We arrived right as the wheat fields were ripening. The summer had a wave of hot days — earlier than what’s typical, so the wheat ripened quick in the head. Thankfully, the protein count was usable, so we were able to harvest as planned.
If you’ve never seen the process of harvesting wheat, check out this video:
I always tell folks that God must have a funny sense of humor, because I come from a long line of wheat farmers and I’m allergic to gluten. In fact, when our teenage twins experienced their first day of wheat harvest, one of my sons had a bad allergy attack – swollen eyes/stuffed up nose. Yep, he’s def’ my son! lol
Despite the allergies, I still love being part of bringing in the harvest and sharing it with our children.
(Below: our twins when they were two years old — standing in one of our wheat fields.)
5 Kids and a RV recommendations are based on personal experience and do not represent the business, agency, or not-for-profit we feature. We share our experiences in an effort to inspire parents to engage and explore with their children. As always, whenever trying something new, please use your own good judgement in what best suits the needs of your family to keep everyone safe while having fun.
5 Kids and a RV: “Let’s go learn something today.”
Ah Memphis… When I think of Memphis, I think of Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jazz music, and world class barbecue.
The night before we rolled into Memphis for the first time, we stayed outside the city and boondocked at a Super Walmart at Olive Branch that offered overnight parking.
RV Terminology: Boondocking is essentially camping without hookups and at no cost using public land or parking overnight with permission.
In the morning, I began to look into activities that we could do while also towing a travel trailer because we only intended to stay in Memphis for the day and then continue on to our next destination. When researching options, the key is to make sure there is adequate parking and sometimes that means calling ahead and having a game plan.
All my sons love music. My middle son (who is 11-years-old) he tends to be the one that wants to make music, so I asked him if he wanted to go see where Elvis lived and the museum that talked about this music legend. I realized I hadn’t done due diligence in teaching him about the King of Rock and Roll when he simply asked, “Who is Elvis?” (Gasp!)
So, I did a quick search on YouTube and played some videos of Elvis. I was shocked – my boy was unimpressed. When we weighed the cost of going to Graceland, I did not want to drop $171 when our family that didn’t have any interest. When traveling cross country, our goal in choosing activities was to keep it cheap to stretch resources and to make sure that things we chose to do would be something everyone wanted to take part in. So, right out of the gate, Graceland got bumped.
Graceland and Platinum Tour:
– Adults $40 ea x 2 = $80
– Youth (13-18) $36 ea x 2 = $72
– Youth (7-12) $19 ea x 1 = $19
– Child (under 5) $FREE TOTAL for Graceland Experience for 7 people = $171
That kind of money would purchase about 73 gallons of diesel (@ today’s cost of $2.35). And 73 gallons of diesel would take us about 728 miles (using our average 10 mpg when we tow.)
When I checked Trip Advisor, the number one rated thing to do was Sun Studios. The cost for our family would be $12 ea. x 4 adults = $48 (children 6-11 are free, so one child would be free in our situation.) The downside to this option was that there was no convenient place to park a travel trailer nearby AND they do not allow children 5 and under in (we’ve got two in this age range). So, Sun Studios was put on the “visit another time” list when we were in a better position to enjoy the experience.
We decided to check out the National Ornamental Metal Museum since our older two sons have been interested in taking up welding. But this museum is more about blacksmithing than welding and they include a one-of-a-kind apprenticeship program for those wanting to learn the art.
Our boys loved the sculptures in the garden and we enjoyed the quiet courtyard and the picnic tables that invited us to enjoy a picnic lunch.
Most interesting was how the docent explained to us how one goes about passing their Journeyman Bladesmith Certification by making a knife and what his/her knife must be able to do before being considered a work master craftsman. The make two knives — they make one for structure and one for aesthetics. The one made for structure goes thru a series of tests and ultimately is put in a vice and bent at a 90 degree angle. If it survives, the test is passed. (You can learn more by watching this video.)
If you’re looking for unique, one of a kind hand artisan gifts, check out their online store.
WHAT KIDS CAN LEARN THRU THIS EXPERIENCE:
The craft of metal working and the diversity of the trade and how much practice a skill requires to become good at it.
It took us about an hour-and-a-half to go thru the museum buildings and walk around the grounds. Here are the details for planning your budget and outing…
RV & Bus parking available along road outside of the museum. *Children must be accompanied by parent or guardian. Be sure to check their website before you visit to see if there are any other restrictions as things change from the time of this posting.
TIP: Bring a picnic lunch on a nice spring or fall day! They have a couple of picnic tables and a lovely courtyard. If you go on a Saturday or Sunday, you may be able to see a demonstration. Check the Web site for details.
Tuesday–Saturday / 10AM–5PM *Closed Mondays, Easter Sunday, July 4th, Thanksgiving Day, Dec 24-26, Dec. 31, and Jan 1. The Museum is CLOSED due to weather when Shelby County Schools are closed.
Demonstrations: Saturday and Sunday at 2:30 pm (forging) and 3:00 pm (casting), except when there are classes in the Metals Studios. Visitors are invited to watch classes. Please call to confirm demonstration schedule.
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5 Kids and a RV recommendations are based on personal experience and do not represent the business or not-for-profit we feature. We share our experiences in an effort to inspire parents and caregivers to engage and explore with their children. On occasion we may post a review or provide information as an affiliate.
5 Kids and a RV: “Let’s go learn something today!”
I’ve been using the built-in touch key pad on my mini iPad to write posts and I asked my husband if there was a better way of doing things. We first got a Zagg small external keypad 50% off at Best Buy (it was originally $110). It was the same size of my mini iPad and my fingers felt so crowded on the keypad that I could barely type without making mistakes. So that item got returned and I opted for the Apple wireless keyboard at Best Buy for $69 (but you can purchase online here). [The keyboard is pictured below with a rose my son picked from our yard.]
Look how thin and light it is! I love it! It pairs to my mini iPad automatically after setting up once thru my mini iPad’s bluetooth settings. All you have to do is turn it on (it’s “on” switch is that round circle on the end that you see there below).
The upside to the keyboard is not only a lighter weight keyboard that is larger to type on, or the fact that there are no cords to deal with, but the one draw back is no place on it to attach a stand (Apple Product Planners, take note of this needing an accessory option.) My husband and I looked at doing a Steelie Ball on the dash, but we were concerned at how the airbag, if deployed, would affect the safety of whoever (namely me) was sitting in the front passenger seat.
While doing some online research, my husband found this great solution — a portable media-friendly work desk by LapGear that has a slot to fit either a mini iPad or a regular size iPad along with a keyboard — it’s at the perfect angle to view, too! I love how it quickly can drop into the groove and be removed with ease. The keyboard I had before was sort of a tight fit to the device so the keyboard had o live with the device. This method, I can easily remove and use the iPad only if I need to without have to pull anything apart. It’s awesome. Underneath the work desk it has a squishy elongated beanbag that makes it comfortable to rest on your legs. It also has a non-slip felt rectangle to the right that you can use to put an iPhone if you desire. I thought the wrist pads would get in the way, but they actually make typing more comfortable.
All in all, I’m really pleased with my new set-up. It was originally $27, but the grey version (pictured above) was on sale — Amazon had a clip-to-click offer that gave an additional 10% off plus we had free ship because we have Amazon Prime. This set-up will help me connect with friends and family from the road by typing emails or FB posts faster as well as aid my in writing for the blog.
Oh! And managing power for recharging… We have a dual USB power cord that powers two devices at a time that plugs into the available 12-volt outlet. It easily reaches my mini i-Pad. My keyboard has a built-in battery, so no need to change right now. After using the keyboard for awhile, I’ll be sure to circle back and offer an update.
For Wi-Fi, we connect the mini iPad to either of our iPhones thru the Personal Hotspot feature. If you’ve never used this feature, you go into your settings on your iPhone… (the silver icon in the center of my Utilities folder that you see in the image below.)
Next, select “Personal Hotspot” (the fifth option on your settings window if you are operating 8.1.2 OS)
Next, if the selector tab is not green (as shown below) slide it to the right to turn on the Personal Hotspot. Next, you will want to set a Wi-Fi Password. DO NOT use “password” as your password. Get creative — the longer the better along with numbers and characters plus capitalized letters all mixed in is best. Something like this (but don’t do this one) “$Upercal1fragiliSticxpedaliouc0us”. You get the ‘gist.
To join your iPhone’s Personal Hotspot, all you have to do is go to your mini iPad’s Wi-Fi and refresh if needed until you see the name of your phone pop up in your Wi-Fi options. Select, enter the password you set as your Personal Hotspot password (you should only have to do this once and it will remember automatically thereafter) and you’re online and ready to access the Internet.
If you have a laptop that needs to be powered or other iPhones in the car (maybe you have a child that has a device as well), we like this ENERGIZER 500-watt power inverter that plugs into our rear 12-volt charging outlet. (I’ll take a photo of it and update this page.) It does a great job powering all our devices keeping the kids occupied on long stretches of driving.
The last thing to consider is security. You never want to leave a device in a car because of a) possible theft and b) extreme heat during summer months especially can damage your device. Make it a habit with your kids to take personal responsibility for their device and to secure it on their person at all times.
Do you have a set-up that works well for you? Feel free to share any tips in the comments below that you’ve learned along the way!