Sunday, November 27, 2016

Our Little Angel

The children in our church are acting out the Nativity.  Here's Savannah at the practice:


Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, Fairfax, VA

Shorty after moving to the DC area, we learned that there are actually two Smithsonian Air and Space Museums.  One in DC and one in Fairfax, VA.

On Saturday, we went to the Virginia one.  It was impressive!  They had hands on science displays and many of the most significant planes in US and World history.







Angela below the massive space shuttle Discovery.



The space shuttle Discovery.







A science demonstration about hearing, balance, and air pressure in space.





The Enola Gay, which dropped the Atomic bombs on Japan in WWII.



This X-35B can land vertically.



This SR-71 was amazing.  When they delivered it to the Museum, it flew from California to Virginia in just over an hour.  They say it had 2.5 miles of film that it would carry (which they would then have to develop afterwards).



This engine is together, then when you press a button, it splits in half and starts to rotate so you can see all of the pieces moving.







Fairfax County Geocaching Scavenger Hunt

Fairfax County plans so many fun family activities.  On Saturday, they hosted the Geocaching Scavenger Hunt at Burke Lake.  It was our first time geocaching, so it took us a little while to figure it out, but it was great exercise in a beautiful setting.

In the end, if you found enough of the hidden caches, then you earned a reward at the rangers station.






Each cache had a rubber stamp and ink to mark their scavenger hunt paper.





Savannah was playing with different hair styles and loves to strike a pose.

A Knight Style Thanksgiving

When all over your family lives thousands of miles away, Thanksgiving can be a little different.  Instead of a large family gathering, we made our own traditional Thanksgiving dinner, complete with homemade pumpkin and apple pies.

Then we went to a walk / bicycle ride and played in the yard with the slingshot and electric motorcycles.  To finish off the day, we did a pin the tail on the donkey game.

Homemade apple pie (thanks for the recipe Danielle)



A nature trail near our house.



Playing in our backyard.



Pin the tail on the donkey, designed by Savannah.

Rock and Mineral Show at George Mason University

The kids and Keith went to the Rock and Mineral show in Atlanta each year, so when we moved to Virginia, we looked for one here.  George Mason University hosted this show; it was quite a bit smaller, but the kids still had a good time.


Thursday, November 17, 2016

Daytrip to DC and Smithsonian


The trains have been under construction for a while, and they will again in December, so we went into DC on Tuesday. That is the White House and the area in front of it is all blocked off as they are building the inauguration platforms and stages. 


This is across the street in front of the White House; looks like some seating platforms being built.


This is directly in front of the house. It is pretty exciting to see them getting ready for such a big event. I had no idea they started building this far ahead of January. 


After meeting up with Keith for lunch near his work, we walked over to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. They had a bug table set up with friendly insects to touch/hold. 


Madagascar hissing cockroach!


They have a new thing now: a butterfly habitat. You can get tickets (Tuesdays are free) and go inside and butterflies are flying everywhere and sometimes land on you. 


First time I have had a butterfly land on me: one on my shoulder and one on my hair. 



They had quite a few Blue Morpho butterflies in there. 


One landed on Tucker. 


They had trays of fruit sitting out for the butterflies to 'eat' from. It was such neat experience. They had to keep the room warm, so it was very humid from the moisture being pumped into the room. 


Displays in the insect section. You can see which bugs are in your house and where.




I was afraid at first, but decided to just do it! Once the grasshopper was on my hand, I really liked holding it. It was super lightweight and moved very slowly and didn't jump. Once you hold one, your fears go away. 



Downstairs they had many cases of stuffed birds. We see these bluejays in our yard all the time. 



Case of woodpeckers. Woodpeckers are a lot of times hard to spot and are very skittish, so it was nice to see this display and be able to look closely at these birds we know are out there, but don't get to see much. 


Pileated Woodpeckers, which are around our house in the spring, are really hard to spot. 


This is a discovery room for kids. It has lots of hands-on stuff, puzzles, games, animal parts, skeletons, dress up stuff, etc. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Frying Pan Farm Park Junior Farmer Classes: Farm Chores and Games, Making Food for Turkeys


This junior farmer class was about farm chores. The kids played a relay game with the wash bucket and a water pump. They had to pump water into a little bucket and carry it over to another bucket to fill it up. Then the kids learned how laundry was done on a 1920s farm.


feeding clothes through a wringer to squeeze out the water


The kids also got to beat the dust out of a rug with a real rug beater. Once all chores were done, then they got to play games. They gathered on the porch and learned about playing jacks, coloring, and dropping corn cobs into bottles from up high. 


then the kids got to feed the bunny


We always take time to look in on the piglets



The next class, we got to take a short tour through the historic farmhouse on the property. Frying Pan Farm was established in 1792, and was restored in the 1970s. 


This farmhouse is original, but restored. It shows all the typical aspects of farm living in the 1920s to 1950s. 





I love these old light switches


and the old phone


Typical old dining room



With real farmhouse butter round (all the food was fake of course)


This is the living room, packed with old furniture and other props to complete the old fashioned feeling




There was old 40s music playing on the radio



All the pigeons at the water trough




baby turkeys


chicken house




really cute, friendly, soft calf named Clover



this class the kids met a baby turkey and then made food for him


They are taking turns mashing apples



praying mantid on the roof of the bunny cage




Savannah is grabbing a handful of oats to add to the turkey food mix the kids are creating


this is an old corn grinder


they put dried blue corn cobs in one rotator that knocked off all the kernals


then you put the kernals into the grinder and the cornmeal falls into the dish below


then everything was put together: mashed apples, oats, cornmeal, turkey feed. (The turkey is in the cage to the guy's right. )


Then, we went to the turkey cage to feed it to the turkeys. This was our last farmer class right before Thanksgiving. This was a great way for the kids to get close to farm animals and routines. Tucker's favorite class was when he learned about farm chores, cause he got to do chores!