Bob’s Red Mill – Field Trip

We are currently learning about where our food comes from in school this week, so today I took the kids on a trip to Milwaukie, OR to visit Bob’s Red Mill. They offer free tours to the public Monday through Friday. The tours are only offered once or twice a day, so be sure to check their website for details before you go.

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We happened to be the only people there for the second tour of the day, so we had our own personalized experience!

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You don’t enter into any of the working parts of the factory, so it isn’t overly loud and it’s a great environment for children. When “Mr. Bob” built the factory, he built windows all around so people could come and watch how everything works. They even have small staircases with platforms for the kids to stand on so you don’t have to lift them up to see everything!

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Christie was our tour guide and she was absolutely fantastic! She was patient with the kids and seemed to genuinely love her job and the company she works for. This table was filled with buckets of all sorts of different varieties of grain so the kids could see and feel what they all look like prior to being ground up.

After talking with Christie about the different varieties of flour, I admit I feel like a semi-expert now. I’m ready to do some baking using the appropriate kinds for the recipe instead of simply using all-purpose flour.

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After viewing most of the factory and learning about how it works, the kids got their chance to do a little hands-on learning.

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First, Christie showed them pictures of what a wheat field looks like when it first starts to grow, when it’s ready to be cut, and then when the tractor cuts the wheat.

Next, the kids got the chance to “thresh” the wheat by hitting it with their fists to make the seeds pop off.

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After threshing the wheat, they blew on it gently mimicking the wind that the farmer uses for winnowing the wheat. Separating the chaff from the seeds.

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Once they had their seeds, they dropped them into the mill and cranked out some flour. They probably would have stayed there all day if we would have let them!

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At the end of our tour we posed on some of the grinding stones for a picture.

I won’t tell all of the details from the tour so it will be new and interesting if you are able to go, but I will say that I left the factory highly impressed. Every single person that we came into contact with (even just looking through the windows) was friendly and stopped to wave, smile, or say hello. I learned so much during the tour and I would highly recommend their products. (And no, I am not paid to say that!)

Oh, and during our tour we happened to see “Mr. Bob” himself!

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When our tour was over, Christie asked the kids what they learned and they each got a cookie token for answering. We took our tokens and drove about a mile down the road to the store/restaurant. The kids enjoyed their giant cookies and I picked up some gluten-free pie crust mix (a surprise for a certain person) and some whole-wheat pastry flour for some scones I plan on making. The variety in the store was almost overwhelming and I plan on going back for some kid-free shopping when I can feel free to browse longer.

The tour was a big hit with the kids, who claimed it was “the best day ever” and are already asking when we will get to go back again.

 

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Sheriff’s Office Field Trip

October “Safety Month” wouldn’t have been complete without taking a field trip to our local Sheriff’s Office!

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The kids are already familiar with a lot of aspects of the Sheriff’s Office from visiting Cory at work, but I wanted to give them the opportunity to learn more.

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Our first stop was the courtroom. The kids got a brief overview of what court is and how it works. They thought it was exciting to get to sit in the witness stand.

One of the reasons I wanted them to see the courtroom, is so that they have a better understanding of what we’re talking about when we tell them that their Dad is in court. They also got to see where I sat for jury duty, and I’m pretty sure they think it’s WAY more exciting than it really is!

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After we explored the courtroom, we went down into the dungeon where the 911 call center is located. The kids spoke with a dispatcher and got to see where all the calls come in and how everyone does their jobs. She showed them how they would find our house on the map if we needed help, and reminded them why it’s important to only call in case of an emergency. For privacy reasons, we didn’t take any pictures inside, but waited until we were outside with our awesome gift bags that they gave us.

PicMonkey CollageCory taught the kids what fingerprints are and how everyone has unique designs. Then they used the fingerprint machine to see what their fingerprints looked like.

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We made a stop by Cory’s office to say hi to all of his “work friends”. He has awesome co-workers and they SPOIL the kids like crazy.

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After visiting the Sheriff’s Office, we went over to check out the SWAT stuff. Jenna was trying to lift the shield but it was too heavy for her.

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The kids got to see how the robot works and what they use it for.

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Then they had a chance to drive it around. I’m not sure if they were having enough fun though…

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It was a great field trip, and hopefully when the kids are older, they will understand how blessed they were to get the opportunity to do all of it!

Fire Station Field Trip

When I was planning out our field trips for the year, I decided to make October our “Emergency Month”. This happened to be perfect planning, because after I emailed our local fire department about being able to do a field trip, I found out that Fire Safety Week happens to be the first full week in October!

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We went to the Home Depot Kids’ workshop and the kids got to build fire trucks. The workshops are completely free and a lot of fun! You get an apron, building kit for the current project, and a metal pin to put on your apron for each project you complete. It’s a great way for kids to get experience with building (mostly hammering nails and using wood glue) while having fun.

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Just don’t be surprised when your son wants to drive his truck out the store, crawling on hands and knees the entire way!

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Our local fire department was willing to schedule us along with a preschool class that was taking a tour. The kids learned about how to safely exit a room, and then they watched a firefighter get dressed in his gear. The firemen did a great job showing the kids that they aren’t scary, and that they are there to help them.

The kids got to climb in a fire truck, watched a fire safety movie while having snacks, and brought home goody bags.

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And the best part of all was getting to meet Smoky the Bear!

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Last week we started school, and after two days, I was ready for a break! It’s tiring for everyone trying to adjust to a new schedule, so Thursday morning I packed some pb&j and loaded the kids up in the car. They watched the Leapfrog Letter Factory video for their school lesson on the drive to Portland.

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This was the kids’ first trip to OMSI and they LOVED it! Jenna wanted to sit down and figure things out, and Connor wanted to run from one exhibit to the next yelling about how awesome everything was.

We bought a year-long membership through Groupon earlier this summer, so I decided our first trip would mostly be just exploring everything without going into much detail. We spent about an hour exploring the exhibits (my phone sadly lost most of our pictures), and then made our way over to the 0-6 year old area.

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The kids could have spent HOURS playing here! There was a giant (sparkly) sand pit…

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A water area that was a big hit with Connor…

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A pretend forest compete with dress-up costumes, and so much more!

(We didn’t even make it over to the shopping area and whatever exciting thing was happening in the back room!)

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The pretend forest was a huge hit with both kids and they spent a majority of their time there pretending to be all of the different animals. There was an Eagle’s nest, bear and fox cave, hollowed out tree trunk for chipmunks, and a hollow log for raccoons.

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On the way home, Jenna had to make an entry in her new Field Trip Journal. I made a list of questions on the front cover that need to be answered.

  1. Where did you go?
  2. What did you do?
  3. What was your favorite part?

Translation: “I went to OMSI. I did a bone puzzle. Going in the sand pit was my favorite.”

Every day Connor asks when we will go to “zoomy” again, so I know it was a big hit!