If I Can Do This, You Can

Raising Kids & Running a Household

Ephraim was evaluated today by Mrs. Morrison, a certified Kindergarten teacher, to see if he is ready to move to the 1st grade. She said Ephraim passed with flying colors and that if he were in her class, she would move him forward without hesitation.  Ephraim was so proud of himself today and he should be.  He worked hard all year and took his studies very seriously.

I feel relieved that I didn’t “mess him up” because I really have his best interest in mind.

What made it worthwhile, or I should say I saw the fruit of my labors when I found Ephraim reading a book to his little brother Jeremiah.  My heart just melted and beamed with pride :-D.  Ephraim was putting everything he learned to good use.


Whenever we’re driving somewhere and the kids see a fire truck, they go berserk!!  “Mommy! Mommy!  It’s a fire truck!” they always say.  Therefore, I thought it would be a great idea to take them to a fire station to see a truck up close.

A friend of mine, whose husband happens to be a fire fighter, told me that children are always welcome to take a tour at any fire station.  I went to the nearest fire station and set up a tour.  It was so easy and they seemed happy to do it.

Today, Engineer Steven Parks gave us a tour.  He’s been a fire fighter for twelve years.  Our appointment was at 10:00am but the catch was they were on duty.  As soon as we got there, a call came in and they had to leave.  We waited outside the fire station for about 15 minutes and then they came back.  Then they got another call (a house fire) and they had to leave again.  We went home to eat a snack then came back at about 11:30am.  That’s when we were able to take a 30-minute tour.

The kids got to see the fire truck up close.

They looked inside the truck at the water tank and different parts.

Then they were shown the medical supplies and other compartments.

The fun part was watching a fire fighter put on his gear in 60 seconds or less.

Then it was time to get in the truck.  Yeah!  This is what the kids were waiting for.  Ephraim was first of course :-).

Then it was Caleb’s turn, but he immediately started looking at the buttons trying to figure out how to turn the engine on.  I told Steve he’d better get him out of there quick.

And lastly, Jeremiah’s turn.  He was okay with the fire fighter holding him until they got inside the truck.  I guess he thought Steve was going to take him away :-D.

We had a fun time  We even got to meet the Fire Chief!  They also gave the kids some goodies; a fire hat, a fire safety workbook and a fireman tattoo.  I will definitely bring the kids back when they get older.  Hopefully they’ll ask more questions then.

Today we visited Clarcona Farm and Stables.  The kids had a blast, especially Ephraim!  As soon as I told Ephraim where we were going for today’s field trip, he could hardly contain his excitement!!!

FYI – Clarcona Farm is NOT open to the public.  You have to make an appointment to visit this farm.  The owner, Linda Wetzstein, scheduled us a tour with her two teenage daughters for $7.50 per child over the age of 2.  The tour lasted for a good two hours, with the option of staying longer to visit with the animals if we liked.

First stop: Meeting the horses!

…then feeding the horses hay.  My kids were not shy at all about feeding the horses.  I thought Caleb might be afraid to do this, but he wasn’t at all.

Second stop: Meeting the bunnies.  At this point, Jeremiah wanted to get out of his stroller to play with the bunnies, ducks and chickens.

This is a “no kill” farm, so the chickens do not get eaten…but they gave us some eggs.

The highlight of the tour was the pony rides!

Caleb’s turn

After meeting the donkeys and riding ponies, we ate some lunch on the picnic tables out in the pasture.  We didn’t have to worry about picking up food we dropped on the ground because the pigs, chickens and roosters were right there to eat it all up.

After lunch, the kids got to go for a tractor ride.  Linda sat on the tractor with each kid and let them drive.  I really wanted to get a picture but my digital camera ran out of memory (it accidentally got pushed to the wrong setting).  Oh well…

Clarcona Farm was a lot fun!  We definitely got our money’s worth and plan on returning soon.  I was told they have a summer camp for kids were they do lots of chores and learn to work on the farm.   I could tell that Linda really loves what she does.  What a great experience we had so close to home.

I’m so excited to tell you about this fossil excavation project my kids just finished!!  I got the idea from another blog and decided to give it a try.

I went to Wild Creations to purchase kits for my two boys.  Unfortunately they were all sold out so I went to Amazon.com.  I bought two Geoworld Ice Age Excavation Kit – Mammoth Skeletons for $13.99 each.

The kit comes with a hammer/knife tool and chisel.

When I showed my boys these kits, they got to work immediately.

I would advice any parent to do this project outside because it creates a lot of dust and mess.  My kids had blue dust all over their hands, faces, clothes and shoes.  If you or your children have allergies or asthma, this IS NOT the best project for you to do.  My mom came outside at one point to see what the boys were doing but the dust made her cough (asthma).  She had to go back inside.  The dust also irritated my husband who suffers from allergies.

The box clearly states that this product is for children ages 6 and older.  My boys are ages 4 & 5 and had no problem working on this project.  Actually, Caleb (my 4-year old) did some whining and complaining but I encouraged him to keep going.  Everytime he chipped off a big chuck of rock he got motivated to continue and work harder.

My kids finished digging out all of their bones at the same time.  It took them approximately 4 hours over a span of two days.  Most likely an older child would finish much faster.

We took the bones inside and cleaned them with water and a toothbrush.  We let the bones dry and then assembled them according to the diagram shown on the box.  This was the only step where they need help.

Caleb (my 4-year old) was so excited about his finished skeleton.

Ephraim (my 5-year old) said, “Thank you mom for getting this project for us!  I just love fossils!”

All in all, for $13.99 this kit was well worth it’s money.  While working on excavating the bones, my children learned the art of hammering, chiseling and using a knife.  It was fascinating to watch them learn and develop their own techniques for removing the bones.  Ephraim prefered using the hammer and chisel along with the toothbrush, while Caleb used all options depending on which he thought was best at the time.

I will definetly buy more kits when they come back in stock!

**We checked out the following library books and read them before we started this project: Fossils Tell of a Long Ago by Aliki and Fossils of the World by World Book**

**I reinforced everything they learned about excavating fossils by taking them to the Orlando Science Center today to look at the fossil collections.**