Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Leu Gardens and a Busy Birthday for Melody

Dear friends,

My littlest daughter Melody turned six years old today.  It's hard to believe that my youngest is that old, especially since I had babies just about every other year for 18 years. 

Usually, I buy several smaller gifts for them at the dollar store or on clearance, and let them pick out a larger gift.  Then they also have birthday money from relatives to spend later.  

We were on our way to Leu Gardens yesterday (free admission the first Monday of each month) and stopped at Walgreens for snacks.  She's been wanting binoculars for a while and saw this pair for $10, which her brother Micah said were of good quality for the price.  So we bought them just in time to use at Leu Gardens.  Here she is, hot and sweaty, waiting for our tour of the historic Leu House.

After I took the one of her, she took this one of me.  
I wish I could show you all the pictures I took at the gardens, instead of just several.  Maybe later.  Or I will just let Micah upload his, which he took with the good digital camera, onto his own nature blog. All of these were taken with an iPod camera.

We especially love the rose garden. 

The one advantage of my iPod camera is that it is really fast.  If a butterfly was anywhere in the vicinity, I could just aim in the general direction and start clicking as fast as I could, hoping to catch something.  And I did!  A pair flying by, and another landing in a planter.

We always visit this dude near the butterfly garden.  He's not going anywhere since he's a sculpture.  I love to pay attention to details, in this case, his overalls.  You can get a new perspective by looking closer, or from a different angle...

Another example?  Same plant, farther away and closer in.

This plant, from one side of the leaves and then the other. Brighter purple!  And I didn't notice until I edited the picture later that my son was crouching down right behind the plant!

It was so hot outside we were glad to escape to the air conditioning of the historic Leu House.  I love antiques -- so cozy and quaint.

Although I'm not sure I'd want a basket made out of an armadillo...

When we left the gardens, we ate our picnic lunch.  I suggested eating on the grass, but again, we were so hot that the air conditioning of the van was just too tempting.  I was so tired when we got home, but still had some errands to run at night, like going grocery stopping.  In the same shopping plaza, I stopped at the Brightlight used bookstore to sell books we didn't need anymore, and found a Winnie the Pooh bedtime story book to buy on my store credit for Melody. 

As if yesterday wasn't busy enough, today was even busier.  First, a birthday breakfast of chocolate chip pancakes, waffles and sausage (all bought in the frozen aisle at Aldi last night).  Then we had home school evaluations for all five of the younger kids for the rest of the morning.  My friend Cheryl and her husband Mike, a certified teacher, do these at their house.  Then, off to pick up an order of my Learner's Journal lesson planners at the printer, so I can get them shipped out to customers tomorrow.  Then a quick birthday lunch before going to a planning meeting for the Providence Home Educators co-op which starts its seventh year in just two weeks.  I stopped briefly on the way home at a fancy consignment store to look for a mother of the bride dress to wear to Julia's wedding in October, then took a quick peek (OK, more like 15 minutes) into the antique store next to that.  I love to see pretty things, even if I can't afford them!  :-)  (Besides the fact that we were already fortunate enough to inherit enough antique furniture and linens to keep me happy for a lifetime.)

It's a good thing that Melody chose something simple -- chicken nuggets and mac & cheese for her birthday dinner, because I didn't have much time in the evening.   Naomi had already made the brownies for our volcano cake.  That's basically a mound of cut up brownies covered with cherry pie filling (for lava), whipped cream (for smoke, but this time the whipped cream was too runny), and chocolate chips (for debris).  I invented volcano cake one year when we were learning about Mt. Vesuvius in our unit study on Ancient Rome.  Anything to be educational...  It is yummy.

If you want to see more about volcano cake, read my older post here: Volcano Cake Plus Home Management.   At left, you can see a more volcano looking version of it from that post.  Note to self: Don't nuke the whipped cream too long in the microwave!

Singing happy birthday and blowing out candles, of course.  My iPod camera doesn't do light sources well, so the six little candles really do look like a volcano spewing flames!

Naomi serves it...

My grandson Jacob plays with paper plates while sitting on the dining room table.  He makes us all laugh!

 Jacob's got a new brother or sister coming early next year!

Will he or she look like baby Melody did six years ago?


Happy birthday, Mel'y!  We love you!

You can see my blog post from Melody's 3rd birthday here: 

Melody, My Bud of Joy.

Virginia Knowles

fofVisit Ann Kroeker's 
Food on Fridays and link your own food post!


  1. Dear Virginia:

    I love the way you live your life "on screen". It takes some kind of smachz. When I wrote my book, and now the weekly blog, it takes all the courage I have to insert a personal story to exemplify my point.

    Your courage and naturalness is beautiful. Keep growing and moving forward. You did have a happy birthday, it is clear.


Related Posts with Thumbnails