The Mommy Bloggy

Reflections of a Mother's Heart

Kings Mountain January 16, 2012

Filed under: The Ferguson Family — Michelle Ferguson @ 9:28 pm

On Friday, our family visited Kings Mountain for a day of hiking.  We first toured the Living History Farm of re-created buildings of an 18th century farm, where a cat ran over from the woods to join us.  He lead us around like a tour guide!  Logan loves cats and always manages to find one…we call him the cat whisperer! 

After peering inside a privy, we decided we are all very thankful for modern conveniences, especially indoor toilets!  We learned that a long time ago bed frames had a system of ropes running through them which held the mattress up off the floor.  Occasionally, these ropes had to be tightened so the mattress would not sag.  This is where the term “sleep tight” comes from!

We ate our picnic lunch inside the car (with heat running) because it was chilly and windy outside.  Then we drove to another parking lot and began our 7-mile hike.  The trees this time of year have no leaves, so we could see straight through the woods.  My boys collected an arsenal of stick weapons to carry through belt loops and in their hands.  They were on the lookout for Indians! 

After 3 1/2 miles, we came to the Visitor’s Center where we watched a short film on the battle which took place at King’s Mountain.  In a nut shell, the American patriots, led by Col. William Campbell, defeated the Loyalists commanded by Major Patrick Ferguson, who was reputed to be the best marksman in the British Army.  In fact, at one time, Ferguson had a key patriot leader in range ready to kill, and at the last minute, refused to fire.  If he had shot, he would have killed George Washington, commander of the Continental Army.  How different America could have been!  No doubt God has His hand on history!

As it was getting late in the day, we decided it would be best to forgo the walking tour of the battlefield behind the Visitor’s Center and hike back to the car.  That leaves us something else to go back and do.  Luke complained some about the long walk, but he’s really becoming quite a great little hiker!  We all really had a fun time and learned something, too!  The air was cool and refreshing, and it was wonderful to spend the time outdoors with my favorite people!

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A Day at the Museum January 14, 2012

Filed under: The Ferguson Family — Michelle Ferguson @ 10:11 pm

The Queen City is home to the Mint Museum, a museum of craft, design, and American and European art.  When Logan first began noticing the signs for this museum, he expressed over and over his desire to visit there.  I think his desire had something to do with the word “Mint.”  When I found out what the museum was about and told Logan, he was slightly disappointed that samples of mints from around the world would not be one of the exhibits!

Our opportunity to visit the Mint Museum came this past week after I received an e-mail from a friend that the museum was offering free admission to home schoolers for an afternoon.  Now, driving to a new destination in uptown AND finding a place to park are not at the top of my favorite things to do, but I was up for an adventure with my kids on a rainy day!  Their eyes were pealed for the big “P”  signs indicating parking, and we found the right garage, then the elevators we took up, exited that building, and entered the museum right next door.

We signed in, got our stickers to wear, and headed to the “Family Gallery.”  It was a very kid-friendly room where the kids took part in building and puzzle challenges, posing for pictures inside frames, making large doodles on paper, and creating art of their own at a well-stocked art center.  When I finally coaxed them away from the art table, we headed upstairs to browse through two floors of exhibits.  We saw glass and pottery designs, wood designs, woven bamboo designs, even art created with painted threads.

I am not an art connoisseur by any means, but there were certainly some very unusual (okay, strange!) pieces on display.  One display from a distance looked like toilet paper thrown over ropes.  As we got closer, we discovered the piece was actually made of white linen, in my words, “thrown over rope.”  Another eye-catching piece was a preserved, dead Christmas tree decorated with clear glass balls filled with the dead needles from the tree.  Now why couldn’t I have thought of that?!

We saw necklaces that looked more like (in Logan’s words) “neck braces.”  Some were huge, some were twisted, and some looked very uncomfortable.  There was one  necklace made of all recycled plastic things the artist found, like plastic tabs from milk jugs, plastic care instructions that come with flowers, etc.  Other painted works looked like my Luke could have made them and even done a better job!

I got excited when I found a painting by Benjamin West because we’ve studied a little about him this year in our history lessons.   West was an American-born artist who became painter for King George III of England during the time of the American Revolution.  Seeing West’s artwork made our book studies come alive.  We also saw lots of paintings of George Washington.

We all searched for our favorite pieces, and Logan’s was a footed rosewood bowl.  Lindsay’s favorite piece was called the “Pacific Rose,” which looked like a huge crystal suspended by a hook.   Luke liked a wooden piece shaped like a huge slug.  My favorite piece was called “Dancing Pear Bottle.”

Our day at the museum was fun and since admission is free on Tuesday nights between 5 and 9pm, we may visit again with Brad.  Then he can pick out his favorite piece!

 

Goop January 9, 2012

Filed under: Brad and Me Plus 3 — Michelle Ferguson @ 6:48 pm

One afternoon, Luke brought to me a library book he had been looking through.  He found pictures of some children playing with a gooey mixture, and that was enough for him to know he wanted to make that stuff too.

The recipe for “Goop” comes from the book “Solid, Liquid, and Gas” by Melinda Lilly.  Always looking for an entertaining, hands-on way to reinforce our school learning, I thought it would be a fun thing to make.  We mixed 2 cups of water with one drop of food coloring and added to 3 1/2 cups of cornstarch.  The combination creates a goop that is both a solid and a liquid.  When poked and handled, the goop is a solid (because the water moves out of the way), but if allowed to sit still, it becomes a liquid flowing between your fingers.  Luke describes goop as “awesome weird.”  

One word of warning:  this is an outdoor project!  I learned that the hard way after wiping lots of goop off the floor and carpet and kids!  We all had a fun time playing with this mysterious mixture, even Dad got in on the action!  We couldn’t keep our hands off the stuff because it’s so “weird!”  Science can be way fun and cool!

 

 

A Christmas Drop-In January 8, 2012

Filed under: Life in the Slow Lane — Michelle Ferguson @ 9:37 pm

With three young children who LOVE to play outside, I find myself outside often keeping an eye and an ear on their whereabouts.  There are about 6 regular children on our street who flock to our house to play, some days all at the same time!  I love it, and I would not have it any other way.  I like knowing where my kids are, who they are playing with, and what they are doing.  Their closeness allows me to know all this, and I get to know the kids pretty well, too.

However, I realized that I was getting to know the kids better than I knew their parents.  A few weeks before Christmas I read an article in a magazine from church about a family who hosted a drop-in at their home at Christmas time for the purpose of getting to know their neighbors.  The Lord, right then and there, laid it on my heart to host a drop-in of our own.  I talked to Brad about it, and he loved the idea.

One Sunday afternoon, two weeks before Christmas, I made up fliers with our drop-in information and the next Monday, Lindsay and I placed our invitations in ten of our neighbors’ newspaper boxes.  The next Sunday, one week before Christmas, we opened our home from 4:00 – 6:00pm and waited.  I really did not know what to expect.  The house was clean (at least the downstairs, oh, and don’t ever look in the laundry room if you come over…that’s where Brad moves my clutter!) and the spread of food was set out.  I served fudge, cookies, flavored crackers, blondies, chips and dip, meatballs, and apple cider.  I learned, though, that it’s not really about the food, it’s about the fellowship, but we do seem to fellowship better over food!

As usual, the children arrived first!  After a few minutes, Brad and I wondered if only the children were going to come!  Then, slowly, 5 of our 10 invited families arrived, and we were thrilled!  I enjoyed introducing my neighbors to each other as new ones arrived.  I enjoyed chatting with them and getting to know them better.  As it turned out, everyone congregated in my kitchen around the food!

Food was eaten, laughs were shared, and new friendships were made.  At 6:00 when the last families left, we discussed going to a local hiking place together.  One lady even volunteered to bring food to our drop-in next year!  It was such a small investment of time and resources, but a big investment in friendships.  I suppose I will host another drop-in next year and continue to invite those who live around me with the hope of building friendships where the love of Christ can be shared.

After the New Year, I was standing at the end of my driveway talking with a neighbor and another neighbor brought her daughter over to play, and the two women began a discussion on something we had all talked about at the drop-in.  I am thankful for how Jesus can use our home or our driveway to bring people together!

 

 

Great Wolf Lodge January 7, 2012

Filed under: Brad and Me Plus 3 — Michelle Ferguson @ 8:50 pm

In mid-December, Brad and I treated our three kids (and ourselves!) to one night at Great Wolf Lodge in Concord, NC.  My mom and my sister Karie and her family met us there for a fun, family gathering!  We were not prepared for all the fun that awaited us!

Official check-in time was not until 4:00pm, but we showed up at 1:00 to begin using the water park and were able to check into our rooms early, which was really nice.  After a quick change into swimsuits, we all headed downstairs to the indoor water park where it’s always 84 degrees.  Being that it was a Thursday, it was not crowded at all.  We did not wait in line for long for any ride, if we even had a wait.  Logan and his cousin Anderson went off on their own with the buddy system.  I felt very comfortable allowing them to go off together because the park was enclosed with employees at the doors and it was pretty open so within a few seconds or minutes of searching, the boys could always be spotted.  I felt very safe there. 

The rides included slides requiring mats or tubes, a toddler/preschool play area, a water tree house with slides and a big water-dumping bucket, a wave pool, a pool with what I call “wipe out” courses (where you grab an overhead net and walk over floating objects to get to the other side).  The lifeguards were attentive and friendly.  The locker rooms included a spin basket to remove water from swimsuits, and I found that very handy!

Around 5:30 pm, we left the park and headed upstairs to change for dinner.  We ate at the Loose Moose Cottage which featured an incredible buffet.  The salad bar was amazing!  Dessert was cheesecake and mini chocolate bundt cakes drizzled with chocolate sauce.  After dinner, we went to the lobby which was decorated as a snow village for pajama story time and soap bubble “snow.”  After lots of pictures, we went back upstairs to our rooms (afterall, there was a republican debate on t.v.!) and settled the children into their beds, the girl cousins in my sister’s room and the boy cousins with us!

We stayed in standard suites and let me tell you, the beds were the most comfortable beds I’ve ever slept in at any hotel!  They were so comfy and cozy, as were the rooms.  I was very impressed!

Aunt Karie bought doughnuts for the kids at Dunkin Donuts in the lobby for breakfast.  Then she and I took the kids down for a lesson on animals in the lobby and an origami wolf craft.  After a visit to the Cub Club, the kids earned tokens for the game room.

Back in our rooms, we packed, changed into our swimsuits again, checked out, loaded our cars with our bags and spent a couple of more hours at the water park.  My personal favorite ride was the Howlin’ Tornado.  Up to 4 people could ride inside a large inner tube, drop through a six-story funnel into a huge room where we slid up and down the sides.  We figured out the more weight on the ride, the higher you slide back and forth.  It was very fun with four adults!  My brother-in-law was a hoot!  We did even get my mom on one of the slides, the River Canyon Run.  Mom’s face when we walked out of the pool at the bottom of the ride made a lady sitting nearby laugh hysterically.  I don’t think mom enjoyed it as much as my sister, my daughter, and me!

We changed into our dry clothes in the locker room, made a quick visit to the gift shop and the Bear Paw Sweets & Eats and decided it was time to leave and go somewhere for lunch.  We had lunch nearby, visited Bass Pro Shop at the Concord outlet mall, and then headed to drive through the Christmas light display at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.  To save money, the ten of us piled into my mom’s small Lexus SUV once we got to the speedway.  It was cramped and noisy, and we all agreed we should have just paid our own way!  Too funny!

Everyone came back to our house to spend the night before departing for their homes the next morning.  Before they left, the kids opened their Christmas gifts to each other after a breakfast of blueberry muffins and hot chocolate.  We all decided that we would love to meet again next December at Great Wolf Lodge, and maybe make it our Christmas tradition together!