Sunday, July 27, 2014

Home Sweet Home - Balance

I have been thinking a lot about our home lately. The state of our home. The cleanliness of our home. The amount of time we spend in our home.

We are reading Little House in the Big Woods as a family and this really struck a chord with me.


What a simple life! Could we ever really be THAT simple? Only one day per week doing laundry? Only one day of cleaning? A day of rest! How relaxing.

So I cleaned the upstairs. Where the kids' rooms are. I gave away many, many things. Some I had to throw away. I think there are now so few toys that it will be hard to make substantial messes. A weight has lifted. 

The laundry once a week is a bit easier. Perhaps that is all I was doing anyway (except cloth diapers). But we do always have a huge pile out in the garage. I think giving away or recycling some clothes and turning them into cleaning rags is in order. 

This morning my kids asked me why we didn't bake yesterday. It was Saturday after all. I said because we went to the creek for hours and were in the sun all day. By the time we got home I was tired. Really tired.

The big question is should we stay home more? The kids need to be outside and I do not think our tiny backyard is going to cut it...

We are working on finding a balance.

 The weather will start to change but really that only means we will be outside more...

I am also starting to think about the upcoming homeschool year. There will not be much change in what we do, but co-op classes will start up, we are enrolling for homeschool P.E. class at the YMCA, I will need to get new binders for the kids' work, art, etc., and maybe a new binder for our pictures.

Here are some pictures from the first meetup for a group I created called the Rainbow Warriors. I'm not sure if the group is going to work in the long run or exactly how it will work. It takes commitment from other families and I'm just not sure how committed other families are. Also, I am almost positive that once school starts (this is not a homeschooling group), involvement will drop. I guess we shall see. I wish everyone was as excited about getting kids (and ourselves!) outside as I am. I see an awesome bird, plant, or insect and take a picture thinking it's the greatest thing ever. But no one else cares. It makes me a little sad I guess.











And here are pictures from my family's trip to the creek yesterday. It was a lot of fun and the water was really nice. We stayed for a long time.

The park was having a program on stream ecology.





After the program, we hung out at the creek for a couple of hours.

We picked up trash. I just cannot understand why someone who enjoys the creek (they spend their time there) would leave garbage everywhere. It doesn't make sense.


 We ate.


And we enjoyed ourselves..





The kids made up a game where they sit in the stream and wait for leaves to float to them. 







Mirek was so cute. He would get a leaf, let it float away in the water, wave and say "bye bye," then all of sudden run real fast and catch it again. He did this over and over. I could have watched him for hours.



We observed this little guy inch along for some time. Very neat.


 And then we headed to check out the Nature Center which is usually closed when we visit.




Maybe our balance is off. Maybe we spend too much time outside of the home. Maybe it is not. Can we ever spend too much time outside? If only our little house was in the big woods...

Monday, July 21, 2014

Color

We are participating in two nature scavenger hunts this week. One with Imagination Station and one with my own group, Rainbow Warriors. The theme for our Imagination Station hunt is "colors." I really love this theme, and so far, it has been a lot of fun. Here is what we found today.

Brown. Mating Walking Sticks. The female is much larger!


 Pinkish? Purplish?


 Pollinators.



 A Gulf Fritillary. Beautiful colors all around.


 This next plant with the red flower is called a Turk's Cap.


 A Green Heron. Not too green huh?


 Orange.


 Purple.


 Pink for sure.


 Browns and grays.





 Feeling the smoothness of a Crape Myrtle.


We will continue our search for more colors later in the week.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Our week at the pond(s)

We have been participating in a Family Nature Scavenger Hunt this Summer (see Imagination Station) and the theme for this week is ponds.

The weather, in my opinion, has been quite cool this summer (lower 90's mostly). The only walk that might have been a little uncomfortably hot was on Monday and we went swimming immediately after.

MONDAY

One item on our scavenger hunt was a dragonfly or damselfly. We found many.

Female Halloween Pennant


Another item on our hunt was a canoe on a pond. Check!


Male Eastern Pondhawk


Turtles were on the list. Red-eared Sliders. Check!


An interesting pond plant. Yellow Pond Lily. Pretty darn interesting. Check!




Male Four-Spotted Pennant



 TUESDAY

A different pond.

A Great Egret and Nutria.



This picture shows an interesting pond plant that I noticed at a different pond later in the week. While looking back at my photos I noticed it here. It is called a Buttonbush! Scroll down for a better picture.



Ducks were also on our scavenger hunt list. These are Black-Bellied Whistling Ducks with their ducklings.





More turtles.


 TUESDAY NIGHT


Here is the Buttonbush! An awesome bloom!



We have recently dubbed ourselves the Rainbow Warriors and a friend of mine and I intend on growing our little group and truly making an impact.

 Here is my daughter, Naia, picking up trash.


 A damselfly.




Taven bringing me a flower.


Making a wish (wishes) for birthdays everyday, flowers everywhere, bluer skies, and a real life unicorn.


We checked frog off our list.


 WEDNESDAY

My husband came along for the walk.




My family (well husband and kids lol) are really into exercising. Push ups, sit ups, that sort of thing. Here they are working out.


Then a hand stand contest.





We went to the pond THURSDAY but it was pouring down rain so I did not take my camera.

FRIDAY

Back to the pond with Nutria so we could clean it up. We forgot our garbage bag on our previous visit and it was definitely needed.



 The kids brought along their colored pencils and nature journals.





 We tested the pH of the water.




 Tricked this poor squirrel into thinking we had food.



 Picking up trash. We need to make some sort of long stick with a claw to get trash out of our reach.



 The bonus for the scavenger hunt this week was to make a boat out of natural materials and float it on the pond. Our boat was more like a bundle of sticks, but it was the best Taven and I could do with Mirek constantly trying to walk out into the middle of the pond.



 After all of our Rainbow Warrior explorations we put our hands together and scream "1...2...3...RAINBOW WARRIORS!!!!"