Day 1 - Saturday, May 24 - Make Honey Butter Ambrosia and Blueberry Muffins; and Clean Out the Hobby Shed as a Family.
I had originally planned to go to the St. Paul Farmers Market in the morning with Sophia and Olivia; and to St. Croix State Park in the afternoon as a family with the dogs. However, we decided that we had enough food on hand and didn't need to go to the market. We would use up what we had before getting more food.
Homemade honey butter ambrosia on blueberry muffins.
For breakfast, we made Honey Butter Ambrosia which turned out amazingly delicious. We used it as a topping for homemade blueberry muffins.
Throughout the day we focused on cleaning the hobby shed. It had become a holding spot for holiday items, items that were broken and needed to be tossed but were too big/not appropriate for the garbage can (e.g., microwave, scanner), and items that we no longer needed (e.g., outgrown clothes, VHS tapes, books).
Over the past four years or so the shed had become neglected. More pressing issues (e.g., caregiving for my father who died in January 2012, caregiving for my mother, homeschooling, parenting) took higher priority.
Before and after pictures of the hobby shed.
We made significant progress on the shed. In fact, the entire first floor is done - all the trash, recycling, and donations are either taken our or ready to be taken out this week.
Before and after pictures of another area of the shed.
It is such a great feeling to have so much open space - on the floors, in the cabinets, and on the shelves! Even better was working together as a family and getting done a huge job in a shorter period of time.
Day 2 - Sunday, May 25 - Immigrant for a Day at Gammelgarden Museum.
Sophia, Olivia, and I went to Gammelgarden for the "Immigrant for a Day" event. Each year the museum has a free day filled with activities for children and adults. This year the focus was blacksmithing and ice harvesting.
Making holes in metal.
We watched the blacksmith work on creating a plant holder, saw some of the items they would have constructed back during the early immigration years (e.g., square nails), and looked at a display about blacksmithing.
Heating the metal.
It was interesting seeing the variety of tools that he used.
Using a hammer to create a shape in the hot metal.
Sophia and Olivia seemed to enjoy watching the blacksmith work. The only other time we have seen a blacksmith is at Fort Snelling and the girls were very young at that time. I'm not even sure he was doing any work at the time - it may have been just a costumed guide explaining what a blacksmith would have done at Fort Snelling.
Diorama about ice harvesting.
We went to the second floor of Gammelgarden and looked at the exhibit about metal work and ice harvesting.
Then we went back outside so the girls could do some of the activities there - like hauling two pails of water on one's shoulder using a wooden board and pulling a block of ice on a sled.
Sophia seeing what it is like to hold and carry two pails of water.
These were new activities this year so it fun to try our hand at some things that the immigrants would have had to do - like hauling water and ice blocks.
Olivia pulling a sled with a block of ice on it.
The water in the pails wass surprisingly heavy and awkward. Whoever was carrying the water must have been very careful not to create too much movement otherwise the water comes out of the buckets.
We also watched a demonstration about how an ice block lifting tool was used as well as an ice harvesting saw.
Reece, the intern, demonstrating how to use the ice block lifter.
Although my mom and dad didn't harvest their own ice, they did have blocks of ice delivered to their homes to keep the freezers cold.
Reece showing how to use an ice saw.
My mom remembers the ice delivery cart being pulled by a horse down the alley at her home in Minneapolis.
Despite being 150 year old, the saw worked beautifully.
I think everyone - including Reece - was pleasantly surprised.
This would have been in the 1930s - when she was under ten years old. I'm not sure how long her family waited until they could afford an electric refrigerator and freezer. I'll have to ask her some day how old she was when they no longer had ice block deliveries.
Day 3 - Monday, May 26 - Memorial Day - Make orange floats and put flowers and plants in planters.
Originally I thought we'd make a silverware holder for a Memorial Day picnic. However, when the girls and I discussed it we thought, "Do we need to have one more thing around our home that we only use once a year?" We decided that we didn't.
So, instead we thought of other things we could do for "Make Something Monday."
I made an orange float using the orange cream pop and vanilla bean ice cream. It was delicious! The girls preferred to have their ice cream plain...in a bowl.
Orange ice cream float.
In the afternoon, Sophia, Olivia, and I planted Gerber daisies and spider plants into two yellow pots for the former flowers and two hanging plants for the latter plants.
Aspen and Cooper watching as the girls planted Gerber daisies.
Gerber daisies and spider plants are both supposed to help improve indoor air quality. We'll see if we notice a difference.
The two Gerber daisies planted and enjoying the sun.
I also re-potted my African violets. Two of the plants are blooming and doing well. The other three plants have stayed about the same and not bloomed since January 2012.
All the African violets in new pots.
Not sure why they don't bloom. I wish they would because the blooms are all different colors. Maybe they will now that they are in new containers.
Day 4 - Tuesday, May 27 - Go to agility training with Cooper and Aspen.
It rained all of Monday night and most of Tuesday which changed our original plan of going on a field trip to Big Marine Lake Park to hike and have a picnic. So, we simply went to dog agility which was fine. It's still falls under the "Take a Trip Tuesday" theme.
Olivia and Aspen.
This is the third time that Aspen has accompanied Cooper to agility training. The first time she was so nervous that she sat in her kennel cab and didn't want to come out. The second week, she was bolder and got to meet some of the "big dogs." This week, she wanted to be out there with them doing agility.
Sophia with Cooper waiting for their turn.
The class focused on going through tunnels, going through weave posts, and doing a series of jumps in different configurations.
Aspen intent on watching the older dogs do agility.
Cooper did very well on all the equipment.
Cooper going through the weave poles.
Day 5 - Wednesday, May 28 - Read "Your Hometown Clean Water Tour" and hang oriole feeders and nesting bag in trees.
Wednesday's focus is on water. Originally we were going to go to Lake Alice at William O'Brien State Park, however we needed to have a morning at home to focus on homeschooling. So, instead I found a colorful brochure about helping protect water quality in my files.
The booklet is produced by the USDA and the Natural Resources Conservation Service which offers them as a free resource. The girls did the pre-test to see how much they already knew about water and water preservation. Sophia got 8/10 and Olivia got 7/10 correct. After Sophia read the booklet, they could easily answer all the questions correctly.
We also hung three oriole feeders in the crab apple and apple trees.
Olivia hanging up an oriole feeder in the apple tree.
Olivia's made the feeders last year from two colors of wire. Sophia cut and put the orange halves into the feeders. Both girls hung a feeder in the trees.
Sophia hanging up an oriole feeder in the crab apple tree.
Olivia also worked on a bag that she filled with sheep wool (carded and yarn pieces) and some of Cooper's fur.
Olivia making the wool a bit fluffier.
We put those items in an empty onion bag and hung it to the crab apple tree near the hummingbird feeder.
Olivia hanging up the nesting bag in the crab apple tree.
We did this because there was a goldfinch who was trying to get pieces of the rope that hung the feeder to the tree. We thought we'd give her some more natural items to work with for her nest.
Day 6 - Thursday, May 29 - Take photos for 4-H photography project and observe bees; and start making the weather observation station.
On Thoughtful Thursday, Sophia spent some time on the mudroom roof and took pictures of the crabapple tree in blossom. She enjoyed watching the variety of bees that were visiting the blossoms and capturing them on film.
Sophia taking pictures of blossoms and bees.
Olivia began assembling her weather observation station. There are different components that need to fit together. Once together, they will be placed on top of a two-liter bottle.
Olivia working on assembling her weather observation station.
This will be one of Olivia's 4-H projects - to create the weather observation station and then keep a weather log for one month to see how the weather changes during that time period.
Day 7 - Friday, May 30 - Make ice cream floats and serve them to seniors at the nursing home.
On Fridays during the summer we are going to do projects that we see on Pinterest that we want to try. One of the things that we wanted to do was try a variety of ice cream floats for a 4-H project. Each year the county 4-H program chooses a theme and youth can do any projects related to the theme.
This year's theme is "Candyland." On the Candyland board there is an ice cream float area, so we thought it would be fun to find a variety of recipes for floats and make some.
When the volunteer director at the nursing home called to ask if we would help her at the root beer social today, we were happy to help.
Ice cream float made with cherry 7-Up and vanilla ice cream.
We changed the root beer social to an ice cream float social with root beer floats, orange creamsicle floats, cherry 7-Up floats a.k.a. Cupid floats, and grape floats. The latter three floats were all recipes that we found on Pinterest.
Sophia and Olivia ready to serve floats to
the seniors at the nursing home.
We brought small bottles of orange, cherry 7-Up, and grape pop since we weren't sure if any of the seniors would want the non-root beer floats. We were pleasantly surprised - as I think they were - that there were so many flavors of ice cream floats to choose from.
It was a fun afternoon - making the floats, listening to viola music, and talking with the seniors.