Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Few Christmas Pictures

We hope you all had a very Merry Christmas! We had a lovely time with family. The top two pictures are from Christmas at Mark's parents house and the bottom three are from Christmas morning at our house. The boys have been quietly playing with their presents ever since.
This is the first Christmas in our 9 years of marriage that we have not had to travel. Although it was a lot less hectic, we did miss seeing all of our friends and family in Oklahoma. Thankfully, some of you will be here next week for the baby's birth.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Gingerbread House

Outdoor Hour Challenge #42 Moss and Lichen

Today's weather was just perfect for a nature walk. Recently we have been doing our nature walk's near the house, but today we ventured out to the countryside. We did see some moss, but not very much. The Lichen on the other hand was everywhere.
I think this rock has both the Foliose (leafy) lichen in the top left corner and also the Crustose (crusty) lichen on the rest of the rock.

In this close-up of a fallen branch you can see the reproductive "cups" of the lichen.

Here is a Foliose lichen growing on an oak tree. The underside of the lichen was a dark brown.

We saw plenty of examples of the Foliose lichen and also the Crustose, and then on our way back to the car we came across this Fruiticose (shrubby) lichen. We could easily see the little cups on the end of each branch. If you click on the picture you might be able to see them as well.
Although we didn't see very much moss we talked about how moss reproduces and looked for spore capsules with our lens. This was very interesting and we want to be sure and keep on the lookout for spore capsules as we come across more moss on our nature walks.

Friday, December 12, 2008

It won't be long...

We have only two weeks and a few days until we get to meet this sweet baby. I would be grateful for everyones prayers as this will be my 4th c-section. It is such a busy time with Christmas coming. I am hoping that I am not forgetting something. We put the baby bed up last night and that caused some excitement among the brothers. It is hard to believe that it is so close to the birthday!

Outdoor Hour Challenge #41 Flowerless Plants

The weather has been cold and windy all week. That is until today. We have beautiful weather today and we were all anxious to get outdoors. Early in the week we read the above book and talked about plants that never bloom. In the past we have spent lots of time studying mushrooms and attempting to identify them. I love mushrooms and the boys know it, so anytime they find one they run to tell me about it. Therefore, the book was helpful to get them thinking about other plants that never bloom. So, today I sent them outside to see if they could find a plant that never bloomed and bring it to me.

They were excited and ran out the door as quick as they could. It wasn't too long before they were ringing the doorbell and the above picture is what I saw when I opened the door.

They had found some moss growing next to the house and around some shrubs out front. Above is a close-up of their specimen.

Next, they took me out to show me where they found it and in the process we also found the following moss. I think it is called miniature pine, but I could be mistaken. We will have to look it up.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Outdoor Hour Challenge #40 Weather #2

This morning we had just a few clouds that we labeled cirrostratus. Although there were only a few clouds in the sky they were unusual clouds.
It looked like when you take an eraser and rub it in a straight line across a blue background, which is what we did to get the same effect on our notebook page.
Then we checked our outdoor weather station to find the temperature, wind speed and direction, and precipitation.

We copied all this information onto the great notebooking page that Barb provided for us. This challenge was specifically a seasonal challenge. Therefore we will be repeating the same exercises each season to compare the differences in the weather. We are already looking forward to the winter challenge and plan to record our findings on a snow day.

This is a rain gauge that the boys just had to have. They reasoned that they could read it from the inside of the house on a rainy day.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Catching Butterflies In November

Last week we had one very windy day. The boys loved it because it blew up a big pile of leaves, which is always fun.
But the big adventure was catching butterflies. November is not a time of year that I normally think of as prime time for catching butterflies, but the boys caught at least 14. We already knew the names of many of them, but a few we had to look up. The boys drew two of them in their nature journals.

Black Swallowtail

The Dog Face Butterfly, so named because you can see an outline of a poodle near the top of his wings.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Hearts and Trees Fall Kit

Here the boys are working hard on their tissue paper collage.

The boys loved doing this art project that was included in the Hearts and Trees Fall Kit. We traced leaves, that we had collected, onto our paper with a permanent black pen. Then we pasted on little pieces of a special tissue paper that bleeds. This was an easy project that turned out very beautiful.

Here is the final product!

Outdoor Hour Challenge #39 Weather

This week there has not been a cloud in the sky! Nevertheless, we have completed weather observations three times this week. We have had beautiful clear skies, with temperatures in the low 70's. It has been a great week to be outdoors.

My oldest son has been very glad to be doing a weather challenge. He has rain gauges of various sizes, thermometers, barometers, and wind gauges that he keeps an eye on. He has learned the cloud names and is working on a photographic book of clouds.

As much as we have studied the weather in the past we found the chapter in, The Handbook of Nature Study, on water forms to be wonderful. We loved the way she used the picture of the invisible cap and the "magic" word cold that causes the invisible hat to come off. Her explainations of condensation and evaporation were very visual and we had fun retelling it.

Here is an example of cumulus clouds we made using Amanda's watercolor technique #6 .
Instead of dropping the alcohol onto the paper, we used our cotton swab to shape clouds.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Our Thankful Tree

Here is our Thankful Tree. It has been fun adding new leaves each day. It is right by our dining table so we are able to read the leaves and talk about other things we want to add each time we eat. This was very simple to make and such a great way to practice daily gratitude.
“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Friday, November 14, 2008

Outdoor Hour Challenge #17- Leaf Parts

This week in our Nature study we focused on leaf parts. Although we did not look at garden flowers we utilized the Outdoor Hour Challenge #17 to study the parts of a leaf. It worked out well that we had participated in Home Depot's Kids Workshop, earlier this month, where the boys each made a leaf press.
The boys really liked watching Barb's tutorial of how to draw a leaf. After viewing the tutorial they were eager to try it out for themselves.

While drawing their leaves we talked about each leaf part and practiced using the proper names.

We were all very satisfied with the end results. Thanks Barb!