Sunday, November 29, 2009

Make Your Own Nature Pick Up Sticks

We had some fun and simple nature study this last week. We made our own game of pick up sticks. I got this idea from Shannon at, Mommies Little Artist.

First we gathered the supplies. Our stick walk was right up Caleb's alley. We did have to have a discussion about finding smaller sticks. =)

Next we painted each stick. Some were solid colors and some multi colored.

Then we played. Caleb loves this game!

Caroline is still grasping the concept of one stick at a time without moving any others. =)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Old Memories Mixed With New

This is definitely the season for making memories in our household. When I was a little girl I had a very special stuffed bear. This bear received lots of lovin and he looks like it too. His little nose is missing, his ear is torn and his fur is not as soft as it once was. But when it comes to memory making or memory reminiscing none of that matters.

I recently pulled that little bear out of storage and Caroline decided she loved him right away. Honestly, my daughter loves many stuffed animals and this precious little bear of mine was no exception.

He is once again the recipient of little girl hugs and little girl kisses.

His ears get to once again listen to little girl secrets and declarations of love. And for awhile it seems that all is right and good in the world.

At least the world of my little girl and our precious little bear.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I Am Thankful For

I am still on bloggy vacation, but I really felt the need to post this. Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

I've been thinking about how blessed I am lately. I do not mean this to sound like I'm bragging. I really want to remember this, so I do not take any of my blessings for granted. Although, I know at some point I will. So I'm making this list. =)

- God. Jesus. The Holy Spirit.
- Prayer
- My Husband, the best husband in the world, The most loving, most patient, most supportive man ever!
- Caleb, curious, lover of nature, my first born, but always my baby
- Caroline, full of spirit and spunk and lots of snuggles
- The ability to be a stay at home mom, thanks Honey!
- Time to read my Bible
- Starbucks, yum, I'd like one right now
- Lucille's Beignets
- Hot Tea
- Good Books To Read
- Quiet Time To Read Those Books
- Church, the Sermons, the people, the music, oh just all of it
- Smiles
- Hugs from my kiddos
- Bones, Love that show!
- Back Rubs from my husband
- Amazon's Free Super Shipping Saving
- The choice/freedom to homeschool my children
- Hiking
- Rocky Mountains
- The smell of the forest
- My very cool REI Daypack
- Our very cool REI Children's Carrier
- The fact that all of my children love the outdoors
- Birds at my bird feeders
- Forgiveness
- God's Grace
- Praise Songs
- Immunizations for my children
- Health Insurance, even if it's expensive, at least we have it
- Sunshine
- Reading to my kids
- God's Promises, always kept, never broken
- The sound of rain on the roof at night
- Hearing my son say his Bible Memory verse
- My bread machine
- The seasons, love them all, well winter can be a little long, but I still like having it
- Walks
- Wildflowers
- Vacations
- The way it feels to lie in bed at night after a long day, all snugly and cozy and tired
- Marshalls
- Ross
- Eating out with my husband, just the two of us
- Family Prayer Night
- Family Movie Night
- Babies, all of them, their smell, they way they feel in your arms, their innocence, the hope they represent, you just gotta love babies
- The Bible Study I'm currently doing, thanks Beth Moore, I am really learning and growing with this one
- My Family, I know I already said this, but I am REALLY, REALLY thankful for them!

I could go on and on. Isn't God so amazing! He gives and He takes away, but He is always there. Thank you Lord for everyone and everything on this list. Amen.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Singing a Doxology to the Lord!

A Doxology is a hymn or formula of praise to the Lord. There are quite a few doxologies in the Bible:

Romans 16:27 All glory to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, forever. Amen.

Ephesians 3:20 - 21 "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."

But the doxology familiar to most is known simply as, The Doxology

The Doxology

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
Praise Him all creatures here below.
Praise Him above ye Heavenly hosts.
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

Well, we felt there was no better time of year to learn this and sing it to the Lord with all of our hearts. The kids have really enjoyed our time of worship together as a family. The pictures below are not the greatest, but it's sort of hard to get pictures of dancing kiddos.

Here's Caroline singing Amen.

Caleb added some percussion to his praise time. Tada, playing the blocks for Jesus!

We have been doing this a few evenings a week after dinner. It's a great way to end the evening and we will continue this throughout the whole Thanksgiving season. It should be hidden deep in our hearts by then.

Wishing you a Thanksgiving season filled with blessings from the Lord and praises on your lips!

Nature Walk, Glenmere Park, Fall 2009

I had some whiney kiddos this past Wednesday. So we headed outside for an impromptu nature walk. We live within walking distance of a very pretty park, so we headed down that way.

Caleb found quite a few interesting nature items. Pretty much a nature walk for him includes finding and collecting nature treasure. I have tried to convince him we can just be outside and enjoy, but then I realized collecting nature treasure is how he does that.

Here he is with a cattail he found. He really wanted to see the seeds, so he opened the cattail up and had fun.

The seeds are so pretty and fluffy.

Caroline enjoyed trying to catch them as they blew through the air.

"I want a turn." Or really she said, "ahh, uhh, aaa," so Caleb gave it to her. We really need to get some signing videos going on with this girlo.

Boy did those seeds fly!

"Where'd the cattail go?"

Down by the biggest pond at the park is an old Walnut Tree. Most of the Walnuts have been eaten by the squirrels. The ones that are left are all yucky and rotten. This did not stop the kids from collecting though.

Here they are counting their nature loot.

Here's Caroline not getting her way. She wanted to throw the Walnuts into the pond. Caleb wanted to bring them home and look at them further.

We compromised, some in the pond and some in the bag for home. Then mom was done with the refereeing, so we headed home.

Some of our nature walks are ideal, and some are, well, nature walks with a toddler. This one was a little bit of both. But we got the whininess dealt with and we got to spend time outside. Not a bad way to end the day.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Roosevelt National Forrest, Lily Ridge Trail

We have been so blessed to get to hike in November this year. Normally we would need to use snowshoes, which means no hiking for the kids. They are still a little on the young side for snowshoeing. But, since God has seen fit to bless us with beautiful weather, we decided to take Him up on enjoying it!

We went to Roosevelt National Forrest and hiked Lily Ridge Trail. This was a new one for us and a great family hike. It is very picturesque, not too long and the terrain is family friendly.

Lily Lake

Caleb and a stick. He is famous for finding, collecting and playing with them.

I thought this dead tree was pretty cool looking. Do you see all the holes? Birds or insects? I'm thinking birds looking for insects because of the size, but I need to do some more investigating on this one.
Mountain Chickadee. I am determined to get a good picture one of these days. The little guys are just so fast and very busy.

Evan came with us on this trip as well. He is quite the hiker.

Now I know this is from insects.
Caroline having a pretzel break.
Caleb found some Mica.
He was pretty fascinated with it. He loved how smooth the Mica felt.
Here Caleb is looking for animal tracks.
Caroline having a water break. She really likes to eat and drink when we hike. Actually, she likes to eat and drink all the time.
Wow, a picture of me. This doesn't happen too often, thanks love.
On the top of the trail overlooking Lily Lake.
I love this picture of Caleb and me!
Evan, king of the world!
Family Picture, Fall 2009
Another spectacular view. God is amazing, He's such an artist with nature.
Daddy and Caroline, best buds!
So pretty, time with family and another opportunity to explore God's creation. I would say this is one of my favorite ways to spend a day. Thank you Lord! I am so blessed!

Kids Explore Nature (Tree Hugging Tots): Animal Tracks and Scat

This week the theme for Tree Hugging Tots (Kids Explore Nature) was Animal Tracks. We were studying tracks and scat, so this worked out well. 

I highly recommend the book, "Big Tracks, Little Tracks" by Millicent E. Selsam. Out of all of the books we got on tracks from the library, it was Caleb's favorite.

We discussed what a stride is (the distance between each track). I would have loved to have demonstrated this outside with Caleb footprints, but we had a dry week. Imagine that, cause last week we had snow. Oh, well. We used socks instead.

We talked about how the stride is smaller when the animal is walking and longer when the animal is running.

Next we discussed hopping, like rabbits or mice do. Rabbit tracks always have the long hind feet in front of the front feet. Caleb tried to hop in this manner. It is not easy to do.

Next we discussed how Coyotes and foxes walk in a straight line. Caleb tried this as well.
But remember, they have four feet. Not so easy to keep that straight line going on all fours.

We did all of this to show how you can read tracks and find out lots of info from them. Like which direction the animal was walking in, were they running and of course what type of animal it is.
We had some track making fun with our playdough and plastic animals. Caroline joined us for this activity.
Caleb also decided he should see what type of tracks his tank would make.
We went outside during the snowy week and took a mini track walk around our yard. We saw bird tracks, kitty tracks and Caleb's favorite, Bubba tracks.
Bubba is our dog.
We did this very cool Match The Tracks sheet. It is from A-Z Nature. I stuck it in a page protector on a clipboard for Caleb to do. It gives great descriptions of each track, a picture of the animal and a picture of the track. We did this snuggled up in the rocking chair and spent time discussing each track as well. I did not get a picture because it was snuggle time, so no camera.

We discussed what this is and what you can learn from it. (mainly what the animal has been eating)

For animal scat info, as well as animal tracks, I recommend the book, Tracks, Scat and Signs by Leslie Dendy. We own this book, which is really a field guide for kids. But it also has activities for kids to do and great pictures and information.

We took this book with us to Roosevelt National Forrest on a Track/Scat hike. The whole family went and we had a blast. I will post about the whole trip later in the week. But here are the scat highlights.
Elk Scat
Deer Scat, in compact form
Normally deer scat is in pellet form, shaped like bullets. But this deer must have been eating some pretty succulent vegetation for its scat to be like this.
Caleb having a grand time looking for tracks. We only found people tracks though.
The fam! Thanks Evan, for taking the picture.

We made scat cookies. No, they are not made from poop. I posted about this in our Simply Made Sunday post. We had lots of fun, so click on the link and check it out!

To see other families week of nature fun with animal tracks, check out Kids Explore Nature (Tree Hugging Tots).