December 29, 2016

Exploring Castles in South Wales

A sunny day in south Wales (which is rare) delighted us with castle views near the Gower Peninsula.  We found horses, dragons, bridges and moats. Maps of the area have plenty of castles to explore, but check times on the web before heading out. Opening times during the seasons may vary. Pictured here are Ogmore castle, Caerphilly Castle, and Castell Coch. And let's not forget Dave the Falcon from Perriswood Farms. 

December 28, 2016

London Lights Up At Night

From Oxford Street to Bond Street to Big Ben and Covent Garden, London shines during Christmas time. During our last trip to the U.K. we stayed in London over the Christmas holiday. We were lucky to see London in all of her decorated glory. I'm not sure when I will be back in winter, but these memories London at night will most certainly last. 

December 23, 2016

Tate Britain Art History with Kids

We started our UK trip at the Tate Britain. Located along the Thames, it was a nice walk from our location in Pimlico to the gallery. We prepared for the visit by watching several Khan Academy Smart History videos that highlighted famous works of art in the gallery. It was stunning to see Lady of Shalott and Ophelia in person after listening to their meaning on the videos. This engaged the kids so much more than if we walked in without context.

The gallery is organized chronologically by rooms, so it feels like you are walking through history. At night, the building is illuminated with a pink glow. It was an enriching first stop to kick off our time in London.

September 25, 2016

Manzanita Lake and Subway Cave

Our last camp trip of summer was small but mighty. Two days in Lassen's Manzanita Lake campground were a hit in terms of friendship, sports, exploration and creativity. This mellow and beautiful lake is at the west entrance to Lassen National park, and it's an excellent water craft area for paddle boards and kayaks. 

Because we went during the Olympics, our crew made up all sorts of Olympic events, such as synchronized paddle boarding and sprint rowing loops. We even handed out medals during the campfire. 

15 minutes north of the park entrance is Subway Cave, a lava cave that really does look like a subway. Heading in with a flashlight was too easy for these girls. So we did lights off, and explored by hand. Do not try that at home (Mom almost fell!). 

July 5, 2016

Treasures of an Old California Mine

Over 4th of July weekend we went camping in the Eastern Sierras. The bonus was a Jeep ride to explore a deserted California mine. It's called the Chemung Mine, which may not have been gold, (possibly silver or ore) but the history is unclear so it's hard to say. 

Weathered wood, bullet shells, rusty nails, tattered roofs and gigantic gears were easily accessible without any crowds or tourist centers. We took our chances walking around, which was thrilling for older kids who don't usually get to do dangerous things. I was fascinated by the 100 year old nuts and bolts holding the beams together, reflecting a century of accomplishment.