Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Winter Color: Lost & Found

We headed out on this December day in search of color.  I love a mission, and the boys just love to get down to the river, turn rocks over, search for treasure.
I was astonished as I came over the levy to see this:  an American White Pelican cruising through the river.  He was moving very quickly across, and stayed long enough for me to take some great photos.  I didn't have any idea we'd see pelican here.
We couldn't even see his black wings until he took off.

Look at how his feathers nearly touch the surface of the water as he flies.  He flew back upstream where I saw in the distance a few of his friends.  Absolutely majestic.  It was such a treat for us!

The temperatures weren't awful, but time to zip up!
Found:  treasure!
Found:  a curiosity and longing for adventure
Lost:  the days of golden-brilliant Autumn
Found:  the color, the art of Winter

The nakedness of Winter trees shines a spotlight on the lingering seedpods.

Lost:  boredom of a Winter afternoon
Found:  smiles all around

Oh, how we love our Outdoor Hour!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Preparation for Winter

Linking up with Barb over at the Outdoor Hour....

The boys and I have been getting a kick out of the animal life around our yard.   Squirrely Nutkin digging for seeds in the Hubbard Squash we left for him.  It's on the deck just outside our school room, we get a great view!

 They've emptied all the sunflower heads I dried for them from the Sunflower house.
 This pretty little bird was a flash of color.  I'll try to get a close up next time.  Haven't identified him, yet.

 It's the seeds that make Nutkin so very ready for Winter fat.
 Mourning Doves come to find seed.
 On another day the quail came in droves to scratch like little hens in the frost.  We counted at least 20 quail.  So sweet!

 Juneau sits at the window and watches...wishing....


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Advent Calendar Activities

This year the boys and I have tried out something new.   We have a big, beautiful Advent calendar with doors and "rooms" big enough for 3 pieces of candy.  In the past, I've loaded it up.  This year, I tried something new.  I've loaded the calendar with ideas of fun things to do during the day.
The kids are happy with the new arrangement, and have been very gracious on a busy day if we haven't gotten to the activity.  So far we've done 10 off 12 days.  Not too bad for me....I struggle with being consistant.

These are the activities in our box:

Dec 1- Work together on the Family Christmas Letter for the Christmas Card

Dec 2- Family Air Hockey Championships

Dec 3- Make some Family Movies

Dec 4- Curl up with a snack after dinner & Mr. Grinch
Dec 5-  Build our Own Gingerbread Houses

Dec 6-  bake sugar cookies

Dec 7-invite friends to decorate sugar cookies

Dec 8- It’s a Charlie Brown Christmas!

Dec9- Feed the birds! Pinecone bird feeders.  Make Weather Observations
Dec 10- String popcorn and cranberries: garland for the tree

Dec11- Fetch a Christmas Tree & Decorate

Dec12- Start some Paperwhites and place bets on when they’ll bloom….experiment with them?  Google it!

Dec13- Create Thank You Cards for Christmas using Pine Needle branches and paint

Dec 14- Have Lunch with Dad @ Work & Take a trip to the Post Office

Dec15- Create paper snowflakes….with glitter & hang!

Dec16- Sleep under the Christmas tree tonight!

Dec17- Create Crystal Snowflakes with Borax for ornaments

Dec 18- Go for a Winter Walk and Notebook it!

Dec19-  Gift Wrapping Party!

Dec 20- Popcorn and treats to watch the Polar Express

Dec 21- Split a noodle for Marble Races

Dec22- Make Sopapilla Cheesecakes (Pinterest)

Dec23- Feed the Birds Again!

Dec 24- We Wish You a Merry Christmas!!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Shouldn't I Say Something?

Outside my window...the boys and I are getting a kick out of the Squirrels.  Nutkins are all over the yard, packing gourds up the tree, shelling sunflower seeds right on the deck.  I will post more on this soon.

Oh, and our world has been set in crystal for days.  Freezing fog, so thick it looks like snow in places.  It just does wonders for the mostly bare trees lifting their long arms up to the white!  Amazing!

I am thankful for... all the time in the world.  There are so many days when I just feel the rush, rush of getting things done.  But today I'm remembering that I have enough of everything I need in Christ.  Even enough time. Gifts, vacuuming, parties, post office, bathrooms....they'll all get done.

From the learning rooms... We've taken it easy for the last weeks.  Lots of reading (raced through Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe) and writing...working on the Christmas card (see above) and today we cleared off the school table (SO THANKFUL FOR A SCHOOL TABLE!) and brought out the puzzles! Love this activity!!

Going to continue with Prince Caspian and our Advent reading.

From the kitchen...We have been busy!!  Let me digress a moment and tell you about our Advent Calendar.  This year, rather than stuffing it with candy I planned and typed out 25 activites for each day of December.  This week, within our calendar we assembled gingerbread houses, (Monday) baked sugar cookies, (Tuesday) and decorated said sugar cookies with our little neighbor friends (Wednesday).  Thursday was a day for watching "Charlie Brown's Christmas."

I made both Tuna Noodle Casserole & Taco Soup this week and they both went over quite well.  Success!

I am wearing...jammies.  It's 9:30 Tuesday morning and Christmas break!

I am creating...a plan for the day.  Kicking procrastination in the b-u-t-t day.

I am work on Christmas Cards today.  Maybe I'll even ship off a gift or two!

I am reading...Prince Caspian to the boys.

I am see new birdies in my yard this morning.  Watching, waiting....

I am hearing...that the natives are getting restless

Around the are getting wrapped, my bedroom is a lovely shade of green & has old wooden floors exposed.  Laundry, vacuuming, downstairs bath are on my list today

One of my favorite things...kitten sleeping on me keeping me warm, watching for birdies, a whole day ahead of me.

A few plans (or just one!!) for the rest of the week:  All I can think of is our Annual Jammie-Bedtime-Surprise.  It's scheduled for Friday, little do those boys know.

This is how it goes:  sometime after dinner my husband and I sneak around and turn the clocks an hour ahead.  Well, we have done this in the past, it might not be necessary this year.  Anyhow, at "bedtime" we send the boys off to get ready for bed.  We tuck them in, all as usual.  THEN, I creep downstairs and fix up some yummy snacks.  Ralph heads out to heat up the car.

The next part is so fun.  Sometimes we take bells, sometimes we just hoot and hollar as we go running upstairs and pull the boys out of bed, wrap warm blankets around them and drag them out to the car.  The boys LOVE this part.  (Can you imagine??)

We grab the snacks and drive around town to see all the best light displays in town.  We listen to Christmas music and reminisce Christmas' past.  It's lovely, just lovely.   This is, maybe, my favorite part of Christmas ever!

I can hardly wait!!

Here is picture thought I am sharing...