Laura Plantation

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We had the great opportunity to visit a plantation while we were in New Orleans and there were quite a few to choose from. Marisa wanted to go to the Laura Plantation because she had heard the stories told in the tours were amazing.

The plantation house isn’t as majestic looking as the house at Oak Alley but it was still impressive. It was formed and created kind of like a prefabricated house. They cut the wood and planned how the house would be built. This picture shows the numbers carved into the support structures that were used to follow the plans for building the house,

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The Laura Plantation is one of a series of plantations that were started along the Mississippi river as it approached New Orleans. It’s main crop was sugar cane and it’s main source of labor were slaves.

The house was set up to take advantage of the breeze that would flow from the Mississippi. The doors could be opened in a specific way that would allow a breeze to flow through the whole house.

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There were a lot of interesting family stories and it was fascinating to hear about the rise and success of the plantation and then the subsequent fall.

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A lot of the stories were about the Duparc family and the dynamics of how they interacted with each other as the farm was passed from generation to generation. There were some stories about the slaves although there wasn’t as much about them because there wasn’t a lot of written history from the slaves or about them. The main information available about the slaves was the inventories that were taken when farm ownership was passed down the generations. This is a list of slaves and their values.

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It was heartbreaking to hear about the treatment of the slaves. Some of them left during the Civil War to fight with the Union, only to return to the plantation after the war because they didn’t know what else to do. The plantation did really well after slavery became illegal. The main reason was because the slaves didn’t know life outside the plantation so they didn’t leave. Prior to the war all of their necessities like food and housing were paid for. After the war the plantation owners paid them a wage but they would charge rent for housing and charge exorbitant rates for food and other necessities in plantation stores which allowed them to continue with slavery. It was sad but eye opening to hear about this.

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Ancestors to the saves continued to work on the plantation and live in the same housing that there grandparents live in until the 1970’s when the plantation was finally shut down. I am glad that tourism continues to support these plantations so we can see their history and try to learn from the past.


Reliving Marisa’s Childhood

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One of Marisa’s favorite childhood memories of living in Houston was going out to the pond to catch turtles. She knew that Madeline would love it so she took her out to experience the same wonder that she used to feel.


They caught a turtle to have as a pet for a few days while we visited family. I refused to let them keep it. We are not collecting animals while we live in a fifth wheel. Maybe we can get one later. They went back and released the little turtle back into the wild. Click on the link below to see them set the little guy free.

Children’s Museum Houston

The museum district in downtown Houston is pretty awesome. There are 19 different museums all located in the same area of town. We visited the Children’s Museum as it is part of our ASTC Travel Passport program through Thanksgiving Point in Utah.

I didn’t get a lot of good pictures but the museum was pretty nice with a lot of different activities and learning opportunities. The highlight of the museum for our younger kids was a Kids Town Area. When you go in you receive a debit card. There were places for kids to work and earn money which they could put on their card. They could work at a grocery store, bank, stock exchange, restaurant, art museum, news station, among other things. Madelyn decided to be an artist. Mason decided to try his hand at commodities trading. News reports would come out on the trading floor and he would decide to buy or sell. Pretty fun.

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After earning money and putting it on the debit card, they were able to go and spend the money in a grocery store, or a restaurant. They had a lot of fun.

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There were some great climbing areas and places to run around inside and outside the museum.

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We also enjoyed learning about atoms and molecules and we attempted to build molecule models from atoms. Reece is pretty proud of his caffeine molecule/

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Plan on spending 3 to 4 hours at the museum to be able to spend time with all of the activities.


Friends From a Far off Place


The night we arrived in the Casa Grande RV park we met the Jendens. It was so nice to meet people crazier than us. Why are they crazier? They are from New Zealand and decided to do an RV trip like us through the United States. Can you imagine leaving your life and traveling a country on the other side of the world? They are my new heroes.

Sometimes you just meet people and you feel like you have known them a long time. This is how we felt about the Jendens. It was so awesome for our kids to spend time with others their age. We did quite a few tihngs together as you will see over the next few posts, and I’m sure we will meet up with them again. You can follow their adventure on their blog.

Good friends always help you learn and they taught us some great New Zealand terms …..although we can’t get the accent down.

Bits and Pieces: Stuff

Example: We ran over to the store to get some bits and pieces for dinner.

Lolly: Candy

Example: After school I would go buy a pocket full of lollies.

Chilly Bin: Cooler

Example: Put the soda in the chilly bin to keep it cold.

Caravan: Trailer or RV

Example: We live in a caravan.

Jandal: Flip flops

Example: Put on your Jandals before going to the beach.

Dodgy: Bad

Example: Your Kiwi accent is a bit dodgy.

Togs: Swimsuit

Example: Wear your togs to the pool.



Mt Shasta and the End of The World

Lunar Eclipse02I was led to believe that the end of the world was going to occur on September 27th, 2015 after the fourth blood moon. On the potential last day on earth, we ended up in Mt. Shasta California, which was a great place to welcome in Armageddon. There is a nice end of the world vibe in the town that has the awe inspiring Mt Shasta looming over it. According to the The United States Geological Survey, Mount Shasta is a dormant volcano that will likely erupt in the future and rates it as a very high threat volcano. How is that for an apocalyptic harbinger? In fact, it seems that a good portion of the people in Mt. Shasta think the end is so near that they have stopped showering and combing their hair, not that there is anything wrong with that. Even with the looming threat hanging over them, we met some of the nicest people there.

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We drove up Mt. Shasta to Panther Meadows to watch the red moon rise. We set out a blanket, and I couldn’t help but sing Dead Moon Night to myself as we waited.

Lunar Eclipse01You might ask why I sang it to myself instead of out loud. The answer my friend is that Marisa hates Dead Moon so I try not to agitate her with the obvious beauty of their songs. As the sun went down and the red moon rose over the mountain my wonderful children said “Can we go now?” The whole event brought tears to my eyes.

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As we drove back down the mountain my eyes were in my rearview mirror watching for a pyroclastic cloud to envelop us and bring on the end. It didn’t happen. The world didn’t end…..but it still could. Live your life like it might be your last day. You never know when it will be.