Tuesday, September 18, 2012

beware a kid with a camera

One of Calvin's recent projects was to make a collage of pictures of things that started with each letter of the alphabet.  I told him he could either look through magazines or borrow my camera and take pictures himself.  He chose door number 2.  (Hands down) He had a lot of fun walking around the house with the camera, snapping pictures.  Here are just some of my favorite pictures that he took:  

 B is for Baby

 G is for glasses

 D is for Dev

 (B) is for (Bogey!)

 M is for Mommy!

 C is for Carrots (and crackers! a deuce!)

 G is for Giraffe

 G is for Green (not sure what this green thing is honestly)

 P is for plant

 M is for map

 F is for fire (yes, there was adult supervision.  Thanks for your concern.)

U is for Umbrella


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Junior Paleontologists

 The kids have been very interested in dinosaurs lately.  We've studied lots of books on them and watched lots of Dinosaur Train on pbskids.org (awesome site, if you don't know about it already).
We decided to do a little Paleontology work.   (by the way, if my kids look younger to you in these pictures, it's because they are--younger.  We did this project quite awhile ago, and I'm just now getting around to blogging about it.  Better late than never, right?)

First, I got three plastic tubs (these are old salad tubs.  I save them for when we plant the seedlings in the spring).  I went out in the garden while the kids were still getting ready for the day and filled them with dirt.  Then I buried the "bones" randomly in them.

When we got started for the day, I told the kids that we were going to be Paleontologists to see if we could find some dinosaur bones.  We had to have the necessary tools.
We talked for a bit about how real dinosaur explorers use certain tools that help them dig up the bones in ways that will preserve them.  The bones are delicate.  Scientists don't want them to break or be disturbed, so they dig them up very carefully with special brushes and shovels.  We talked about what forming a hypothesis--or making a guess about how the dinosaur must have looked based on what we know about the bones and the way they were found in the dirt.

You'd think they had just been given a box of gold, instead of a box of dirt  based on their reactions.  They LOVED this project!!!  

Even little Bogey spent lots of time carefully digging and brushing the dirt away from his "bones."

As they dug and brushed and discovered the bones hiding in the dirt, they placed them on the table.  Once they were sure that they had recovered all the bones, they set to work forming hypothesis about how the bones fit together.  It was really interesting to me to see all the possibilities they came up with.  Kids are so creative.  When I put the bones in the dirt, I was pretty sure that there would be one obvious way for all the bones to fit together, but they came up with several that I hadn't considered.  I love that about kids.  Genius, I tell ya.

Dev is trying to fit together the back legs

Calvin thinks he's got it

 This is Calvin's finished dinosaur.  He was pretty proud of it.

 Bogey was so proud of his that he carried it around with him for a few days.  He told me while I was taking this picture that his dinosaur was reptilian and cold blooded and needed to sit in the sun for a long time to warm himself.  (Above picture is sideways--I don't know why it wouldn't load turned the right way.  Cock your head to the side, please)  And as a result, I found this:

on the floor many, many times throughout the remaining week.

If your kids are even the slightest bit interested in dinosaurs, or science, or dirt, or pipe cleaners, or exploring, I would highly recommend this activity.  It was lots of fun!

Monday, September 10, 2012

I was talking to a very dear friend (who know who she is--Hi! I miss you!)  recently, telling her some of the things I was working on, when she suddenly said, "You know that story in the scriptures about the guys who are given the talents, and the two guys with 5 and 2 go and trade their talents and make more, and the guy with 1 buries his?"  uh, yeah.  "I think you may be a little guilty of being the one talent guy.  You kind of are a talent burier."    I hope you can tell from her candidness that she is a very, very good friend who cares a lot about me.  Only she, and maybe some in my family could get away with a statement like that.  I've been thinking about that a lot. 

A LOT.  Do I?  Am I? 

I reviewed the story in the scriptures for myself one day (See Mathew 25)  while I was thinking about our conversation, and came away with the conclusion, that I am absolutely that guy.  I am a talent burier.  In the scriptures, he says that he buried his talent because he is afraid of losing it.  It's ironic that the thing that he does to keep it safe is the thing that makes him lose it. 

If I don't develop my talents, they will be taken away, not because God is mean like that, but because without exercise, the talent fades away.  Plants die when they aren't nutured.  Muscles weaken when they aren't exercised.  Skills are forgotten when they are not practiced.  Testimonies don't keep; they need constant refreshing.  On the other hand, those skills and talents we do take the time to nurture grow stronger, and we are given more. 

My friend is right (as per her usual).  I do have talents that I am burying.  I have established this blog as a way to share what I'm learning with friends and family.  But I am afraid.  What if they don't like me?  What if they think I'm bragging?  What if some weirdy finds my blog and uses the information for weirdy things?  What if someone leaves a negative comment?  I struggle, struggle against those thoughts all the time.  I'm really not quite sure where to go from here, but I think understanding it a little better and expressing it openly is helping. 

I will attempt now to unbury my talent, and take it to where I can make it into more talents.  This is not going to be easy for me, and I may realize more than once along the way that I've buried it in a new spot.  I'll try to notice and unbury it again.  I was given this talent for a reason, and I don't think the reason is to bury it. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Fall-ish garden talk

I LOVE fall.  And I popped onto my quiet little blog tonight just to tell you that.  The weather has not quite turned from summer...today it was in the 90's.  But, when I got up this morning, the Hubby had propped open the windows (something he only does when the air out there is cooler than in here) and I smelled IT.  If you love fall as much as I do, you'll know what I am talking about.  IT--the smell of fall.  That crisp, nose-tickly, leaves crackling, cooler breeze smell.  That smell that means that summer is wrapping up, and fall is on the next page.  Summer is ok.  Winter is fun...but Fall and Spring...you have my heart.  I love the colors of fall.  The smells.  The recipes.  The Harvest.  The feeling of accomplishment while harvesting the garden I've nurtured all summer.  Don't even get me started on the pumpkin bread, the zucchini casserole, the home canned applesauce....aahhh.

My meager little garden didn't do so well.  Let me back up. We're still waiting on a few things.  The tomatoes look like they are gearing up to give us one last round of vegetables, and if they are successful, that will be the most we've gotten out of our garden.  It's a pretty depressing story actually.  All the plants were doing really well, growing like crazy, putting out lots of flowers.  Even the rabbits seemed to have resigned themselves to the fact that they could not gnaw a hole in the fence.  I was gearing up for large amounts of produce.  (I do this by looking on pinterest at lots of different recipes.  It's really exhausting work.)  I was poised in anticipation.  Then....nothing happened.  The flowers withered and died without producing anything.  I watched repeatedly as little baby pumpkins and zucchini would start to grow and then wither into nothing.  All unsuccessful.  I found out later it was those stinky little melon beetles. 

Final count:  1 (small)watermelon, 1 (small)pumpkin, and 1 (extremely large) zucchini (which we deftly made into batter fried zucchini-as per our tradition).  Now we're waiting to see what our tomatoes are going to do.  C'mon, little tomatoes!  Grow!

At the beginning of the summer, I was in my garden thinning out the plants.  I have to admit, I HATE this job.  It seems so unfair to strike down a perfectly good little plant, whose always done everything I asked it to do, who is growing so sweet and so well, and I have to pluck it out and kill it just because it's too close to another.  It seems so unjust.  And apparently, I've passed that opinion on to my kids.  I was thinning the watermelon seedlings in the garden at the beginning of the summer, and Dev walked by and saw all the doomed seedlings on the ground, and decided that she was going to try to rid the world of injustice.  She took two, and planted them in the front garden (where the tomato plants are).  Fast forward three months, Dev's little adopted watermelon have taken over my front porch. And Dev keeps reminding me, "remember how you wanted to kill them?  We would never have had this watermelon to eat." 

I wish I had something to harvest this year.  And I wish that I was near family that would be willing to help me can and then eat said harvest, but instead I am here, harvest-less.  But it's ok.  I still love fall.