to be on my personal bucket list, right? I mean, the whole point of this ABC listing was to find new places to visit, so I’ll add this zoo.

Texas State Aquarium – This was a marvelous place to visit when we went about 3 years ago. The dolphin exhibit alone was amazing, with its underwater viewing area and up close seats for the dolphin show. There was a shark petting area for small sand sharks and you could also touch some rays. The sea turtles were amazing and there were plenty of additional animals to visit. This one is a place I want to go back to.

Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park – When we visited this aquarium with the girls years ago, it was inexpensive and just right for smaller children. The small aquariums had fish and other animals that they could easily see. For the tanks that were high for the kids, there were step stools. They had touch tanks set up for them, as well. It was a fun aquarium to visit with younger children.

Sea World San Antonio – It has been a while since we last visited Sea World and when we did, it was on homeschool day. Y’all know about this right? Our tickets were just a few dollars each and we had access to the park for about 6 hours. The rides were not open and they did not do the orca show, but I think everything else was open for viewing. The dolphins were the girls favorites. Well, maybe – the penguins were well loved, too. It was worth the long drive to visit and not have to pay hundreds of dollars. I would enjoy going back sometime. Maybe . . .

There are plenty of other zoos, aquariums, and wildlife parks in the state. These were just a few that I knew about. Abilene and Tyler both have zoos. There is a wildlife park of some sort up by McKinney. There are a couple of different wildlife safari parks. There are lots of options if you are looking for animal places to visit in Texas.

Blessings,
At Home.

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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

Texas Bucket List – Y: Yellow Rose ~ Blogging Through The Alphabet

Y

Y is a hard letter for Texas. I found a couple of places but they were strange or didn’t really seem to fit the sort of thing I was going for. So, I went for a good old Texas folk song.

I am just going to share a couple of recordings of the song with you. I’ll let you sort our the folk tale from the truth because honestly, I don’t think anyone can sort it out. So, I just teach and enjoy the song as folk music.

Here’s the Yellow Rose of Texas –

The one that made the song famous:

 

Who doesn’t enjoy an Elvis Presley version of a song?

 

And a Civil War version (from what I can determine). . .

 

Blessings,
At Home.

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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

Texas Bucket List – X: eXtra place to visit for W ~ Blogging Through the Alphabet

X

I couldn’t think of an X and I had too many W places I wanted to share so I decided to share another W place with you, since I had eXtras. 🙂 I know – it is pushing it. I’m okay with that today.

Sweetwater, TX, was one of the sites for the training of female pilots during WWII. The female pilots played important roles in the defense of America and freedom around the world during that time. They may not have been in direct front-line combat but they experienced many losses and contributed much needed help and experience.

In Sweetwater, there is a museum dedicated to these female pilots from WWII. They were called WASP. Women Airforce Service Pilots lived and trained in the barren area of west Texas at Avenger Field. This site how houses the National WASP Museum in one of the old hangars.

A visit to the WASP Museum does not take too long but it is very interesting. You can see more of our visit in this post I shared with you a couple of years ago. I also shared a couple of books with you about it – one is Flying Higher and is biographical in nature and another was fiction but interesting titled The All-Girl Filling Station. The WASP program figures in Secrets in the Sky by Melinda Rice, a juvenile fiction story about a young girl in Sweetwater who befriends some of the lady pilots. We used it as a read aloud several years ago and really enjoyed it.

Blessings,
At Home.

Texas Bucket List – W: Washington-On-The-Brazos ~ Blogging Through The Alphabet

W - Washington only

Last summer, At Home Dad and I visited the “birthplace of Texas.” It is called Washington-On-The-Brazos. It is the city of Washington which happens to be located on the Brazos River. We enjoyed it so much that we went back and took the girls. It was a fantastic history experience for them.

There is a little hall there that has been recreated to be like the original site of the signing of the Texas Declaration of Independence. There is fantastic visitor center that houses an exhibit about the declaring of independence of Texas from Mexico and how those years as an independent nation went. Then it covers the period until Texas became a state of the United States of America. It is a well done exhibit that really shares the history, people, and artifacts that bring history to life.

The delegates that met in Independence Hall were important men from a wide-spread area. They came and participated because they wanted to do what was right and have a say in getting things set down well. These 59 men and the work they did in creating a Declaration of Independence and Constitution are often overshadowed by the fall of the Alamo, as they occurred within days of each other. However, they were a part of the same fight for freedom that the people of Texas were fighting. So many people played a part in this fight for freedom and this exhibit showcased a lot of them.

On site, there is also the Star of the Republic Museum. It houses and exhibits thousands of artifacts from the period of Texas as an independent nation. The artifacts are fascinating and the history that accompanies them is well done. The purpose of the museum is to “collect and preserve the material culture of the Texas Republic (1836-1846) and to interpret the history, cultures, diversity and values of early Texans.” There is a chronological history of Texas, with artifacts to support each part. The second floor showcases different styles of home and the affluence of different people. There are also artifacts from different professions, past times, and necessary items. It is fascinating.

If you want to see a living history site, you can also visit the Barrington Farm. It is a reproduction of a farm from the end of the time of the Republic of Texas. It is based on the Anson Jones family. Dr. Jones was the last president of the Republic of Texas and this was his home. It is worked authentically with people dressed in period clothing. We were a bit disappointed in this site but it could have been because the people were all busy with a school tour. It was interesting to look through the authentically furnished dog-run cabin, see the gardens, the smokehouse, and other buildings needed to run a farm.

Washington-On-The-Brazos is a great site to visit. Take a picnic lunch, walk some of the grounds, explore the museums and sites, and drink in the Texas outdoors. A definite recommmend!

Blessings,
At Home.

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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

Texas Bucket List – V: Valley of Dinosaurs ~ Blogging Through the Alphabet

V

Texas is not often one of the places where people think of right off when it comes to dinosaurs. But, there is actually a very large area of Texas where you should think of dinosaurs. It is often referred to as the Valley of Dinosaurs but is maybe better known to people familiar with the Park Service as Dinosaur Valley State Park.

Located in Glen Rose, TX, this is an area where lots of dinosaur tracks have been well preserved. Along the Paluxy River, there are sauropod tracks and theropod tracks in the mud by what is believed to have been an ancient ocean. When the river is not too high, you can walk along the river and walk in the tracks left by the dinosaurs. Some places, you can go swimming and cool off from the hot sun.

When we went, it was September and still blazing hot. We waded in the river and walked along the tracks. It was a fun experience and gave us opportunity to discuss the truth of God’s word in relation to modern science with the girls. Many of the signs in the park refer to “millions of years ago” so just know that going in so you can speak truth with your children.

There are five sites within the park that hold tracks. This gives you a lot of viewing opportunity and some good hiking, as well. It is a lovely park. Take a picnic and enjoy the day. It was a good trip. Maybe it is time to visit again.

Close by is Dinosaur World and Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, both places I would enjoy visiting.

Blessings,
At Home.

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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

Texas Bucket List – U: Up on the Texas Star ~ Blogging Through the Alphabet

U

The Texas State Fair experience is not complete without a trip to up in the air on the Texas Star. This is a gigantic ferris wheel that allows you to see miles across the city of Dallas.

Last fall, we visited the state fair and had a blast. Going up on the Texas Star ferris wheel was definitely one of the highlights. You can see so much and it is such fun to be high up above the fair grounds. Everyone enjoys looking around and looking down, knowing you are safe in the seats.

If it is not on your Texas bucket list, this is one of those things that everyone should do. It is a rite of passage for being a Texan, I think. Or at least it is in this family. 🙂

Blessings,
At Home.

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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

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