Monday, December 31, 2012


For the past four years we have lived in the area where I grew up so some of the fun has been taking the children to places that I remember going as a kid. One of the places on my list was the Sturgis Pretzel House. This was the first commercial pretzel bakery in the USA. In 1861 Julian Sturgis began making pretzels in this bakery.


It is interesting to hear the legends on how this was started -- one version has a hobo giving Julian Sturgis a pretzel recipe and another version is that he left the soft pretzels in the oven too long and they became hard pretzels.


We were taught how to roll and twist pretzels. In 1861 they employees were paid by the number of pretzels that they made. I think we were a bit slow.


I think she has a bit of a long tail on her pretzel.

One interesting thing is that Julian Sturgis made his own yeast. I didn't even know you could do that. But he kept the recipe a secret and so when he died they had to find a source for yeast.


We saw the original ovens. At this time they were no longer working but based on when one of the ovens stopped working, it was probably working when I was there as a child.

The average American eats 1 1/2 pounds of pretzels a year but the average Pennyslvanian eats more than that. Most of the pretzels in the grocery store are local brands. We have both hard and soft pretzels here. Maybe I will consider this as part of our PA history.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

12 years old -- Happy Birthday

J - his birthday was two weeks ago but I am just now finding some time to blog a bit and post some pictures. I can't believe he is 12 already.

We started the morning with the traditional number pancakes.


I borrowed that idea from a friend. It is fun way to celebrate the birthday. It also helps with pictures because then you remember how old the child was that year. I will say that twos are a bit difficult.

We decided to allow him to open birthday gifts at breakfast. I don't know that we have a traditional time for opening gifts. This year it just worked to do it at breakfast. The birthday boy didn't mind doing that. I love the maturity that opens the card before the gift.

He got a new sport bag from one set of grandparents. I think that one is fancy compared to the one he has been using. It is red which is his favorite color. IMG_1424

He got some books from dad and mom. I had seen them in a catalog and knew he would like them as they were about planes and  WWII. I had not yet ordered them when dad found them at Half-Price books and bought the first four books for $2.00 each. That is my kind of shopping. IMG_1427I made a cake. I am not much of a cake decorator but I try. I decided this would be an easy cake to decorate. We had a Christmas dinner with our small group and I took the cake there and we celebrated.


Happy 12th birthday J. We love you.

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Dickens' Christmas

We added something new to our things we enjoy at Christmas. A town in the area hosts a Dickens' Christmas one Saturday afternoon in December. The stores on Main Street participate with various tables selling things or giving away things.


The Christmas turkey was there. 
IMG_1379One of the events of the afternoon was a scavenger hunt looking for various Christmas Carol characters.

We found Ebenezer Scrooge. Each character had a business card that they gave you. Some were for local business with the character as an employee.


We also found his office.

IMG_1372We found Robert Cratchit along with Tiny Tim. 

At the beginning of the afternoon we saw them beginning to work on this ice sculpture. We went back and found that the stock was ready. J tried it out and said, "it was cold."

We saw Mr. Fezziwig. Some of the people were difficult to find. They walked around the town but if you saw a group of people you could guess that it was a character.

IMG_1396After we had found all of them  including Mrs. Cratchit, Nephew Fred, Mrs. Dilber, Jacob Marley, and Joe. The kids were able to show their paper and get a top hat. 


There were street performers and carolers. One of the local churches was there and their display was the London Rescue Mission -- they were feeding the poor on the streets and giving out cookies which were yummy.

The local ballet school had a short performance of The Nutcracker which was free. That made Miss K's day as she loves ballet.

It was a fun event and I am glad we went. The weather was not too cold.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Dear Blog,

Dear Blog,

It has been a long time since I have visited you. I think about you and times. We have been doing some fun things as a family. I have pictures and other fun things to we have done.

Right now my priorities are therapy for Miss K. We are enjoying having a wonderful therapy center that combines therapy and play nearby and that has become a priority. Miss K goes three times a week. One of her PT goals was to skip 20 feet. She did that the first session but there are still some PT goals -- doing three sit-ups and one push-up (good thing I am not asked to do those.) She is working on handwriting and speech. Some days I don't know why we do speech she will talk and talk, but really we are doing speech to improve pronunciation and intelligibility. Her vocabulary is at the level of an 8 year old.

I also need to make medical appointments and make sure we have everything done that needs to be done. Miss K had a hearing test this past week. Her hearing in her right ear is normal and her hearing in the left ear has a slight loss not enough to need to do anything.

Miss K has also gotten glasses.


J got warts removed. I think we are almost caught up on those things.

My other priority is packing up our house.

And so when there is extra time I am busy, teaching school, cooking meals, cleaning, doing laundry, and finding time to keep my blog updated. Maybe someday my blog will become the priority.



Monday, November 5, 2012

A visit to the Tabernacle

This year we are studying Ancient History using Mystery of History volume 1. We are enjoying it. I think history is one of the kids favorite things. I decided that a visit to the reproduction Tabernacle would be a fun outing. I remember going there for a field trip when I was in school.

Outside they have the outer court. It is interesting as it is built to size. You realize how small it was in some ways.

In the tabernacle part they do not allow pictures. It is was interesting to see the four different coverings that went over the tabernacle. The sides were wood and in the gift shop we were able to see some acacia wood which was very light. That would make it possible to be easy to carry. The inner court was not that big. The furniture was there made just as it was instructed to Moses in Exodus 25.

A visit to the Tabernacle helps in so many ways to bring that part of Scripture to live. God wanted to dwell in the middle of his people. He still desires that today. What an awesome God we have!

"And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst."

Exodus 25:8

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Fire Safety

Check that off the list. Fire safety is one of the things that evaluators look for in the portfolio. Just that you did something to teach fire safety.

One year I printed some pages off the internet and we colored and talked about them.

One year I picked up some brochures and papers and even some fire hats when I voted at the fire station.

Last year we had the local fire company come to Classical Conversations. We had a presentation on fire safety and the kids were able to climb on the truck.

I like to find something new or different each year so we really do get to talk about it and learn something. The fire house was having an open house today so we went.

Some of the equipment was there so the kids could climb in and of course we got pictures. The fire truck was out on a call.

They had a demonstration on a cooking fire. They stated that most fires begin in the kitchen. First of all, the fireman put on his gear. I remember last year the fireman talking about how it is just the fireman inside and he wanted the children not to be scared seeing all the gear especially if they are ever in an emergency. Today, they showed how they put the gear on and allowed the kids to touch it and ask questions.

Then they had some oil on the stove, they lit it and the fireman demonstrated how to put the fire out -- use either a lid or a flat pan, turn off the heat and let it cool. They showed what happens if you put water on the fire -- more fire. I thought it was a great visual for the kids to see and we did talk about that part of how to be safe.

We had a fun outing and now I can check off that we covered fire safety.

Chess Tournament

J played in his third beginner's chess tournament today. The local chess program has beginners tournaments once a month to give kids experience in tournament play. They can play in three and then they need to move to another tournament. J got 2nd place for his age group. He won three of the four games and said the boy that beat him in the one game had a much higher rating. He has managed to get three trophies while we are here.

Friday, October 5, 2012

I give my children choices.

"Do you want to wear this dress or this dress?" They are different one is a 6 and the other a 6X. When I gave Miss K that choice one day, she told me, "matchy, match". I guess she caught on to that one.

One of the things that I have enjoyed here are the thrift stores. I have gotten amazing deals on dresses for Miss K. Yes, I did have the brown floral and then found it at the thrift store and so I bought another one -- maybe I should call it back-up.

I realized that the Lands End dresses or dresses like this are great -- it makes laundry easy -- one thing to wash and no pants in dark and shirt in whites and one was washed and the other not. These are easy for potty training - no zippers, no buttons. We add leggings and they are a bit warmer.

Thanks to the thrift stores here Miss K has a closet full of dresses.

When I first started going to the thrift stores, it seemed that I found the size she is currently wearing and long sleeve. I bought them and realized I have enough for now. I have since been able to find the larger sizes and a mix of long and short sleeve. I have thankful for this provision, God is good in providing for our needs. I might have enough clothing for the next few years.

Horseback riding in the west

One of the malls near where we are staying has the ride for just 25 cents. I will admit that normally I avoid these so maybe all of them are 25 cents and I don't know it. Miss K liked the horse. I remember when I was growing up they would have them outside K-Mart or other stores like that. I decided for 25 cents she could have a horse ride.

There are more than just horse rides there. She then took off into outer space for about a minute.

The little Merry Go Round was a good deal -- three horses so three kids could ride for 25 cents.

After those three rides, there were no more quarters in my pocket. So we had to end the fun and do some shopping.

Annual Water Fight

Maka known as the party we crashed. We normally are not party crashers. I think this was the first time that we have done it. I will say the kids and daddy loved the party. We were visiting friends and they told us that the only thing they had that afternoon was the Annual Water Fight at the neighbors. We had about 30 minutes that we were able to attend and then we had another place that we had to be.

Mama had also forgotten to pack swimsuits so it was a clothing event.

Miss K stayed around the pool and liked holding the hose. That gave her a sense of power and a bit of protection.

The neighbor had water guns that she has collected over the years. I think this was the 7th annual water fight. There was a kiddy pool there to use for filling up, some buckets and a fort.

The fort was a great place to stand and take aim but you did need to make sure that you have enough water. 

Daddy watched for a bit and then he decided it looked like fun.

There was a dry zone where you were able to sit and watch without fear of getting wet. It was a fun party to crash and an idea for a fun summer event.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Salmon Hatchery

We took a field trip today the Salmon Hatchery. It is salmon season and so the best time of the year to go. This weekend is Salmon Days but I don't want to fight the crowd for a spot on the bridge. It was very informative. We didn't have a tour but there were enough people around ready to show us things and explain things that we were able to learn quite a bit.

Beginning in late August to mid November the salmon begin to return to the hatchery. They travel through the Ballard Locks, Lake Union, Lake Washington, a stream to Lake Sammamish and then into the creek leading to the fish hatchery. One interesting thing that I learned is that it is believed that smell is what guides the fish back to where they were spawned.

They were waiting for the gate to be opened to they could go up the fish ladder (fish ladders are things that Civil Engineers here will design -- my husband is willing to show you the one that he designed). 

We learned that one of the educational things that was happening today was spawning. We continued that discussion at dinner. Most of the salmon here are Coho or Chinook.

We were able to see a male up close and see the various insides -- the heart, spleen, liver, etc. We saw them squeeze the milt and collect it for using in the spawning.

Then we saw the females and the eggs that were taken. Each female Coho has approximately 2,500 eggs while the Chinook females typically produce around 4,500 eggs per fish. The statistics are that only two fish will return and spawn successfully. J said it looked like caviar.

The kids were able to touch a salmon or two. J said he touched the eye. K said they were dead.


We enjoyed just standing at the bridge and watching the fish jump. They can jump three to five feet but the water was a bit too swallow for that high of jumping. The Coho can jump up to 10 feet.

I am so glad that I took the kids to see this. It is interesting to see what Miss K learns and what she tells about her trip. We enjoyed our time and it is not something that we are able to do on the East Coast. Together we marveled at how God has designed the salmon.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Carkeek Park

Aunt B came to visit. Miss K was looking forward to her visit for weeks, putting a glass of water next to her bed and counting down the days till she arrived. One of the things that was on her list of things to do was go to Carkeek Park.

I forgot how rocky the beach is. We did get the chance to see lots of barnacles. The kids had fun throwing rocks into the water and trying to skip stones.

Miss K had fun. Since trying to get her to look at the camera and smile is a challenge, I have come to enjoy side views and back views of her.

J managed to climb up and then "me too" wanted to join him.

I love the way both their arms are in the same direction as they are walking the log. I was impressed with Miss K's balance.
The cross walk was even fun as it tells you to "Play Attention".

It was a fun afternoon at the park. There are so many parks here that we could enjoy.

Aunt B then introduced us to Yogurt Land. I think she has created an addiction. Miss K was asking to go again the next day.



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