Betsy and Tacy's Lemonade Stand

The Betsy-Tacy Society had a conference last week and asked if the girls would be willing to run a lemonade stand for their attendees.  The girls said yes, and happily donned some old fashioned outfits to play the part.

I even joined in, looking very silly in a dress my mother made (for herself) years and years ago and a completely unmatching hat!  🙂  I felt foolish, but the girls loved it.  Sometimes it’s worth it to look a bit silly!

Here’s pics….

(that’s me and the boys in the background)

(the girls & I played charades for a while & they loved it!)

(this pic perfectly captures the girls!)

(free T-shirts as a thank-you gift for helping!)

It was a fun day!

Back Stage with Victoria and Annalee

Last Saturday I sent my camera to the pageant with Victoria and Annalee and asked them to take some pics for me.  It has been such a busy week that I haven’t posted them yet but I thought I’d offer their glimpse of pageant life…

Mulling around back stage beforehand

Daddy practicing his dulcimer

A bovine castmate

Crowds starting to gather out front

Victoria and a friend

Victoria with the director (also the local school principal!)

Makeup time for Annalee

Self portrait


Jack has been playing math games on the computer.  There are so many wonderful free sites with neat stuff.   (I just clicked on the games tag here to find a couple of good sites this morning, plus he did CyberChase games at PBS kids.)

Anna woke up at 6 a.m. ready to take on the day.  Alex woke up at 6 a.m. ready to take on the day.  Anna took Alex outside for an hour so Daddy and I could sleep in.  Sweet!

Victoria and I played Factor Captor (see yesterday’s entry) and she beat me.  Anna and I played yesterday and Victoria and I also played last night.  This is a really fun way to memorize math facts and practice mental addition!

Daddy took Alex and Anna to Windom for supplies, since I took the girls Tuesday and broke down when we were nearly there.  I promised Anna that Daddy would get her an ice cream cone as a thanks for all the times she watched Alex today.

Daddy and Jack made refrigerator pickles last night from farmstand cukes we got down the road.  Alex gobbled half of them up and Jack has been madly munching the raw cucumbers we had leftover.  He made me promise to get more cukes ASAP.  It turns out he loves them.  I can handle that!

We all have been harvesting our first garden tomatoes this week (mostly cherry tomatoes), along with lots of raspberries.  I love it when my kids can snack from the back yard.

Victoria and I did a math exam today from some school site.  It was partly fun, partly nervewracking (very creative questions!) and partly depressing.  I am supposed to be up here googling how to find the prime factorization of 240 using exponents, but I forgot and I think I’m going to go down and invite Victoria and Jack to go play badminton.

It’s a beautiful summer day.  Math can wait.  🙂

Factor Captor!

Here’s a fun way to learn about factors and practice multiplication facts.  You can play online here (and read the full rules) or draw the grid and use x marks or markers to cover the numbers as you use them.  Basically, you take turns picking numbers and then your opponent gets points for all of the numbers that are factors (that have not been taken already).  If she misses any, you get those points too.  You can’t pick a number that has no factors left or you lose your turn.


I pick 25.  I get 25 points.

You mark 5 and 1 because they are the only factors of 25 besides itself (1×25=25, 5×5=25).  You get 6 points.  You pick the next number and pick 27.

I mark 9 and 3, since they are the only factors of 27, so I get 12 points.  I mark 29.  Oops!  I lose my turn because there are no factors of 29 left on the board (1 is taken already and I’m marking 29).

And so on.  Play continues until there are no eligible numbers left, and then the players add up their points.

You have to be careful, since some numbers have so many factors they add up to more points than the number itself (like 30, which gets your opponent 42 points!).

There’s division, multiplication, addition and strategy.  And it’s just fun.  🙂

This would be a great “stuck in the waiting room” game or a good game to play on the back of a paper placemat to stay busy in a restaurant too!

Random Links and Random Thoughts

Life has been so busy lately and there have been so many things I’ve wanted to post but haven’t gotten to yet.

A few random links that I found cool or useful…

This painting of famous people who influenced history has wikipedia tags for each person.  I really want to go back and check some out.  I seem to have woefully little knowledge about Asian history.

I love this picture a reporter from the Marshall Independent took of Daryl holding a sleeping Alex.  🙂

I’m intrigued by this recipe for lower sugar, easy strawberry freezer jam.

This site has links to all kinds of resources for grades 1-3 (scroll past the classroom links) and I want to explore it when I have the time to see if I can find some fun games or other nifties.

Here’s a free PDF sample of Scholastic’s DynaMath to download and print.  It looks like a neat way to do some math and seems to be geared at middle elementary ages.  From my first glance at it, it looks very fun, creative and colorful!

I also want to make some yoyo balloons with the kids and I like Rhubarb Sky’s list of stuff to try out.

Stuff we’ve been doing lately…

  • The girls have been reading classic poetry from this little velvet book someone gave us.  They fight over who gets to read next!  🙂  We’ve been reading Shakespeare, Lovelace, Noyes, Browning, Poe and lots more.  They read first (with great drama) and then I read line by line and explain new words and put it in modern context (often with some humor and sarcasm).  Anna dearly loves Poe’s “Annabelle Lee” and practically knows it by heart.  I gave her a picture book based on it for Christmas one year and wrote a sweet note in it, and she has loved it ever since.  She also loves “The Raven.”  All of us love “The Highwayman” and the girls think it’s neat that my mom used to read it to me at bedtime and cry at the end and now I read it and despite myself I cry at the end too.  I’m a sap!  Favorite part for all of us– “I’ll come to thee by moonlight, tho hell should bar the way!”.  We’re all about drama in this family!
  • The boys are over their flus and Victoria is slowly getting better but still off her game.  This has been a tough year for us in terms of sickness and sinus infections and such.  Daryl and I are still rather sick too with some sort of upper respiratory and sinus illnesses.  We’re all sort of weak and miserable, and hoping it ends soon!
  • Jack has been doing paper quilt squares for a swap the kids are doing.  The girls just started theirs.  It’s nice to get into some visual art again.
  • I bought an underwater creature Knex set yesterday and we all love it.  Best $7 spent in a long time!  It even comes in a sturdy plastic carry case with a handle, and has enough parts to make a lot of really nifty looking beasties and machines and odditities.
  • Alex is in love with his new Sandra Boynton book, What’s Wrong, Little Pookie? We all love SB books here!
  • There has been all sorts of mayhem at the pageant lately.  On Friday night, the director decided that some characters should carry torches during one scene, despite the fact that they’d never done so before or rehearsed it.  He said “I have to keep you on your toes.”  They were really on their toes when some brush accidentally caught fire!  It was a small fire and not a biggie, but I’m hoping the director (a very nice guy and also our local school principal) learned something!  😉  There have also been glitches with lighting, missed lines that led to great ad libbing and other pitfalls of doing live theater.  They’re all rocking it, though, and Daryl has had people approach him in Walnut Grove and Mankato who recognized him from the pageant.  That’s pretty neat!
  • We’ve been doing some fun home ec (making popovers, lollipops, homemade butter…), and travel (Mankato, Elysian, day trips to local festivities).
  • We’ve been playing tons of games– Swap (a fun card game), Catch Phrase and Zeus on the Loose to name a few.  I want to keep this up, because we all really enjoy it.
  • I’ve got to change for the Farmers’ Market, braid a little girl’s hair, redress a little boy who keeps losing his pants, and go get more tasty goodies.  More later!

The Wilder Pageant on the News

A Minneapolis news crew came and did a story about the Wilder Pageant last weekend.  Unfortunately, they only filmed during rehearsal so they missed out on the real experience (it happens after dark and there is an exciting fire scene and it has a whole different feel) but this is a great peek at the pageant and the little town of Walnut Grove.  🙂

Here’s the link (the video is on the upper right).  It was neat for us to see all of the people we knew in the video (pretty much everybody they talked to!), even though the girls weren’t filmed.

A Day at the Walnut Grove Family Festival

During pageant season, Walnut Grove is filled with tourists and there are lots of activities.   Every weekend they hold a Family Festival in the park with different fun each time.  Here’s a few pictures from last Saturday….

Making crafts

(With stage makeup still lingering from last night)

Playing games

Alex misses the point of the bean bag toss and horse shoes!

Kids in the Nellie Look-alike Contest

(There were nearly 50 Lauras but only a handful of Nellies trying out.  The girls were judged on looking like the characters, acting out lines and knowing trivia about the Little House books.  Winners get to have small roles in the pageant that night.)

Prairie dresses and bonnets for sale

Fresh Hmong spring rolls hand rolled and fried as you wait (Walnut Grove has a large Hmong community now and great Hmong foods!)

A passing dad heard me tell Jack I didn’t have any cash to get him ice cream & handed him a dollar!  It was very sweet and made Jack’s day!  I had money back by Daryl but the man handed him the money & kept walking with a smile.  He seemed  so happy to make Jack’s day that I just thanked him gratefully.  I thought he set a wonderful example for his little boy & mine.  🙂

Costumed reenactors strolled around & demonstrated old-time skills

We had to try a lychee “nut” smoothie from the Hmong stand because we’d never had lychee nuts and it was educational!  😉  (It turns out they’re misnamed and are dried fruits and not nuts at all!  See, it was educational!)

The smoothie was delicious.  The lychee are rather tasteless, though, and have the consistency of really hard jello!

Then there were the pony rides….

And puppies!

Jack and Alex loved the treasure hunt in the dried corn

And I came home with this treasure, new and hand made, for $7!

I told Daryl I had no choice– it was pretty AND educational!  😉

Daryl says it’s incorrect because Nunavut isn’t on it.  We can study Nunavut elsewhere.  We’ve already dragged it out for lying in the sun, playing cards and using in the tent in the back yard.  I love it.

It was a wonderful day!  We also got a signed book and DVD about Jessie James and where he stayed when he was in the area (the Younger Brothers were captured nearby and family legend has it that Daryl’s great grandfather traded horses with Jessie James’ gang when they went through Elysian).  We made butter, saw friends, chatted with people who recognized Daryl and the girls from the pageant, played at the playground, bought trinkets and generally had a very nice day.

Daryl, Jack, Alex and Anna went again today and did more fun stuff.  Victoria and I stayed home and played games on the computer.  Some days it doesn’t matter how much fun there is to be had, you just want to stay home and putter.  🙂