Archive for the ‘
Outdoor Fun ’ Category
Tuesday, December 10th, 2013
The ice storm that hit our area was incredibly beautiful.
Our house is nestled down in the woods and the trees were so pretty. The kids and I spent a lot of time outside taking pictures:
DD took this picture:
The evergreens looked pretty too:
The holly bushes looked so striking with their bright red berries!!
We had to include this last picture because it looked so crazy that the icicles were forming upward!
Now we’re bracing for snow… 4-5 inches tomorrow! We tend to loose power with most every storm that comes through… but we’re prepared with the wood stove, flash lights and a camping stove for making coffee! (From the picture below you can tell that we put off doing any schoolwork until the end of the day. Too much gallivanting around outside sledding down the icy hill and taking pictures!)
I just wanted to add that the beautiful icy scenery was MUCH better viewed here from the safety of our home. When we were on our way home Sunday afternoon we passed five accidents in twenty minutes along the interstate… and that was with the traffic creeping along at 30-35mph. Most of them were cars/trucks that slid out on the slush/ice, but one car was upside-down on its roof.
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Saturday, July 27th, 2013
I was born in Seattle, Washington and both sides of my family are from there. In fact, many of my mom’s relatives were among the first settlers in the region! One of Hubby’s best friends now lives in Seattle. They planned a hiking-reunion weekend and they spent several days hiking around the beautiful mountains out to the west of Seattle. The scenery was so beautiful, I definitely hope to plan a trip out there to catch up with my relatives and to take the kids hiking out there. I know my parents spent lots and lots of time hiking/backpacking/camping in that region too and I know we went backpacking as a family when I was a tiny tot. (Later, we moved away from Seattle because of my Dad’s job.)
Here are some of Hubby’s pictures:
They set up camp along this lake (Mason Lake):
Here’s a view of Mt. Rainier:
And finally, here are a couple of panorama shots from the top of Mt. Defiance:
The kids and I really missed out, didn’t we?! The kids are old enough now that we should start doing some back-packing. I used to backpack lots and lots, but have only done car camping since the kids were born.
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Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013
I remember reading once that you are never supposed to write about not blogging. “Boring!” someone said. I still feel the need to apologize or explain the infrequent posts, though! We’re still in summer mode and while I think I’ve more-or-less hammered out our fall semester and have been busy browsing and purchasing books, scoping out cool science experiments and activities, making some worksheets and games for our units, I’ve felt flat about writing about that. My plans feel just a tad-bit too nebulous to share quite yet!
So meanwhile, we’re thoroughly enjoying the summer season…
The kids finished up a week of junior rangers camp. It entailed a lot of driving back and forth, but the kids had a blast especially since so many of their friends did the camp as well.
Our yard has been a hotbed of activity! Check out this amazing hornet’s nest. They are bald-faced hornets and the nest was about the size of a small soccer ball. I read that these hornets can be very aggressive. Gulp… I guess I need to count myself lucky when I rode under it on the ride-on mower!!!! I’m sorry to say, that since the nest was about 12 feet from the front door, we destroyed their home. And yes, I *do* feel pangs of guilt!
We’re enjoying some veggies from the garden like tomatoes, cucumbers and this enormous zucchini! I have a wonderful recipe for zucchini muffins and plan to make those in the morning!
We still see lots and lots of wildlife in and around our yard and woods. There’s a family of three deer that are around a lot (my friend nearly ran into the buck!)… and a fox that is always driving Boomer crazy! We saw a small little snapping turtle for the first time. We see box turtles a lot, but hadn’t seen this type before. Cute little guy, isn’t he?!! He made a FAST getaway!
Last year we had four frogs in our make-shift pond. This year because it has been so wet and rainy we have just one resident… a green frog. It’s been fun watching the tadpoles grow and we saw small froglets about the size of a fingernail hopping away into the garden undergrowth. It’s sure fun to see that cycle.
We also have a grey tree frog that lives on our gazebo. We learned the COOLEST thing about them the other day!! We were browsing through some new science books (which are really terrific and we’ll probably add to our homeschool curriculum)… and the title of the article was “Frog-cicles… sort of like an icicle, but not quite.” Some species of frogs don’t try to avoid the cold, they freeze solid… and survive! It talked about frog antifreeze… when temperatures drop below freezing as much as 65% of the frog’s body water is frozen into ice. But the frogs arm themselves with antifreeze to protect their cells… This includes the gray treefrog (below)!
In general we’re enjoying the beauty of summer:
And summer activities…
I continue to organize and weed out toys/clothes and overhaul the kids rooms. Here’s a before/after shot of DD’s room. We had some old-ugly cabinets that we threw into her room the day we moved in–and never did much of anything with her room after that. I took a before picture after we had moved a bunch of stuff around, but honestly her room did look pretty awful!
DD helped me make some of those cheap cubbies to give her stuffed animals homes. She spends the majority of her play-time playing with her stuffed animals so we got rid of a lot of the toys she never touches. I also took out a lot of the books (like Disney books, etc.) and put in chapter books that were more on her level because she loves to spend time on her own in her room reading. That’s what I did this past Sunday…
That’s about it for now! Hope your summer is going well!
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Saturday, July 13th, 2013
Here in the U.S. we hear about the importance of staying out of the sun during peak hours and using sun screen. Over in Australia, there was a HUGE campaign to get people to protect themselves from the sun. ”Slip, Slop, Slap” was an advertisement we saw ALL the time on TV. Slip on a shirt, slop on the sunscreen, slap on a hat. The kids in our small town had to have a hat to be allowed to play outside at recess.
Here are a few pictures of the kids from back then… and you can see we were all wearing hats (and sunscreen)! (In the lower right picture, we’re all wearing hats with fly nets because there were hundreds upon hundreds of flies there).
I saw the power of the sun myself when I left some paper and a stack of books on the back porch while I went inside to get a drink. When I came back a while later, I noticed that the paper had yellowed in the area that was not covered by the book! Gulp! Hubby and I were very, very careful with the kids. They wore full-body swim suits as babies and toddlers that covered their legs and arms fully. They were doused with sunscreen. They wore sunnies to protect their eyes. They always wore a hat at the playground and out and about.
Even Hubby and I were pretty good about wearing a hat and sunscreen… but I was outdoorsy and a runner and I often didn’t think about or didn’t bother putting sunscreen on my legs when I went out for a run or mountain bike ride.
A couple of years ago, I noticed a couple of brown spots on my lower legs. They were small, the size of freckles or so. They’ve slowly been growing and now they are the size of a pencil eraser.
Recently a friend of mine looked at them and said, “Wow, you’d better get those checked out.” She asked if I knew the ABCs of skin cancer. I didn’t.
The blotches on my lower legs were asymmetrical and the borders weren’t all even. And while there wasn’t a huge difference in color, if I looked closely enough I could see slightly different shades of brown. I decided to make an appointment to see a dermatologist. I had to wait for 5 weeks before I could see him.
In the meantime, I talked with friends about my worry. It seemed that everyone I knew had a story to tell. My runner-friend (who had spent a lot of time tanning at the beach as a teenager) had skin cancer cut off her chest. Another friend said all of her older relatives seemed to have had skin cancer cut out from time-to-time. Another friend had a questionable spot removed from her hip.
The waiting was hard. I read online that malignant skin cancer tends to be most prevalent on the lower legs for women and on the torso for men. Yikes — another strike against me.
In the end, my story has a good ending… the spots I have were caused by sun damage, but luckily they are nothing to worry about.
So, now when I’m being incredibly careful with the kids… I’m going to be sure to take the extra time to slather up myself… including my legs!!
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Friday, July 5th, 2013
It was dreadfully hot, but after dropping LD off at his day camp the girls and I headed off to a u-pick farm. In just an hour and a half we picked 4 huge containers of blueberries!! I love that this farm doesn’t spray their berries.
What did we do with 20 pounds of blueberries?
Well, we made 9 jars (3 batches) of blueberry jam… It’s easy to do you just crush the blueberries, bring to a boil with pectin (Sure-jell), add sugar, boil a bit longer and quickly put it into canning jars. You boil the jars for 10 minutes. It’s very simple and the jam is wonderful!
We had blueberries and yogurt for breakfast…
We made and ate a blueberry pie…
and we froze trays and trays of blueberries for yogurt and smoothies later!!
We wanted to make fruit leather (like fruit roll-ups) like we did several years ago, but didn’t get around to it.
Yay–another successful notch off our summer bucket list!
Hope you’re having a lovely summer!
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