28 July 2014

Day 7 / 104 - New Orleans Saints Training Camp

Saturday afternoon, we headed east of town to The Greenbrier to enjoy an evening with the New Orleans Saints.  The Saints are conducting their Training Camp at the West Virginia resort this year.
We're definitely not your #1 Saints fans.  However, we are fans of football.  We are also fans of experiencing events that don't always happen everyday.  Plus, we just visited New Orleans four weeks ago.  All of these seemed like perfect reasons to attend.

For a minimum fee, we picnicked on the field following their practice while the team signed autographs.  My son braved the crowds and passed aside his cheeseburger in order to receive Drew Brees' signature.  If you are in the area, the Saints still have practices that are free and open to the public over the next few weeks.  Details can be found on their website, here.

23 July 2014

Day 6 / 104 - Latin Camp

While my son was enjoying himself at Boy Scout camp, my daughter attended a three-day Latin camp as part of a Classical Conversations Parent Practicum that I was attending.

She learned some new grammar and basic fundamentals of the language.  According to her, most importantly, she played games and had a great time with her friends.  The camp was designed to give students ages 9 - 13 hands on experience in the subject, so that when studied at a later date they will have a firm foundation of the elementary skills.

22 July 2014

Day 5 / 104 - Camp Powhatan

Our son just returned from a week at Camp Powhatan.  It was the second time he attended a week-long camp with his Boy Scout troop about 100 miles from home.

Once again, he had a blast.  If he experienced any homesickness, he didn't bother to tell us.  He spent the week earning five different merit badges and playing hours of ultimate frisbee.  I think he grew a couple of inches, also.

Because we homeschool, I value his character-building experience away from us at Boy Scout camp.  He learns independence and builds self-confidence.  He returns home with a growing sense that he is capable of more than he realized.

07 July 2014

Day 4 / 104 - Louisiana and Oklahoma: Check

We just returned from a 10-day road trip of the deep south.  What started as a We-should-make-a-trip-to-Louisiana-to-see-my-BFF-from-high-school, turned into a Let's-visit-the-south-and-hang-out-for-awhile-in-Austin-because-it's-so-fun vacation. 
We had an ulterior motive.  My children had never been to Oklahoma or Louisiana, and I had never been to Louisiana.  At some point, we would like to visit all 50 states with our children, so we wanted to check a few more off our list.
We stopped off in Memphis and Dallas on the way down (as well as Murfreesboro, Arkansas), and briefly in Birmingham on the way home.
There's no filter on this photo of St. Louis Cathedral.
The sky just looked like that the day we were in New Orleans.
We had a great trip!!  I promise, we did more than drive up and down famous streets known for their music while endulging in regional cuisine, although my pictures seem to document only that.
Five summers ago, before a New England tour, my children crafted this quilt with my Mother-in-Law to document the states they had traveled to.  If you are unfamiliar with our entire life story, we lived out west for nine years and traveled a ton, which knocked out everything west of Colorado.  Our total count after this trip, my son: 43, my daughter: 42, and myself: 47.  (My husband has already checked off the entire continental U.S.)

06 July 2014

Day 3 /104 - Crater of Diamonds State Park

We recently returned from road-tripping the deep south (more on that in a later post) where we spent several hours one morning in Murfreesboro, Arkansas at the Crater of Diamonds State Park.  This park, which sits on the eroded surface of an ancient volcano, is the only diamond-producing site in the world that is open to the public.  You can hunt for real diamonds.  (To spare you the suspense, we didn't find any.)

This park was spectacular.  I wish we would have had more time to spend there.  Along with the diamond search area, there is also a water park, a cafe, remnants of old mining ventures, and a terrific campground.  If we lived closer to this facility, I'm convinced we'd visit it regularly.

We attempted the wet sifting method of searching for diamonds.  After digging holes, we washed the soil in a series of screens and hand sorted the gravel.  Because of the density of diamonds (and other minerals), they  sink to the bottom of the gravel during the wet sift.  Then, they can be located after flipping the screen over.  We found several minerals that were identified by the park staff, but alas no diamonds.

We had a great time !!

Day 2 / 104 - Bridge Walk

On Father's Day my children and husband took the guided walking tour on the catwalk across the New River Bridge, a mere 851 feet above the New River.

The Bridge was constructed during the mid to late '70s and cost 37 million dollars to complete.  It is the largest single span steel arch in the western hemisphere, and the highest vehicle carrying bridge in the United States.  The tour across the 3030 foot length catwalk takes about 2 hours, plenty of time to view the Gorge and the massive steel features and all the very bolts and beams of the bridge.

They loved it and can't wait to return to do it again !!

04 July 2014

Day 1 / 104 - Second Class

Happy Independence Day!  It's summer, but learning never ceases.

In June, my son officially received his Second Class Rank for Boy Scouts.  Second Class scouts work on building their outdoor survival and camping skills. Compass work, nature observation, camp tools, and swimming are areas where new skills are mastered and demonstrated. A second class scout, having completed all the requirements, should be able to lead a hike, care for his own equipment, set up a campsite, and perform basic first aid.

This is the third of six ranks he needs to earn before he can become eligible to become an Eagle Scout.  Individual requirement items for Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class ranks may be worked on simultaneously, but the ranks must be earned in the proper sequence.  He is quite close to earning his First Class.  During our year end portfolio assessment, he did a fantastic job explaining to our assessor the difference between what is required of him as a lower rank versus what will be expected of him as he advances.

He heads to camp next week !!