The first time we visited the Missouri Botanical Garden, it was to see the Nature Connects Lego exhibition by Sean Kenney. When I heard that he had a new Lego exhibition, Nature Pop!, being hosted by Cheekwood Estate and Gardens in Nashville, I knew we were going to have to use our reciprocal membership to see it, too.
Let’s start with my very favorite piece from the installation…the Dodo bird. Not only do I love the way he designed the bird and baby, I also love that the colors of the sunset are used as a metaphor for extinction.
There was a wide variety of wildlife represented, with most of the pieces being found in and around the Children’s Garden.
Some of the pieces really need to viewed from all sides to fully appreciate them:
This deer family was another of my favorites. I especially like the way the colors from both parents are incorporated into the design of the baby…and the colors themselves are amazing!
This was an outstanding exhibition, and I’m really glad we had the chance to see it in person! Stay tuned for a look at the Lego rabbit collection in the Color Garden!
Our travels this summer might not yet be back to what they were in pre-COVID times, but we did actually go somewhere this year! Since we weren’t quite as busy as we have been on previous vacations, I’m just going to take a look at the whole trip instead of going day-by-day.
On Monday, we left for a short trip to Bowling Green, KY. Any visit to Bowling Green includes a meal from Zaxby’s. Fortunately, we have always done carryout, so that wasn’t even any different from our usual dinner.
On Tuesday morning, we drove into Nashville to visit Cheekwood Estate and Gardens and see the Nature Pop! Lego exhibition by Sean Kenney. Both the sculptures and the estate were breathtaking!
We also drove down to the Cumberland riverfront to get a look at the Nashville skyline.
We were going to get lunch at Hattie B’s, one of the locations in Nashville known for hot chicken, but the line was unbelievably long, so we went to Chaney’s Dairy Barn and had ice cream for lunch instead!
Our day ended with a beautiful double rainbow!
On Wednesday, Bunny and I went with her grandparents to tour Western Kentucky University, where she is planning on attending after she finishes at community college:
And on Thursday, we visited the Aviation Heritage Park in Bowling Green, where we saw not only an authorized replica of Marine One, but also an aircraft flown by every astronaut who walked on the moon!
We also had an early birthday celebration for Bunny that night:
We were up early on Friday morning to head home, but we did stop for donuts at the Donut Bank on the way:
It was a little challenging coming up with fun things to do outside in the summer heat, (I wanted to go to a Bowling Green Hot Rods game, but between the temperatures and the fact that I’m still a little hesitant to be in a big crowd, even outdoors, made me table that for the time being), but we found something to do every day, and it was so nice to get away for a bit!
We actually went somewhere more than 90 minutes from home!
On Tuesday, we visited Cheekwood Estate and Gardens to see the Nature Pop! Lego exhibition by Sean Kenney. We also stopped by the Riverfront Landing so we could get a good view of the Nashville skyline.
It was so nice to get away from home for a few days!
Hymn of the Week–“Go, My Children, with My Blessing” (Lutheran Service Book #922)
This is the final wrap-up for the 2020-21 school year!
On Sunday, we visited the Missouri Botanical Garden…not really a field trip, but we’ve gone so few places in the last 15 months, I thought it deserved a mention.
As for the school week, we just worked on finishing everything up. Turkey, Bunny, and Ladybug submitted their final final papers…I was very impressed with the wide range of topics they chose (Turkey looked at the character of Frank Burns from M*A*S*H and why he’s no longer a caricature and thus no longer funny, Bunny wrote about whether Benedict Arnold was a hero or villain, and Ladybug discussed major events of WWII). Moose finished up his year of distance learning…it certainly wasn’t an easy way to experience his first year of high school, but he did a great job! Turkey, Bunny Ladybug, and Chickadee all finished their final science chapters. Ladybug and Chickadee were also excited to take a look at the crystals they’ve been growing:
And then the day I’ve been dreading all year…Turkey’s and Bunny’s graduation day. I’m so proud of them, but I can’t believe I’m losing half of my students at once!
As always, we ended the year with a Lego set…this time, the Medieval Blacksmith. It’s a really cool set…I especially love the color scheme!
One last time…my students:
This year has been, at times, impossibly difficult, and I wasn’t always sure how we’d make it through. Now that it’s over, though, I find that I’m sad to see it go. It was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime situation, with all five children learning at home all year. While I hope never to live through a pandemic again, we definitely made a lot of memories, and there are things I will definitely miss.
To end the school year, I will leave you with some wise thoughts from Wade:
Hymn of the Week–“Lift Every Voice and Sing” (Lutheran Service Book #964)
We made it through another week of February!
Turkey and Bunny used the first derivative to find optimizations in calculus. They learned all about the structure of the eye in advanced biology…but we postponed the eye dissection lesson until a later date. They took an abbreviated Myers-Briggs questionnaire in psychology. We’re getting close to the end of A Tale of Two Cities.
Ladybug continued using the quadratic formula in algebra, and she also learned how to complete the square. She finished her study of Treasure Island. She and Chickadee learned about the Holocaust in history, which is a hard topic to teach and learn about. She also read Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl. We began reading about the Bill of Rights in her study of the US Constitution.
Chickadee continued to review division in math. I introduced her to prepositions in grammar. She started a literature study of Charlotte’s Web. We also started reading More About Paddington. In science, she learned more about pterosaurs.
Today, we had a half day of school, and worked on a new Lego set in the afternoon:
This isn’t about books about Lego, although we certainly have plenty of those:
But about books made out of Lego. They’ve been making books for a while now, including a Lego Ideas pop-up book (which we don’t have), and some cute free-with-purchase sets that we’ve collected over the years:
The newest addition to the Lego books family is the Hogwarts Moments collection, which is a set of four, each featuring a different Hogwarts class/house (plus another cute free-with-purchase, the Monster Book of Monsters):
I had foolishly hoped to have these sets for the children on Epiphany, but that was unrealistic on pretty much every level (although, under normal circumstances in a regular year, it was not out of the realm of possibility). The sets finally arrived yesterday, and they had fun building them in the afternoon.
The way each set unfolds for play is pretty incredible, and they were able to pack a huge number of details into a small space.
I really love how clever these sets are, and I’m curious to see if they create more like them in the future!
Chickadee has been saving her money to buy a LEGO Friends set for months. Once she had the money, the set proved a little tricky to track down, but I was finally able to order it for her from Target, and it arrived today…she was very excited to get to work, and built it pretty quickly!
I’m not sure exactly when LEGO came up with the idea, but it’s the perfect way to spend the day after Christmas, especially for a family that always receives at least a few LEGO sets as gifts!
The Fab Five received The Child as a Christmas present, and I’ve also been hanging on to 123 Sesame Street for a special occasion, so those were the two sets we built today. At the same time. On the same table. Which was a bit confusing, but we managed to keep the pieces separate for the most part.
They’re both beautiful sets!
Of course, pretty much any day is LEGO Build Day in our house (we just finished Lego Diagon Alley as an Advent project), so I’m sure it won’t be too long before we have another set to work on!
If there’s anything that didn’t change too much for us this year due to COVID-19, it was Thanksgiving. That’s not to say things weren’t different at all, but we never travel for Thanksgiving, so at least we didn’t miss that, and we don’t always have family over, so while we missed seeing them, it wasn’t necessarily expected either. So, a lot of our three-day Thanksgiving holiday looked pretty much the same, starting with Pie Day on Wednesday, when we baked eight pies (seven for our family, and this year, one to give away).
In the middle of the baking, the children also made their yearly hand-and-footprint turkeys…Turkey and Bunny were kind enough to play along again this year at my request, since it is their last year in my homeschool.
We watched a very different version of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thanksgiving morning (in the words of Al Roker, it wasn’t the parade we wanted, but it was the parade we needed), which we enjoyed very much because it was something somewhat familiar. The same went for the National Dog Show, which was extra exciting for me this year because the dog I wanted to win actually did! And then we got ready for dinner. One of the best parts of any holiday is setting the table:
And the food. There was a lot of food, even with the turkey mishap we had in the morning (I ended up having to throw out the turkey I had purchased to roast, and we decided to order a second Beast Craft BBQ smoked turkey to ensure we had enough leftovers).
It’s always a pretty-looking dinner!
After clean-up and Holiday Inn, I got out the pies:
I limited myself to trying two kinds. This was my first attempt at lemon meringue pie, and I was very pleased with the results!
I made sure to play Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and helped Franklin prepare his holiday feast:
The day after Thanksgiving has been pretty different. We didn’t get to see Moose march in our town’s Santa Parade this year, which was disappointing…I’d really come to enjoy that event. And there was no town tree lighting or gingerbread house walk or trolley ride to look forward to after dinner. This morning, though, the family traditions did continue with pie-for-breakfast:
And turkey sandwiches for lunch, which I almost like better than Thanksgiving dinner itself!
Lego building is also part of our day-after-Thanksgiving celebration…I built the free-with-purchase A Christmas Carol set we received:
I always make turkey soup for dinner the day after Thanksgiving:
And after dinner, the Fab Five built a Lego Harry Potter set to add to our Hogwarts setup in the school room.
It wasn’t exactly the Thanksgiving we had planned, but all things considered, we had a very nice family celebration!