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

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.

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!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Walk and Bike Lansing

Walk and Bike Lansing! Planning Meetings

See http://www.cityoflansingmi.com/view_news.jsp?id=1813

Date: Tuesday, March 3, 2009 Time: 6 p.m.- 8 p.m. Location: Lansing Police Department, North Precinct Gym: 740 May Street Lansing, MI
Date: Wednesday, March 4 Time: 6 p.m.- 8 p.m. Location: Gier Community Center Gym: 2400 Hall Street Lansing, MI
Date: Thursday, March 5 Time: 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. Location: Hill Center Maples Room: 5815 Wise Road Lansing, MI
Date: Saturday, March 7 Time: 1 p.m.- 3 p.m. Location: Grace United Methodist Church: 1900 Boston Lansing, MI

Light dinner provided, as well as onsite childcare/activities for kids. All of the March community design sessions will include the same process, at different locations. They will feature a short introductory presentation and a series of small group sessions that include reviewing maps of current conditions, and discussing, mapping, and listing suggestions for improvements for making Lansing more walk and bike friendly. For more information visit: www.walkbikelansing.com OR Join the Facebook Group: Walk and Bike Lansing!

Contact Information:
Jessica Yorko <jessica@walkbikelansing.com>