Thursday, December 27, 2018

52 Brand New Experiences in 2018

I saw this idea on Mother of 3 and wanted to try it myself. We had a wonderful year with lots of new experiences. Some of the 52 experiences were only new for one or two of us, while other activities included all of us. I imagine this is probably common with teenagers in the house who are growing and expanding out into the world without us more and more.

1 ~ We held our first annual New Year's Day party.

2 ~ Anne performed in three tableaus in the Fringe Festival with the adult dance company.

3 ~ We learned about Faith Ringgold and tried our hands at her style of artwork.

4 ~ We tried Dragon's Breath but were not impressed.

5 ~ We made a lemon clock which lasted two weeks!

6 ~ We made sugar skull masks from scratch.

7 ~ We saw a professional dance troop called Body Traffic.

8 ~ Dean and Grandpa built a computer desk in his closet.

9 ~ Anne and I  saw The Phantom of the Opera in Durham, North Carolina. This was also Anne's first professional musical that she can remember. (She saw Annie as a toddler.)

10 and 11 ~ Dean built a combat stage weapon from start to finish. He did everything by himself. He also learned how to use a bandsaw.

12 ~ We saw the Biltmore Titanic Costume exhibit.

13 ~ We started a subscription to Universal Yums and enjoyed a snack box of food from around the world every month.

14 ~ We learned about Wassily Kandinsky and made concentric circles.

15 ~ We visited New Orleans! This was our family's first time in Louisiana.

16 ~ We ate lots of new (to us) food in New Orleans, including red beans and rice, gumbo, fried catfish and Jambalaya.

17 ~ We walked the French Quarter at night and ate beignets at the famous Cafe Du Monde.

18 ~ 19 We went on our first steamboat ride and saw the Mississippi River for the first time.

20 and 21 ~ We spent Easter Sunday at the beach in Biloxi, Mississippi. This was our family's first time to Mississippi.

22 and 23 ~ Dean met fire ants for the first time in Montgomery, Alabama. We also took Grandma to Montgomery, Alabama for the first time. The kids had been there when they were preschoolers.

24 ~ We went to the Global Wildlife Center in Folsom, Louisiana.

25 ~ We went on our very first swamp tour. It was really interesting and the highlight of our Deep South trip.

26 ~ We visited Davidson's Fort in Old Fort, North Carolina.

27 and 28 ~ We learned all about the glass sculptor Dale Chihuly. The first photo below is an art project that Grandma did with our homeschool art class. On a different day, we visited the amazing Chihuly exhibit at the Biltmore Estate.

29 ~ We went to the Tryon International Equestrian Center and saw a horse jumping show.

30 ~ We dissected a pig. This was the first time for the kids to dissect a pig. I had dissected a pig in college.

31 and  32 ~ We visited Franklin, North Carolina, the gem capital of Western North Carolina. We also visited Dry Falls on the same trip.

33 ~ We brought home a kitten as our latest family member. This is the first cat for Dean and Anne and the most rascally cat the rest of us have ever had.

34 ~ Dean went on his first overnight trip away from his family. He went to an art retreat with his teacher and art class.

35 ~ Dean also was a full camp counselor this year at acting camp.

36 and 37 ~ We visited Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio on our Midwest tour! Indiana and Ohio were new states for everyone but Dear Husband.

38 ~ We visited the Levi and Catherine Coffin home, which has been a dream of mine since childhood. We learned a great deal about the Underground Railroad.

39 ~ We visited the Freedom Center and learned more about the Underground Railroad and the current fight to end slavery around the world.

40 ~ The kids met their Aunt Jan and Uncle Ron for the first time. They live in Ohio.

41 ~ We visited the Cincinnati Art Museum and saw the Terracotta Warriors.

42 ~ We spent a day exploring Indianapolis, Indiana.

43 ~  We explored Mammoth Caves, Kentucky.

44 ~  Dean built a computer with his dad! What a fantastic experience.

45 ~ We tried lots of new games. Our favorites this year are The Voting Game (some sorting out of over age cards required), Say Anything, Mastermind and Snake Oil.

46 ~ We went to a game cafe and loved it!

47 ~ We tried a new miniature golf course with Grandpa and Grandma Sue.

48 ~ We visited the "Road to Nowhere" and Clingmans Dome in the Great Smoky National Park.

49 ~ We saw a Jacob Lawrence exhibit that was traveling through our town.

50 ~ Anne passed her level 4 Cecchetti ballet exam with honors.

51 ~ Dean attended his first dance!

52 ~ Anne started her first job. It's at a children's consignment shop.

BONUS ~ We had a lovely week at the beach and exploring Charleston, South Carolina. The kids saw their first true plantation. It was a rice plantation.
Image may contain: one or more people, ocean, sky, beach, child, outdoor, nature and water

Image result for middleton place

It has been a fantastic year! I am praying that 2019 blesses all with peace, love and kindness.

Blessings, Dawn

Sunday, December 23, 2018

December Learning

December has been a light learning month for us. Between The Nutcracker and Christmas, Anne started her new job. We just needed a slower pace so we could embrace the season. Pretty much the entire month found us only studying two or three subjects a day. Since the teens are doing high school credits now, they are able to work more at their own pace and complete their work based on credits instead of days or weeks. That is a liberating feeling when you want to do some school, but at a slower pace.

Dean ~ Dean spent most of the month concentrating on world geography. His focus was oe concentrated on India, Tibet and Nepal. He read books, played many rounds of 10 Days in Asia, watched documentaries, did lots of map work and sketched tigers, elephants, Mount Everest and the Taj Mahal. We wrapped up his study with a family lunch at the Kathmandu restaurant (depicted in photos below, which specializes in food from Nepal and India (depicted in photos below). This is just how I want world geography to be for him. The whole experience was excellent.

Resources We Used ~
  • Where Is the Taj Mahal? by Dorothy & Thomas Hoobler
  • Who Was Gandhi? by Dana Meachen Rau
  • Where is Mount Everest? by Nico Medina
  • Who is the Dalai Lama? by Dana Meachen Rau
  • 10 Days in Asia board game
  • National Geographic documentary ~ Mount Everest
  • National Geographic documentary ~ The Taj Mahal
  • National Geographic documentary ~ Exploring India
  • Geography Through Art

Chicken Chau Chau

Chicken 65 ~ Very spicy chicken

Chicken Mo Mo
He also did consumer math lessons every day in his Survival Math workbook. Lastly, field trips, physical education, health and language arts were spread throughout the month. Dean also worked 23 hours backstage during The Nutcracker.

Anne ~ Anne had a productive month. In addition to performing in The Nutcracker, she started a new job working in a children's consignment shop. She loves her 8 hour job a week and spends her time there tagging clothing and toys, putting clothing out on the floor, pulling things that haven't sold and are ready for donation, and generally helping out where she is needed. It has been a lovely experience so far. She also has had to open a checking account and will receive a student debit card soon (which was a huge learning experience). She should be making enough money to take over paying for her dance classes every other month which will be extremely helpful to our family.

She also completed two credits this month. She completed Math I, which was mostly Algebra, and World History I, which was basically a review with more in-depth study of a few areas of history through World War I.

I hope you all have a lovely Christmas and holiday season.

Blessings, Dawn

Friday, December 14, 2018

Week 15 ~ The Week of Field Trips, New Job and Snow

Well, the snow apocalypse was not as bad as predicted, in our neighborhood at least. It started snowing on Saturday and continued snowing through Monday afternoon. Our city's official total was 11 inches. We got about seven inches of snow and a touch of ice at our home. However, towns and mountaintops just 10 to 15 miles away got upwards of 20 inches. Such is life in the mountains. The weather is very unpredictable. We did lose power for eight hours during the day. The house got a bit chilly; we grilled lunch outside; and we played lots of board games. It really wasn't that much of a trial, but we nonetheless were very happy to see electricity return.

Schools were closed here in the mountains for most of the week. Some are still closed today. Life stops around here when it snows. The curvy, hilly mountain roads are very treacherous, but those of us who live in the city tend to be able to escape our homes pretty quickly. We were able to head out to dance class by Monday night. Anne was supposed to start her new job on Monday, but the owner decided to remain closed. I do like her safety policy. Anne started on Tuesday instead. She loves her new job. She tags clothes, organizes the racks, removes items that are ready for donation and generally helps wherever she is needed. She will be trained on the cash register at some point. She will be working two days a week for now.

We enjoyed two field trips in the last two weeks. The first was our annual trip to the National Gingerbread House display at the Grove Park Inn. There were many lovely displays this year. Many people had created Alice in Wonderland displays, which were thrilling for Anne since she had performed as the caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland last spring. We went a bit late this year to see the display and were warned that many might start falling down due to the mice that feast on them. For the most part, they were still standing and we didn't see any mice this year. We have seen some in the past.
The view from the back of the hotel.

This one was made by the adults with brain injuries program that Tim attends.

This was my favorite this year.

Can you believe those cute little mice are made out of edible candy or gingerbread?
Tim's favorite
Dean liked this traditional one.

Our next field trip was to see the Nativities From Around the World display. This is a relatively new tradition for our family. A local church borrows nativities from families all over our city. They had close to 300 creches from 60 countries. What a delight! We saw quilts, paintings, stockings and nativity figures made out of stone, glass, wood, bamboo and metal.
Anne's favorite






American Indian

I just love Advent!

We have been doing some exciting things in school recently, too. I will be doing a December schooling post soon.

Blessings, Dawn