The 1820 Colonel Benjamin Stephenson House

A few weeks ago, I accompanied my daughter and her third-grade class on a field trip to The 1820 Colonel Benjamin Stephenson House.  Having recently visited Conner Prairie, an interactive 1800s historical park, it was nice to view a similar piece of the nineteenth century, one located in our own backyard.

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Upon arrival, no time was wasted (which I like) as our group was led into the orientation room by a female docent dressed in period clothing.  Here we viewed a video explaining the history of the Stephenson family in Illinois, highlighting their time in Edwardsville and this Stephenson House. 

Once the video was complete, we were ushered outside where a male docent (again, in period dress) with quite a sense of humor explained the architecture of the house both inside and out. 

From there, our group entered a separate building which housed the kitchen.  Educating us on the particulars of canning and food preservation, students were given the opportunity to string beans for drying above the fireplace and tamp down the cabbage for the purpose of making sauerkraut. 

Our final station consisted of learning how water was transported by the use of a shoulder yoke and how those living in the 1800s cleaned their clothing.  Again, this interactive tour allowed students to try on a shoulder yoke as well as stir the laundry in the boiling pot and attempt to remove stains by the use of a washboard.

Disappointed our tour had come to an end, I look forward to revisiting the Benjamin Stephenson House while my daughter looks forward to Mrs. Lucy’s Academy for Young Ladies, a summer camp offered at The 1820 Colonel Benjamin Stephenson House.

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Three Times Lucky

So, my oldest daughter finally passed over her copy of Sheila Turnage’s Three Times Lucky, the book her buddy Miss G. selected for their third-grade book club; I was not allowed to begin reading until she was completely finished.

Winner of the Newbery Honor Book, a New York Times Bestseller, an Edgar Award Finalist, and an E.B. White Read-Aloud Honor Book, my eyeballs were drooling at the thought of cracking open this book.

Immediately confronted with colorful characters such as the Colonel and Miss Lana as well as characters which will melt your heart as in protagonist Mo who gives vinegar bottles, full of notes addressed to her unknown mother, to the local townspeople who gladly throw them over bridges for her in the hopes they may find their way to her mother.

In fact, my hub was wearing a Heisenberg t-shirt the other day,  the one with Walter White’s face on the front, and my daughter proclaimed, “That man looks just like Detective Joe Starr!”  Starr, a male main character Mo didn’t like due to the “hook of his nose, or the plane of his cheekbones . . . [and] the way he didn’t smile”  (13).  Of course, I had to quickly turn my back to disguise the tears of joy running down my face at this unfolding, before those same eyeballs (mine), of literacy in action.

Three Times Lucky, while containing some heavy themes (domestic violence, alcoholism, murder), does so in a manner which is not only digestible for the young reader but also educational.

With my oldest looking forward to discussion of Turnage’s book at an actual cafe, Sgt. Pepper’s Cafe in Edwardsville, I am looking forward to witnessing firsthand the love of reading at this young age.

Update:  Discussion rocked at Sgt. Pepper’s Cafe.  Topics spanned from the many combinations which represent family to the yummy ice cream which topped off our savory lunches.  Yummers!

Next discussion:  Miss Kirstin’s pick of Magic Kitten:  A Summer Spell

Daisies Donate to the Dogs (and Cats) of MEHS

As a requirement for earning the 3 Cheers for Animals Girl Scout journey patch, Daisy Troop #48 donated items to our local animal shelter.  With a trunk full of dog food, paper towels, and bleach, we headed to The Metro East Humane Society (MEHS) located in Edwardsville, IL.

Upon arrival, we were greeted by a friendly, informed young man who brought a cart to our trunk in order to ease the unloading.  Once inside, he suggested a picture be taken with our donations.  Three Daisies, Miss Ava, Miss Piper, and Miss Colette, and assorted siblings gladly smiled for this photo opportunity.  We were then granted full access to the kennels housing the dogs in need of adoption as well as the cats and kittens.

Not a dry eye was had by any one of the mommas on the tour.  The sight of animals desperate for loving homes definitely pulled at our heart strings.  Personally, I lingered in front of Chloe, a lab mix, far too long (according to the hub’s head shakes) to the point where I imagined she would make an ideal playmate for our Daisy. . .

Before exiting we asked the two workers specifics regarding the animals at this no-kill shelter.  Thrilled not only with the cleanliness of the facility, I was relieved to learn canines are walked and given time for play on a daily basis.

If pet adoption is on your mind, consider an animal rescue where furry friends need love.  If feeling the urge to volunteer, consider an animal rescue which is always in need of volunteer walkers.  If looking to donate, please consider an animal rescue.  You will be glad you did.