Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Goodbye, dear friend...

Today is a sad day for us. Don't worry - it is not a 'real' death that we are mourning, but it feels almost like it. Since this past winter, the boys and I have been steadily reading our way through the Narnia series of books by C. S. Lewis. These are the books that I most loved as a child, and it has been wonderful to read them for the first time with my little ones. Yesterday, however, we read the final page, of the final chapter, of the final book. It was such a bitter sweet thing for all of us. The exhilaration of the story, the satisfaction of the finish, and the sadness as it sunk in that there wasn't a 'next one' to move on to. But I guess that is the true sign of a great book, isn't it? That it can take you on such a roller coaster of emotions? That it feels like a friend in your hand, one that you look forward to spending time with every night? That you miss it when it is no longer a part of your day-to-day life?  After shedding a few tears, and weathering my suggesting that we may want to wait a few months before starting the series again, the boys decided on a 'sure thing' as our next read aloud. I think that they truly needed a book that they new in advance would not let them down.  They decided on a second read through "Gentle Ben" by Walt Morey. I am sure that we will visit Narnia again, hopefully many times before the boys outgrow my reading to them. And until then, the books will sit in a place of honour on the shelf right beside the bunk beds.

The stories of childhood leave an indelible impression, and their author always has a niche in the temple of memory from which the image is never cast out to be thrown on the rubbish heap of things that are outgrown and outlived.
  ~Howard Pyle

Monday, June 20, 2011

Lego Creations

I love seeing the designs and creations that the boys come up with when they are up to their knees in LEGO. Over the past week or so, William has been designing his house. It seems to change daily, but at the time that I took this pic it contained a kitchen complete with appliances, table, chairs and dishes, a bedroom with a double bed accessible by a folding staircase (to save space, don't you know!), a living room with fire place, desk and book shelves (and books!!), a bathroom and everything that get the idea. He even build a LEGO vacuum cleaner. I have to say that I am very impressed, and very much more upset than he was when he decided to take it apart to build something new!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Honey Bees

Today we visited a honey bee research lab at the local university. This was by far one of my favorite trips that we have been on lately. We learned all about honey bees, and got to explore the many hives that they have on site. The kids were all fabulously still and quite when the hive was opened up, and got to see the bees up close. The best part was tasting fresh honey right out of the hive - as in move the bees aside, push through the comb, and fill your finger with golden honey still warm from the bees and the sun. YUM!! We all came home with some honey for our tea and toast, and not a single sting for anyone.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Happy Birthday Charlie!!

This weekend was devoted to celebrating my little one's 6th birthday (WOW!) For all the moms out there, you know how wonderful and agonizing these days are, all at the same time. We rented a bouncy castle at Charlie's request, invited a few friends over, filled ourselves with sugar, and had a great time.

As for Charlie, he is pretty proud of his new age of a mature 6 years. But he has promised to still cuddle with it too much to get that in writing?
Happy Birthday Charlie!!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Bracelets for Russia

We have taken part in a few craft-for-hope projects in the last while - making dolls, knitting squares, and now making bracelets to send off to people in other parts of the world who might enjoy them. Today we got together with some other homeschooling families to make bracelets to send to orphans in Russia. This is certainly not something that will have a drastic impact on these kids who are living such difficult lives, but it is a nice way to perhaps put a little smile on their faces, and to help our kids learn that there are lots of little ways that they can make a difference.
Here is the link.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Mystery Bird

This little bird has been hanging out at our bird feeder lately, driving us all crazy. We couldn't for the life of us figure out what it was!! It is a bit smaller than a robin, and has similar coloring to a sparrow. The boys have been through every bird book we have and were ready to give up, when I heard a little snip it on the radio about rose breasted grosbeaks (of which we have seen a few males) and their brown, sparrow-colored females!! So there you go - in case you have ever wanted to know what a female rose-breasted grosbeak looks like...(I know, you have all been dying of curiosity!!)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Green Legacy

One of the things that I enjoy most about homeschooling is being able to volunteer with the boys. It is something that has always felt important to me, but the ways I have been involved in the past took a bit of a nose dive as I had kids and found myself with so little free time. Now William and Charlie are old enough to enjoy working with me, and to be able to make a real contribution.

Today we joined a great group of friends at Green Legacy, a local greenhouse who has taken on the important job of reforesting our county. They plant many different kinds of native trees from seed, and rely extensively on volunteers to get all of the work done.

The kids (and parents) all enjoyed seeing this little vacuum machine that drops tiny white spruce seeds into the flats.

They learned all about different types of tree seeds..

Pushed seedlings out of their small cells...

And transplanted them into bigger cells.

Most of all, they got dirty. That's the best part, right?

The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The next best time is now.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Critter Cams

This osprey nest is by the side of a road that we drive along a few times each week,and the kids are always interested in seeing what is going on, Even better, they love checking out this live critter cam of another osprey nest.

The eggs should be arriving shortly, and incubate for 4-6 weeks.