Friday, January 31, 2014

St. Augustine Visit

Yesterday, after the girls finished their school work we headed over to St. Augustine located about an hour North of us to visit this city originally established in 1565 by the Spanish.  Here is a brief history:

We arrived and after a stop at the Visitor's center, we decided to start our tour of the city at the old fort known as the Castillo de San Marcos.  It was a very blustery day and thankfully we thin blooded Floridians brought layers to wear as we toured. I'll just post pictures of the fort today as I have a lot that I took.

Fort Interior Courtyard

Inside Rooms - small cannon, Kevin by English bunks that slept 4 men (center),  close up of  coquina stone.

Had to duck down to enter the gun powder storage room in a corner area of the fort.

Girls up on top of fort in one of the 4 bastions.  Oven used to heat cannon balls before firing "hot shots".
Views of the fort walls

Corner bastion overlooking bay

Kevin with kids up top of fort - BRRRR!
Bastion known as the St. Augustine

Views from the bastions turrets
Views of moat surrounding fort.  Filled at high tide or by sea gate if under attack.
View towards remnants of old city gate

Moat and looking towards part of the village

We will definitely have to return to St. Augustine because there are just too many sites to cover in a single day, particularly since we started out so late in the day.  We had our reasons though since this was the last night of their Nights of Lights Festival that they hold throughout the holiday season and to the end of January.  I'll add those pictures along with the town shopping district with my next post.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Sanford Zoo

Today we took a "field trip" to the local zoo to see it for our first time along with family visiting here from out of State.  Patrick and Jennifer are back in town, escaping the extreme cold up North and Kevin's sister Karen and her husband Allen are down from Pennsylvania staying with Pat and Jen.  We took advantage of the break in the rain to enjoy a beautiful day walking around this small, but really nice zoo.

Our group in front of a bird cage

The zoo started back in 1923 with 30 donated animals and eventually grew to today's over 400 animals on 123 acres of nicely landscaped park like settings and botanical gardens.

The girls enjoyed feeding animals in the petting zoo area:

Boer goat

Lauren feeding a pygmy goat

The Zebo eating the snacks with it's long tongue off the top of the fence
Hannah thought the Zebo's tongue tickled


Bourbon Turkey

The snake house in the herpetarium  had an interesting collection of snakes, lizards, salamanders and frogs.

Girl's in front of snake displays

Albino rattlesnake
Egyptian Cobra

Green Mamba's
This wasn't a part of "official" displays, but this weird pile of bugs was on top of a sign post and a line of local lizards were enjoying this free meal.
Then the various big cats:


The otter display was fun to stand and watch these playful animals.

Finally the girls got a chance to try the camel ride and both giggled their way through it  and agreed "that was great!!!!".

FUN Day!!  Hope yours was too.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Our Newest Little Scientist

Cameron was always one to really love science as we were teaching in the past and this seems to be something that Hannah shares his affection for as well.  I'm so thankful that he has been able to step in and help with her lessons, especially since his enthusiasm and creativity make it fun and interesting.
Chapters cover Chemistry Basics, Atoms and Molecules, Nature of Chemistry, States of Matter and Organic Chemistry.
Each section has 4 - 6 units and labs.  Thankfully the book includes a CD Rom for printing work and
lab sheets to use in the various lessons.

She has been moving rapidly through her Chemistry for Kids book with his assistance and eagerly looks forward to this part of her lessons.  We brought out the equipment we'd acquired in the past for Cameron and Amber when they were at these stages of learning and he's taken this new text book and just really impressed me with his ability to so engage her interest and to be so thorough in covering the lessons along with their accompanying labs.

Sand and salt mixture strained to grow salt crystals

Salt Crystals grown
Hannah checking and measuring the results

Looking at various items under the microscope

Using marshmallow and Mike and Ike's candy they made atoms and molecules - added benefit they got to eat the results!!

Carbon Molecule model left and Nitrogen Right

Cameron has been a huge help and his love of science is definitely contagious.  Gotta love it!!

Next, he'll be working with Lauren on her natural science experiments to supplement her lessons.  I do appreciate his help.