April 30, 2010

Breath of Fresh Air

"Nature study, is simple, truthful observations that may, like beads on a string, be threaded upon understanding and thus held together as a logical and harmonious whole."

"Nature study cultivates the powers of accurate observation and build up understanding within the child."
What nature study gives to childern
Practical and helpful knowledge about his world.
He becomes Familiar with natures ways and forces
Cultivates imagination
Fosters a regard for what is true and the power to express it
All things seem possible in nature
nature study aides in both discernment and in expression of things as they are.
Cultivates a love of beautiful things; it brings to him early a perception of color, form, music.
Natures laws are not evaded. A knowledge of thus naturally attained pf he immutability of natures must and shall not is in itself a moral education
Outdoor life takes the child a field and keeps him in the open air, which is not only helps him physically and occupies his mind with sane subjects, but keeps him out of mischief
But more than all nature study gives a child a sense of companionship with life out doors and an abiding love for nature.
Let this be the teacher’s criterion for judging her work.
"And he wandered away and away, with Nature the dear old nurse
Who sang to him night and day, the rhymes of the universe.
And when the way seemed long, and his heart began to fail
She sang a more wonderful song, or told a more wonderful tale."
- Longfellow

"Out in God’s beautiful world there is everything waiting to heal lacerated nerves, to strengthen tired muscles, to please and content the soul that is torn to shreds with duty and care. To the teacher who turns to nature’s healing nature study in the classroom is not trouble; it is sweet, fresh breath of air blown across the classroom. She who opens her eyes and her heart nature-ward even once a week finds nature study a delight and an abiding joy! She finds companionship with her children, and without planning or going on far voyage, she has found health and strength."     -Anna Comstock (all quotes)

Ideas for this post from the Handbook of Nature Study first Chapter.

April 28, 2010

God's Truth Applied to My Day

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Phil 4:13
(I am going to accomplish terrific things today.)

My God shall supply all my needs according to His riches in glory. Phil 4:19
(I will have everything I need today, and forever.)
God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and of a sound mind. 2Tim 1:7
(I have a great mind, I am full of love, and I am immune from fear.)
Nothing can separate me from the love of God. Romans 8:29
(God will be with me in every minute of this day, and He really loves me.)
He who began a good work in me will complete it. Philippians 1:6
(I am going to end up just fine, because God Himself is doing it.)
It is God who works in me to will and to do His good pleasure. Philippians 2:13
(God will bring me to every decision, and to every obedience that I need.)
The Lord is the strength of my life. Psalm 27:1
(There is nothing I cannot accomplish.)
Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world. I John 4:4
(The devil has no power over me whatsoever.)
God always causes me to triumph in Christ Jesus. 2 Corinthians 2:14
(I am going to succeed in everything I take on today.)
When I lack wisdom, I can ask of God, who gives to me freely. James 1:5
(I will understand everything I need to know, and I will know what to think about everything before me.)
After all, I have the mind of Christ. I Corinthians 2:16
By His stripes I am healed Isaiah 53:5
Jesus Himself took my infirmities and bore my sicknesses. Matthew 8:17
(I am going to be really strong and healthy today.)
I can cast all my cares upon Him because He cares for me. ( Peter 5:7
(Jesus Himself will take care of everything that could worry me.)
Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17
(Nothing can hold me in bondage today.)
There is no condemnation to me, because I am in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1
(I am totally accepted by God, totally forgiven, totally cleansed, totally loved, and I will be totally blessed today.)

It’s going to be a Great Day !!!!!!

April 26, 2010

More Math Fun...Three In a Row!

One of the challenges we have in our homeschool is how to include two four year old twin brothers in the mix of activities and lessons we do each day. This math game is great for all three. Max by helping his brothers learn to count up the total on each dice gets some more practice in addition and the Zak and T.J. are getting exposed to adding numbers, and number recognition.
Here is how we play this game. Each player takes a turn rolling the two dice. The player then adds up the total of both dice and covers that number on the playing board. The first player to get three markers in a row is the winner!! The fun part is learning how to strategize and block other players from making their three in a row. The idea and advanced versions of this game can be found in this great little e-book called Math Facts Fun by Catherine Jamie and Cheryl Holle. There are eight different levels, the game you see above is level 2. I adjusted the game board found in the e-book by using pieces from Colors shapes and numbers Oh My! e-book, so that all four of us could play together.

"Math must be practiced to be remembered. Practice takes time, and patience, and can wear on both the teachers and the students! But games take practice to another dimension." -Catherine Jamie

Black Out!

This game is for addition and subtraction facts 1-12 . It is from the Addition and Subtraction Basic facts games lapbook, which we purchased for half price on a sale at Knowledge Box Central. I put each of the games from this lap book in it's own file folder, for easier play and use. To play we use two dice; the dice are rolled and either added or subtracted depending on which game board you want to use. The answer is then covered with a button. The first player to cover all his numbers "blacks out" the board and is the winner.  

April 23, 2010

Their Potential is Worth It!

This morning the boys found my bag of extra plastic bags I keep on the door knob in the kitchen. Max had an old sock with him and the twins were hunting around for something like it. They had some idea in mind and I was grinning and waiting to see what it was. Soon I overheard Max asking my husband to tie the sock onto the handles of the plastic bag. Then it was soon clear....they were making parachutes!! They played with them for hours outside.
It reminded me of the article I read recently at simple kids by Joshua Becker. He did a wonderful job listing the benefits of providing your kids with LESS toys. I can hear you gasping... "what less toys!"....but take a look at this list of benefits your kids will recieve.
1. kids learn to be more creative. too many toys prevent kids from fully developing their gift of imagination. two german public health workers (strick and schuster) conducted an experiment in which they convinced a kindergarten classroom to remove all of their toys for three months. although boredom set in during the initial stages of the experiment, the children soon began to use their basic surroundings to invent games and use imagination in their playing.

2. kids develop longer attention spans. when too many toys are introduced into a child’s life, their attention span will begin to suffer. a child will rarely learn to fully appreciate the toy in front of them when there are countless options still remaining on the shelf behind them.
3. kids establish better social skills. children with fewer toys learn how to develop interpersonal relationships with other kids and adults. they learn the give and take of a good conversation. and studies have attributed childhood friendships to a greater chance of success academically and in social situations during adulthood.
4. kids learn to take greater care of things. when kids have too many toys, they will naturally take less care of them. they will not learn to value them if there is always a replacement ready at hand. if you have a child who is constantly damaging their toys, just take a bunch away. he will quickly learn.
5. kids develop a greater love for reading, writing, and art. fewer toys allows your children to love books, music, coloring, and painting. and a love for art will help them better appreciate beauty, emotion, and communication in their world.
6. kids become more resourceful. in education, students aren’t just given the answer to a problem; they are given the tools to find the answer. in entertainment and play, the same principle can be applied. fewer toys causes children to become resourceful by solving problems with only the materials at hand. and resourcefulness is a gift with unlimited potential.
7. kids argue with each other less. this may seem counter-intuitive. many parents believe that more toys will result in less fighting because there are more options available. however, the opposite is true far too often. siblings argue about toys. and every time we introduce a new toy into the relationship, we give them another reason to establish their “territory” among the others. on the other hand, siblings with fewer toys are forced to share, collaborate, and work together.
8. kids learn perseverance. children who have too many toys give up too quickly. if they have a toy that they can’t figure out, it will quickly be discarded for the sake of a different, easier one. kids with fewer toys learn perseverance, patience, and determination.
9. kids become less selfish. kids who get everything they want believe they can have everything they want. this attitude will quickly lead to an unhealthy (and unbecoming) lifestyle.
10. kids experience more of nature. children who do not have a basement full of toys are more apt to play outside and develop a deep appreciation for nature. they are also more likely to be involved in physical exercise which results in healthier and happier bodies.
11. kids learn to find satisfaction outside of the toy store. true joy and contentment will never be found in the aisles of a toy store. kids who have been raised to think the answer to their desires can be bought with money have believed the same lie as their parents. instead, children need encouragement to live counter-cultural lives finding joy in things that truly last.
12. kids live in a cleaner, tidier home. if you have children, you know that toy clutter can quickly take over an entire home. fewer toys results in a less-cluttered, cleaner, healthier home.

We have been doing this since we had kids and the benefits are all reality. One more benefit to add is that when given gifts by others, our boys are very grateful and it really pleases the one who gave a gift to them. This makes mom and dad very proud :) We also have been known to take the toys the boys have, sort them and put half of them away for a future date. Then we pull out toys we put away from before and it keeps the selection fresh and inspires new creativity and imagination. My brillant husband keeps all the broken toys...these as he suspected are the favorites.
I am a gift giver. I will spend oodles of time and effort making or looking for just the right thing, adding a card to go along or flowers to make it special.I can often be quite elaborate. AND..... I love toys. There are so many really fun and educational toys out there. So it was very natural for me to want to show my kids how much I loved them (lots!) by getting them the best toys! My husband though being wiser and wired a bit differently helped me to see that love can be shown in allot of ways other than buying lots of cool toys. He set a good habit in our house from the beginning tolive with less and I have stuck to it. When the boys were babies, crawling and toddling around we provided old conatiners of every shape and size. Ones with screw tops, squeeze bottles, small, large, ones that fit inside each other. We provied old boxes, bottle caps of different colors, all sorts of junk and stuff, but clean and safe junk. The boys had a ball!
Now that they are older we still have kept to the intential idea of providing them with less. One bike, three boys...they learn how to set up a rota and take turns. It is fun to see them work out how to solve the problem. You must be ready though for some fighting and arguing, some attempts to steal and lie. But this is all real life lessons. We love that they have the oppertunity to work out these things, learn the skills to manage it and in a safe and loving environment.

April 22, 2010

Olive oil Bread

I learned to make bread from my mom; she got us all started. My dad makes bread, my brother makes bread....I come from a bread loving, bread making family. So now that I am married and homeschooling I did not want to lose this precious commodity because of the time it takes to make fresh baked bread. My husband did not want to live without it either :) SO...I tried a few recipes and found one that is both versatile and quick and very tasty. Oh did I mention it is healthy too? The basic recipe is from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook its called Olive Oil Bread because there is 3/4 cup of delicious olive oil in one loaf.

The basic recipe is wonderful all by itself, but we tried jazzing it up a bit by tossing in chopped black olives, or grated gorgonzola cheese. Both are wonderful. In the last few years though I have been more aware how white flour has it's real dangers especially for a bread loving eatin' family. So I have adjusted the basic recipe to contain whole wheat flour (sprouted if available) and a little flax flour for fiber. That is what gives this loaf the darker color. I also add sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. The revised recipe is below if you would like to try it.

Hearty Healthy Olive Oil Bread
In a Big Bowl Combine:
1T yeast
2 cups water
3/4 cups olive oil
1 T salt
4 1/2 cups sprouted whole wheat
1/2 cup flax flour
1/8 sun flower seeds
1/8 pumpkin seeds
Knead and let rise for about 1 hour. Shape into a round ball, place onto a pan sprinkled with cornmeal or semolina and bake for 30-40 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

The best part about this bread is the short time I spend to make it. In the morning after breakfast dishes are cleaned up, I simply mix together the recipe, knead it, and let it rise in a warm place with a moist towel over it while I play games with..oh, I mean teach the kids. When we break for snack time I punch it down, shape it and put it in the oven to bake. I take the timer with me (this is very important) while I finish up with the boys lessons. Then out comes hot delicious bread that fills even the emptiest tummies of three little boys and their dad. I sometimes get a few slices myself :) Pass the butter please...

Subtraction Action

This game is for subtraction practice facts 0-20, we call it subtraction action. It is from a Addtion and Subtraction Basic fatcs game lapbook. I purchased it from Knowledge Box Central for $6.50 which is a sale price.

Each robot takes a card, solves the subtraction problem. The answer is the number of spaces that he can move forward. First robot to the end wins. The subtraction facts cards were supplied and the rules, I adjusted the spaces and used the robot men from other games.
Happy Subtracting!

Follow the Bananas

This game is for addition and subtraction practice, facts 0 to 5. You can change the dice numbers and symbols to do higher numbers or to practice multiplication or divsion. To play, roll the dice and work the problem which is rolled. The answer is how many spaces you can go forward. The first Monkey to the Banana tree gets to eat all the bananas.
I found the game template at the sunflower school house, but their website has been totally remade and I could not find a link to this. It was Free! The Dice can be made here. select the blank option and write your own numbers and math symbols on the sides. In the future I would make the dice more solid....maybe wooden blocks? The monkey men were made by printing the cover onto card stock and cutting out the monkey.

Stop and Go!!

This is game 2 using words from step 2 from our Blend Phonics book. We call it Stop and Go! Step 2 is about consonant blends and diagraphs.
This game is on the backside of the previous game Galaxy Blends. Save paper and storage space :) We are using the same adorable little Robots from before. The game is very simple. Roll the dice, move your robot the number rolled, read the word that you land on. If you land on red you lose a turn if you land on green you get to roll again. The words to make the spaces can be found here at Under supplements #9 (Blend Phonics decoding cards). First player to get to end wins.

April 21, 2010

Fly the Galaxy Via Consonant Blends and Diagraphs

I have gone a little crazy lately making games…this is more fun than playing them! This is Game 1 using words from step 2 of the Blend Phonics Book. Step 2 focuses on reading words with consonant blends and diagraphs. To get the basic frame work of this game I basically stole the Parcheesi rules and board set up and added a few rules that would ensure the players read the words. I love the little robot men!! They can be found here. The very last selection has blank robots which you can use for anything. This site has file folder games for FREE for math and language etc. They also have FREE lapbooks.

The word spaces are from here Scroll down to number 9. (blend phonics decoding cards). To get the cards to this size when printing I selected to print multiples on a page and selected the appropriate size, maybe you would like to make them smaller and fit more words on the board. I pasted the words around the board which is a large black piece of drawing paper. It is just what I had on hand. The real Parcheesi board is square and that may be a nicer way to do the game.

To Play: Each player places four robot men in the start box called the “satellite” according to color. Red in the Red “satellite”, Green in the Green “satellite” etc. Each player has a cup and two dice.(spaceship fuel)
How to Win: The first player to get all four robot men around the board “galaxy” and home to the “Space station” wins the game.
1. The Player which rolls the lowest number may fly first. Each player throws the dice in succession until five or a combination which equals five is rolled. The player rolling this may then enter one man into the “galaxy”. Once the five has been used the numbers remaining may be used to further that piece or others which are in the galaxy.
2. Each time a five or it’s equivalent is rolled the player is obliged to enter a robot man from the colored satellite to the galaxy via the launching pad (the space outside the satellite). Provided he can read the word that is on the launching pad.
3. Each space where a player lands he may remain there only under the condition he can read the word that is there.
4. After the player has one robot man entered, all throws of the dice count for his robot man or men out in the galaxy. He must fly in a counter clockwise direction from where he entered the galaxy until he brings all four robot men around to the space station entrance tunnel which coordinates with his color and gets back to the space station. Once a man is in the entrance tunnel he can not be bumped off and sent back to his satellite. He may however not advance unless he can read all the words in the entrance tunnel on his way Home to the space station.
5. When a man rests on any red square along the path he can not be taken. This space is called “rest stop” Any other space is fair game. The player knocked off goes back to his starting satellite.
6. Only two robot men of the same color may rest at the “rest stop.” When this occurs it is called a blockade and can not be passed.
7. If the red space is someone’s entering space then if another player is “resting” there they can be knocked off. However if two robot men of the same color are creating a blockaded then the player wishing to use the launching pad must wait.

Belated Easter Post

I love to take the natural alternative if there is one. This year when I thought about dying Easter eggs I thought of this post It’s about using things in your kitchen to dye eggs and I was eager to try it. So I pulled together all the natural stuff I had; spinach, coffee, beets, and turmeric. I had high hopes to brew up some fantastic dye and begin creating beautiful eggs. Unfortunately I was not as successful as the post, my beet solution was weak so I added mulberries and got a very nice dark grey blue black color. Cool but not really what we had in mind for Easter. The spinach was so yellowy brown we could not see any green in it. The coffee was a lovely shade of brown but very uneven and splotchy. I could go on but you get the idea. After missing our aim by such a long shot I was a bit discouraged, but I did learned a bit more about just how to go about this and I will be better prepared next time. In the meantime, we salvaged the badly dyed eggs and created these adorable little cheeps in a nest.  For a complete tutorial on egg dying look here

 Then I put some eggs into the mulberry and beet solution, and the coffee and left them for a few hours just to see what would happen. The colors came out much deeper and nicer. But they were still splotchy. I don’t have access to dye so I decided to make a few egg armatures out of paper clips and Styrofoam and let the boys paint the remaining white ones and the naturally dye ones with gauche paint. They did the undercoats and I added details.

The end result was supposed to be a colorful egg tree according to the German Easter Tradition, however our Easter breakfast was planned for outside in the yard at our good friends house and the wind was so strong our egg tree would have been toppled before we could set it up. We opted to hang the eggs on a near by scrub tree so the kids could help hang them. The kids loved joining in to help! After we ate BUT before I could get a picture the eggs had all been snatched down and tucked into eager little hands. This Easter I had to just let it all go!

Rain Forest Lapbook

This first year for science I aimed to make our way around the globe to visit each biome. To introduce to the boys the globe, different climates, animals, plants, insects etc that live there. Biomes is a wonderful way to keep it organized. We began with the desert because it fit in so well with our Ancient World history studies of Mesopotamia and Egypt. We then trotted on over to visit the Rain forests of the World and currently we are looking at the Arctic and Antarctic regions. Following that we will look at Coral reefs and the seashore and finally the Mountains. I used The One Small Square series and DK 24 Hour series and Dover coloring books. All Three are really good for introducing nature study concepts, tools for exploration, how to do something with your findings, basic facts about the topic and fabulous pictures. These are the three for the Rain forest.

I copy the coloring book and leave it out for the boys to color whenever they feel inclined. They have oooodles of pages from our previous coloring books as well, so it is often a good reveiw. They cut them up, color them and paste them on their walls and make little books with them. And I can relax because I still have the original copy for future use. :)
I also incorporat a lap book or two, activities and art. Lapbooks are a fun way to narrate the books we read, and a fancy way to do a nature journal. Homeschool Share is a great place to start. I look up the topic I am interested in, then download all the pieces that look interesting. Then I Google the topic tag it with "lapbook free" and see what else I can find. In the end it is an eclectic mish mash of really cool things. Then with all that merging together sometimes we even get a good idea ourselves.

Front Cover
 Opened up to view the very back, where there is a pocket made simply by folding a piece of colored paper not quite in half and then glued on the sides. The umbrella and many of the animal pictures are from Jan brett's collection of free images from her books. I typed up one fact about each animal and then we played a game called guess who? I read the fact and they found the animal it belonged to and glued the fact on the back. Their favorite animals we put on the back of the front flaps and the rest in the pocket.

When you open the front flaps this is what you see.
Fact book about Emerald Boas. The snake can lift up. The boys like to pretend the snake eats the other animals in the lapbook by striking at them. We used this template for the snake shape, and then invented the rest.
The facts
The layers of the rain forest. This was our original idea. We took this wonderful layered book from the homeschool share lapbook, then I copied the small animal pictures in the back of the One Small Square book and then we reviewed what animal, plant or bird lived in which story.
I also look around for story books related to the biome to broaden the Topic. When we get more into the Arctic biome we will read Mr. Pooper’s Penguins. When we did a Meerkat lap book we read Meerkat mail. And with the Rain forest lapbook we read Under the Umbrella by Jan Brett and the Great Kapook tree by Lynne Cherry

April 20, 2010

Tigers...the Rousseau Way

I finally got on the ball and began to organize our rainforest lapbooks. We are 1/3 through the second book about this topic and we haven't done a thing with it yet. I always begin with the covers and this time I decided to have the boys do their own art work for it. On this website I found a lesson on drawing a tiger based upon art work by one of the fauve artists Rousseau. Much of his work contains jungle and rainforest themes. I showed them how to do the basics in the drawing in pencil first……. then I let them go wild with the colors. Zak was really upset when he saw how we were all coloring realistically and he had begun to color his tiger bright light blue. I thought it was great but he just would not accept his drawing. He wanted to do another one, but I thought his idea was really good and encouraged him to keep on with it. He just wouldn’t have it. In the end I drew him another pencil drawing to color how he wanted to. I then picked up his discarded one and began to show him how cool his idea could be. I added red and yellow and colored like a true fauve artist using unreal colors and bright ones. In the end he loved it!!! We all loved it. I think it turned out best of them all, but they are all unique and cool. take a look....

                                                    Zak’s Fauve Tiger!
                                         Max’s Tiger……….grrrrrrrowl.

  T.J.’s Tiger


We have been putting together our lapbooks on the rainforest and so much of the info is about how the animals and plants and birds and insects camouflage to be safe from predators. Pretty cool. though we don't live in the rain forest we found an animal in our back yard that camouflages to hide itself too.

This little guy was about 10 inches long head to tail. Though they move slow we had a very hard time getting this photo. T.J. eventually caught him and paraded him around the yard on a stick until he missed a crack in the patio and fell headlong onto the pavement. OUCH!! the Chameleon got away. I bet he (the chameleon) was relieved. :)

Cheerfulness and Joy

"There are three things that you need to be successful in parenting…Cheerfulness, authoritative commands, and consistency."

The majority of the success however lies in cheerfulness. You may have heard it said that a smile is half-way to happiness….cheerfulness is over half way to getting on well you’re your kids.
“Everyone is attracted to Joy. Children will do anything for the one who enjoys them.”

I am not at all the ideal mother. I lose patience with my kids and say things in anger sometimes……… but one thing strengthens my heart like none other and that is when I know God is pleased with me (because of Jesus blood that covers ALL my sin) and I am enjoyed for who I am. Even when I am messy. This love and acceptence is my strength.
"The Joy of the Lord is my strength," could be re-phrased....His joy when he looks at me, gives me strength. After I have recieved this acceptence, I am able to give it to my kids. I can look at them with joy, not with judgement or disapproval. They then have the strength to fail, to try, to be themselves. All of this because we are free from our sin and accepted by God. Because He has a purpose for our lives and a hope for eternity. Because He enjoys us!

“But know that cheerfulness will cover a multitude of deficiencies.”

“I say again, there is one indispensable quality you must possess—cheerfulness. It is the easiest thing to come by and does not require maturity or wisdom. The Bible word is “joy”. It takes a lifetime to become a library of wisdom, but God can make you completely joyful in an instant. Joy/cheerfulness is the byproduct of thankfulness and love.”
“Training without joy is tyranny.”
All quotes were extracted from this article.

April 19, 2010

Storm the Castle!

When I thought about how to go about math in our little home school I was sure I wanted it to be fun. We have a math curriculum, copy work pages, flash cards, manipulatives but by far we have found that playing games is the funnest way to get those facts into our heads. AND….so much more. Ruth Beechick says….“Much arithmetic is learned as children count moves, compute scores, take turns. But that is only a fraction of the benefits. Numerous thinking skills are developed as children learn to operate within various kinds of rules, plan strategy, and so forth. Sportsmanship and other social skills gradually develop. When children learn that rules don’t have to be ridged, they can develop new twists and live by their own agreed upon rules.” From An Easy Start in Arithmetic pg 12

Storm the Castle is one of the inventive games that Ellen Mc Henry has created. I was alerted to her basement workshop by homeschool freebie of the day. She has a wonderful elementary math curricula called Professor Pig’s Magic Math. It is charming…very inventive and fun!
My six year old has loved storming the Castle. To play each player sets up a soldier at the start spot on the field. Then each player in turn takes a card and the difference between the two cards tells how many spaces you may advance towards the castle. After each move the catapult guy gets to role a letter and a number dice which gives coordinates to where his rock will land. (it is fun to use real rocks) If the rock lands on the space where the soldier is, he is "hit". To be healed he must answer correctly a word problem from the stack by the castle. If he is incorrect he must retreat 5 spaces. Once the soldier has made it across the field and is advancing on the draw bridge the catapult guy is disabled because of short range difficulties. To advance towards the castle across the wooden bridge 5 cards are drawn. The soldier may use any or all of the five cards to make the number on the space on the bridge. Repeat this until the soldier is across the bridge. Once he crosses the bridge he has stormed the castle and there is a treasure box inside filled with treasury sorts of things. Last time we played, I adjusted the game a bit so Zak and Tj could join us and I played the catapult guy. I put a small box of face painting crayons in the treasure box. Once they stormed the Castle and looted it, I painted their faces and they painted their bare tummies.

April 18, 2010


Wow! We enjoyed the most amazing nature hike Today. We have not been out hiking for about a month due to sickness, but today it was a beautiful morning with clear sunshine and cool breezes blowing and we were all healthy. Because of the recent rain I thought we may find frogs in the little pond not far from our house. We took the steep but short route up the street which was very quiet this morning aiming to get to the frogs at the end of the hike so we wouldn't have to carry them all the way. (it was a 2 1/2 hour adventure).
We bought water on the way and put it in our back packs and then turned off the main road to a side road with a wide field off to the right. There we hunted for grasshopper to feed the chickens and I took allot of pictures of cactus in winter. Then we hiked up through a little village and out onto the new road above a very picturesque little valley. We opted to take the stairs down to the valley instead of the road and do some bouldering over large rocks. The boys are at just the right age for us all to enjoy the hiking. I did very little helping in climbing and they were so familiar with the area they just tackled it and were up one rock and down the other, oooohhing and ahhhing at the things they found.
Once on more flat land we stopped to pick “sider” berries a small apple like fruit the size of a pea. The boys hunted for the desired fruit and I took a rest on a rock in the shade looking out over the valley and enjoyed the quiet gentle breeze.
Soon, we started to head home and Max saw a small pile of fresh cow dung and several dung beetles actively making it into balls and rolling the balls away. We had done a lap book on the dung beetle in the fall but had never in real life seen them at work! It was so fascinating.

We stayed a long while here just admiring their great work, and remembering the things we had studied. What a great moment! The lapbooks we made we found free here.

After taking a long look at the dung beetles rolling their dung balls, we headed down to the pond and looked for frogs. There were no frogs today but as we lingered a while throwing rocks in the water and hunting for large grasshoppers we were interrupted by a herd of goats coming to get a drink of water. Some little girls came over and were talking with us when I noticed the shepherd was fiddling around with the hind end of one of the goats. Turns out the mother was giving BIRTH!!!! We rushed over to watch and were able to witness the whole thing.

The shepherd was in a bit of a hurry because the birth had happened as they were out grazing along the road. He simply helped the mama clean off the little fellow, and picked it up said good-bye and went on home. It was sooooo amazing!!! I was stunned it happened just there along the road where we were walking! We were so excited the last bit home was not torturous as usual but we all raced home to tell Dad what we had seen!!!
It was a great day!