17 April 2010

Great Outdoor Challenge: Day Whatever (Taking Time & Seeds)

Let's face it.  I can't blog every day.  But I'm still participating in the challenge.  And this week it really has been a challenge because of an extra busy schedule.  But I guess that's the point isn't?  To not get so caught up in the busyness that keeps us from going outside in the first place.  To take the time to enjoy the beauty of creation.   To make time to be still and to breathe. 

Yesterday we had some great outdoor time, it just took us a while to realize it.  We went to a local park, but bypassed the green grassy playgound area, for a rugged little trail off the parking lot.   A few hundred feet up the trail, the whining began.   

"I'm tired!"
"Can we have lunch now?"
"I'm hot"

(That last one was my two-year-old pointing in the direction of the playground that we wer not heading to.)  

"Well, let's do our science experiment just up the trail a bit, and then we'll have lunch at the playground,"  I replied in my best mother voice.

Once we did get up to our experiment spot, I asked Gracie to take our supplies out of her backpack.  But she had taken the most important supply out in the van, where it still remained. 

So back to the van we went. 

When we returned with the crucial supply (more on that later), we found a little spot just off the parking lot and settled down to work.  It was just a weedy little patch, but once we sat down and took a closer look, we were amazed by all the beauty we saw:  tiny yellow flowers, ladybugs (in several stages), some edible greens, baby sunflowers, and even a hawk!  Once we slowed down, we were able to appreciate what had been around us the whole time!

And that crucial supply?  Socks! 

The girls put some of their dad's old socks over their shoes and walked through the weediest patches they could find. Today Gracie sorted through the seeds and examined them more closely.

We even found some very cool maple seeds that spin like helicopters as they fall!

Here are some great books to go along with a seed study.

The Tiny Seed (World of Eric Carle)The Carrot SeedFrom Seed to Plant (Rookie Read-About Science)A Seed Is Sleepy

16 April 2010

Great Outdoor Challenge: Day 8

Today (er, Monday, that is) was wet and cold and rainy.  And there's nothing I love more than spending a wet, cold, and rainy day snuggled up under a blanket with a good book.  As a Southern Californian, I treasure cloudy, miserable, rainy days, because they are so few and far between.   Go outside when it's raining?  No way!  Challenge, or no challenge, I feel that I must make the most of a rainy day by staying indoors.

And more rain is expected next week.  Yippee! 

More on the Great Outdoor Challenge here.

13 April 2010

Great Outdoor Challenge: Day 5, 6, and 7

The weekend was full of outdoorsy-ness!  It began with our monthly co-op meeting on Friday, a gathering of friends at our home Friday evening (lots of kids, lots of chaos!), and a fun birthday party on Saturday.  Lots of fun and socializing, not much time to take pictures.  Anyone else like that?

Check out more on the Great Outdoor Challenge here.

07 April 2010

Children and Nature Awareness Month Challenge: Day 3

Taking the Children and Nature Awareness Month Challenge has really encouraged me to do more outside.  Why be inside, if I can be outside?   My husband put together our new picnic table just in time.  Since its  arrival (8 hours ago):  meals eaten outside-100%, days of school done outside-100%.  What else can we do outside?   I can't wait to see what we come up with!    

We started our plant unit today by looking at flowers. We were able to see almost the whole life cycle of a flower in our lemon tree: bud, blossom, and the very beginnings of fruit.

The Reason for a Flower (Ruth Heller's World of Nature) is a wondeful book to explain the science behind flowers to children.  It's simple enough to make the concepts clear, but includes scientific vocabulary such as anther, stigma and angiosperm.  The illustrations are beautiful and will get the attention of even young listeners.
  The Reason for a Flower (Ruth Heller's World of Nature)

06 April 2010

Children and Nature Awareness Month Challenge: Day 2

School was done outside today, but alas, no picture.  Math is always a little more pleasant in the sunshine!

Pizza for Homeschoolers

It's time to enroll in Pizza Hut's Book It Program for the 2010-2011 school year.  This is a great reading incentive program where homeschoolers are welcome to participate.  You set your own individual reading goals for each child, and they are rewarded with their own pizza when they meet that goal.  This is our second year in the program and we love it!  Enrollment is first come, first served and runs through June, so don't wait too long!  I have never received junk emails from Pizza Hut as a result of signing, which I appreciate. 

FYI:  I have no affiliation with Pizza Hut.  I just think this is a great program for kids and homeschoolers! 

05 April 2010

Children and Nature Awareness Month Challenge: Day 1

I read about the Children and Nature Awareness Month Challenge at 5 Orange Potatoes and thought it would be a fun project.  The challenge is to spend some time outside enjoying the outdoors each day in April, take a picture, and post it.  That's it!  It seems simple enough and will be a great way to make sure we spent time in nature every day this month. 

Even though the weather is unseasonally wet and chilly today, we were not discouraged!  We picked some cheery flowers to bring indoors and brighten up the gray day.

Good Morning, Beautiful!

Happy Birthday to my sweet Amaryllis!
Four looks good on you!

03 April 2010


One of my favorite things about Easter is the Washington Posts's Peeps Diorama Contest, or Peeps Show.  There are some really great entries this year.  My absolute favorite is Goodnight Peep.

Now I have one daughter inspired to make her own diorama and one daughter who now knows the difference between diorama and diarrhea.  A very good thing, indeed.

02 April 2010

April Fool's Fun

I was inspired by this to have a little April Fool's fun of my own.

For dinner I served frosted cupcakes which are actually muffin-shaped meatloaves with mashed potato "frosting".  By the way, this meatloaf recipe is absolutely terrific, even if you're not a big meatloaf fan.

And for dessert: mini-hamburgers, which are vanilla wafers, Oreo Fudge Cremes, green-tinted coconut, and yellow and red frosting.  Dessert made up for the disappointment of having meatloaf, when they thought they were having cupcakes! 

Can you tell we're on spring break and in the mood for goofing off?