Thursday, April 16, 2015

Pedernales Falls

Recently my family and I went to Pedernales Falls State Park near Johnson City, Tx.
Pedernales is the Spanish word for flint; there are many chunks of flint in the river bed.
The park has lots of hiking trails, camping sites and boulders to climb and explore, but the main attraction is the falls.  The falls are beautiful at low water, but can turn deadly in flash floods, as signs throughout the park state. The falls trickle off into little pools of water, you can walk out to them on strips of rock that jut into the river.

The area the park is situated in is really picturesque- it seems like a backdrop for an old Western, with rolling hills and brown mountains.

mom kept taking pictures. ;)


 This was a cave. I crawled pretty far in but wriggled back out when the tunnel narrowed. People had scratched names on the sides, and sunlight filtered in through a hole in the roof. I felt like Nancy Drew, exploring. :)

The park itself is 5,200 acres and was a private ranch until 1970. Can you imagine owning all the waterfalls?!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Museum and Library

While in Austin for Agrilife 4-H Day at the Capitol
(Bleed Maroon! Bleed Green!) we stopped at the LBJ library and museum on the UT campus. Compared to the other two presidential libraries I've seen (there are 3 in Texas) this was a little dated, but it still had some really neat exhibits.
One of my favorite things was the telephone calls on any and everything, from Johnson's wife Lady Bird correcting his speech to him offering Jackie O advice.
 The museum focused a good bit on the decades in Johnson's life- a room filled with 50's, 60's or 70's mementos, etc.  It was very interesting to see what was popular at different times, and what news and wars impacted life.
Johnson's presidency was deeply overshadowed by the Vietnam War, and he hated the fact but knew he could do nothing to change it. More than anything, he wanted to use his Presidency help the underdog - poor, minorities, children - anyone who didn't have a voice or say at Congress. A few years teaching at an impoverished school on the Texas- Mexico border instilled this desire to help in him early on.

This table showed how events in Johnson's presidency affect our lives today.

You have to give it to him- it was a pretty good idea to get people to care about who their senators are. He had some pretty snazzy tactics- while running for President, he handed out toothbrushes and razors so people would remember him 'first thing in the morning and/or before they go to bed' as he felt those were important decision- making times.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Patriots Redcoats and Spies Review


When Revolutionary War Patriot Lamberton Clark is shot by British soldiers while on a mission for the Continental Army, he has only two hopes of getting the secret message he’s carrying to General George Washington: his 14-year-old twin boys John and Ambrose. Upon discovering that their father is a spy in the Culper Spy Ring, the boys accept their mission without a clue about what they may be up against. They set off from Connecticut to New Jersey to find General Washington, but the road to the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army is full of obstacles; including the man who shot their father who is hot on their trail.

I decided to let my youngest brother read it first, as it was elementary historical fiction. His thoughts:

  • Good for all ages
  • Made history interesting
  • Exciting action
  • I liked that it was  Christian
  • Seemed a little unreal
My review:
 While the book was very interesting and action packed, it was definitely unrealistic. From telling jokes to George Washington (what do you call a patriot dog? Yankee poodle!) or using more modern, 19th century words like 'ok', 'guys', 'yeah', 'Mom' and "Dad', there were certainly many historical flaws. Another 'con' would be the pictures. The people all resembled Quasimodo from the Hunchback of Notre Dame!

I DID, however, like the storyline. Ambrose and John, twins, had to choose to work together. They had to make many painful choices and sacrifices along the way to deliver their secret message. It was neat to see them mature and work together, and to learn more about the Culpepper Spy Ring.

The book had a Christian message, which I found uplifting.

I also found it fascinating that this book was based off a true character - Lamberton Clark was distantly related to the authors.

All in all, I give the book 31/2 out of 5 stars.
    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”