Day Trip to Old Salem

We went to Old Salem in North Carolina yesterday. It was once a community of Moravians who immigrated from Germany for religious freedom. Lots of fun and really interesting. Definitely recommended. It took us five(ish) hours to get there and five more to get back.
Here are some pictures. Because… why not?
Hope before we left.

Breakfast. Because breakfast is awesome. And I know you all wanted to see a picture of it.

My writing gear. Not that I actually got much done… I did, however, manage to read three books: a book about CIA special weapons and equipment (I know. I’m weird.), Trixie Belden No. 11 (surprise!) and The Storybook of Legends (see my review here.).

Hope watching a video. I know it’s blurry, but it was taken in a swiftly moving car before sunrise. So… yeah.

The dog looking at the window…

Grace laying her head over my feet. Sweet!

And that dog again. Because I know you want to see yet more pictures of her. She’s so rotten.

My book bag, of course! Loaded with lots and lots and lots of books. And notebooks. And other assorted writing stuff.

All of us. Including that goofy dog.

A selfie with Hope.



We made it!

A covered bridge we had to cross.


This desk. Oh my. Isn’t it lovely? I want one. (Just kidding. Kind of.)

A pretty tree…

A pretty sign.

Mom with Grace while we toured an old Moravian church. Yes, it was pretty too! (I like the word pretty. And I’m too lazy to go look it up in a thesaurus. I could say lovely. Or beautiful. Or splendid. But… I like PRETTY. Okay?)

Dad and Hope outside the church.

Walking up the street.

There were two houses for “Single Brothers” and “Single Sisters” where all unmarried men lived together and all unmarried women lived together. They would learn a trade around age 14. Here’s some of the pottery we saw reenactors making there.

An old chicken coop. It’s so cute…

The garden.

Stopped at the Bakery for some sugar cake. And it was delicious. They still make it in a huge brick oven.


If you look very closely you’ll see two reenactors. They were tending to a garden. In all honesty I think I’d love reenactment; history is right up my alley and so is dressing up in historically accurate costume. I’ve dreamed of working at Colonial WIlliamsburg or someplace like it, but that probably won’t happen for a while. Someday maybe!

Pumping water. Grace loved it.

We had already visited the museum they had, but Mom wanted to see it. and I went in with her. And guess what? There was this really nice man who took us “behind the scenes” into the staff only areas and showed us different things back there! it was so kind of him and I really enjoyed it. Isn’t this clavichord beautiful? I saw an organ and two clavichords and I wanted so badly to play them. I was thinking about just going up and pounding on one. I bet they would’ve freaked out. But I didn’t. Because I’m so polite. (Not that I even KNOW how to play an organ anyway…)

More sugar cake. It’s basically bread that’s not really sweet by itself, covered in sugar. Yessssssssssssssssss.

We stopped by Chik-Fil-A (the best restaurant ever!) for late lunch/early supper. I should have taken a picture of my delicious Market Salad but I didn’t.
And last but not least… We stopped by our friends’ the Rollins’ house for a bathroom break and to say hey since we were passing through. We played Zombie Tom for about five or ten minutes and then we had to go. (I’m not even sure where this game originated. It’s a take on the old, old game Tom Tiddler that I found in an old, old book once, and I have the feeling that one of us invented it, but I have no idea who. ) It’s basically where one person is either a zombie or a mad scientist and tries to turn everyone into zombies.
That sounds kind of horrible.
But it’s especially fun in the dark.

Here’s a picture of us. It’s not very good. My smile is cheesy – and it kind of looks like I’m winking. Or squinting. Oh well.

So that was our day trip. Hope you enjoyed my (overly numerous) pictures! I also got a new theme. What do you think? Leave any questions or comments below!

Historical Fiction, Strange Research Methods, and Other Ramblings

I have a mortal horror of getting facts wrong when I’m writing historical fiction.

It’s a problem.

Because when you’re inserting fictional characters in a real time period with people who actually existed… it’s kind of hard to keep things completely factual.

Actually, it’s impossible.

Fiction is fiction. History is history.

And anything that I write isn’t going to change history. It’s just going to show people what I think about the time period. What my characters would have thought about the time period. What the time period should have been like. (Kidding. Totally kidding here.)

Whoa. Feels good to get that off my chest. (Not to mention, I now have an explanation for anyone who hates me because my story isn’t historically accurate. Team Zane for the win!)

Now on to my Very Strange Research Methods.

When I first begin to research for one of my stories, I generally go to Wikipedia first. And then the library.

And I check out a looooooooootttt of books.

At least… as many as the library has.

If you don’t mind me getting sidetracked for a minute… There is a severe lack of young adult nonfiction. In our library, at least. There are plenty of books in the juvenile section, but they usually lack information. There are also plenty of thick, heavy tomes in the adult section, but if you’re like me, you don’t want to read through all of that just to get to the one thing you’re writing about.

All right. Back on track. I read as much as I can: nonfiction. Books set in the time period I’m writing. Writing craft books.

Anything I can’t find in the library, I go back to Wikipedia.

But sometimes Wikipedia just doesn’t cut it.

Since I’m not allowed to search the Internet by myself yet, this time ’round I asked my dear, wonderful mother to search for me! And I asked her to search some pretty weird, random things. Like, “Russian embassy Washington D.C. 1950s.”

And she found me some awesome articles that allowed me to write like I actually had a clue.

Thanks, Mom! You’re the best.

And that concludes my research “process”. (I’m not planning to be done with this story anytime soon. Or even planning on showing it to anyone once it’s done. So… yeah. Sorry.)

I’m loving writing historical fiction.

By the way, a quick update. I was just informed that we are heading to North Carolina bright and early tomorrow morning to Salem, a historical village. (With three kids. And a dog. Adventure awaits!) I am so excited.

 Hope you enjoyed this peek into my “writing life”! Thanks for reading, and please comment if you have any questions or responses.




Field Trip to Dover Cemetery

Today we went up to Dover Cemetery as a spur-of-the-moment trip with some friends. It’s a really interesting place, but sad because it’s so run down.

Everything is grown over with little pine trees.

Some of the gravestones were unreadable, and others were just rocks stuck in the ground to mark a grave.

We paid attention to the dates of birth and death. Some of the children buried there died at only a few months old. Another girl was fourteen.

These rocks were piled over what we assumed was another grave. Fascinating…

Besides the fact that I love history and looking at all the graves was very interesting, we had a great time hanging out with friends and enjoying the beautiful day. Who says homeschoolers aren’t socialized?