Sunday, August 30, 2009

Our stop motion Lego movie.

We made a tiny stop motion movie today. The children really like trying to make stop motion videos with Lego toys.

I wanted to post pix of Travis at the driving range (he is loving golf right now). I reminded Rob to take the camera. BUT! He left it in the car and forgot to take any pix! Because of that, this stop motion movie is the only fun thing I have to share from today. (I am full of excuses lately).

Saturday, August 29, 2009


Yet another sad post. I am calling this the busy mom's art class. We didn't have enough time to do the art project I had planned so we decided to make stained glass pictures with window crayons. Well, Travis made attempts at stained glass. Demi and Zee just scribbled all over the windows. I think sometimes scribbles and coloring out of the lines kind of art is fun! It keeps children buys and happy for a long time. The picture below is my kitchen window. The electricians looked kind of surprised that I allowed coloring on the windows. LOL!

BTW window crayons are GREAT at keeping little ones quiet when you need to teach a math or English lesson with an older child. I don't think Rob is crazy about the look of our front window. I feel we are lucky because Demi likes to wash the windows as much as she likes drawing on them so I don't have to do a ton of washing windows right now. Travis had the right side and Demi and Zee had the left. Demi and Zee kind of took over the window! Beautiful? Art? LOL! It doesn't look much like stained glass but it is the only picture I have. I will try harder tomorrow!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Falling a bit behind!

I want to tell you all I am very sorry because all I have is a few pix from one of the soccer practices this week. Next week should be a bit better (I will try to stay on top of things). I am going to try hard to find blogging time so our family can see my children grow up and learn.
A note with my sad excuse to this dull post is below.

Travis started soccer this week and I can see that it is already getting in the way of me blogging. Soccer practice this year is 3 days a week. Once the games start we will be going to soccer 4 days a week (that is a lot more running downtown than I ever do). I am sorry that I didn't take many pictures of my children over the last few days. I feel sad because I don't have anything nice to share with friends and family(sorry). We have a lot of work on our house going on that is also messing up my schedule. We got a new water softener installed, new reverse osmosis drinking system put in (Rob installed that for me), and we have men here doing a lot of electrical work right now. Having so many people in and out working on our house is hard to get use to. Having things moved all over and tools laying around makes life a bit difficult. Zee wants the climb the electricians ladder in the kitchen or bang Rob's pliers on the floor and walls. Right now I have a closet and a table in the middle of my bedroom floor! CRAZY!!!! I know it will be so worth it when all this work is done. I will have a sewing room in the back of my bedroom (and I will not need extension cords to use them). I will be able to plug in an iron and not kick the breaker. My girls will be able to have a reading lamp for our bedtime stories. Travis will be able to have his computer, TV and Xbox all hooked up at the same time. The best will be being able to run the coffee maker and the microwave (or toaster) and not have to run to the breaker box to turn it back on. OH! maybe that won't be the best, maybe being able to run the dishwasher and not have to go out to the outside GFI outlet and hit the reset button 6 times so the dishwasher can run a complete cycle (reason I wash dishes by hand most of the time). I just need to keep remembering all the good that will come from this as I have to run to grab our little one who makes a run to play on the steps every time the baby gates are left open. I think all the baby gates are driving the repair people crazy because they are hard to open and get in the way of them finishing up the work they are trying to do. I hope by next week things will be a bit easier here. I hope to have something a bit more exciting tomorrow.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Hickory Run State Park

I have heard many homeschoolers talk about doubling up on school days. I have never understood how people can do that. It seems our school takes so much time doubling up on school even if only one subject seems like it would be impossible for my family. BUT we did double up this weekend with school field trips. We left just before lunch time to go to the viaduct. Right after we ate lunch and then went for another long drive to hit another field trip. We spent 11 hours out that day (a lot of it was in the car on the road). I think to some people that would seem just as hard to do as doubling up on school seems to me.

Our second trip was to the boulder field at Hickory Run State Park. It is another AWESOME sight! WOW! Everyone should try and see this! I don't know how to explain how amazing this place is. It is like a sea of rocks! The rocks are all about the size of Zehira (many are a lot larger than her) and it seems like counting the rocks would go into the millions.

I think anyone who looks at this blog post will be thinking.... Wow! That homeschool family takes rock studies very serious! LOL!

Enough of me talking here are the pix.

Isn't this beautiful?

Amazing!It looks so flat in the picture below.But it looks so huge and bumpy when you see an almost 2 year old try to climb across it.BTW, Zee LOVED climbing the rocks!
Demi also loved the rocks.
This place was a VERY POPULAR place! Many people came and went during our visit. Everyone seemed to have the same response either silence and a look of awe or saying WOW! this is incredible!
This picture cracks me up! Everyone will have to agree that Traivs takes his rock studies very serious! LOL! This boy is really getting into the rocks!
I didn't walk all the way across the rocks (that would take all day with our two little ones so I played on the rocks closer to the edge with them). Rob and Travis did walk all the way across and back. Next time we go I will walk to the other side (Rob will stay with the little ones). I am guessing the picture above might be Travis looking down at this...That spot has water down in it. They say the rocks are 12 feet deep!

Here is Travis all the way on the other side of the boulder field.

A tree is growing in the middle of it. Only one lonely tree. Strange!

Travis under the tree.What a beautiful place God has made for us!

Demi and I.
Travis loved the rock below it has 3 large indentations in it that he wonders how they got in that stone.
Our family picture.

The boulder field is made up of two kinds of rocks sandstone and conglomerate.
Conglomerate rock below (see all the little stones that make up this rock).

If you ever have the chance VISIT THIS PLACE! I am so thankful to be studying geology this year. I don't know that we would have ever stopped to see this place (or the Starrucca Viaduct) if we didn't study rocks this year. I think we will make many trips back in the future! I think this is the most incredible school day my family has ever had! We made lots of beautiful artwork in the car this day AND we got to see and learn about a LOT of AMAZING Rocks! I don't know what one we found more amazing. Both the Starrucca Viaduct and Hickory Run Boulder field are amazing works of art. One made by man and one by God but both are amazing and beautiful to look at!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Starrucca Viaduct

We have have had no computer for almost a week now. A storm wiped out our network. Good news is my blog posted automatically so you didn't even know I was gone. We are up and running again thanks to our very nice, local, DSL man.

We went on some awesome school field trips this weekend! Both trips we plan to go on again in the next few years. The first trip was to a tiny town in Susquehanna county. The town's name is Lanesboro. I want to let you know that Lanesboro is hiding an incredible treasure! I have lived in this area all my life. I NEVER have heard of Lanesboro or it's secret treasure! My husband has also lived in this area almost all of his life and didn't know of Lanesboro so I am guesssing many people don't know what is tucked away in that little town.

Lanesboro is the home of the Starrucca Viaduct. This viaduct is made of stone. When someone says viaduct in NE PA we all think of the Tunkhannock viaduct. I think everyone in PA knows of the Tunkhannock viaduct/Nicholson Bridge but honestly I have never heard anyone tell me about a stone viaduct in Lanesboro.

If you happen to be studying or curious about the Geology of NE PA I will tell you the type of stone the viaduct is made of is PA bluestone. This bluestone is only found in small parts of Northern NJ, Southern NY, and Susquehanna County PA. Most of the bluestone is found in Susquehanna County (my house sits on this Bluestone). I read that this stone is a valuable stone because it is not real slippery when wet like many other rocks so it is used for walkways, patios and around pools. It is a very strong stone (the Starrucca viaduct is proof of that), and it is beautiful (it has a blue tint to it). We have a ton of rock quarries near my house (several on the road we live on) but I never knew the rocks that came from them had rocks that were any different than the rocks found all over the USA. I am starting to realize that I am learning just as much as the children with this year's school.

Back to the Viaduct! The Starrucca viaduct is made up of PA bluestone. It has 17 arches, It stands over 100 ft high. It took 800 workers (paid each about $1 a day) to build. I think I read it only took 1 year to build. It is wide enough for 2 sets of tracks. It is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen! I find it sad that it is not marketed to the public as a popular tourist spot anymore. When we went to see it nobody else was at it (nobody was at the pothole to see it the day we went to that either). The man at a local hardware store said he doesn't hear many people come in and talk about visiting the viaduct anymore. What I think is the most amazing thing about this bridge is it is still being used! It has had trains running across it and has been continually used from the day it was built! I guess the rock is very solid here in NE PA!

Here are some of the pictures we took. It is a place you should try to see in person (it is so much better in real life than it shows in pictures).

Travis is asking about some holes he sees in the picture below.
Here is a look up if you look close you can see a tiny hole in the top and another on each side. I read someplace that they are believed to be holes that held wood beams to support it when the arches were being made.

To give you an idea of the size of this Rob parked the car under one of the arches. Our 2 little girls standing right behind the van. Travis is leaning on the pillar on the left and I am standing in the grass.Here is the part that little Zee found most interesting.

To her a tiny puddle was more fun than a giant stone bridge.

We drove up the hill and Rob walked up the train tracks. The children didn't want to walk on it because they worried a train might come down the tracks and hit them so I we all sat in the car while Daddy went off with the camera. Here are some of the pix Rob took.

This is a picture of downtown Lanesboro.

And an old water tower in town.

I hope someone reads this and takes a trip out to see it someday!

I think some people might wonder how this relates to our school this year. You might be thinking that we are learning about medieval/renaissance time and this viaduct was not built back in that time. It is the actual rock it is made of that falls into our school year. I have added a list of links on our blog for the field trips we have taken so far. We plan to take most of our trips in fall and in the spring (we don't do much traveling in the winter) so expect the list to stop growing in the next couple months then pickup again in the spring.

I hope to have another incredible trip we took post tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Geology field trip (to the pothole)

I am starting to see that Geology is a lot of fun and very interesting to study. I think finding geology related trips to do for some hands on learning is easy to do and it adds fun to the school day. Today we took a small trip (our original plans we wanted to take a further away field trip). School ran a bit late and we had some people installing a new water softener earlier in the day (our old one was 10 years old and broke a week ago). We decided last minute to go to the Archbald Pothole. If you don't live in NE PA I doubt you have ever heard of a famous pothole!

Some info on the pothole....
I think scientist are still debating on exactly how it was formed (the website above gives at least one idea on how it was formed the sign at the actual pothole list two ideas). It is a natural pothole and it is HUGE! It is 38 feet deep and 42 feet across. It was found in 1884. A coal miner set off a blast of explosives to extend the coal shaft and when he did water rushed out. The miners ran thinking the mountain was falling down on them. I bet you are thinking that I have given you more information then you ever wanted to know about a pothole! Here are some of the pictures we took at the pothole (the lady with us is Rob's mom).

It is hard to see how large the hole is from the pictures above so I am including the two pix below. The first one is of Travis standing right at the pothole (it is right in front of him).
This picture I am standing in the place he was and he is on the other side and you can see the other side of the hole. It really is a large hole.
After checking out the pothole and reading about it we decided to check out the little trails. On our hike we found many rocks to start our new rock collections. The trails have large amounts of coal shinning on the ground (with lots of other interesting rocks). In PA it is legal to collect rocks and fossils at the state parks. Because of that I now have dirt in my purse. My children asked me to hold the rocks for them (just one of the crazy things I do to give my children an education). I wonder if all moms have dirt from rocks inside their purses? I heard many times of children with coal in stockings but I don't think I have ever heard of mom with coal in her purse (I must be a really BAD MOMMY).

Travis liked collecting rocks. Demi enjoyed picking up acorns, and this is what Grandma M enjoyed checking out. It was some very green, soft, fluffy, mossy stuff.Here is what I enjoyed finding. I have never seen a large red mushroom before.

I think I like this picture the best.The rocks in the background, in picture below, is what Travis is standing on in the picture that follow.

How is this for hands on (perhaps feet on) rock studies.

The rocks on the trail are beautiful!

After the hike we left the pothole and took the children and Rob's mom to Olive Garden for dinner.

Then hit the fabric store and toy store before heading home.