Trip to Pennsylvania - Part I

Max’s civics club worked very hard this last year to raise enough funds to go on a trip to Pennsylvania. They did: bake sales, a car wash (did I mention it was 36 degrees the morning we started washing cars?), calendar sales, bulb sales, and more. Enough funds were raised to pay for seven students and two chaperones. Several other parents and two siblings (Colette included) went along on the trip as well. Technohubby had originally planned to go, but he used quite a bit of his vacation time with his hospital stay and recovery earlier this year, so opted not to spend most of the rest of it on the civics club's trip.

For our lodgings, the group rented a large home in the Pennsylvania countryside, right in the heart of Amish country. The house had three levels, five bedrooms, two baths, two kitchens, and was beautifully situated on 45 acres of land. The expansive lawn in front was so beautiful, and we all enjoyed watching these geese parents and their brood of goslings meander all over it every day. This is just some of the front lawn, looking towards the house. The boys discovered that there was an otter living in the pond too!

We traveled down to Pennsylvania on Monday. On Tuesday, we drove into Philadelphia for a full-day of touring the historic sites. The first stop of the day was the National Constitution Center.

Here is our group waiting to go into the National Constitution Center, with Independence Hall in the background.

The boys with their wristbands for admission.

Two quotes in the lobby poignantly display two opposing viewpoints on the Constitution.

Our visit there began with a multi-media presentation that was a quick lesson in American history with an emphasis on the Constitution. The major part of the museum has excellent displays depicting various aspects of the Constitution (no photography allowed). Then as you exit that part of the museum, you enter a room full of life-size statues of the men who were the delegates to the Constituional Convention.

Above the lobby is a display of all the state flags.

Then it was time to move on for our tour of Indpendence Hall, my favorite place in Philadelphia!

The Assembly Room in Independence Hall. Oh, if these walls could talk! In this room, the wording of both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were debated and finalized. We held a special fondness for the table at the top left of the room, because that’s where the delegates from New Hampshire sat.
I love the beautiful, simple furnishings in this room. It makes me think of the small tables where Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott wrote their famous novels, in the sense that it reminds me that great thinking happens best when ensconced in simplicity.

The lovely room we exited through to the outside. All the paint colors in Independence Hall are exact reproductions of the origianl colors.

The group then walked a few blocks on the cobblestone streets of historic Philadelphia…

…and arrived at Benjamin Franklin’s print shop, post office, and the site of his home. The post office is still a functioning U.S. post office, although it deals only in stamps and letters. It is also the only U.S. post office that does not fly the American flag, because its existence pre-dates the founding of the United States.

Between the post office and the print shop (the print shop not being in its original location) is a brick tunnel. Benjamin Franklin’s home was originally situated through this tunnel.

The print shop was a re-creation of print shops of the era.

I love the tools of historic print shops!…ink and letters and words and paper and smudgy aprons!

One of the best things about this print shop was that hanging everywhere were Benjamin Franklin’s words!

Then it was a short walk back to the main historic area to view the Liberty Bell.

We returned to the house for burgers and hot dogs for dinner. The guys did the grilling!

The students loved the volleyball court, where many, many games of volleyball took place during our stay.

Once it was dark, it was time for s’mores…every night! In addition to preparing all the dinners ahead of time (even hamburger patties were seasoned and formed and frozen ahead), our family also provided the group with homemade marshmallows for s’mores. We made plain marshmallows and coconut ones. And let me just say that a coconut marshmallow…well…it takes a s’more to a whole new level!

Trip – Part II coming soon.

Coming Home

Coming home from a trip is always sweet. But when you come home to find the peonies are in bloom, it’s all the sweeter! This flower is a full 8″ across. Be still my heart!

I will blog about the trip soon. I’m working my way through nearly 500 pictures to find the best.

Signing Off

I’m signing off for about a week. Colette, Max, and I are headed off on his civics club's trip. The plans involve: educational sightseeing, staying together in a large rented house, tasty food, s’mores with our homemade marshmallows (plain and coconut), and a little rain (so the forecast says). On the way home? The three of us are stopping in New York City! A full report will follow!

A Visit

A luna moth spent the day on our deck! We were thrilled! We haven’t had one come for a visit for two years.

It was a good day for hanging out on the deck!

Fresh and Clean

This week, we've continued to make progress on the spring cleaning.  Kids rooms?  Done!  Master bedroom?  Half done.  Living Room?  Nearly done.  As you can tell, this year we've been working here and there, as time allows vs. powering through one area at a time.

One of my favorite parts of spring cleaning is washing every single shred of bedding on every bed, vacuuming the mattresses, removing the mattresses, and vacuuming under the beds.  We took advantage of the few moments of sunny weather this week to hang some of the linens over the deck railing...just soaking in that fresh, spring air!

And the best part of the day?  The sweet sleep that comes at the end of a day of hard work...and in a thoroughly cleaned bed!

Garden Dream Come True

For years and years and years, I have wanted to plant foxgloves. And this year, I finally made that dream come true. Why on earth did I wait so long? They are just stunning! And they’re especially beautiful when raindrops are resting on them.

I’m so smitten with them that I think I shall have to add one or two every year for a few years, until I have a lovely patch of them! And maybe I’ll make another dream come true by mixing in a few delphinium.

Foxgloves need some sort of companion, I’m sure. And since Jemima Puddleduck doesn’t live in New England, it will have to be delphiniums!

Working Ahead

Today it was raining. Gardening being out of the question, I decided to focus on Christmas stockings! I plan to stock a lot more stockings in the shop for this Christmas, so I have to get started early.  I decided it was time to cut out all the stockings I could and evaluate what I still need to finish each type. This is SO fun!

On a different (but related) topic, I’ve discovered that I can cut out small projects by flopping my cutting board out on the kitchen island. Saved myself an entire day of crawling around on the floor and cutting. My knees are thanking me tonight.

Sabbath Rest

The sky, about 5:00 this evening.
From today’s sermon:

“The greatest hindrance to the Christian life is not lack of effort,
but lack of aquaintance with its priveledges.”

-John Owen (Puritan)

So Many Shades

The backyard is so many, delicious shades of green right now…especially after a rain. Utterly lovely!

A New Old Book

Last weekend, I explored a used book store that was yet undiscovered (by me, at least). Great selection! This little gem came home with me.

It’s a book full of parlor games! We love to discover new parlor games. I love them because they allow people of all ages to play together and enjoy one another’s company. And they usually require you to do some thinking.

This one has no publication date. However, the inscription inside the front cover reads, “Hattie from Papa - April 28, ’98.”

A Retro Apron

I’ve had this fun, retro fabric in my stash for a few years now. Sometimes I just need to think about a fabric for a time before I figure out just the right thing to do with it. For this fabric, the right thing was a 1950′s apron pattern to complement the vintage style and colors of the fabric. It’s in the shop today... just in time for the coming summer.

Cookies for a Trip

We’ve made and packaged and sold about seventy of these chocolate chip cookies over a couple of Saturdays. Max’s civics club has been holding bake sale fundraisers (and a car wash, and calendar sales, and bulb sales…) as part of an effort to raise enough funds to go on a BIG field trip! Today was the last fundraiser! Philadelphia, Gettysburg, and Amish Country, here we come! We leave in a couple of weeks!


I adore ranunculus! What a joy to find them in every color at Trader Joe’s today! It was impossible to limit myself to just one color, so I chose two bunches…one filled with reds and hot pinks, and another filled with yellows and peaches. SO lovely!

We’re having guests for lunch tomorrow, so I’m glad they were waiting for me today!

Saying Goodbye to Purple

It’s taken almost two years, but Colette’s finally ready to repaint her bedroom. Prior to Felicity getting married, the girls shared the attic. They had roughly divided the room in half, and Felicity had painted her half purple (“a nice purple, not a sappy purple”). And now Colette is ready to paint over the purple and paint her half of the room for the first time. It will be going from “Not Sappy Purple” to “Cabbage”.
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