Friday, June 27, 2008

National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature

I just learned about the National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature.

This unique museum is located in Abilene, TX. I saw it highlighted on Texas Country Reporter and it looks like the perfect summer place for family fun. It is filled with artwork from favorite children's literature. There are permanent exhibits as well as traveling pieces. You can view artwork from books authored by David Small, William Steig, and William Joyce and of course, Little Golden Books, among other favorites.

There are regularly scheduled family activities at the museum as well. You can meet authors and attend book signings, every Saturday from 1-4 there is a free family activity, there are summer camps, and once a month there is an ArtWalk.

Patrons of all ages love viewing the artwork from some of their favorite books. Grandparents love sharing their favorite stories with their grandchildren. Teachers love bringing classes here for a field trip. Families enjoy spending time browsing the artwork and participating in the many family activities.

Admission to the museum and Saturday activities is FREE!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Blue Lagoon

Blue Lagoon Lake is a great place to spend the day as a family. Located just outside of Huntsville,TX, this lake is perfect for divers and swimmers. There are no boats to worry about. The water is warm and clear. We found a great spot with some rocks that were fun to jump off of and swim around. There is no wildlife to be seen underwater due to the Ph balance of the water, but they have decided it is worth the trade off in visibility for divers. Even when the area is full, crowding does not seem to be a problem. There is a place to fill scuba air tanks as well as to get a few snacks. There are shelters and port-a-potties locate throughout. It is a really nice area to spend a day.

Monday, June 16, 2008

household chores

Something you may not think about as being a family activity is taking care of household chores. Even young kids can help. It helps train the kids to all help pitch in as part of the team to get the job done.You could even crank up the radio or old tunes to help pass the time while working together. Any chores from helping to dust or fold laundry or clean base boards to weeding the garden or sweeping the porch and/or walk, kids like to know they have a job, a place in the family. And it doesn't hurt to have a reward waiting at the end of the day together too. Maybe a family picnic, even if it's only the backyard. Or have ice cream together. Or watch a movie. Enjoying the extra minutes you have together because everyone pitched in to help out pays off in the long run.

Friday, June 13, 2008

classic car show

I have not been to one of these in a while, but last year my husband and son went to one. They loved it! These shows are a lot of fun. There are usually some really cool cars there, cars that the kids most likely have never seen. Many shows have cars ranging from the 1920s to the 1970s. The kids will likely get a kick out of some of these cars. The owners are usually friendly and willing to talk about their cars. This can be a fun, inexpensive and educational outing for the whole family.

Monday, June 9, 2008

My Haves and Have Nots

Last night I saw a list of Haves and Have Nots at my good friend Marathon Bird's blog. I thought it would be fun to play along. Then I thought that it could even turn into a fun family activity. I can see parents and kids sharing the things they have done as well as the things they would like to do. If you and your family want to join in, simply copy the list and highlight the things you have already done. Then share together your experiences and dreams.

My 200 Have and Have Nots!

1. Touched an iceberg
2. Slept under the stars (in a tent!)
3. Been a part of a hockey fight
4. Changed a baby's diaper
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Swam with wild dolphins
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a tarantula
10. Said "I love you" and meant it
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Stayed up all night long and watched the sun rise
15. Seen the Northern Lights
16. Gone to a huge sports game
17. Walked the stairs to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
19. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
20. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
21. Had a pillow fight (recently my youngest nephew challenged me!)
22. Bet on a winning horse
23. Taken a sick day when you're not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb (helped my friend who raised a lamb, but never held it)
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Taken an ice cold bath
28. Had a meaningful conversation with a beggar
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Ridden a roller coaster
31. Hit a home run (T ball!)
32. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
33. Adopted an accent for fun
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Felt very happy about your life, even for just a moment
36. Loved your job 90% of the time
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Watched wild whales
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Gone on a midnight walk on the beach (not midnight, but night)
41. Gone sky diving
42. Visited Ireland
43. Ever bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited India
45. Bench-pressed your own weight
46. Milked a cow
47. Alphabetized your personal files
48. Ever worn a superhero costume
49. Sung karaoke
50. Lounged around in bed all day
51. Gone scuba diving (just got certified!)
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Done something you should regret, but don't
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business (blogging for money??)
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Been in a movie (an extra in a commercial)
60. Gone without food for 3 days
61. Made cookies from scratch
62. Won first prize in a costume contest
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Been in a combat zone
65. Spoken more than one language fluently
66. Gotten into a fight while attempting to defend someone
67. Bounced a check
68. Read - and understood - your credit report
69. Recently bought and played with a favorite childhood toy (would books count?)
70. Found out something significant that your ancestors did (Patrick Henry is a distant relative)
71. Called or written your Congress person (email)
72. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
73. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
74. Helped an animal give birth
75. Been fired or laid off from a job
76. Won money
77. Broken a bone
78. Ridden a motorcycle
79. Driven any land vehicle at a speed of greater than 100 mph
80. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
81. Slept through an entire flight: takeoff, flight, and landing
82. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
83. Eaten sushi
84. Had your picture in the newspaper (for those T ball home runs!)
85. Read The Bible cover to cover
86. Changed someone's mind about something you care deeply about
87. Gotten someone fired for their actions
88. Gone back to school
89. Changed your name (When I got married)
90. Caught a fly in the air with your bare hands
91. Eaten fried green tomatoes
92. Read The Iliad (hm, in school and I doubt it was the whole thing)
93. Taught yourself an art from scratch
94. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
95. Apologized to someone years after inflicting the hurt
96. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
97. Been elected to public office
98. Thought to yourself that you're living your dream
99. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
100. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn't know you
101. Had a booth at a street fair
102. Dyed your hair
103. Been a DJ
104. Rocked a baby to sleep
105. Ever dropped a cat from a high place to see if it really lands on all four feet
106. Raked your carpet
107. Brought out the best in people
108. Brought out the worst in people
109. Worn a mood ring
110. Ridden a horse
111. Carved an animal from a piece of wood or bar of soap
112. Cooked a dish where four people asked for the recipe
113. Buried a child
114. Gone to a Broadway play (well, off Broadway)
115. Been inside the pyramids
116. Shot a basketball into a basket
117. Danced at a disco
118. Played in a band
119. Shot a bird
120. Gone to an arboretum
121. Tutored someone (nearly every day!)
122. Ridden a train
123. Brought an old fad back into style
124. Eaten caviar
125. Let a salesman talk you into something you didn’t need
126. Ridden a giraffe or elephant (I have ridden a camel and my kids rode an elephant in the Singapore zoo)
127. Published a book (maybe some day; I’ve got an idea and it’s already typed up)
128. Pieced a quilt
129. Lived in an historic place (TEXAS is pretty historic isn’t it??)
130. Acted in a play or performed on a stage
131. Asked for a raise
132. Made a hole-in-one (if Putt-Putt counts)
133. Gone deep sea fishing
134. Gone roller skating
135. Run a marathon (done two triathlons)
136. Learned to surf
137. Invented something
138. Flown first class
139. Spent the night in a 5-star luxury suite
140. Flown in a helicopter
141. Visited Africa
142. Sang a solo (only to my kids or my bible class kids!)
143. Gone spelunking (do tours of caverns count??)
144. Learned how to take a compliment
145. Written a love-story
146. Seen Michelangelo’s David
147. Had your portrait painted
148. Written a fan letter
149. Spent the night in something haunted
150. Owned a St. Bernard or Great Dane
151. Ran away
152. Learned to juggle
153. Been a boss (hey, MOM is the boss, right??)
154. Sat on a jury (almost!)
155. Lied about your weight
156. Gone on a diet
157. Found an arrowhead or a gold nugget
158. Written a poem
159. Carried your lunch in a lunchbox
160. Gotten food poisoning
161. Gone on a service, humanitarian or religious mission
162. Hiked the Grand Canyon
163. Sat on a park bench and fed the ducks
164. Gone to the opera (kids opera)
165. Gotten a letter from someone famous (if form letters count)
166. Worn knickers
167. Ridden in a limousine
168. Attended the Olympics (1984!)
169. Can hula or waltz
170. Read a half dozen Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys books
171. Been stuck in an elevator
172. Had a revelatory dream
173. Thought you might crash in an airplane
174. Had a song dedicated to you on the radio or at a concert
175. Saved someone’s life (unless you count the numerous times I didn’t "kill" my kids when they deserved it!!)
176. Eaten raw whale
177. Know how to tat, smock or do needlepoint
178. Laughed till your side hurt
179. Straddled the equator (but I have been in four states at once-Four Corners)
180. Taken a photograph of something other than people that is worth framing
181. Gone to a Shakespeare Festival
182. Sent a message in a bottle
183. Spent the night in a hostel
184. Been a cashier
185. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
186. Joined a union
187. Donated blood or plasma
188. Built a campfire (that’s hubby’s job!)
189. Kept a blog
190. Had hives
191. Worn custom made shoes or boots
192. Made a PowerPoint presentation
193. Taken a Hunter’s Safety Course
194. Served at a soup kitchen
195. Conquered the Rubik’s cube
196. Know CPR
197. Ridden in or owned a convertible
198. Found a long lost friend
199. Helped solve a crime
200. Responded to a NJP newsletter

Sunday, June 8, 2008

goody boxes

Many times during the holidays, families will join in the filling of shoeboxes for needy children around the world. This is a great project for families with kids of all ages. The kids can help you pick out items and pack them into the boxes. Small items like socks, granola bars, bibles, cars and toothbrushes can be big hits.

Another way that you can use this idea any time of the year is to fill goody boxes for soldiers and missionaries that live overseas. There are many who would love to get little goodies from home that are hard to come by where they are now stationed. Again, some of the same small items work well here too. As well as playing cards and magazines, etc. It is a great way to get kids involved in community service and helping others and thinking of others in differing circumstances. It helps kids to widen their world a bit.

I know that our homeschool group has done the boxes for soldiers before. I know that when you gather many of these to send, the shipping can get rather high. And the post office cannot cut any deals with you on the price of shipping.

But I just learned about a place that can. At the Freight & Shipping Blog , I came across a post about how they are willing to work with groups who would like to send goody boxes overseas. This would be such a great family activity with a little savings added in.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

snow cones

A couple of weeks ago, I took my daughter and two nephews for a day at the park. We had a great time running up and down the trails, playing tennis and checking out the playground. After we were done, we had the great idea of heading to the snow cone stand. What a treat after a long hot day at the park! These icy treats felt so good and tasty. The kids went home with brightly colored tongues.

We are thinking of maybe buying a little mini-snow cone maker for the house. My daughter loves the idea and it would be fun to make icy treats anytime we want. And this weekend, our church is handing out free snow cones to the community! What a cool way to spend family time together!