Downtown Fayetteville

Posted by Carmen Ledford on Thursday Feb 26, 2015 Under Claire, Good Eats/Not So Good Eats, Homeschool, Kid's Corner, Travel

Lafayette Statue We have not officially done Cumberland County yet but we have been spending some time downtown working on Claire’s history project.  First, let me say if you have not been to the Cape Fear Regional Theater- check them out. We have been to several play there and we are NEVER disappointed.  I have really been surprised with downtown  and growing to really like it. They have some great restaurants, interesting history and  it is relatively clean. Claire is still not over the condition of the Lafayette statue. Take another look at photo above.  The first place we ate at was across the bridge from downtown at Riverside Grill which is attached to a bait shop. Claire got a hot dog and chili fries. I got a cheeseburger. The food was quick and good and we were pleased.

Circa 1800The next time we were in the area we ate at Circa 1800. It was opposite end of the spectrum from the grill.  Claire and I split a salad and crab cakes. We also got bruschetta. It was all delicious. The service and atmosphere were great. We really loved this place and would go back for sure. The last place we have tried is The Sweet Palette. We took home mini cheesecakes, cake pops, and cupcakes. They were all delicious.

Brushetta

 

Caesar Salad Crabcake

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Roberts-Vaughan House Yesterday, we made quick trip to Hertford County. We are working on Claire’s project on Lafayette and decided to explore the county at the same time. I was quite surprised what the county had to offer.We first stopped in Murfressboro. They have so much history and many preserved buildings. We first stopped at the Roberts-Vaughan House (1790-pictured above). We got a tour of this house and learned a little about the town history. We next went to the Agriculture/Transportation Museum. It is small but fascinating.  We  got to see a replica of a flying machine that was built 30 years before the Wright Brothers flight. We also saw the corn husker that gave Gatling the idea for rapid fire gun. We saw a few other houses and buildings from the outside then went for lunch.

Flying Machine

 

We had lunch at Tavern 125. Cobey had a burger (pictured below), Claire had clam chowder and I had philly steak.  The kids had key lime pie(pictured below)  for dessert. The food was very good and reasonably priced.

Tavern 125

Tavern 125

 

We then went to the Parker’s Ferry. It is one of the last cable ferries in NC. It can only carry two cars at a time. The kids actually thought it was fun!

Parker's Ferry

 

Chowan CollegeWe then drove thru Winton which was not very impressive. They had one museum that was not open and a few old buildings but many were in disrepair.  We stayed a few minutes then after some searching headed to Chowan College for our walk in the county. It was the best we could find. The ponds on campus were nice and we walked around for a bit then headed home.  It will not make the top of our counties but it will not be at the bottom either. We will be back for sure either for a field trip I set up or one of their second Saturdays that they start in April. Lafayette visited here and you should too.

 

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Tips for New Homeschool Moms

Posted by Carmen Ledford on Sunday Feb 1, 2015 Under Carmen's Favorite Things, Homeschool

This was a post from my facebook page.

Tips for New Homeschool Moms
1- DO NOT try what I call school at home. This is when people  try to duplicate what school does at home with desk and textbooks and stuff. They are not in school for a reason STOP!
2- Your two year old DOES not need curriculum. For that matter, your 3,4,5,6 year old does not need it. READ, PLAY GAMES REPEAT
3- If you pull your kid out of public school, DON’T start book work right away. They need time to decompress and adjust. When you do start, start with a few subjects and then add.
4- You do not have to “have school” 180 days. The whole attendance think is laughable to me. Homeschooling is a lifestyle not a school day so I count everyday as “school”.
5- School should not take all day. If your early elementary students are going past lunch then that is too long unless you don’t get up to lunch which sometimes happens in our house.
6- DON’t prepare your kids for testing that is what is wrong with the system. Test them glean, what you can, and move on.
8- The beauty of homeschooling is the relationship. Don’t miss it by putting them in front of a computer all day or worrying about getting them in to Harvard. You will miss the best parts.
9- Speaking of Harvard, don’t worry about getting them into college at all. They will get into college and not because you worried about it. Instead focus on finding out what your kids are passionate about and fan the flame. Tailor what you do around what they love.
10- Don’t try to prove to the world you did the right thing by trying to prove they are smart. Don’t try to push them in to classes they are not ready for. Don’t have them study for the hours for  the spelling bee, Geo Bee, History Bowl, etc if they hate it. Let them spend the time exploring THEIR interest. If you stop trying to prove yourself, then people will see this homeschooling thing is working.
Bonus- Stop asking dumb questions. FIRST, do a little research like all of us veterans did, then if you have a question ask it. You are driving us crazy. My guess is the people who I am talking to have not read this far. They are off posting another question on Facebook

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Hoke was our 13th county and the first county visit that it rained the entire time.  I am glad our main activity was indoors.  We decided we would fly a mile instead of walk a mile.

We started our visit at The Mill at Puppy Creek for lunch. The food was a mix of Italian and bar food.   My side salad was not so good but the lasagna was good. The bar food was good also. The service was good but took awhile to get our checks. We really liked the atmosphere – big windows overlooking the old mill and river.

Old Mill at Puppy Creek

After lunch, we were unsuccessful in finding another place to have dessert or something interesting to see so  we headed for the main attraction in Hoke- Paraclete XP, Indoor Skydiving. It was a homeschool field trip and we had 15 flyers – age 8 to adults. The staff was awesome. We first went to a classroom where they  explained everything and taught hand signals. We then went and got all our gear and suited up. Once we went in the tunnel, I did get a little nervous. We each got 2 one minute flights.  It was fun and everyone had a BLAST!!   The staff is so patient and professional. We could not have had a better first flight. Claire is begging to go back.

Claire Skydiving

 

Cobey Skydiving

Me

The kids were not impressed with the courthouse. They thought it was to tall for the width but at least it was not one from the 80s,

Hoke County Courthouse

Overall, this kids put it last on the list. They absolutely LOVED skydiving but overall not much in Hoke County.

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Northhampton County, NC

Posted by Carmen Ledford on Wednesday Jan 21, 2015 Under 100 County Challenge, Claire, Cobey, Homeschool, Kid's Corner, Travel

We needed to go to Jackson, NC for a project Claire was working on so we decided to make Northampton county number 11. We started our visit at the Northampton History Museum. It is a small one room museum but it has some interesting exhibits and the person working there was very helpful and informative. We then went to the Chamber to see one of the costumes from The Lost Colony. The costume designer is from the county. We then headed to lunch at Embassy Cafe.  I had the great BLT! Cobey said his barbecue sandwich was one of the best and Claire enjoyed her tuna salad. Bring cash!

BLT

 

After we ate lunch, we went to the Northampton County Courthouse, built in 1858. The courthouse is still in use and we were able to take a peek inside the courtroom.  This was the spot where Lafayette was welcomed officially to the state. We then did a self-guided walking tour of the town. They have some interesting buildings and worth a quick walk.

Northampton County Courthouse

 

 

We then headed for the Trapper’s Cottage, also known as earth house. You need to be sure to visit. Claire and  I were fascinated by this place.

Tapper's Cottage ??????????????????????????

 

We then stopped at the Battle of Boon’s Mill and the marker for Sir Archie. If you stop at the Sir Archie marker, you can still see the Moxie Plantation down a very long driveway. We were wishing we could go tour the place.

Claire at Sir Archie

Cobey at Battle of  Boon's Mill Northampton County is not a flashy county but we were surprised at the rich history so for its population it was nice.  It was not one of our favorite counties but because of the history and nice people we were sad about that fact.

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Five Days in DC

Posted by Carmen Ledford on Sunday Jan 11, 2015 Under Claire, Cobey, Good Eats/Not So Good Eats, Homeschool, Kid's Corner, Politics, Travel

Arriving DC at Union Station We had the most fabulous time in DC.  I have decided it was a great week because even though it was bitter cold and it snowed, the museums were empty.  Also, the hotels were a lot cheaper.

Triple Chocolate Bread PuddingWe stayed in a Hilton Garden Inn on First Street. It was a newer hotel and the staff was some of the best we have experienced. We ate several times at the restaurant for breakfast, dinner and snacks. The service was good and the food was very good. We loved the triple chocolate bread pudding.  There is a Harris Teeter attached so you can easily pick up anything you may have forgotten or some snacks.  I highly recommend the hotel.

We used Uber for the first time and we also loved that. It was easy and cheap and kept us from freezing. Most of the time it was cheaper for the three of us to take Uber than to take the metro. They were fast, friendly and professional.

The only disadvantage that I found for that time of year was worrying about travel to get there. We solved that by taking the train. The train worked out well for us. We didn’t have any long delays. We ended up getting to sit together. We ended up saving money when you factor in gas and parking in DC.  I would do it again..

Day One  

National World War II Memorial When we arrived, we were picked up at Union Station by Brian with Bi-Partisan Tours for a private night time tour of DC. If you can only do one thing in DC, do a tour with them. It was fabulous. We saw all the monuments, the White House, US Capitol, Ford’s Theater and more.  We got great information that was interesting and fun.  It was the best overview in the shortest amount of time.

 

 

 

 

 

Day Two

 

Swearing In of Thom Tillis

The Crowd

 

Cobey and Senator Thom Tillis

We spent the day watching and celebrating the swearing in of our newest Senator Thom Tillis. It was a wonderful ending of two years of hard work. We started out with a tour of the US Capitol which was interesting and the rotunda is just beautiful.  After watching the swearing in, we then had time before the evening party. We dropped in the Botanical Gardens with our friends the Mixons. The gardens were just beautiful and worth a stop in, We loved the statues of all the monuments.

Cobey at Botanical Gardens

 

Day Three 

We started the day at the National Archives with a tour and possibly future appearances on 60 minutes. (They were filming a show) We really didn’t have a long time there but it was interesting and Claire enjoyed the Kid’s room. We had lunch at the cafeteria which was good not great.

National Cathedral Creche Exhibit

10891533_10204606208129852_1856787978464719168_nThe magic of the day started when Claire and I went to the National Cathedral for Tea and a Tour. We arrived a little early for our tour so we were able to visit the Creche Exhibit.  Since I collect them, it was probably my favorite exhibit in DC.  It is an annual exhibit and so worth the visit if you are there at the right time. They are from around the world and all very unique. Afterward, we had the best tour of the cathedral. It is so beautiful and has so much history. Our tour guide was awesome..  We ended our visit with a very special tea in the tower. It is not overly pricey and so worth it.

 

 

Hudson and the BoysWhile the girls where having tour and tea, Cobey was with friends having another tour of the Capitol. He said the tour was fabulous. It was set up by one of our favorite people, US Congressman Richard Hudson.  They also got to sit in the gallery and meet with Hudson.  That night he told me he wished Hudson was our representative.

We all met up and had dinner at the Matchbox which was really good and a great ending to the day.

Day Four 

Rail Car in Holocaust MuseumWith two days left, I let each child have a day to decide what they wanted to do. Claire got to pick this day and she started us out at the Holocaust Museum. She has read a lot of books on the time period and had been wanting to go. She liked the section geared toward kids – Daniel’s Story but she was disappointed in the rest. She thought the one in Richmond was better.  We had lunch at the museum cafe which we really enjoyed. They had several Jewish dishes that were different and good.

After lunch, we went to the Museum of History.  We  could have spent a lot more time there. They enjoyed the food and transportation exhibit but Claire’s favorite was the First Ladies’ Inaugural Gowns. She absolutely loved this collection and wants to go back. We then rushed over to the National Postal Museum. Brian on the first night had told Claire about Owney, the postal dog and she really wanted to go.  It is a smaller museum but one of our favorites. I highly recommend trying to fit it in your visit.

We had dinner across the street at Kelly’s Irish Times. The food was good but the service was terrible. I got the feeling we were not welcome at all. I am not sure whether it was because we were not local or because I had the kids.

Claire and Owney

 

Day Five

Berlin Wall

National Building MusemThis was Cobey’s day and he made some great choices. We started out  at the Newseum  This was my first time at this museum and I loved it!! It had great interactive and interesting exhibits.It is like seeing history thru the lens of news reports.  This museum needs to be on your list. We stopped in at the National Building Museum. You should at least go in and take a look at this magnificent building. It is one of the most beautiful in DC. You can walk around for free but there is a cost to go into the exhibits. I would say skip the exhibits and enjoy the beautiful building and great gift shop.

Our last stop and Cobey’s favorite of the day was the International Spy Museum. It is a very interesting and fun museum. You start by getting a spy identity which the kids really got into. It was neat seeing history through the perspective of spying. The museums ends with a James Bond exhibit. We left the next morning to come back home. We could have easily stayed another week and can’t wait for our next visit.

International Spy Museum

Cobey’s Favorite – Tour of Richard Hudson                                                                            Honorable Mention – International Spy Museum

Claire’s Favorite- Bi-Partisan Tour                                                                             Honarable Mention Owney at the National Postal Museum, First Lady Gowns & International Spy

My Favs- Bi-Partisan Tour, Tour and Tea at the National Cathedral, Creche Exhibit, Newseum.

Favorite Place to Eat- Matchbox

 

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7 Night Disney Cruise

Posted by Carmen Ledford on Monday Dec 15, 2014 Under Claire, Cobey, Homeschool, Kid's Corner, Travel

Disney Cruise 2015

This was our 5th Disney cruise and was my favorite so far There were so many magical moments and it was completely relaxing. The cruise was on the Fantasy and went to Castaway Cay, San Juan and St Marten.  I will just try to touch on the highlights of our trip

On The Ship

Claire, 10 at the time, was still in Club. She did not spend as much time in club as she had on previous trips. I think she felt a little old for it. We got permission for her to go to Edge with Cobey but she didn’t want to do it. Event though she didn’t enjoy club as much as she did on other cruises, she had a great time on the ship. She enjoyed watching movies, the shows,  swimming and she read a lot. Cobey on the other time spent a lot of time at the edge but also enjoyed the movies.  I had a seaweed wrap and massage which was delightful. I really enjoyed the shows and spent a lot of time read.

Porthole We had had rooms with balconies, inside rooms,and portholes. For our family, we never used the balcony and  Claire loves reading in the porthole so that is our preferred room. We love that Disney Cruise rooms have two bathrooms one with a sink and toilet and  one with sink and shower. Also, the rooms have great storage for a small space.

Food

????????One of Cobey’s favorite things about a cruise is eating.  He is a very adventurous eater. It is great he can try so many different things. I think the food is overall very good and sometimes great.   Bruce and I ate once at Palo.  You have to pay extra to eat at Palo and Remy. I always say I am not going to go back. I have never had a bad experience but just don’t think it is that much better for the money. Then I see all the rave reviews and I always go back to see what I am missing. Well after this time, I am not going back. (Someone please remind me.) The food was good, not great, but the one thing I didn’t like is now for the first course you have to get up and go to this buffet  where you point to what you want and they put it on your plate. I hate buffets and I certainly not paying extra for it.

 

 

Shows

Elsa Making it Snow

The quality of shows are so much better than on  other ships.  We loved Aladdin and  Dreams. The first night show is just okay so if you go the first night and don’t like it then don’t give up. You should go back for sure. We skipped the pirate show this time but we really have enjoyed it in the past. They had a special Christmas one in the lobby where Santa came and the highlight was Elsa making it snow. We always love the Farewell Party in the lobby  because you can see lots of characters in a short amount of time.

Characters

Photo bombed by Goofy

Sword Fight With Captain HookI always worry that this will be the trip that Claire will not want to see the characters but she was still interested. Cobey will take a few but overall he is not interested and hasn’t been in years. They have changed the princess gathering and you now get a free ticket from guest services. So when you get on the trip ask about tickets. This made the line very short and nice. W also got a ticket to see Elsa and Ana. Claire loved seeing them. One magical moment was when we were photo bombed by goofy when we were trying to get a photo for our Christmas card. Another one was when Claire had a sword fight with Captain Hook.

 

 

Royal Court Tea

Royal Court Tea

Royal Court Tea

This was extra and quite pricey but so worth the money. This was Claire’s favorite thing on the ship and probably mine too. Maybe even more than my seaweed wrap.  I may do a separate  blog in more detail about this alone. For now, it was a show, many gifts, great food and being treated like royalty all wrapped in one. She got a doll, a very nice scrapbook/autograph book, a music box, and a charm bracelet with charms from each princess.  Each princess came to each table and had photos with each child.  It was truly magical.

 

St Maarten

St Marten

????????We did the Tour of Two Flags. This was a tour of both sides of the island. It had a little history of the island and took you to different spots. It was disappointing and I wish we had just hired a taxi and done it on our own. This has never been my favorite island so that may have been part of it. The best part by far was the Italian gelato at Carousel Gelateria Bar which was delicious but I didn’t need a tour guide for that. Claire had fun on the carousel but  she is still talking about the key lime gelato.

 

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Horseback Riding  El Yunque National Rainforest

Claire

 

The boys were suppose to go diving but their tour was cancelled. They ended up touring the fort and of course eating. Claire and I had a great excursion horseback riding.  It was in the rain forest which was beautiful. The best part was the stop for at swim at the river. The guides showed Claire how the Native Americans made paint from the rocks in the river and they painted her face. We also had almonds straight from the tree. They showed us a magical leaf that held water and turned silver when wet. These “extras” are what made this excursion so special. I hope to be able to do the excursion again when we go back in January 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

Castaway Cay

 

Claire and Me Parasailing

We all went parasailing and it was awesome.  It was highlight of the trip for sure. When we were high up in the air, Claire said this is the best Disney Cruise ever. And I have to agree it was the best Disney Cruise ever. It will be hard to beat..

 

 

 

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Another Visit to Winterthur

Posted by Carmen Ledford on Thursday May 29, 2014 Under Claire, Cobey, Homeschool, Kid's Corner, Travel

Downton Abbey Costume Exhibit

Mary's Dress We got a membership to Winterthur and this was our fourth visit. We joined in October. We went again in December for the Christmas Tour which we all loved. We went in March to see the Downton Abbey Costumes which Claire and I enjoyed. We were also hoping to see the March Bank in the garden but we were too early. And then we went today. We went thru the Downton exhibit again, we did the Architecture and Antiques Tour and we went on the Garden Tour. The Architecture and Antiques  tour was interesting showing a wide variety of furnishings. Our Garden Tour was okay. It was nice to see some blooms in the garden but we have had better tram guides.  Claire and I loved going the Downton exhibit again. Claire’s favorite dress is still the one Mary wore when she got engaged.

 

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Day Four in NYC- Financial, Fashion, Food and Fun!

Posted by Carmen Ledford on Wednesday May 28, 2014 Under Claire, Cobey, Homeschool, Kid's Corner, Travel

Trinity Root

Financial Tour This was by far the best day in New York and now the kids really want to come back. I planned the day with the kids interest and passions in mind. We started with a Financial Tour – The Wall Street Experience.  The tour was two hours and excellent. It included great revolutionary history in the tour. It included background information about what caused the financial crisis. I would recommend this tour even if you are not that interested in finances.  Cobey really wants to go into the New  York Stock Exchange and already working on this for the next visit.

We then headed straight for the 911 Museum. We only had a little over an hour and we did not have near enough time. Our friends went and stayed six hours. The museum is intense powerful and thorough. My only complaint was there was too many people allowed in at one time. Despite the crowd, people were quiet and introspective more so than any museum I have been to. The kids want to go back when we have more time to spend. This time we had to go for  Clare’s part of the day

Claire at Fashion Tour

I signed her up for a private tour with SEEK. We got on the subway going the wrong way but we made it to our meeting spots only a few minutes late. The tour did not disappoint. Our tour guide Liz started with giving us background about the fashion district and fashion history. Some of the history went along with our tour the day before at the Tenement Museum. After the history part, she then took Claire shopping. We went to a bead store, three trim stores and three fabric stores. Claire had a ball and we had the best guide.  Liz gave great advice and encouragement. They became instant friends.  The tour was a little over two hours and since we skipped lunch and it was now almost five,  we were starved. With advice from Liz, we headed to John’s Pizza. It was a great meal. They have gluten free pasta but I had a wonderful salad. The kids loved the mozzarella wedges and cheese ravioli. Cobey was disappointed with his wings but otherwise good meal. We then headed for Dylan’s Candy Bar. The Dylan’s Candy Bar was a very sweet ending to a great day.

Claire and Liz Dylan's Candy Bar

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Tenement Museum This was our last day with Carolina Homeschoolers. We started our morning at the Tenement Museum. We had walking tour of the East Side.  The guide did a great job incorporating photos to show what the area looked like at what time and what life would have been like.  It was a a hour tour and very  informative. We then did a short  program where the kids got to identify artifacts. The last activity was  a tour of two tenements  and hearing the story of two families that lived their.  One was a family from 1880 and the other 1920. It was great to compare the two homes. We then walked to Katz’s Deli. It was a fun place and they were fast.

Moai Cast and Claire

 

We had free time that afternoon and the kids picked the American Museum of Natural History. The place is huge and we only had two hours. We decided to do the National Treasure Tour. We found all the exhibits from the movie which were throughout the exhibit. Cobey and I  really liked Margaret Mead Hall of Pacific People.  I would love a guided tour of that area.  After this museum was when Cobey decided we had to come back. There is so much more to see and learn there. We can’t wait to go back!

 

 

 

Elephants

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