Sunday, June 28, 2009

camping in

Our delightful (um, not so much...) weather canceled a planned camp out with my brother's and sister's families this weekend. So we decided to "camp in" here at home instead!

We toasted marshmallows over the fire, and made s'mores....

...we told stories. I told an Enki Nature story called "Old Mother Raincloud" (seemed appropriate...), J told a true story about a walk in the woods, and Zoo Boy told a "scary story". (Given my kids' mild natures, I assure you, it was not particularly scary.)

We sang songs. My kids love it when I pull out my guitar (something I don't do nearly as often as I should). So does The Map Man. (Again, should remember to get that guitar out more often....)

Then we fell asleep, in sleeping bags...

...and in tents....

Saturday, June 27, 2009

rainy days

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, it's been raining here on and off (but mostly ON) for 2 1/2 weeks. We're all feeling very mossy at this point. But we've managed to keep ourselves having fun during this past week, our first week of Summer Break, a week I declared as "Super Fun Summer Kick-Off Week"!

We went to a place called Jump Zone with some of our buddies - basically a big warehouse full of bouncy houses. Whoa. BIG hit with the kids! And a place where we're bound to spend some serious time this coming winter now that we've discovered it!

Book stores -- always a good spot for hanging out in icky weather -- here J and his friend O check out a selection.

New games -- I unveiled "Hyper-Jump" (a close relative to "Hyper-Dash", another of my rainy-day favorites!), I highly recommend it if you really want your kids worked up into a lather of sweat! For quieter times, I unwrapped "Apples to Apples Junior", another huge hit with my Language Arts-loving children.

Math -- the boys have been making up their own oral and written math games to play, and challenging themselves by adding and subtracting longer and longer numbers.

Drawing -- lots of artwork going on. J's favorite current topic is -- yes, it's true -- DNA. Nothin' he likes better at the moment than a good double helix....

Old Standbys -- a Pokemon card game in progress.

Movies -- with popcorn of course. We pulled out some of their perennial favorites this week -- Lilo and Stitch, Monsters Inc., and Kung Fu Panda.

Bowling -- kids bowl free all summer!

A return trip to Kid City in Middletown, CT. We were there on Monday (look two posts ago!), and we were back with another set of friends on Friday (that's R and Little J doing the balancing act on the see saw this time). The drive home featured being stuck on a flooded highway in a hail storm for a couple of hours with a tornado passing just (and I do mean JUST) to the north of us, dropping trees across the highway. Fun is.

Hangin' out with the critters. Here Zoo Boy snuggles with his beloved cat, Candy Corn.

Friday, June 26, 2009

park critters

We took advantage of the only non-rainy day of the week (well, of the past 2 1/2 weeks!) to visit our favorite park with the boys' friend B. There was no sun to be had, but at least we didn't get wet. Some of the native wildlife seemed to appreciate that too:

Like this baby Eastern Cottontail Rabbit, who seemed to have absolutely no fear of us.

And this Eastern Painted turtle, who was trying to sun himself (despite the lack of sun -- delusional turtle!).

And this Green Frog, who probably doesn't care whether or not it rains (although the fly hunting has GOT to be better on a non-rainy day, don't you think?).

My favorite critter, the J-peeper, in his natural habitat....

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

fun galore

WOW! but we had fun yesterday, when we met fellow homeschoolers E (sitting on the floor) and R (on the right) and their moms at the KidCity children's museum in Middletown, CT. It was our first visit there, but I can guarantee it won't be our last -- J has declared it to be his favorite place in the entire world.

E performs a balancing act while Zoo Boy and J see-saw on a mossy log.

J slides down a mountain in Tibet.

Zoo Boy inserts glowing crystals into the control panel of a space ship.

J and E (one of E and R's moms) check out the mirrored ceiling in a futuristic room.

Zoo Boy and R serve up a tray of fresh steam, straight from the spigot.

J experiments with pneumatic tubes (mysteriously hidden inside and under pink pigs -- I don't know why, but I assure you, those pigs were the hit of the day, both with the kids and with us moms!).

Zoo Boy makes a selection on the jukebox in the car-hop diner.

Zoo Boy's favorite room -- the Fishery. He and E are working the fish elevator while J helps some younger kids load fish onto the conveyor belt.

Zoo Boy works a pulley system to bring fish to and from an igloo below him.

J checks out the underwater toddler caves.

Zoo Boy dresses up as an evil wizard for a show, while a little girl dresses as Snow White.

Prince J and his pretty-in-pink princess.

The boys in the orchard/farm room.

More fun with pigs rounded out our day. I'm not sure I've ever seen the kids laughing as hard as they were stuffing yellow balls into pigs and trying to shoot them out other pigs via the air pressure....

None of us can wait to go back down for more fun!

Monday, June 22, 2009

tranquil clip of the week: ducklings

I'm starting a new tradition for the summer months of relaxation, when I'm bound to be a bit short on posting material anyway -- I'm calling it my "tranquil clip of the week", and it will be a short video of something that I find relaxing and would like to share. For my first subject, I have chosen our newly hatched ducklings (all 24 of them), since watching them is my current favorite relaxation activity. I apologize about the shakiness at the beginning, I didn't realize the camera was already rolling! I promise, my clips will get technically better as the weeks go on.


Saturday, June 20, 2009

new ram

Last post for today, I promise! (Don't miss my other three posts, immediately below this one.)

Just wanted to introduce you all (you know, friends, family, anonymous people living vicariously through me...) to our latest addition (well, if you don't count the zillions of hatching ducklings...). This is our new ram, Carlisle, and he's a Perendale sheep. (Go ahead, don't be scared, click on that link, it'll take you to the Perendale Sheep Society of New Zealand -- expand your horizons!)

He's just a little dude now, but he's the gals' new boyfriend and I'm sure will have no problem growing into that role. I know, he's handsome. Try not to swoon!

Ducks R Us

Ok, I may be going a little overboard with the duck thing. (I know, I can hear the gasps of shock....). As I just mentioned in a post a minute ago, we are yet again hatching out ducklings. Here's what our basement looks like at the moment (there's still another half dozen in the incubator in various stages of drying out, plus a few more eggs that may or may not hatch):

These new ones are purebred Magpie ducks. As adults they will be white where their fluffy yellow down is, and either black or gray (it's called blue, actually) where their darker colored down is.

In case you were wondering, here's what the last batch (of Indian Runner/Magpie crosses) look like now:

Handsome bunch of young ducks, no?? I brought them home today after a several week stay with the friend (enabler) who gave me (supplies me with) the eggs.

Oh, and those adorable little Call Duck ducklings the kids were playing with a few weeks ago? Here's what they are looking like now:

We (well, I...) like them so much, we (I) went ahead and bought their parents:

Pretty cute, even as adults!
And here's what started it all, our little flock of purebred Indian Runners:

Problem? Who? Me????


Join my boys as they watched our 2nd (and probably last for this year) batch of duck eggs hatching today.

It doesn't take them long to fluff up!

junior zookeepers

On Thursday afternoon the boys took part in a museum class called "Junior Zookeepers". They made special "behind the scenes" passes to allow them access to the animal care areas at the museum, and they took part in all aspects of daily animal care.

Ms Rachael, their teacher, introduces the class to "Scooby", a fan-tailed pigeon who resides at the museum. The kids blew bubbles for him as part of his "enrichment" (the things the museum staff does for the animals to keep them from getting bored).

The class participants prepared snacks for the various museum critters.

Zoo Boy attentively fills out his Animal Attendant Log for Scooby, indicating his health status, his behavior, what food he was fed, and what type of enrichment was provided for him.

J's sheet for a chinchilla named "Hazel".

Needless to say, this class was right up my guys' alley, and was a huge hit with them. They talked about it for the rest of the night.