Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Nature Day!

Today we went to a local State Forest to visit the gardens and take a nature walk. Want to join us through pictures?

Let's start with the cutest bug in the bunch!

The big girl with her sketchbook standing by some of the native plants

This picture makes me laugh out loud every time! His big sister fixed his hat like this...and the face, oh my!

He had the time of his life exploring without Mommy constantly chasing him around like I usually do at parks with large playstructures or ponds.

The girls checking out some of the bugs they caught for observation

Here's what they spent most of their time catching. I assume it's some kind of grasshopper, anyone know what kind? I've searched a little and can't seem to find a black grasshopper with orange cross striping.

Ellie and her little friend J looking for birds. Someone make sure Bop-Bop (my father-in-law) sees this! They string up plastic bottles so the animals can't get to the bird feeders. Bop-Bop is always trying to keep the squirrels off of his...he should try this!

Climbing a dead tree on the nature walk

Here's what the trail looked like. We saw a deer and some woodpeckers. They have a special habitat for endangered woodpeckers!

Ellie checking it all out. We were pretty hot and exhausted at this point and still were only halfway around the path!

Mary Clare hardly complained the whole hike! She enjoyed picking and eating berries.

We got to the end and the girls took off their shoes to play in the sand. Here's MC having a blast making a sand angel.

We got home to 2 special packages, one with some sweet swimsuit coverup dresses from Grampatti (thank you, they've already worn them!) and one we had been anxiously waiting for (thanks to the K family's birthday gift for Ellie)...

Our caterpillars have arrived! We'll get to watch them turn into Painted Lady butterflies! Thankfully they made it through the trip and the Texas heat, at least most of the 10 of them. We'll be keeping you updated on their development.

So that was our nature day, thanks for joining us! I'll also take a second to encourage myself and others to try not to miss out on these kinds of opportunities. I'd scheduled this trip a few weeks back but then never followed up because we have another outdoor outing later in the week. But after the guide left a message last night, I decided on a whim to go ahead and try to make it and sent a last-minute email to the homeschool group. We were so happy that 2 other families joined us! The Charlotte Mason method of home education really encourages nature study as a vital part of education and I need to remember to do it more! The kids love it, and even in the scorching heat we always have a wonderful time being outside and exploring God's great gift of nature!

Edited to add that I just happened to read a fabulous post on the Faith & Family Blog about a mom who shares my issue of having to "fake" a love of nature for the kids. I'm so much less stressed with a posh hotel, an attractive restaurant, or an exotic pool. But I want the kids to love God-made things instead of man-made things...so I'll keep faking it and enjoying their smiling dirty faces!

The evening was filled with swim team, a trip to 2 YMCAs (the first was closed) for an evening swim, a drive home that put all the kids to sleep, and my favorite show online...Dancing With the Stars! I think I vote for Gilles, how about you?


Anonymous said...

Oh yay! I'm glad you already got the caterpillars in! (That means our "refills" to do it again at our house aren't too far behind.)We will be eager to see stages of development on the blog - hope you all enjoy it as much as we do!

Anonymous said...

Oh wow!! You really make me want to homeschool :) (when the day comes).
LOL at faking the love for nature!

I have a gardening activity with some kids and we made them "worms in dirt" it's gummy worms in chocolate pudding, topped with crushed oreos.

I asked them to collect as many worms as possible in the garden because "that's gonna be our snack" they all screamed and look disgusted, but they brought worms anyway :D At the end they loved the pudding... and used the real worms in the garden instead.. :)

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