Taking Our Homeschool On the Road

I’m honored to be posting about our adventure this week on Heart of the Matter Online!

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Five months ago, our family of four traded our comfortable, custom-built home with all of our familiar surroundings and twelve years of memories, for a 340 square foot motorhome that rarely stays in one place for more than a week! We had been hearing from God for a while… {to read more, click here to see the article}

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Whirlwind summary of our last two months…

Ok, we are officially back on the road again after a lovely time back in Colorado (during which I did next to no blogging!), so I am going to attempt to limit my pictures in this post and still manage a summary of what we’ve been up to. Here goes…..!

First, getting from Iowa to Colorado…involves Nebraska. Not a lot to talk about there, but we do love Windmill State Recreation area, near Kearney. We’ve stayed there before and it’s becoming a favorite. We were one of only a handful of campers in the park, so it was very peaceful and quiet. We did some geocaching there, including one in a gazebo that we could NOT find. Ah well, next time…

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After bouncing around Highway 67, THE bumpiest road we’ve been on yet, we arrived back in Colorado! Spent some time in Loveland—Chad had some business meetings and we got to visit with Chad’s sweet niece and husband and our good friends, the Byers. We also had the fun surprise of camping only a few sites away from my good friend, Julie’s parents! Sweet Pea loved the crafting lessons Julie’s mom gave her.

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Oscar the Bunny—so sweet!

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We said goodbye to our trusty 20+-year-old mountain bikes and traded them for more “sensible” cruiser bikes. Are we sounding old, or what?! We just don’t fit those old mountain bikes like we used to when we were rock-hopping in Moab all those years ago. And most of our riding these days is on trails with the kids. Maybe when they start some serious mountain biking we’ll give it a go again. Maybe.

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Anyone else have a “cheese” like this to play on at their school? We had one that was half this size at my elementary school—fond memories. The campground had this one near our site; the kids had great fun making up games on it.

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One thing we noticed as soon as we arrived here is how blue, blue, blue the sky in Colorado is. And what gorgeous sky-scapes.

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We really enjoyed the Loveland area—lots of ponds and lakes, friendly people, Whole Foods nearby, and close to the foothills. We had hoped to get to Rocky Mountain National Park, but we arrived right when the epic and tragic Flood of 2013 started, and since the roads going there were washed out, we couldn’t make it.

After our business in northern Colorado was over, we headed south, to one of our favorite jaunts, Ponderosa Camp:

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Loved those days of doing school outside, riding bikes, geocaching, working out in the gym, smelling the delicious forest.

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We had lovely accommodations at Green Acres with our hosts, Barney and Andy, while their humans were out of town. We also got to see the first snow of the season!

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Did some serious, hair-swinging potato-diggin! Planted the seed potatoes at Oma & Opa’s last spring before we left, and now they’re ready to eat!

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One of our favorite things! Dreirum time on the deck with Oma & Opa and Tante Heidi. (Missed you, Uncle Arn!)

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We took our annual trip to the mountains to see the changing Aspen, to Mueller State Park.

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Spunky Monkey always finds a stick on every hike. This one was quite sizeable!

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The Camel Operator and camel rides are a favorite ongoing hiking story for several years now, although I’m not sure how long this passenger will fit on the camel!

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How is it that we can almost be the same height??!

 

We spent the rest of our time back in Colorado at the Garden of the Gods Campground, at the foot of Pikes Peak in Old Colorado City.

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One of my favorite places…ANY. WHERE.

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My brother’s first geocache!

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Working on the newsletter and Power Director video editing at one of our new favorite coffee shop finds—Jives in Old Colorado City.

Aaannd….Our main reason for coming back to Colorado during October—my niece’s wedding!

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One last visit to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, where you can get up & close with the giraffes like nowhere else…

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We miss our friends already!

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Above is our view from the motorhome when we arrive at Garden of the Gods Campground, below is the view right before we left. Got to see fall come and go…time to move south!

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Last time we left, we took these two with us!! But this time we had to say Aufweidersehen. We sure do miss our travel companions! Can’t wait to see them again.

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Living History Farm & Des Moines Science Center

We found two very fun and educational field trips in Des Moines. The first was Homeschool Day at the Living History Farm. We’ve been to several living history farms and this was by far the most authentic and had the largest scope. We visited farms from 1700 (Ioway Indians), 1850 (pioneers), 1900 (horse-powered), and the 1875 town of Walnut Hill.

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Filling Ben the Horse’s bucket with dry field corn to crack for feed.

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Not too clear, but the kids got to jump on the hay in the hay loft. Fun!!!

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Thinking of uses for those cobweb-laced tools?

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The town, as well as the rest of the farm, was charmingly authentic. There were no annoying ropes up around the furniture, etc. to keep kids out. They got to experience each building as if they were living there.

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The broom maker’s shop. They actually sell the brooms they make here!

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The blacksmith shop—really working to make spikes.

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The millinery was one of our favorites—beautiful ribbons and flowers for hats and dresses, with a charming dressmaker to tell us how she creates her specialties.

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The print shop, where they really print brochures and flyers using authentic equipment.

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These little guys were cute beyond words. I guess the one on the end didn’t want to pose along with the others.

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We loved how all the town’s “residents” (docents) were actually hard at work. It was  HOT day and this lady was out in the garden really pulling weeds, in her bonnet and big dress.

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Time for school!

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If you get Sweet Pea’s newsletter, you’ve seen a picture similar to this—anyone spot all the differences there?

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Super fun all day!!

Our second field trip was to the Science Center of Iowa . Plenty of hands-on opportunities to learn about physics concepts, rocketry, native Iowa animals, fluid dynamics, and more! IMG_2388

Spinning!

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Balls floating on air!

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I never did figure this one out, but the kids did!

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These were giant “air drums” that could be aimed at the wall of hanging medallions in the background, so that we could see where the air “hit” as the medallions wobbled.

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Constructing dams!

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Building rockets!

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Launching rockets!

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So much fun in one day! We were surprised at all Des Moines had to offer, and I’m sure there was much more than what we saw—fun city!

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Summer’s ending…

While visiting Des Moines, we stayed at Timberline Campground, just outside Des Moines in Waukee.

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Some highlights:

…enjoying and observing nature…

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(Anyone know what these little buggers are?)

 

…making ourselves home at Whole Foods…

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…finding a local Awana club to visit for the first meeting of the year…

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…visiting the house Chad grew up in…Ankeny, Iowa…

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…just hanging out…

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…soaking-in the midwest sunsets…

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…visiting the brand-new Hyvee grocery store and being amazed at some of the unusual foods we found…

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…seeing the sights…

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…being the only ones at the ice skating rink…

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We were pleasantly surprised by how much we enjoyed Des Moines! Two very fun field trips gave our visit the extra boost. Where did we go? Next post….

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Our Three Month-iversary and FAQs

We’ve been on the road three months!

To celebrate, I thought I’d answer some of the questions we’ve been getting on the road. (Then I’ll get caught up with the rest of our August activities!)

 

Q. Where are you from?

A. We are from Monument, CO. It sits on the foothills on the Palmer Ridge, between Denver and Colorado Springs, has very odd weather at times, is beautiful and growing like crazy, and has some of the nicest people we know!

Q. Where are you going next?

A. Our summer was loosely planned, based around 1) leaving Colorado, 2) reaching Asheville NC to see my brother and his wife, 3) attending the Answers in Genesis mega-conference in Sevierville, TN in Juy, and 4) getting back to Colorado in October for my niece’s wedding.

Beyond that, on the way to NC, my parents were along and were very helpful in suggesting fun places to visit based on their many road trips over the years. They love to get off the beaten path and have found some gems along the way. They still make great suggestions for wherever we are along our route.

Our winter plans are, well, non-existent at this point, but it’s time to start looking, and it’s got to be somewhere warm (at least warmer than Monument!) Any suggestions?

Q. How do you select campgrounds?

A. The process of finding specific campgrounds has usually been: find a city or general area we want to visit, search Google maps for campgrounds in the right area, check out the campground’s website for overall feel, price, wifi, etc., look at RVParkReviews and Woodall’s to see what other campers have experienced, check the Verizon coverage map to make sure our internet card will work, call the campground to make sure they have room. If something doesn’t look good on any of these steps, it’s back to the top until we find just the right place!

Q. What about school? Are you homeschooling your kids for the year? (This is often followed by…”I could never do that” and sometimes by “that’s really great”, “I admire you”, or “I wish I could homeschool my kids”)

A. Yes, we were already blessed to be homeschooling them, and they are learning all year round, whether we’re traveling or not. As for the follow-up question/statement, I am not specially patient or gifted or specifically trained to homeschool. But I know exactly where my kids are academically, I pray for patience and wisdom often, and I use the amazing resources available to anyone who feels called to homeschool. We love being with our kids and watching them learn, even on those hard days homeschooling sometimes seems to invite. It is a humbling and daunting responsibility to guide our children’s education and we feel blessed to be able to do it!

Q. “Do you use a curriculum, or…?”

A. I’m known as the Homeschool Gypsy in some circles, so it’s always something different…. Here’s what we’re doing this year: staying flexible with our schedule and opportunities to learn from the places we visit, our “formal” school time consists of math (switched to Math Mammoth this year—it’s downloadable and affordably priced), spelling (Spelling Power), lots of great books in a Charlotte Mason style (Living Books Curriculum), penmanship (yes, I still feel it’s important even though many schools aren’t teaching it; we’re practicing on quotes, Bible verses, etc.), and are looking forward to starting Answers Bible Curriculum in a few weeks (meanwhile, studying Kay Arthur’s Digging Up the Past together, along with Jesus Calling for Kids). Also, when the iPad app is available, we’ll be learning the Classical Conversations Foundations Cycle 2 grammar work.

I’ll write a separate post about the supplemental items we use, but some of them are: Kahn Academy, Dance Mat Typing, PyScripter, What’s in the Bible and Mathtacular DVDs,

Q. “How can you afford this?” or, even better… “Are you retired?” Aaaack…I had to go check my gray hair after we got this one…

A. This question usually goes with the assumption that full-time RVers are retired, which is a reasonable conclusion since most are not working. But we are still a ways from retirement age and generally like to work, so we’re still doing on the road what we were doing at home. I’m still teaching the children and managing our home, Chad is teaching business courses online as well as being an entrepreneur here and here.

Q. What do you do about mail?

A. We use a mail forwarding service, America’s Mailbox. So, we now have a South Dakota address, even though we haven’t even been there on this trip! All of our mail goes there, and we let them know when we are at one location for long enough to get the mail from them to us. So far, it’s been a great option. Doing it over, though, I might try to talk a relative or friend into receiving all of our mail and just forwarding to us what we need.

Q. What about healthcare?

A. We had been paying pretty high premiums for high-deductible insurance since the time Chad transitioned to a “non-traditional” job. When we decided to hit the road, we also decided to try Medishare, a Christian medical cost-sharing option. The monthly cost is much less and it’s basically major medical, although they are very clear it isn’t “insurance”. All I can say so far is that, thank the Lord, we haven’t had to use them much, but when I did have a reason to call, I was pleasantly surprised by the encouraging support I received, including a heartfelt prayer at the end of the call.

Okay, now it’s your turn!! What questions do you have for us? Ask away; I’ll be happy to answer!

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Rocky’s First Owners and Where Rocky was Made

After we left Illinois, we headed for the Winnebago factory in Forest City, Iowa. On the way, though, we made a stop to see Rocky’s first owners and their sweet family.

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Couldn’t have had a better experience buying Rocky from these two! They took such good care of it, that even though it was three years old when we got it, it seemed like new inside and out. We had a lovely visit, meeting them and some of their family at Pizza Ranch—yum! Afterward, they graciously invited us to their house and then came out to Rocky to tell it hi. We were parked at Backbone State Park nearby.

 

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We met this sweet family when we drove out to Iowa in March to buy Rocky—Sue was helping her parents with the sale while they were away. It was so great to see them again—come out to visit us, friends, when we land again in Colorado!

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Typical Iowa scenery in this area. I found the farms surrounded by fields of corn peaceful and inviting. (Sorry about the messy picture—I think Rocky’s windows were needing a wash…)

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The captain of our ship….heading north to Forest City, home of Winnebago.

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Winnebago is kind of a big deal in Forest City. The factory, visitors center, and repair shop are all right here. We needed a few repairs done on Rocky and didn’t know until a couple weeks before that you usually have to book a service appointment two months in advance. So we showed up and got on the waitlist. We arrived on a Wednesday and completed our form requesting our service items. Once submitted, no additional items can be requested (and there is a limit of 7 service items). After our requests were reviewed, we were told to come back first thing in the morning. Meanwhile, we explored the museum and learned about the history of Winnebago. Local businessmen started the company, manufacturing travel trailers, back in the 1950s as a way to revitalize ailing Forest City. In 1966 the first motorhome rolled off the assembly line and the 1970s were a boom for the company. How many of you had one or more of these lovely colors in your home in the 70s?

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Here’s one of their first motorhomes:

 

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Not really. But this is:

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We also took a tour of the factory. This is the bus we rode to get on the factory grounds and to get between buildings on the factory grounds. I include it because it is really the only picture of the tour I was allowed to take!

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We had some good discussions later about the differences between what we saw here at Winnebago and at the Tiffin factory in Alabama. Both excellent RV manufacturers, but different feel and style. Back at the service center, when we checked in the next morning, we were told to check back at 1pm, when the center opens after lunch break. We did, and were told to check in again at 5 pm. We did, and were told to check in at 7:30 Friday morning. WITH the RV—gotta be a good sign, right? So Chad took the RV over, the kids and I went out for breakfast, then took all of our school books and supplies to the tiny little library, where we tried to do school. I think we threw the librarian completely off—I’m guessing not many people homeschool in Forest City. We picked Chad up for lunch at Subway (Rocky HAD gotten in—thankful!!), then “explored” the town. This meant walking around the courthouse and driving around the town. Not a whole lot else to see!

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We made it back to the service center in time to wait until right before close of business to hear that Rocky was finished. By that time, and since it was Labor Day weekend and there were NO campgrounds anywhere with openings, we decided to take advantage of the fine visitors center parking lot we’d been docked in while we waited for service. It’s free for customers, and includes electricity! (It was SO hot—probably the hottest we’ve been on the trip—so we were thankful for the electricity and A/C!) For water, we just had to drive across the street to the rally grounds to fill up. We had plenty of company in the “campground”:

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We were happy to find a lovely bike trail at a park nearby, including a suspension bridge we rode over the river on. The bike path went past the rally grounds, which had a small stage area and bleachers. When our kids see a stage, what do they do? A play, of course!! So we got in on several spontaneous productions (Three Little Pigs variation and then Anne of Green Gables). Love their creativity.

We had a bit of a “run-in” with the bikes involving a car wash, bikes on the top of the car and a nagging feeling that something wasn’t right before entering the car wash, so Chad spent much of Sunday straightening some bike rack rails and duct-taping a bike seat that got shredded.

Monday, Labor Day, we headed for Des Moines, where there were finally campsites available!

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Illinois Family

 

We camped at the Carl Spindler campground near Peoria, and it worked out really well, although the first night we arrived too late and had to sleep in their parking lot.  It was near town and mostly full of longtime residents, but it was quiet and we were comfortable there.

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The view from our site.

 

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We enjoyed a steak dinner and baseball by the lake out in the country with the cousins.

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Illinois has pretty sunsets!

 

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You can’t tell it here, but Annie the Beagle has quite the entertaining personality…

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Chad made a fine jungle gym.

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I celebrated my birthday (these are my bday flowers) while we were here, and on the actual day, I took the kids to Springfield to visit the Abraham Lincoln Home and Museum. We first took a tour of the home where the family lived before Lincoln left for Washington; where he raised his children and got his start in politics.

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Many of the items in the home are original, including this sofa—Lincoln actually sat here!

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Mary’s bedroom. Many visitors on our tour seemed to think the carpet and wallpaper in the different rooms were gaudy, but I kind of liked it! Better than plain white, for sure!

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Mary did her own cooking and was thrilled to get this stove. Sadly for her, they bought it only a short time before the move to Washington, so she didn’t get much use out of it.

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We got in on a very interesting talk by a “real” Civil War soldier! He asked Sweet Pea to help him set up.

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He went through his whole bag of goodies, item by item, explaining what the soldiers would have carried and why.

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We then toured the museum, which is one of our favorite places we’ve been. They don’t allow pictures, except in these few areas below.

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You almost can’t tell which are my kids and which are the Lincoln’s! Well, maybe the tie-dye gives it away… Watch out for John Wilkes Booth back there on the left!

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The museum’s exhibits are extremely well-done, from Lincoln’s time as a boy in Kentucky, all the way through the tragic way his life ended. Two multimedia presentations are included in the admission and use amazing special effects—very entertaining as well as educational.

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My favorite part of the museum is their special collections area, where they rotate exhibit items. The last time we were there several years ago, we got to see one of Lincoln’s beaver pelt top hats, complete with two worn spots his fingers had made from all the times he tipped his hat. Love that! This time, we saw an original manuscript of the Gettysburg Address.

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This little friend set up her home near our passenger side mirror and stayed the whole time we were there. When we drove away, I thought I saw her flying off, but then when we got to our next destination, she was back! Strange….

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Getting to Grandma’s

On the way from Indiana to our destination near Peoria, IL, we took in one more quick National Park site—Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. We parked Rocky at the visitor’s center and dashed off in the Mazda to see as much as we could see (and hopefully complete a Junior Ranger program) in a few hours!

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The visitor center had an area behind it with beautiful native grasses and plants.

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Checking out Lake Michigan…it’s a little cooler than the ocean at Myrtle Beach!

When Spunky Monkey was two and we visited Chicago six years ago, he took it upon himself to try to fill in Lake Michigan with sand from the beach.

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It’s a big job. He’s still at it.

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We couldn’t stay long enough for him to get much done, but at least we can say we saw Lake Michigan. We needed to get to the season’s last open tour of the Quaking Bog. None of us had seen a bog before, so we knew we were in for a treat.

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Once inside the gates of the bog, we had to stay on floating walkways. We could hear and feel the oozy, slimy ground squishing below our steps as we walked. The sphagnum moss makes a thin cover over portions of the bog, but never thick enough to trust, and the bog is quite deep in places. The rangers told stories of very old bodies (2000+ years) that have been found in bogs around the world, either fully or partially preserved, because of the acidity of the water, the moderate temperatures and the lack of oxygen. Some say this is where the term “boogey man” comes from…derivation of “boggy man” or that perhaps parents of children living near bogs made up the concept of a boogey man living in the bogs to scare children from playing near them and risking falling in.

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We saw carnivorous plants! Here is the Pitcher Plant, which traps bugs by attracting them with bright colors and perhaps a bit of nectar. When the insect lands, the surface of the plant is slippery, and the soon-to-be dinner falls into the “pitcher” and is trapped in the liquid at the bottom. Some pitchers have downward-pointing “hairs” inside to ensure the insect can’t crawl back up and out.

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Sundew gets its meals by using a combination of sticky “flypaper” and extremely fast tentacles that actually grow in response to prey, trapping the insect in a gooey cage.

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The third insectivore at the bog is the bladderwort, which the Ranger was kind enough to dredge from the bog for us to take a look at:

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This one uses bulbs (bladders) which have trigger hairs on their hinged “doors”. When an insect touches these hairs, the bulb creates a vacuum by pumping out ions (the water then follows by osmosis) and the insect is sucked inside and digested.

What amazingly creative ideas God has!!

The sweetest part of the bog was the wild blueberries that were growing there. We enjoyed sampling after the Rangers suggested it.

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They were tiny, but oh-so-sweet!

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A quick drawing of some trees for the Junior Ranger program, and we were off to the historic farm. The Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is an unusual combination of locations to visit. The bog was a 30-minute drive through town from the visitor center. In addition to the NPS managing part of the area, the state and the county also have sections they manage. So there is more to navigate than in most NPS sites we’ve visited.

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Whew!! That was one whirlwind Junior Ranger program completion!

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Only a couple more hours to Peoria!

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After lots of views like this, and a tour through Chicago’s southside, thanks to a wonky GPS, we arrived in Metamora, IL to see Grandma, Aunt Beckie, Uncle Jim, and cousins!! We had a wonderful time there, catching up with family, celebrating my birthday with a date for Chad & I, shopping with Grandma & Aunt Beckie and escaping the heat in the pool.

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Ohio and Indiana

Before we left the Cincinnati area, we had the pleasure of meeting friends at a park for the day. Sweet Pea met a sweet new friend at the Answers in Genesis conference VBS and they hit it off right away.

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She and her family live a couple hours from Cincinnati and were so kind to drive in and spend the day with us at the park. The kids had a great time playing in the splash park, even though it was an unseasonably cool day, and we had a picnic lunch.

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Then our friends taught us about geocaching! Here’s what we learned: get the geocaching app on your iPhone (try the free one first until you’re sure it’ll stick), find a cache you are interested in, then navigate using your iPhone or GPS to find it! Caches are “treasures” hidden by other geocachers and logged onto the website for others to find. They can be various sizes of containers which are hidden in public areas (they just can’t be buried). Inside is a log for visitors to write their names and the date on and sometimes little gifts (trinkets and toys, stickers, etc.) that can be exchanged if the visitor brings and leaves an item in the cache. We went on a hike with our friends to find a couple of caches, then spent the rest of the day back at the park playground and pond. It was great to get to know this like-minded and fun family and we hope they’ll come see us in Colorado someday!

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The day after our visit, we headed north. First stop was Lexis-Nexis, near Dayton. Chad worked for Lexis-Nexis from Colorado for 8 years (his last “normal” job) and wanted to check in with some former colleagues and interview their innovation director. The kids and I had lovely time waiting in the RV in the parking lot right along the employee walking path. It was fun to watch people’s reactions to an RV parked there. Some totally ignored us, some turned around looking at it and talking about it, and some looked in the windows until they saw we were in there. Winking smile

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After our pit-stop at Lexis, we drove north for an overnight at Van Wert, Ohio, to see good family friends for dinner, then spent the night at the most pleasant Walmart we’ve visited. It was quiet, super clean, full of semi-trucks, and we had sweet little birds chirping around our camper through the evening (yes, I notice these things…).

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The next day, we made it to Indiana Amish country—Nappanee. Chad met some folks at the RV Safety conference he attended before we left Colorado who had some gorgeous custom furniture made by this Amish craftsman in Indiana. When we determined we might be traveling through the area, Chad quickly drew up well-thought-out plans for a desk/shoe shelf for Carlyle at Focal Wood Products, and voila, several weeks later, we arrived at his house to have it installed!

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I don’t have a specific “before” picture, but here’s the desk that was there. We left it with Carlyle.

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I’m sure he blessed someone dear with it.

 

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We spent the weekend in the area and had planned to visit Amish Acres, but when we asked Carlyle what he thought of it, he just shrugged and said “It’s commercialized.” He said the Amish don’t work there and it isn’t owned by Amish, and suggested that if we want an authentic Amish experience, to attend the Haystack Supper that night. He said “There will be other people like you there.” We thought that sounded just right, so we found the auction house out in the middle of the corn fields where it was held, parked the Mazda near the row of black carriages and horses, and joined in! We had the best time—delicious haystacks, sat across from the dearest older couple and chatted with them, watched the auction afterward—amazing assortment of products from garden hoses to a box of potatoes. It was a fundraiser for the Amish special education.

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The service line. I did ask ahead of time about taking pictures, and one of them told me as long as I didn’t ask anyone to pose for a picture, it would be okay. I’m not so sure the little boy on the right is okay with it though…didn’t notice him until just now. Maybe I should have asked him.

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Delicious haystack—rice, crushed tortilla chips, taco meat, lettuce, tomato, salsa, crushed Doritos, cheese, onions and olives optional.

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Uh oh, someone’s not wearing her bonnet!

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The guys checking out the generator-powered ice cream maker. It sure made delicious ice cream!

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Before we left town, the kids and I took a lovely drive through the hilly, green, corn-lined countryside roads to Goshen, where my cousin and aunt and uncle live, and we had a lovely little visit with them.

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We stayed at the Pla-mor Campground in nearby Bremen.

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Next, it was on to see Grandma!!

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The Creation Museum

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We spent two days at the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky, just outside of Cincinnati. We had heard so many wonderful things about it from friends who had visited and we weren’t disappointed. It was very well done, visually and mentally stimulating, and just fun. I’ll post a few pics, but the best way to experience it is to visit it yourself! Get there if you can—someday! It’s worth it.

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This was one of my favorite exhibits—The Garden of Eden (with a penguin Smile).

Another was this one, about the supposed link between humans and apes. While earning my biology degree at a very liberal college, I got plenty of education on Evolution. Lucy, as she is affectionately called, is considered by evolutionists to be part human, part ape. Pictures of her appear in science textbooks, showing her standing upright and looking a lot like what you would imagine a cross between humans and apes to look like! Hmm…must be because an artist imagined her that way.

This display shows how different the same underlying skeleton can look, depending on liberties taken with hair and skin color. The bones on top are what Lucy’s face was reconstructed from.

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Creation scientists have analyzed the incomplete skeleton claimed to be Lucy’s and shown that the bones are actually those of an extinct ape. The holographic projections show how well these bones fit into an ape who walks on all fours, very different from an up-right-walker’s skeleton.

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Also, it was interesting to note that the footprints evolution scientists have claimed are Lucy’s and show an upright walker, were actually found hundreds of miles away from the skeleton! Here’s a video that explains more.

Exhibit after exhibit debunks the supposed “facts” of Evolution and they all point back to an amazing, loving Creator who has a special purpose for each person He created.

These all came into being by total random, accidental chance??!

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My big takeaways from the Creation Museum and Answers in Genesis are:

1) A belief in Evolution takes away purpose in life. If we are all here by chance, then what’s the point? Where do morals come from? What’s wrong with a “survival of the fittest” mentality and why shouldn’t we “take out” those who are “weaker” to improve our race? (Heard any ideas like that in history ever?) Conversely, believing in a God who created each of us in His image for a particular purpose gives our own lives meaning as well as builds compassion for others.

2) A literal interpretation of the 6 Days of Creation and a young earth is the only one that makes sense. First of all, if we can’t rely on God to be trustworthy in the very beginning of His Word to us, how can we trust anything else the Bible says? Second, believing that God’s creation took millions of years (non-literal interpretation of Genesis, and the way I had for years resolved my belief in the Bible with my biology teaching on Evolution—similar to many other Christians) would allow for millions of years of death, illness, killing, and destruction, even before the fall. God created the perfect world and then called it good. How can we believe God is good if he called all this death “good”? And where does this fit in our need for a Savior?

Evolution is firmly established as a “fact” in so many parts of our society. All the museums (except this one!), zoos and National Parks we’ve visited assume a millions-of-years earth. School textbooks and some Christian leaders propagate this belief (and it IS a matter of faith, not fact). But some of these issues just take a little time, thought, and research to realize they just don’t make sense, they can be interpreted differently depending on one’s starting worldview, and they are built on hundreds of assumptions rather than facts.

The next big upcoming project of Answers in Genesis and the Creation Museum is a life-sized reconstruction of the Ark. When finished, it will provide a thrilling visit, complete with animals, and an opportunity to get a feel for the grand scope of this amazing structure.

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These are photos of the exhibits, and they were even more stunning and life-like in the museum.

We loved the life-sized animatronic Noah in his Ark Office, whom visitors can “ask” questions from a nearby touch screen, such as “How did you fit all the animals on the Ark?” (short answer—take young ones, and take only two of each “kind”…see below) or “Were there dinosaurs on the Ark?” (short answer YES!)

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This idea of created “kinds” is important both to how the animals fit on the Ark as well as general animal diversity issues. A good way to understand this is to think about dogs. God would have created the “dog kind” rather than Dobermans, Labradors, Poodles, etc. and this would have also included coyotes and foxes. Over time, this original dog “kind” would have adapted by natural selection to express various traits suited to their environment, resulting in the variety we see today, but this genetic information would have been already present in their DNA, not newly “made” by accidental genetic mutations like Evolution would argue. (And, most importantly, it would not have evolved into a totally different animal.) One way to think about “kinds” is to think of animals that can breed with each other. They would be in the same “kind” (roughly at the Family level of classification taxonomy). A perfect example of this is found in the petting zoo at the museum—the pen with a Zorse (horse and zebra) and a Zonkey (zebra and donkey).

Here’s more on this topic.

And a scholarly article on the topic.

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A couple more highlights from our time at the museum:

A class with Dr. David Menton on microorganisms in pond water,

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and a T-Rex Workshop with none other than Buddy Davis! He’s one of the museum’s main dinosaur sculptors (in addition to being a singer/songwriter, adventurer, speaker, biblical apologist, caver and all-around likeable guy) and he taught us how to sculpt a T-Rex out of clay.

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The finished product!

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He looks pretty friendly to me! Smile

One last highlight for Chad was an interview for The Everyday Innovator with Ken Ham and Mark Looy, the co-founders of the museum. Look for a post about the interview coming soon!

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