Eagle watching… and an up close and personal owl!

We went to an official eagle watching event today at Fort Bellefontaine.

They had a telescope set up directed at both a mature bald eagle and a juvenile eagle. ๐Ÿฆ…

The eagles were across the river about a mile away… so there was no way I could get a picture!

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We did see a beautiful owl up close!!

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My heat was so excited to see this beautiful owl!!!

At first there was confusion about the type of owl. A ranger told me it was a snowy owl- how cool would that be… but it’s a barred owl. The park had brought in a snowy owl guest and the ranger didn’t realize I had seen a wild owl and had assumed I was talking about the guest of honor!!!

I missed seeing the snowy owl somehow- he was in a tent we didn’t go to- but that’s ok- I love seeing animals in the wild!!! ๐Ÿฆ‰

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Walking on ice

Hurray for 50 degree weather!!!

Simone was away at a Girl Scout field trip (and she forgot to wear her vest, you know- the one I sewed all her patches on ๐Ÿ˜†) so I took the boys and Daisy to the park! โ˜€๏ธ

The boys claim their dreams came true today… because the pond was so frozen, they got to walk in it! Apparently, this is something they have always wanted to do!

And of course- I couldn’t resist going out on the ice (notice I was more cautious and didn’t venture far from the shore ๐Ÿ˜‰)

They boys are so sweet- on the way back they were talking about how much Simone would want to walk on the ice and that we should come back…. โค๏ธ

Taking better bird pictures

I was given some great advice after my Northern Flicker post…

Place my camera-phone up to the binoculars to take better close-up pictures!

I have to say I skeptical because it seemed like such an easy solution and yet I didn’t think I was creative enough to figure out how to make it work! Silly, I know! How can something be both easy and hard at the same time!?

Well- I decided to give it a try and it works! It really is as simple as putting the camera up to the binocular eye-piece. But it is hard because you have to have a steady hand and lots of patience!

Regular picture zoomed into the bird feeder at a female cardinal…

Pictures through the binoculars…

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This is so amazing!!! I plan on practicing during these cold days – we are practically home bound due to illnesses! I’m even going to have the kids practice taking pictures this way!

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A tip of my own for binocular-users that wear glasses ๐Ÿค“- put your glasses on a chain so you can drop them safely and quickly off your face with one hand while grabbing for your binoculars with the other hand!!

You can get them at the dollar store!!

So fancy… LOL ๐Ÿ˜‚

Girl Scout vest

This may not seem like a big deal to some people… but I had put off sewing Simone’s badges on her vest for 1 1/2 years! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

Talk about procrastination!!

My new year’s resolution for 2018 is to do things that I find hard.

For some reason, the Girl Scout vest intimidated me!

I was worried I would do it all-wrong…

…but, I decided now was the time- with Cookie Booths coming up!

So, I pulled out the vest and asked for help! I was confused about badge and patch placement – yes there is a difference between the two!

After I pinned everything in it’s proper place, I bought invisible thread and sat down with my trusty sewing machine!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 1/2 hours later – ALL DONE! ๐Ÿ’•

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I love bling on my jean jacket… (this picture is a bit old- my hair is longer and I have more pins)

The point is now I want to sew cool patches onto my jacket and be all hip and cool like Simone!

I know different parks and museums have patches and maybe when I see a special bird I can get a patch to represent it!

… oh the possibilities! I realize this may make me an even bigger nerd- but hey- at least I’ll be a nerd with style! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Northern Flicker

I think my favorite bird is the Northern Flicker- which is a large woodpecker! And today he keeps gracing us with his presence!

I first saw him in the neighbor’s tree- he looked huge silhouetted against the blue sky and the leafless tree! (See him at the top.)

Then… he flew to our magnolia tree out front!

I tried all morning to get a picture of him at the feeder- but he is fast!

We have simple suet feeder- but it does wonders attracting the woodpeckers!

We also have both hairy and downy woodpeckers come! That’s a downy on the left of the feeder..

Today we actually had one of each come to the feeder at the same time which showed the difference between these similar birds!

Downy woodpeckers are smaller and fluffier with smaller beaks. Hairy woodpeckers are bigger with longer beaks.

I’ve also decided that winter is the best time to bird watch! Birds flock to the feeders because it’s an easy meal… and in between their bites, they fly into trees which are bare! I hope you take a moment today to really look outside and see the beautiful birds wintering in your neighborhood!!

edit**** I got a picture and a video of the northern Flicker!!! โค๏ธโค๏ธโค๏ธโค๏ธ

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….and a red-headed woodpecker just came for a visit too!!

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๐Ÿ”ฅ yes- Iโ€™m holding fire

Today we had a Dangerous Boys’ Meeting and we had a volunteer come and do science experiments!

Don’t know what a Dangerous Boy Meeting is? Check out this post…

Dangerous Boys

The meeting was great! We ended with a fire experiment where we all got to hold a fireball in our hand! How cool is that??!!

Yeah- I was pretty excited to be holding a fireball!ย 

Yes- I’m back on my blog โค๏ธ๐Ÿ˜ƒโค๏ธ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

What we’ve been doing since I last posted…

I took ASL (American Sign Language) classes at the community college and got two A’s!ย  School is the main reason I strayed from my beloved blog.ย  It was a huge commitment and involved a lot of my time.ย  I absolutely loved going to class and learning a new language!ย  I’m not taking classes through the college this semester (which is why I’m back on here) but I will be taking ASL classes at my church ๐Ÿ™‚

The kids got haircuts! Wow- they look different!

We went to 6 Flags… and decided we’d never do Fright Fest again.

We had a blast at Halloween ๐ŸŽƒ ๐Ÿ‘ปย and ate too much candy!

Eddie broke his arm doing 1-handed -handstand push-ups!

… And we had a merry Christmas ๐ŸŽ„

– so that brings us up to speed and I can’t wait to write some Wild- outdoorsy- nature-loving posts! ๐ŸŒบ๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒฒ๐ŸŒณ๐Ÿ„๐Ÿ’๐ŸŒผ๐ŸŒป๐Ÿฟ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ‡๐Ÿ›๐Ÿฆ‹๐Ÿœ๐Ÿ๐Ÿฆ‰๐Ÿฆ†๐ŸฆŠ

King Tut… and an electrical shock

The Saint Louis Science Center has an amazing exhibit… King Tut!

We all enjoyed looking at replicas of the great Pharaoh’s tomb! Each station had a recording to listen to that explained the artifact. (Very interesting… a bit long for the two squirrely boys.)


After the King Tut exhibit, the kids played at the Science Center…

When we realized there was going to be an electricity class- we excitingly went to the free classroom to participate!

Edison was the first volunteer…

he touched the “magic static electricity ball” and got “a hair raising experience”!

The best part (according to Eddie) was when he got to shock me (at the end of the video…). ๐Ÿ˜ณ

Me getting a shock!
Eli volunteered also – he was able to light up a lightbulb with the extra electrons!

After the show was over, Andre wanted his hair to be raised too! 

The instructor also let him shock his siblings!!

Making elderberry syrup… burning my smudge sticks and going raw for a month

What a beautiful morning it was today!

The weather was cloudy and cool so the windows were open and the kids were working on their school assignments (with the help of a bribe… hot chocolate!


I enjoyed a tart glass of kombucha tea with infused blueberries!

Elderberry Syrup

This morning I decided to make someelderberry syrup. 

I boiled and simmered elderberries for an immune-boosting tonic!


I got the recipe from the Wellness Mama. Basically it’s just elderberries, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, water, and honey!

Well- while the berries were boiling, the kids kept asking what the smell was and why was I making something so stinky!

I even found them covering their nose with their shirts and bandannas!


I thought it smelled amazing – sweet and spicy!

After the berries simmered for an hour, I strained the juice…

 … added honey 


… and then gave the kids their first dose (about a teaspoon).

They over-reacted about having to take it- but they decided it wasn’t too terrible!!

If we take a teaspoon a day, hopefully the doubled recipe will last a month… so I just need to make this a few times this flu season and pray for good health!!!

Burning smudge sticks 

I decided to smell test the smudge sticks I made a month ago- I mean why not- the kids were already complaining! ๐Ÿ˜†

And… The kids didn’t like these smells either LOL!

I think they all had a grass burning kind of smell- which I liked… it made me think of being outside in the fall when someone was burning leaves. I will say burning basil is quite slinky!!

However- the kids’ amazing swim coach gave me two bundles of dried lavender to burn… and let me tell you… that smelled good!! ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ’œ

Raw Food

When it comes to food- I feel like a spoiled child in a candy shop except I’m an adult – at home- eating all the ice cream!

I have to stop bad habits!

I want to reset my tastebuds and cravings!

I want to fuel my body with amazing food!

I’ve been slowly easing into a full raw diet, starting with fruit for breakfast and veggies for lunch… but I’m making the commitment to go full raw for 30 days!

I got a surprise this morning when I cut into my snack… a beautiful yellow pepper…


…see the little guy? I was a bit startled… but then I just cut the piece off with him on it and tossed it outside! Good luck little guy LOL

So if that’s a sign for how this month is going to go… I’m ready! This is going to be fun and challenging!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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I also am committing to walking our dog Daisy everyday for the next 30 days. 

I was immediately put to the test today-  we ended up having to walk her in a thunderstorm! โ˜”๏ธ which was actually fun and enjoyable and just a little damp!!

Monarch taggingย 

We got to be citizen scientists today! 


We went to The Weldon Springs Interpretive Center where we learned how to catch a butterfly so it can be tagged!


Edison caught the first butterfly… in fact he caught two at once!



Simone was overjoyed when she finally caught her butterfly!!



Andre was sneaky and quiet which helped him catch his butterflies.



Eli caught an imposter butterfly (one that mimics the monarch) which he thought was exciting!


But when he caught a monarch, Eli was very proud!!



I was ecstatic when I caught a monarch! It was a thrill knowing it would be flying all the way to Mexico ๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฝ!!!



We even got to see a monarch caterpillar in the wild!!!  ๐Ÿ› 

Craft fair

Simone had been busy all summer making Shrinky Dink Jewelry – necklaces and earrings…

… and today was the big day- where she sold her creations at a craft fair!


She designed all her jewelry… some earrings she drew free-hand like the emoji’s and Pokรฉmon, others she traced like the Mickey and Minnie combo!


She hung the earrings on an old chicken-coop gate!

The necklaces varied from flowers, to ice cream to super hero logos!


Simone’s hard work paid off as she made about $20!! ๐Ÿค‘

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The boys wanted to get in on the money-making… so they did magic tricks for tips!



They made almost $10 in tips!!!

And now I am exhausted… and the kids have money burning a hole in their pockets LOL!!

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