Austria’s Monkey Mountain – Affenberg

Last week we had fun learning about monkeys while we rowed Caps for Sale.  We’ve read this book at least a  hundred times over the course of the last few years, but still had so much fun with it.  We were lucky enough to live within a short drive of Austria’s Monkey Mountain.

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The park is a protected area where approximately 160 Japanese macaque monkeys are able to run freely.  They are so entertaining and I could’ve spent all day watching them (as long as they don’t get too close).

From the parking lot, we had to cross a large pond.  We heard frogs and saw a few jumping amongst the lily pads.  Poor Benjamin kneeled into some type of stinging plant and his leg hurt for a while.  Luckily we found a water pump and the cold water relieved a bit of the pain.

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I’m not sure what kind of stinging metal this was, but his leg was pretty inflamed for a bit.LRG_DSC03494

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It was a beautiful overcast day — perfect for watching mischievous mimicking monkeys gallivanting around their environment.  The monkeys are free to run around and get so close that you could touch them. Of course they ask you not to… and who want to anyway? Monkeys are mean!

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I’m glad he wasn’t begging at my leg.  This was an employee, but I did spy a few monkeys doing this to visitors at different times.

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Isn’t this mama and baby the cutest???  The way she doted on him was so sweet.

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It was a joy to watch them frolicking around the forest.

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We watched them dive for treats in the pond.

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And do balancing acts on their “tight ropes”.

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This monkey climbed the tree to use the bathroom.  So glad we weren’t standing right under, though this proved to be the kids favorite moment of the entire experience!  Ha! I suppose they do not take my “potty humor” lectures to heart.

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Of course we couldn’t get out of there without a couple of pet monkeys.

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Such a pretty spring day.

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Next to monkey mountain was a castle and bird refuge.  We started the hike and were greeted with glorious views of the Austrian countryside.

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Now for the bummer… right when they got there the employees rattled off an announcement in german. We realized after the fact that they were announcing the last bird show of the day.  We missed the bird show, but enjoyed these guys flying around overhead nonetheless.

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We made up for missing the bird show by finding a horsey to ride — made Clara’s day!  Yeehaw!

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I guess this is the sign of a good day.  Both kids were passed out within a few minutes of heading for home.  So precious… I love these babies.

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Next up… I’m finally getting around to our last week of school.

 

Before Five in a Row: The Red Carpet

The Red Carpet by Rex Parkin was our pick for Five in a Row this week.  What a delightful story!  It is currently out of print and I’m glad I tracked it down at a reasonable price.  I absolutely loved the rhyme and rhythm of this story and never tired of reading it.  The Red Carpet is a tale of the Hotel Bellevue’s runaway red carpet which wildly whirled through the town wreaking havoc.

We read about policeman from Usborne’s Things People Do.  Both of the kids love this book.  We also talked about detectives and how they use fingerprints to help track down suspects in a crime.

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While we examined our own fingerprints, we marveled at our Creator’s infinite creativity and His amazing, intricate, and unique design for each and every one of us.   IMG_8741


For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well

Psalm 139: 13-14

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.  And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.  

Matthew 10: 29-31


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We created our own version of La Salle Avenue.

“Shine up the doorknobs, and sweep up the floor, then roll out the carpet right through the front door!”

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Our Hotel Bellevue

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In the story, pretzels soared through the air when the red carpet plowed into a street vendor.  Our town had lego pizzas take flight!

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It didn’t take long before it took over the house!

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We rolled out the red carpet when Dad came home and surprised hime with “red carpet treatment”.  The kids worked so hard.  Benjamin presented a wrapped box of conversation hearts on a structure he had built.  Clara wrapped up a doll brush from around the house and made a valentine.  We also offered him a snack and a provided a selection of beverages.

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Clara’s gift

Clara worked on posing for the red carpet event.

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I’ll have to keep these tablecloths in mind.  It is impossible to get butcher paper here.  This was handy.  Afterward, they did some large drawings.

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We hunted for street signs within the book’s illustrations and then ventured out on a neighborhood walk to see what kind of street signs we could find.  We practiced turning left and right — just like the red carpet.

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The town was still decorated from carnevale

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We continued on a nature walk through the woods.

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We even found signs of spring!

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We like to imagine what little critters may call this home. Benjamin voted for a mole; Clara guessed lizards and rats.

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In other news this week:

We got our new math curriculum – Math-U-See.  The kids had a blast exploring the new manipulatives.

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We had so much fun at our library’s Fort Night!  They opened the library after hours and allowed us to build a fort between the aisles.  We read books in the dark with a flashlight.  I’m surprised they are holding another one because there were a few kids in there emptying entire shelves!  They even provided cookies, juice, and a lollipop for the road.  It was a hit!

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They found their favorite poetry books!

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What a fun and busy week it was!

Fall Fun

It was far too beautiful a day to stay inside and do school so we went to Lago di Barcis for a picnic and a nature study.  We tried to find a place to eat, but this guy wouldn’t leave us alone.  He followed us everywhere!  He would stand there looking around for us and then he’d come flying on over.

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We couldn’t find safe place to eat, so we picnicked in the trunk.  They probably enjoyed this more!IMG_7842IMG_7844

Even after we finished eating and started our hike around the lake, he continued to swim along side us for half of the length of the lake. In the end, we grew quite affectionate toward him until he glided upon some fellow ducks and decided they were better company.

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We stopped to throw rocks in the water.

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Love his backwards shorts!

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Benjamin is looking so grown up.  This is the “cool bridge”.

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We hiked around the entire lake.  It turned out to be a much longer walk than I had anticipated. I don’t know why I thought it would be a quick walk…this is the only bridge and it’s on the very edge of the lake!

We found the coolest mushrooms I’ve ever seen.  We loved studying them.

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This was our favorite!

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The view of Barcis from the other side of the lake.

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These two were so cuddly today 

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The base had an event for Fire Prevention week.  They offered grilled burgers and lots of fun for the kids.  It made for a great day!

We got to watch them put out a fire in a burning car.

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They had an obstacle course for the kids. Her favorite part of the day was spraying the fire hose on the burning fire.  It was really cute.

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The cutest firemen ever!

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You can see Clara spraying the hose on the left

We got to check out the fire engines. Ben is still obsessed with big trucks.  They also had a smoking trailer for the kids.  It was smoky inside and they had to find their way to the balcony and climb the ladder down.  I guess I failed to get pictures.   We had to drag Benjamin out of there.

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We also made it to our first Boy Scout activity this weekend.  It was the Fall Boy Scout campout.  It was a great little campsite at a large park just about 30 minutes from our home.  The boys went crazy on the playground and thoroughly investigated the forest.

They had a three-legged race to find rocks…

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This was hilarious to watch!

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Walked a tight rope…

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And learned to start fires…  He had SO much fun with all of those boys.  And the great thing is that most of them are also involved with the homeschool group, so he will be able to get to know them pretty well.  IMG_7905IMG_7904

The best part was that I got to  home alone and Derek, Benjamin, and Clara stayed up in the tent overnight.  It was quite glorious to have the evening to myself though I didn’t sleep anyway because I was worried about the kids being too cold. Oh well…suppose I’m quite used to being “nocturnal” as Benjamin would say.

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Clara flipped over the sleeping bag and tent!