Sunday, July 31, 2011


The day we got home from Camp, Olivia started at Summerfield UMC's Vacation Bible School. The theme for this one was "Shake It Up" which is about God's "recipe" for salvation.

The idea is to present the Bible and a cookbook with recipes for our lives.
The "Secret Ingredients". They added a new ingredient each night and built the lessons around them.

Practicing hand motions and songs.

Gabe got to make an apron, just like Sissy.

Being silly.

Olivia paying close attention to the story. Each night the kids either put on costumes or used props or one of the youth from the church dressed as a particular Israelite would act out the bible story as it was read. For example, the first night an Israelite women kneaded bread as she told the story of preparing to leave Egypt. The kids then got to dress up as Israelites and escape. Another night the youth were behind a cloth acting out the Last Supper (sort of like a shadow play). It was very creative and hands on and helped the kids to remember the stories.

Rebecca volunteered for snack duty. Each night while the kids ate their snacks there was a kitchen based science experiment or two for them to watch. They were lots of fun for the kids. Some of them were repeats from experiments Olivia did in school last year and some were new.
She made these awesome oatmeal cookies with Cool Whip and cinnamon-sugar crosses. These were remembrance cookies. These (along with grape juice) were served on the night they talked about the last supper. The secret ingredient of that particular night was to Remember Jesus Often, as in "Do this in remembrance of me" Luke 22:19b. 

Gabe and Ezra had a fun time playing in the nursery. The boys spent the last two nights at VBS because Jeremy acted as a volunteer photographer for them. It was lots of fun.

Olivia showing me the sign language for "Holy Spirit"

Olivia and the "Rolling Pins". This was her crew. The crafts they made were super cute. As you can see, they made aprons and chef's hats. They also made milkshakes (colorful stuffed cloth with red "cherry" pompom and straw in a cup), placemats, and a photoframe (decorated in red checked paper with fork and spoon).

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Adirondack Adventures, Part 6 - Canoeing Lake Eaton and Blueberries

On our last full day at Camp, Rebecca suggested we take a canoe ride...around the whole lake. All 4+ miles of shoreline. In gale-force winds. And blazing hot sunshine. Actually, I readily agreed and we were on our way. We planned it so that we would stop 2 or 3 times as we went around the lake and swim for a little bit to cool off. While it was windy, that just helped offset the hot sunshine. The kids had fun riding in the middle of the canoe and seeing the different places around the lake. We found the spring running into the lake, looked at the inlets and the outlet, and stopped at several places to swim as we made out way around the lake.

Swim break halfway around the lake

The water was slightly chilly, but it did feel good to get in after all that paddling.

The water in Lake Eaton is so clear, you can see the bottom in nearly 20 feet of water.

Around in the inlet, there were bunches of beautiful water lilies. we learned the previous day that water lilies are like nature's clock: they slowly open throughout the moring, are fully open at noon and slowly close through the afternoon. We guessed (rightly!) that it was right around noon.

We stopped about 3/4 of the way around to pick wild blueberries. The kids grabbed about two large handfuls of them and promptly scarfed them down!

there were enough that it was fairly easy for the kids to find them on their own. Wild blueberries are considerably smaller than farm-grown and aren't nearly so plentiful on the bushes, so unless you time the season right, you can be hard-pressed to find many ripe berries.

On the home stretch. Wow, what a trip.

After a bath in the lake and a short rest, Rebecca showed Olivia where there were blueberries growing right next to Camp.

She spent about an hour out there picking and eating more berries. The amazing thing was that there were still lots of green berries on the bushes, so whoever is up there now should be finding quite a few themselves!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Adirondack Adventures, Part 5 - The Wild Center

When we were up a couple of years ago, Rebecca took Olivia to The Wild Center in Tupper Lake, about 20 miles away. She loved it so much we decided to all go this year. Wow, what a facility! They have miniature ecosystems built inside with the wildlife you would find in the rivers, lakes, ponds, swamps and forests of the Adirondacks, complete with the different types of fish, snakes, turtles and other animals.

Daddy forgot the keys to the car, so the kids entertained themselves while I ran back across the lake to get them. They played a fast-paced game of tag.

Rebecca says she got gifts from each child. Olivia broght a handful of buttercups. Gabe brought a handful of sticks. Ezra? a handful of rocks.

The otters were so cool. They loved to swim and play. If you go to the Wild Center's website, you can see videos of the otters.

Ezra just LOVED watching the fish in the tanks. He couldn't get enough. He started walking consistently the day before this.

Why didn't I bring my fishing pole?!?

It's kind of hard to see, but this 3ft Northern Pike decided he was hungry and snatched a Sunny, but it may have been a little too big. He kept swimming around with the Sunny's back half sticking out of his mouth. The funny part was that the Sunny's tail kept swishing around as if he were trying to back out. Imagine the Sunny's view...

There was also a really neat walking trail around the place that showcased the different plants and insects native to the area. There was also this really cool walking bridge through a manmade pond/marsh.

Sadly, I forgot to get a picture of what has to be the one of the coolest things there: the Solar Array. They have a building that has a roof-full of solar panels that produce about twice the power we use in our house! you can actually see live on their website how much energy the panels are producing. I would love to have the setup they have for our house! :)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Adirondack Adventures, Part 4 - Owl's Head Mountain

One of the great Camp traditions is a hike up Owl's Head Mountain. When we did it 2 years ago, Ezra wasn't around yet and Olivia wasn't strong enough to do the 6-mile-round-trip hike. So Rebecca carried a 9 or 10-month-old Gabe and I carried Olivia most of the way in a backpack. Uncle Rudy was with us on that hike, so he helped carry O some of the way. This year, it was just the 5 of us and I carried Gabe and Rebecca carried Ezra. Olivia was so strong and hiked the entire thing on her own!

Last time, we hiked directly from Camp, but this time, we cut off that first mile to mile and a half by taking the boat as far as we could.

Olivia even carried her own water!

Yeah, we look happy now...

Why does it seem like this trail gets steeper every time I climb it?

We knocked a fungus off a tree and left a trail memento for anyone who hiked by.

Snack time at the old ranger's cabin. The cabin is gone except for the footings, but it's a great place to rest before the last steep climb up the mountain.

At least someone's still happy...The kid talked the WHOLE way up and down the mountain. The only way I got him to be quite was getting him to pretend to sleep or whisper so he wouldn't wake the bears.

Back on the trail. The last mile of the hike is really quite difficult in places.

Olivia was like a billy goat on the rocks.

She would just scramble up them like they were the easiest thing in the world.

Top of the mountain!

Olivia scrambled right up the 40-foot fire tower to see the views. We wound up eating our picnic lunch up there.

Looking back the way we came. The trail actually goes over the saddle between those two mountains and down to Lake Eaton.

Blue Mountain

Some very pretty "bells." Mom thinks these might be a protected plant in the area.

Coming down the mountain.

Olivia struggled the last quarter mile or so. She was just exhausted, but she started running as soon as she glimpsed the lake.

Back at the bottom. Even Ezra's beat (he did take a short nap coming down from the top--what's his excuse? :) ).

I may look happy, but it's only relief that I soon get to remove the growth attached to my back. Notice Olivia in the background making a beeline for the boat.

The agony of the feet.

The aftermath. I should point out that this wasn't long after the previous picture. We managed the boat ride back to camp and then washed up in the lake before she conked out.

In this picture, the saddle we climb over to get to Owl's Head is the highest valley on the left. You can actually see the peak of Owl's Head peeking over the saddle. This view is from the boat launch in the campground across from camp.