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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Mamaw and Aunt Hilda

My grandmother and aunt came to visit last night! They're doing a Thelma and Louise 2 week road trip and stopped here on their way to visit my grandmother's 2 sisters and brother in Michigan. David took them to Zaharako's and Neiman Marcus for some souvenirs while the boys and I finished up getting supper ready. They're only in for the night but will stay with us again next week on their way back south.

Brennan wanted Aunt Hilda to watch his favorite show with him. She happily agreed. Unfortunately for her, Fetch is recorded on TiVo and that's in our room. Look at that smile of contentment on his face though. He talked non-stop throughout the show explaining everything that was going on. She's a saint.

Thomas is doing a 3 month Family Folklore project and has to interview 4 family members face-to-face. He was excited that Mamaw was coming so he could interview her about her life and her parents and siblings. I learned quite a bit myself!

The Interview

We love having family visit!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Fall Projects

Those of you who know and love me, know that I am not that creative. My sister Shelly got those genes. But I'm pretty good at following directions, especially if the project doesn't require many steps. So this fall, we've done two projects that I'm pretty happy with. Thought I'd share.

Last weekend we hunted for pretty leaves and took some pictures of the beautiful trees around town. I saw this post on Sarah's blog, and thought the boys and I would enjoy waxing the leaves we found. Instead of hanging them, we put them in this pretty bowl from my MIL Carolyn. If I could figure out how to hang them in such a pretty way like Sarah does, I would try it out. For now, the bowl works well!

All you need to purchase is a disposable metal pan and 1 box of Gulf Wax, found at the grocery store in the canning area. Melt the wax in the metal pan on low heat (I was surprised how quickly it melted!) and transfer the pan to your counter top. Line the counter top with newspapers and then wax paper.

Carefully dip the leaves by their stem into the wax, let drip and then place on the wax paper. Once cooled, they peel right off. The boys had never "played" with wax before so it was a lot of fun. Thomas is using the leftover Gulf Wax to sculpt something. It was quick, cheap, easy, and mess-free. My kind of craft project!

I saw this adorable Trick-or-Treat idea in Southern Living magazine. Here's all you need:

I used Blow Pops instead of Dum-Dums because they're larger. I used the small size of Bounce paper towels and cut them in half. Because Blow Pops have the wrapper twist at the top, I tucked it down before putting the paper towel on and securing it with the yarn so that it would look like a ghost and not a member of some racist organization.

I think they turned out really cute. In Southern Living they stuck the ghosts in a small hay bale. I'm having a hard time getting them to stick in the hay bale on our front porch, so I think I'll use this bowl instead. I think kids will get a kick out of them on Halloween night. Again - cheap, easy, and cute.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Fall Color Show

Some photos from around town today. It was a beautiful sunny day. Great to be outside!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Boston and the Freedom Trail

No trip to Boston would be complete without visiting the Freedom Trail.

We spent a lot of time at Boston Commons, the oldest public park in the U.S.

The Frog Pond. These frogs are fishing in fron the Frog Pond which hosts ice skating events in the winter and a shallow pool to splash in during the summer.

And here's where the boys soaked up their Boston culture at Boston Commons.

Boston Commons

The Massachusetts State House. The oldest building on Beacon Hill, it was completed in 1798. The land was originally owned by John Hancock. The dome is gilded with 23-carat gold leaf.

Park Street Church. For decades this was the first landmark travelers saw when entering Boston. The hymn "My Country 'Tis of Thee" was first sung on the church's steps on July 4, 1831.

Granary Burying Ground behind Park Street Church. Those buried here include John Hancock, Samuel Adams, the five Boston Massacre victims, Paul Reve, Ben Franklin's parents, and Mother Goose.

King's Chapel that was build in 1749 on orders of Kim James II. Mary Chilton, the first woman to step off the Mayflower, is buried in America's first burial grounds behind the church.

The site of the First Public School. Alumni include Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and Ralph Waldo Emerson. It still continues today in another location. It's very competitive.

Old City Hall. A beautiful building. Now home to a Ruth's Chris restaurant, which makes me sad.

The Old State House is now a museum. It is the oldest surviving public building in Boston, completed in 1713. The Declaration of Independence was read from the east balcony on July 4, 1776.

Faneuil Hall was the site of the beginnings of opposition to British authority. Citizens gathered here to rally against the Sugar Act, the Stamp Act, the Townsend Acts, and the landing of British troops. Later it was the site for anti-slavery speeches and then the women's rights movement.

Other shots as we walked around Boston. I loved the architecture and gardens as we walked around downtown. It was a cold, windy day so my co-travelers did not enjoy it as much as I did :)

Beacon Hill area outside of Boston Commons.

Boston is a beautiful city, and so much history! We did not complete the Freedom Trail (again, cold/windy day) but I had seen the rest before on a visit with work years ago. It's a wonderful place to walk and look and we're so glad we made the trip!

Boston - Lots of Great Museums

On our trip last weekend, we spent 2 days in Boston. We had a number of museums on our list of things to get to and Boston delivered.

First up was the Museum of Science. I don't have to say much more than the title of the museum for you to know that my 3 boys LOVED IT!

The boys could not get off the escalator fast enough to get to the Mathematics area.

I spent a lot of time watching these chicks making their way into the world.

View across the Charles River from the Museum of Science.

Because we were there on Friday night we got to see some cool presentations. One on electricity that was very, very cool. And we saw a presentation on a snapping turtle. Love his backside.

They're opening a Harry Potter exhibit later this fall but Thomas got to pose by the flying car from the second book.

We really enjoyed the Museum of Science - it was a huge hit.

We also visited Harvard University and the Natural History Museum. It was fun to walk around the campus. There is beautiful architecture everywhere you look.

This was very different than other Natural History Museums we've visited like in Washington, D.C. and Chicago. The animals here were brought to the museum more than 100 years ago in most cases, and some of the animals are now extinct. The museum was first built in the 1860s. There had to be thousands of examples of animals, minerals and gems. It was more of an educational layout than grand exhibits, but well done and very interesting.

I enjoyed the Glass Flowers exhibit. Again, thousands of varieties of flowers and all made of glass.

Our final afternoon we visited the Children's Museum of Boston. It is terribly sad to see Thomas and Brennan outgrowing Children's Museums, but it's happening. There were quite a few exhibits that were just obviously too young for them. But we had a great time.

View across the Charles River from the Children's Museum.

The Milk Restaurant outside the Museum.

The boys enjoyed the 2 story climbing thing like they have at Wonderlab.

Brennan really enjoyed the climbing walls. They were horizontal instead of vertical. He did it!

Building these designs is serious business!

There were other sites likes the Aquarium we wish we had time to see, but the museums we did have a chance to visit were really a lot of fun.