Saturday, July 31, 2010

Climbing The Dunes

Every year, when we go to Warren Dunes, we like to climb Tower Hill.  It is the main dune climb off the lakeshore and is a good hike to the top. 
 I haven't gone up the last few years because of LittleJ but, now that he is three, we thought he could do it.
He needed some encouragement at times to keep going, but we all eventually made it.

Once you get to the top, it's nice to just relax and wait for the sunset.

Ahhh..... there it is.  Isn't it beautiful? 
 We picked the perfect night to make the climb to the top.

On the way back down, I took this shot of the moon. 
It was a wonderful evening.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

At The Lakeshore

One of the draws of Warren Dunes State Park is Lake Michigan. 

 We spend a few hours each afternoon at the beach, and usually go back in the evening for the sunset, and more swimming if the water isn't too cold.

  This summer, with all the heat and humidity, the water was fantastic! 
Very refreshing and not too cold.  Very comfortable in fact.

The beach is nice and sandy, and great for building sand castles. 
LittleJ wasn't very patient with the building process though and preferred to just play.

He thought being buried in it was pretty cool though.

Sometimes even mermaids get washed up on the beach!
We had a great time! 

Monday, July 26, 2010

At The Campground

We just returned from camping at Warren Dunes State Park along Lake Michigan.  It has become a favorite camping place for us over the years so we were very excited to arrive and start setting up camp. 

We have two tents for the six of us.  LittleA and LittleE have their own tent, and I'm with the boys in the larger tent-- with the air mattress.  We had a smaller site this year, but it still worked out just fine for us. 

We also have a canopy for the picnic table and "kitchen".  We bought a new Coleman stove last year and it works great.  I like to cook most of the food ahead of time at home and freeze it, then all I have to do is warm it up on the stove at the campsite.  I did taco meat, shredded chicken, and sloppy joes.  Otherwise we just do lunchmeat and grilled cheese with fresh veggies and fruit.

Tim did cook our pancakes and bacon over the open fire though.  They were yummy!!

LittleJ enjoys camping too.  This morning I had him washing his little toys up and getting all the sand off. 

All in all, it was a good 3 nights.  It only rained a little the first night, and the second night was comfortably cool.  The third night was hot and humid though, and I really wish we would have packed a fan.  But at least no storms, for which I am grateful.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Summer Art Collages

This week we were challenged by a fellow homeschooler at Five in a Row and Blog, She Wrote to do an art collage.  This project looked promising and not too difficult, so I decided to see if the boys were interested.  I love art, and my two girls love art, but the boys are a bigger challenge, especially BigJ.  I pleaded with him to pleeeease help me do an art project, that is wouldn't be hard, and all he had to do was cover his paper with color.

Of course, my adventurous LittleJ was no problem.  He was very willing to paint for mommy!  Ah....the paintings of a 3 yo.

Here is the finished painting LittleJ did with a bit of my help filling in color around the edges.

After the painting was dry it needed to be cut into squares.  The directions suggested 1 inch squares;  I went with 2 inch squares, first marking a grid on the back, then cutting on the lines.  I figured with the boys, the fewer, the better.  Now I had a nice pile of pretty colors to arrange.

I used a piece of poster board that I cut into four equal pieces and attached each piece with a glue stick.
LittleJ helped me with the gluing.

We worked outside in the backyard since it was such a nice afternoon.  My poster board was smaller than the original painting, so I have some pieces left over, but I'll just save those for another project.

Here is the finished product up close.  This is the one LittleJ and I put together from the original painting he made.

And this is the final product from BigJ's painting.  I couldn't convince him to do the arranging and gluing, but that's OK, I had a great time.  Did I say I love art?

I think they both turned out fabulous.  This is one project I would definitely do again.  Maybe you would like to try it too.  You can see the original directions posted here at Harmony Art Mom, another one of my favorite blogs.  Enjoy!!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

USS Silversides

While in Michigan for the movie, we decided to take BigJ and LittleJ out for a change of scenery.  Someone mentioned to us that Muskegon had a submarine you could tour, so we set out looking for it.

We found it on the Muskegon Channel near Pere Marquette Park at the

This is the USS Silversides, America's most famous surviving submarine from WWII.

 Here we are in the forward torpedo room.
The success of her crew included sinking 23 Japenese vessels and damaging 14 others as represented by the flags painted on the side. 

We also toured the US Coast Guard boat McLane.  Built during prohibition to intercept "rum runners", it was sent to the Bering Sea during the war.  She is credited with sinking a Japanese submarine. 

Here is LittleJ enjoying the best seat in the house!

He also loved turning the "big wheel".  I enjoyed looking at the old instruments and the captains quarters.

  We didn't go through the indoor museum exhibits, but I'm sure they would be very nice as well.  Also, outside on the museum grounds, they had an old conning tower from another sub;  this one we were able to climb on and look through the periscope.  Very fun!!  We had an enjoyable afternoon.