Wednesday, February 5, 2014

It's All Good ... If a Bit Overwhelming!

Good morning. Last week I holed up in the ice storm in a cozy house, just me and my yarn. Well, and the dogs and the hubby and girl. And quite a few canceled activities. Those events (all happy ones, mind you!) were rescheduled for this week, of course, and thus we must pay for our blissful relaxation, mustn't we?
Not complaining though. I'm just gob-smacked (love that new term!) about how to share all that's been going on.
We finally got around to watching a few more Nero Wolfe episodes we got at Christmas.
Archie Goodwin (played by Timothy Hutton), Wolfe's trusty man,
reflected in his coffee cup
I post that pic because I own four of those cups/saucers. I found mine in the local thrift. It's "Wintergreen" made by Syracuse china, dishes used in diners and restaurant. Love it.
Monday night I had my three buddies over for dinner. We all sell at the Saturday market, and we've become a "fearsome foursome," or some such silliness. We're nuts, but we enjoy each others' company. I set a fancier-than-usual table.
 Adam outdid even his usual culinary splendor. He cooked and baked all day. There were baguettes and breadsticks, and this:
homemade pasta and marinara,
with chicken Parmesan and homemade mozzarella!
I baked a creamy lemon pie and then forgot to offer it to anyone. Sigh.
Here are Pat and Christine. It makes me giggle just to see their smiles.
And that's all the photos I remembered to take! I discovered that Pat and Kip haven't seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding, which is an appalling deficiency in their lives. Christine and I will remedy that next week with yet another girls' night for movie watching, gales of laughter, and some eating.
Okay, then yesterday I took Julia and her two friends to the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. I blogged about this last year already.
So here are some of the 100 photos I took on that trip, with a few helpful captions.
 Very Silly Girls
 My best otter shot:

 A view of the sound, so beautiful even in winter ~
 I am so very happy when I can measure the distance between me and the Atlantic in feet!
 The tank of stingrays and skates

 The girls loved this and spent probably 45 minutes here, touching the rays.

 an Atlantic ray:
 They would have stayed there all afternoon, I believe.
 Two new rays were delivered to the tank.
 We got to see the barb the keeper cut from the little pink Atlantic ray.
 Plonk! into the tank
 He hasn't yet adjusted his coloring to his new environment.
 Two butterfly rays hide beneath the sand. The girls like finding them. Here, a cownose ray disturbs a butterfly.

 Seahorses are my favorite.

 They twine themselves around the grasses like monkeys do with their tails.

 The octopus, lying flat against the glass, was so beautiful, but the purple lighting in his tank made it impossible to get really good photos.


 The popular live-dive in the massive shark tank with replica of a German sub:

 We met and petted a one-year-old alligator.
 When we were about to leave, the girls were distracted by the hands-on exhibit of whelks and horseshoe crabs. So we stayed another half hour and they learned so much more than if we'd been on a rigid school schedule.
 I don't think they'd ever handled live whelks with the animals inside. The volunteer educator was very informed and worked so nicely with them.
 The room wasn't crowded, and they had her undivided attention. She had theirs as well. Julia leaned over this whelk and stroked him for about a full minute. There's really no replacement for this kind of well-focused, individual education.
 We found a large sea turtle in the shark tank!
 After some quick pizza and milk shakes, I told the girls we'd drive home by way of Beaufort. I love Beaufort. When we arrived, one of the girls asked if we could go into the free Maritime Museum there.
 I said yes, of course. They'd all been there before, so I felt no pressure to guide them through the exhibits. They gravitated to their favorites. We didn't stay long, but before we left, they found the dress-up clothes and things in the theater room, and presented me with a photo opportunity :)
 Complete with plastic hand-cuffs and swords. Julia liked being the kidnapped damsel in distress.
 We stopped for a chunk of fudge from The Fudge Factory.
And that was yesterday!
I do think museums, aquariums, zoos, and such venues are best for children when they are visited regularly, often even. The kids should feel they know and have some ownership of these places. I plan to take advantage of our once-a-year free admission to the aquarium throughout high school, so Julia will learn to know the exhibits. Each time you visit, you reinforce the knowledge gained before, you add new, and a bond grows between the child and the things they see -- whether live creatures or centuries-old history. This bond can grow into a real passion. Of course, one of the added perks of doing this as a homeschooler is the flexibility one has to really indulge the visit -- stay longer, avoid crowds, and not be hampered by the tiresome "Okay! Everybody line up! We have to go! Get on the bus! Don't touch that! Be quiet!" Instead of focusing on all the logistics of corralling 30 (or 60) children, one child can focus on what matters -- learning.


  1. Ohhhhhhhhhh - I love that cup and immediately reminded me of charming little diners! I would love a whole set of those - they are nice and heavy, unlike the set of chipping dishes I have now. Sigh...

    LOVE museums and ESPECIALLY, aquariums - what a great day for the girls and you - just watching those creatures swim is so relaxing for me! Happy Wednesday - hope it's as wonderful as yesterday. Tanya

  2. Your girlfriends supper looked amazing. What lucky girlfriends you have. You've been busy with all that sea life. Beautiful.

  3. Yes, that is true- it's important for them to get ownership of places like this! I adore the aquarium place- SO amazing! I'd love to tickle whelks and ray!!!x

    1. I didn't tickle any sea life, Kezzie :) You have to wash your hands after each tickling, and that gets old - haha!

  4. You're so right, M.K.! We love going to museums, aquariums and such- during the day- when there's less people. So much to learn! Looks like you've been busy catching up. That will be me next week. I LOVE being snowed in but I'm currently entering the cabin fever zone. Would rather be petting stingrays with you! :) Lori

    1. I hope you plan a Cabin Escape soon! It does wear on you after a few days.

  5. I enjoy foraging on the sea shore with my grandies. All three of them love it, even Miss 13. Fancy not having seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding! That is one of my all time favourite movies.

  6. Very nice post! I enjoyed the aquarium visit! And now I want fudge! I'm totally enjoying being snowbound! No school...just tea, and fire, and baking, and knitting, and lounging and reading! Yes, I'm loving it! At least for now! Aloha

  7. Love Beaufort too! Would love to be spending some time there.

  8. WHAT? All those picture but none of your lemon pie? I am sad. It looks like you have been having some fun times with friends though and your daughter looks like she is a lot of FUN.


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