Thursday, September 22, 2011

Wednesday Walk: Audubon Society of Portland

Ellie was a good little hiker :)
This week for our walk we went out to the nature trails at the Audubon Society of Portland. Our friend and neighbor was telling us about it since we were studying birds this week for our continuation of the letter B. I can't believe we've missed out on this beautiful place until now! It is absolutely gorgeous out there!

This is what I get when I ask for a smile.
The first initial trail is rather steep going down and not very wide. Ellie wanted to be "holded" and Hannah was holding my hand for dear life! But they did great, and we really enjoyed the rest of the trails. Once you get to the bottom there is a short trail that takes you down to the creek that runs through the bottom of this canyonish area. It was really lovely down there. We played around for a little bit by the water and hoped to see some wildlife. About the only thing we saw was a cool and creepy banana slug. We had not seen one like that before so we looked it up in our field guide and learned what it was. I am so proud that Hannah likes to use our book so much and was wanting to discover other things.
Banana Slug
We didn't see any other wildlife except for a little bird in the stream and a few water skaters, but we did see some neat mushrooms growing off the side of a tree. So we looked those up in the mushroom section of our book (on a side note: I am soooo happy I picked this book up at a garage sale. It is the "Audubon Society Field Guide for the Pacific Northwest" so it covers everything for our specific region of the country. Plants, animals, birds, etc. VERY awesome!) and discovered that it is called artist's fungus.

Enjoying nature

Artist's Fungus

Little bird enjoying the water.

So beautiful!

Hannah loves to sit and look at our field guide.
After hanging out at the water for a bit we got back on the trail and found some more water. A pond! They had a nice shelter with a bunch of big steps that we could sit on right at the edge of the pond. Hannah stopped and prayed that we would see a turtle and a frog in the pond because she really wanted to see some. We didn't, but ended up seeing something way better. A very large owl flew through the trees right across the pond from where we were and sat in the trees for a few minutes before moving on.  Hannah was super excited that we got to see an owl, especially since it was daytime and owls usually sleep during the day.

Pond where we sat for a bit watching for frogs or turtles. Didn't see any, but an owl flew through the trees across the pond!

My little nature lovers. :)

The icing on the cake was getting to see an owl up close as we were hiking back up the hill. This owl lives at the Wildlife Care Center that is part of the Audubon Society and one of the handlers had her out and was showing her to some people, so we got to have a look. She made some really funny noises and the girls thought that was great along with the fact that she could turn her head so far around. The guy holding her told us that owls have 14 bones in their neck that allows them to be able to do that.
We had a great time and are definitely going to go back there...many times. It will be especially fun as the girls keep growing up and are able to hike farther. There is so much to explore!
Next week I think we are going to go on a turtle hunt because they still really want to see some turtles. :)

The sweet owl that lives at the Wildlife Care Center. The girls loved getting to see her!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Frugal Friday: Foam Bath Toys

The girls enjoying their new bath toys
The girls have been needing some new toys for bath time, and I was thinking about buying some of those fun foam shapes for them to play with. I just hated to spend that much money. Then it dawned on me one day that I could make my own!
I have a big stack of craft foam pieces left from other projects, and even had a bunch of little scraps. So one night when they were in the tub, I brought the foam and my scissors into the bathroom and started cutting out shapes and throwing them into the tub. The girls were delighted! They have so much fun creating wonderful things in the bath. 
And now we've been adding letter shapes for the letters we are studying each week. So much fun! And it didn't cost anything! :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Bunkbed project: Complete!

The finished product! Hooray! I of course couldn't resist getting a few accessories at IKEA. :)

The girls checking out their new bed. :)

I'm not sure if Hannah likes it....hahahaha!

Ellie is so excited to be in a big girl bed!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Simple Woman's Daybook


Outside my window...the sun is shining, burning off the clouds that were around this morning. Going to be around 85 for the high...perfect summer weather!

I am thinking...about all that needs to get done this week. I just picked a basket full of tomatoes this morning that need to be made into spaghetti sauce and canned. And this afternoon we picked apples at the neighbors house, so will need to do something with those. And of course there is the usual things that need to be done...laundry, cleaning, cooking, more cleaning, school time with the girls and more! There's just not enough hours in a day! :)

I am thankful...that school is going well with the girls so far, and for James in public school. He was in a split 5th/6th grade class last year for 5th grade and he got his same teacher again this year! We were so excited about that as she is a great teacher!

From the learning rooms...learning about the letter Bb this week. Woke the girls up this morning blowing little bubbles in their room, we did bubble painting for art, visited a bakery for a treat, and have been reading lots of books with bears and other B words.

In the kitchen...Hannah helped me make banana bread this afternoon (more B's!). It smells sooooo yummy!

I am sage green skirt and a cute black top that I got at a garage sale this weekend. Hooray for good deals!

I am creating...some baby wash cloths for a friend who is having a baby soon. Also need to get cracking on Ellie's quilt since we have the bunk bed done now. (Oh, yes! I need to write a post about that!!! It turned out great! Maybe tomorrow!)

I am going...crazy! No, not really. I am so blessed and have so much to be thankful for. Somedays it just feels like I can't keep up with things.

I am wondering...once again how these other women do all that they do in a day...someday maybe I'll learn the secret. Maybe they have super powers like not needing to sleep or something like that. :)

I am reading...still trying to get through Lark Rise to Candleford, but it's hard to find time for reading lately. Also, today started reading "Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World" for part of my quiet time.

I am get our photo appointment set up for this week. I bought a Groupon last year for a photo studio out here to have a family photo shoot and get some prints, but forgot about it and now it is about to expire AND my hubby is going to be out of town the last two weeks of this month. Hopefully they'll have an opening for this week. Argh!

I am looking forward to...eating some of that banana bread. I heart banana bread!!! Our house smells so good right now!

I am hearing...the dishwasher working away, and Hannah "reading" her library books for rest time.

Around the house...laundry is almost done for today. Ellie is napping, Hannah is resting and James is doing homework. I should get busy and figure out what to do with those tomatoes.

I am pondering...I wish I had time for pondering today. :)

One of my favorite things...spending time out in the garden early in the morning. It's so beautiful and peaceful. Ahhhh............

A few plans for the rest of the week: school, start potty training Ellie????, a trip to the zoo to look at the bears, maybe a trip to the wetlands to watch some birds, and who knows what else.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...
The girls rolling down a grassy hill on our walk the other day. The joys of childhood!
 Hope you all have a blessed week! If you'd like to join in and share about your day please go over to Simple Woman's Daybook.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

First Week of School

Our letter for the week- Aa
This week, on Tuesday, we started our first week of school. Hannah was super excited! She went to bed Monday night telling me how she was so happy to be able to learn stuff. I love that girl!
Since Hannah is only 4 and Ellie is 2, we are doing lots of fun, hands-on activities and basing most of our learning off of the letters of the alphabet. We will focus on one letter per week.
This week we started with the letter A and learned lots about apples, airplanes, alligators, ants and more! I still don't have too much planned out as of yet, so I am sort of "flying by the seat of my pants". As the weeks go on I am hoping to get a little more organized. But we are having tons of fun so far!
"Milking" the cow.
I came across a very neat blog this past week that will really help us with our alphabet studies. We found our cute apple craft there, and an alligator craft (which I don't have a picture of, but it was pretty alligator made out of the letter A) and a coloring page to print out with the letter A and an airplane. They have ideas for almost every letter of the alphabet!
I am also using National Geographic Kids website for videos and info of animals that correspond to the letter for each week. The girls love watching those!
A is for apple
Along with our letter studies, we are using Before Five in a Row and Slow & Steady Get Me Ready. BFIAR is a super great book that has 23 classic children's books to read with your kids and activities to do/discuss that go along with each story. And I am super excited because a friend of mine told me today about a website that has a bunch of lapbooking resources, many of which go right along with the stories in BFIAR! This week we read "Angus Lost" by Marjorie Flack. The science discussion to go along with is was about where milk comes from. As we were reading that and talking about it, I had a super great idea to blow up a latex glove and tape it under our piano bench so the girls could sort of get an idea of what it's like to milk a cow. Cheesy I know, but the girls had so much fun and played with our "cow" for a long time. I even had some old milk bottles that I showed them. Fun, fun, fun! This week with BFIAR we are going to read "We're Going on a Bear Hunt" which will be perfect to go along with the letter B.
Slow & Steady Get Me Ready is a great book too that has lots of motor skill and other activities to do each week to help your child grow and develop, all the way up to 5 years old. This week I am hoping to start on the first week for each girl for their age category. 
Oh, and we are also starting back up with our sign language. We get a Signing Time dvd from the library each week and watch it in the afternoons. The girls have learned so much from those, and it is very enjoyable for them.
I think that about covers most of what we did this week for school.
Stone mill wheel at Bob's Red Mill
And last, but not least, we went to Bob's Red Mill this week to get flour and oatmeal and such and we got to take a tour of the mill! The tour got a little bit long and wordy for the girls, but we did get to see them making cornmeal and packaging stuff up and watch the fork lifts. We also got to see one of the old stone mill wheels, and some other old mill machinery.
Old milling machine...Hannah took this picture
But I think the best part for the girls was the grain table, where there were buckets and bowls of lots of different grains and flours that you could stick your hands in. I think the girls would have played there all day. Maybe we'll have to do something like that at home sometime. :)
Another pic by on a milling machine
Oh, we even got to meet Bob Moore himself. Hannah was excited when she saw him walk in the room where we were having our tour..."Mommy! That's the guy on the packages!"
Outside the Bob's Red Mill store
I'd say we had a pretty amazing first week of school and can't wait for this coming week!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Wednesday Walk: Dawson Creek Park

 This week we headed over to one of our favorite walking places, Dawson Creek Park. It was perfect since we started school this week and are learning about the letter A. We went hunting for acorns and walked over by the airport and watched the airplanes for a little bit.

 Before heading home we stopped and played in the lush, green grass in the shade.
 The girls had fun rolling down a hill and singing and dancing together. We hated to go home we were having so much fun. But our tummies began to rumble for lunch.

Next week maybe we'll take our walk at the zoo and check out the bears for B week!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Happy Birthday, Ellie!!

 This is a few days late, but I had to share. My baby is now 2!!! 
Yes, little Elissa Faith made her debut into our lives 2 years ago on September 1, and our lives have been so blessed ever since. She is such a happy, loving, sweet, ray of sunshine in our family. We thank the Lord for her everyday!
We love you soooooooooo much Ellie!!! And we look forward to watching you continue to grow and learn over the next year!