Monday, April 29, 2013

Lancaster Area in Pennsylvania


After our rough start to our road trip, we enjoyed a sweet and smooth mini vacation in Pennsylvania Amish country. We did our traveling in the Mothership, but actually parked our motorhome at a hotel parking lot, and stayed at Best Western Eden Resort!

I didn't take a single photo at the hotel, but we enjoyed our large room (three queen beds and a sofa bed), and especially the hotel pool area. Meanwhile we managed to trap a mouse in the Mothership (and none since, so hopefully we are the only inhabitants of our motorhome currently).


It was spring in southern Pennsylvania! Beautiful, and a lot warmer than New England.


Our friends from Scranton area came on this trip with us, and together we visited the towns of Bird-in-Hand and Intercourse.


Say what...???!!! Yes, there were quite a few chuckles over the names of these towns.


Both towns had a strong Amish presence, and we saw many horses and buggies on the road. You can read more about the Amish here.

We walked around some, visited shops, and took the free pretzel factory tour. We were glad the factory tour was free, as it was more a short presentation on how a pretzel is made than a true factory tour. Still, they showed us how to twist a pretzel, and now we are official pretzel twisters:)


In one gift shop the girls found a game a tic-tac-toe.

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Bird-in-Hand had a great Farmers Market where we sampled yummies, and stocked up on honey, cheese, meats and cider.

If we have a chance, we'll stop here again on our way up North in June. A lot to see and do in the Lancaster area!


Pysähdyimme kahdeksi päiväksi Lancasteriin, Pennsylvaniaan, ja lomailimme hotellissa. Asuntoauto vaan hotellin pihaan parkkiin:) Hotelli oli ihanan tilava, ja uima-allasalue kiva. Kävin jopa saunassa! Harmi vaan, kun ei saanut lyödä löylyvettä kiukaalle...  Olimme ihan Amissien alueella, ja katukuvassa näkyi usein hevonen ja kärryt. Asuistakin amissit tunnistaa. Täältä voi lukea lisää heidän tavoistaan, kulttuuristaan ja uskostaan. Kiva alue, mahdollisesti pysähdytään uudestaan kun palaamme pohjoiseen kesäkuussa.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Real Adventures/Oikeaa seikkailua


Ever since leaving our northern camp this month, we have had an adventure after an other. And not necessarily the fun type.

Our first adventure was picking up bulk chicken I had ordered. It worked out such, it needed to be picked up on our way out of state. We were given up one hour on one day to pick it up off the truck in Lewiston, Maine, and with everything that had to be done that day, we made it to the truck with two minutes to spare.

But made it! Woohoo!

We placed the box of pre-paid 40 lbs of fresh chicken breast on the seat behind driver (only available spot in our fully loaded Suburban), and drove to the next stop we had (with 10 minutes to spare this time).

Then stopped to unload everything at the Captain's parents place. We discovered the box of chicken, which had been in a soft cooler, had leaked chicken juice all over the seat. Yuck. Well, we cleaned it up, opened up the box (where chicken breast had gone loose from their plastic bags), and separated the chicken, and froze it in ziplock bags.

And thought that was that.


Our second adventure was Saturday morning when the Captain took our Suburban to a local chain car service and parts place to change our snow tires to regular tires. It had taken a while, but the Captain came back eventually, and we unloaded the snow tires, and reloaded the car with our luggage.

Except the Captain's dad realized the tires were not right. They had not been torqued, we were charged for items we never got, and possibly other things were wrong, too. Ask the Captain.

Sooo, back to the car place we go. We did get good customer service, and our money was refunded. We continue on to New Hampshire, and on the way the Captain realizes the tires need to be balanced. We stop at Sears, and fortunately they were able to balance the tires right away (and tell us the last place hadn't balanced them at all!).

We had a chance to meet some friends at the mall, and the Captain also made a work stop.


Our third adventure
was having to go to Boston on Friday. Yes, the-city-is-in-lock-down-Friday. We drove by signs on the highway: "Avoid Boston area". But we had to go. Mr. T was flying into Boston the day the second Boston Marathon bomber suspect was being man-hunted, and the city was in lock-down mode. We kept checking online to see if the airport was still open, and it was. We were able to pick up Mr. T without any problems. (Thank You, God!)

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On our way out of town we did get lost in the city, and ended up in Cambridge, one the locations we really didn't want to go into. At least it wasn't Watertown!


Our fourth adventure
happened the next day. We stayed over at our friends' house near Hartford, Connecticut. We had a wonderful visit, but finally had to leave as we had a particular time we needed to be at the RV storage unit where the Mothership awaited us. As we opened up the car doors to pack up our stuff, the most horrendous smell assaulted our senses. The reeking smell came from the seat behind the driver... Yes - the chicken juice had gone bad inside the seat and/or rug.


With windows down we drove to the nearest store where we picked up baking soda, cleaning supplies, and air re-fresheners. The Captain scrubbed for a good thirty minutes the seat and floor, making the chicken smell only faint, and the cleaner smell strong. To make matters worse, the air conditioner in the vehicle was not working. But we had no extra time to work on it then, we needed to get to the RV storage. The owner comes from an hour away, and if we missed our date, we'd have to wait several days for the next chance.

We make it to the RV storage with about 15-20 minutes to spare. Yes, we like to live on the edge!!! (Not.)

Our fifth adventure awaits us. The Mothership actually starts right away, which sometimes is not given after sitting in storage for a while.


The problem was there had been a party in our motorhome. A mouse party! Disgusting, but we needed to leave the storage unit, and drive to our friends' house about an hour away. There, we took inventory.

It was far worse than we thought at first. The mice had gotten into everything. And I mean every place. The Captain and I started working on spring cleaning. And scrubbing the Suburban some more, too. Hours later we were clean enough to crash, and three of us slept in the RV, while four older kids slept with their friends in the house.

The next morning's update: the car smelled just as bad as Saturday morning. The Mothership needed some more cleaning. So after church we continue working. Now, Tuesday morning, we are 99% done.

The plan had been to continue our road trip this morning, but because of all this, and some work issues, we might be staying an extra day or two before getting on the road again. The Captain and our friend M is in charge of the plans, and they have been changing on a regular basis ;-)

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There are no complaints from the kids, they are having a blast with their friends. And while my friend S and I are cooking and cleaning the kitchen, we are having a sweet time of fellowship, too.

So, despite our not-so-fun-adventures of the last few days, it is good to be on the road again.

There. The other side of our fun adventures.

Aren't you glad to be home now?


Meillä on ollut kaikenlaisia seikkailuja Mainestä lähdön jälkeen. Aikataulu on ollut tiukka joka päivä, ja on pitänyt jännittää ehdimmekö seuraavaan paikkaan ajoissa. Ostin ison pakkauksen kanaa, ja pakkaus vuosi kananmehua auton istuimelle ja lattialle, niin että pari päivää myöhemmin auto alkoi haisemaan ihan järkyttävältä. Ja kun haimme asuntoauton, niin hiiret olivat mellastaneet siellä, ja sotku oli hurja. Pysähdyimme Pennsylvaniassa ystävien luona siivoamaan molempia ajoneuvoja. Niin, ja perjantaina, kun Boston oli suljettu miesjahdin takia, meidän piti silti ajaa lentokentälle Mr. T:tä hakemaan.. Kaikki meni onneksi hyvin sillä reissulla, vaikka kaupungista poisajaessa eksyimme Cambridgeen. Onneksi ei sentään Watertowniin!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Cartoon Workshop/Sarjakuvatunnilla


Occasionally a very cool opportunity comes our way, and when it does, we happily claim it as a homeschool learning experience.


While in Maine this winter, we found out Maine cartoonist Jeff Pert was coming to town to teach a cartoon workshop.


We were probably the first ones to sign up, and we brought a friend along, too.


When we lived in New Hampshire one of the kids' friends had been wearing a t-shirt we all got such a kick out of.


Yup, that t-shirt had a cartoon on it drawn by Jeff Pert! I can't find a t-shirt with that image, but here is a link to Jeff Pert's book, and the cover on it has the famous cartoon. Check it out, it is funny!


Our cartoon students had various exercises to do, one was a paper folded in three, and three different students drew a body part of a cartoon character on it without seeing what others had drawn. They also worked on shapes, and their own characters.

Pretty neat opportunity!


Yksi lauantain Mainen metsissä teinit pääsivät sarjakuvaoppitunnille. Paikallinen kirjasto järjesti sen, ja me teimme siitä kotikouluoppitunnin, tietysti:) Opettajana oli tunnettu sarjakuvataiteilija.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Photos From Finland/Kuvia Suomesta


At the library.

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Going out to eat with Muori and Vaari (Finnish grandparents).


Cross-country skiing with Muori.


Downhill skiing with cousins and friends.


American football team.


Mr T is number thirteen.


Mr. T's first football game.


And they lost.

Great experience, though! Mr T has always wanted to play American football, but hasn't had the opportunity to do so, except for one season of flag football. Which isn't the same, I know. So he had to go all the way to Finland to play:) It's too bad he has to return to the States as the games are starting, but we are SO ready to have him back!!

*** Edit: forgot to give credit for photos, oops! Thank you so much Muori, Vaari, Uncle P and U family!


Kuvia Suomesta. Ylimmässä Mr. T kirjastossa, sitten isovanhempien kanssa, sekä hiihtämässä Muorin kanssa. Pari laskettelukuvaa pikkuserkkujen kanssa, ja loput amerikkalaisesta futiksesta, jota siis piti tulla Suomeen asti pelaamaan, kun ei Usassa ollut sitä mahdollisuutta:)

Kiitos kuvista Muorille, Vaarille, P-sedälle ja U-perheelle:)

Monday, April 15, 2013

An Interview with Mr. T/Haastattelua


One of our sons, Mr. T (age 14), has been staying in Finland for three months. He is coming home this week (insert jumping for joy, and tears and sadness here, depending on who you talk to). If you've missed our earlier posts, you can read more here, here and here.

What has been your favorite part about staying in Finland?
- Spending time with Muori and Vaari [Finnish Grandma and Grandpa]

How is the food in Finland?
- Yummy

Any favorites?
- Pulla [Finnish coffee bread, kind of like a cinnamon roll], Muori's cooking

If you got to choose, what would you want Muori to make tonight?
- Steak potatoes, lamb, or salmon stew

Have you tried a Finnish delicacy of pickled herrings?
- Yes, but I didn't care for it

How often do you go in the sauna?
- Maybe once a week, sometimes more, sometimes less

Have a you been able to see a lot of Finland?
- Visiting family in Tampere, going to summer house in Virrat, skiing in Jämsä, Seinäjoki,

Where would you like to go in Finland?
- Lapland

What would you like to bring home from Finland?
- Salmiakki [salted licorice]

Say something you've learned in Finnish:
- Minä matkustan Amerikkaan kohta. [I will travel to America soon.]

Have you gotten better in Finnish?
- Yes, but I'm still not good.

How much Finnish do you use daily?
- Maybe a few sentences a day, except days when I have Finnish classes (a hundred then)

What is your typical Tuesday like?
- Wake up around 8:30-9ish
- Have breakfast (cereal)
- Shower and morning chores
- Facebook and political news
- Homeschool (and lunch) until 3ish
- Finnish classes 3:45-7
- Home
- FaceTime USA
- Dinner
- Free time
- Evening snack
- Bible and reading
- Sleep

How is school working out for you? Would you like to attend Finnish public school?
- [Home]school is working out well. I don't want to attend a Finnish school.

What are some of your activities in Finland?
- Football, Finnish classes, eating, international group at church, church meetings, seeing friends and second cousins, making videos

An example of Mr T's videos (you can click it larger)

Have you been able to make good friends in Finland?
- Yes, but not very many

What do you miss from US?
- Economic freedom, my family [and he says kind of], snowmobiling

What will you miss from Finland?
- My grandparents, international meeting

Do you want to come back to Finland for a longer visit?
- Yes and longer, maybe in a year

Have you noticed any surprising cultural differences between Finland and Usa, now that you have been staying longer (than your usual visits with family)?
- Contrary to most of my American friends, most Finns are contented serfs who are perfectly fine with unelected bureaucrats who live thousands of miles away ruling every aspect of their lives.

So there:) Our son T's thoughts on being in Finland. 

Next up photos of Mr. T's adventures!


Haastattelua poikamme T:n kanssa. Kolme kuukautta Suomessa on kohta täynnä, ja hän on palaamassa kotiin tällä viikolla! Seuraavaksi valokuvia Suomen ajalta.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Dance Recital/Tanssiesitys


A part of the the girls' homeschool PE this winter was dance. Missy continued tap dancing, and since jazz wasn't available for her age this year, she tried hip hop. She definitely has dance and rhythm in her genes, the question is, where does it come from?

Must be from her grandparents, or maybe the Captain has some hidden skills???

(Sennie can't even sing and clap at the same time, so it's not from her:)


And Little Miss... We made her try a class against her wishes, and turns out, she is a natural! She loves dancing! The only class for her age was Ballet 1, but we can see all kinds of different dance in her future.


Oooh, the attitude in this dance - Missy mastered it!


In the finale the whole group all together.

Here's a clip of Little Miss' ballet dance.

Two clips of Missy's dances.

What a great experience for our girls!


Talven tanssitunnit on tanssittu, ja tanssinäytös on ohi. Missy tanssi steppiä ja hip hopia, Pikkuneiti balettia. Hienosti meni, hyvä tytöt!! Yllä pienet videopätkät tansseista.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Eye Can Art Review


Art is such an important part of childhood, homeschooling, and life in general. It too often gets low on a priority list, though, as we are all so busy.

My girls in particular love art and craft projects, and I'm always on a look-out for ways to incorporate art into our days. Usually, as the girls start on a project, the boys end up joining in on the fun.

A new to us way to create is various art kits. Today we are excited to review an Eye Can Art Layered Wax Drawing Kit with you all.


Our kit arrived in the mail, including all we needed to do two layered wax drawings. Normally $28, we were provided a free can for an honest review of the product.


We read the instructions, including a brief history on this encaustic technique to make beautiful art. Missy started on hers, by drawing directly on the wooden frame with oil pastels.


Once she had finished her drawing, we placed the wax layer on top.


We had preheated the oven to 215F, and placed the wooden frame (with wax) on a cookie sheet, covered with aluminum foil. We baked it for a little more than 15 minutes, until wax had melted, and all bubbles popped. After coming out of the oven, it needed to cool for about 15 minutes.


While Missy's drawing was baking and cooling, Little Miss and I started on our joint project. We had first sketched our drawing on paper, then on the wooden frame.


We wanted to fill the entire frame with color.


Since Missy had used the one natural color wax layer, that came in the can, we used the three smaller colored wax pieces.


Then baked ours.


Once Missy's picture had had a chance to cool down, she continued to draw on it, creating a depth to her piece. Her red flower popped out of the picture, while the greenery in the background was softly muted, thanks to the wax layer on top of the oil pastels.


While our can didn't have enough wooden frames or wax for the boys, they started to experiment with the oil pastels.


By making a colorful image, then covering it with black, and finally drawing on the black with a toothpick, revealing the colors underneath.


We had a great art lesson! The wax layered drawings did require quite a bit of adult supervision and help, at least with Little Miss (age 7). Missy (age 14) could have done the whole process by herself.


Such beautiful creations! We still need to finish Little Miss' lake drawing, but we had some trouble with the green wax spreading on the lake. (Totally a mom fail, trying to also answer a phone call at the same time.) I was able to re-melt the wax, and tilt the frame slightly, which helped.

Eye Can Art has several different kits of art projects, which can be purchased here. We highly recommend trying a Layered Wax Drawing Kit!

Thank you, Eye Can Art for providing us with such a fun project!