Friday, 28 February 2014

Walking tour of a city street

We had an unexpected nice winter's day so we took the kids for a walk on what we have been told is the 10th prettiest street in America...Delmar Loop in St. Louis

There is lots of art along the street 

MarioFan loved the planet walk along the streets.  
We found all the planet signs :)

I love architeture and often take pictures of building when visiting different cities.  This street very much has the  art deco vibe of the 1940-50's
The famous Blueberry hill establishment, where I am told Chuck Berry still plays on occasion.  The sign confirms what I had been told that this street is considered one of the 10 great streets in America:)

old style street lamps were found on the buildings

Some buildings had what appeared to be tile work under the windows.  It was to far up for me to see it clearly but it reminded me of some of the European cities we have been too.

I really like the old style buildings and signs

We were told this is quite famous the original Fritz's which is famous for their root beer.  My daughter is just starting to love root beer and orders quite frequently when out in restaurants:)

There is also a walk of fame section along this street with over 140 stars and plaques about the person and where they were  from and what they contributed to the city.  

Not all were movie stars, some names included were authors, scientists, important people of the city

and of course athletes- although I think baseball was the most dominant:)

Chuck Barry statue 

The city is celebrating its 250th birthday this year and you can find lots of these decorated cakes all over the city.  We found two on this street:)

The old tram car that use to run through the city 
We saw lots of musicians playing on the street, again reminding me of some European cites we have been too.

My husband saw this and had to go inside--he is a huge music lover and I still have a embarrassing large vinyl collection in our home that he just can't part with.  Luckily today we walked out without a purchase:)

You know you are getting old when the kids have never heard of a vinyl record:)  My husband found an old Rush record.  ON a side note if you are studying fashion with your kids take them to a record store.  My daughter was amazed at the changes in fashion in the music industry over the years, it was quite funny seeing her hold up a album cover of some of the older bands:)

45's haven't seen these in years!

Another plus on this street is that it has lots of international cuisine restaurants.  We had lunch at a Mediterranean restaurants and it was quite good.

We had a beautiful day out just walking around the city street.  We saw several restaurants we want to go back and visit:) in the near future.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

A New Family Pet:)

We heard from our local pet store (the owners petsit our gecko and beardie when we are out of town) that she was rescuing several new animals due to a client becoming ill and needed to quickly relocate his pets.  I saw the list of animals and immediately thought a Chinchilla would make a nice pet for our son, who although loves the reptiles, doesn't really find them all that cuddly.  I will also admit I prefer the cuddly, furry animals but since my husband is allergic we haven't been able to get a dog/cat.   We  found out the Chinchilla was already spoken for but the other animal that appealed to the kids and I was a Hedgehog!  So we drove to the store to take a peek and of course fell in love and adopted him.

Introducing Sonic the Hedgehog!

Sonic was the name given to the Hedgehog by the previous owners and the kids decided to keep it:)

He has the cutest little nose

He is still pretty shy around us and a bit nervous so we are working with him to become more comfortable with our voices and handling.  Researching information on the web,  it says it will take a week or two for him to adjust to his new home and we need to handling 2X a day for about 15 minutes so he gets use to our scent and voices.

Right now he keeps his quills up which makes him a prickly little thing when he decides to ball up.   We are told that once he is more comfortable he will relax his quills so he isn't so prickly.  

Meeting Daddy and checking him out:)  He is particularly nervous around Daddy I think the deeper voice frightens him.
Right now we are doing a lot of research online to find out the proper way to care for this little creature and it looks like it he requires a little more hands on attention and care than the reptiles.   But the kids are up to the challenge and so am I.  The pet store owner said she would also care for him when we are out of town along with our reptiles so we have that covered and that was really the deciding factor in our adopting him.  On the way home, however,  Daddy did inform the kids and I that Sonic was the last pet we were getting:)  I am as bad as the kids when I see an animal in need of a home:)

Monday, 24 February 2014

Making a flannel blanket

Several years ago I made two flannel blankets and I loved them, however now that my kids are getting older I seem to be losing the battle in actually getting to use one of them on these cold winter nights.  So I headed out to the fabric store to buy the kids some material and have them make their own flannel blanket.

You will need 2 and half yards of fabric for one side.  I made mine with a front and back color.  Spread out the blanket on the floor

Place second fabric directly on top of the first fabric 

You need to start by cutting off  4 inch squares from each corner

Should look like this.

Next using sharp scissors (makes life so much easier) start cutting 1 inch strips (I do one side at a time)

Fold the strip over

using your scissors snip a small hole into both fabrics

the old way of doing the blankets was to tie the ends together, but this new way is much nicer looking

sample of what the snip should look like

Thread the double strip of fabric into the hole

pull tight and it will look like this

several done in a row to show you

Firedrake now has her own blanket

so does MarioFan 
Now everyone in the family has their own flannel blanket to curl up in while watching the Olympics on these cold evenings:)

Friday, 21 February 2014

Grants House

We joined a local homeschool group to Tour Ulysses Grant's home, which isn't too far from us.  This is the home Grant lived in with his wife and it belonged to her parents.  The Grants did build a log cabin not far from here on what is now Grants Farm (a mini safari park owned by Bush Beer company) However Grant and his wife only lived there a few short months before returning the her parents home after her mother died.  While the kids didn't exactly know who he was, I did. There was  a great museum and introductory film to better explain his life and his history, some I knew and some I didn't.  We will definitely be going back once we study the Civil War era and can apply it directly to our studies in History.  Next time I will my husband will join us as I think this would really interest him.

The park ranger first had us watch the introductory film on Grants life before he became President

The home is called White Haven even tho it is painted green and the green is the original color of the home.

All of the furniture in the house was ruin while Grant and his family were in the White House due to being stored in a barn and it being burnt down.

I was surprised to learn that Grant'w wife family owned about 30 slaves.  While Grant was consider to be a just to the slaves in his inlaws home, it was one area of great tension between his wife and her family.  There are stories that report that Grant could often be found working side by side with the slaves in the farm which embarrassed his inlaws.  This is the door in which the slaves used to enter the home, they were not allowed to use any other door to enter or exit the home.

The Park ranger talked about the home's construction

Looking at an old wood burning stove and oven.  This was probably added after the Grants left the home

This is one of the outside protected parts of the house with the original paint which has lead and asbestos in it.  The National Park service has match the original paint.

Just outsider the main house but attached by a porch is the office

Here the kids looked at the ledger of the Grant's farm 

and saw Grants original handwriting.  We heard lots of stories about how hard Grant work to succeed.  He had many jobs some that were successful and some that were failures.

There was an old railroad the runs thru the property at one time.  We also looked at the map to see other important people who lived near Grants, such as the Sappington family (whose home we will be visiting later this month)

This was the slave area the laundry room and summer was very sparse and bare in there
A lecture about how tough washing clothes would have been in this period.  I am very thankful for my washing machine

Down below using an outside entrance was the winter kitchens used by the slaves.  This was done to help heat the home above

Again very sparse and you can see not well lit and even the wooden roof beams are heavily coated with black soot.  We were told they are original to the house 

During excavation of the kitchen they found some items that can be traced back to Africa which is believed to be items that were handed down through the generations of the slaves that lived at the home.

Also on the property was an ice house and a hen house both were painted red.  

The barn on the property has been converted into a museum celebrating the life of Grant and his family

Grants had four children 3 boys and a daughter

I had always heard that Grant had a slight drinking problem having been the told of the quote from Lincoln when told Grant drinks 'if he keeps winning battles I will keep supplying whiskey'  Sounds like it wasn't so bad

This sign was a new one for me and I will need to further investigate this 

Grant died of throat cancer and was nearly broke when he died.  He finished his book about his legacy just a few weeks before he dies ensuring he wife would be taken care of.  Grant was a very complex man of the time and I look forward to learning about him more.  I definitely want to tour this museum again as there is so much inside that I probably missed.

Kids swearing in to get their first junior badge here in the states.  I had forgotten about this program while we were away.