Monday, June 29, 2009


Sometimes the most unexpected things pass your way. Like a . . . Painted Lady turtle. While we have a pond nearby, it seems a little far away for the gal to be wandering around our neighborhood. Yes, it's a gal says my daughter. Her visit was short and sweet, but long enough to be named "Cheery".

Look at her amazing colors

Farewell Cheery

Sunday, June 28, 2009

a cup full

Some time spent over at a pond turned very exciting when found a plastic cup. We were able to catch a few tiny fish that we brought home to observe. They are only visiting for a few days, as we plan on bring them back to their pond. I am wondering if this may spark a project (project-based learning). I have put out a magnifying glass and a pocket guide to pond life and I am waiting for questions to be asked that leads us on our path. This book, Pets in a Jar, recommended over at heywood's meadow, also looks interesting and might led her to ask more questions.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

lovelies in the garden

:: Blue lace hydrangea

:: Usually an early bloomer, Sanguisorba menziesii burgundry

:: Centaurea dealbata

:: Campanula cherry bells

:: Sedum 'Angelina'

:: Echinacea purpurea 'Magnus'

:: a daisy beginning to open

:: Allium drumstick sphaerocephalon in bud

While, I continue to enjoy the beauty of my garden, I am noticing that some of my lovelies have not returned. Most likely they did not prosper in the conditions, maybe too sandy for some or not enough sun for others. I am sad to not see the return of any flower as much planning and time has gone into my garden. I sure have learned a lot, from when I first started 5 years ago and have enjoyed much beauty along the way.

Friday, June 26, 2009


My little girl started one of her three classes this summer - ballet. A new ballerina in the neighborhood peaked her interest in ballet. The others will be gymnastics and swimming (2 weeks). While, it is a busy schedule and more than I would have liked, it is what it is. As my little one has taken on new interests, I feel happy that we are able to provide her the opportunity to try something new.

I will say that it is so joyful to see her enjoying the classes. Being able to watch her in her ballet class is also a treat, knowing that if she continues with ballet to a studio, the parents are left in the waiting room, so I am soaking in every moment. It is also interesting to be off of the stage and see her work through her feelings from a far.
As a former dancer, dancing helped me express myself, taught me discipline, and most importantly, I feel dancing helped me form a positive self-image. Dancing was a very important and a positive part of my childhood.

Music was also important and that being said, a sad goodbye to a man who's music was part of some fond childhood memories - my mother taking me to his concert, making up decades of dance routines with friends, and my husband moonwalking (LOL).

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Is it even possible?

Have you ever heard of this? Is it even possible?

Falling asleep while reading out loud (to your child).

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Summer songs, verses, and fingerplay for children

Summer sun
The summer sun in the sky

Shining, shining up so high
Makes it warm for outside fun
To play at the park and run

To swim hike and fish

And go on a picnic, if you wish!

Mister Sun
Oh Mister Sun, Sun,
Mister Golden Sun,
Please shine down on me

Oh Mister Sun, Sun,
Mister Golden Sun,
Hiding behind a tree...

These little children
Are asking you
To please come out
So we can play with you

Oh Mister Sun, Sun,
Mister Golden Sun,
Please shine down on me!

Rainbow Song
Rainbow purple
Rainbow blue
Rainbow green
And yellow too
Rainbow orange
Rainbow red
Rainbow shining over head.

Come and count
The colors with me
How many colors
Can you see?
1-2-3 on down to green
4-5-6 colors can be seen

A Sunbeams Kiss
Can you guess what woke me this morning,
What made me jump out of bed?
'Twas a sunbeam's kiss on my forehead,
That said, "Wake up, sleepyhead!"

Pickin' up strawberries
Pickin' up strawberries, put 'em in the basket
Pickin' up strawberries, put 'em in the basket
Pickin' up strawberries, put 'em in the basket
Way down yonder in the strawberry patch

The Caterpillar
The fuzzy little caterpillar went up into a tree (act like you're climbing)
Spun his cocoon and then (yawn) went to sleep (spin hands)
While he was sleeping he dreamt that he could fly (making flying motion)
When he woke up (loud & excited) he was a butterfly!

Butterfly Song
First comes a butterfly and lays an egg.
Out comes a caterpillar with so many legs.
Oh see the caterpillar spin and spin and spin,
A little chrysalis to sleep in.

Oh, oh, oh, wait and see
Oh, oh, oh, wait and see
Out of the chrysalis, my oh my,
Out comes a beautiful butterfly!

Flutter, Flutter, Butterfly
Flutter, flutter, butterfly
Floating in the summer sky
Floating by for all to see
Floating by so merrily
Flutter, flutter, butterfly
Beautiful colors in the summer sky.

Buzzing Bees
Bees, bees, bees, bees
Buzzing in bushes and buzzing in trees
Buzzing around, wherever they please
There's nothing so sweet
As sweet as a honey bee.

John the rabbit
(a call and response song)
Oh, John the Rabbit! (Oh yes!)
Oh, John the Rabbit! (Oh yes!)
You have a mighty bad habbit (Oh yes!)
Of jumping in my garden (Oh yes!)
And eating all my cabbage. (Oh yes!)
You ate my totatoes (Oh yes!)
And sweet potatoes (Oh yes!)
And if I live (Oh yes!)
To see next fall (Oh yes!)
I won't plant (Oh yes!)
A garden at all. (Oh yes!)

The bunny
Here is a bunny with ears so funny (hold one hand face up and with other hand have fingers hop up and down)
Here is his hole in the ground (join thumb and index finger to make O)
At the first sound he hears
He pricks up his ears (hold up index finger and middle finger to make V)
And jumps to his hole in the ground. (V jumps into O)

My Garden
This is my garden, I'll rake it with care
And then some flower seeds I'll plant there.
The sun will shine
The rain will fall
And my garden will blossom and grow big and tall.

The Gardening Song
First you take a shovel, a rake, and a hoe
Plant a little garden, plant seeds in a row
Water them and weed them through all the summer heat
And then you'll have some flowers or vegetables to eat

Monday, June 22, 2009

blooming with color

:: flowers blooming with color

:: anticipating a burst of color any day now

Sunday, June 21, 2009

summer solstice

Strawberries ripening in the warm summer sun, one at a time. Bringing a little sweetness to every day. Each morning, we are early to get to the berries before the birds.

Summer solstice is the midsummer mark of the Earth's fruitful season, a celebration when the sun is highest in the sky.

A happy Father's Day to my McGiver.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

tiny mushrooms

The beauty of rainy days: listening to the soft drops of rain, feeling the cool breeze, swinging on the front porch swing, and of course, discovering tiny mushrooms, little fairy umbrellas, that have sprouted up everywhere.

Friday, June 19, 2009

from the beach

A few weeks ago, my daughter came home from my mother's house with an oyster shell. She is still playing with the shell, utilizing it in many areas of play, as she does with her many natural toys and toys from nature. I think my mother was surprised at how much the oyster shell was treasured. And after a nature walk at her house, my mother really saw the sense of wonder that nature brings out in Ava. So, when Grandma came home with a gift for Ava from her vacation, it was some seagull feathers and clam shells. My daughter was very fascinated with the gifts. She enjoyed the stories about how the treasures were found and a deeper connection was formed. She took great care in bring the treasures over to her play stands, "workshop", placing her new feathers into a favorite milk glass vase and finding a smaller basket to hold her clam shells. These gifts are sure to be treasured for a very long time.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

beans a sprouting

Beans are super quick to sprout & produce abundant bounty. What a great way to get children involved. My little one loved collecting & eating cherry tomatoes so much that I am hoping the beans are as successful.

Monday, June 15, 2009

sharing a sweet smell

This was the sweet smelling flower I shared with my daughter. It came off of a tree with heart shaped leaves. I still trying to get to the book store to see what format of field guides will be best for my daughter now (5 years old) and as she grows. As you see in the first picture, it took a while to get a shot of the flower.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

one ripe strawberry

:: one ripe strawberry

:: my petunias from last year must have reseeded. what a pleasant surprise

:: these buds on Sedum 'Angelina' are sticking straight up in the air. It looks very interesting.

:: the first bloom of the season on my 'Endless Summer' hydrangea

Most everything else we experienced today went uncaptured in a photograph. Days old baby birds calling for food, a bee dancing from flower to flower in the garden, a hawk gracefully gliding through the sky with big, fluffy
cumulus clouds in the background, sharing a sweet smelling flower with my daughter and hearing the first laughs of my baby boy.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

feet feet feet

:: 3 months old. When do they start sleeping??

Friday, June 12, 2009

12 ways to detox your lawn

from the GreenScapes Action Project

1. TOLERATE SOME WEEDS and allow beneficial plants to exist such as clover for its nitrogen-fixing magic.

2. HAND DIGGING WEEDS is the best method of weed control.

3. RESEED BARE SPOTS before weeds fill them in.

4. TEST YOUR SOIL. Purchase a soil test kit, or take one free

5. REMOVE THATCH, the matted layer of clippings and debris on top of the soil, if it is more than 1/2" thick.

6. AERATE THE LAWN to break through the deep thatch and reduce compaction of soil.

7. FERTILIZE NATURALLY. If your soil test results show the need, add organic fertilizers.

8. MOW AT THE PROPER HEIGHT. Keep grass 2 1/2 to 3"


10. WATER MORE DEEPLY & LESS FREQUENTLY. Water only when soil has dried out well into the root zone.

11. CONTROL PESTS NATURALLY. Practicing natural lawn care will create a healthy lawn which is unattractive to pests.

12. ENCOURAGE earthworms and micro-organisms through these organic gardening steps.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

stars and spots

:: Allium Cristophii , Star of Persia, blooming

:: Noticing how the color and spots on the foxglove progress.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

shapes of drawing

Lately, my little one has been very frustrated with her drawings. She has been saying that she can not do it, that her drawing is not right, etc., proceeded by a melt down of sorts. I recognized that this is because her school projects are directed to produce a specific end product. I am sure most parents are familiar with teacher-dictated projects. All the kids end up producing the same end product, the best examples are coloring pages and a Thanksgiving turkey hand print.

Dictated art does not seem that bad on the surface, but underneath it all, it can effect children negatively. Taken from Art for the Fun of it, by Peggy Davison Jerkeins.

Dictated art provide:
- Loss of creativeness
- No stimulation of the imagination
- Detrimental effect upon children's self-confidence and independent thinking
- Deprives children of individual expression
- No emotional release
- Frustration
- Offers no feeling of achievement or pride
- Promotes doing without thinking
- Offer no practice in the decision making

So, to help my little one through this, I brought out some simple objects to draw. First, to encourage her to work past these negative feelings, I brought out jelly beans. As soon as we drew a jelly bean, we were able to eat one. Yummy. Next, some marbles, watercolors, squares and xylophones (one of her favorite item to draw.) With drawings, there is no right or wrong way to draw something.

Only 2 days left of school. I CAN NOT WAIT.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

what is homeschooling

What is home schooling? I guess to different people it means different things.

To me, it means allowing my child to learn about what is interesting to her.
Learning becomes FUN and EXCITING and INTERESTING. Learning becomes an adventure. It allows her to pursue her interests and discover her passions.

Zach Aboard posted an entry about Summer School, which read like this, "We have all of our supplies. One kayak, two paddles, and the great green/blue/brown yonder." Aside from sounding like lots of fun, doesn't this make homeschooling sound easy? It can be this easy.

If I look back at last summer, I would say our supplies were a butterfly net, a shovel and 3 buckets. Living is learning and this can not be learned in public schools (at least around here).


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