Friday, April 30, 2010

Double Rainbow

It had been raining a bit this evening when I looked out the window and spotted a rainbow.

We don't see many rainbows around here - so it was noteworthy (and photo worthy). The kids came running to see it. Then I went further down the steps and saw it was a double rainbow. So the kids came running out to see it again.

Genesis 9:13 "I do set my (rain)bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth."

Introducing Myrtle

After many visits to the park to try and capture a turtle - the girl was finally successful.

Yesterday I told the kids we'd go to the park for a picnic today. Since the weather was mediocre (windy and rain on the horizon) I wasn't feeling so picnic-ish so we opted for a park near home which happens to be "Turtle Paradise".

We had just arrived at the park and we were heading to the picnic table when I looked over and saw something that looked turtle-ish, but it was on land and we'd never seen any on land before. So I thought it was just a pipe or something sticking out of the ground. I looked again and realized it was a turtle.

The girl had come prepared - and swooped in with her net. Thankfully we had a "critter carrier" in the car. The girl proclaimed the turtle beautiful -"It's a 3-toed Box Turtle". And then she told me how it's called a turtle but it's actually a tortoise...

We went to Walmart and bought some garden fencing stuff and set up a little enclosure for Myrtle.

And yes I know turtles can carry salmonella but there shouldn't be much need for anyone to actually touch Myrtle.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Edible Hibiscus Flowers

Did you know that you can eat hibiscus flowers? You can and they are delicious.

Well at least the dried and SWEETENED variety of hibiscus are.

We picked up this package of "dried fruit" from Trader Joe's...the 4.4 oz package cost about $2.

They are the color and flavor of dried, sweetened cranberries -without the bitterness of the cranberries.

It does feel kind of odd popping them in your mouth because of the shape/feel - almost like popping an insect into your mouth.

The girl and I love them! The boy tasted one and didn't like it - I think more from a psychological point rather than taste, because I know he LOVES dried cranberries.

The ingredients are just: hibiscus, flower, sugar, sulfur dioxide.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Portrait of a Toad

The girl wanted me to take a photo of her critter while he was outside getting some "hop around" time. We've enjoyed watching him eat crickets :)

"The Dinner Party"

"The Dinner Party", the boy quickly (and mistakenly) read the title of the book I was pulling out of the large stack of library books.

The title was "The Donner Party". Hmmmm maybe not so far mistaken...

We have begun reading "The Donner Party" and all three of us are quite intrigued...I have read it before and so I know some of what will happen - but the read was some time ago so perhaps there will still be some surprises for me.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Amphibians - Beware!

The girl is on the loose. And she won't give up until she gets you!

Her motto is - anything roaming around at ground level is fair game.

The day after finding and then losing her pet frog - she captured a toad (no photo yet).

We were at another park, near some "creekishness", and just as we were leaving, the girl, feeling rather disheartened at having not located a frog/turtle/toad/snake/lizard - suddenly called out "LOOK!" And of course I jumped out of the way not wanting to step on or be attacked by a cottonmouth/copperhead/any-kind-of-snake...but it was only a poor helpless toad. Too slow for a girl with an empty Taco Bell strawberry/lemonade "slush cup.

Today the girl went out and spent her money on a 10 gallon aquarium (she already has a 5 gallon aquarium in her room housing her two hermit crabs) and some crickets. The toad - named Gollum (very aptly named) is now living in the girl's bedroom...the girl is happy. Here's hoping Gollum lives a long and prosperous life :)

Coincidentally the library had a homeschool program on frogs today, which we attended.

Speaking of frogs and toads - there is a new Frog and Toad book by Arnold Lobel that I spotted at the library today - The Frog and Toads All Sang.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Great Escape

His name was Puddleglum but should have been Steve McQueen...unlike Capt. Hilts his captivity was very brief.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Creve Coeur Park Adventure

This morning we took a picnic lunch to Creve Coeur Park.

The girl brought along her net (at the last minute) and her creature cage.

A beautiful sunny morning.

After a quick lunch we walked along the shore of the lake and saw many schools of fishes - some of the fishes quite a bit bigger than the little minnows we usually see. We walked along the trail by the water, through the woods and the boy spotted a snake in the water. Mean old mom wouldn't let the girl chase after it and try and catch it. Unhappy girl.

A little further down the trail someone told us that there was an eagle in the tree up ahead. We stopped and watched it for awhile. There just so happened to be a rocky area by the water by the eagle tree and the kids spotted another snake or two. "It was a copperhead" said the girl - so she wasn't gonna try and catch it. Whew!

Then mom became the hero of the day by spotting, right at our feet, a GIANT frog. The girl whipped out her net and nabbed him! He struggled some and got away when she tried transferring him into the cage but he was no match for the girl who had seen too many turtles get away from her in the past few weeks.

"This just about makes up for not getting an anole (a lizard that she's been greatly desiring to have for the past week or so)".

We headed on back home - the park outing a success...large schools of fish, snakes, an eagle and a captured frog.

The girl is now doing research on her frog - looks like science has been taken care of for the day.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Birthday Boy

Such a sweet little face and now he is eight...

Here he is when he was less than a year old...same sweet face.

His birthday started with his monthly "Men's Breakfast" meeting at church with dad, then back home to open some presents.

He was very surprised and happy to finally receive a pocket knife...he was expecting to have to wait a couple of more years, but dad decided that he could have one now.

We then headed out to Jefferson Barracks (Jefferson Barracks was a U.S. Army post from 1826 to 1946) - a first time visit for both of the kids. There are a couple of restored buildings that now house museums (we only had time to go through one of them) and also a national cemetery.

In the evening we had some friends over for supper and the boy declared it his best birthday ever! I think he might have said that after last year's birthday - but that's OK.

Necessity and the Daughter of Invention :)

What do you do if you have a pet hermit crab and want to let him "play" in the backyard without losing him?

You put him on a "leash" and tie the leash to a stake.

How do you attach a leash to a hermit crab? I don't think they really have a neck that you can loop something around do they?

Well the girl (my daughter of invention) just placed some Silly Putty on the shell of her crab and attached some twine to the Silly Putty. The twine was attached to a stake set in the ground.

So far it's been working we need to get a patent for it??

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter Weekend

Our holiday weekend began Friday afternoon.

The weather was glorious and the hub was able to take off the afternoon, so we headed out to the zoo. No parking space was to be found (we only do the free on-street parking) anywhere close so dh dropped us off at the entrance and went to look for a parking spot further away and he would meet us by the bears when he got back.

We were hanging out with the bears and my cell phone rang. The only parking spot dh could find was so far away it wasn't worth him walking to meet us (it was less 1.5 hrs until closing) - so he headed off to the History Museum and we just zoo-ed around by ourselves. I called the hub when we were ready to leave, he picked us up and we went off in search of a supper picnic spot.

No photos were taken as I didn't have my camera with me - actually I did - but I didn't realize it.

Saturday we ran some errands, had our traditional (as of late) $1.99 kids' meal at Lion's Choice, played some tennis, and colored Easter eggs.

In conjunction with the eggs - the girl took her first solo trip to the grocery store which is 15-20 min away (walking) - which she was very happy to do.

Sunday our church had a sunrise service, breakfast and regular worship service - which we attended.

After lunch we took a nap and then headed out to the August A. Busch Conservation Nature Center to hike and explore. It was our first visit - and we arrived late in the day so we didn't get in much hiking. It's the type of place you'd want to arrive at early in the morning (if you are a morning person like me), bring along a picnic lunch - and plan to stay all day.

The boy and his dad in front of one of the bunkers...we did find one bunker that had a "window" open so we were able to look inside a bit (not much to see other than a couple of empty beer cans) - the amazing thing is how totally cold the air was inside...just like being in a cave.

The conservation area was used in the 1940’s by the Department of Army as a TNT munitions plant to support the WWII effort. One hundred of the old TNT storage bunkers still exist on the property, which of course the boy enjoyed seeing.

The girl quickly climbed onto the top of the bunker and the boy followed suit. No broken necks ensued.

"The 6,987-acre Busch Conservation Area contains 3,000 acres of forest in addition to grassland, cropland, old fields, prairie, and wetlands…also has 72 fishable lakes and ponds …The visitor center has 120 rental boats, bait, tackle, and licenses."

We did a 3 mile hike and the weather was perfect for being out there and we definitely want to go back when better prepared.

Trying to climb the Leaning Tree of the BCNC.

We finished off the day with a large Wendy's Frosty for supper :)