Ladew Topiary Gardens

2016-05-14_001 On Mother's Day this year we visited Ladew Topiary Gardens. We had experienced a ceaseless string of cool, rainy days, so we were excited that Mother's Day dawned warm and sunny, allowing us to spend a whole afternoon exploring Ladew's expansive gardens.

2016-05-14_010

The kids loved all the little fountains and pools.

One was stocked with big colorful koi and we discovered a snake sunning himself on the rocks near another pond.

2016-05-14_003

2016-05-14_004

The azaleas were in full bloom. I think I loved the Japanese-inspired gardens the best. The shrubs cut like a boat in the middle of a little island with red sails was so whimsical!

2016-05-14_008

2016-05-14_012

2016-05-14_006

My mom joined us for our visit, which was perfect since she loves gardens so much.

2016-05-14_005

2016-05-14_0092016-05-14_002

This topiary above was shaped to look like a dog house with a dog leashed to it. It was a big hit with the kids!

2016-05-14_0132016-05-14_007

The building above was a tea house! It reminded me of something out of Pride and Prejudice where some rich Regency family would have tea that the servants would prepare after a turn in the gardens.

2016-05-14_014

2016-05-14_015

How cool is this topiary giraffe?

There is a house one can tour as well. I toured it the last time I visited, some 10 plus years ago. This time we did not. I would love to visit Ladew as the seasons change. Perhaps we can visit again in the summer when the roses are in bloom?

When You Need A Refuge: A Playlist

It was a particularly bad day. Tempers flared. Tears spilled. Angry words were spoken.

It was on that day I decided I needed a refuge: a musical one. I created a playlist that would speak God’s beauty and truth to my heart on days that spin in turmoil. A calm space to hide, if only on the inside, in the midst of life’s upheaval.

I'm over today at For the Family sharing a playlist of songs for when you need a refuge.

Shakespeare's Birthday Party!

"All the world's a stage and all the men and women merely players;

They have their exits and their entrances,

And one man in his time plays many parts . . ."

Last week we partied Elizabethan style! We celebrated Shakespeare's birthday!

It was something I'd wanted to do for a long time. I was so inspired and must first give credit to Ed Snapshots, My Little Poppies, and the Poetry Teatime websites for the wonderful ideas and resources they link to in their posts about Shakespeare.

We invited a bunch of homeschool friends over for a day to celebrate the Bard. First I gave a little introduction about who he was and how he is still influencing the way we speak. Then we watched this video produced by Shakespeare Birthplace Trust so they could get a look into Shakespeare's world.

Then it was time for some activities!

2016-05-02_001

The kids took turns at various "activity stations." There were Shakespeare word searches and coloring pages, a rousing game of Blind Man's Bluff, and a game of "pin the head on Bottom."

2016-05-02_002

2016-05-02_005

Then it was time to watch this animated summary of Romeo and Juliet to give the kids a taste for one of Shakespeare's most famous play. After this final video it was time for lunch! Everyone brought their own packed lunches and afterwards we ate Elizabethan-inspired honey cakes and sang Happy Birthday! While the kids were munching on their cakes I read a few sonnets from Shakespeare's Seasons.

2016-05-02_0032016-05-02_004This party was a lot of fun for me and I hope the kids enjoyed it too! It served as an introduction to Shakespeare for my kids and we are going to start reading this lovely Usborne Shakespeare Collection next year as part of our morning reading routine.

Have you introduced your kids to Shakespeare yet? If so, how did you go about doing it?