Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Butterflies and Butterfly Books

Ever spring we look forward to raising butterflies.

We order caterpillars and enjoy watching them grow from small little caterpillars to giant caterpillars.

They go into their chrysalis and we anxiously await their emergence.


Starting to hatch; we can see the butterfly (in detail) through the shell
of the chrysalis 

We feed them and watch them for a day or two. They are so beautiful to watch and my boys still get excited watching them eat with their proboscis.


Drinking using the proboscis


We've done this for three years now and it never gets old!

After a couple of days we release them.

Usually one or two fly out and away on their own 

Often the boys are able to take turns holding them up before they take flight 

Today our butterfly was content to hang around 


Watching the painted lady roll up her proboscis! 

Over the years we've read books about butterflies during the spring to better understand the species and we've found some really amazing books over the years.


Here are our top 10 books about butterflies:

1.  A Butterfly is Patient-- We love the illustrations and the information is presented beautifully.  It's like the words are ready to fly off the pages along with the butterflies.


2.  Where Butterflies Grow- This books gives an up close look at butterflies in the garden.  The illustrations are just amazing. 


3. Monarch and Milkweed- Again we LOVED the illustrations.  This book was filled with information about the migratory patters of the monarch butterfly. 

  

4. Monarch Butterfly- Gail Gibbons books are always filled with lots of information and my kids enjoy them so much.  


5. Life Cycle of a Butterfly- Filled with information this book takes you through the life cycle of butterflies.  


6.  Are You a Butterfly?- Perfect for younger kids this book has a bit of text on each page combined with beautiful artwork. 


7. Butterfly House- Story of a girl who finds a caterpillar, makes it a home and watches it turn into a butterfly.  Again the illustrations are amazing and the story is so sweet. 


8. Butterflies in the Garden- This book teaches about flowers that attract butterflies to your garden.  The information is presented in a way that is perfect for children to understand with lots of pictures and descriptions and an easy to read text.


9. National Geographic Readers: Great Migrations Butterflies-  We love all the National Geographic Readers!  They are filled with wonderful photographs and are so informative.  There are books about butterflies at each reading level but we prefer this level three book for the simple reason that it has the most information about butterflies. 


10. Flight of the Butterflies- This book teaches about the migratory patterns of Monarch Butterflies and combines photographs with artwork for a simple story that my children really enjoy.  


Sunday, May 29, 2016

Welcoming a Baby with a New Book

Today I finally got around to posting the last of the photos from the baby shower scrapbook I made. If you missed it you can look through the first half of the book here.



The book has a lot of gray since the nursery colors are gray, yellow and orange.  They decided not to find out the sex of the baby and those were the neutral colors they chose.  I try to always theme my gift books around the theme of the nursery or around the parents' tastes. 

With a title like Bundle of Joy this page could be used for just about anything. 


I used my calligraphy pens to write the title Wild About You and included lots of cute animal stickers on this page


Perfect for shots of nap time or the baby's room this page was simple to make with patterned back ground paper and some gray cutouts for photos.


Using my square punch I punched out enough to make a diamond border down the side of the page and embellished each square with a tiny baby themed sticker. With enough room for three photos this page can also be used for just about any adorable baby photos.


I try to make sure my albums can last a year so I always include pages for older babies too.  This toy page is just perfect for when they start to discover toys and can sit up on their own.


I often try to keep my page titles nondescript so that they can be used for a variety of different things.  This title "Nuts About You" went perfectly with the patterned background paper and I decided to use my Cricut to make a squirrel and nut to go along with it.


This page is titled baby milestones and while the gel labels did not show up I do typically set one page aside in each scrapbook for milestones like sitting up, standing, crawling, rolling over, etc.


I typically end each scrapbook with either a first birthday page or a first steps page.  This time I chose the first steps mainly because I just loved this hot air balloon paper and the title bubble that was included in the paper pack to go along with it!


Most of the papers and many of the embellishments came from this Diecuts With a View paper pack

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Friday, May 27, 2016

Weekly Recap: The Week We Went on Three Field Trips

It must finally be spring because we've finally started getting out of the house to enjoy some fun field trips! This week we went hiking with some friends, spent a day on an ocean research vessel, and went on a seed to table tour with a local cooking co-op.  I've finally managed to balance blogging and still squeeze in at least 30 minutes of working out each day as well as reading some books myself "just or fun!"  I forgot how much I enjoy working out and reading.... well not the actual workout but the sense of accomplishment that follows each workout.  All in all it was a good week.



Reading:  Ian started reading his new book A to Z Mysteries: Detective Camp and just about finished it too.  Alec read School Days According to Humphrey, Winter According to Humphrey, Story Thieves books 1, Fake Out! Animals that Play Tricks, and Mysteries According to Humphrey. (He actually told me he didn't read that much since Story Thieves was so long... apparently 5 chapter books is "not much"!).  Evan read another few chapters in Miss Daisy is Crazy, and read Polar Bears, and Baby Animals.  We finished up book 4 of the 39 Clues and started listening to The Silver Chair.

Science: We went on an oceanology trip on Monday learning all about our local ecosystem. You can read about this amazing trip here.




We read a few books about birds: Roger Tory Peterson's ABC of Birds and  How Do Birds Find their Way.  We put together some Lego birds and made edible nests (recipe).



We spent a lot of time outside this week and saw so many neat animals and babies (above and beyond those we brought onto the boat)!
Can you see the horseshoe crab?  He's covered in barnacles
and blends in so well with the rocks!

There was a swan this close to us!

We found tons of tadpoles! 


Life Skills: The two younger boys learned how to make strawberry jam at our 4-H science club.


We learned all about composting, gardening, self- sustaining crops, launching a start up cooking/ baking business and more at our seed to table tour; as well as getting to eat some yummy snacks!

Such a pretty garden 

They grow so many of their own plants 

Learning about plants, composting, and experimenting 

Watching salsa being made in one of the kitchens 

Trying out some yummy granola! 

"it's all mine!" 

Physical Education: We went hiking with some of our homeschooling friends and had a wonderful day learning about the various plants and flowers alongside the trail.  One of the homeschooling dads is great about teaching the kids how to tell the difference between the various trees and plants.  The boys all had a great time wrestling together and jumping off logs after a nice picnic lunch too.


This hill looked so much steeper in real life... 

Enjoying the view 

Time for a race 



The boys went to karate this week and even spent some time swimming in the lake.

Math:  The older two boys worked on two more pages in Are You a Math Genius?  Evan worked on two more pages in his telling time workbook each day.  All three boys completed two more pages in their Multiplication Games workbook and the older two boys also worked in their standard math workbook completing two more pages each day.

Spelling/ language arts:  All the boys completed two more pages in each of their spelling workbooks and Evan finished up his Star Wars reading book.  The older two boys worked on another page in their cursive books and should both finish up within the next few weeks.

Socialization:  We spent a nice day hiking with friends and cousins playing, talking and catching up.  We met lots of new homeschoolers and spent the day with old friends hanging out on the boat learning about sea life.  We went to the park one day to meet up with their cousins and  new homeschooling family that we had met a few weeks ago.  The kids all spent a couple of hours running, climbing, playing basketball, and talking.  We met up with several other homeschooling families at our seed to table tour and went to a local park afterwards to talk, play and enjoy the nice ocean breezes!
Couldn't help but think how lucky we were to get to
spend time at the shoreline on this 90 degree day
and not have to be cooped up inside a classroom! 

The boys learned a new card game; Superfight

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