Sunday, June 21, 2009
Thursday, June 18, 2009
very cool green spider on the black-eyed susan cone (this looks great enlarged!)
neat looking small moth I identified as a grape leaf skeletonizer on Whats That Bug - if you enlarge it, you can see his fuzzy abdomen and antennae
our first cicada exoskeleton of the year - we just started hearing them in the evenings about a week ago
So back to the book... one of the activities was a word search using the last names of famous Massachusetts authors. I was excited that Alex recognized quite a few of them and I was telling her about others. Then, I decided to "test" us and see who we recognized. In case you want to play along, here's the list:
Louisa May Alcott
William Cullen Bryant
Ralph Waldo Emerson
William Lloyd Garrison
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Theodore Geisel, aka Dr.Suess
Henry David Thoreau
John Greenleaf Whittier
Here's Alex's list:
Louisa May Alcott - "Little Women" & "Little Men" (Yeah, Alex!)
Emily Dickinson - poet (Yes!)
Benjamin Franklin - wrote an almanac
Dr. Suess - The Me Book
Phillis Wheatley - she was a slave - wrote poems (I was the most excited that she recognized this lady! She said she learned about her from the Liberty Kids DVDs.)
Louisa May Alcott -"Little Women", "Little Men"
Anne Bradstreet - not familiar - looked up here - she was a poet in the mid 1600's
William Cullen Bryant - familiar - looked up here - poet & long time editor of New York Evening Post
John Cheever - not familiar - looked up here - novelist, but best known for short stories
Emily Dickinson - poet - wrote "I'm Nobody Who Are You?" - my high school English teacher's favorite poet :-)
Ralph Waldo Emerson - poet - looked up here - I should have remembered him more for his essays & philosophy of Transcendantlism, from the same English teacher
Benjamin Franklin - Poor Richard's Almanac, letters as "Silence Dogood"
William Lloyd Garrison - not familiar - looked up here - best known for radical abolitionist newspaper, "The Liberator"
Nathaniel Hawthorne - "The Scarlet Letter" (read in same English teacher's class) & "The House of Seven Gables" - I mainly remember this from SEEING this house while visiting Massachusetts as a child
Henry James - not familiar - he is primarily known for a series of novels portraying the encounter of America with Europe
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow - poet - "The Children's Hour" - I LOVED this poem as a child and memorized it for a presentation - I can even remember the little red book I learned it from
Amy Lowell - not familiar - poet who won Pulitzer Prize for Poetry posthumously
Herman Melville - "Moby Dick" (I should have remembered "Billy Budd", too - we have an audio CD in the car) - I even mentioned "Moby Dick" yesterday!
Theodore Geisel/Suess - "Green Eggs & Ham"
Henry David Thoreau - "Walden" - same English teacher! (Oh, and I had her 2 years - 10th & 11th)
Phillis Wheatley - slave/poet
John Greenleaf Whittier- familiar - Quaker poet & a "Fireside Poet" - so now, of course, I want to learn about the Fireside Poets :-)
Overall, I was happy with what we remembered. But, I also realized that we are not learning much poetry or about many poets. So, I hope to fix that this year! We'll start by reading a book about Emily Dickinson I've had on our bookshelf - "The Mouse of Amherst" by Elizabeth Spires. It's about a mouse that lives with Emily Dickinson.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Ivory has its own site, with patterns, showing you how to carve the soap. We really enjoyed it and it was challenging, but I thought it turned out well. I used one of the patterns while Alex created her own design.
BOOK REVIEW: I've also been meaning to mention a book I read about whaling while in Maui. The book is In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick. (He also has a juvenile version titled Revenge of the Whale: The True Story of the Whaleship Essex, which is also available on CD.)
The book tells the amazing story of the whaleship Essex which was attacked by an angry whale. It sunk and the crew did everything they could to survive, even taking the most drastic meaures. In the end, only a few of the crew survive the 90 days at sea. The book is indeed intense and mezmerizing and this true story inspired Herman Melville to write Moby Dick.
There are 2 different kinds of yellow flowers in our new "wildflower garden." One type, above, I've identified as Plains Coreopsis. I think the easiest way to identify these wildflowers is by the edge (margin?) of each petal.
I believe this other type of flower is a Black-eyed Susan. The center is kind of purple and the "eye" is raised quite a bit. Even though I took these photos a few weeks ago, I just looked at them today and was surprised to see...
three inchworms!!! (One is in the center.) I'm going to have to go check tonight and see if I can find more of these. I love inchworms! I've posted about them before, but thought I'd go ahead and repost what I learned about them last April.
Inchworms are a specific type of caterpillar. Like most caterpillars, inchworms have 3 pairs of true legs in the front of their body, but usually only 2 pairs of false legs in back where most caterpillars have 5 pair. They move by drawing their back legs towards their front and then stretching out their body.
I like that Alexandra made up her own artwork. This is "my" closet and I LOVE the Winnie the Pooh sweater she has hanging up - I really do have a Pooh sweater. :-)
I am not as creative and I did my own version of one of Matisse's pieces in "Jazz" - this one is called Icarus. After viewing Matisse's version of Icarus, we discussed the myth of Icarus & his father, Daedalus. Alex has a "Book of Virtues" video of this story, so we watched it also.
Then, we watched this incredible Lego version of the story. Now, I want to learn how to do some stop motion movies. If anyone has any tips or hints, please let me know!
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
And, here's the back of my new look! I thought Alex took some pretty good photos, and I'm enjoying my new look.
Monday, June 15, 2009
Tuesday, June 09, 2009
Monday, June 08, 2009
& woodpeckers (red-bellied & downy).
Another interesting thing about a woodpecker's tongue is that it is very long (sometimes three times the bill length). And, there are tiny bones in the woodpecker's tongue that help the tongue to stretch out. (There are great photos and explanations at this Hilton Pond site.)
We also enjoyed reading about how woodpeckers will find a tree (or another object) which they really enjoy the resonance and will return to it again and again. We have had red-bellied woodpeckers come to the top of our fireplace again and again over the past few years to drill on our metal! It is very loud in the house, but they must love it. :-)
(Photos from top to bottom: red-bellied woodpecker in our yard; female downy in our yard; red-headed woodpecker taken during a nature walk)
Ingredients for my mom's Wheat Pancakes (we halved the ingredients as we were only cooking for two):
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 cup white flour
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups milk
- 4 tbsp oil
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
You mix the dry ingredients separate from the wet ingredients and then mix together.
(By the way, I thought my camera was broke this morning or I would have took more photos. It turned out I'd hit a button and finally got everything working OK. Whew!)
Thursday, June 04, 2009
We packed some plastic test tubes and a white plastic cup so we could scoop water from the pond. We also packed some bread to feed the ducks, geese, and nutria. And, we packed our cameras, a bug box, and a magnifying lens. I wish we would have packed binoculars!
I LOVED these white balls on this tree. They're about the size of a sweetgum. Unfortunately, the mosquitos were biting around here, so this was a quick stop.
Tuesday, June 02, 2009
Last summer, we participated in Unplug Your Kids and I plan on doing it as often as possible this summer. Each week, there is a theme and you create some kind of project based on that theme. For example, this week's theme is: HOMEMADE. It's supposed to be a "surprise" but I'm thinking about making homemade noodles like my mom makes. Or, some kind of homemade food that we've never tried before.
I also plan on doing Barb's Outdoor Hour Challenges like we used to do. This week's challenge is to study woodpeckers, chickadees, nuthatches or towhees. We see the first two in our yard fairly often, so we'll pick one of those.
And, we'd like to start doing the Think! challenges again, also. We were enjoying these, but we just got too busy I guess. I think the "new" challenge will be up in a day or 2 and I'll wait for it.
So, those are 3 weekly activities we will do when we aren't on the road. I think we're going to have a great summer!
Oh, and if you know of any other weekly challenges, let me know! I'd really like one about cooking with kids - something like a weekly recipe to try.