Friday, October 23, 2009

Break Through

My daughter, usually shy, shared show and tell today. Woo Hoo!
Usually she hides or stands there saying nothing. Not today. Today she shared. :)

Ecology Day

This semester we have been focusing on Stewardship; using and not abusing all that God has given us. Our bodies, money, possessions, time, talents, the Earth and natural resources. This week the focus was on Ecology and how we can be better stewards of the Earth.
Yesterday was what we called Ecology Day. A field trip into Ecology. Here is what we did-
In the morning we used the A-Z guide to Helping the Planet. It discussed all sort of practical ways to make small changes. Some highlights included fix leaky pipes and faucets. We took a jar and placed it under an intentional leak in the kitchen sink. In a half hours time we had 5 cups of water. Times that by 24 hours and you are potentially losing/paying for gallons of water a day. Reduce- use less, Reuse- find ways to get multiple uses out of an item and Recycle. Keep lights off when not in a room. Keep the refrigerator door shut. Use cloth bags when shopping and shop wiser, looking for for eco-friendly items and paying attention to packaging. See who else is here on the planet. We made a diagram of a pond and drew pictures of all the critters that live there. Then we added the animals that use the pond for their water source and the birds that feed there. Then we drew in some people polluting and talked about the effects on everyone. Needless to say our discussions were fun and interesting.
Then it was time for the field trip. Since I wanted to get the kids thinking about how small changes can be effective we chose to do ALL travel for the day by either bus or foot.
The bus- The boy researched which bus stop to use and what time it departed. Thankfully we have 3 different choices and the one we chose took about 7 minutes to walk to. Along the way we picked up trash. When we first got on the bus there were only a few people but as we worked our way downtown it slowly filled. We talked about bus etiquette, how the bus works, emergency exits, requesting stops and all sorts of other interesting things. After 25 minutes we arrived into the Transporatation Center, the hub of all buses in our area. We checked out the huge map and were impressed by the fact that you can get practically anywhere by bus. Then we had a short walk to Impression 5/Creation Station. Along the way we continued on with our trash pick-up. By the time we arrived to our destination, the bag was full. We took off our gloves, washed our hands and ate our lunch. Then since we were early we decided to head up to Impression 5 and explore for a few minutes. We checked out the water pollution display in the water works room. Talking about water sources and keeping them safe from pollution. Confession here: I think alot of times when we go to Impressions 5 we go from one fun activity to another and rarely take time to actually do a display or read the info. Yesterday we were able to squeeze in a few of the infomational displays as well as do lots of the "fun stuff."
With 12:30 drawing near we headed back downstairs to Creation Station, our recycle store. The awesome coordinator of craft day, my mom, had set -up tons of miscellaneous recycled items. Our other Konos friends arrived and we had Imagination Craft Day. Were we let the kids create using the recycled items. Fun! If you have never been to Creation Station, I highly recommend a visit. If you have arts and crafts project you will be amazed at how many items they have. We have a bag at our house just for collecting items to go to Creation Station. What was that about reuse and recycle? Check.
With rain coming down outside, the afternoon trash pick-up with friends was canceled. Instead the kids went back up to Impression 5 and explored together. Good times.
Then it was onto the Farmer's Market, buy local, buy seasonal. We picked out some produce and treats. Yum!
Then it was off to Preuss' Animal House. To check out who else we are sharing this planet with. It was a bit of a walk from the market to the pet shop and it was sprinkling but the kids were having fun.
Our return trip, we learned how to transfer buses and the boy got to pull the yellow "stop requested" cord.
We weren't even off the bus when the kids both asked, "When do we GET to ride the bus again?" I think the word get through me at first. Often times riding the bus has a stigma attached. My kids saw it as a priviledge, as fun and exciting. I have to admit, I enjoyed it as well. Perhaps would not even mind doing it more often.
Thanks for joining us on our adventure!
Any ideas, books or videos you would like to share about Ecology would be warmly recieved.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Temperaments!

No not tempers, temperaments. You know, Sanguine, Phlegmatic, Choleric and Melancholic.
In my parenting class this week we were asked to figure out the temperament of each member of our family. We were given a list of strengths and weaknesses.
Sanguine- Enthusiastic, expressive, talkative, sense of humor, cheerful and bubbling over. Dominates conversations, interrupts, disorganized, self-centered and doesn't follow through.

Phlegmatic- Low-key, easy going, calm, cool, collected, patient, kind, steady, agreeable, mediates well. Appears lazy, lacks initiative, resists change, indecisive, procrastinates and stubborn.

Choleric- Born leader, decisive, dynamic, powerful, strong-willed, thrives on opposition, confident, quick to action and can run anything. Thinks they are never wrong, knows the right answer, holds others to a higher standard than themselves, won't admit when wrong, manipulative, impatient, bossy and must always be in control.

Melancholy- Deep, thoughtful, analytical, serious, purposeful, talented, creative, idealistic, self-sacrificing, schedule oriented, perfectionist, well organized. Judgmental, self-focused, easily depressed, takes things personally, negative in responses and puts unrealistic demands on others.

Right off it was easy to determine my children. My boy is Sanguine. My girl is Choleric.
Determining mine and my husband proved to be a little more tricky. We read and reread through the list and could not quite settle on one. Since Google is my friend ( I should hit Google up with a friend request on facebook) I Googled temperament test. Low and behold, there were free test online. I took this one here. The result was pretty much a blend of all four with 9 points for a Phlegmatic, 8 points for Choleric and 7 each for the other two. Which explains why I saw strengths and weaknesses of each in myself. Then hubby took it and was a solid Phlegmatic with a secondary in Melancholy.
Another test said I was Sanguine with a secondary in Phlegmatic. So I guess the verdict is still out on me.
Anyway, in class tonight we discussed how this plays out in the home. For example: My Choloric daughter has to "feel" like she has some control of situations. She must feel heard and understood. She is strong-willed and will assert herself. Just this week she was being disciplined and was told to sit on her bed. Dad gave no room for discussion and was swift in placing her there. For the next 20 minutes she repeated over and over, "Mom" "MOM" "Mooooom." "I want to talk to mommy." "Mommy do you hear me, come talk to me now." I did hear her yet under my husbands instruction was staying quiet. She was relentless. Once she realized she could not control daddy's decision she faught for control of any kind and started calling the dog.
The very next day we had a mini replay of the same scene. Where she repeated over and over, wanting to be heard. "I need to tell you something." Seems convient that everytime she is disciplined, she is bursting with things that she MUST say RIGHT THEN. It boils down to control. And she wants it.
Through this we realized something very important about our daughter. She needs to be heard. Unless she feels heard she can not, will not, listen to anything anyone else has to say. So my husband hit upon a brilliant idea. He said, "Go give her some paper and a pencil and have her write whatever she needs to say. Then go back in a couple minutes and get whatever she has written." It worked beautifully.
Her notes read, "Moms are the best"
"Mom I do love you."
"I love you mom rile mom i love you."
"My and you biy big mom"
Not the message I expect but from a voice that needed to be heard. Needless to say I think we will continue to implement this approach. Perhaps even a journal specifically for that purpose. In light of tempraments it helps knowing what their tendancies are and maybe some of the motivation behind it.
This site here was awesome in explaining the strenghs and weaknesses of each. It is set-up for adults but my friend and I quickly realized that parents can be interpreted for a kid to be in the family, at work would translate to at school and with friends is applicable at any age.

So how about you? What is your temprament? Your children's tempraments? How does this play out in your home?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Birthday Party

Little girl's 6th birthday she wanted a castle cake. She wanted to be a princess. And she wanted her party at Chuck E. Cheese. Let's just say my mother-in-law is amazing. She made the cake. The dress-up bin provided our princess and Chuck E Cheese it was.
Cinderella and her castle.

A closer look at the cake. Again my MIL is AMAZING!! The cake was awesome and delicious.

Sweet! Money...

Our traditional photo sketch

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Happy 6th Birthday

Hey There Sweetie,

You made it to six. It seems like we have been here for awhile already but the reality is, you are just now six. I guess to me you seem older than your actual age. Gone are the little kid shows as you have moved onto Hannah Montana and The Suite Life of Zach and Cody. Gone are the jammies with footies. Gone are the Little People. It's happened, you have grown. Nowadays you pass your time dancing, singing, playing house with your babies and reading.

In school you are now excelling in first grade. You read with ease. Workbooks? You love them. Math and Phonics are your favorite subjects. In the last year we have studied Indians, Pioneer Life, Horses, Our Bodies and Ecology. Many adventures, many good times. We saw a few more cow births this year. Some were triumphant(Victory and Jaclyn), others were sad(Teacup and Rocky). I will always treasure those moments of life and death at the Dairy Farm. It seems to be our special place.

In life you are daily fighting the fear of being alone. Somedays it seems like you can conquer the world and the next you won't go anywhere out of my sight. I pray that you let go of the fear and step victoriously into God's plan for your life. You often pray, "Dear Jesus, Guard us, protect us and keep us safe. Help us to have good dreams." He is always near you. Never forget that. I trust in time you will develop your wings and fear not. You have such leadership built into you. Once you find your voice, you are going to change this world.

In the past year you learned to swim. Once you realized you were tall enough for the waterslide, you put your attention to learning how to swim. With determination you practiced until one day you were doing it. What joy when you accomplished your goal. Never stop setting goals. For you are one to do what you set out to do. So set your dreams high and work hard. Little girl you will go far.

Giggle girl, may you always find joy in simple things. Snuggle bug, may you always have time to spend with the ones you love. Pumpkin pie, may you develop all the skills you will need in the coming year. Sweet girl, while I love who you are in this moment I know you will continue to grow. Everyday learning. Everyday changing ever so slightly. In the things you say. The things you do.

I love you!
Happy birthday!
Mom

Monday, October 12, 2009

Day Off

This weekend was jammed pack with field trips, fun and learning. We did go to the Color Tour, Archaeology Day and Crane Fest(twice). So today I declared that we would take the day off of school.
The only exception was that we would watch no TV nor play on the computer. If we got bored, then we would do school. Ha! Like that was going to happen.
We played Monolpoly. I won!
We made Puppy Chow. It was yummy.
The boy made beeswax candles.
We played Whoonu. Three times.
We played Sorry. The boy won.
Overall, we enjoyed each others company and did some stuff that normally gets overlooked.
Oh yeah and I cleaned. Yeah the house is still clean.

I think we need to do this kind of thing more often.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

What's an Atlatl???

That's what I was thinking when we pulled into the parking lot of the historical museum. My nephew had wondered if an atlatl would be at Archaeology Day. As much as I love words I don't think I had ever heard of an atlatl, ever. Remarkably, there were atlatls at the event and the guys had a blast trying them out.
Oh and for the record an atlatl is a tool used to propel a dart(spear)


I admit I tried it out too. But my throws were terribly lacking.



When we went inside we visited the old times games room where we made Sawbuzzers. Take a button and a piece of string and soon you will have over an hour of simple fun.

While at Archaeolgy Day we saw many interesting things. Talked to interesting people.
My personal favorite was this guy.

He hand crafts ALL of his own hunting tools. Arrowheads, spears, baskets...all sorts of amazing things.
Like these arrowheads. Yep. He made them.

With said tools he has successfully hunted deer, squirrel, rabbit, coyote and carribou. Amazing!

Currently in our local theater the free kids movie of the week is Night at the Museum 2. Last night hubby took the boy to see it. Just in time to come across this...

Hey there Jedidiah.

After touring the museum, we headed back out to the atlatls. And my nephew scored this kill.

Needless to say, the atlatl was the biggest hit of Archaeology Day for the boys. They are trying to see if they can make their own. Thanks to wikihow..perhaps they will.
http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Simple-Atlatl

There you have it our morning at Archaeology Day. Soon to come- Our evening at Crane Fest.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Let It Rain

Today we had plans to attend an outdoor festival. Visions of sunshine and fall colors danced through my head. Instead we were met with rain. Drizzling, wet rain.
Rather than let it get in the way of our plans we went anyway.
We watched ladies make sauerkraut, fresh apples being hand-pressed, civil war reenactors, a black smith and visited the animals in the 4-H tent. Not too shabby of a day.
Sure we had on hats, mittens and coats but that did not deter us. If anything it made me appreciate it more. There were no long lines or pushing and shoving to see what was happening. It also made me realize that soldiers in the civil war didn't get to choose whether or not they stayed inside due to the weather.
Are we raising a generation of fair weather friends? Are we raising our kids to stay inside and only go out if the conditions are ideal? I have come to realize that if I continue to wait for ideal, I will waste a lot of time waiting. I would much rather live life. So let it rain.
The best thing one can do when it's raining is to let it rain. ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Thursday, October 08, 2009

A Weekend of Choices

Never before have we had so many options to choose from for a single weekend.
Let's just say our weekend is going to be packed and it is all going to be FUN FUN FUN! Which is a good thing because our Konos theme of the week is...Fun!

So for those of you who may be interested in what opportunities are available to you this weekend, here you go:

The 29th annual Color Cruise and Island Festival will take place on Island Park in downtown Grand Ledge on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, October 9, 10, and 11 from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Visitors will be able to see demonstrations of black kettle caramel corn, apple cider pressing, blacksmithing, weaving, spinning, wood carving and other old time activities. Visit a fur trader encampment, enjoy good food and live entertainment and take a covered wagon or boat ride. Children can visit the petting zoo, paint a pumpkin or dip a candle for a small fee.Click Here for the Color Cruise Brochure

The admission price is $3.00 for adults (seniors $2.00 Friday only) and $1.00 for children and is good for all three days.

Crane Fest- Saturday and Sunday from 12-7pm
Bellevue Michigan
$3 parking no admission fee.

Watch hundreds of sand hill cranes come into the Baker sanctuary while enjoying an afternoon of good old fashion fun. Check out last years blog posts for more details. Highly recommended!

Michigan Archaeology Day
Saturday October 10, 200911 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Michigan Historical Museum, Lansing
FREE

Here is your chance to meet professional archaeologists, to learn of their research and adventures and to see one-day-only exhibits from their archaeological digs and underwater archaeological explorations. Add to this a cartload of fun family activities, and by the end of the day, everyone will "dig" history! And again it is FREE!

Wharton Center Open House- Sunday October 11th 12-4pm

Wharton Center will host an open house from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday to commemorate the completion of $18.5 million in renovations and expansions.

Self-guided tours of the Cobb Great Hall and Pasant Theatre are among the open house’s events, as well as viewings of the rehearsal studio and stars’ dressing rooms.

Refreshments will be served at the open house and participants will have the opportunity to enter for a chance to win tickets to Wharton Center events. The event is free to the public.


There you have it, interesting things to do. Let me know if you are planning on attending any or all of these events.

Perhaps we shall see you there. :)

Welcome Back Blogger!

You know when you go to an amusement park and you ride a roller coaster. The friendly college student running the ride always, without fail, says,"Welcome Back Riders! We hope you enjoyed your ride."
Well, I have to say I did not intend to ride away from blogging for the Summer. It just kinda happened. While living life, I lost time to blog. But trust me life has been happening. We have had moments of triumph, death, diagnosis, growth and learning. It makes me kinda sad to not have each of these precious moments documented for me to look back years from now and remember. Already the days have melded together and if I try to pick out specific moments I have to think really hard and bust out the calendar to remember.
Rather than let that get me down I am choosing to blog again. I pray I find the time. Be it early in the morning or after the kids go to bed, I just need to do it and make it a priority.
Welcome Back Blog Readers! I hope you enjoy your ride.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Owlhaven's Giveway

Early on in my blogging I was very fortunate to run across one of my favorite bloggers, Owlhaven.
A homeschool mom to 10, this woman rocks. With posts about gardening, frugality, adoption, life and laptops. Laptops, yup, it's true. Mary is giving away a laptop to one lucky reader this week. Go check out the post:
http://www.owlhaven.net/intel_laptop_giveaway

I definitely could put a new laptop to good use.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Summer Fun LIst

Summer Fun Ideas

Playtime at the Park (Wednesdays)
Potter Park Zoo
Fenner Nature Center
Geocaching
Bike rides
Hawk Island- Swimming
Motorcycle rides with dad
Library- Read cool books!
Camping/Creation Museum
Ice cream
Baseball games
MSU children’s garden
Play dates and sleepovers
Crafts
Lake Michigan
Columbia Creek
MSU Dairy and Horse farms
Strawberry picking-June
Blueberry picking- August
Bowling
Michigan Adventure
Frankenmuth- pretzel factory
Ice skating
Roller skating
Kalamazoo Nature Center
Ledges-rock climbing
Skate Park
Movie
Canoeing
Concerts in the Park
Surprise a working friend with lunch
Plant cutting flowers
Sprinkler
Board Games
Stargazing
Make a movie
Kids talent show
Puppetshow
Ethnic Foods
Festivals
Cascades
Summer Reading Activities at the Library
VBS
Fishing
Farmers Market
Volunteer (Fenner, Nature Discovery, Creation Station)
Take stuff apart-with permission
Garage Sale Challenge
Water fight
Backyard Campout
Projector movie night
Fish ladder/Pruess
EL Aquatic Center ($7/person)
Encourage a homeschooler
Bengal Wildlife-Bath
Audubon Bird Hikes
Kellogg Bird Sanctuary

It is our intentions to do each of the things on this list. We will see what the finances allow. Thankfully the majority is free or inexpensive so we are looking forward to a SUPER FUN SUMMER!!!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Southside's NEW Farmers Market


NEW!!! South Lansing Community Farmers Market and Paved Trail at Davis Park

Every Saturday, Benjamin Davis Park is the place to be for Fresh Food, Fitness, and Fun!

Lansing, MI – June 3, 2009 – For years, residents across South Lansing have wanted a farmers market where they could purchase fresh, locally grown produce. In addition, residents in Southeast Lansing have wanted a safe place to walk and bike in an area that lacks sidewalks on several major roads. Thanks to the South Lansing Community Development Association, both dreams are about to become reality.

What: South Lansing Community Farmers Market

When: Every Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., June through September

What: Grand Opening of Paved Path at Benjamin Davis Park

When: Saturday, June 6, 10 a.m.

Where: Benjamin Davis Park, 5614 Pleasant Grove Rd. (between Jolly and Miller)

Join us as we officially open our new market and the new 3/4 mile paved path. Shop at the market, meet local growers, learn about food preservation, try new recipes, stroll along the newly paved walking path and visit with neighbors. Our market is unlike any other because it offers produce from community growers and urban yard gardeners as well as local farmers.

This Saturday, the market will offer early harvest produce, including asparagus, radishes, rhubarb, salad greens, spinach, Swiss chard, and turnip greens, as well as garden starts and potted perennials. We’ll also have a children’s activity table and information on food preservation presented by MSU Extension.

Throughout the season, we’ll offer a growing variety of fruits and vegetables, as well as value-added products like dips and sauces, jams and jellies, honey, maple syrup, baked goods, and soaps.

The market and the path were made possible with support from the Michigan Department of Community Health, the Ingham County Health Department, the Lansing Parks & Recreation Department, MSU Extension, and members of the South Lansing community.

Eat Fresh, Get Fit, Have Fun!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Car Conversation

"Mom?"
"Yes dear."
"Did you know I have 3 friends who go to their moms house and then their dads?" As she proceeds to list their names. Then continues..."Kelsey had to go back to her mom's house last night."
I wasn't planning on having a discussion about divorce or kids who have split custody. But apparently these things have been on her 5 year mind.
"Mom, why did her mom call her?
I tried my best to explain that regardless of where the parent is they want to talk to their kid. Like when my husband goes out of state on travel, he calls and talks to them because he misses them. Just like Kelsey's mom must miss her when she is at her dads.
"Oh."

Unfortunately, there are more than 3 kids let alone friends that are children of divorce.
Lord, be with our little friends that are in the midst of divorce and custody arrangements. Help them to see and feel loved by both of their parents. Protect their hearts Lord. Provide for their every need.

Monday, May 11, 2009

More than an Educator, More than a Mom

There are days when my identity seems so stuck on mom. I mean I hear my name multiply times a day. Most likely over a hundred times a day. Mom, MoM, mom, mama, mOm, mommy, MOM! Yet in our home I am more than mom. I am mom, wife, friend, teacher, taxi driver, base ball coach (our backyard only) and lately it appears student.
No I have not enrolled in College, although I feel that someday I will. I feel like lately I have been in the school of "How to Educate My Children." Have you ever had a series of events that you felt were so tailor made for you. I choose to believe it is not coincidence. I believe that God is specifically teaching me about my kids and how they learn especially my son.
It's long been discovered that boys are different than girls. Never has it been more obvious than in our homeschool. I can confirm the fact that yes boys are different than girls and probably more specifically; they learn differently too. I entered into homeschooling knowing that children had different learning styles, I read countless books. I decided early on to incorprate different styles of learning, a something for everyone learning program. And since I am ecclectic, it means a little of this, a little of that, structured and unstructured, hands-on and book work, auditory and visual, live field trips, video field trip and reading lots of books. I figured with a wide variety, my children would be well-rounded.
For the most part this has served us very well. I love teaching. We do a lot of fun things. My kids are growing and learning, as am I. And they are well-rounded.
Yet while they are well-rounded I feel like now is the time to nuture them as individuals. Helping them to become the man and woman God created THEM to be. Early on I could pick out traits in my children, giving me hints of who they are. One asks lots of questions, one loves to sing, one loves books, while they other could spend the entire day outdoors exploring. I could go and on and on...
So how is God leading me? What has He shown me? While I could never put all the pieces together for you. I will share what I do know. And I will do my best to communicate it with you.
It all started when we were reading a biography on Thomas A Edison. As a young boy Thomas Edison was incredibly curious. He wanted to know how everything worked. He asked A LOT of questions. At the age of 7 his mother put him into the town school. A one room school house with a very strict teacher named, Mr. Crawford. Mr. Crawford had no use for disruptions of any sorts and certainly not for a young Thomas who had questions about the subject matter. He was often ridiculed and disciplined for his desire to know more. One day, Thomas came home from school and declared, "I am not going back to that school!" His mother enquired why and found out that he had been ridiculed and yelled at, yet again for asking a question. The teacher had made the statement, this river runs uphill. Now Thomas had been down to the river, he had studied its flow and all the rivers he had ever seen flowed down hill. So he simply asked, "How can that be?" His teacher responded harshly, his mother however responded BRILLIANTLY! "Thomas Alva Edison, you have every right to be curious and ask questions. He should feel honored that you are so intentive and want to learn. Why, if he won't allow for your questions, I will teach you myself at home." And then she went to tell Mr. Crawford himself what she thought. At age 7, Thomas had his first laboratory. He continued to ask questions, he continued to explore and he became in my mind the most valuable contributor to American science because of it.
Next it was onto the Wright Brothers biography. Right smack dab in the middle of chapter one, God got my attention. The boys were still young, I believe 3 and 5 when Wilber recieved a top for his birthday. Not just any top, a gyroscope. The science of it amazed the family and they all enjoyed taking turns to see how it worked. In the afternoon, Wilber and Orville went into the shed to see how it worked. And to see how it worked they ended up taking it apart and ultimately destroying it. The mother's response to the situation was BRILLIANT! To paraphrase, she told the oldest brother that the boys had taken the top apart and that it was now broken. To which he questioned, "Won't father be mad?" Her reply, "We can not be mad at them. They are doing what they were created to do. Their minds must know the answers to their questions. The must take things apart to see how they work and only then do they understand it. Your grandfather was the same way. He took apart wagon after wagon seeing how they worked. Then he rebuilt them and made them better. That is why he is the best wagon maker there is. If we do not allow them to do these things they will not be all that they were created to be. You are not to scold them, nor well I." WOW!!!
I can not tell the number of times nor all the things my son has gotten into, the times he has taken things apart to what seemed to me destroying something all because his mind had questions that needed to be answered. My boy who asks countless "How and why" questions. My boy that would be much happier out in the back yard than behind a desk. Who has before helped me to fix the DVD player, taking it apart and fixing the malfunction. My boy... is a Thomas Edison and a Wilber Wright.
So what as his educator am I to do about that? Believe me I ask myself often what is best for my kids. A little bit of the answer came when we watched the first 30 minutes of a River Runs Through It. The narrating boy told how he went to the school of Minister (his last name) who was the boys father. Needless to say, he was homeschooled. He told how his father taught two things; Arithmetic and Writing. Those two things he was required to do daily, TO HIS FATHERS SATISFACTION. It shows the boy writing, taking the lesson to his father and him red lining it , circling things and handing it back to the boy. This goes on a couple times until the boy got it right, to which the father replies, "Good, now throw it away." The boy crumples the paper, throws it in the trash and runs off full speed to the woods where he spends the day fly fishing and exploring. The narrator shares, that "All I needed to learn, I learned there in those woods.

And what I took from all this is this:
I should and I will require seatwork from my child. He will be expected to do his math. He will be expected to complete his Language Arts. However long this takes him will be up to him. It should be done well and to my satisfaction. Then he will have time to explore. I have given him the freedom to take things apart, with permission. I found an old camera at a garage sale. He took it apart last week. A little screw driver and an inquiring mind taught him more than I could have ever taught him by forcing him to read it from a book or giving some dry explaination. I will still do unit study appraoches to topics. Offering as many hands-on, practical learning options as we go. I also plan to let him explore as much as possible. Not worrying to much when he digs a hole. Yet also holding him accountable for what he does. Use a tool, put it away. As he grows I hope he will begin a journal of all his discoveries. I can not wait to see what he does with his life because of the choices I am making. I know whatever he does, it is going to be something GREAT!

So what about my daughter. How does she play into this whole mix? How am I to teach her? Differently, that's how. While all these epiphanies are happening on my sons front, I have had a couple on my daughter as well. She THRIVES on seat work. I could give her 20 pages of work book stuff and pages to fill out and she would eat it up. The child finished Kindergarten early because nearly everyday she would ask can I do another day. Last week when I she had consumed all that I had for her to consume as far as Kindergarten goes, we declared that she had finished. My husband told her how proud of her he was and that now she was a first grader. She beemed with delight. The next day she asked, "Where is my first grade school stuff?" Now I was not planning on starting first grade stuff until the Fall. I had planned on doing filler activities and workbooks to fill the time until we were done for the Summer. That was my plan, not hers. She really wanted to start first grade, THAT DAY. Since I had all my Language Arts stuff for her for first grade, thats what we did. She did the first three days in one sitting. Then two days the next. She has already stated she wants to do school all Summer. Seeing that it takes her such a short time to get through it I will probably oblidge her. It is how she is wired and I would be doing her a disservice to not allow her to learn on her time table and according to her interest.
So it does appear to me that I will be Schooling and Unschooling under the same roof. You see I am an educator. I am a Mom. I am a student, ever learning. "Lord, teach me all that I need to know."

Oh and if anyone has something interesting that could be taken apart, broken or not, I think I know a boy that might enjoy the opportunity.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Creation Stations May craft workshops

May Workshops at Creation Station

Thursday May 7- Mother's Day Crafts 12-4pm - Special things for Mom

Thursday May 14- Hawaiin "Puka" Birds and Rain Sticks 12-4pm -Guest instructor Charlotte LaRoy will teach how to make these delightful birds.

Thursday May 28- Yard and Garden Decorations 12-4

All workshops are free and all ages welcome.

Donations accepted.

200 Museum Dr- Look for the orange door with a yellow star.

Looking for craft supplies? Don't forget to check out the Creation Station store.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Weekend of Choices

It appears that this weekend is a great time to get out for some family fun. Here are just four things that are going on.

Woldumar Earth Day Celebration
Saturday, April 18, 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

The celebration kicks off with trail grooming, tree planting, and other volunteer projects from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Everyone is welcome to join the volunteer crew to help get our buildings and grounds in shape for the upcoming season. Anyone can join the party, just come the fun. Groups who are interested in volunteering together can call 517-322-0300.

Blacksmith demonstration.

Prairie Burn Seminar. Find out how Woldumar maintains the prairie habitat and promotes the diversity of plants and animals in it with a yearly prescribed burn. Susan Jones, a Woldumar Board Member and wetland specialist, will explain the process at 1:00 p.m. Admission fee $2/Woldumar members; $3/nonmembers.

Geocache Treasure Hunt. Go on a treasure hunt using a GPS. Pick up the first clue at the office in the visitor center at 2:00 p.m. If you don't have your own GPS unit, Woldumar will loan you one. All participants who finish the hunt and find the treasure will receive a prize. Admissin fee $3/members; $5/nonmembers.

Concessions will be available from 12 noon - 4:30 p.m. in the RE Olds Anderson Barn.


Small Animal Day Saturday, April 18th 9am to 1pm Admission: $2/person

This annual event is hosted by student organizations and clubs in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at MSU (NOT by the College of Veterinary Medicine). It is an opportunity to get outside on a spring day and visit the MSU farms and pavilion, and to see newborn animals up close.

Guests are to park at the southwest corner of Mt. Hope Rd and Farm Lane on the MSU campus. Be sure to dress for the weather. Bus transportation will be available to take guests to MSU farms and the MSU Pavilion, where they can see the facilities, meet MSU students, and see the animals, including newborn lambs, calves, foals, etc.

Arrive by 11 if you want to see all of the exhibits. The last bus leaves for the farms at noon.

Small Animals Day information, call: 517-355-9575, or 517-355-0234.


MSU Vet-aVisit Saturday, April 18th 9am-4pm FREE

HOW DO YOU MILK A COW? Give it a try, and learn fun facts about the diary industry, too!
THE STUFFED ANIMAL SURGERY CLINIC lets children and their favorite stuffed furry friends meet with student “doctors” who provide physical exams and treatments.
RUMEN CANULA…Smell, see and touch the inside of a live cow’s stomach!
THE OTS PETTING ZOO allows children and adults to get their hands on a menagerie of farm animals, sponsored by Omega Tau Sigma.
BLOOD DONATION IN PETS? Dogs and cats sometimes need a blood transfusion…Screening, preparing, and storing animal blood is complicated-but very interesting!
ENDOSCOPIC SURGERY…Gown-up like a surgeon and use cutting edge surgical techniques to fish for a treat!
WHAT IS A HEARTBEAT? Learn how blood travels through your body and listen to a real heartbeat!
ZEKE THE WONDER DOG…is making his debut Frisbee performance! Learn how to care for animal athletes and get your picture taken with him!
PROPER PET CARE, including the importance of spaying/neutering, vaccinations, dental work, ear care, and more…to keep your pet healthy!
WALK THROUGH A COW’S DIGESTIVE TRACT…and unravel the truth behind the myth that cows have four stomachs.
THESE AND MANY MORE!


EARTH DAY CELEBRATION
Sunday, April 19. Noon to 4pm. Free!
Join us for a day dedicated to recognizing the splendor of our natural environment, while also giving it a helping hand. Here are some planned events.
• Garlic Mustard workshop (12:30pm) and pulling (any time through the day).
• Guided birding and nature walks throughout the day.
• Visit with our live Michigan reptiles and amphibians. We will feed many of them in front of visitors throughout the day, and take some outside for mini-presentations if weather allows.
• Two showings of the 55-min video, On a Wing and a Prayer (1:30 & 3pm). This program is one of a PBS New Explorers series that originally aired in the late 90s. We are losing our tropical migrant songbirds at an unsettling rate. This program explains why, and what we can do about it. Fenner’s directors, Jim and Carol, assert that, whether you have a personal interest in birds or not, everyone should see this program.
• Incubating Bobwhite Quail eggs! An incubator will be set up in the observation room to begin incubation of the eggs. The Bobwhite is a southern quail. In the northern limits of its range, southern Michigan, populations have a difficult time becoming established because of harsh winter conditions. Most Bobwhite populations that exist in Michigan were established through release programs. When these birds are grown, they will be released on Fenner grounds this summer. We are going to try to time the hatching of the chicks near Mother’s Day!





Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Victory Video

Last year, the kids and I had the privilege of watching the birth of two calves. One, a heifer, we named Miley and a bull calf (Espn). We have enjoyed watching her grow, periodically checking in on how she is doing at the MSU Dairy Farm. Today my daughter and I decided to go visit Miley. While there we noticed a heifer was in labor. This time I took video and captured the miracle of life for your viewing pleasure.
The following video is approxiamately 9 minutes long and fully discloses the birth (it shows her parts and all that is happening, it contains blood and bodily fluids) The whole thing is amazing!
video
Here is the timeline-
9:30am- Valla is taken to the birthing stall
10:55am- Her water breaks, she then stands up and takes a break for about 30 minutes
11:30am- Active pushing...the front two hooves appear
11:40am Calf born- We named it Victory
11:41-12:15- Licked clean by Valla
12:15pm Calf taken to the warming house

If only it could be that simple for us humans. Speaking of humans, the gestation of cows is very close to ours at 9 months 10 days. And now you know.

I hope you watch and enjoy the video!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Pond Wade

The boy and I went on a pond wade. Surrounded by Spring Peepers and searching for invertebrate life.
This video is our journey....Into a Vernal Pond.
video

Thursday, April 09, 2009

God's Glue- Laminin

A doctor wrote:

A couple of days ago I was running (I use that term very loosely) on my treadmill, watching a DVD sermon by Louie Giglio...and I was BLOWN AWAY! I want to share what I learned....but I fear not being able to convey it as well as I want. I will share anyway.

He (Louie) was talking about how inconceivably BIG our God is...how He spoke the universe into being...how He breathes stars out of His mouth that are huge raging balls of fire...etc. etc. Then He went on to speak of how this star-breathing, universe creating God ALSO knitted our human bodies together with amazing detail and wonder.

At this point I am LOVING it (fascinating from a medical standpoint, you know.) ....and I was remembering how I was constantly amazed during medical school as I learned more and more about God's handiwork. I remember so many times thinking....'How can ANYONE deny that a Creator did all of this???'

Louie went on to talk about how we can trust that the God who created all this, also has the power to hold it all together when things seem to be falling apart...how our loving Creator is also our sustainer. And then I lost my breath. And it wasn't because I was running my treadmill, either!!! It was because he started talking about laminin. I knew about laminin. Here is how Wikipedia describes them:

'Laminins are a family of proteins that are an integral part of the structural scaffolding of basement membranes in almost every animal tissue.' You see....laminins are what hold us together....LITERALLY. They are cell adhesion molecules.. They are what holds one cell of our bodies to the next cell... Without them, we would literally fall apart. And I knew all this already.. But what I didn't know is what laminin LOOKED LIKE. But now I do.

And I have thought about it a thousand times since (already)....

Here is what the structure of laminin looks like...AND THIS IS NOT a 'Christian portrayal' of it....if you look up laminin in any scientific/medical piece of literature, this is what you will see...

cid:05271F69F28B4BED8E9F3FDB6CF3DB83@DELL

Now tell me that our God is not the coolest!!!

Amazing.

The glue that holds us together...ALL of us...is in the shape of the cross..

Immediately, Colossians 1:15-17 comes to mind.

'He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.

For by him all things were created; things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities, all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things HOLD TOGETHER. '

Colossians 1:15-17.

Call me crazy. I just think that is very, very, very cool.

Thousands of years before the world knew anything about laminin, Paul penned those words. And now we see that from a very LITERAL standpoint, we are held together....one cell to another....by the cross.

You would never in a quadrillion years convince me that is anything other than the mark of a Creator who knew EXACTLY what laminin 'glue' would look like long before Adam even breathed his first breath!!

"Faith is not knowing what the future holds, but knowing who holds the future."

I wanted you to know and to understand that YOU are being held together by the cross of Jesus Christ! His love! His forgiveness and His marvelous power!

-Author unknown


Amazing! If you want to watch the video he was watching of Louie, it is definitely worth 8 minutes of your time.

http://www.tangle.com/view_video.php?viewkey=152b5103d741aca61093

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

My Parent- Teacher Conference

So today I am sitting down with the kids teacher to see how the kids are doing. It should be fun talking to myself.

For the most part they play well with others. I have one, social child, that talks easily with others. One, quiet reserved, that is growing and making attempts to speak. I have one that excels in sports and one that excels in academics.

Never before have I been more keenly aware of the differences of boys and girls. Or how two children, raised in the same home can be so different. It is 100% absolutely true that each person is a unique individual, with likes, dislikes, strengths and weaknesses. My challenge right now is identifying these things in my kids. Encouraging them in those areas of interest. Strengthening their areas of weakness. Nurturing their God-Given gifts and abilities. Teaching them more than academic skills but life skills as well.

I am reading through a book right now Life Skills for Kids: Equipping Children for the Real World by Christine Field. While I feel academic pursuits are important, I do not want to be remiss and miss the everyday skills needed to function as an adult in this world.

So I guess at this parent-teacher conference I will be having later today, I guess we better discuss those things as well. :)

Saturday, April 04, 2009

FINAL FOUR

Being the MSU fans that we are we ventured out to the Breslin Center for the Final Four game.
The kids chose to decorate themselves for the game.
The boy wanted to go green and white...

While little girl went with GO MSU

The crowd to get in. The place was pretty much packed out.

Little girls shadow...I absolutely love the pig tails in this pic.

Free throw fingers...

and SWOOSH!

The energy at the Breslin was electric. The team was on fire...
Congrats MICHIGAN STATE!!! 82-73
Dance baby dance!

Fenner Wild Times Newsletter

Check it out, there are a lot of great opportunities.

THE FENNER
WILD TIMES
Number 2 APRIL 2009

From the Directors
We hear it every day. Visitors like what they are getting – a high quality experience, whether they stay for a few minutes or a few hours. There are other ways of knowing. Friends of Fenner Nature Center, our invaluable support group, is seeing a marked rise in new memberships. More dollars are showing up in the donation jar. The recent Maple Syrup Festival set a high-water attendance record.
What’s not to like? A staff person greets any one who walks through the doors, determines your specific interest in being there and sets out to help you achieve it. Maybe you are coming to check out the new, huge collection of live native Michigan reptiles and amphibians housed here. With over thirty combined species of snakes, turtles, frogs and salamanders, it is one of the largest in the state.
The aquariums are right out there on tables, much more accessible – and interactive. Are the turtles looking hungry? We’ll give you a handful of food sticks to drop to them. Feed a cricket to a frog or a salamander. Want to touch or hold one of the snakes? We’ll get one out. Have you ever had a “snake-on-astick?” Ask us. We’ll serve one up for you.
There is a downside to providing this kind of attention to everyone who walks through the door. The budget supplied by the city cannot provide for a “continuous presence” in the observation room. Very often, through the week or on the weekends, our limited staff is busy with a scheduled program, a phone call or other functional necessity. We need volunteers.
That’s where you come in. If you’d like to help us in any of the capacities listed above, we would like to recruit you to fill them. Optimally, through all of our open hours, we’d like to maintain this continuous presence, always on-hand to greet and orient visitors. Of course, there will be times, especially during the week, where no one walks through the doors for long periods of time. Bring a book, work on your laptop, or chat with a friend on your cell phone. It can be pretty cushy as far as volunteer work goes. Yet, you’d be providing a valuable service in the center’s overall operation.
Anyone, 16 or older is welcome: college students, homeschool parents (bring the kids!), retirees, or anyone else who can afford a couple of hours or more on any given day, except Monday (closed). Beginning this weekend, we will have a calendar available at the center. Fill out a volunteer form and fill in a day and time, or more, when you would like to cover as the “observation room greeter.” Please call, email, or drop in if you have any questions about it, then come on aboard! Help us make your nature center the best it can be!
-Jim & Carol McGrath

Be a Fenner ATF Agent (Alien Task Force, of course!)
There is a serious botanical, ecological problem currently spreading over much of the eastern U.S. It continues to spread in a cancerous fashion through lower Michigan, including the Lansing area, Fenner Nature Center, and, possibly, your own yard or neighborhood. The invasive, alien plant is a fast-growing biennial called garlic mustard. Although it was introduced from Europe with culinary (and medicinal) intent over a century ago, and while the leaves are high in iron and other nutrients, the American palate never embraced it. Unfortunately, plants that took root here profusely seeded, then spread, explosively so, over the past two decades. Another ecological nightmare has become entrenched.
Some alien plant species that exist in our current landscape - and there are a greenhouse-load of them - are less damaging to the ecology than others. Many of these have been accepted, and fed upon by various forms of insect or other animal life that is currently here, thus keeping their density relatively in check. On the flip-side, there are others like garlic mustard. Nothing eats the stuff! Walk through a patch of woods that has been carpeted with it and see how long it takes to find a single leaf that has had even a notch chewed in it. Add to this the second-year plant’s seed producing prowess – hundreds or even a thousand per plant – and the dilemma comes into stark focus. The plant’s leaves are heart-shaped with serrated edges. The first year plant is a rosette that remains close to the ground. The second-year plant grows from the root as a stalk that often peaks at three feet in height. It produces clusters of small, white, four-petaled flowers.
Garlic mustard grows most freely in soil that has relatively little other plant growth. It is also highly shade tolerant. This makes it a specific menace to our beloved native woodland wildflowers, many of them in states of decline already, like trillium, bloodroot, spring beauty, wild hepatica, wild ginger, wild geranium, jack-in-the-pulpit, and so many more. The stems of second-year plants begin to rise above the ground after the first week of April. They grow rapidly. Most are flowering by May. April and May are the best months to pull them. Since they tend to grow in loose soil, they come up by the root quite easily.
Fenner has many areas that are overrun with garlic mustard. We’d like to rally any and all who love Fenner, native wildflowers, working for an ecological cause, or just enjoying the outdoors with a purpose, to join us in a springtime all-out attack on these plant-diversity destroying alien invaders. We need manpower, womanpower, and even kidpower. Individuals, families, school classrooms, high school and college students, youth and adult clubs and
organizations, community service candidates and anyone we’ve missed can volunteer to pull plants on almost any schedule you arrange with us. Please consider attending one of our short information and orientation workshops and sign up as a Fenner ATF agent. Keep reading for more details.

LIVE AT FENNER: Six Swallows & a Swift
Sunday, April 5, 1:00pm.
$4/person. $2 for members, at the door.
All six of Michigan's swallows (and one swift!) return from the tropics throughout April. In this one-hour Powerpoint presentation by Fenner director Jim McGrath, learn how to tell these agile insect-devouring aerialists apart either in
flight or perched on a wire. Jim will also discuss each species' fascinating behavior and ecology as well as what you can do to make your yard or neighborhood more inviting to them. After the presentation, Jim will lead interested participants on an hour-long birding walk. Bring binoculars if you have them.

GARLIC MUSTARD WORKSHOPS & ORIENTATION
Attend any of these free 20-30 minute events in the visitor center to learn more about garlic mustard and how and where you or your group of “ATF agents” can pull it on the nature center grounds. Pull it by yourself, with your family, or with a small organized group (scouts, after-school kids activity, high school and college students, etc.). Your club or family can adopt an acre (or more, or less), or you can just come out to pull it on a trailside of your or our choice. If you can’t make one of the above meetings, stop in anyway. One of our staff will gladly deliver a quick, impromptu orientation and send you on your mission. Organized groups can contact us for a special orientation appointment.
We do request that anyone interested in pulling stop into the center to check in. It is Fenner’s policy to discourage walkers from leaving the trail in order to minimize disturbance, but, of course, as an ATF volunteer, you are granted special access in order to accomplish your task. We ask that you wear a tag while pulling off the trail to identify yourself and your intentions while you are working.
Workshops
Wednesday, April 15, 4:00pm.
Saturday, April 18, 9am. Our regular monthly “work day.”
Sunday, April 19, 12:30pm. Part of Fenner’s Earth Day event. See page 4.

TODDLER PATROL (ages 2-3 yrs with adult)
Mondays, April 13-May 11.
Enroll for either 9:00-10:00am or 10:30-11:30am.
Fee: $30 Lansing resident; $35 non-resident.
This spring, introduce your toddler to the wonders of nature. This hands-on program, led by naturalist aide, Francine Clark, is designed to enhance the natural curiosity of two and three-year-olds. Each week features activities with live animals, outdoor exploration and a story.

EARTH DAY CELEBRATION
Sunday, April 19. Noon to 4pm. Free!
Join us for a day dedicated to recognizing the splendor of our natural environment, while also giving it a helping hand. Here are some planned events.
• Garlic Mustard workshop (12:30pm) and pulling (any time through the day). See Page 2.
• Guided birding and nature walks throughout the day.
• Visit with our live Michigan reptiles and amphibians. We will feed many of them in front of visitors throughout the day, and take some outside for mini-presentations if weather allows.
• Two showings of the 55-min video, On a Wing and a Prayer (1:30 & 3pm). This program is one of a PBS New Explorers series that originally aired in the late 90s. We are losing our tropical migrant songbirds at an unsettling rate. This program explains why, and what we can do about it. Fenner’s directors, Jim and Carol, assert that, whether you have a personal interest in birds or not, everyone should see this program.
• Incubating Bobwhite Quail eggs! An incubator will be set up in the observation room to begin incubation of the eggs. The Bobwhite is a southern quail. In the northern limits of its range, southern Michigan, populations have a difficult time becoming established because of harsh winter conditions. Most Bobwhite populations that exist in Michigan were established through release programs. When these birds are grown, they will be released on Fenner grounds this summer. We are going to try to time the hatching of the chicks near Mother’s Day!

LIVE AT FENNER: Bird Nesting 101
Sunday, April 26, 1:00-2:00pm.
$4/person. $2 for members, at the door.
As we move into the heart of bird nesting season, what better time to learn more about it. Fenner director Jim McGrath will use Powerpoint images and audio recordings as he covers the nesting lives of birds, both inside and outside of your backyard.
Where do most birds nest? In a bush or a tree? The answer may surprise you. The more we learn about and understand the requirements each species needs to successfully reproduce, the better its chances of success. Find out what environmental factors are most damaging to bird nesting success and what you can do to help minimize their impact.
An hour-long birding walk with a nesting-season slant, follows the presentation.

FENNER NATURE CENTER 2020 E. Mount Hope Road Lansing, MI 48910
(517) 483-4224 fncdirectors@gmail.com

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Giving blood

Been thinking...
I was underweight, pregnant or nursing for most of my adult life which made me ineligible for giving blood. I am no longer underweight (ha!) pregnant (thank God) or nursing(kind of against nursing elementary aged children.) So I guess it is time I get off my butt and do it.


Updated: I just made my appointment. Anyone know how long to expect? Or if they allow children to watch?

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Jungle Gym...No More

It appears that I have a sign on me somewhere that read, "Please climb on me." If I could find it I would take it off.
Feeling a bit beat up by the kids lately. When ever I sit down they swarm me. They perch on my shoulders and do flying leaps into my lap. It is no wonder I have bruises in the oddest places. My kids do odd things to my body.
Tonight, after an excruciating blow... I demanded it stop. But now I am left wondering, 'How do I follow through?'
Isolation from mom. While not completely practical may be the consequence.
If you were in this situation, what would you do?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Sea Monkeys

As a child these creatures were mysterious.
They were magical.
They were a biologists spark of brilliant marketing.

After attending the Live at Fenner yesterday the mystery of the Sea Monkey has been revealed to me. Before I let you in on the secret, let me give you a little back ground.
Vernal ponds are ponds that flood in the Spring and early Summer only to dry up later in the year. These ponds are prime real estate for frogs, salamanders and many invertebrate creatures. Come to find out some creatures need a dry spell as part of their life cycle. Such is the case of the Sea Monkey.
Part of the genius of the Sea Monkey is that it needs to be dried out for a season in order to thrive the following year. So being in a little packet on a store shelf is not a problem at all. In fact it is necessary. In nature the Sea Monkey or shall we call it by its really name? The Fairy Shrimp! In nature the fairy shrimp begins swimming about with the Spring thaw. In your home when you dump you little "sea monkey eggs" into the water it triggers the next stage of its life cycle. Included in the Sea Monkey packet is algae which is needed for the fairy shrimp to grow.

And know you know the rest of the story.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Mother/Son Laser Tag

Our homeschool Co-op arranged the best mother/son date yesterday. Laser Tag!
The boy and I had so much fun. There were nearly 50 families that participated.

Since there were so many families they were divided into three groups and rotated through three stations.
Laser Tag
Games
Refreshments

We happened to be in group 2 and we happened to be with most of our friends.
To start off we were in Games, mother/son bingo. There were boy items(dinosaurs, squirt gun) and there were mom items(nail polish, lipstick). If you got a bingo, you got a token for the game room. Added bonus: the markers were m&ms.

Then we were off to round one of laser tag. Challenge: Boys protect your mom. The team with the least hits on mom won. We found a good spot and camped out. My back to the wall and defending through the slits in the wall. The boy protecting the opening getting anyone that came by. I was hit 14 times before my gun died about 2 minutes before the end of the game. We ended up with second place for this challenge.

Then it was refreshments and game room. Really this was breakfast for me as I forgot to eat before heading out the door.

With first rotation complete it was back to games. The boys were challenged in how well do you know your mother? They were asked 13 questions about their moms that they had to answer. Like when is her birthday, her favorite drink, how many brothers and sisters does she have? My boy got 9 right. Not too shabby.

Laser Tag part two: Moms vs the boys. We had 17 moms and 23 boys. The boys were hysterical planning their attack. Intimidation. The boys quickly developed a conquer and hold stradegy where we camped out near both bases and defended it with the best of communication. Much to the boys dissapointment...THE MOMS WON!

In the game room at the close of the event my boy cashed in some allowance money and played a few games.

Tickets are good.

We challenged each other to a basketball shoot-out. I won!

Bumper Cars.

Mom and son...

Good times!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Flick's Film Fest at Celebration Cinema

Free movies for children 12 & under. Just $2.50 for adults.

Here is the list of movies for this event:

Madagascar 2 PG
March 27 - April 2

The Tale of Desperaux G
April 3 - April 9

Mall Cop PG
April 10 - April 16

Ink Heart PG
April 17 - April 23

Hotel For Dogs PG
April 24 - April 30

Celebration Cinemas

Check online for show times.
Enjoy!

Delightful Day

With the weather in the 50's we decided to make the most of the it yesterday.

First stop, Fenner. We fed the birds, helped arrange some tanks and chatted with visitors. Down on the pond the turtles were sunning themselves and we found one green frog, our first of the year.

Then it was off to the Dairy Farm to see Miley. My how she has grown, she is 11 months old today.
Now at the heifer barn, she came right up to us when we arrived at the gate and called her name. I truly think she recognizes our voice. It is only a matter of seconds until she is licking us, which she did again repeatedly yesterday.


After the Dairy Farm, we headed over to the MSU butterfly garden. We put three quarters in the meter, which granted us 30 minutes. The kids love exploring the Butterfly garden. Here is what we found on this trip.
A pineapple

A tree frog

And a friendly butterfly that loved my nieces shirt.


An absolutely delightful day!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Field Trips

Field trips; I love them!!!
There is something about getting out of the classroom and exploring real life experiences. I find it to be irresistible.
Over the last few days I have been setting up some field trips for this Spring. So exciting I tell ya.
Here is what we have planned:
MSU Butterfly Garden- The butterflies have arrived.
MSU- Dairy and Horse farm- Spring babies
Alpaca Sheering
Greenfield Village- Pioneer life
Turtlebee Farm- Bee Keeping class
Point Mouillee- Bird watching; shore birds Spring migration
Meijer Garden Butterfly- Beautiful horticulture and thousands of butterflies.
John Ball Zoo in GR
Possible Toledo Zoo
and of course many, many trips to Fenner. :)

I was taking to someone this morning about field trips and was reminded of this awesome guide I came across a couple of years ago. The Field Trip Guide put together by the Ingham County Office for Young Children. It has many places to visit right here in Ingham County. Even if you don't live in teh area you may find that it sparks some ideas for visiting places in your neck of the woods. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Budding Artists

This last week we have had the privilege of watching some incredible artists. First a gentleman using acrylics at the Home Show. He painted the most beautiful landscapes. We literally watched him for over an hour as he worked on several different pieces. His work was going for $100-$500 and he was selling them as fast as he could paint them.

Next there was a lady at the Fenner Maple Syrup Fest doing lovely watercolor paintings. My boy was fascinated and spent quite a bit of time watching her as she painted. Noticing his interest she offered to let him paint a picture. She talked him through different techniques and showed him how to mix the water and paint. The end result was fantastic.

Keep in mind my seven year old painted this. Here it is...



Needless to say, we have a new found love for painting. We purchased our first true water color paint set. Who knew they came in tubes? This afternoon we set up a littel studio at our kitchen table and the boy taught me what he had learned.

Here is my piece modeled after my sons with a few personal touches.


I learned more in thoese few minutes of instrustion from my son than I ever did in school. It should be fun to see how we progress.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Fenner Happenings in March

Hello All!

The kids and I have been serving as volunteers at Fenner Nature Center over the last couple of weeks. I wanted to write this note to let you know of some exciting things going on over at the center. The new directors are here, Jim and Carol McGrath of Nature Discovery, have come on board with Fenner. They bring years of nature and wild life experience. Their enthusiasm and knowledge are a welcome sight bringing new animals, new programs and a little updating to boot.

I hope each of you will take advantage of the following opportunities as they are gems. I don't know about you but I want Fenner to be around for many generations. It's time we utilize this valuable resource to ensure that it's doors remain open for many many years to come.

If you are looking for a safe place to volunteer as a family, this may be the place you are looking for. To get your foot in the door, they are having a work day on Saturday March 14th 9am-12pm. Dress ready to work outdoors. I hope to see you there!


P.S. The following events were taken from the Fenner newsletter. Want to be added to the once monthly email, stop by Fenner and add your name to the bright pink paper. That way you won't miss a thing.


LIVE AT FENNER: All About Bluebirds
Sunday, March 15, 1:00pm.
$4/person. $2 for members, at the door.
Forty years ago, the Eastern Bluebird was considered
rare. Today, however, this beautiful thrush is a common
sight in rural landscapes as well as in city parks –
including Fenner! In this informative Powerpoint
presentation, find out what caused their precipitous
decline and how an educated public helped restore
populations to healthy numbers once more. Fenner
naturalist Jim McGrath will also discuss bluebird ecology,
including foraging and nesting behavior, and talk about
what you can do to make your yard or neighborhood more
habitable to them.
After the presentation, Chris Hull, a long-time Fenner
volunteer-naturalist who has erected and maintained
bluebird nesting boxes on the property, will take
participants on a guided bluebird walk.

LIVE AT FENNER: Vernal Ponds Awaken
Sunday, March 29, 1:00pm.
$4/person. $2 for members, at the door.
Vernal or ephemeral ponds are the most biologically
rich habitats in Michigan, yet over three quarters of
them have been destroyed. As soon as the ice melts, a
host of life explodes in the vernal waters, including
breeding frogs, salamanders and a dizzying array of
invertebrate life. Fenner director and naturalist Carol
McGrath will show Powerpoint photos in
combination with live specimens to help participants
become more intimate with the awakening, happening
now, of this amazing but delicate ecosystem.
At the presentation’s conclusion, a table of post-thaw
vernal pond life, including several species of frogs,
salamanders and aquatic invertebrates will be available for viewing and up-close inspection.

FUN FRIDAYS: March into Spring!
March 6, 13, 20, 27 from 10:30-11:30am
$6/parent & 1 child ($2/each additional child), $4/parent & 1 child for Fenner members
It’s an early learning experience for children up to 6 years old with a parent. Get a group of friends
with young ones together and come over to Fenner for a nature lesson with a hands-on activity in our
updated cozy little ones learning center. We now have more live animals, lots of soft learning toys,
books and magazines. On nice days we’ll include a short interpretive walk to learn about interesting
things that are happening in nature right now, as winter brightens toward spring. Coffee and tea will
be available for adults. Call or email us to sign up. Drop-ins welcome, too.

MAPLE SYRUP FESTIVAL: Saturday & Sunday, March 20 & 21, 11am to 4pm
After an especially long and snowy winter, the occurrence of this year’s vernal equinox is something
to celebrate. This year’s annual event features more stuff to do than ever! Here are some…
* Regularly scheduled guided “maple-sugaring” walks.
* Regularly scheduled guided “birding by ear” walks (bring binoculars!).
* Live Birds of Prey program, featuring different raptors each day (small entry fee).
* Live, interactive Michigan Reptiles & Amphibians exhibit, featuring over 30 species!
*Nesting box exhibit.
* Wildlife artists and crafters tables.
* Face-painting and kids’ crafts.
* Pancake finger-foods that include (you guessed it) maple syrup.
* More food and drink…
The festival is FREE. Bring your family and friends, and don’t forget the camera!