Prometheus moths


One of our projects for science and our study of insects was to hatch prometheus moths.  We received 6 cocoons and all six were hatched successfully.


They were really beautiful and amazing creatures. 


We had hoped to be able to get eggs from them, but were unsuccessful.



We ordered our cocoons from Carolina Biological.  Like I said, all of them hatched. We did find that temperature was a factor to successful hatching.  They really beat themselves up trying to fly out of the cage, which is why we didn't get any eggs from them.  We released them, since they are native to our area.  We probably won't be doing this again due to cost, but we are really glad we did it this time. Even though they are native and we know of collectors who catch them, I hadn't  seen one before this.

Scenes from the weekend 5/25


Our quail eggs have arrived. Here's  hoping we can hatch them.  We made an incubator out of a 10 gallon aquarium. We are having a hard time with temperature regulation. SIGH.


I have started working on some fall projects. I am hoping to get a jump on holiday projects this year and actually have some homemade gifts to share with those we love.


The hummingbird chicks have flown away. We put up a feeder in hopes of seeing them around.  I love this pic of them together after the first one had climbed out of the nest. It's almost as if he is reassuring his sibling.


This morning we woke to the sad news that the raccoon had killed the pea hen. We are heartbroken. Our neighbors, who owned the pea hen and were wonderful with letting her stay her after making her nest, have taken the babies to their house.  So we lost them all.  Like I said earlier, I really hope we can get those eggs to hatch.


We had my son and his girlfriend over for dinner and a movie tonight. Dinner was great. Jack made cupcakes for dessert, which he promises are the best ever. We watched Pompeii. Two hours of my life I will never get back. It was made bearable since we all have the same sense of humor and started narrating it.

It seems like it was a LONG weekend. We had fun though. The hubby and I were able to get out.  Alex and I started to shop and plan for a big party we are throwing in a few weeks. And the weather was wonderful.  We truly are blessed.

a starfish and a clam.

The past two weeks in science we have studied mollusks and echinoderms. 


We borrowed a snail from a friend and put it in a small plastic tank to observe and use for our labs.  He's been really fun to watch. We also bought a mystery snail to keep in with our aquatic frog.

For the mollusk unit we dissected a clam, or tried to dissect one.


This wasn't an easy one- the shell was hard to crack and the foot was hard to cut. Frustrating for the boy and really not much to see.

This week we have been studying echinoderms and dissected a starfish.


I just noticed he is wearing the same shirt in both pics. Guess it's his lab uniform.  Our starfish was fairly big and tough.  Even I had a hard time cutting through the skin. I tried scissors, broke two scalpel blades and still couldn't make the cuts needed and see what we were supposed to see.  Again, anticlimactic. I never thought I would look forward to the frog dissection but at this point I am because I think it will be somewhat easier to cut. Jack didn't do well with either of these, his frustration level was high. I can't see us repeating either of these in the future and at the moment I am not looking forward to the next two dissections- grasshopper and crayfish.  

pea chicks


For the past month, these two birds have had a little project going.



Or should I say five little projects.  The pea hen made a next on top of our compost pile. 


Today was 30 days to the day that she laid the eggs. Tonight when we checked on them, this is what we saw:


There was one more dark chick that we saw for  just a moment before she turned and hid them all away.


I did take out some of the wild game bird food that I bought for when our quail eggs hatch and threw some to them, the chicks went right after it.

We are so excited about our five new friends!

Shovelnose snake

While at the park this past Friday, someone in our group found a shovelnose snake. 


It's very small, but fiesty.


We brought it home to show Zac and keep for a few days for observation.  We did consult my brother who is as much of a snake expert as we have around these parts. He helped us set up a small tank and get the right kind of food for him.  As soon as he hit the sand, he started to burrow in it.


It is a very beautiful snake.


He really enjoys this log decoration and is eating his crickets.


I had never seen one before this. He has been fascinating to watch and observe.  The way he digs and buries himself. And I can't believe how long they can stay under the sand.  Really fascinating! 

our yard guests


We've had a peacock in the neighborhood for a few years now. Nobody owns him, he just showed up one day.


Our neighbors bought a pea hen to try and keep him in their yard because some of the neighbors were complaining.  It worked for a while, but now he is back roaming and bringing his girl with him.  He loves our yard, our garden and showing of for our chickens.


Apparently his girl liked it because she has made a nest in our compost pile.


She is currently sitting on five eggs. We are all excited about this.  Hopefully we will have five little ones running around soon.

Scenes from the weekend 1/5


We had to change the fish tank our due to a leak. It is now named the Desolation of Smaug.  :)



Still playing with the new camera. Maybe the yellow cast is coming from the walls.


Jack was up at around 5 am. Sigh. I didn't get to sleep last night until about 2. I am one tired mama today. My to do list quickly went from 20 things to the handful that absolutely couldn't be put off.


Game playing is becoming a habit. 


I keep coming back to the moon. This week I am working on a moon phase felt banner.


Finished crocheting a scarf.  I pictured it different than it turned out, but it will work.  And it is done. And that is what is important this time around. I finished my first crochet project. Now to finish the knitted one.  I have grand plans of working on projects and finishing at least one per week. Between crocheting, knitting, embroidery and other mediums I think it is doable. I need to get back to my creative practice.

Tomorrow we start back to school. All of us. It's been a fun few weeks, but I crave our regular routine.

Our ocean study

These are the resources I have pulled together for our ocean study this year.


Ocean (American Museum of Natural History)

This is what we will be using for our spine.  We will read a section for each topic and then do activities based on that selection.  This is a really thorough book.


Awesome Ocean Science

Sea Searchers Handbook

Oceans for Every Kid

These are the resources that we will be pulling activities from.


Oceans and Atmosphere

The Ocean Book

Tropical Fish Coloring Book

Seashore Life coloring book

These books will be used for coloring sheets, vocabulary worksheets and maps to color.

Jacques Cousteau A Life Under the Sea

Earth Heroes: Champions of the Ocean

Rachel Carson and Her Book That Changed the World

These are the biographies that we will be reading during our study.


Citizens of the Sea

First Encyclopedia of Seas and Oceans

These are the extra resources we have for quick questions and for beautiful pictures. 


As we go, I'm sure we will add other resources including videos and books. I will be sure to post those as we go.


the rest of the week

I promised pictures. I have them, but the won't upload right. They are all turned on the side.  We did get around to our science experiment on Tuesday. That was the last of the good days.  That night Jack's fever was back, he was having trouble breathing, and up all night. The next day the doctor called in another scrip for him to take along with the one he was on already.  Back into the bedroom he went. Wednesday night Talisa started in with a fever. She stayed home Thursday and slept. Went to work on Friday and was up all night Friday night with a raging ear infection.  Zac started in Friday morning with a runny nose and cough.  I started a fever last night that is still hanging on. I also have a horrible sore throat.  I had been telling my fil all week that he needed to stay out in his motor home and stay away from us. Finally this morning I laid down the law.  The last thing we need is him coming down with this.  He stayed away today. I just hope it lasts. This is nasty stuff.

I do have a few pictures from the week to share.


Hey the picture uploaded right this time! This is our non-Newtonian fluid experiment.


We even cooked it to see how it reacted.

Steven and his first paid car job. :) His boss hired him to change out the in tank fuel pump(? I think that is what it was?) So not only did he have his first job but he was able to drive it around. 


This is how Jack spent most of Wednesday, under a blanket reading.


This beauty has been hanging out in our backyard for the past two days. We are hoping he moves in for a bit. Very interesting to watch.

Jack was actually feeling well enough to go to his room and play for a bit today. He was really proud of his three canon tail on this one.

I am hoping that my fever breaks so I can finish the Thanksgiving shopping within the next day or two.  At least we have the turkey and pumpkin, anything else we can wing it.  

Have a good weekend.

going to the zoo

A few months ago we found out that there was a small zoo about an hour away from us that did private tours.  It took us a while, but we were finally able to get a group together and go.


a joey. :)

a kookaburra

a tamandua.

a coatimundi taking a walk on everyone.

a binturong aka cat bear.

We kissed a camel. I even kissed the camel. Jack did it about 7 times.

We were able to pet the kangaroos and wallaby. 


Hold a toucan.



The otters really liked Zac.

I mean really liked him.


It was very fun. We didn't get a chance to interact with all the animals, but that was okay.  WE can't wait to schedule another tour and go back.


A sign of fall


At least I am taking it as a sign that fall is coming. This little guy has been hanging out in the yard the past few days.

This week has been crazy. We got one car back from the mechanic, took the other car in for a couple of days and picked it up today. Then tonight we had to replace the battery in my van. If it's not one thing it's another. Next week we have to take my van back in to finish up, they had to order parts. I am glad we have all the vehicles home for the weekend though.

We are still doing well on staying in the groove with homeschooling. We've been adding things in this week and finally made it back to the library.  I've been missing our weekly library trips.

Hope you are all having a good week!

the ladies

I've haven't posted any recent pics of our latest flock of chickens.  A few of them started laying this past week and we are patiently waiting for the rest.  Very patiently, ahem.  We are also waiting to thin the flock a bit. Right now we have too many hens and there is a little disagreement over which ones to keep. I say we keep mostly red stars- brown egg layers. Zac says we keep mostly Araucana- green egg layers.  I will say this is the prettiest batch of hens we have had.





I know bad picture, but it does show off our pretty roosters feathers.


Love the white one with hints of red.  We call her Cinnamon.


Another pic of the rooster.  So far he's a keeper, of course he hasn't started to crow yet. 


In other news, the homeschool planning still isn't done, but my paperwork is turned in for the year.  I'm still working on our compost class for the garden co-op this week.  My worms aren't here yet. I hope they come tomorrow.  I made lemon blueberry scones to serve. Yummy. I have been taking advantage of the cooler weather and doing some baking.  I made a promise to myself to stock our freezer with baked goods next May so we can avoid the whole heating up the whole house scenario.

And now I really should go work on that class before bed.






a day in instagram


Zac is doing a huge woodworking project for our house. I was up early and helping him paint in my pjs.


Eventually Jack joined us for some target practice.

Back inside for reading and breakfast.


My neighbor brought over some garden goodies. Dinner went from blueberry mango quinoa to a pinto bean, garlic, onion, pepper and tomato quinoa burrito. It was yummy.


One piggy went to a new home.


A chore system for Jack. The cards are from Confessions of a Homeschooler. We are not using the whole system, just the cards.  I put them in this badge holder for him to wear during chore time to hopefully keep him on track.  The cards from her system just happened to have the chores I needed on them so I didn't have to reinvent the wheel. 

A felt plushie in progress.  This shop has so many cute patterns.  Time to get my project on with some sewing.

What's not pictured:

  • the workout
  • the mom binder that I finished printing out
  • the garden co-op work done
  • the laundry
  • the book decluttering
  • the chatting with kids
  • hugging the hubby
  • making his coffee
  • the phone calls- almost caught up
  • cleaning out the fridge
  • other housework



Some of you know that Jack's favorite show is River Monsters. Last week he asked if he could go fishing. We're not big fishermen around here. Steve goes with his grandpa, but Zac doesn't enjoy it. I told him I would take him to one of the local ponds. When Steve heard the plan, he immediately offered to go along and help. That was a good thing since the last time I went fishing was around 20 years ago.

This past weekend he took his money and bought a rod and was ready to go. As in- bouncing off the walls ready to go.

Two minutes later, he had a bite.



He did throw the fish back. We have a strict you kill you eat it policy, which makes it hard for a picky eater.


It was also nice to see these two connect on something. It's hard to find common ground with a nine year age gap.


That was the only fish caught tonight.





On the way home they were already planning the next trip. I think Jack is hooked!

scenes from the last week

Shell sorting activity.

Learning about penguins.


Sunday craft, ribbon mobile.

A visitor?!?

We had a free weekend- no rugby, no lacrosse, just free time.  We all needed that. Zac, Jack and the girls went for a day long hike. I treated myself to lunch, then came home to clean and organize my project space while watching a classic film. Loved every minute of it.

Today the weather was gray and a bit cold. I did my weekly errands then came home and forced everyone to watch the Muppet movie with me. I miss the old Muppets. This was close, but not quite.

On the list for this week:

  • dance classes
  • fun and fitness
  • rugby practice and a day or two of lacrosse.
  • A long weekend for the kids
  • Easter!!
  • Art festival
  • car show(?) for the boys
  • park day
  • rugby game
  • some major housework.
  • getting the chicks moved out into their pen.
  • library
  • potting some plants.

And I think that is all.  Oh, and enjoying the weather to the fullest.

spring is coming.


Today we made the first of many visits to the garden center.  We are hoping to start planting tomorrow.


We have two bedrooms painted, one left to go. I'm not sure when we'll do that. We are fighting some serious project burnout. It's all looking much better, but we also want to enjoy some of the break.

See the paint on her right ear? She just couldn't stay out of it. Sweetie is missing us all. Every time someone sits down she jumps in their lap ready for some love.

scenes from the weekend 3/12

Okay, scenes from the weekend and the big Monday.


Some kitty love.

Chocolate chip banana bread and blackberry banana bread


Painting the horrid paneling in the bedrooms.


new peeps




Not pictured- the lacrosse games gone wrong, date night, garden work, hiking and rock collecting, an older boy getting a job(!!!), and lots of good weather.

On the list this week:

  • Spring break! Everyone is off school and Zac is off work.
  • Which also translates to project week: garden, painting, chick tractor
  • lots of time outside enjoying the nice weather.
  • rugby and lacrosse still
  • another date night hopefully
  • The Lorax- really want to see this. It's one of my favorite Seuss stories. 
  • Sleeping in. Please?....pretty please? 

And that's all. It's enough though.  Right now my bedroom is torn apart. We'll probably end up sleeping in the living room. Yes, I think that list is enough.

Vacation day 6 + 7


This was our last official vacation day.  We decided to spend the day at Sea World again. They have a deal right now that gives you a pass for the year for the same price as a day pass.  So it was kind of an easy decision to go there again. :)


First though, a picture from our the beach in front of our hotel that morning. We were right down from the naval training base and if you were there at the right time each day you could see something like this.


First stop was the animal adventure area. Jack was able to pet the alligator and learn a bit about them.

Then to a mini pool to touch star fish, anenomes, and horseshoe crabs. Jack flipped the horseshoe crab over to show everyone how they can flip themselves back over. There was also someone there teaching about the animals.


There was a sloth nearby. Points for references here. :)



Back through some of our favorite areas. Like the shark exhibit.


A couple of rides. And then it was time for our Dolphin Encounter.

Meet Razzle.

We were able to feed Razzle.

Touch him and learn a little about dolphin anatomy.


We also gave him a few commands and he did a few tricks for us.



After the dolphins...


We met the eels. I've never been a huge fan of eels. Can't say it's changed either. ;) We talked with the person in charge of them and then had the chance to feed them some squid. I passed. Jack did though and he was one of the only ones who got a bite.

That's him with the squid in the tube. Yuck.

We visited this sick sea turtle again. Then it was our to turtle reef to feed the sea turtles.


We were able to hold a sea turtles shell and learn a bit more about their anatomy. We also learned about ways to help save the sea turtles.

After that we went to the Shamu show again. This time sitting dead center in the splash zone.



Luckily we only got a few drops. Disappointing for Jack, but it is February and I didn't want to freeze.  We had a great view. After that we hit some more rides.  Then he wanted to watch the Sea Lion show again. 



That evening we headed over to Seaport Village for dinner and a walk.


We ate at one of the restaurants right on the water. After we bought some hot sauce for our hot sauce lovers here and some cupcakes for ourselves.  Then back to the hotel to pack up and get ready for our return trip.

The last morning we ate breakfast out on the patio. We had a sea gull stalking our french toast.  Then it was time to head home. The normal 8 hour drive took us 10 hours because traffic was so bad. We didn't get home until almost 9. And it was oh so good to see everyone else again. We had a wonderful time, amazing really.  We also missed everyone soooo much.