Cultivating Knowledge in Mommy's Garden

Following the adventures of two little girls and their mommy, as they learn and create together!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Starting the School Year

I seriously cannot believe that it is the second week of August already!  Since we've been traveling and schooling on the road for the last 5 weeks, I haven't really "planned" what we are going to do this school year.  There are many topics that the girls want to study, the list so far includes dinosaurs, fairies and mermaids.  We are going to finish up with our Ocean theme this month (August) and then worry about moving on.  Other August projects include finishing up our fair entry projects and maybe making a framework for what our goals will be for the school year.
One think that I did accomplish for getting ready was to box up all of last school years work and projects and get my new folders labeled for the weeks of this school year.  Schooling year-round definitely has it's benefits, but I'm beginning to realize that one big downside is that I'm so busy teaching and working on current things that I haven't had time to sit down and think about the next year.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Home At Last

For those of you few readers that I have, if you are wondering what the heck is going on with the blog with all the empty posts, I’ll tell you what's up.  Last week while we were in Oregon some punks broke into my truck and stole my day bag with my laptop, journals, kids journals, all of our national park passports, about 25 postcrossing postcards that we had received, a variety of notepads and travel handouts, my mom’s camera, and other small things.  I had blogged and journaled and put all my pictures on the laptop for all these posts, but hadn’t uploaded because of lack of internet service.  Now I have no journals, no pictures, and no computer.  The sheriff’s office notified me yesterday that the journals and miscellaneous papers had been recovered, and they will be returned to me after they are processed as evidence (no time line on this as of yet).  Some other good news is that Daddy is working on recovering some of the pictures from the memory cards that had been erased.  Also, I had placed an online order of some of the first trips pictures before we left,  I’m waiting on the cd of that order to arrive in the mail. 
Now we are just trying to get resettled at home (we came home to a broken fridge that had leaked on the hardwood floor and warped it).  It is the second week of the school year for us, since I like to start August 1st.  There is lots to do and lots to catch up on.  The to-do list just grew about 10 feet with the loss of the computer and the food in the fridge.  One good thing about it, it will give me a chance to throw away all the condiments that have been in there for who knows how long and start with a clean and empty fridge for the first time in 8 years!  Ah, the silver lining.
I'll have to really sit down and digest the traveling that went on this last month, from July 5th to August 5th, I was only home for 6 days.  We traveled around the entire state of Washington, and then the entire state of Oregon.  We drove over 4,000 miles, camped in 7 campgrounds and slept at one rest stop :).  We saw tidepools in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, along the Washington Coast all the way to Cape Arago in Southern Oregon.  We saw volcano's from Mt. Baker to the north, Mts Rainier, St. Helens, Adams, Hood, Jefferson, Three Sisters, Newberry, and Crater Lake to the south.  Collected shells along countless beaches.  Visited more state parks then we can remember.  Visited Fort Clatsop, Lewis and Clarks winter encampment, and Fort Stevens which was built during the Civil War.  Visited aquariums, science centers, and the Oregon Zoo in Portland.  So many memories were made.  I'm so thankful that I have a supportive husband who is okay with his girls taking off on adventures, and tolerant of going along on his "vacation."
So, enough for now, there is a lot of laundry to be done (even though I think I wore the same 4 outfits for the entire month we were traveling), lots of unpacking to do, and major reorganization of the house to do.  We are all safe and healthy and ready to relax before we start any more adventures!

Day 11, Homeward Bound

Day 10, Mt. St. Helens AGAIN :)

Day 9, Oregon Zoo

Day 8, Lewis and Clark, Fort Clatsop, Fort Stevens, and Cannon Beach

Day 7, Thieves Strike

Day 6, Sea Lion Caves and Yummy Dinner

 Sea Lion Caves

Swimming in the pool
Owls came to visit us in camp.

Day 5, Oregon Coast Aquarium

Japan Tsunami Dock, Agate Beach, Newport, OR

Whale Spouts!!!

Agate Beach 

Beautiful sunset at the South Jetty Beach.

What a day!  It’s super late but I want to get the basics down and elaborate more in the morning.  After a breakfast of Aunt Jemima and Mrs. Buttersworth (they get along famously) we were off to the Oregon Coast Aquarium.  The girls had a great time and learned a lot.  We got to see demonstrations in the sea otter exhibit as well as the aviary.  There were sea lions, seals, a giant octopus, even a cool tunnel fish display.  There were displays for the different parts of the ocean, coastal, tide pools, and open ocean.  We even got to see sea horses and touch sting rays.
After the aquarium we went to Agate Beach State Park and the girls played while we walked to the Japanese tsunami dock.  We got to see them building a road onto the beach to get it moved.  What an amazing thought that this piece floated all this way.
On our drive back to camp I saw a whale spout in the ocean.  When I pulled over and we watched, there were LOTS of spouts!  I even got a picture of a whale tail and back!
We got back to camp just in time to watch the sunset and start some laundry.  Now I’m exhausted!  Goodnight!

Day 4, Oregon State Parks

 Cape Arago State Park

Tide pools

 Look at these rocks with all these crazy things going on!

The bridge that we think looks like the troll's bridge in Three Billy Goats Gruff

Shore Acres State Park 

Look at those HUGE leaves!

Sunset Bay State Park

After a fun day we are back to camp and all tucked in.  We had a great time visiting some of the beautiful state parks along the southern coast.  We started at Cape Arago and had a picnic lunch before walking down to the water.  We could hear the sea lions barking from the picnic area!  We hiked down to the shore and enjoyed looking at the tide pool shore.  We saw sea anemones, crabs, hermit crabs, and snails.  There were some amazing rock formations that I don’t understand what was happening.  I need to find a book about it!  Next was Shore Acres State Park.  This area was beautiful with a hiking trail along the cliff edge and a huge garden area.  The dahlias aren’t blooming yet but everything else was amazing.  Next was Sunset Bay State Park.  We let the kids play on the sandy beach for quite a while it was interesting to see the land change as the tide came in.  There was a small sandy island just off the shore when we got there, but by the time we left you couldn’t tell where it was anymore.  After the beach we stopped for souvenirs and a fish dinner.  We ate at the High Tide CafĂ©, and it was delicious.
Tomorrow we are scheduled to go to the aquarium, Otter Crest and Agate Beach.  I think it will be a lot of fun.  We have a few more days at this camp and I can’t wait to hang out a bit and swim and relax.

Day 3, Junior Rangers and New Camp

Most of the day was a driving day, but first we had to finish our Junior Ranger books.
Great job girls!

Frog at camp!  The girls found this little guy right in our camp, they sure enjoyed him, and he even lives in a stump here.  

Playing with bubbles in the trailer.  

We are at our new camp and all snuggled into bed.  This morning we got up and the big people got showers.  We also got to have sausage and eggs while the girls filled out their Junior Ranger notebooks.  They are learning so much from doing the activities at the parks.  Once the notebooks were finished we drove up to the visitor center and the girls turned in the books.  The ranger was very nice and we enjoyed visiting with her.  We drove for a long time to reach our new camp.  Once here we played around camp and the girls found a frog.  We are rearranging tomorrow schedule a bit, it will be a great day.

Day 2, Crater Lake

Beautiful girls!

Who knew waking up in a rest stop would be so much fun :)

Our first look at Crater Lake, a picture of the view my passengers got (you can't tell, but I hear that it was a scary view off the edge of the road). 

 Our camp at Crater Lake, BEAUTIFUL!

Pumice Castle and Vidae Falls

Phantom Ship

Pinnacles and Plaikini Falls.  

This is how much ash fell during the eruption of Mt. Mazama!

Wow!  What a busy fun filled LONG day!  We woke up this morning in a rest stop :).  I think everyone slept okay.  I had set the time on the clock wrong, so I thought we were getting up at 7, but we actually slept in till 8!  We had Spam and eggs for breakfast and then got on the road to Crater Lake.  After entering the park we got our first glimpse of the lake!  It was beautiful!  We got to drive around the rim past the visitor centers to the campground.  We were concerned they would be full, but we got a tent site, until I told the lady again that we had a trailer and then we got to choose our own “yellow” site.  We got a really nice large site.  After setting up camp and having lunch we headed back to the visitor center.  We picked up our Junior Ranger packets and started working on them.  Next we headed up to the visitor center along the rim.  We did a little shopping and enjoyed the Junior Ranger program.  The kids got to make postcards of what they liked best about the park.  Selena drew a ranger badge and the lake and Abby drew a boboat (bobcat with the c an o) and trees.  For their effort they got ranger patches.
Then we drove the rim drive around the caldera edge.  We saw lots of neat views of the lake and island.  We also saw Mt. Thielsen in the distance.  We saw the pinnacles and hiked to Plaikni Falls.  The trail was pretty steep!! The trail was 2 miles long so we put the girls in the trailer so I could push them like a walker.  We finished up the drive and had chicken fajitas for dinner.  We had a color fire and then bedtime for the girls.  The adults enjoyed the fire for a bit longer then Greg went tannin :).  We all did foot soaks in tea.  Man it feels nice to get clean feet.  Tomorrow we move along to the beach.