Generation Joshua Banquet

Posted by Carmen Ledford on Thursday Nov 15, 2012 Under Cobey, Homeschool, Kid's Corner, National Parks, Politics, Travel

Jennifer Mauney, Cobey and I went to DC for the Generation Joshua Banquet. I thought it was a great way to get started with the organization and support them. Jennifer wanted to go and meet Michelle Bachman. We got there in time to spend the afternoon at Arlington Cemetery. I had not been in several years and Cobey had never been. We watched the changing of the guard which was really cool.  We saw some other monuments. But the highlight of the visit was our very long hike to the outer edge of the cemetery. See, one of the things I wanted to do while we were there was see the Pentagon 911 Memorial and I saw the Pentagon Monument and thought it was the same thing. Well, we get to the area on the map and look and look and I don’t see anything like what I saw online because the Memorial is NOT the same as the Monument. We had to laugh when we saw the monument because it was so NOT what I was expected. Jennifer captured a great shot and then we had to make the long cold hike back to our car.


We checked into our hotel where we changed and headed to the banquet. We had another humorous  episode trying to park but you had to be there. When we got there we got to talk to Mike Farris who is a constitutional lawyer and a hero of the homeschool community. He talked to Cobey about what he wanted to and such. After a few minutes, he told Cobey he would make a great lawyer and if West Point did not work out to come to Patrick Henry. Cobey was thrilled. We then went into the banquet. We actually had a decent meal for banquet food and then we got to hear some great speakers. We heard 2011 Miss America, Teresa Scanlon. She was amazing and put a great light on the Miss America Organization. She is such an inspiration and gives me great hope that this generation can make a difference. The prayer she read that I posted at the end was one she wrote on her blog before winning the Miss America pageant . She summed up beautifully the prayer I have for my kids.  The next speaker was a student who one an award and she also gave me hope that we have some great youth that want to fight for our country. The big disappointment of the night was that Bachman did not show and she sent a representative in her place that gave a short talk about how important GenJ was in her race. I was so proud that Jennifer did not breakdown and cry when she found out. Mike Farris spoke in her place and gave a wonderful speech. After the disappointing election results it was a very optimistic and hopeful speech. He said we were the Moses generation and we need to keep up the fight so the next generation – the Joshua generation can come in and save the country. After that evening, I believe it is true that this generation can be the one to take us back to our foundations. Later, Jennifer even admitted he gave a great speech and enjoyed it. It was just another mishap in our adventure. Cobey got some photos and autographs and we headed out. It ended up being a very nice evening.

The next morning I was determined to find the Memorial. We found it but never found where I could park so I stayed in the car and made them go and look at it. I don’t think either of them cared but at that point it was a matter of principle that I wanted them to see it. It really looked nice from what I could see and the photos. We then headed for the National Museum of Marine Corps. We pass this place all the time on 95 but we have never had time to stop. This place is awesome. We spent several hours and we had to rush thru the last half of the museum. It has impressive exhibits and gives a great history timeline. I have put it on my return list! We got a quick bite to eat and then headed back to NC. It was an adventure where things to not go as planned but everything turned out good in the end or at least something to look back and laugh out. The best thing that came out of the trip was that it developed a passion in Cobey for Generation Joshua. He loves the organization and has great plans for our local group that we have just started. The picture to the left was our first meeting with Richard Littiken who is a campaign expert that talked about the recent election. The photo to left is from our first local meeting.
Teresa’s Prayer:

Dear God, please help me to be a diligent servant not only today but from here on out. Give me the strength and wisdom to accuracy handle your word of truth and the diligence and perseverance necessary to be a worker who is not ashamed. I wish to be a shining light for you, a glowing example of who you are, and a grain of salt in a tasteless world. Whether or not this is achieved through a position, crown, title, or job, please place me exactly where you need me to be an effective ambassador for you. I am clay in your hands, your humble servant, willing to do whatever you wish for me in your perfect plan. I love you so much and thank you for blessing me so tremendously and bestowing such outstanding opportunity on me. My greatest wish is to exemplify your love through my words and actions in order to bring others to you.
Your Loving Daughter, Teresa
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Carl Sandburg National Park

Posted by Carmen Ledford on Monday Jul 16, 2012 Under Claire, Cobey, Homeschool, Kid's Corner, National Parks, NC History, North Carolina

After we picked up Cobey from Camp Arrowhead  and got a quick bite to eat, we headed a very short ride to Carl Sandburg National Park. All I knew about Carl Sandburg was that he was a famous American Poet but you know we never drive pass a National Park unless we have to. The parking lot was full when we got there but the park did not seem too busy.  You have to take a short hike up to the house and the vistors center which is in the bottom of the house.  We bought tickets for the next tour and got Junior Ranger books. The books are really simple and they did all the activities to get a badge and a patch.  The house is not particular impressive but interesting. It gives a great glimpse into the life of Carl Sandburg and his wife Lillian Steichen.

The first thing we learned was he was a socialist. Glad, I did not know that before.  I really loved the story about not getting into West Point because he failed his entrance exam in grammar.  Despite his failure in passing grammar, he becomes a very successful accomplished writer. I  love stories of overcoming obstacles and not giving up. His wife was very famous in the world of goat breeding. She breed a goat named Jennifer that produced 3 gallons of milk per day. That was a world record that stood for many years. Most of the things in the house are originals. You could almost see him working at his desk.After we had the house tour, we went into another building and had a talk on how to make goat cheese. Claire enjoyed tasting the cheese and liked it. We also visited the barn where we saw goats and an exhibit on processing goat milk.  The kids turned in their books and then we headed home.

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Gettysburg National Park

Posted by Carmen Ledford on Wednesday Jun 27, 2012 Under Civil War Sites, Claire, Cobey, Homeschool, Kid's Corner, National Parks, Travel

Our last stop on our Disney Cruise vacation was Gettysburg. We spent a full day at Gettysburg and got a great overview.  We got into town in time the night before to get the Junior Ranger Book and get an overview of the town. We also could have done a Ghost Tour but decided against it because of Claire. They would only give us one Junior Ranger book which bothered the kids. They did not want to share but in the end it made it easier. Between the two of them they did all the activities and I think it was a well put together program. We started  with the movie and Diorama. The movie is good a great way to start the day. The Diorama is very impressive and Claire especially enjoyed the presentation.  We then went thru the museum and answered the correlated questions in the book. We also went to a ranger program because the kids wanted to collect the trading cards. It was interesting and we did learn a few things. We then picked out a audio tour in the museum. There are several different versions but we decided on . It was an excellent choice. I really liked the book that went along with the audio and added to the experience. The audio seemed thorough but not too long. The audio told some great stories. Claire loved the story about the solider that saved the nest of bird during the battle. Cobey liked Devil’s Den because of all the rock formations.


After we finished the audio tour we went to the Gettysburg train station where Lincoln arrived in town. There was not much to the train station and the person working there was on the phone so he was not helpful at all. We did not stay long and then moved on to the Willis House where Lincoln stayed while  in Gettysburg. You have to pay an entry fee to go into the house and we were there less than an hour. We saw a few short films that gave information about the owner of the house and about Lincolns visit. I really liked seeing the room where Lincoln slept.  Claire bought a Lincoln top hat and book in the gift shop. It was a little pricey for what it is but there is something about being in the place that Lincoln was that somehow makes it worth it. The last stop was the Cemetery where Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address. It was really neat to trace Lincoln’s steps.  The cemetery has a beautiful towering monument in the center that we learned more about from answering the questions. We made it back to visitor center in time to turn in our book and do a little shopping.  It was a rushed day but we got a lot in and feel like we got a good overview. You could easily spend several days at the park and in the town if you are interested in history.


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Clara Barton National Historical Site

Posted by Carmen Ledford on Tuesday Jun 26, 2012 Under Claire, Cobey, Homeschool, Kid's Corner, National Parks

When we got off the ship we headed for Clara Barton National Park.  I really did not realize how close it was to DC or I would have probably planned differently. It took us longer than planned to get there and the traffic was terrible. I really did not plan this one well but we did have a good visit.  They give guided tours of the house and the ranger did a great job. He even included the kids by giving them each a bandage. He gave a good overview of Clara Barton’s life and the history of the American Red Cross. Be warned the house does not have air condition and it was quite warm. There is another National Park next door called Glen Echo Park that looks interesting. If I had planned better, I would have planned enough time to do both.  The Junior Ranger Handbook has both parks in one. The Ranger sent the book home and said we could complete and then return for a badge.

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Day in New York City

Posted by Carmen Ledford on Friday Jun 15, 2012 Under Claire, Cobey, Homeschool, Kid's Corner, National Parks, Travel, Uncategorized


We only had one day to see New York and I think we made the most of it. We started out taking a ferry to Ellis Island. The kids did the Junior Ranger tour there. They had a great audio tour geared to kids that gave a great overview of the building. We then went to the Statue of Liberty, where we first did a ranger-led scavenger hunt which did an excellent job of teaching the kids the symbols that are on the Statue of Liberty. We then did an audio tour that explained more about the statue. We had a quick lunch and then took a ferry over the Manhattan. We raced to make our ticket time for the 911 Memorial. The memorial is free but you have to get a ticket. Even with a ticket you have to wait in a line but it moves pretty quickly. The museum is not open yet but I am still glad we went. The memorial seems a perfect tribute. It is quite beautiful which cannot be conveyed in photos.  This event has affected me still after all these years and it gave me peace to see how beautifully and respectfully they memorialized this event. We then took the subway to go see the Empire State Building.  Bruce ended up taking the kids on the ride and up to the observation desk. The ride was an flying overview of the city.

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Tennessee Trip Five/Six

Posted by Carmen Ledford on Wednesday May 16, 2012 Under Claire, Cobey, Homeschool, Kid's Corner, National Parks, Travel

Bruce was gone by the time we got up in the morning and  set off for more sites. The first stop was Sequoyah Birthplace Museum in Vonore, TN.  This turned out to be the biggest disappointment of the trip. The kids were so excited because they are very interested in Cherokee history but there was not much to this site.  I don’t think we were there even an hour. We left there and went to Fort Loudoun. This was a surprise and much better. There was a good movie to give an overview.  The fort, pictured above, was built by South Carolina in 1757 to ensure the Cherokee that lived in the area  would fight on the side of English not French. This worked for a time but conflicts arose and violence broke out between British and Cherokee. Eventually, the Cherokee took over the for and massacred the fleeing British that they promised to let leave. The Cherokee did this in retaliation of the execution of Cherokee hostages at Fort Prince George.

We ended up with more time so I added the Lost Sea Adventure to the day. I saw some signs and I was worried that it would be a tourist trap but we actually enjoyed the site. It is a huge cavern with great stories and  a boat ride in the lake inside. The kids loved the boat ride and feeding the fish. Claire is still talking about this cavern and wants to go back and sleep there. I think that sounds like a great trip with dad. We had a great dinner and spent the night in a hotel.

On the way home we stopped at Andrew Johnson’s National Park. It was a little disappointing because we were unable to see the homestead because of another group and staff meeting. We did see a movie, the small visitor center, the early home and the cemetery where he is buried. The story of Johnson is interesting. He came for meager beginnings and did not have a formal education. He was the first president to be impeached but he was not removed from office. It was over breaching the Tenure Of Office Act which was later ruled unconstitutional. The site as okay but don’t go out of your way to go. After this stop, we headed home!! It was another grand adventure for the Ledford family. Even though we had a few bumps in the road, it turned out great. Where will the road take us next….



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Tennessee Trip Day Three/Four

Posted by Carmen Ledford on Wednesday May 16, 2012 Under Civil War Sites, Claire, Cobey, Homeschool, Kid's Corner, National Parks, Travel

We spent the majority of third day at Shiloh National Park.  There is not much to the visitor center but Junior Ranger program was good. We purchased the CD wfor the tour of the battlefield.  It was a little hard to follow because the stops  are  in a different order but we all learned a lot. One of the highlights was when we went on walking tour at the Shiloh Indian Mounds. We somehow got off the trail and started walking deeper and deeper into the woods. We were on a different  trail and sort of lost. Claire was our hero and lead us out of the woods. We saw the Hornet’s Nest, a densely wooded , named by the Confederates because of the stinging shots and shells they faced there. We saw where General Johnston died. He was shot and kept fighting not realizing how bad the wound in his leg was and he bleed to death. We ended our visit in the National Cemetery where the kids found tombstones of soldiers. We then drove to Nashville stopping at Logan’s to celebrate Cobey’s birthday!! It was a wonderful day.

The next day Bruce was suppose to fly out. He went down to the lobby to check-in to his flight and could not. We finally figured out that I had the wrong days and he was actually flying out the following day. Oops! It all worked out in the end. He had his laptop so he did some work for hotel that night and the next day.

On the fourth day, we added Stone’s River National Park to the schedule and I am so glad we did. It was my favorite National Park on the trip. It is a little strange because it is broken up by the town that has grown around it. There is a nice visitor center with a good video to give you background on the battle.  You have to drive to the different areas of the park.  The earthworks that remain of Fortress Rosecrans were interesting. This 200 acre fortress protected railroad and warehouse and supplies. The kids favorite part was Hell’s Half Acre, a rocky area where Union soldiers held their ground. You could easily see how they used the rocks for cover. Claire’s highlight would be her purchase of a Junior Ranger vest, hat and backpack that she now takes on all of our trips. The photo to the right is  Hell’s Half Acre and the bottom is Claire’s new outfit.

We left Stone’s River and headed to Hermitage,  home of Andrew Jackson. There was much more at this site than I excepted and we could have used more time. It is not just a house but a museum, gardens, and  outbuildings. We started with a movie that was an overview of his life then headed to the house. They had audio tours that were included in the price of admission. They had a great kids version from the viewpoint of Andrew’s pet parrot.  After a guided tour of the home, we toured the garden’s and saw his tomb. We then went and saw the slave quarters and other outbuildings.  I was impressed that they did not sugarcoat the past and told of  Jackson being a slave owner, ignoring the Constitution and marrying his wife while she was still married.  He was a great leader at the Battle of New Orleans but not so sure of his presidency. We are not big fans of Jackson but had a great visit and recommend the site. I would not try to do both in one day unless you start early and have lunch on the go.


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I never got around to posting about all my April trips. Now that I think about it, I have one from last April I still want to do.   Over Easter weekend, we headed to Tennessee to check out some Civil War and Indian sites. The first day we drove and drove and drove some more then we stayed at a hotel. The next morning we were up and out early. The first stop was the New Echota which is Northern Ga. This was the capital of the Cherokee Nation from 1825 until 1832. It was here that the Cherokee council met, that the Cherokee Supreme Court heard cases, and that the Cherokee Phoenix newspaper was first published.  The site has rebuilt  buildings to represent each of these and the house  of Samuel Worcester, a minister and loyal friend to the Cherokee nation. The Treaty of New Echota was  signed here which was the controversial document used by the American government to justify the removal now known as the Trail of Tears.

It was here that we began to learn that  we did not care for Andrew Jackson. The US Supreme Court ruled in Worcester v. Georgia,  that Georgia did not have the right to have passed those laws to force Cherokee out of the state.  However, President Andrew Jackson refused to enforce the Supreme Court’s decision in this case. This is a great historical site. We started with the movie and small visitor center. The kids loved trying to speak Cherokee and even bought a book.  We then spent an hour or so touring the buildings outside. There was a nature trail we missed because of the weather and time. We were off to Chickamauga Battlefield.                                                                                                                  

The Chickamauga Battle was one of the few where the Confederates outnumbered the Union. The confederates had a strong victory here and slowed the advance to Atlanta.  We went on the driving touring of the battlefield. The kids earned a Junior Ranger Badge here and then we headed to Lookout Mountain photo at top of this blog entry. They earned another badge there. The view was nice when you were not looking over the city. I am a little partial to my NC mountains when you are not looking at buildings and such. The highlight of the day for me was the 150th Anniversary Luminaries at Shiloh Battlefield. There was one for each solider that died at the battle and there was just so many. The photo below is around Bloody Pond. It was said that so many died here that the pond turned red. It was very moving experience. The kids enjoyed it at first but both ended up falling asleep and missing the last half of the drive. 



















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Baltimore- Day Two

Posted by Carmen Ledford on Saturday Oct 8, 2011 Under Claire, Cobey, Homeschool, Kid's Corner, Military Museums, National Parks, Travel

We had a rough start to the day. No one had slept well. We stayed at Hilton Garden and the hotel was fine except Claire did not get her french toast which is her favorite thing there. And they don’t know how to cook grits this far north. Cobey and Bruce haves colds so the first stop was the CVS. We then tried to find our way to Fort McHenry. We were very close but it took almost an hour. There was first a VERY long VERY slow train that came to a stop. We then try to find our way around the train when we find a bridge out that we had to navigate around. We were only a few miles from the fort but it took forever.

Cobey loved the visitor center. His favorite part was the interactive time line. He liked how “modern” it was. The visitor center is small but has a great movie and some interesting exhibits. The fort is well preserved and has displays in most of the buildings.  You could also walk around the outside and top of the fort. The kids did the Junior Ranger program which was okay but not a stand out at all.

The fort is famous for the battle during the War 1812 where Frances Scott Key wrote the Star Spangled Banner. The fort was also used during the civil was as a prison and World War I as a hospital. Bruce and Cobey said the fort was their favorite part of the day.

We then headed back to Inner Harbor for the Star Spangled Banner Museum and the Flag Museum.  They have a small museum with a film. The film was interesting but was hard to hear and understand. We then got a guided tour of the house where the flag that flew over Fort McHenry was made. This was my favorite part of the day. I learned the flag at that time had 15 stripes and that it was put together in a brewery across the street. The tour guide was interesting and informative. The picture is showing how big the actual flag would have been. Amazing!! Claire loved the room inside the museum where she got to dress up and pretend to cook by the fire.

We finally made it to what Cobey had been asking for the Historic Ships We first went into the USS Torsk a submarine. There is no guide, no audio and very little printed information. It is interesting to walk thru and get a size perspective. I really liked the USS Constellation. There is a great audio tour – one version for adults and one for kids. I listened to the kid one and it was very good at teaching about the boat and what life would be like on the boat. It did not get into what kind of action the ship saw. You get to see all four levels of the ship and Cobey even got to try out the sleeping arrangements.  This tour turned out really good.

The last stop was the dragon paddle boats for Claire. She had been asking to go on the them for two days. We decided we enjoyed the Sawn boats in Boston better. You got to relax more and the scenery was nicer.

We ended up getting the museum membership for the Historic Ships. It is better than a Go Card!  Our membership will last till Dec 2012 and gets us in free to over 15 Baltimore History Museums and over 30 Maritime Museums.  Some of the museums are already free so look carefully to see if it will pay off for you.  As much as we travel I know it will pay for itself very soon!

We at at Denny’s because Saturday is Kids Eat Free! We are at the Embassy Suites tonight and the kids had a great time at the pool. Now for a good nights sleep.

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Marine Science Consortium Trip

Posted by Carmen Ledford on Tuesday Sep 27, 2011 Under Cobey, Homeschool, Kid's Corner, National Parks, Travel

Cobey and I arrived to campus Sunday evening after braving the Chesapeake Bridge. If you recall from earlier post, I do not care for bridges and tunnels at all. I was not happy to discover AFTER I signed up for this field trip that the Chesapeake Bridge was part of my route. It took a weekend crop in Richmond with a great friend and a last minute visit to more friends in Virginia Beach to get up the courage. It actually was not as bad as I thought. There was not much traffic on the bridge which I think helped and it was at dusk. I really could not see the full effect. We will see how I manage tomorrow going back in the daylight.

They had left a key for us in a mailbox and finding our room was easy. We had time to get unpacked and then it was time for the bed. The next morning came early for me. Breakfast was at 7:30. In the morning, Cobey went on a nature hike and did a nature journal while I stayed back with the some moms and talked about homeschool issues. In the afternoon, we went to a field trip to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.  The talk by the ranger and movie was a little long. They did play one game where they got up and moved but for the most part  it was sit and listen.  We then rode through the refuge where we did not get to see much. This part of the camp was disappointing and I was beginning to worry.

After dinner, we had a Oceanographic Equipment Lecture. Lecture made me a little nervous because that usually equates to boring. This lecture was very informative and interesting and done quite well. We went over each station on the boat and what we would be doing the next day.

We woke to a thick fog which caused our day to be shifted around. We first went to Tom’s Cove Visitor Center. The center had a small touch tank and a bone identification exhibit.  After a short visit there, we headed to the intertidal where we walked out in knee deep water to the estuary. Once we hiked out the kids used nets, boxes, and seine nets to catch organisms  to take back to the lab.

After lunch, we got to go out on the research boat where we got to explore the estuary more. The kids loved being scientist on the boat and doing the different experiments. Tonight, the kids had to use Dichotomous keys, field guides and microscopes to help identify what they found. They also learned about zooplankton and phytoplankton. It was a great day and I think Cobey learned a lot.

The food was not great. It is what I think of when I think of bad cafeteria food but edible. The accommodations were very clean and the mattress was better than a typical camp mattress. I slept great!  Daniel was our naturalist and he was awesome. He was passionate about marine life and it showed. He kept a room of boys entertained and interested. Overall, we had a great experience and we would return again. Now I just have to make it back over the bridge.



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