Fort Toulouse, AL

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“Guest” Blog post by George
 
History has always been considered important to my family; it gives context to who we are, and insight to our future. If I had a time machine I would travel back to see each family generation as they were. Since that (currently) isn’t possible, living history is the next best thing. Fort Toulouse recently had their “French and Indian War” re-enactment day. This time period is the middle of the 18th century, where the first global conflict is raging, the Seven Years’ War, as France’s and Britain’s long-term rivalry erupts into a fight for supremacy. Earlier in the century, from a family perspective, our ancestors arrived in New France and were stationed at a Fort near Montreal. Fort Toulouse was built like many forts at the time, at a strategic position overlooking a bend in the regions significant waterway. Despite being built in an area claimed by three major powers, no battle was ever fought at the fort. My guess is because European settlement was low in the area. The area didn’t see any real importance until General Jackson arrived in the area during the Creek War, and ordered Fort Jackson built on the site.
The Fort is certainly worth visiting for anyone in the Montgomery, Alabama area. The area remains undeveloped, aiding the step back into the past. A replica fort sits on the site, and was alive with activity as French soldiers and civilians went about their daily life. We arrived in time to see the local garrison form up, march, and raise the Kingdom of France flag used during the time of King Louis XV. The children spoke with locals as they spun wool, churned butter, baked bread, and went about their day. They met a Coureur des bois, a French-Canadian woodsmen who lived between the worlds of the French and the local natives. He was replacing the flint on his .69 caliber Charleville musket, a heavy weapon of ten pounds, in preparation for the upcoming skirmish with British forces. Outside the Fort we ventured into the nearby Indian outpost, and met the Muskogee (Creek) Indians. The children greeted using the Muskogee words the Coureur des bois had taught them. There they found children their age using rocks to crack open acorns, prime ingredient for the unique experience that is acorn bread. We visited the local merchants circled outside the fort, and spent some time with the Blacksmith as he quickly and expertly forged nails in rapid fashion. Next we journeyed westward to a field where a British unit was encamped. Guards patrolled the perimeter, and most of the unit was “enjoying” a lunch of dried meat and fruit, and slightly moldy bread. We spoke with a Royal Artilleryman about the unit’s one pound breech-loading swivel gun. He admitted it was cast with river boat defense in mind, and thus the limited bore, but felt it provided physiological advantage fighting land forces. We met a British Lieutenant that was dismayed at our small French flags, and expressed contempt for our ancestry. He extorted the virtues of the English way and was confident of victory in the upcoming battle.
We walked onward to the site of Fort Jackson, a sizeable frontier fort common to the Napoleonic era. Not much remains, raised dirt shows one bastion, and a small stone building. The rest of the fort site is defined by gentle earthen ditches and ridges. Further towards the river we saw a small, forested hill. Not much to look at now, but it was a ceremonial mound built by the Mississippian Indians over a thousand years ago. We made our way back to the field by the British encampment, where we watched the French and British forces engage in linear fashion. Unlike the skirmish earlier in the day, the Muskogee and Coureur des bois stayed in the relative safety of the trees since they didn’t have the advantage of surprise. The two lines of the regulars and militia approached and raked each other with musket volleys. Men dropped on both sides, but the British line eventually pushed the French off the field.
We left mid-afternoon, as the heat index was in the high eighties; Alabama has a humid subtropical climate. Despite the heat, I heartily recommend visiting the Fort Toulouse-Fort Jackson State Historic Site, particularly during re-enactments which bring the Fort to life and offer a glimpse into the past.

A Successful Lent 2017

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This has been the most successful Lent for me in a couple of years. I feel like I was finally able to fully let go and let God. This Lent felt different. I started out pessimistic about meeting any goals or guilt ridden from all the things I was doing wrong. It’s hard to explain but Lent happened when I needed it to even though I didn’t want it to.

As a family we gave up eating out. We made a special provision that if we found ourselves in a situation of needing quick food it had to come from a grocery store. You never realize how much you take eating out for granted until you give it up. Eating out is a convince for those times when I don’t feel like cooking and not always as a special treat. We did save some money but it was more than that. It was realizing that taking the time to make lunch before we went out for the day was worth it. Putting dinner in the crockpot earlier in the day when we have plans for the day became a must. It made me re-access my diet and the things I really shouldn’t eat. It was a good reminder of how blessed I am to have great kiddos who love to help make dinner.

We did not successfully finish the Mother Teresa book. It just got too hard to make sure we were doing everything. It just doesn’t fit our family. I think for us it works better to have 1 main family goal and everyone has their own personal goal. Next year we will try Lentopoly and see how that goes.

Resisting Happiness is what made my Lent so successful. It hits on the hard realities in a way that makes you want to try. They are easy tips that we all know but fight. It’s a video and a chapter in the book. There is also a study guide if you want more. I think I’ll use the study guide next time. It was that little push that I needed to do the things I keep saying I need to do. It also made me take inventory of things. The things I should do more and the ones I should do less. It got me to reach out to a friend I haven’t talked to much. I can’t even begin to express the many blessing I got from her emails. Her words were what I needed to hear. It was like I was finally listening to what God had been trying to get me to hear. I shed many tears but they helped me to heal and see things the way I once did. I was able to see what I needed to do more clearly. Thank you again Dear Friend!

We also made a point to go to confession as a family. It was one of those things that I had been missing. Carrying all my guilt as well as all the emotions from trying to be a good friend can sometimes be a lot to carry. Don’t think for a second that I will ever give up trying to help others. I’m not complaining. I’m just saying sometimes I let myself feel too much hurt and I need some extra help carrying the load. I’m very blessed to have people open their hearts to me.  I was happiest to get rid of the guilt. It was really holding me back.

The other amazing thing that reading Resisting Happiness did for me was to help me to see the Facebook was holding me down. It was wasting too much of my time, causing too much hurt, and making me worry too much about what people thought of me. I am very happy to say that there is a way to download all of your Facebook data. I can still use Facebook chat and I am already a much happier person after a week of my account being deactivated. I have all the memories I was so worried about losing and if someone on Facebook still wants to contact me they can. I know that some people will try to remind me of the things I am missing but those things aren’t worth the damage they were doing. Because of letting Facebook go I can spend alot more focused time on revamping the blog as well as the other things that keep me grounded.

If you want to continue our journey through pictures make sure to follow us on Instagram: Adventureswithsix

If you want to see some more kewl stuff check us out on pinterest: CrafteeKim

Happy Wednesday!

Anniston,AL Museum of Natural History

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I like to try and find places the kids have never been before or an educational area we haven’t touched on yet. I found out the the Anniston Museum of Natural History was going to have a presentation about animal teeth. It promised live animals so I knew that even Pooh and Baby Kermit would enjoy it. The other great thing is all of the kids really seem to love Science.

Anniston is about 2 hours from Montgomery so we tried to leave in order to arrive at the museum when it opened. Things didn’t go as planned but we did get there in enough time to walk through part of the museum before the presentation.

The presentation was amazing. The woman giving the class was great with the kids. She let the kids take turns answering and asking questions. She has actual skulls or replica fossils to pass around. The kids were able to touch them and inspect the teeth. She presented each animal and talked about its teeth and how it uses its teeth or lack there of. No one was allowed to touch the animals but all the kids respected this. I think the addition of being able to touch the skulls and replicas helped alot with this. Duke seem to get the most excited about the little Alligator. He talked the rest of the day about how he was gonna get his Uncle Kenny to get him an Alligator. The girls weren’t exactly happy about going about first but they really did enjoy the show. I know at least Duke and Bubbles know by looking at an animals mouth what type of food it eats. I call that a win.

After the presentation we went out side to take our lunch break. The kids really do start to act like they have never eaten by noon. I had taken the easy route that day and bought lunchables over our usual PB&J sandwiches.

The kids ate lunch pretty quickly because they were excited to go back inside and explore the rest of the museum. I think the kids favorite parts of the museum were the Birds of the Americas and Dynamic Earth. The took turns choosing a bird or birds to have their picture taken by. Of course Duke opted for the Alligator instead. I think his Uncle Kenny has turned him into a Gator fan. We probably could have spent another hour or so just wondering around taking everything in but we had plans to visit Kevin and Crystal at their house. We wrapped our trip there up with the purchase of some postcards for me to send to our nieces and nephews and were on our way.

This has got to be one of the best Natural History Museums we have ever been too. It is definitely a close second to the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in DC.  In you live in Alabama or are planning a trip this is a must see. It was totally worth driving out of our way to see.

 

Medieval Projects 2017

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The older four kiddos were assigned a project in which the theme was Medieval put they were able to chose the way they presented it. The criteria was taken from The Alabama Medieval Fantasy Festivals very own classroom guide. There is a list of possible chooses and how you would rank from King to Serf. The kids chose their projects based on their talents. We recorded each kiddos presentation on our youtube channel. Click here to watch Bubbles sing a song about Knights. Click here to watch Pippi talk about Castles. Click here to watch Duke talk about Dragons. Click here to watch Jem talk about Medieval cooking.

Please take the time to watch each video, make comments, and like your favorite one. I will release the video of the winner next week. Who do you think won?

 

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