Thursday, October 23, 2014

Fun Things From Our Backyard!!

We have had lots of exciting times around our yard lately.  Always an adventure!

Like this poor guy...a huge Texas Spiny Lizard that had jammed himself between the grate and mesh on our outside Air Conditioner unit. 


Thankfully, Hubby came home on his lunch break and took off the grate, which let me free the little guy.  I didn't think he was going to make it, but an hour later, he was gone, so hopefully he was just shocked...no idea how he got in there that far, but I'm thinking happy thoughts that he is ok (don't ruin it for me)!!

Pecan season is just starting!!!  It looks like one or two of our seven trees might have some for us this year!!!

We love watching for butterflies in the yard...they are so pretty!


And this baby Texas Spiny Lizard...he/she did NOT take its eyes off of me the whole time we were playing on the swingset, but thankfully it let me snap a photo...thankfully it also wasn't anywhere near the above butterfly :)


LadyBear loves to swing and LittleBear loves to push her!


Just today we found a new Monarch caterpillar on our milkweed!  He's still there...maybe he'll decide to stay?


We have had a few Queen butterfly visitors as well, which Orbit has enjoyed watching from his favorite window seat...

And the biggest Monarch I have seen in a long time stopped by for a pit stop...



We love our backyard!!!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Five In A Row: Who Owns the Sun



Wow, it has been a while since I did a Five In A Row blog post!  This week we read "Who Owns the Sun?" which is a story about a little boy who finds out that his father and their family is owned by another man in the South before slavery was abolished.  I admit I was not initially excited about this book (even though it is really well written), only because it meant I needed to explain slavery and racism to my five year old.  Overall it went well and I'm glad I got to be the one to introduce the concept to him so we could talk about it and answer any questions he might have.

 Our calendar board for the week...

The second day we learned more about Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad.  It took a bit of convincing that there were no actual trains involved, but I think he eventually got it and was interested in learning more about what happened.  God is so good because in BSF right now we are learning about Moses and how he followed the Lord in freeing the Hebrew people from slavery in Egypt and that perfectly aligned with this unit that I was originally so hesitant to teach.  Harriet Tubman was nicknamed "Moses" for the work she did freeing as many slaves as she could and I really think studying Moses right alongside Harriet Tubman helped him better understand what was going on.  I learned that he loves the spiritual "Go Down Moses" and we sang it quite a bit throughout the week (even LadyBear).  Here's a preview during breakfast:




We also talked about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his work in promoting love (and not hate) among all people and went through pictures of our visit in Birmingham, AL.   Our character quality for the week was Love, so that tied in nicely as well.  I assure you, I wish I could say that I planned this all out perfectly, but I didn't.  The Lord is gracious and good to us!

 Daddy, Mommy, LittleBear and LadyBear's hand prints...

In the book, it talks about Big Jim's hands and how strong they were, so we made a simple art project of our family's hands that the kids both enjoyed.  LittleBear is also rocking along on his spelling/handwriting and math work!  He got several stickers this week and I am really proud of the work he is doing.  Go LittleBear!

Adding some stickers to a well-deserved and written worksheet...

LadyBear working on an ABC puzzle...

 I am so thankful LittleBear got his Daddy's math brain!!!
Excuse the crumbs on the table...ahem.

People, I think our Co-Op art class is paying off because when I said we were going to make a list of "things too wonderful to own" I had planned on having LittleBear come up with the ideas and writing them down myself.  He started coming up with ideas and I started writing them down with simple pictures next to them and he started doing it too on his very special Star Wars list paper.  I was so proud of him for trying to draw these things!  He never tries to draw anything, but he did a really good job!

 Our handprints and lists of things too wonderful to own...

Our field trip this week was to feed the ducks again on the Brazos river.  We talked about the sun and the river and the beautiful weather as more things that were too wonderful to own and the kids loved it as usual.  We even had a train go by, which was just another element of fun added to the trip!



Feeding the ducks on the Brazos with the train in the background:


The book also talked about Momma's biscuits and the little boy taking them to Daddy for lunch, so we had biscuits and honey at home as a yummy meal, which was fun.

We didn't get through all the library books I checked out, but I think there is another book that deals with slavery in the South that we will "row" later this year, so I'll just check those out again when we read that one.

Resources and printables I used for Who Owns the Sun can be found at:
My Five In A Row Pinterest Board
The Harriet Tubman Story via Youtube
Go Down Moses as sung by the Harlem Gospel Singers via Youtube


Go Along Books we used for Who Owns the Sun (* indicate ones we especially liked):
*Who Owns the Sun by Stacy Chbosky
*A Book of Seasons by Alice and Martin Povenson
*The Four Seasons For Little People by Joseph M. Parramon
*If You Traveled On the Underground Railroad... by Ellen Levine
*The Value of Helping: The Story of Harriet Tubman by Ann Donegan Johnson
*I Have A Dream by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
*Martin's Big Words by Doreen Rappaport
*Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford
Rosa by Nikki Giovanni
The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles
Goin' Someplace Special by Patricia C. McKissack & Jerry Pinkney
Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt by Deborah Hopkinson
Henry's Freedom Box by Ellen Levine
Working Cotton by Sherley Ann Williams
Under the Quilt of Night by Deborah Hopkinson
Almost to Freedom by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson

Anyway, in the end I am glad we did this book and am thankful to have it in our library. 

 LittleBear adding our story disk to our map of the world...


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Fun Times With Grams and Grampa!!

 Exploring with Grams!

You know that big trip we were preparing for with Airplane/Airport School?  Well, we took it and got back Monday!  I took the kids to South Florida and visit Grams and Grampa.  LittleBear had been there before, but didn't remember and LadyBear had never been there, so it was well past time for them to go.  Warning, this post will have a ton of pictures!

Watching the airport workers get our plane ready...

The kids did great traveling by car, bus and plane!  They followed our airplane rules for the most part and seemed to greatly enjoy the experience.  I totally recommend JetBlue and will check them first whenever I need to fly...they were a wonderful airline!!

 Airport fire trucks!!!!

To keep the kids busy on the plane, I packed their backpacks with different games, toys and books that I hoped they would like as well as some special snacks that I knew would be welcomed (applesauce pouches, fruit snacks and bunny cookies).  We had their favorite blankets, sticker books, magnet doodlers, books, games and the iPad with Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood episodes if things got desperate.  In a moment of Mommy worry, I also made bracelets for the kids with my cell phone number in case we got separated (thank you, Pinterest!).  I probably over-prepared, but whatever...I was thankful for all of it :)

Magnet Doodlers for everyone!

We did all sorts of fun things while we were visiting.  Oh my goodness, did we stay busy!  One of the things we enjoyed was a park located very close to my parents' house, which I remember enjoying very much growing up.  The kids loved running around, conversing with the ducks, playing on the playground and saying hi to whomever we passed. 

 Running through the park together...

Lightning safety!

talking to the ducks...

The kids also really enjoyed playing in their swimming pool and asked to swim every day.  Thanks to LittleBear's swim lessons this summer, he felt comfortable in the pool and LadyBear loved zooming all around the pool and even figured out that kicking her feet helps her go faster and farther!

 Playing around...

Being silly...

LadyBear checking out the deep end...

My littlest fish...

We also got to go some really fun places!!!  Our first field trip was to ZooMiami, which was extra fun for me because we met up with my friend A. and her youngest son E.  It was wonderful to see them!!!!!!!!!  I have missed her a ton.  The kids enjoyed seeing the animals, riding the monorail and playing a short time in the splashpad there at the zoo. 

LadyBear checking out the turtles...

LittleBear found a giant feather in the aviary!

Watching the waterfall with our friends Miss A. and E.

Another favorite field trip was going to Butterfly World!  Grams and the kids really enjoyed it as well and I'm really glad we decided to add this one to our itinerary.  We saw caterpillars, chrysalides, hummingbirds, some Lorakeets, tropical gardens and walked through a very large enclosed area with butterflies flying all around us.  They also had a bug museum, which the kids enjoyed.  Grandma, you were remembered and LittleBear said he wished you could have been with us :)

Looking for more butterflies...


 This was one of my favorites...



This owl butterfly was LadyBear's favorite...


Butterflies!!!


 This was another one of my favorites...

 This Blue Morpho was LittleBear's favorite...it had brown spots on its underside and bright blue wings on top!



 Butterfly spotting with Grams!


 Feeding the Lorakeets...

 Bug Museum!!!

Yikes those are big...No thank you!!!


Grampa had promised to take LittleBear to the Gold Coast Railroad Museum and LittleBear was not about to let Grampa forget it :)  That was another fun field trip that everyone enjoyed and we got to take a real train ride on a big train!  They also had several other train cars we could look at including a Zephyr, the Ferdinand Magellan and two Nasa locomotives.  The model train room was another favorite with the kids and adults alike.

Train Museum!!


Going to take a train ride!

The kids were soaking it all in!



 Model trains!!!
 Playing with the train tables at the museum...

One of the biggest reasons we took this trip was to meet Cousin Z. and see Auntie D. again (they live in Hawaii, so we don't get to see them much)!  LittleBear LOVED playing with his newest cousin and LadyBear enjoyed getting to meet her as well.  I am so thankful we got to see them!!

 Reading with Auntie and Cousin Z!

Happy Grams and Grampa with their Grandkids!

 LittleBear playing with coasters with Cousin Z and Auntie!

We ended our time in Miami with a short trip to show the kids the ocean at sunset...

Mommy and her two favorite bear cubs...

After that, it was time to head back home...
 Watching the busyness of an airplane getting ready to depart...

The trip back was ok.  The kids did well for the most part.  LadyBear kind of lost it in the airport at the end of the trip, but I was very thankful she waited until we got off the plane and she hadn't had a nap at all that day, so it was totally understandable.  All in all, the kids did great.  Daddy had lots of love and even a sign waiting for us when we got home!!!

We missed you too, Daddy!