Thursday, April 30, 2009

creek day

Creek days are so wonderful. We learn so many things, have so much fun, and enjoy such a more serene atmosphere than the typical playground with lots of play "equipment". Who needs the equipment when we have rocks to climb on, bubbly little waterfalls to listen to, and all sorts of creatures to enjoy and learn about?

When we first got to the creek today, our friend Carrie was moving big rocks around to create better water flow. Last Summer when the creek flooded, some of the big rocks that had been brought in by the park service were washed down into the creek. We moved some stuff around so that the water could flow a little better, and everything was prettier when we finished with it, too. We could work on it for a few more weeks probably, but we made a good start.

The older kids helped with the rock project for quite some time while the little ones sailed azalea boats down the creek.

Moving the rocks turned out to be a great way to find all sorts of little animals. We found a salamander that zipped through the water at lightning speed, a crawdad, lots of bug larvae, a ring snake, and lots of toads!

We also found a nice patch of wood sorrel.

And this strange little mystery creature...

And a cute little mushroom growing from a piece of bark...

Ofcourse, we also played in the creek a bunch, too. Clover loves resting in these tree roots and watching everything.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

beautiful Spring

Tree climbing...

Sand box playing...

Hill climbing...

Nature walking...

Beautiful Spring Day!!!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Monday co-op

I want to start this post with some gratitude for the awesome mamas in the homeschool co-op that we are a part of. They are such good friends, such kind women, doing such a good job of raising their kids.

Yesterday we were two hours late to co-op because my tire randomly went flat on the interstate. I called to let everyone know that we would be very late, and they waited on us to start Circle. My heart is so full of gratitude for that simple act. Clover was upset that we were probably going to miss our class, and she felt so loved when we got there and everyone had waited. It was a very sweet class, too! Carrie put a lot of thought into it, and all of the kids enjoyed it!

We lit the candle and sang our Circle song. We said our Spring verse together (more or less), and Carrie introduced the class topic: trees. The kids all tried to think of things that came from trees. They came up with lots of different fruits, paper, and toys! We passed some tree products around the circle: a wooden bowl, some toilet paper, a wooden pen, an apple, and a wooden pig. We talked about other "tree gifts": oxygen, absorption of pollutants from the air, and shade.

At this point, Nova began to get agitated. He has a pretty hard time being still and quiet for more than about five minutes. So, I let him experiment with some amateur photography while we listened to _The Giving Tree_ by Shel Silverstein. Atleast he stayed on topic for the most part. His pictures were all of trees or people listening to a story about trees. haha!!

We played some games and sang some tree songs. Everyone practiced the yoga pose called "tree".

Nova and Lela watched as the big kids played tree tag. It was really hard to get a good picture of that. They all run like gazelles!!

After tree tag, Carrie read a tree story to the kids while they laid on blankets and looked at the trees. They had a very nice view, and got very relaxed.

We decided to skip the craft (a tree collage) in favor of water play! All of the kids were so wound up about getting into the lake! They splashed and played for about an hour before it was time to go home. Nova handed me about fifty seashells. We brought some of them home, and put them in the basket on our nature table.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

gardening Sunday

Tim and Clover started working on these raised beds last week. Clover is doing her carpentry block for 3rd grade, and this was a perfect project. She learned how to use a couple of power tools, and also learned some basic things about measuring, cutting wood, and project planning.

Today, we planted some seeds in those beds: lots of sunflower, zinnias, cosmos,and shasta daisies.

Tim got the majority of our vegetable garden tilled, too. Luckily the bean teepees are already built over the strawberry patch, so we only have to build new structures for the cucumbers and zucchini. The kids helped roll out large pieces of brown paper and we began the process of covering the paper with mulch. These will be the "walking trails" in our garden. Hopefully it will cut down on crop damage from little feet. We also tied some of the raspberries to the fence. I can't wait for those to ripen!

Ofcourse, we didn't work all weekend long. There was plenty of play in the sprinkler and swinging on the swings, and balancing acts of all sorts.

In the midst of all of our work and play, I finally finished this little hat that I have been working on for way too long now!! I can't wait to put it in the mail this week for a sweet little baby boy!

Friday, April 24, 2009

river walk

This afternoon, we met friends for a walk at the beautiful state park near our house. The kids had so much fun!! We had a picnic, and then took a nature walk.

We found a cute little turtle, lots of bird tracks in the sand, and a toad. There were also some beautiful bright yellow birds flying around, but I couldn't get a good picture of them.

Water play was the highlight of the trip for my kids. They are such little water babies.