Monday, June 29, 2015

Summer Hometown Tourist: A Birthday Party (and a Gift)

We've been working our way through a Summer Hometown Tourist agenda, but this week...we didn't do anything touristy! Instead, we deep cleaned our house to prepare for our son's 10th birthday party. We had to celebrate his arrival to double-digits!I broke my own rule this week--we didn't visit anywhere touristy. We had a birthday party, instead. My son turned 10, so we gave him a break and did some massive cleaning (I'm ashamed to admit that it was necessary).

So far, we've gone to Oakland Cemetery, Bolton Road, the Coke Museum, and Stone Mountain. This week, we cleaned. And cleaned. And cleaned.

Then we had a house full on Saturday.
We've been working our way through a Summer Hometown Tourist agenda, but this week...we didn't do anything touristy! Instead, we deep cleaned our house to prepare for our son's 10th birthday party. We had to celebrate his arrival to double-digits!
I said nothing about cooking....It's called Publix. :)
Last summer, my husband was between jobs, and we were in the process of moving, so we skipped a party on the 9th birthday. It was important to us to have one this year. The kid is officially double-digits.
We've been working our way through a Summer Hometown Tourist agenda, but this week...we didn't do anything touristy! Instead, we deep cleaned our house to prepare for our son's 10th birthday party. We had to celebrate his arrival to double-digits!
Look, new glasses and everything!
He is still working on his summer bridge activity, which you can get for free here. And we got to see a lot of family this weekend, so that was nice. His friends that I invited were out of town, unfortunately, but that's what he gets for having a summer birthday. I remember suffering the same with my July birthday, but he has awesome aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins.
We've been working our way through a Summer Hometown Tourist agenda, but this week...we didn't do anything touristy! Instead, we deep cleaned our house to prepare for our son's 10th birthday party. We had to celebrate his arrival to double-digits!
We don't do end times!
So, in honor of my son's double digits, I've got a limited-time gift for you--a mini-lesson on irony. I've actually used it in ELA and social studies (source analysis and irony). So, enjoy, and thanks for reading my summer series! Get it HERE.
The summer is waning, and next week we will hit the historic Marietta Square for 4th of July festivities. Do you have any suggestions for us during the last few weeks of summer? Leave a comment below, and let me know!


Thanks to RebeccaB Designs for the fantastic designs on this page, and Jewel Pastor and KGFonts for the fonts!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Summer Hometown Tourists: Stone Mountain Park

As we continue on with our Summer Hometown Tourist agenda, we visit Stone Mountain! This natural wonder in Georgia has a dark history, but it makes for a fun - and history-filled - adventure for folks visiting the Atlanta area. Click through to read more about what all you can do when you visit Stone Mountain!
I'm a little late with this post because we had a minor emergency at our house today. My brother-in-law's adorable schnauzer ate her flea pill last night AND my pug's. We called the vet, and he said that there's a wide margin of error with these things, she should be fine, but we should monitor her for a couple of days.

The pills did make her sick, and this morning, she was extremely lethargic. Scary lethargic--she wouldn't even chase the cats.

As we continue on with our Summer Hometown Tourist agenda, we visit Stone Mountain! This natural wonder in Georgia has a dark history, but it makes for a fun - and history-filled - adventure for folks visiting the Atlanta area. Click through to read more about what all you can do when you visit Stone Mountain!
At the Vet
I called the vet again, and he said to bring her in. She was extremely dehydrated, so the vet injected her with fluids. Now she looks like a camel. She is lying on the couch, covered in a blanket, but at least she is improving.
As we continue on with our Summer Hometown Tourist agenda, we visit Stone Mountain! This natural wonder in Georgia has a dark history, but it makes for a fun - and history-filled - adventure for folks visiting the Atlanta area. Click through to read more about what all you can do when you visit Stone Mountain!
Poor Pup :(

Moral of the story--be careful with those flea pills!
As we continue on with our Summer Hometown Tourist agenda, we visit Stone Mountain! This natural wonder in Georgia has a dark history, but it makes for a fun - and history-filled - adventure for folks visiting the Atlanta area. Click through to read more about what all you can do when you visit Stone Mountain!
They are very happy for the moment.

So now that the crisis is averted, I can focus on my blog and all the fun we had this past week.

My family's summer bridge activity continues with a natural wonder that is unique to Georgia. If you're just joining me, we've also taken a tour of Oakland Cemetery, had an epic adventure on Bolton Road, and perused the Coke Museum.

But no tourists worth their salt would dream of visiting Georgia without going to...

Stone Mountain Park

Let me just say that if you've never seen Stone Mountain, you should go immediately. It's stunning.
As we continue on with our Summer Hometown Tourist agenda, we visit Stone Mountain! This natural wonder in Georgia has a dark history, but it makes for a fun - and history-filled - adventure for folks visiting the Atlanta area. Click through to read more about what all you can do when you visit Stone Mountain!
The carving is 2 football fields in length and 400 feet tall.
Like many attractions in Atlanta, the mountain has a dark past. 

As we continue on with our Summer Hometown Tourist agenda, we visit Stone Mountain! This natural wonder in Georgia has a dark history, but it makes for a fun - and history-filled - adventure for folks visiting the Atlanta area. Click through to read more about what all you can do when you visit Stone Mountain!
From the Atlanta Constitution, Nov. 28, 1915, in the public domain
Stone Mountain was privately owned before the state purchased it in 1958. The previous owners allowed the Ku Klux Klan to host its "grand opening" ceremony (complete with cross-burning) atop the mountain in 1915 and extended an indefinite invitation for them to hold their festivities there. 

The engraving was begun in 1916 and completed in 1972. Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, and Stonewall Jackson are all depicted astride their favorite horses.






Today the park is filled with family fun from sun-up to sun-down--miniature golf, train-rides, a petting zoo....
As we continue on with our Summer Hometown Tourist agenda, we visit Stone Mountain! This natural wonder in Georgia has a dark history, but it makes for a fun - and history-filled - adventure for folks visiting the Atlanta area. Click through to read more about what all you can do when you visit Stone Mountain!


But the best feature of the day is the laser show. It begins at 9:30 P.M. when it's nice and dark. I hadn't been to the laser show in years--probably about 25 (when the show first began).  Lights in picture form are projected on the engraving, there are fireworks, and lots of great music.

My favorite part of the show was the tribute to Georgia singers--REM, James Brown, Ray Charles....But Gladys Knight was noticeably missing.

Stone Mountain powers-that-be--where is Gladys? Don't you know that she took the "Midnight Train to Georgia"? It was originally the "Midnight Plane to Houston."

But the most interesting thing about the show (to me) is how much it's changed over the years. They still play Elvis's rendition of "Dixie", and the horsemen still ride off the mountain, but that is no longer the highlight of the show. While that used to be the climactic ending, the ending now is the "Star Spangled Banner" and a tribute to the U.S.A. as opposed to the Confederacy.

Anyone who was raised here will recognize the significance--it's a celebration of the United States over the Confederate ones.

You really have to be there, but here's a decent recording of a little bit of the laser show.

It was a fun day for all of us. My son slept soundly through the church service the next day.

What's your favorite place to visit in your town? Have you been to Stone Mountain? Leave a comment below to let me know!


Thanks to RebeccaB Designs for the fantastic designs on this page, and Jewel Pastor and KGFonts for the fonts!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Summer Hometown Tourists: World of Coke

If you've been following along on my family's Summer Hometown Tourist agenda, then it's time you get caught up on our next touristy adventure - visiting the World of Coca-Cola! Click through to read more about what you can do and learn at the World of Coke, which is based in Atlanta.If you're just joining me, you've hit week 3 of my family playing tourists in our hometown, Atlanta. You can read about our tour of Oakland Cemetery Here and our fiasco on Bolton Road Here.

All caught up? Good!

Now you're ready to read about the most touristy thing anyone in Atlanta can do....

Visit the World of Coke


If you've been following along on my family's Summer Hometown Tourist agenda, then it's time you get caught up on our next touristy adventure - visiting the World of Coca-Cola! Click through to read more about what you can do and learn at the World of Coke, which is based in Atlanta.
My sister's three kids with my son. Behind them are four giant coke bottles donated from New York, China, New Zealand, and Argentina for the 1996 Olympic games.
We're very excited that my sister and her family have moved back to Georgia after 11 years of wandering in the wilderness of Pennsylvania and Florida. We are still coming to terms with the reality that two of her children were born up North. But we will forgive them and introduce them to their new hometown, Atlanta, in an attempt to undo any possible damage that 11 years away have wrought. ;)

If you've been following along on my family's Summer Hometown Tourist agenda, then it's time you get caught up on our next touristy adventure - visiting the World of Coca-Cola! Click through to read more about what you can do and learn at the World of Coke, which is based in Atlanta.The World of Coke is essentially a giant homage to the history of one company's brilliant marketing strategies and is itself a brilliant marketing strategy. It says little about the company's founding story, which I find so fascinating, and focuses instead on its global reach, attempting to create a narrative that coke=happiness. The museum does this successfully.





Coke was born out of  the final (arguably) battle of the civil war. It took place in Columbus, Georgia after Appomattox (they hadn't gotten the message yet). A pharmacist named John Pemberton was injured in the battle and subsequently became hooked on morphine to ease the pain.

If you've been following along on my family's Summer Hometown Tourist agenda, then it's time you get caught up on our next touristy adventure - visiting the World of Coca-Cola! Click through to read more about what you can do and learn at the World of Coke, which is based in Atlanta.
A restored soda fountain from Tombsboro, Georgia, ca. 1880.
He began searching for an alternative to morphine and invented French Wine Coca as a result. We all know, after all, that wine and cocaine are better for us than morphine, right? The product became popular, he sold the formula, it evolved over the years, and the rest is history.

At the museum, we learned about Coke's advertising history and how the product is bottled. We watched a 4-D film in which the seats moved and water was sprayed on us. We got to see the vault that holds Coca-Cola's secret hand-written formula.

If you've been following along on my family's Summer Hometown Tourist agenda, then it's time you get caught up on our next touristy adventure - visiting the World of Coca-Cola! Click through to read more about what you can do and learn at the World of Coke, which is based in Atlanta.
Coke owes its successful marketing to showing people having fun together with the product rather than simply describing it.
If you've been following along on my family's Summer Hometown Tourist agenda, then it's time you get caught up on our next touristy adventure - visiting the World of Coca-Cola! Click through to read more about what you can do and learn at the World of Coke, which is based in Atlanta.
"Seeing the sausage made"
If you've been following along on my family's Summer Hometown Tourist agenda, then it's time you get caught up on our next touristy adventure - visiting the World of Coca-Cola! Click through to read more about what you can do and learn at the World of Coke, which is based in Atlanta.
Top secret formula. What are those "natural flavors?"
 But the most fun was the tasting room. There are Coke drinks from all over the world, and you can sample as much as you'd like. This was a big hit with the kids, who were on a sugar high the rest of the day.
If you've been following along on my family's Summer Hometown Tourist agenda, then it's time you get caught up on our next touristy adventure - visiting the World of Coca-Cola! Click through to read more about what you can do and learn at the World of Coke, which is based in Atlanta.
My husband and son sampling coke from Asia
If you've been following along on my family's Summer Hometown Tourist agenda, then it's time you get caught up on our next touristy adventure - visiting the World of Coca-Cola! Click through to read more about what you can do and learn at the World of Coke, which is based in Atlanta.
Coke from Africa

If you've been following along on my family's Summer Hometown Tourist agenda, then it's time you get caught up on our next touristy adventure - visiting the World of Coca-Cola! Click through to read more about what you can do and learn at the World of Coke, which is based in Atlanta.

We were very happy to have made it this time. I successfully used the Google Maps App for the first time, and it only steered us wrong once.


Leave a comment below to share your summer adventures, and check back next Monday for more of mine.

Thanks to RebeccaB Designs for the fantastic designs on this page, and Jewel Pastor and KGFonts for the fonts!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Summer Hometown Tourists: Adventures on Bolton Road

Our Summer Hometown Tourist adventures are sailing right along, except with a few mishaps here and there. This week, we were supposed to go to a Civil War tour, but...I got lost. Read all about my misadventures and our long exploration of Bolton Road - and get a few good laughs - in this blog post!
Ah, Robert Burns, I know what you meant by "The best laid schemes!" On Saturday, my son and I were supposed to venture 15 minutes north of Atlanta, to the Marietta Square, to take a civil war walking tour. It turned into a tour of Bolton Road instead.

Now, before I begin with the account of our journey, let me say that I know this will make me seem, um, not smart. And technologically backwards. And--not smart.

Yes, I have a smart phone. No, I did not know how to utilize the google maps app. My husband has since taught me. To make matters worse, our first destination was my parents' house (the one I was raised in) to meet my aunt for the tour.

I had to explain to everyone that I got lost on the way to a place I've been a million times. The place I lived for so many years. "You did not get lost on the way to your parents' house." my husband said in disbelief. I'm afraid I did.

I have never had an overly keen sense of direction. I have been lost on countless occasions. I actually used to kind of enjoy it back when gas was only $0.89 a gallon. I like to drive aimlessly and see new things.

But I hadn't done something like that in years, and my son had never seen this side of me.

"I don't think you know where you are," he kept saying from the back seat.

I turned a 45 minute drive into a two and a half hour expedition. We have all kinds of tourist attractions planned this summer, and you can read about last week's tour of Atlanta's Oakland Cemetery HERE. But this week, I'm afraid you'll have to settle for...

Our Summer Hometown Tourist adventures are sailing right along, except with a few mishaps here and there. This week, we were supposed to go to a Civil War tour, but...I got lost. Read all about my misadventures and our long exploration of Bolton Road - and get a few good laughs - in this blog post!ADVENTURES ON BOLTON ROAD!

If you are not familiar with Bolton Road, it is part of a "no return access" exit off of I-285 (the Atlanta Bypass that circles the perimeter of the city). I chose 285 to save time. Going straight through Atlanta on a Saturday with events going on can be a traffic nightmare.

So, we were cruising along at the speed limit on 285, without a care in the world, when one exit down from my parent's exit, traffic stopped. It didn't just slow--it abruptly halted. Roadwork.
Our Summer Hometown Tourist adventures are sailing right along, except with a few mishaps here and there. This week, we were supposed to go to a Civil War tour, but...I got lost. Read all about my misadventures and our long exploration of Bolton Road - and get a few good laughs - in this blog post!

I made the executive decision to go ahead and exit at Bolton Road. I remembered from my youthful days of misdirection that Bolton Road intersects with the very road I was aiming for--South Cobb Drive. So we drove, and drove...and drove. No South Cobb Drive.

Finally, I saw a Marietta Drive. Ah--I was aiming for Marietta, so I hung a left, drove for a bit, when the road dead-ended. Oops.

So, I pulled over and locked my doors (among the lovely sights I was able to show my son were a gentleman passed out on the steps of a liquor store, dilapidated buildings, and an exchange of a small package on the street for cash). I used my smart phone (the one with the google maps app) to call my dad.

He knows the area well. Not because he partakes in the area's colorful activities, but because he was raised in Atlanta.

"What you want to do is..." he said, and then he began to sound eerily like an adult on Charlie Brown. 

"All right," I said. "Just get me to South Cobb Drive."

He explained to me that South Cobb Drive has a different name on that end of town--Jesse-something-or-another-Parkway.

Light bulb! I remembered crossing over Jesse-something-or-another-Parkway. I would simply go back the way I came and hang a--left? I thought he said--onto Jesse-something-or-another-Parkway.

So we drove back up Bolton Road. And drove. And drove. No Jesse-something-or-another-Parkway, but I was seeing some fabulously unkempt cemeteries that I hadn't remembered seeing before. I looked at a street sign. Not Bolton Road.

So I turned around and went back the way I came. Ah, a fork in the road I had missed. Back on Bolton Road, up to Jesse-something-or-another-Parkway, and a left. 

We drove for a while, and nothing looked familiar. I saw a street sign, and it didn't read Jesse-something-or-another-Parkway or South Cobb Drive. Uh-Oh.

Back on the phone with Dad. More Charlie Brown Adult Speak, and finally, "Just turn around. You're on the right road. You just went the wrong way."

But there was a lot of traffic heading in the opposite direction--and you've probably figured out how I feel about traffic. 

"Dad!" I said. "There's I-20!" 

I know I-20.

"Go west," he said, "and exit Fulton Industrial Boulevard. Head toward Mableton, and you'll hit Floyd Road."

Perfect! I know Floyd Road.

So, I did as instructed, but when I exited, no sign saying "This Way to Mableton." Eeny, meeny, miny, moe--Right it is.

But that was wrong, so I turned back around, fell into a couple of more mishaps, including passing Bolton Road two more times, when I finally saw the sign, "This Way To Mableton." So I turned right onto Fulton Industrial Boulevard, again, but from the opposite direction.


I drove, and drove, and drove, when I saw a street sign, and Fulton Industrial Boulevard had become--Bolton Road. 


I hit Jesse-something-or-another-Parkway, turned the correct way this time. In no time at all, it became South Cobb Drive, and I was in familiar territory.

Our Summer Hometown Tourist adventures are sailing right along, except with a few mishaps here and there. This week, we were supposed to go to a Civil War tour, but...I got lost. Read all about my misadventures and our long exploration of Bolton Road - and get a few good laughs - in this blog post!
My son--a bit wiser about his mother's limitations
We missed our civil war tour, but I am now very familiar with the Bolton Road area in Atlanta, and I learned that my son has a fair amount of patience, but he has (understandably) lost faith in his mother's sense of direction.

Next week, I will be writing about our trip to the Coke Museum, which we should make, as I now know how to use google maps.

Have you had a similar experience? If so, let me know in the comments. If not, and you think I'm a complete idiot, pretend like the comments do not exist.




Thanks to RebeccaB Designs for the fantastic designs on this page, and Jewel Pastor and KGFonts for the fonts!