get outdoors


We had a wonderful time with our homeschool group today visiting the dinosaur tracks and hunting for fossils. The weather ended up being perfect for a day in the desert.


We found this little guy right on the trail to the dinosaur tracks.


One of the tracks.


One of the best fossils we found. We found a lot of partial negative fossils.

It was a great day with great friends.  The kids easily spent an hour sliding down a sand hill. Then all the boys young and old set up rock targets and then tried to throw rocks and knock them over. We look forward to doing it again soon!



Weekend hike


We've been trying to get out on a good hike as a family at least once a week. This time we went to a trail that we haven't been on in years. It was nice to be back there and visit some of our favorite places again.



We were able to collect quite a few items for the latest nature pal exchange. We also saw many Native American pottery pieces and chips from flintknapping.


Just a sample of what we found.

Nature Study week 7

This week we went to a new to me park at the suggestion of one of our group members.  It is billed as a nature park and I was anxious to visit.


It is right at the end of a street and at first glance I didn't expect much. From the parking lot all you could see was a small pavilion and small grassy area.


There was a little path to the side of the grassy area that led up a hill to a huge pond.  We saw ducks, coots, and red ear sliders along with various songbirds.





After running around the pond for a bit, the boys settled down on the grass to do some cloud watching.


Eventually the boys found some flowers to sketch in their nature journals. They sketched, dissected, compared the shapes of the petals and then we arranged the petals to form pictures.

Then, having gathered some energy they went off to have sword fights with sticks while the mothers talked about different read alouds.


Wild explorers club


If you haven't already heard of Wild Explorers Club, you are missing out. This new program has been the answer to some of our prayers. We don't have a scout program that we feel comfortable being a part of in our town, yet we always wanted a similar program for our kids to participate in. Luckily this came along at just the right time for Jack.


He eagerly awaits the assignment each week and it has given us yet another excuse to spend more time out in nature doing what we love.


It's great to see him thoughtfully  go above and beyond for each assignment.



Miss Cairo got her own Wild Explorer badge for her backpack since she accompanies us on all of our adventures.



For his birthday I gave him a special present with more items for his explorer pack and a little note telling him how much I have enjoyed our adventures together.


He has recently completed the first badge, wolf. I will post how we celebrated next week.


Sunday hike.


This week we went to one of our favorite places to collect and forage.


Our first stop is always the apple trees. They weren't quite ready this time.


Jack was thrilled to find so many ferns. He has been learning a lot with Apologia Botany and has been having fun finding and identifying so many different types of plants.


Taking a break in the campground gazebo. Always a lovely spot to stop and watch for wildlife.


Taking a snack break on our favorite rock. It's fun to look back through the years and see how many pictures I have taken of the kids on this rock.


A short hike down to a little creek. We found lots of moss and the boys collected different samples to bring back for a project they are working on.



We were able to collect some prickly pear fruit for Jack, along with some pine cones and acorns.


After every hike this happens. The pup falls asleep in his arms. Too cute.

Thanks for being patient with me while I get back in the groove.

garden update 5/12


Part of the lettuce patch.  We plant lots of lettuce and basically use it as edible ground cover.  We have bermuda grass and if we plant anything else it helps cut down on the bermuda grass in the garden. Once the bermuda grass takes over it's pretty much a lost cause.  The great thing is I no longer have to buy lettuce we eat fresh. We can pick as much or as little as we want and we have all different varieties.


The peas are doing well so far. We planted early enough that they were able to get established before the heat started. They are scattered all through the garden and around the chicken coop, patio, and sunflowers- basically anywhere they would have something to climb, we planted them.  The peas are on right now.  While we are weeding we tend to grab a few to eat.  The kids also snack on them when they are out playing.


We have our first artichokes! This is our first time growing and getting artichokes. We are excited about this plant!


Our mammoth red clover is doing great. We have big patches of it in the vegetable garden. 


Our carpet roses have bloomed.  The hollyhocks are taking over and the milkweed is coming in strong.  I have a love hate relationship with hollyhocks. They are so pretty, until fall and then they are a pain.  They are our neighborhood weeds. Pretty yes, but prolific. They would take over the yard if we let them.


The milkweed is blooming and the bees are loving it.  I love going out in the evening and smelling the sweet scent of milkweed.

And we have lots of seedlings coming up.  Our main job right now seems to be thinning the sunflowers out to give everything else a chance. I pull about 100 or so a day. I figure if I do that now while it is cool, when it gets warm we will be left with the right amount. 



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.

This moment

Joining with Amanda


{this moment}

A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.



Fossil hunting

Yesterday, we had the opportunity to head out on an adventure with some of our friends. We visited two of my favorite places. The first was the fossilized oyster bed in The Grand Staircase National Monument.



The last time we were hear Jack was just a toddler. He has always been my rock guy so I knew he would love to visit here.


There are so many fossils out here, it really is amazing. 



The geology of the area was amazing.  Talisa is taking a geology class right now in college and it was great to have her along. She was able to explain some of the things we noticed.


We found this layer of coal. Which brought up all sorts of questions that we are looking in to.  It crumbled really easily, but the colors are a match to some  of the rock that my husband uses for flintknapping. 


After we had explored for a while, we headed over to the Paria Canyon. The colors in the canyon walls are amazing.


We found the cemetary.



Our last stop was the Paria River.  It is so beautiful here.






It was a beautiful day, spent with wonderful friends. Can't wait to do it again!


another hike

We've been taking advantage of the wonderful weather, hubby's time off, and a reasonable schedule this week to spend lots of time outdoors.  Today we went for a hike on top of the radio tower hill in the middle of town.


Our house is somewhere in the middle of that picture. See the snow? A month later and we still have snow? That is unheard of around here.  Also can you see how high we are? Yeah I had a hard time looking over that edge.




Looks like an altar of collected rubbish from the hill.





It was fun getting out with my boys again.

first time










It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
~Teddy Roosevelt

Scenes from the weekend.


A whole lot of yard work happening right now. 1/2 acre + sunflowers dying+multiple group activities happening at teh house this month+ a hot summer= lots of burning.


Harvesting from the garden. Peppers, eggplant, cherry tomatoes, birdhouse gourds, watermelon, cantaloupe, hot peppers.

A hike with my boys. We found some fall!





And on the same rock about five  years ago...




weekending 6/02

This weekend was a big one because it was Zac's birthday!  Park day Friday with the homeschool group and we stayed way too late into the evening. Saturday we went to breakfast, the rest of the family went to one of our favorite swimming holes and I stayed behind to relax out of the heat and cook dinner.   Then on Sunday we went to our favorite swimming pool in the county and spent the day with some friends.  Busy, exhausting and good.


Last week I spent the week in full decluttering and cleaning mode. Luckily, I was able to get quite a bit done. This week it is time to get down to the business of summer.

Here is the short list for the week:

  • summer science camp starts- we signed Jack up for a month long science class. 
  • gym time- the science class gives me time to workout
  • library time- it also puts us right next to the library three days a week which means the summer reading program and reading down our fines.
  • pool time- it also puts us at the pool three times a week. Bonus.
  • fencing- still going strong. Also this week is the awards ceremony from the region and a little party.
  • lacrosse party- maybe, possibly and most likely here. 
  • Job interviews for Alex. Wish her luck!

I will also be replanting some pots out front, which means time at the nursery! I am also hoping to do some baking to fill the freezer this week. It's getting warm out and baking in midsummer here can be hot! I am still working on getting our supplies and plan ready for next year and will have a post about that soon.

Hope you all have a good week!


scenes from the weekend 10/21

I am skipping a weekly wrap-up this week.  We only did school for three days and not that much was done. 


I pulled out some art supplies and Jack's eyes lit up.  Love that he wanted to do some fun stuff with mom.


And yes, art is often made on our floor.Especially when the table is covered with projects.

The boy and his cat.  Have I mentioned lately how much I love our cat?  Can't imagine not having her here. She is even getting a little better about being picked up.


Word on the street is primer by next weekend.  Squeee!


The crafts are starting to spill over to the back porch. Something needs to be done.

The boy, on the swing, reading a book.  I wish my eyesight was that good.

a little nature walk

Today we took advantage of a small window of time and went to one of our favorite parks for a little walk.

We did a little collecting along the way.

I don't know what is up with the shirt being unbuttoned, I think he must have been hot.  I took the camera and tried  working with a new setting.





It was only and hour, but it was needed. It has been another one of those weeks. The older kids have the next two days off school. We are planning to relax, enjoy some fall activities and get some much needed rest. And we are going back to the park!


scenes from the weekend 8/5

This weekend we took the opportunity of everyone having the day off and headed to one of our favorite spots.




"It's the biggest wish flower I've ever seen!"










We had a fun day. Great to be up in the mountains again.

On the list for this week:

  • science notebook and art portfolio for homeschool
  • finish up menu plan and do shopping that is needed.
  • start stocking freezer- school starts next week, time to do some baking and stock the freezer for quick breakfasts and snacks.
  • natural cleaner class- email supply lists, finish trying out recipes, and clean my house (it's a never ending project)
  • finish any school shopping
  • would love to fit in one last trip tot he mountains or to our favorite pool.

What is on your list?



These pictures are from yesterdays quick storm, but  we have had more today and for a longer period. Only now the rain is mixed with smoke and ash.  Yuck. Here's hoping for more rain than lightning and wind.


And of course with the coming of the first real rain in months(I'm sure it has been months if not longer), the little people all went and ran out in it. 

project learning


Look what I got in the mail this week. I haven't been so excited to read a book since the last Harry Potter came out.  I have had it for two days and I am almost finished, but I know I will be reading this over and over as I strive to really get how to incorporate project-based learning into our homeschool.

We just happened upon one such project today.


Yesterday, Jack was a bit bored and I was busy getting some projects done. I remembered that I had this science kit stashed away and pulled it out for him to work on. He really enjoyed it, especially the pulley. So we talked about pulley for a bit and he said he would like one for the tree house.


I told him I would be more than happy to provide the materials if he came up with the plan.  He researched tree house pulleys on the internet, looked at a bunch of pictures and then drew his plan. We went out in search of supplies. He was very specific with what he needed. When he did act stumped I tried to remember to ask him questions instead of giving him the solution.  It will be a learning experience for me to step back that much. :)


When we got home, he went right to work.  I was impressed. this is a kid who just started tying his shoe two months ago and there he was tying knots.

Once he had the pulley tied up, he measured the rope.


Then it was time to tie the hook on the end and clip on the bucket.


And then it was time to try it out.


Sorry for the sideways view, I always forget that you can't turn videos after they are filmed.

I think the best part of all of it was him beaming and telling everyone that he made the whole thing by himself.  we also have a lot of rope left over and I see a few more projects in our future.