...............The Hellwig Family

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Vinegar Pie

Posted by Gabrielle

Looks a lot like pumpkin pie, doesn't it? :) Over four years ago, I first made this for a colonial/frontier day that a family at our church was hosting, making it several times in advance to perfect it. And then several years went by and I nearly forgot its existence. This past week, Christianna requested it as part of her birthday dinner tomorrow evening.

So this morning, with much trepidation, I opened the book, still with the bookmark in place, and made a lovely pie with none of the sweat and tears I expected. :) One indispensable change I made this time was adding guar gum to the filling; it thickened the unusually runny filling sufficiently so it could bake the normal time and not burn the crust trying to get the filling to solidify. It smells truly scrumptious and I can't wait to try it tomorrow evening. I hope everyone else likes it.

Friday, October 29, 2010

My Funny Little Brothers

Posted by Gabrielle

In honor of the fact - well, no, not in honor but in great shame that I've posted so little about the family in general lately, I've decided to give you a number of pictures I took of the little boys yesterday. For the most part, I'll let the pictures speak for themselves. Maybe once you reach the end of the post, you'll agree I have the cutest and funniest little brothers EVER! :)

Tobias and Benaiah were trying to be "scary", but I think they came out more cute than scary. :)

So, what do you think? Don't I have the cutest and funniest little brothers ever?

Life of Washington Tour -Day 6

Posted by Gabrielle

Our sixth and final day of the Washington Tour began at Historic Yorktown and the Yorktown Battlefield.
Entering historic Yorktown, we were greeted by this beautifully decorated sign

Tobias and friend Nathan spend time discussing the canons in the Yorktown Battlefield Museum

After a whirlwind tour through the museum, we marched out to the actual battlefield. After Mr. Horn gave a talk on the actual events of the battle at Yorktown, Mr. Vestal led the boys in a reenactment of the charge on the Yorktown battlefield.

The boys learning how to stand in a soldierly position
Benaiah and his friend Lise. Did I mention already that Benaiah made a new friend on the trip? Now, he talks about her often and is looking forward to seeing her again sometime soon!


The meeting of the troops on Yorktown Battlefield. Thankfully, no soldiers were injured in the clash! :)

Our next stop was Surrender Battlefield. The buses dropped us off at the wrong place, so we had a long walk to the battlefield. We were very glad that someone went to get them and bring them to pick us up again at the right place. :)

Walking up to Surrender Battlefield

At Surrender Battlefield, Mr. Horn gave a short talk on the military genius of Washington and the character traits that made him able to accomplish what he did.

  • George Washington is also known as America's Favius. He adopted the strategy of Favius, a famous Roman general, and used his army to control the position of the other army without bringing on an open engagement.
  • Washington was an aggressive general, but he was also willing to admit when he may have been wrong and let the circumstances dictate what he should do. He was ready to take risks when he could not predict what would happen.
  • Washington was persevering. Yes, he lost battle after battle, but none of them stopped him from pressing on. The ones who persevere through adversity are the ones who are successful.
  • Washington was an orderly man. He was a Christian with an orderly spiritual life. This enabled him to lead an orderly physical life and lead an orderly army. We see his orderliness in three specific places in his spiritual life: his personal holiness, his holiness in prayer, and in his private and family worship.
Surrender Battlefield was a bittersweet final stop as it concluded our amazing week. With two bus-loads of hungry people, we concluded the trip with lunch at the Golden Corral and the prize-giving for the winners of the treasure hunt. All week we had been working on decoding coded clues in a treasure hunt.

Benaiah happy to be tickled. :)

Timothy, who led Arianne and me who were on his team, won first place! The prize was an amazing collection of pewter medals.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Life of Washington Tour - Day 5

Posted by Gabrielle

On the fifth day of the Washington Tour, we visited two important sites - the Washington Monument, and Mount Vernon. It was a wonderful day!
Our first stop: the Washington Monument. It was enjoyable finally to be able to see it up close and take pictures instead of snapping crazy shots as we zoom past as was the case in our Massachusetts trip at the end of May. :)
The entrance to the Monument. There were strict security rules, so I brought nothing but my camera, obviously. :) Thankfully, we were warned to leave all knives and any similar weapons on the bus and there were no problems getting in. We rode the elevator to the top of the tower and were able to look down on Washington D.C. from all angles. It was breathtaking to realize how far up we were. I'm very thankful for a wonderful optical zoom on my camera and was able to capture great pictures of many of the famous buildings in D.C. including...

the White House!

The next stop of the day was at Mount Vernon, George Washington's estate. There was so much to see that, in the few hours we were there, we were not able to see everything.
Mount Vernon
Some of the smaller outbuildings

Unfortunately, I did not get on the tour of Mount Vernon as I ended up with the last group from our buses and we ran out of time. In spite of that, I enjoyed observing an amusing dialogue between Mr. Brown and a couple of reenactors - Washington's surgeon, Dr. James Craik who was with him during the war, and his granddaughter, Nelly Parke Custis.

Mr. Brown asked them a number of questions, including what year it was, about their life with Washington, how engagement and marriage worked in their society, and more.

One of the highlights of the conversation was when Mr. Brown asked Dr. Craik what year it was. He replied, completely seriously, "The year is 1797. What year do you think it is, son." Mrs. Brown whispered in an aside to me, "Don't tell him; he'll take your temperature." You couldn't have told them it's 2010 after that. :)

Washington's surgeon, Dr. James Craik. He had a very dry sense of humor which kept us laughing.
Nelly Parke Custis, Washington's granddaughter, who explained her engagement to us and how young men and ladies interacted in that society.

Overlooking the river and lush lawns of Mount Vernon

After most of the group had finished the tour of Mount Vernon, both Mr. Brown and Mr. Horn gave talks on Washington's character and life here at Mount Vernon, and about his Presidency.

Mr. Brown gave a short talk on Washington's character, and outlined three traits for young men to follow: His clarity, his vision, and his dominion. Washington was a determined man who knew who he was and what he was called to do, and he did it. He was a man of clarity and vision; he plotted out his future and lived his life that way. He practiced "incremental dominion", taking control of what was put into his power and doing it with all his might.

After the talks, we were given fifteen minutes to see more at Mount Vernon and get back to the buses. Of course, we couldn't see everything in that time, so several of us opted to walk down to see the graves of George and Martha Washington.

The fields and gardens of Mount Vernon, snapped on the way back to the bus.

We were running late, especially since we had to get to the church and then to our new hotel for the last night of the trip. We ended up having a pizza dinner in the park across the street from the church.

St. John's Episcopal church. This was where a group of professional reenactors enacted the famous Virginian convention for us where Patrick Henry gave his famous speech ending in "Give me liberty or give me death!"
We were not allowed to take pictures during the skit, but there was enough to watch and listen to without. :)

Timothy talking with George Washington afterward. Sorry for the quality of the picture; my camera didn't like the lighting in the building and there's some things even a little photo touch-up can't fix. :)

Thomas Jefferson
Several other girls and I went on a tour of the graveyard with Delegate Richard Henry Lee (directly to the right of the girl in front).
Of the graves he showed us was that of the poet Edgar Allen Poe's mother, Elizabeth Arnold Poe.

We arrived at our new hotel for the last night of the trip rather late after another exciting day.

Life of Washington Tour - Day 4

Posted by Gabrielle

The fourth day of the Washington Tour was a very full day, but enjoyable nonetheless. Our first stop was at Brandywine battlefield. This was the site of another of Washington's numerous defeats. In his talk here, Joshua Horn outlined three reasons why Washington was defeated here:
  • Washington did not adequately study the grounds.
  • He did not have enough cavalry.
  • He did not use the cavalry the way he should have.
Even though this was only one of Washington's numerous defeats, he didn't give up, and ended up winning the war. What an inspiring role model for us!

Part of the group at the officer's headquarters building at Chad's Ford on the Brandywine
The Brandywine Battlefield
The bridge over the Brandywine
Mr. Horn talking at the Brandywine Battlefield Monument. He climbed up to read the writing on the side.
Elliot and friends listening to the talk. From left to right: Matthew, Elliot, Armando, and Ethan
The building in which the British barricaded themselves. It looked like a beautiful old building from the outside and I'm still regretting we were not able to go in.

Joshua Horn gave a short talk here on what happened in this short battle and the implications. This battle was also called the Battle of the Clouds (if I'm deciphering my scrawled notes correctly). The British regiment that had sheltered in the building was the same 140th regiment that had barricaded themselves in Nasa Hall in the Battle of Princeton. Col. Henry Knox, Washington's fellow strategist, opted to attack the house as doing otherwise would be seen as unmilitary-like. Washington, with Generals Sterling and Sullivan led the attack against the house with two brigades after an unsuccessful truce.

In spite of their seeming advantage, the Continentals were forced to retreat and flee, for several possible reasons:
  • They were confused from the fight
  • Disordered from the fog
  • They were running out of ammunition
Following the retreat, the Continental troops went into winter quarters at Valley Forge.

Our next stop was lunch stop! During the lunch break, a number of boys made several attempts at a human ladder up the side of one of the huge trees growing in the park. They provided entertainment and much laughing.

Our next stop of the day was Valley Forge, where the Continental troops wintered after the Battle of Germantown. Touring Valley Forge occupied the rest of the day. We definitely did a lot of walking and were very grateful for the bus ride back to the hotel!
The beautiful meadows and hills in the distance...so lovely and relaxing!
Our first stop at Valley Forge was at the replication huts that the soldiers would have lived in during the winter.
and Tobias enjoyed the bunks!
Personally, they don't look that comfortable! :)
From there, we walked to the monument that the Masons built in honor of George Washington, and here, Mr. Horn gave a short talk on the history of the Masons and how Washington was involved.

Washington was a Mason at some point and time in his life. Even though members were required to profess Christ, this does not mean that the masons were a Christian organization. We have mixed views regarding Washington being a mason. While it seems out of his character that he would join them, he did refuse to pose for a picture in his mason's uniform which seems to intimate he did not wish to be known as a mason. Now,the new-age masons are trying to claim Washington as one of their members.

Tobias showing off a bird's nest he found

Our next stop was at the "Mad" Anthony Wayne Statue. Unfortunately, I did not get any notes at this talk because I was frantically trying to fix my camera which had stopped working, so I have just the highlights that I remember.

Anthony Wayne was one of Washington's trusted Brigadier Generals and he earned the title "Mad" Anthony Wayne from the interesting and often eccentric ideas and strategies he proposed.

From the Anthony Wayne statue, we spent the rest of the day touring the rest of Valley Forge on foot and visiting a few other highlights as time permitted, including Washington's Headquarters, the Baron Von Steuban statue, Redoubts 3 and 4, and the Artillery Park.

Arianne (left) and friends Anastasia and Merisa at the Artillery Park