Friday, April 30, 2010

OHC Spring Series #3: Spring Bird Study

This week for our Outdoor Hour Challenge we studied spring birds.  Our focus was the Red-bellied Woodpecker.  We live in an eastern deciduous forest and this area is teeming with woodpeckers year round.  The Red-bellied Woodpecker is a medium-sized woodpecker of the Picidae family. It breeds in southern Canada and the northeastern United States. Its common name is somewhat misleading, as the most prominent red part of its plumage is on the head; the Red-headed Woodpecker however is another species that is a rather close relative but looks entirely different. 

                  For this challenge we walked around our neighboorhood listening for their distictive call.   Red-bellied woodpeckers are noisy birds, and have many varied calls.  Males tend to call and drum more frequently than females, but both sexes call. Often, these woodpeckers "drum" to attract mates.  We are having a blast learning different bird calls and plan on trying to learn and identify a new call each week. Here is a picture of a woodpecker visiting our feeder.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Eight years ago today......

I love you my dear...each day is a gift.  I am honored to share this journey with you. 

Monday, April 26, 2010

Life. On Mondays

Stephanie from Ordinary Life Magic (too) is hosting Life.On Mondays.  Want to play?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Playful Learning

After the hectic weekend of birthday revelry, Monday morning was looking pretty grim. The natives were restless and extremely resistance to doing anything that remotely resembled "school". So I threw my lesson plans out the window and broke out the games. I have to thank Kat from Stuff on My Blog for this wonderful M&M math activity. We graphed each color of M&M comparing the quantities and making simple word problems based on color distribution. We also used the M&M to construct patterns, practice skip counting and illustrate basic multiplication and division. You have to love school supplies that are edible!

We also played sight word bingo and phonogram bingo. I called each sight word and phonogram out to T who than had to locate them on his bingo card. O was very determined to join in the fun. To facilitate this after I had called out the word/sound to T, I placed the card in front of O and she would search for the duplicate word on her bingo card.

We rounded out the day with some read alouds and T reading a Star Wars book to me. Did the day go as planned....No.  Instead we had a day filled with laughter, fun, and learning....Score!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Life. On Mondays : Texture

Stephanie of Ordinary Life Magic (too) is hosting life on Mondays.  Here's ours.

In the Garden

Sunday, April 18, 2010

In a Galaxy Far Far Away....A Stars Wars Birthday Party

Yesterday was T's 7th birthday. To celebrate we threw the Star Wars party of the century. The house was filled with fellow padawans hoping to complete their Jedi training. My husband led them in training and then awarded them their lightsabers. Once armed they helped defeat the Darth Vadar piñata and destroy the Death Star. After all this annihilation the young Jedi's feasted on lightsaber cake and bestowed T with his gifts.

I upcycled an old box to create the Death Star toss.

The piñata was fashioned from a paper mached balloon and painted using this design.
The lightsabeer cake was easily constructed by cutting a 13x9 sheet cake into 4 equal slices and tapering one of the slices.  I wanted to use rolled fondant but went with flavor over aesthetics...what doesn't taste good swathed in cream cheese frosting?
I think T's face was plastered with a smile ALL.DAY.LONG.  I must admit I was pretty geeked out by the whole Star Wars theme as well.   I can not believe I am the mother of a SEVEN year old!  Thank you T for sharing with me the joy of motherhood.  These past seven years have been the most beautiful, adventurous and hilarious years of my life. 

Thursday, April 15, 2010

OHC Spring Series #1: Year-Long Tree Study

This week we continued with the Outdoor Hour Challenge Spring Series #1: Year Long Tree Study. We stretched this study over a two week period so we could observe the buds opening and the leaves emerging.  Each of the children have their own trees to study, T's is a Kousa Dogwood and O's is a Bloodgood Maple. We began this study in the winter and will continue it through the year.

First up is the Bloodgood. Over the last two weeks the leaves have fully emerged and the foliage is just gorgeous. I love how the sunlight kisses the leaves igniting their color.

Next is the Kousa.  The leaves are just beginning to unfurl.  They should be fully emerged in the next two weeks.  Kousa dogwoods bloom later than their indigenous counterparts.  We have both native and imported dogwoods in our garden.  I can not wait for them to blossom, it is one of my favorite spring sights.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, April 12, 2010

Life. On Mondays: Unfolding

Stephanie from Ordinary Life Magic (Too.) is Unfolding. Here is our artwork unfolding.


This tie dye craft was inspired by Wendolonia.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

All Aboard

Today the children and I jumped in the car for an unplanned adventure. We set our course south and headed down the open road. With infinite possibilities stretched out before us we laughed and sang songs until our course steered us to....The Railroad Museum. What a wonderful surprise it was discovering this small gem. The "museum" was a collection of antique railway cars open for exploration. T and O had a blast climbing up each platform and peaking into times gone by. Each car was a snapshot into the forgotten past....

I found the trains themselves to be quite beautiful...I was especially drawn to this deco stylized hand rail.

We had an amazing afternoon, I will have to throw caution to the wind more often and set out on the uncharted path.

Friday, April 9, 2010

The National Arboretum

Last week I had the immense joy of visting the National Arboretum.   As luck would have it the cherry blossoms were peaking and the sight of them was simple breathtaking.  Each blossom became a poem, beckoning me to read it...savour it. 

The arboretum is also home to am amazing bonsai collection. I find the art of bonsai fascinating...the discipline and devotion involved is so inspiring.

This specimen has been in training for nearly 400 years. 

Above all it was a glorious day to share the beauty of spring with my children.  And Jedi battles with Grandpa of course.......