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Vacationing At Home

Everything seems easier during summer vacation—no homework, less hectic schedules, longer days. My kids are still young enough, though, to miss being at school when it’s out, so I can’t put my brain completely on autopilot. I plan to use some of our extra time helping them enjoy a little summer reading. Featured here are a few suggestions for your family’s reading list. Now, where’s the lemonade?

If you live close enough to Frankfort to take a field trip, our state’s Capitol building holds many opportunities for a little educational and entertaining exploring. Scott County primary teacher K. Melissa Burton offers a virtual field trip in her children’s guide, Now That’s Interesting: Kentucky’s Capitol (McClanahan Publishing House, $14.95). Full-color photographs show the beautiful architecture of the building and the grounds’ points of interest. Burton explains on a child’s level the workings of our government and where it meets in the building and the history of the building itself. The “Gentleman from Kentucky” appears on several pages with interesting facts and trivia. For example, did you know that the wood in the Supreme Court room is from the Honduran rain forest?

Speaking of field trips, our favorite wiener dog, Woody, has just finished another road trip and chronicles his travels in Woody, the Kentucky Wiener: Tails from the Bluegrass II (McClanahan Publishing House, $12.95), with help from his mommy, Shepherdsville author Leigh Anne Florence. For this tour, Woody, his sister Chloe, and their parents must be creative to complete their tour. The Woody Bus has broken down so the family must find a different method of getting to each stop along the way. As he visits places such as Cumberland Gap, Owensboro, Berea, and Danville, Woody journals what he has learned of each place’s claim to fame. He also describes the unique modes of transportation the family employs to get there. Written in short chapters from a compilation of newspaper articles, the book presents many teaching opportunities about all our state has to offer.

For those who just like to stay home and enjoy the back yard, Lexington author Karen Angelucci shares her Secrets of a Kentucky Gardener (Angelucci Garden Press in association with McClanahan Publishing House, $24.95). The practical year-round guide is organized in a monthly format so that gardeners need only to look at the current month for the information needed. The color photos are from Angelucci’s own garden. Included with the general maintenance tips are bits of “garden lore,” quotes to ponder, and meanings and uses of certain plants. For example, June’s chapter tells us to “completely remove cool-weather annuals such as pansies and replace with warm-weather annuals such as vinca or sage,” and that “early American farmers called ferns ‘devil brushes.’ The ferns were dried during the mid-summer’s bonfire and hung in the home to protect the family from summer storms.” Incidentally, Angelucci also recommends June as a good time to lie in a hammock and sip the afore-mentioned lemonade.

Happy summer!

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