A class on Nature Journaling

Nature Journaling in itself is easy and fun. Basically, you go out in nature, observe and draw!

Although the kids and I have done it before while inside Β and sick …Β 

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And I have sewn sit-upons to use while outside observing and drawing…

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But when I heard there was a class at the Mo Department of Conservation- I signed us right up! I was curious as to how they would teach this!

First- we made upcycled journals πŸ““ with old calendar pictures!


Second- the instructor explained to the kids to write the date, the location, and the weather at the top of their journaling page.

Third-Β the instructor flew a mounted bird across the room. She had the kids describe it, after it had flown past. You don’t draw while you are looking… observe the animal and all it’s unique characteristics – then draw it!

Fourth- we got to go outside… with binoculars! We changed locations a few time!

Fifth- we drew!



* One neat drawing activity they had the kids do was called a sound map. You draw a map of all the sounds you hear- it was fun to try to draw the birds I heard – which was way more than I saw!


Building wooden bird houses

The other day – Eddie was inspired!

First…


he was inspired to eat a worm because he just read “How to eat Fried Worms” πŸ› . Thankfully – he decided NOT to eat it, and he set the worm free!
Second, he was inspired to build a bird house out of wood!


His new carpentry skills and inspiration happened because he loves his mama ❀️️!

HOW IT STARTED…

I was sad that the kids’ old picnic table was being destined for the trash!

 I had bought the table for a dollar at a garage sale years ago and the kids helped repair and paint it…


Pieces were missing again, there was rotten wood, and the kids are probably technically too big for it… but I loved the table and all the memories that went with it! 

I was reluctant to let it go and voiced hope for the table- but my husband told me to let it go… (we try not to hold onto things just for memories sake).

Well- Eddie heard me and decided to fix the table for me… all by himself! 😍


Then he used it as a workshop table- and built a birdhouse for me- ALL BY HIMSELF!


…and then he built me another birdhouse!


Eddie has a heart of gold!! 😊❀️️

I have seen a bird in both houses already!!! I’m so excited for the new families in the yard!!!

Anyway-

After church we ran some errands- one of which was to buy deck screws so everyone could build with wood.  We went to Lowes and a large box cost… $30!!! 

I bought the box- knowing it would bring lots of joy and experience for the kids…

…and then I drove past an estate sale! I stopped and bought all their nails and screws and hammers πŸ”¨ for $20!


Needless to say, I turned around and returned that expensive box of screws!! πŸ€‘πŸ€‘πŸ€‘πŸ€‘

NOW THE KIDS ARE OUTSIDE SAWING AND DRILLING AND HAMMERING!!

Building a bird nest

We went to the Rockwood Reservation for a class on bird nests!

After a fabulous presentation on the four type of nests (cavity, cup, pendulum, and platform), the kids went outside to see some actual nests!

Red-shouldered hawk nest way up in the tree…


And a cup nest under the porch roof…


Then it was time to get muddy…and make a nest!


  • First the kids where given a lunch size paper bag folded down small, a plastic knife, and a cup of mud

  • The kids then covered the bag with mud

  • Then fibers like grass, straw and leaves where wrapped around and in the nest

Their finished nests…


The kids were told that if they put their nests outside in a safe spot, a bird might choose it to use! If a bird lays eggs in the nests, we are to call Rockwood Reservation and let them know πŸ˜†!

The kids excitingly chose a spot around our yard! Now we watch and wait and hope for a bird family πŸ˜‰





    Field trips… Field trips… Field trips!

    Whew! What a week! So much fun! So much learning!

    We went on many field trips this week- but our favorite one was to the Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate factory! 

    The first thing we did at the factory/store was get our fortune read by Zoltar!


    The tour, organized by the Green Spiral Tours, was great!

    It smelled soooo good!



    The kids have decided they want to work at Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate when they get older… because workers can eat all the chocolate they want while working!


    Earlier today- we held a great Dangerous Boy Meeting! We cleaned up our local park – 8 trash bags in 1 hour! 


    (Ask a group of boys to pose… and this is as good as it gets! LOL πŸ˜‚)

    Earlier this week – the kids and I went on various other field trips…

    Powell Symphony Hall to hear an education concert – Beethoven’s 5th Symphony.


    A bike 🚲 ride 


    Chip tasting at the Library after learning about George Crumb- the inventor of the potato chip!


    A poetry class at the library- the kids worked on poems for an hour… and enjoyed it!!

    I know that Saint Louis is blessed with an abundance of opportunities for field trips… and I am certainly doing my best to take advantage!!!😊😊😊

    Sewing prairie hatsΒ 

    Prairie hats and aprons are a huge deal when playing house outside!

    They are also a necessity when camping in covered wagons… which is exactly what Simone’s Girl Scout troop will be doing in a few months!

    So… some sewing savvy moms (aka Girl Scout moms) and I got together to teach ourselves how to sew prairie hats for all 26 girls!

    9 hats were made that day!


    Aren’t they stinkin’ adorable!

    Yesterday, while the kids jumped on our new trampoline…


    I successfully made two prairie hats- by myself! 😊


    I’m addicted to sewing these hats now! 

    Once the Girl Scout hats are done, I want to make them for every little girl I know!! πŸ˜†

    Most importantly, I’m going to make Simone and I matching hats… and wear them together out in the wild 😍

    Unschooling in the community

    First of all- Happy Valentine’s Day πŸ’œ

    Second of all- I am exhausted LOL!

    We just had a FULL day of free educational activities. We had taken a break from field trips, so it felt really really good to get back into the community and use its resource!

    Missouri Department of Conservation


    We took a class today about food chains and food webs in a forest.

    First the kids learned via PowerPoint about producers, herbivores, carnivores, and decomospers.

    The hands on activity was clever and fun!

    Everyone got a puppet and sat in a circle… and a web was created with yarn between the animals (everyone got to choose who/what they ate!


    Then the kids made valentines for the forest πŸŒ³πŸ’œ.


    We ended the class with a nature hike and Andre found a bone with teeth marks all over it! (Very cool!!)


    We then ate lunch at a different park…




    …where Eddie got a giant log (little bitty speck) stuck in his eye! I tried to flush it with πŸ’¦ water, but that didn’t work…

    So I drove to my sisters house where he took a warm shower and the stick fell out of his eye! Yay! But man was I worried!! 😳 😩 😳 

    Then- we went to the library for the MOST amazing fantastic storyteller BOBBY NORFOLK!  He told the story of “Henry Box Brown and the Underground Railroad”.


    Google Bobby Norfolk – he’s great!

    …then we participated in a STEM activity at the Library.


    So, now you see why I’m exhausted… too much fun and learning today πŸ˜ŠπŸ“šπŸ˜Š!

    Collecting Marigold Seeds

    It’s a beautiful February day!!!We are all doing yard work and just enjoying the day… even Clover!


    Since we can’t plant anything in the garden (it is only February!) we decided to collect seeds for the spring!

    In the summer, Simone had some gorgeous marigolds growing by her camper playhouse! Now, they are dead flowers…


    … However dead plants mean seeds!! 😊


    Simone is busy collecting Marigold seeds for the spring!

    Bird watching… from the comforts of my home 🏑 

    It all started with a book…


    This book is amazing! I’m reading a chapter aloud a day- and each chapter tells the story of a bird through the eyes of a bird watcher.  After we read the chapter, we also watch YouTube videos to actually see the bird 🐦! We are learning so much about bird behavior!!

    Anyway, the book is very inspiring- all we wanted to do was go bird watching. 

    The problem… my kids can’t all be quiet 🀐 at the same time! LOL! πŸ˜‚ 

    We have tried to go bird watching, but it’s near impossible to see anything.

    Solution…

    I set up more feeders outside my front window –

    added a variety of food

    * meal worm cake 

    *woodpecker suet feeder

    *Woodpecker, Nuthatch, and Chickadee       seed 

    *sunflower seeds and Safflower seeds

    * thistle seed



    …. and even put a comfy couch in front of the window!


    The results… tons of birds!!

    Too name a few – cardinals, blue jays, titmouse, sparrows, doves, finches, downy woodpecker and (my favorite) a northern flicker woodpecker!

    It is very hard (for me) to snap a picture of these beautiful birds… but I did manage to get a picture of a downy woodpecker 😊!


    Beavers at Sioux Passage

    We went on a very chilly hike today to a park by the Missouri River, Sioux Passage.


    It felt great to be outside…


    …but we became truely excited when we saw signs of beavers!


    ​Finding trees that have been chewed on by a beaver left us awestruck! Seeing the teeth marks and the wood shavings is a life experience πŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸ˜€!

    If you live in Saint Louis, I recommend you going to this park! Drive all the way back to the river near the boat drop and look to the left… it’s worth the trip!

    Homeschool Story-time

    As I mentioned in my previous post Dangerous Boys, when there is a void in your life, sometimes you need to fill it yourself!

    Our void… there was no age appropriate story time for my children.

    We went to a wonderful, fabulous, magnificent story-time at our library for about 8 years and had the same story teller/ bookreader, Ms. Beth!  Even as the kids grew older, she tapered the story-time to fit their age.  But, unfortunately, the library changed and my kids were too old to participate.


    However, I was inspired by librarian Beth and with the help of some wonderful moms at my church, I created a Homeschool Room and started a family story-time.

    Gingerbread themed books and crafts

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    Kids playing together

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    Well – today we built a fort and read books inside it!

    The kids helped bring every blanket we owned to the church gymnasium, along with old couch cushions, pillows, and giant stuffies!


    We built the fort using four tables – leaving a hole in the middle for parents and babies.

    Everyone was cozy as I read an assortment of books aloud!

    The church has a large gym, with toys, that the kids get to run around and play with.

    Simone, Eddie, and Andre like to rollerblade!


    Since today was February 1st, my friend Jayme brought supplies to make calendars.  The kids decorated them with fingerprint hearts!


    Our other activity was making heart shaped bird feeders with cheerios and pipe cleaners!

    I love that my kids now belong to a story-time!

    πŸ“šπŸ“šπŸ“šπŸ“šπŸ“šπŸ“šπŸ“šπŸ“šπŸ“šπŸ“š

    There is something special about curling up together in a cozy setting with the sole purpose of listening to books being read aloud.

     

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