Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Creek

Today we spent a couple of hours at the park. On the way out, we checked out the creek. Since we haven't had any rain in a couple of weeks it's getting pretty low and we were able to get down close. It's looking pretty mucky now!

Further up we were able to find a clear spot where the water was moving some.

Jack was excited to find this rock chair.

We spotted a few dragonflies!

And remember those hedge apples? They make SUPER projectiles. And since we're not the only ones who have been doing this, they are starting to make quite a little dam, too!


We spent last week learning about apples. Though we did a lot of activities, we didn't do a lot of written work, so instead of making a lapbook we just put all the pages together and called it good!

We tried several varieties of apples.

The taste-tester in action

We also polled people about their favorite kinds of apples.

Jack's finished graph

We practiced estimating and using the balance. If you look at Jack's answers here you can tell that he has my mad estimating skillz.

It took a LOT of blocks!

We also used our balance to see which items were heavier and lighter than the apple.

Checking out some seeds--also called pips.

Apple painting

We learned about the life cycle of an apple using these free cards from Montessori for Everyone.

In addition to making apple butter, we made some homemade applesauce.

Some of the books we read....

Apple Farmer Annie has been a favorite around here for a couple of years.

FYI, this is in the current Scholastic book order for just $2!

HomeschoolShare has a free lapbook for this book.

This is a great resource for nature activities for littles.

Happy Birthday, Brandy!

Happy birthday to my friend, Brandy, who knows the most dirt on me and is the least likely to spill it. ; ) I hope you have a WONDERFUL day!

1992: Choir tour (I must be concentrating really hard on my aim.)

2000: Our wedding (I was marrying Jay, not Brandy.)

1991: Some house in Tennessee. Brandy is actually the photographer here, but I came across this one while looking for the others and it made me laugh. And what is the point in having your own blog if you can't post pictures that make you laugh?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Outside Time

I'm not going to go into the details of what we did outside today (I'm up too late as it is and I'm already planning a post for later this week), but it had to do with squirrels. Hungry ones.

Happy Birthday, Rose!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

More Hedge Apples

After my last post about hedge apples, Jay's Aunt Delpha mentioned using them to keep unwanted visitors (aka mice, etc.) away. Today we went to pick some up for my parents to put in their garage.

Many more had fallen from the tree!

A rotten one

Starting to rot


And since I made you look at rotten hedge apples, here's a funnier picture.
Also funny: the number of people who told me not to eat the hedge apples. Hello??? How long have you guys known me? Do you really think it's likely that I would eat something like that? You can rest easy. ; )

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Interesting Thoughts

Jack was sick this morning and we're going out tonight, so nature (and much else) has fallen aside for the day. Here are some interesting thoughts for you.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Inside Nature

Today was a busy day, so we never made it outside for any real nature activities--which was fine, because we found something amazing inside today. We have been doing lots of apple activities this week and today we did some apple painting. All week long we have been looking at books that showed the star inside the apple, but today when I cut it and showed Jack, he was surprised. I guess he thought it was just some drawings some artists had made up. Pretty cool.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


When we went to the park today we saw many different kinds of trees. This weird looking one was most likely a victim of last winter's ice storm--there are actually a lot of weird looking trees around now!

I'm not sure what this kind of tree is, but if you split open the seed pods you will get very sticky!

The boys found this creepy bug crawling on the tree, and I promise you that this picture does not do it justice. This thing was about the length of my middle finger and looked like a giant black ant with red wings. If I ever saw anything like it in my home I would probably have to seek counseling, or at the very least, move out. It was bad.

Another tree I'm not sure about--It has things in it that kind of look like it's a bur oak, but I don't think the leaves are right. Anyone know?

Jack was excited that this tree was shedding!

Our finds

We discovered that we were pretty clueless about the types of trees at this park. I think next time we will bring home some leaves and try to identify them with the guide I found on the Arbor Day Foundation website. (J. Sterling Morton is the Father of Arbor Day, fyi. I am full of all sorts of Nebraska trivia since I had to review my fifth graders for the Nebraska history tests.)

Happy Birthday, Rachel!

Today is Rachel's birthday! Obviously, I've known her for some time now....

8 or 9 years old: Ready to go to church camp

17 years old: At the Grand Canyon on choir tour

21 years old: Rachel's wedding

27 years old: In the delivery room (I'm the one taking the picture, which is why Rachel is laughing so hard.)

2006: Our kids (I just think this is the cutest picture.)

31 years old: This summer at the retirement reception for Brother Charles

You know a friend is a friend for life if she will agree to let you sew her into a dress for your wedding (which happened to me when Rachel got married) or if she will hold your leg during labor so your husband has the chance to deliver his firstborn son (what Rachel got to do for showing up at the hospital to see how things were going). I have had a blast with you over the last 25 years and I know there's more in store! Happy Birthday!!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Take a Child Outside Week

September 24-30 is Take a Child Outside Week. You can click here to read more about it, but basically, the purpose is to get kids outside and enjoying nature.

We started easy today: noticing nature in our own backyard.

This morning we noticed that some yellow was finally appearing in our tree. Can you spot it? Jack pointed it out to Jay this evening and then ran off, yelling, "Autumn! Autumn! Autumn!" Jay accused me of raising a "Nature Nerd." At least I never went to science camp...

When we went out to play this evening, we found this giant grasshopper leg. This is the second one we've found this week, so we're thinking Boris may be snacking on some insects.

Tomorrow we will be going to a park we don't frequent too much, so maybe we'll make some new discoveries there. If you're doing anything special, please feel free to chime in!