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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Bad Blogger Award

So it's been almost a month since I've posted.  Homeschool Conference, vacation, theater camp, and VBS all conspired against me and I completely lost track of time.

I have pictures, stories, and much catching up to do.  I'm going to post-date everything so that when I print off my blog it will be in order.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Let the running begin

After we got back from vacation I had to get to work on choreography for a local theater companies summer camp.  The show was Mary Poppins and I needed to choreograph two songs as well as be ready for what the week would bring.

Exhaustion is one of the things is brought.  The other was joy.  I love, love, love working with kids in the theater and am so fortunate to have been asked. 

It was a long week but the kids did a great job.

After this camp we have a week off before more craziness.  Whew!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Step Back in Time with The Titanic

This week our family was visiting Branson, Mo.  We do this every year with my husbands entire family and for the last several years we have wanted to visit one particular attraction.  As a homeschool family we love history and when we can see, touch, or feel that history it’s even better. 

History comes alive when you can bring it into your everyday life.  This exhibit does just that.   I am still crazy excited about it!  I want to go again.  Right now!

What’s got me so excited? 

Oh, let me tell you!  It’s The Titanic exhibit in Branson.  I have been trying to figure out how to get the family there for a while and this year we were all old enough to enjoy it.  Woohoo! 

And enjoy it we did.  For over two hours!  We would have stayed longer but we had plans in the evening we had to leave for.  It is that good.

When you first arrive, okay when you are down the block you see the ship.  It is beautiful.  But, when you pull up in the parking lot you notice the entrance.  The front of the ship is in water with a flame at the edge.  There is a plaque dedicated to all who lost their lives that fateful day. 

When you reach the awning you are greeted by people dressed in period costumes.  They give you a boarding pass that has the name and information of a real person aboard the Titanic.  You get their history and find out whether they were in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd class or part of the Crew.  That boarding pass represents who you are as you tour the ship. 

After checking in you are immediately greeted by a comparison photo of the Titanic and other landmarks.  The Titanic wins hands down!  Next is an iceberg.  You can actually put your hands on the ice!  The experience was amazing right from the start.

The next room is a 1:48 model.  This model is beautiful.  The details are phenomenal with a mirror overhead so you can see the top as well.  All along this room and elsewhere in the exhibit are glass etchings of people aboard with quotes from them.  They are a haunting reminder of the trauma they went through and the strength of their character.

Next is the section dedicated to the dogs aboard.  Yes, dogs!  It was a fun treat to see the dogs-real live dogs were there.  Of course my girls were in love instantly.  We had no idea that dogs were aboard. 

Now, I could go room by room but that would be entirely too long of a post.  I could believe me; but you might get bored!  So, I’ll do a highlights reel. 

First up was the Third Class accommodations.  There is an actual replica of a Third Class bunk room.  While it was bigger and better equipped in years past it was still very small.  Four bunks, a sink, and just enough room to walk in and turn around.  Yup, small.  There were pictures and stories all along the way on the walls and in display cases.  Every where you turn you see more information about the people, the ship, and the times.  News clippings drive home the realness of the events and people.   The entire Third Class section was eye opening for our girls.  They didn’t understand why someone would be treated differently just because they had less money. 

Second Class accommodations were a step up.  The dishes and menus were incredible.  Even the menu for Third Class had my girls salivating but Second Class was even better. 

We got to see the Marconi Room where the CQD was sent from, the coal furnaces, the bridge, interactive gallery, and the Father Browne Gallery.  This exhibit is worth it for this gallery alone.  There are so many pictures of the ship and the people that I almost felt like I knew them and was there.  There is information accompanying each picture so you get the whole picture, so to speak.  It is amazing, truly amazing.

Before we went up to First Class we got to go out into the night sky, stand on deck and gaze up at the stars.  (inside of course!)  It was chilly.  Our girls imagined how cold it might have been to actually stand on the deck aboard the Titanic.  We were transported back to 1912 even more.

To get to First Class we had to ascend the Grand Staircase.  I could just imagine myself in a beautiful ball gown, my arm draped on the arm of my dashing husband as we move to the dining hall.  It was utterly gorgeous. 

The First Class room accommodations were vastly different from Third Class.  It was another lesson for our girls.  After seeing First Class they said they wouldn’t want to go back to Third Class!  Another must see for the First Class section is the room with the place servings, the silver, and other items from First Class.  All of them are beautifully displayed to be seen from all sides. 

Beyond all the pieces to look at you see the faces and read about the lives of the passengers.  I think this is the most poignant of everything in the exhibit.  These were people with families and lives that were lost.  Everywhere you turn you see those lives and get to know them.  You come to care about them. 

By the end of your journey you are met with a wall that has a list of all the passengers and crew.  They are separated into their classes; some are underlined, some are not.  The ones that are underlined are the survivors.  Four of our six survived.  Later we were able to find out about their lives after the sinking.  This was especially helpful for our tender-hearted girls to know that some went on to lead happy, successful lives. 

Along the way was historical footage of the building of the ship and then later on footage of finding the wreckage.  All lending to the awe of the event. 

I can not recommend this exhibit enough.  It was touching, historical, informative, and enthralling.  We all learned something new and are chomping at the bit to get home to study the Titanic some more!  While this is an interactive exhibit with the listening devices provided to you-don’t bring your cameras.  No pictures may be taken inside the exhibit. 

I can’t begin to tell you about everything there is to see in this exhibit.  You just have to see it for yourself.  It is wonderful!  I know we will be back because there is too much to absorb the first time around and you just have to read/see it all.  At least I do.  I want to go back already!  We will be talking about this for a long time to come.

The next time you are in Branson, make plans to spend some time at The Titanic.  For information on tickets, visit their website.

**I was given admittance into the exhibit for my family in exchange for my honest review.  Even if we had paid to get in my review would have been the same-it is completely worth the cost!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Vacation 2012

Vacation came on the heels of the local homeschool convention and I couldn't have been any more unprepared.  I was going crazy Saturday night to get things ready to leave Sunday bright and early.

It was difficult but we made it.

We made it in record time in fact. 

Our vacation this year was the most relaxing we have had in a very long time.  We didn't plan too much just took each day as it came.  Which meant we slept in each morning until we woke up and decided what to do each day.  It was wonderful!

We met with the whole family to go swimming or barbecue and we went out to eat as a group one night.  That is always an adventure! lol  We went shopping one day and went to The Titanic Exhibit another day.  All in all it was a great vacation. 

I took the camera but only took a few pictures.  Some with my phone and a few with the camera.  I think though, I only got pictures of us cheating at miniature golf!!!

She was guarding the fudge!!  

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Convention Post #3

The Saturday of a homeschool convention is a bit like Monday morning to me.  I want to go and get it started but I am tired and dreading it a little bit.

I had almost decided not to go until the afternoon session but I just couldn't stay away!  I had to hear what everyone was saying and I was going to buy some curriculum for my friend that couldn't go.  Yeah, force me to shop for curriculum-please! lol

I made it for the end of the first session but chose to take my oldest daughter around the Vendor Hall.  She loved it as much as I do. ;-)

We did a little shopping and then continued our stalking of Todd Wilson!  I went to every workshop again and I am so glad I did.  There was something for me in every one of his workshops.  He is that good.

The Vendor Hall was busy and full of wonderful things to look at and buy.  Which I did, of course!  We did have to take our stuff to the car because it was getting too heavy to lug around.

Lunch was too expensive and really the only complaint I have about the whole weekend.  Okay, that and sore feet but that is my fault.  After lunch we started stalking Todd Wilson again.  heehee

I was thoroughly impressed and satisfied with The TPA Convention and can't wait for next year.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Convention Post #2

(yeah, it's late.  I know.  vacation does that to a person! gonna post date it though to keep things straight.)

To say that a convention is overwhelming is probably a big understatement.  But they don't have to be.  Having a game plan is the biggest help.  That and having the schedule ahead of time.

I suggest printing off the schedule so you can study the workshops you want to attend.  Don't forget to plan in shopping time in the vendor hall and lunch!  After you have chosen your workshops put it down and come back to it later.  You never know, you might just change your mind.  ;-)

-Wear comfortable shoes and clothing.  You will be in them all day long.  lol  While that may not sound so bad sitting there on your couch, after the whole day of getting up and down and carrying you stuff around it matters.

-Take a bag or a collapsible box on wheels.  Yeah, you might feel like a goober at first but it will come in oh so handy later in the day.  Lugging all those books around gets crazy heavy around lunch time. 

-Don't hesitate to miss a workshop to talk with a fellow homeschooler.  You never know what encouragement or information you can get from a casual conversation.

Now, for my Friday at convention I completely booked myself up with workshops and shopping.  Since it wasn't my first convention I was completely comfortable packing my schedule full.  ;-)  The first session was IEW.  They totally sold me.  I have been looking at their stuff for several years but finally made the commitment.  We'll see how it goes next year!

I can't say enough that you should get out and support your local homeschool convention.  It is so important because vendors will stop coming if the people don't show up.  Then there won't be a local convention for us to go to.

Anyway, our local TPA Convention had Todd Wilson as its' main speaker this year.  I'll tell you right now I went to every one of his workshops.  Yeah, I'm a stalker; but he is that good.  Our TPA nailed it on the head bringing him in.  He was encouraging and still admonished us at the same time.  If you haven't heard him or read his books-do.  They are worth it. 

So, I followed Todd Wilson around a lot but I actually did some shopping too.  I was able to get most everything I needed for next year and didn't have to pay shipping!!  That's another advantage of going to you local homeschool convention-most vendors don't have you pay shipping.  I'm just sayin'.

There was so much I learned at The TPA Convention.  I will have to just make a posts of the quotes I wrote down.  lol