Monday, February 16, 2009

(Almost) Sailing on the S/V Denis Sullivan

Today was the day we have been looking forward to for weeks! A sailing field trip aboard the Denis Sullivan, an educational sailing vessel. This three-masted replica of a 19th century Great Lakes cargo schooner is 137 feet long. When we arrived we were greeted by who we thought was the captain. Turns out we were wrong. He was part of the crew, but not the captain.

On board, the captain (in the green jacket) went over safety rules before we started. She seemed young to be captain!

This ship was built in Wisconsin, in 2000. It's summer home is Pier Wisconsin on the Great Lakes. It winters in Florida.

The kids were broken up into groups and were given many hands on learning experiences. Here, Eli and Zack are checking the depth of visibility.

Zack was the record keeper for their group. (Zack initially wasn't to go on this trip. When I realized he was off school today I asked if there were any openings and there were! He literally joined us at the last minute! I was so excited for him to be able to join in on the fun! This stuff is right down his alley!)

This contraption is lowered into the water. When it hits bottom, the trigger releases the pin, and the jaw closes around whatever it can and they haul it up to the top and dump the contents to study.

Hauling up the trap.

Lots of stuff to look at!

This group of gals, including Rebecca, were doing a number of things including measuring the levels of oxygen and salinity in the water.

This robot (worth $45,000-$50,000) was sent down to the bottom to explore. The kids watched on a big screen. The operator didn't travel too far with it because we were docked and they didn't want to tangle the cable around any pilings. But the kids were able to see sheep heads, tiny crabs and fish and coral.

The girls turn to send down the trap.

This crew mate in the red jacket was a lot of fun. He taught the kids some chants used by sailors when raising and lowering sails.

It was extremely windy, so they put up the smallest sail and promptly lowered it.

Down in the vessel were the bunks, galley, and engine room. This crew member is explaining what the trap in the floor is for. (It holds the contents of the "head".)

Behind the water-tight door is the engine hold. There are 2 diesel engines down there and this YOUNG lady was in charge of them. She just changed the oil on one of them yesterday.

There was a mini lab set up and the kids were able to view freshly caught plankton. The dark-haired lady you see in the upper right corner was 1st mate. She had a broken foot and was trying to stay off her feet!

Whatever was on the microscope could be viewed on the screen nice and big.

The mega downer to the whole day? It was too windy to sail! This vessel is too big to sail in the river and the seas were too high today. Mainly, though, the wind was coming straight at the boat and with the current direction and lower tide they didn't think they could safely get it away from the dock and out the inlet.

The upside? They are letting us come back! We get to come back with other groups and hopefully then we'll get out on the ocean! I'm praying that the weather will cooperate next time and we can experience sailing for the first time!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Field Trip to Museum of Discovery and Science

(This photo was supposed to be at the end, but I accidentally erased it, so here it is, out of order)
My wonderful, beautiful friend, Ana and her family. Daniel, Katrina, Ana, Eli, me and Rebecca. We are ready to call it a day.

I love field trips! Especially ones like we went on today. For a much discounted group rate, we were able to enjoy this wonderful museum with good friends and fellow home educators. As a child growing up in Pennsylvania, our field trips revolved around history, battlefields, and wax museums. In Florida, field trips seem to be all about water, Everglades, Indians, oceans and science.

When we first arrived we found this huge "digital" clock in the courtyard. It was amazing to look at.

It was several stories tall and wrapped around all four faces of the courtyard.

A group photo of all the kids before we went in to enjoy the IMAX 3D movie. It was incredible footage of under the sea: colorful coral, gorgeous fish and adorable sea otters. It was lovely!

We had a 30-40 minute hands-on lecture on Nanotechnology. Here the teacher talked about nanotechnology in regards to Transitions eyeglasses.

Elijah helped demonstrate the application of nanotechnology and metals.

We pretty much had the museum to ourselves so I felt free to let Becca and Elijah roam around the building exploring whatever they wanted. Here are a few of my favorite pictures:

Checking out a display on force needed to escape the gravitational pull of the moon.

Eli playing virtual volley ball.

Becca and Katrina enjoying the sound room.

"This is your captain speaking. Please fasten your seatbelts."

What every big sister would love to do to their little brothers: shrink them! (We learned how to shrink them in the nanotechnology lecture!) It looks better if you click on it to enlarge it.

Next field trip on the list? A three hour sail on a three masted schooner! Can't wait!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Early Valentine's Party

Each year, Sonshine Christian Academy, our local home school support group plans a huge Valentine's party at Mary Brogan Park. Every child or family brings 50 valentines addressed to "my friend" and we have a potluck, games, crafts and card exchange. It's always well attended and a huge hit! I'm no Mrs. McGregor (my adorable cousin who creates beautiful, handcrafted cards and journals) but I had an idea to use the verse from I Corinthians 13:7 on our valentine's cards this year. I made the cards on the computer and we put heart stickers and glitter on them. Then we attached them to little bags of gummi bears and graham cracker bears. They turned out cute!

The kids helped assemble this pile of 50 Valentines.

Getting the food tables in order.

It was warmer in the sun, and the kids eagerly lined up to distribute their cards.

Sweet little Claire, chowing down on her first cup-cake.

Elijah opted to let Nate and James hand out our family valentines and guarded our bags from the wind.

Nate and James enjoyed handing out their "Love Bears".

All the kids! What a motley crew!

This was the calm before the storm. Once they dug into their bags, it was nothing but excitement after that!

Rebecca, Shelane and I soaking up the sunshine.

Rebecca and Shelane practicing taking BP.

Valentine's Day is still 8 days away, but we enjoyed our early celebration!

"Love Bears All Things!"

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly!

Just for kicks, let's start with the GOOD! If I were a good blogger, I would dig around in my boxes of photos that never made it to the albums and find the photo that would complete this part of the blog. Somewhere in said boxes, I have a picture of Zack and Elijah wearing these adorable jackets. I loved the jackets, saved them, sent them to my sister's for her boys to use, got them back and now Nate and James are putting them to good use!

More good: got a chocolate craving? This will cure it! Whip up your favorite batch of brownie mix. Use a cookie scoop to measure out the mix into a mini muffin pan. Bake for about 8 minutes or until the edges of the brownies are set and only the centers are still wet. Push an unwrapped Rolo candy into each muffin and place back into oven until finished. About 7 minutes, in my oven. Remove from oven and gently push a pecan half into the top of the Rolo candy. You can omit the nuts if you want.

The BAD! The other day, Nate started sobbing like his heart was broken. Tweezers gently wielded by daddy, revealed a "lost" pom-pom that had mysteriously disappeared into Nates nose. Yes, the drip know. Like I said, BAD!

The Ugly: Meet our newest family member. I'm a horrid grandmother, because I don't know his/her name, nor do I care to. I don't have to care for this bearded dragon that was given to Elijah, so I'm "out of the loop" so to speak. He is big. He is ugly. Nate likes him.

But not when it gets too close to his face!