Archive for the ‘Nature Study’ Category

Mission Trails today. #latergram


teensy snail





And then we went back in time.

caterpillar dude

The marine layer is slowly moving out.



a shellful of hermit crabs


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This year Margie’s birthday fell on Easter which made it difficult to invite friends over since most of them celebrate the holiday. (We typically don’t, although we do celebrate Ostara on the Vernal Equinox and they are pretty much the same, minus the bits about Jesus.) So we decided to go camping. Well, we tried anyway. see?

the monster emerges

Elliott found this Jerusalem Cricket under a rock.

jerusalem cricket

And I saw this gorgeous Bluebird of Happiness flitting around.

Happy Thing: The Bluebird of Happiness

But, it was cold. And I mean DAMN COLD. It wasn’t even 9pm yet and we were bundled in several layers of clothes, sleeping bags and blankets; our fingers and toes aching from the cold; watching our breath while INSIDE the tent. According to my phone (which I was having trouble using due to the cold – true story) it was 51 degrees and would drop to 42 but the strong, icy wind made it feel much lower than that. If it had been just me, I’d probably have stayed, but I was afraid the kids, who sleep deeper than adults, would kick off their blankets in the night and end up freezing their fingers or toes. And that would make for a really terrible birthday. We just don’t have the gear for those temperatures and I didn’t expect them so late in April in San Diego (then again, we have had a colder than usual winter). So we came home that night.

In the morning we had our planned breakfast of bacon and bagels and then we opened presents around the kitchen table.




Then we went to Balboa Park, where we got to ride the carousel to music from Star Wars.



playing with her DSi in the park

lilies and a reflection of the botannical building

birthday girl

In the afternoon, the neighbors invited the kids to hunt for eggs so Margie took her loot and decorated her own cake.


And then she and her friends sat around playing with their Nintendo DSi’s. A good birthday. ♥

three girls and three DSi's

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LA: Reading, writing, spelling
SS: Local history, missions
Sci: Tidepools (crabs, fish, anemones, kelp), beach cleanup
Math: Multiples of 4
PE: Track & Field, park day, swimming, beach cleanup

LA: Reading, writing, spelling
SS: manners
Sci: Tidepools (crabs, fish, anemones, kelp), beach cleanup
Math: Numbers to 100, time & calendars
PE: Track & Field, park day, swimming, beach cleanup

On Friday we joined out Camp Fire club at the beach to clean it up a bit. I’ve always wanted to do beach cleanups, although I never have and it was really pretty fun. We talked about why we clean up the beach (to keep other people safe, to keep sea animals safe, to keep things that don’t bio degrade out of natural places) and how to keep safe while doing it (wear gloves, don’t touch needles, poo or dead animals). After we were done, my family wandered over to the other side of the pier and checked out the tide pools. They were positively FILLED with crabs both hermit and shore. The shore crabs made a chorus of clicking sounds and would scuttle down walls or around pools until they found a crevice large enough to fit in. The hermit crabs didn’t pinch and were easier to catch. Some of them were without shells, and others were wearing different kinds of shells, in various creative ways. The picture below is of one who’d used a hole in the side of a shell and then TOOK IT OFF in my hand. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to be offended at that or flattered.

this guy got naked in my hand

Here’s one of the shore crabs:

(Sorry for picture quality, I only had my cell phone since I figured beach cleanups weren’t the place for a DSLR.)

Instamatic pics from the day:

Happy Thing: An Afternoon at the Tidepools with my Goofy Kids

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Snow Day!

It’s winter in San Diego! And the lovely thing about winter in San Diego is that we can go visit it for a few hours and not have to shovel anything! Perfect. We drove up on Presidents’ Day and I wasn’t sure how crowded it would be, but it was perfect. We visited the same camp ground we went to last October and it was the perfect place. Lots of space to play, not too many people in the way. All we need now is a sled.

elliott and his skeleton gloves

margie and a giant hunk o' snow

and this is why we love william heise park

my first snowman ever

We saw some tracks in the snow. Mostly human and dog, but some that could have been deer and these, which we think are probably turkey? Either that or ET.

turkey tracks?

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Morning Walk

morning walk

Between illness, busyness, more illness, holidays and more illness it’s been over a month, I think, since we’ve done morning walks in any regular fashion. It felt good to get back to it. This week, we began to see holiday decorations up. We also saw hummingbirds (which I compared to photos of birds from this list and I think they are most likely Anna’s Hummingbirds with variation in head coloring), and discussed the moon’s cycle.

anna's hummingbird?

anna's hummingbird?


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Before I begin, I just wanted to make a note that we have a new family in our club now. My friend’s two boys (and someday her baby daughter) joined us for their first meeting this week. I’m really excited to share this with them!

One of the emblems we are working on this year is called “Accent on Abilities”. Today’s meeting focused on the sense of sight – how we can know things without using our eyes. I threw together a little kit for each kid for this meeting.

bag of things to touch

A paper bag filled with various household items – rice, cotton balls, pieces of sponge, yarn, q-tips and a crayon. I handed out the bags and everyone felt the items with their fingers to understand a little bit about identifying things without eyesight. The kids each created a picture with the items, gluing them on paper.

art time

making artwork to touch

While those dried, I shared something special with the kids. See, I’d wanted to try to find a braille book or at the very least a book about braille to share with them. Only I don’t always plan ahead (at this point Lev told me the story was ALREADY funny – I completely agree). Since Thursday was Veteran’s Day, the libraries were closed and I was a little upset that I would not have a book for them. Meanwhile my kids had been playing at a friends’ house and when I showed up to bring them home, Margie threw a piece of paper at me covered in braille. I love The Universe. I got all excited that I had some braille to show the kids when my friend Kathy offered to let me borrow the actual braillewriter for the meeting. I was beyond excited! So the kids all got to write their names in braille – this meant not only learning what the letters look like, but also which keys to press to make them. The machine is really quite simple and, despite the bit about having to wait in line, the kids seemed to enjoy it.

typing names

looking up letters


Once the meeting was over, the kids all played together and at some point one of them spotted a large bird of prey in a tree. Lev was certain it was a ferruginous hawk, but there was some debate over this until one of the mamas looked it up on her phone and – no real surprise – Lev was right.

ferruginous hawk

It was a lovely meeting. New friends and a perfect coincidence. What more can you ask for?

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Cool video:

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