Saturday, May 29, 2010

Summer School

Summer is upon us. The weather is getting warmer - much too quickly, days are getting longer, and school is finally out!! Well, for most people, anyways.

Several people have asked me lately when we will finish up our school work for the year. When will we be "done"? I always love to see the different responses I get when I hit them with the hard fact - we don't quit. We do SUMMER SCHOOL! Let me explain.

I tried once, many years back, to follow along with what the public school system says about holidays and vacation times. We did our school work during the 9 regular school months, and we quit for the summer. That lasted all of about a week! My kids were so absolutely bored! It was too hot to send them outside (I live in the Deep South!), they were tired of watching TV, we had already cleaned the house from top to bottom, and they wouldn't quit fighting with each other. What to do? So I decided then and there that, if I was going to be finding something creative for them to do all day, we might as well use that time to learn something constructive! Why in the world would I want to spend the next 3 months listening to bored kids fight all day, when I could be teaching them something fun and educational that they needed to know anyway? That summer turned out to be one of the best ever!

And then fall came. The weather was beautiful, the kids were ready to go outside, and, most importantly, I wanted to be outside. So we closed up our school work, and we headed to the park for a picnic! Why in the world would I want to stay inside with antsy kids who would much rather be exploring and using their muscles and brains outdoors? That fall turned out to be one of the best ever!

And so our homeschool started to take shape. I decided that, instead of trying to do what everyone else says I should do, I was going to run my school, including the school calendar, according to what would work for OUR family. The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea.

It turns out that there are lots of educational things going on during the summer. We stay at the library when it's hot outside!! They have all kinds of programs for all different ages, and we love to incorporate our school time with the activities they already have planned. The library constantly has crafts, science experiments, story times, movies, lessons, and board game times. My kids LOVE to participate in all of the fun.

We spend a lot of time catching up on things that I have wanted to teach my kids, but just haven't made the time for it. Like, for example, the chemistry lesson we did last year. It was a hot, rainy day, so we pulled out the chemistry lab, and Britches spent all morning reading the directions, putting the different tools together, and doing some experiments.

And then, of course, there are always the never ending botany lessons in the garden. We have studied worms and their effects on soil, seeds from beginning to full grown plant, different types of insects and which ones are helpful and which are harmful to our garden - the list just never ends.

We catch up on a lot of math, because often, we get so involved in our other unit studies that we miss a lesson here and there. Also, we use that time to get ahead in math, so that we don't have to worry about it as much when we are working on history or geography or science or whatever.

For many years, as new homeschoolers, I struggled with one thing more than any other. I felt as though I always had to keep up with what everyone else was doing. That included what the public school did, as well as how others ran their homeschools. It was always a struggle and a point of great stress. I used to feel guilty when I would try to explain to someone why we did things the way we did. I felt like I was being scrutinized and that I was doing less than I should just because I didn't keep the same rigid schedule as everyone else. It took me YEARS to come to understand that I am not STUPID, I am working towards the best interest of my kids, and I don't have to be like everyone else - no matter what someone else may tell me! I do what works for MY homeschool. As should everyone! I like to tell people that we do "year 'round" school. We do our best work in the dead heat of the summer and the cold, wet winter. And during the beautiful months of spring and fall, we will be taking our break. We will spend days at the park or the zoo, and we will vacation when the weather is nice, the prices are lower, and the people are few.

And so, if you call my house this summer to ask if we can come and do something, don't be surprised if I tell you, with upmost pride and confidence, that we are doing school. But don't feel sorry for my kids! Because we will be off doing great, relaxing things this fall when other kids are back in school!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Timez Attack

Lately, Little Man and I have been butting heads where math is concerned. We are trying to learn the times tables, and it is just NOT WORKING! We have tried worksheets, flash cards, working facts on my white board, and even playing a few math games online. But he just cannot retain what he's learned.

Actually, I think he does know most of them. But My Little Man is a kinesthetic learner, which means he learns best by doing. Some kids are worksheet kids, and some are hands-on doing kids. Little Man just cannot sit still in front of a piece of white paper with a pencil in his hand. He looks at the page and simply blanks out. Literally, he will sit there for an hour and a half looking at his page and never answering the first problem. He is able to get most of the answers correct when we do flash cards, but that is SO BORING after a few days of the same cards! VERY FRUSTRATING!!!! Back to the drawing board.

We are what you would call eclectic homeschoolers. That means, I take from lots of methods what I can use, and I disregard a lot of things. One of the methods we use is Charlotte Mason. Check out the link to find out all about this amazing woman. She lived many years ago, and taught many children using her method. Her approach is to use "living" books in place of the standard textbook. This is how most all of our school is taught. So why, if this method works so well in everything else, would I expect a textbook to work for math? Hmmm...

I have to stop here to add a side note. There are times in homeschooling, as with many things in life, when I tend to get away from my original plan. I find something that works, but then, for whatever reason, I start going a different direction. Sometimes it's because I think something else may work better, and sometimes it's because I start comparing what we are doing with other homeschoolers or even public schools. Then, after lots of frustrating lessons, I think to myself, "Why is this not working?" WELL, it's because I got away from what worked. I then have to stop what I'm doing, reevaluate the direction in which we are going, and go back to square one. When I stick to the method that I originally chose, it always works out better. All that said, don't let people or things get in the way of your plan. If you truly find something else that works, do it. Otherwise, stick with the plan!

So today, I got online and started looking for some way to teach a "living" math! I could not figure out how in the world I was going to teach multiplication facts to this kid in a "living" way. But yeah hooray, Google saved the day! I LOVE Google!! You can find anything online!! So what did I find? Only the COOLEST video game EVER!!

Timez Attack is an unbelievable, new multiplication tables game. You have to see it to believe it!! It's as high-tech and entertaining as a top video game, yet as rigorous and effective as one-on-one training with a skilled teacher. Trust me--you've never seen an educational game like THIS before.

I downloaded the FREE base version, which teaches all the facts 2-12. This is a GREAT game. It looks as good as any Wii or XBox game I have seen. The graphics are wonderful.

Little Man LOVES video games, so this was PERFECT for him. When he saw me downloading it, he almost couldn't wait! And as soon as it was ready, he was chompin' at the bit to play. Too bad for him, I told him he had to play with his little sister first. HA! Thought I'd make him want it a little more!! (Aren't I terrible?!) 

I chose to try the free version first, because I wanted to be sure it was something he would really enjoy and play. It teaches everything, but you only go through the dungeon. In the upgraded versions, you can play through the dungeon, a machine, lava, and ruins. If Little Man plays it and likes it, I will go back and upgrade to get the rest of the features. 

If your kids are having a hard time in math, or any subject for that matter, go check out some "living math" lessons! They are WAY FUN, and very effective. When you teach in a "living" way, your child not only has fun, but they retain the knowledge so much better than if the information is just read once from a textbook. 

And if your kids like video games like my son, go check out the COOLEST VIDEO GAME EVER!! You'll be glad you did!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Tomato Pie - YUM

Vegetarian Times is my new favorite web site! This year, as most of you know, I have determined to eat even healthier than we already did. Part of my "eating healthy" plan is to include more veggies and a bigger variety of them! (I am from the South, and, quite frankly, I have grown tired of the traditional peas, beans, and cornbread with every meal!)

About a week ago, Vegetarian Times announced its 21-day healthy lunch challenge. It is a campaign to make and take your lunch every day, instead of eating out. Also, it includes 30 minutes of walking at lunch, instead of just eating at your desk. And then, lastly, you spend about 10 minutes of time just reflecting - thinking, praying, whatever.

Well, considering the fact that I stay home most days and don't hit too many drive-thru's, this didn't really apply to me. But I decided to give it a try anyway, because I wanted to add more to our lunches than just peanut butter and jelly (which is our old stand-by, because it's so quick and easy, and I can count the carbs in it!).

Today was day 4 of the challenge, and I decided to make a recipe I have been planning to make for YEARS!! Yesterday, I stopped by our local farmers market, and I picked up 4 yummy tomatoes! So I decided to make a tomato pie. And it was so good, I wanted to share my recipe!

I started out with a crust that you make right in the pan. It's very crumbly, but you just pat it down in the pan and then cook it for about 15 minutes.

Then, I cut my 4 tomatoes into about 1/4-1/2" slices and put them all around in my crust. I cut up some fresh basil straight from my garden, and sprinkled it on top of the tomatoes. After looking at it a bit, I decided it could use another tomato. I happened to have one more that I had bought a few days ago at the grocery store. Let me just say, as I cut the tomato, I could absolutely tell a difference in the ones from the farmers market and the one from the store. The farmers market tomatoes were firm, juicy, and easy to cut. You could tell they had been handled well. The one from the grocery store was mushy, fell apart, and was hard to cut. So on a side note here, if at all possible, consider buying local, fresh produce instead of the bulk shipped grocery store stuff that has been picked way too early and sprayed with all sorts of preservatives so that it can be shipped hundreds of miles to your local store and then be handled in a way that it is no longer even fit to eat by the time you get it. Back to my recipe.

After the last tomato was sliced and put on top, I added the other half of the basil and then spread grated mozzarella, Colby, and Monterey Jack cheese all over the pie. I put it in the oven at 375 for about 30 minutes.

The kids and I sat down to eat it while it was hot, so the cheese was still melty! It was really good!!

A few things I will do differently the next time I make this recipe. One thing is that I will use my other "old standby" pie crust recipe, instead of the crumbly pat-in-pan crust. The one I used was too crumbly, and when I tried to serve each piece, it sort of fell apart. Another thing I will change is the type of cheese I used. The melty cheese was a good idea, and it did taste good, but as it cooled, it hardened a little too much. Next time, I will use feta cheese, because it is crumbly, doesn't really melt, and has a really good, tangy taste.

All in all, the recipe was a hit, and I will be making tomato pie again soon! This pie would make an excellent side dish, but it was equally excellent as a main course!

This is only day 4 of the lunch challenge, but so far, I have really enjoyed trying out some new recipes and eating just a little bit healthier with my kids!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

What a Waste

After our fantastic vacation this past weekend, during which time there was precious little TV or other distractions, thus leaving plenty of time to have FUN as a family, I just couldn't bare the thought of spending this Saturday at home, bored, and listening to the kids TV in the background. I wanted to get out and go have MORE FUN! Life is just waiting to be enjoyed, and I didn't want to waste a minute today. So I told the kids to get dressed, because we were packing a picnic and heading to a local park.

This particular park isn't your typical swing and slide kind of place. It only has walking trails and two large ponds to look at. So why did I choose this place to spend my Saturday? Well.....

A few days ago, I broke the news to the kids that our end of the summer beach trip appeared to be on hold indefinitely. Because of the oil spill in the Gulf, all the beaches within a reasonable driving distance will probably be completely ruined. Which REALLY STINKS, considering I've been planning this trip for several months now. Anyways, the kids seemed a little disappointed, but mostly, the wheels in their heads began to turn, and they started asking questions about oil, drilling, spills, and lots of other things that I had no answers to!

BINGO! Homeschooling at its finest! This next week, we are starting our next unit study, and it will be on, of course, the oil spill in the Gulf and oil spills and drilling, in general. Also, we'll be talking about wetlands and how they are so vitally important to our world, our food supply, our economy, and numerous other things! And a few days ago, my friend, Jennifer, sent out a link to a web site that has LOTS of really cool ideas and activities to go along with our study. We will be doing most all of the activities. To find the activities, go here - National Wildlife Federation. One of the ideas was to visit a wetland to see what one actually looks like and what goes on in that place.

This is why I picked this particular park for our fun day today. This park is a great example of a wetland. And so we began our day.

We visited Restoration Park, which is a relatively new park near our house. 

The sign at the entrance to the park tells a little about its beginnings. In short, it says that, for over 50 years, it was the site of a major sand and gravel mining operation. But after it had been "mined out," people in the area began to use the area to illegally dump all manner of waste. This happened for roughly 10 years, at which time, the city bought the land to clean it up and develop it into what it is today. The city took great efforts to clean up the waste that had been dumped years before, and did a pretty good job of it! But every time there is a hard rain, the water washes away more dirt, and more waste from years past is again uncovered. 

I thought that was a pretty interesting story of this place's beginnings. It was kind of cool to actually know from where this great park that I was about to hike through came. We set off on our hike, fully expecting to see a beautiful wetland in all its glory.


 Baby girl, who is now about 19 months old, just would not be held! She wanted to walk by herself. I was thankful they had made such nice gravel walkways! She stopped along the way and looked at some of the leaves. Had to keep an eye on her, though, because there was poison ivy everywhere! Didn't want her rubbing up on any of that!!

She did agree to hold daddy's hand some, though.

Britches and I let the others run on ahead of us, while we took our time and enjoyed looking at everything. 

We stopped to smell the honeysuckles. And boy do they smell good right now!!

She stopped to check out the blackberries growing along the trail, and we thought we should probably make another trip to the park in a few weeks to pick all those yummy berries! (Probably get in trouble for that, I know!)

We looked out over the lovely little bridge, only to realize that, true to a wetlands character, it was only a little water and a lot of saturated sand! But we could still see some minnows in the shallow water. 

We finally caught up with everyone. Apparently, we were going too slow for them. I prefer to think that they were just going too fast for us!

Little Sister found some beautiful purple wildflowers, and she just had to stop and smell them! 

Baby Girl, hard as she tried, just could not keep up with us, so she got a ride from daddy! Fun, fun!!

My Little Man, found a great pine cone, and he said, "You know, I think I could take this home and sketch it!" And so, he brought it home to sketch!

We saw lots of wetland vegetation, like this fern. Wetland vegetation is any kind of plant that can adapt to growing in water, mud, or dry ground. A wetland can be any of those things at different times of the year, so plants have to adjust. It's cool that God made each one of them exactly how they needed to be in order to survive the ecosystem in which they live. 

Baby Girl was absolutely fascinated with the gravel on the walking trail. She would not stop playing in it, and we finally just had to pick her up so we could move on!

Britches and Little Man were really excited and wanted me to come and see what they had discovered. What they had found was...

...a lily pond!! A few years ago, we learned about Claude Monet and how he had a lily pond near his home that he just loved to paint. Ever since then, we have always thought what a cool thing that would be to really see a lily pond to know and understand why Monet would want to devote much of his paintings to it. Well, let me tell you, it was beautiful!

The flowers were white with yellow centers. Somewhere in the pond, we could hear a bullfrog.

And as we looked down in the shallow water, we saw tadpoles swimming around.

Brient even spotted a fish swimming. (I know, it's hard to see. But he's in there!)

Baby Girl was completely thrilled! She loved looking at the fish! She really could see it, because it was swimming right up to the surface of the water. She laughed every time she saw it.

There is a gazebo overlooking and a bridge crossing the lily pond. 

On the other side of the park is another pond. There are no lilies in this pond, but there are lots of other plants that live here. It was just as beautiful as the other pond. 

The park was absolutely beautiful! And we loved hiking the trails. But one thing that I noticed along the way, nearly everywhere you looked, you could see waste! There were old tires and rusty metal from years past. And there were plastic bottles from people today. 

We originally came to the park to learn a little more about our wetlands. But as we made our way along the trail, and as we saw more and more waste that the rain had, over time, exposed, my focus changed. We then began to talk about stewardship of our Earth. What we took away from our trip today was that what you do today WILL have an impact on the people of tomorrow. People illegally dumped waste on this land back in the 1970's. But what they did 40 years ago is now affecting this park today. If you take care of the land you have, it will be good land for your children and grand-children.  If you pollute the Earth, it will be a dirty mess for years to come that someone else will be left to deal with. You cannot only think about yourself and today. You must think about tomorrow and the people who will come after you in years to come. 

Near the end of the trail is a large Blue Heron. We went to check him out! Brient and the kids have one leg up, like the bird!

Baby Girl climbed on his legs.

Little Sister, being the jealous thing she is, had to have a turn climbing on his legs.

And then, there was a fight over who got to sit on his legs again. 

And we ended our adventure with a baby crying because she was having fun and didn't want to go home. My kind of day!

A couple of things I learned today. I can't sit around waiting on fun things to happen, but I need to go out and DO fun things! Wetlands are truly amazing places, and our country would not be the same without them. Which is why this oil spill is so devastating. And the last thing - everything I do in this life, no matter how small, WILL have an effect on those who come behind me. I don't want my great-grandchildren to have to clean up the waste that I leave behind. I must take care of the Earth I have been given.

Vacation Time - FINALLY!!

It's been right at two years since our family has been on a vacation, and we all needed to get away for a little while. So in January, I started saving up and planning! And this last week was the big trip! Our plans: Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO.

The plan was to leave last Friday morning, but we just couldn't stand it any longer. We were all packed and ready to go, so we set out on Thursday night! Our first stop was at my parents house where we dropped off the baby!

She was so excited to see her grandma, that she didn't even seem to care that we all left! She smiled and waved bye to us as she played on the tire swing. So off we went.

We drove about half way that night. At one point, we stopped at a Wal-Mart to take a break and stretch our legs. Brient took the kids to the toy section, of course, and Little Sister found the exact thing she had been asking for but I couldn't find! So she got it!! And she was SO excited! 
That toy was good for several hours of entertainment over the whole trip! Well worth buying!
We stopped in Little Rock, AR. After some sleep and breakfast at the hotel, we started out again. Little Sister, who is 4, had the hardest time. She just could not understand the time thing, and she was so ready to be there. (But thankfully, we had DVD players and a new toy!) Not too far down the road, though, was Pickles Gap Village, a small shopping place with all kinds of things to look at and shop for. AND, they had a kiddie area with a petting zoo where the kids could play!

Yes, I know I have more pictures of Little Sister than the other 2! They had gone into one of the shops with their daddy, and I took just her to play. She didn't care a thing about shopping! After having a fabulous lunch at the country store in the village, we were on the road again.
That evening, we finally drove into our hotel, The Grand Country Inn, and got our room. After we ate, we all got changed into our swimsuits and headed next door to their indoor water park! We all needed something fun to do after such a long drive. That water park was absolutely amazing! It was HUGE, and all 3 kids ran all over that place playing! There was a lazy river, 2 huge slides, a huge jungle gym like set-up complete with water traps to soak unsuspecting people walking beneath you, a great kiddie area for Little Sister (though she didn't want to stay there, because she wanted to go to the "big" stuff), and even 2 hot tubs. It was great, and a wonderful way to end a long trip!! 

The next morning, after a great buffet breakfast at the hotel, we headed to Silver Dollar City. It was threatening rain, but we decided to give it a shot anyway. We had come too far not to at least try to go! It was well worth it! The rain held off, and we all had a blast!
We rode lots of rides. Little Man decided he wanted to ride all the BIG rides! So his daddy got to take him to do those while the girls and I had some fun on the smaller rides. But Little Man and Little Sister, along with their daddy, rode the swing 4 times! CRAZY! 

Little Man had agreed to ride with Little Sister on some of her rides, and she had a BLAST!! But he was none too thrilled when I took a picture of him on the "baby ride"!
Here's my honey watching Little Sister and Little Man riding another "baby ride"! 

Little Sister and Britches went with me (while daddy and Little Man were being scared out of their minds!) to see the water wheel and walk across the swinging bridge. 
Since my honey is a cell phone technician, he wanted his picture by the "Wireless Telegraph" booth! That was cool!

When we stopped for lunch, which was a wonderful bowl of succotash, we sat and watched a magic show right outside the magic shop. The kids LOVED that! The guy was so good and FUNNY! After the show, we went in the magic shop, and Little Man bought a few things. He is so crazy! He bought some soap that, when you wash with it, it washes you DIRTY! And then he bought the classic "can of nuts" that, when you open it, has a big spring snake that pops out! He asked the guy to staple the bag shut, so I wouldn't see what he bought, because he wanted to trick me later. And he did! And he got the biggest laugh out of his new gags when he tricked me!

We saw several craftsmen in their shops actually doing their craft. This was a wood lathe shop, and the men were just getting started on a project. We also watched a man blowing glass, a blacksmith making a rose out of metal, and a potter throwing her pottery. At the pottery shop, I bought a special gift for my sweet mother to thank her for keeping my littlest one. I picked a beautiful bluish colored casserole dish with a lid. And then I got myself two bluish pie plates and a serving stand that holds both. 

We also went to a leather shop, where Brient bought a handmade leather hat. The lady signed her name on the inside! COOL! We didn't get to see her making it, but it was still cool knowing it wasn't made in a factory somewhere. It looks so good on him, and he loves it! 

In another section of the park, there was a HUGE jungle gym! Brient took them up to play for nearly an hour to play. There was a big cage of balls, and Little Sister was trying to get them but just couldn't quite reach. So Brient finally just picked her up and put her in. She loved it!!!

Apparently, my preacher, Ray Jones, has a toll bridge in Silver Dollar City. I think we still owe him .20 for crossing. Britches asked me, "Does Bro. Ray REALLY own that bridge?" "No." "But it has his last name on it!" HA!

At 9:30 that night, we finally headed out and made our way back to the hotel. We had been there since 10:00AM. When we got there, we all crashed!

But the next morning, we got up and got ready to do it all again! First stop, the hotel buffet breakfast!

Happy kids after a good breakfast! 

We went back to Silver Dollar City Sunday morning to finish up a little shopping and to see anything we missed the day before. The plan was to stay for only a few hours, but we stayed from 10:00AM until 5:30PM! They closed that day at 6:00! 
One of the things we did that second day was take a tour of the cave. The cave is the thing that first started Silver Dollar City! And it was HUGE! And long, and steep, and wet - and GORGEOUS! The kids LOVED looking at all the stalactites and stalagmites!

Deep in the cave was an amazing waterfall! It was HUGE! And there were lights that had been put behind it, so it changed colors and was just beautiful. Had their not been any lights, you couldn't have seen it completely and would have missed some of the beauty. I am very thankful for modern advancements that allow me to take a tour of a cave that is well lit and has stairs! Oh yeah, and a train that takes you out at the other end, so I didn't have to walk back out the long, steep way that I came in!

We went back to our hotel that night, and after supper in our room, decided to head over to the indoor pool - not the water park. We needed something fun, but a little more relaxing. The kids played for about 2 hours before heading back and getting cleaned up for bed. 

Monday morning was our day to leave. So after check out, we headed over to the main building at the hotel. I had some homemade fudge to buy!!

My plan was just to buy some fudge, but when we got there, she was starting up a new batch of homemade fudge. So we all stood for awhile and watched her. When she makes fudge, she makes 20 pounds at a time! And it is SOOOO good! (Yes, I bought some to bring home!)

We still had free tickets to play mini-golf (it came with our hotel package), so before heading out, we went over to the mini-golf course. Brient and I haven't played mini-golf in years, and the kids had great fun!

Our fun in Branson was done, and now we were heading South. But just a few hours down the road, Brient took a detour! He pulled in to the road that leads to the Little Buffalo River! We all got out and waded out a little to enjoy the cool water on our tired feet. But after awhile, the kids started collecting stones. And then they started getting WET! And before you know it, they were all three soaked! 

Britches and Little Man decided they were going to build a dam and slow down all the water in the Little Buffalo River. Hmmm... Go for it! They all three got to work, and pretty soon, daddy was even in on the building! When they finished, they had actually raised the water level behind the dam by a few inches! That was a cool project and observation! Very cool!!

I thought at first that they would get board, but after about 45 minutes, I realized they were nowhere near getting ready to leave! So I gave up and just sat down! The water was running so fast, it was like a massage for my feet! If the water hadn't been so cold, I probably would have just laid down and had my neck massaged, too!

Me and my sweet Little Sister! She is so FUN!

Here is their finished project!

The sun was going down, and it was nearly supper time, so we finally got out of the river, dried off and swapped clothes (yes, outside!), and started out again - south - to find something to eat and a hotel. 

On the way home, we had planned to go by way of Hot Springs, AR. The kids wanted to go up the tower which is on top of a mountain. So we got a hotel nearby that evening, and crashed. 

Early the next morning, we packed up (again) and headed about 30 minutes up the road to Hot Springs. When we got to the mountain, Brient asked the kids, "Who wants to hike up the mountain?" In truth, he was kidding and had no intention of hiking. He was driving! But all the kids yelled, "ME!" So I jumped out with them, and we started on our hike. It took a little longer than I thought (about 30 minutes) and it was a little further than I imagined (long, winding trail, instead of straight up), but WE DID IT! And Brient met us at the top with snacks and water! We went up the tower and looked out all around at the beauty of Arkansas! When we came back down, we drove a few blocks in to town to take a look around. 

We took a free tour of an old bath house, which was completely cool! This is the really cool statue that they had on the men's side of the bath house. The women didn't have anything this nice on their side. Completely unfair, but normal for those times! It was an absolutely amazing tour, and completely worth the time to go through it! 

Then we headed behind the bath house to see a real hot spring that is coming out of the mountain! And boy was it HOT! Way hotter than any bath water or sink water I have! And it was all natural. That was cool!

After all that hiking, we were starving! So we ate at Bubbalu's hamburger joint in Hot Springs. It was so delicious! When lunch was finished, we loaded up and headed for home. Little Sister was so tired from all the walking, she slept for about 3 hours! Very nice! And the 2 older ones read and played quietly and watched DVD's. We stopped off at a Pizza Hut for supper, and ate on the way. 

We drove up in my parents driveway at about 7:30PM, grabbed the baby, and took off for home. When we got there at 8:00, we were all exhausted, and we were ALL glad to be home. 

This was probably the busiest jam packed vacation we have ever attempted with three kids. But everyone had such fun! It was all so very worth it!

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.” ~Dr. Suess