Thursday, February 19, 2009

More Adventures in Volunteering

On Tuesday when we went to Fenner I knew I should have had my camera with me so when we went today I made sure to bring it along. Today was suppose to be an hike with friends but those plans changed when the wind chills went to single digits. We decided we would still go to Fenner and either volunteer or sketch wild life. We ended up volunteering. I am so thankful I had my camera. Here is what we saw:

The kids and I all got to hold black rat snakes; a mother and it's baby.
Here the boy has the baby.

Here I have the mother while little girl is checking it out.

After that we headed outside to fill the bird feeders...

and put out seed for the turkeys.

While we were still putting out seed, the turkeys came in to eat.

There were 12 of them.

What really surprised me was this little lady. She came within 20 feet of us with 2 others hanging back in the brush.

She kept her eyes on us but moved in closer.

After that we came in, helped with a display. And the kids got the baby rat snake out some more. They were really hoping someone would come in so they could show it to them, Do you see that smile?

Here is a close-up of the baby black rat snake.

Hope you enjoyed pictures of our adventures.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Volunteering is something that has been on my mind for quite awhile.
For one I think it is good to get beyond ourselves and help out in the world. Secondly, kids that serve tend to be more caring and kind. They have a sense of contribution and sometimes ownership. Third, God calls us to care for the elderly, the sick, the poor and this world.
So I have been mulling over different scenarios that may work for our family.
Visit elderly in a nursing home.
Serve meals at a soup kitchen.
Help out a single mom or elderly doing yard work.
Neighborhood clean-up.
Helping lead arts and crafts at the Creation Station.
Volunteer our time and bodies to Fenner Nature Center.
While all are noble causes, the one that has won out in the end is the latter.

I don't think it is a big secret that I LOVE NATURE! If God created it, I appreciate it. After studying birds the last couple of months, the kids and I have grown in our appreciation of our local wildlife including but not limited to the birds. We have enjoyed hikes through the woods. Exploring different habitats. And learning all that we can about this world we live in. After a few trips to Fenner this Winter we began to wonder if we could somehow get involved there. We talked to the new directors (who by the way are awesome) and shared our desires to get plugged in. It does not matter to us what we do, just that we are able to do something. Be it help set up displays, pull invasive species, feed the animals, relate with the public, pick up trash, groom trails, lead hikes, create signs...the possiblilties are endless. Thankfully they have been very receptive.

Our plan is to come a minimum of once a week and donate 2 hours of our time to do whatever they ask us to do. Yesterday was our first day. We had so much fun.
The naturalist there has taken us under her wing to show us all that we need to know. Yesterday we helped put out all the seed in the various bird feeders, saw the behind the scenes and feeding plans of all the critters on display, cleaned out a fish tank and the boy held a milk snake. Pretty exciting stuff!

My prayer is that we can be a blessing to Fenner. Serving them selflishly. Learning more about our enviroment. Getting others excited about nature. And have a great time doing it.

I can't wait to see what next week will bring.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Presidents Day the Home School Way

It's President's Day!

To mix things up we decided to read the biography of George Washington.

Shortly into the book I realized there were many hands-on things we could do to make it come more alive.
So after reading that as a lad he would do copy work to perfect his handwriting, we did some too.

Then I busted out the quill pen and ink that I had been saving for just the right time.

Little girl made one with a little feather we had around the house.

My letter to Mr. President, written with the quill and ink.

Did you know George Washington loved to dance? Here they are pretending to do a waltz.

As a young man, George was a surveyor. He went out into the wilderness and surveyed the land.

So we headed outdoors to survey our own land.

We used a 100ft measuring tape. We have some wilderness here too.
Some areas were easier to measure than others.

Here little girl is helping with a measurement.

Then we came back in to warm up. I showed the kids how to take the information and graph it.

Little by little we made our way through the book.
We learned about:
the French and Indian War
the Boston Tea Party
how the colonist fought for independence
The Declaration of Independence
Valley Forge
Becoming the United States of America
How George Washington became our first president

Now that the book is complete we are going to talk a bit more about our current President. Saying a prayer for him, that he will lead well and with integrity.

A Biblical Butt Chewing

I don't know if that is what you would call it but that is just what it was.
It appeared that this Sundays message was written just for me. I am sure others got stuff out of it too. But it sure seemed that every single word he spoke was God saying.."take note of that, uh huh that too." "Did you hear that?" Everything was practical and applicable to my life, right now. So what was this message about? What passage of the Bible was being discussed?
Matthew 6:19-21
19"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

The visiting pastor took a few minutes to talk about what the passage was not about and then he went on to talk about what it did mean. Those words moth and rust destroy give indication not to that which has a place and is used. But to that which is UNUSED. Those things in our life and homes that go untouched, gathering dust. And I don't know about you but that is my home. Piles of clutter. Things unused and neglected. Things that get in my way of enjoying my life and home. I have always struggled with keeping a clean house. It is not one of my strengths. It seems that our home goes in waves of cleanliness to disaster. Sunday morning it was in a state of disaster. Things out of place, some lost and much unuse. Clothes we have outgrown. Papers we have no need to hold onto. Toys forgotten. And where in the world is our geoboards?

The pastor on Sunday also spoke about treasure of the heart. What do we give our time and energy to? What drives us? Is it our blackberries that we can't keep our hands off of, my facebook, ________? Have we given God our hearts?

He had so many good points and practical application I walked out of there inspired to make some changes. After lunch we got to work. Cleaning, decluttering, throwing away, giving away and organizing. It feels good to see my bedroom floor again. And that medicine cabinet; who knew there was expired meds from 2001?
Little by little I am making my way through our stuff, letting go of that which needs to go.
I can't wait for hubby to come home and see the difference one biblical butt chewing can make.

To listen to this message you can go to my churchs website
You will want to click on:
February 15th, 2009 The Greatest Words Ever Spoken - Live Simply So Others Can Simply Live Marvin Williams

Sunday, February 08, 2009

A Month in a Moment

Oh. My. Goodness!
I never thought I would see the day that I did not blog for a MONTH. Yet that is precisely what has happened.
So lets see, what have we been up to for a month?

Jan 5- We went back to the books after a nice winter break. I have been absolutely AMAZED at how the kids are thriving in their school work. Little girl went from sounding out simple three letter words to reading 30-60 page books seemingly overnight. Her love of words has paid off as she is able to decode words that have not been introduced and has memorized nearly 100 sight words that don't follow the normal phonics pattern. Amazing I tell ya.
Since the kids are plugging away without too much struggle we will actually finish school EARLY this year. It is rather exciting. Last year I was debating not finishing our curriculum and this year I don't even have to worry about it.

Jan 8- After a few days of getting back into the gym to workout I had a heart episode. I was getting off the treadmill when my heart started acting crazy, I felt light headed and like I was going to pass out or throw up. I got to my husbands treadmill; leaning against it for about 10-15 minutes until I felt better. It was all very odd. I did not think too much of it , mostly that I had overdid the workout. That was until a family member also had heart issues and urged me to get mine checked out. After an EKG, stress test and echo, I am assured that all is well with my heart. I can workout but must watch my heart rate not letting it get over 160.

Jan-16 The kids and I went to Twistars gymnastics for an open gym. It was a blast. I was flipping on the trampoline. The kids loved jumping into the pit of foam. The boy was able to finally take his grandpas challenge of climbing a rope all the way to the top. I would venture to guess it was about 30ft up and HE DID IT! He also learned a few moves of the bars and rings.

Jan 18- My husband, son and I took place in the Greater Lansing Church of Christ food drop. Beginning this fall church leaders from 30 of our area met together with Mayor Virg Benero regarding Lansing's needs. With economy of the decline and area food banks shelves dwindling the leaders decided it was time to take action. On Christmas Eve the churches took up an offering that was 100% for the food banks, raising $111,000, far exceeding the original goal of $40,000. On the 18th all the churches met together, celebrated with a rally, praise and prayer. Then went out into the community delivering 2,000 food boxes. Feeding the hungry. The boy and I were part of unloading the big moving trucks full of boxes of food. Hubby helped direct traffic to keep the cars coming for boxes moving smoothly. After our truck was unloaded, Two friends, the boy and I went out into the community and delivered 4 boxes ourselves. An incredible moment. Churches of every race and denomination coming TOGETHER. Beautiful.

Jan 20- We took the day off of school and camped ourselves out in front of the TV to watch Inauguration 2009. What a historic day! I was moved by President Obamas speech and look forward with great expectation to the positive change that can happen. And while we still have farther to go as a nation, seeing our first African American president did my heart good. "The God-given promise that all are equal, all are free and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness."

Jan 23- Netflix met Xbox Liv. Since we dropped our cable a few months back it has been wonderful having so many movies and TV shows for instant viewing. :)

Jan 30- Enrichment Day is back. For the next 10 weeks we will be meeting with 15 other homeschooling families in a co-op focusing on Character, Art and Literature and Gym. I am once again teh gym teacher and am super excited about so new games I have learned. Paramedic. Treasure. Four Corners. Soup. It is going to be so much fun these next 8 weeks that remain.

Feb 3- I hid the video game remotes in our house as I (and the kids) were spending entire too much time playing games. And not enough time cleaning the house and focusing on my responsibilities. I am slowly getting back into a place of obedience and discipline. If that means hidding the remotes, so be it.

Feb 5- For the last couple of weeks we have been studying birds. Beaks, flight, feathers, migration, different species, etc. On the 5th I got together the book called Beaks and various kitchen tools that represent beaks in nature. Pecking,(fingers) stabbing, (skewers) hooked, (can opener) crushing, (nut cracker)and others. We met up with another family and had an impromptu discussion on beaks at Fenner Nature center. Where we read the book, did hands-on with the different tools and observed birds at the bird feeder. Cool stuff. Then as we were discussing crossbills(knife sharpener) the director came out all excited as we currently have crossbills in our area when we never have before. Apparently Canada is having a shortage of pine cones this year so the birds have come down to munch on ours. With that knowledge we went out on a hike in search of the white winged crossbill. Then went driving through Mt Hope Cemetery where they have been spotted. We did not see any but it sparked something in each of us. a new love and respect for birds.
In the evening we went to our first ever Audubon Society meeting and ended up joining. While the topic was some what depressing; Botulism in Great Lake Birds. It was rather fascinating.
As I have mentioned in the past my love for nature. I have a passion for seeing others out and enjoying it. I sense that we will be getting more heavily involved as well as encouraging others to join us.

Feb 7- I have started a new resolve to lose weight. As I have been exploring my heath and issues I am having it appears that my thyroid is out of whack due to gaining weight. So if it means losing 15-20 pounds to be healthy. This is what I am doing. Eating right, exercise and refocusing my relationship with Christ. It should be an interesting journey.

Today- Today is a new day. The blog is up to date and perhaps I will be more diligent in the coming days.

God bless!