Thursday, July 29, 2010

Jr. Ranger Program ~ Complete

Today we headed up to Cades Cove for our last Jr. Ranger program. It was so much fun. It was "Animal Olympics"....I'd highly recommend taking part in this one! It's a ton of fun and very educational. The kids got to compare their own senses with that of animals in the park. It really gave them a good idea of just how amazing some of the animals are.

Before the actual program, we got out and the kids ran around awhile. We saw a coyote for the first time. Then, Luke spotted a black bear that was at a good, safe distance. We saw a turkey and some deer up close. We saw a bunch of long-eared bats hanging in the second floor of one of the cabins too. The boys got a kick out of watching them. The boys also had a lot of fun exploring some nature trails that we've never taken before.

Awkward pose for mom while trying to go through the fence...

We walked a little ways down the trail to the Elijah Oliver cabin and had a picnic.

Testing their sense of smell....

Could they outrun a coyote or bear?

Luke said, "If I grow up...I want to be a weal wanger."

Shortly after this, my cousin's little boy was going to kill a beetle in front of Ethan. He yells, "Did you not hear my oath?!?!?"

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Luke and the Ceiling Fan

Luke is definitely our little daredevil. It doesn't matter how hard I've tried to warn him of the possible outcome of some things....he still wants to see for himself. He loves to get a reaction and he HAS to know what would happen if he....... So, today he was up on the top bunk and was playing with the ceiling fan and it got him right in the face. He was in quite a bit of pain for a little while and it really scared me. I thought it would look worse than it does. But, he is just fine! :o)

Reading Time

"So please, oh PLEASE, we beg, we pray, Go throw your TV set away, And in its place you can install, A lovely bookshelf on the wall."

— Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."

— Groucho Marx

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Our Last Week Before School

We are starting school on Monday and I can't believe it. It seems like this summer has just flown by. But, we have had fun and I'm excited about school and all the new curriculum we'll be using.

Today the boys finished the Summer Reading Program at the library and were so excited!

One thing I planned on doing is the Jr. Ranger Program. We did our second one yesterday. I would like to do one more so the boys can get their badge and be sworn in.

Yesterday the boys got to pet the horses...I love it when they come up to the fence and let you pet and feed them. Then, the ranger taught them all about skunks. We all learned a lot.

There are 4 different types of skunks....striped, spotted, hog-nosed, and hooded.

Skunks can spray 15 feet...the boys had to spray the same way skunks do.

Then they had to do the spotted skunk dance!

One of their only predators are the gray horned owl.

They got to watch the wheat being milled into flour, which is much different than using our electric mill!

Another ranger brought out a bunch of bear, otter, red and gray fox, and a coyote.

Skunk Tracks....

It was a fun day...I feel so blessed to live in such a great place!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Homeschool Event at the Knoxville Zoo

Today we got to go to the zoo for a special program for homeschoolers. It was so neat. We got to go behind the scenes of several exhibits.

This is a clue as to the first thing we saw.......yes, it's elephant poop!

We got to go inside the elephant's home and see them being bathed. It was so cool to be so close to these animals.

We then headed to the commissary to see where the food for the animals is prepared.
Then, we headed to the reptiles! We got to go inside the exhibit to see many snakes that are never seen outside of that room. As we were walking through the maze of cages and glass enclosures, the kids were to keep their hands to their sides and walk slowly because many of the snakes are venomous. Of course, Luke was the one that grabs the metal grate on top of one of the cages! I told him to put his hands in his pockets...but, his pants were on backwards! It all ended well one was hurt and the kids even got to pet a snake.

Next we go to go into the tortoise exhibit. What neat animals! We were able to pet them and everything. You just had to be careful so that they didn't step or sit on your feet!

What a great day! I'm so thankful for the opportunity to homeschool my boys. I love seeing them learn and being able to be a part of that. Most of the time I feel totally incompetent and overwhelmed...well, not just about homeschooling...about being a mom in general. But, thank God for his grace and wisdom! I know that He's aware of my shortcomings and knows that I will fail...a lot! Yet, He's here to guide me and still allows me to be a part of something so amazing.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Family Time

Tonight we went over to the park after dinner. We went with nets, buckets, and of course, cameras. Chad and the boys got nice and muddy looking for salamanders, crawdads, frogs, etc. They didn't catch any frogs this time, but, they got lots of other stuff. They caught several baby salamanders.

They found lots of little crawdads

and tiny baby salamanders.

Luke is so funny...he's always off in his own imaginary world. I kept watching him...he was definitely up to something...but, I have no idea what. Side note: Today in the bathroom at Lowe's, he was having some kind of Ninja fight with one of the stall doors...just totally oblivious to people coming in and out. He does a good job of keeping himself entertained. :o)

Chad's such a good dad. He was so tired when he got home from work...but, he still is there for his boys. I love how Ethan's holding his hand here...they just love him!