Late September was the Perfect time to visit Nauvoo. The temperatures were pleasant and the weather was calm. Since Nauvoo is a small town off the beaten path when you go there in the off season it is quiet and peaceful and uncrowded. I had hoped for some fall color, but there wasn't much yet. However, the soybean fields were turning golden and that was beautiful.
When I was a kid I used to think farm fields were booooooring. I was so wrong.
I love this picture of Fish walking along a quiet road on the outskirts of Nauvoo just after sunset next to fields of tall, ripe corn.
I've been in a lot of big cities in my life and I enjoyed them, but I think I'm a rural girl at heart.
One of the highlights of our recent trip was seeing the Mississippi River. I was the only one in the family who had seen it before (me and the Mississippi are old, old friends.) The kids were very impressed. "I tell ya, it's quite a sight," said Bean. Especially at sunset.
The Badger had to put his fingers in the water so he could say that he'd touched the Mississippi River.
There were water lillies growing all along its margins.
And I wish I could have gotten a picture of all the pelicans that were hanging around. I tell ya, they were quite a sight.
One of my (many) obsessions in life is blue and white china. It turns out blue and white china was very very popular in old Nauvoo. Pretty much every house we toured had at least one piece of blue and white china. Check out Heber C. Kimball's dining room set-up:
Love it! Love it! Love it! Doesn't it look so good against the beautiful wood table? Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous!
And maybe I could handle the whole wash basin/chamber pot set-up if they looked like this:
As I toured the various homes in old Nauvoo, I found myself trying to imagine actually living in them. What kind of daily routines did people have? How do you get into the groove of cooking in a kitchen that consists of a fireplace and a small table?
I know most people think that life back then was way too hard and they could never live without their modern conveniences, but we've also lost some things over the years.
Like hand-crafted wooden furniture that was affordable, durable, and gorgeous:
And pure wholesome foods that weren't full of strange chemicals:
And the coziness of a hearth to gather around in every home:
And the familiarity with the satisfaction that comes from not wasting things (even little fabric scraps), making things you need yourself, and developing the skills, patience, and diligence to make them beautifully and in a way that will last:
I honestly think I could be happy living old Nauvoo style.
But maybe that's just because I've never used a chamber pot.
We just spent a marvelous week in Nauvoo, Illinois. It was such a perfect vacation for our family, being in part a homeschool unit on this history of our country and our church and in part a spiritual pilgrimage from which both my husband and I came away feeling tremendously renewed.
The historic sites of old Nauvoo are mostly charming red brick buildings peppered across a vast expanse of well-manicured lawns and trees. Puttering around old Nauvoo feels very tranquil and slightly surreal. You are apt to suddenly find yourself in front of someplace you have heard about in a lifetime of church history lessons, such as Joseph Smith's red brick store:
And then there is the beautiful Temple, the nucleus of the community:
There were so many fun things for the kids to do in Nauvoo. We were busy all day every day and we still didn't get everything done. The kids ate up all the old-fashioned stuff like the blacksmith shop and the printing office. The ox-drawn wagon ride was also pretty popular:
I enjoyed touring the many homes that have been restored. I have many ancestors who lived in Nauvoo so as I walked through the homes I thought a lot about how my progenitors lived their daily lives during that time. I think that I would have liked to have lived among them in such a beautiful and thriving community.
In this picture you can see Bean's piano practice chart on the right. Each song in his book has a shape associated with it (you can see these in his book on the left). Then I draw shapes in the box for each day for as many times as he is supposed to play each song each day. When he sits down to practice he knows how many times he is supposed to play each song. Every time he plays the song through once he colors in a shape. It's been working really well.
I haven't been exercising regularly. I've have a few run-ins with things like pie ala mode and creamy garlic sauce. However, I must be doing something right because I'm still right on track with my weight loss goal. Hooray!
A couple weeks ago, we peeled some apples and carved faces in them. We added cloves for eyes and rice for teeth.
We put them in a warm, dry place and checked them often to make sure they weren't getting all nasty. Some of them did get nasty and had to be thrown away, but two survived the process. The boys are thrilled with their apple monsters.
Hello from the prairie! I love it here. Big skies, good dirt, friendly people, down-home values, and violent storms. What more could you want? It's a great place to raise a family, and family is what I'm all about.
It's what this blog's all about too. Whether you are an old friend I've moved away from, a family member, or a complete stranger, I hope you will enjoy this peek at the every-day doings of my noisy and unusual houseful in the heartland of America.