Saturday, May 29, 2010

spider lily field trip!

Our Waldorf co-op group met at a state park for a hike to the rocky shoals spider lilies! These flowers are so amazingly beautiful. I love to go several times over the course of spider lily season.

My camera cannot possibly do justice to these lilies, but here are a few shots anyway....

There was lots of toad-catching on the walk back from the spider lily landing. Willow caught one that was a "talking toad", but we couldn't understand him because he only spoke Toad (not English).

The kids had a great time splashing in the river. They were soaking wet by the time we were ready to head for home.

Nova wanted to show off his monkey bar skills. He got to sit up there for about two minutes before a thunderstorm began. We had so much fun!!!!!!!!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

butterfly week

We are officially finished with fourth grade!! Hurray! I cannot believe that I will have a fifth grader and *two* first graders next year!

Our last week of school (butterfly week) was amazing. We learned so much and had so much fun!

There was lots of caterpillar craftiness:

And butterfly craftiness....

We ended up with a beautiful wall mural showing the life cycle of the butterfly.

One of the most fun things about the whole week: the cocoon game. We have a huge green silk that the kids love to play with. This week it became a cocoon. They just take turns wrapping up inside of it, and then emerge as butterflies. So sweet.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Bonnie the butterfly!

This morning, Clover woke up and immediately went to the calendar. She counted the days since we marked Bonnie's chrysalis-making day, and announced that we better take a picture of the cocoon because Bonnie would be making her appearance any day now.

I was really glad later this afternoon that I went ahead and took five minutes to get a somewhat good picture of Bonnie's home. She's been hanging around in there for eleven days now, and I could have taken it earlier. It just looked kind of like a dead brown leaf hanging by a thread to a stick. Not exactly photo-worthy. it is amazing to look at that and think about what happened in that dried-up looking little thing.

We started on our last block of the school year this week - a one week long block about butterflies! I thought that it would be fun to end the year with something slightly more tame than the Battle of Ragnarok. That was fun and exciting, but Clover was a tiny bit sad to be done with Norse Mythology. I thought that maybe a butterfly block would be a fun way to end the year.

Today we learned a butterfly verse and a new song. I told a story all about how Bonnie started her journey as an egg, grew up to be a caterpillar, was found in the garden of some children, wound up eating carrot tops in a mason jar, and spinning her cocoon. I stopped the story there. Willow and Nova helped with coloring a big green leaf. Clover cut out some white caterpillar eggs and glued them onto the leaf. She wrote some words to go with the picture.

After lesson time, we came up to the kitchen for lunch. We ate and cleaned up, had some play time. And then... Clover went to the play room to get Charlotte, and Bonnie had emerged from her cocoon!!!! She was a shriveled up blackish-blue thing clinging to the wax paper on top of her jar........

The kids watched......

and watched.......

and watched..... her wings began to dry and she began to stretch out a little bit.

Eventually, we took her outside and took the lid off of her jar. It took a really long time for her to climb out.

Luckily, Clover was there to capture her emergence from the jar because I had moved on to swinging Nova. And she only stayed for a brief moment, stretching her wings, before taking flight.

She flew over to our grape vines, stopped and rested for awhile on a big green leaf, and then flew on...

We were all *so* excited!! We clapped and cheered as she glided over the blackberry field! Goodbye Bonnie! Good luck!!!!!!
Clover examined the empty cocoon a little more closely after Bonnie was gone.

I always know that lesson time has been a success when the kids act out their main lesson story:
~hanging from imaginary sticks in their imaginary cocoons by their silken girdles (yes, that's real butterfly terminology - silken girdle)~

~freshly emerged from cocoons and hanging upside down to dry~


I'm so lucky to have these magical people in my life. They teach me something new every single day.

Monday, May 24, 2010

cookie Monday

Nova has been anxiously awaiting his turn to make cookies! It seems like time goes by so slowly for small people. He asked me every day last week starting on Tuesday if it was time for his baking day!

After much consideration, he decided to make thumbprints. The other children were not too excited because they don't normally like nuts in cookies and the jelly part of the recipe didn't appeal to them either. But these cookies turned out to be delicious! Go make some right now!

Here's the recipe:
(*as usual, use as many organic ingredients as possible)
You need:
* 3 sticks of butter, softened
* 1 C sugar (brown or white)
* 1 egg
* 1 tsp. vanilla extract
* 2 and 1/2 C oats
* 1 C unbleached flour
* 1 C white wheat (I like King Arthur brand)
* 1/2 tsp. celtic sea salt
* 2 (kid-sized) handfuls of chopped walnuts
* jelly or jam for the cookie middles (we used strawberry preserves)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
3. Add egg and vanilla extract. Beat well!
4. Mix dry ingredients (including nuts) in a separate bowl.
5. Add gradually to the wet mixture and beat well.
6. Roll dough into little balls and put them on a cookie sheet.
7. Use your thumb to make a thumbprint on each cookie & flatten them out slightly.
8. Fill each thumbprint with jelly or jam or preserves.
9. Bake at 350 for 15 to 20 minutes.

canoe ride

Yesterday was the perfect day for a canoe trip. We had so much fun!

We saw lots of sweet little baby animals! There were tiny toads everywhere! One could sit on Clover's thumbnail. The boys caught handfuls of these toads and played with them while we got the canoe ready to go.

There were also baby ducks with with their mama mallard and a sweet little turtle.

We rowed out to an island in the middle of the lake. The kids have always seen it from shore during walks around the lake. They have always wanted to explore, and they finally got the chance! Willow was excited to stand on the willow tree that we always see growing out into the water.

We had to row one more time around the island after dinner, so that they could make plans for next time! I have a feeling that we will be there often this Summer...