Category Archives: PE and Outdoor Activity


Oh can it really be true? I sure hope it is! What a difference a few days make. Just a week ago, we were playing games indoors, and if we went outside we had to be bundled head to toe in our heaviest winter gear.

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But it was just too cold to stay out and play for long, and most of our free time was spent doing this:


and this:


and building this:

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and more of this:


Now this week the weather has improved and we can go outside with light jackets!  No more heavy coats!  We can enjoy the sunshine.  Spring has begun even though it’s official day isn’t until next week.   It is still a little chilly if the wind is blowing, but it is so beautiful and I love that there is more color than just white!



Even the chickens are happy!  They are scratching around in the yard looking for fresh sprouted grass and bugs.  Happy chickens makes me happy!


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Now if we want to play board games, we have the option to play them outside!


This mama is sooooo thankful for the sunshine and warmer temperatures, for spring and for happy kids!

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Let It Snow

It snowed off and on in Indiana for several weeks from October to mid December.  I enjoyed the snow, but not the ice that also accompanied it.   

In early to mid December, we had a beautiful few days of snow with accumulation. Then a week of rain and warmer temperatures, followed by a week of cold temperatures.  By Christmas all the snow (and ice) was gone.  

It is amazing how fast it changes! Everything is temporary.  How could our frozen landscape disappear?  I thought for sure we would have a white Christmas and the landscape would look like this until the spring thaw!  Who knew the spring thaw would happen a week before Christmas?  

While the beautiful snow lasted, the kids enjoyed sledding, exploring a frozen and fluffy landscape and the properties of snow, and building with the snow. 

They love to be outside, and they had a lot of fun playing in the snow.

For several days in a row they made giant size snow balls.  

And hauled snow on sleds over to where they were making a snow fort.  My eight year old son and six year old daughter joined as a team and made a snow fort out of hundreds of small snow balls stacked ontop of each other.  Then they used their gloves to shape the walls as they built them.  They ended up with four walls waist high when they were done.  I could not believe how well coordinated they were to build their fort.  Well done kiddos!

And another snow fort used a shovel, sled, and a plastic box to create snow bricks. 

One son took over where another one left off because he got too cold and went inside to warm up.    He scooped up snow with a snow shovel.  Then he packed and pressed the snow into the plastic box.  When he did this very far from the fort, he then used the sled to haul his box of snow back to the fort.  

Then dumped the pressed snow bricks onto the wall he was building.  He really enjoyed building with the snow.

If we get a chance to build snow bricks again, I think we will take squirt bottles with water and food coloring and spray the bricks different colors next time.  This was a fun building project.  I have challenged the bigger boys to try to engineer arches into their walls next time too.  We could also guestimate square footage and lineal footage too.

Both forts were fun to build and the kids put in lots of hard work to create them.   Both teams built a stack of snow balls for ammunition too.  They had a blast with their snow ball fights and hiding behind their fort walls.   However, the fun was short lived because after two days of building and playing, the freezing rain came and turned everything into a solid sheet of ice.  Their snow ball stashes became solid as rocks.  They made the mistake of throwing one of these at a sibling the next day, and it was so painful that no one had fun and they quickly came back inside.  The freezing rain gave way to just more rain and the temperatures warmed up and everything the kids had built soon disappeared.

About the same time the snow disappeared, the kids came down sick with a respiratory virus and it has been a rough three weeks so far, and it looks like there is a week yet to go.  It started with one child, and he seemed to be the only one with it for almost a week, then boom, one by one everyone else (except our daughter) came down with it.  Playing outside in the cold building their forts, and perhaps lowering their body temperature some and breathing all that cold air, may have made them more susceptible to the virus taking hold, but I don’t know.  We also have not had the protection of raw milk in our diet for several months, so I believe this has also lowered our immunity some.  Raw milk provides oligosaccharides that bind virus and bacteria and also natural vit D, vit C, CLA, vit K, and a whole bunch of other protective qualities.  We truly miss our raw milk and are looking forward to either getting a dairy cow, or finding a source for raw milk soon.  And since we are in a different state with different folks and different illnesses, it just seems our bodies need time to adjust too.  We also heard today that our state has some of the worst cases of the flu in the nation so far this winter.  

So for the past two weeks for all the kids, and three weeks for one of the boys, we have stayed bundled up inside, going through fevers, coughing, and very bored.   We have watched Christmas movies, played games, built with Legos, and read books an
d they are bored.  They miss playing outside.  The kids are begging for more snow and for their colds to go away so they can get back to playing.  Thankfully they had Christmas to look forward too and that kept us going with hope.  It seems to take a full two weeks of yucky symptoms to get on top of this illness.  Most of the children are over the worst part of the virus now except the oldest. The oldest son seems to have the worst case of it.  It is very hard for him to cough it out and he had the highest and longest days of fever than the rest.   As a parent, it hurts to watch your children suffer and go through illness.  I want to take the pain away for him.  
He started the symptoms exactly seven days ago, and I hope he shows improvement and gets better in the next few days.
Everyday the children anticipate more snow.  I have even heard a couple of them pray for snow.  I say “let it snow”, but please “don’t let it ice”!  

 “Let It Snow”.  
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Let’s Swim!

My kids are enjoying swimming this summer.  All four of the older children ages 6, 8, 10, and 13 can swim independantly.  Our daughter, the 6 year old, just joined the ranks of the independant swimmers this summer and she is having so much fun.  The younger two children ages 1 1/2 and 4 still need assistance and hold onto mommy or daddy while they are in the pool.

The kids learned to swim from the few times we have gone on vacation and swam in the hotel pool, and a few summers ago, they swam on vacation when they visited their aunt who had a backyard pool.  The older three boys spent a little time honing their swimming skills during our family fitness adventure at the YMCA last winter.  After we worked out, they would swim in the pool for 30 minutes to an hour once a week. Sometimes I joined them, and sometimes I skipped the pool and enjoyed the steam room instead.  The YMCA provides a lifeguard and will watch the children ages 7 and over if they know how to swim, so the parent can workout in the facility if desired. I never left them to workout, but I did watch them play in the pool from the glass windows of the steam room.   It was good to know they were safe, and could swim, and at the same time I could have some time to relax and detox in the steam room.  Though we all enjoy swimming, we are not very experienced swimmers, and there have been plenty of summers when we did not get to swim.

To be honest, before this summer, I probably would not have bought a swimming pool if given the choice to do so while my kids are little.  I have thought that perhaps I might have gotten them a pool when they are all older and strong swimmers, and if there were funds to do so. But I wouldn’t have considered it while the younger children are so little, because of safety issues, and the expense of having a pool. 

But when we moved to this homestead the end of May, we found a
n above ground pool that had been seriously neglected.  Though my husband had seen the homestead twice before moving, I had never seen it before.  That’s right folks.  I moved sight unseen!  Crazy?  Maybe! 

When I arrived with my 6 kids, my first question for my husband (as I held back more than a few tears about the condition of the delapadated house), was what in the world are we going to do with this? 

Well, my husband had a vision of our family using the pool to have a great summer. He had a vision for the potential of the homestead and everything that is here.  He just needs me to get the same vision too.  It took a lot of work, some pool supplies, and through due diligence, my husband was able to get the old delapidated above ground pool up and running and manifest it’s potential.   I hope the potential for the house manifests soon too!

My husband diligently cleaned the pool daily for two weeks before we could use it.  The bottom of the pool had two or three inches deep of decayed leaves, moss, and debri.   The water was brown and the bottom of the pool was brownish/greenish/black.  YUCK!

It also had a few holes in the liner that needed patched too. 

Slowly for an hour or more after work each day, my husband worked on cleaning the two or three inch thick slimy bottom of the pool.  He probably put in 15+ hours of vacuming and netting the water to remove the debri.  Day after day, the process repeated as he worked on the pool.  Honestly, his heart sank as he realized how bad it really was, and each hole in the liner he found, and new problems he would discover like a broken net, broken pool steps we can’t afford to fix, broken pump, etc.

I told him it would be easier to take down the pool as I was too worried about safety for the younger children.  I also told him if he was determined to keep this pool, it might be easier to drain the whole thing and clean it and refill it with clean water if he absolutely was determined to make this pool work.  But he assured me that he could make it like new, to trust him, and he kept working at it little by little. 

The first task was to replace the broken pump.  Then he added some pool chemicals and kept testing the water.  Then he kept straining, filtering, and vaccuming.  I don’t know how he had the patience to vaccume and use the hand net over and over.  He had to get out of the pool several times each time he used the vaccume to unplug the pump and clean out the lines.  He saw the potential for a fun adventure for our kids that I couldn’t see at the time. 

The pool deck needed several gaps in the lattice fence replaced.

The pool also needed a gate to protect the children from access to the pool. 

Be sure to read the story about the kids helping daddy build the gate.

The kids had fun learning carpentry skills, measuring lengths of boards with a measuring tape, marking lines with a carpentry pencil, sawing, and drilling screws with the cordless drill, while helping daddy build the gate. They had lots of opportunity for several weeks to practice patience as daddy worked to fix the pool.

“Can we swim?”  “Can we swim?”  The kids asked daily if the pool was ready, and if they could swim yet.  Day after day they watched daddy.  They helped too.  They ran the hose for him, or fetched the hand net, or whatever he needed. 

After much work cleaning and shocking the pool, several repairs to the liner, repairing the deck safety fense and railing, building a gate, and replacing the broken pump and filter system, the water is now crystal clear, and the bottom of the pool is ocean blue. 

“Yes, let’s swim!”  The kids let out the loudest “Horay” w
hen daddy told them the pool was ready and it was time to swim.

The pool is now running smoothly and we have enjoyed it almost everyday.  How did he see the potential of this old pool?  How did he know it would turn out this clean and inviting?  I don’t know, but we are so glad he did! 

This pool has been a great summer adventure for us.  We have enjoyed swimming in the backyard.  We can hear the birds, crickets, and cicadas singing praises to God while we enjoy splashing, swimming, and playing in the pool. 

I want to say a BIG THANK YOU to my husband’s sister.  Swimming in the pool this summer would not have happened without her help too.  My husband spoke with his sister by phone several times about what to do to care for the pool, how to clean it, repair it, etc. as we have never cared for a pool before.  She walked him through step by step of everything to do from cleaning to how much pool chemicals to use and how to take water samples and check for safety.  She also sent the supplies needed to care for it.  Caring for a pool was not in our budget this summer, so it would not have been possible without her advice, encouragement, and generous gift.

We were certainly blessed!  Her gift seems to keep giving and giving as summer progresses on.  The kids love swimming in the pool.

The old farmhouse is hot this summer.  It was very hot for several weeks in a row, and we still have a lot of summer to go!  Somedays, I didn’t think I could bear another minute of the heat and the sweat running down my neck and back and I don’t dare heat up the oven to bake a meal for fear it will raise the tempeture in the house even more.  

This pool is a great fitness activity we can all do together, and it has been a good way for our family to cool down in the evenings.  We have swam a few times during midday, but usually we wait until about 6pm or so when the sun goes behind the trees, but we still have about 3 hours of daylight to swim and play.  Then we don’t have to worry about sunburns too.   

As a Coppertone Water Mom, we have lots of Coppertone Water Babies Tear Free Sunscreen Lotion on hand to use on sunny days if we want to swim when the sun is higher too.  We take it with us everywhere.  We use it when we play at the park, visit the zoo, the lake, when we swim, and go on other outings during the day.  It works really well.

But most of the summer so far, we choose to swim later in the day. The kids think it takes forever for evening time to come, and I agree with them.  Summer days are long!  But thankfully, the evenings are long too.  It doesn’t get dark here in Indiana until 9:30 at night during the summer, so the kids have plenty of time to swim in the evenings. They also sleep better.  Swimming helps use up their energy, and makes them more tired at bedtime, their bodies are cooled down and they handle the heat of the house and sleeping much better after swimming in the evening.

I am so blessed!  WE ARE SO BLESSED!  I am so thankful that this pool was fixable, that my sister-in-law sent advice and supplies, that my husband was willing to work so hard to fix the pool, for all six of my great kids, and for long Indiana summer days.  My family is on vacation in our own backyard, swimming in our own pool, and they are having so much fun! 

Let’s SWIM! 

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Blueberry Festival

The Blueberry Festival in Greenville South Carolina is a wonderful family activity.  This event is hosted at the Roper Mountain Science Center on the second Saturday in July.

Instead of taking the bus after parking the car, we opted for the long hike!  Good for us you know, to get out and walk.  We live an hour’s drive away so it felt good to walk after riding in the car for the past hour.  But they do offer a shuttle service if you want to use it.  This is a huge campus to walk, check out this map and you will see what I mean.


During the festival, venders were available on site selling fresh blueberries, blueberry plants, and various blueberry theamed items. There were also lots of learning opportunities for the kids to learn more about blueberries, science, and history in the various science buildings and outside in the Living History Farm.  More about these adventures will be posted in part 2.

All of the blueberry plants for sale were loaded with sweet juicy berries.  I love to show the children the plants that produce our food.  This was a good opportunity to see the plants up close.  I only wish I had an unlimited supply of funds to buy lots of these wonderful plants and bring them home and plant them in our yard!  Plants that provide nourishing food year after year in your own yard is a win win situation!

At the festival we met lots of venders with fresh picked blueberries for sale.  Some of these venders we have met in previous years at the festival and some were new this year.   You could find ripe juicy blueberries for sale by the pint basket, half gallon basket, and gallon bucket.

Gentry Farms had huge gallon buckets for sale of fresh berries. 

Marvelous Pies had fresh baked and unbaked pies for sale.  We bought one last year and it was delicious.  We were really hoping she would be here again this year.  Sure enough, she was here with lots of marvelous blueberry pies! 


Several venders offer free samples of blueberries and various products made with blueberries.  My children were happy to assist in sampling the blueberries!

Happy Berry Farms had fresh blueberries and several flavors of jams on hand.


One of our favorite bakeries was here again this year.  Great Harvest Bakery seems to have just about anything your hearts desires when it comes to baked goods.  They are so fresh and delicious. 


Last year we had purchased blueberry lemon bread and we were hoping they would be here again with this vender would be here again with their delicious breads.  Yes indeed!  They had way too many breads, muffins, scones, and deserts to choose from.


Check out this video about Great Harvest Bakery in Greenville South Carolina.

You can pick anything you want to sample, and believe me, a sample is a huge slice of heaven on earth!  They are not stingy when it comes to samples.  And you are welcome to have more than one.  We tried cinnamon breakfast bread with butter and with blueberry jam!  Oooh it is so good!


Blueberry swirl bread, spread with more blueberry jam was delicious too.


Whole Foods also had a delicious cooking workshop, and fresh locally grown South Carolina organic blueberries and homemade blueberry sausage balls and South Carolina grown maple syrup for dipping.  YUM!


There were more venders selling ice cream, homemade soaps, lotions, fresh honey, and various other items.  They also host venders selling fresh locally raised organic and grass fed meats too.  


Bluegrass music played through out the festival.  

Living History Farm

We love visiting the farm at RMSC.  It is alive with characters in costumes re-enacting life from the past.  Most of the farm portrays what life was like in the 1800’s.

We enjoyed walking into each of the historic log cabins and learning how people lived 200 years or so ago, what toys they played with, how they ate, cooked, hunted, gardened, read, built, slept, and so on. 


There really is a lot to see and do.  It is a wonderful family adventure!

I will post more about the Blueberry Festival in a future post and link Part 2 back here.  If you are near Greenville South Carolina during the 2 weekend of July, be sure to spend your Saturday morning over at Roper Mountain Science Center

If you would like to check out more family adventures our family has enjoyed at RMSC, please read the posts listed here.

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Cold Water

Cold Water In The Ground

This was a new learning adventure for my children.  We filled our empty bottles with fresh cold water that was pouring out from the ground. 

Why? Why would we fill water bottles with water from underground?

Because we were thirsty. 

We had explored the history and features of the park and played in the hot sun.  Now we were thirsty, very very thirsty.  Our water bottles were empty.  We needed water!

The water was fresh and vibrant in our mouth!  It was noticeably different from regular bottled water, and different from tap water.  

There was something very special about this water.  It was life giving.  You could taste the gift of life in the water.  It danced on your tongue.  The water was thirst quenching.

There along the road and a crystal clear creek, was a lovely cobblestone bridge.  On both sides of the bridge were places to fill your bottles / containers with fresh water. 

We met other travelers on the journey who stopped to fill their containers too. 
We actually stood in a line for a few minutes while other travelers filled their containers.  It gave us time to visit with them.  Their boxes were full of empty bottles, perhaps as many as 30 gallon bottles. With precision, efficiency, and experience, we watched the man ahead of us fill each bottle.  


He told us he has been filling 25 to 30 one gallon bottles with this fresh spring water for at least the past 6 years. His wife had grown up filling containers at this spring and it was a tradition they continued when they married.  He said it saves him a lot of money and tastes better than using the bottled water from the store.  He said it was quiet today, and he was glad for it as he usually has to wait in a long line before getting to fill his bottles.  Many people know of the health value, and come here to get this fresh spring water for their families.

The spring water is flowing from what is called an artesian well.  It is a an underground aquifer (a storage / collection area of water in the earth), and it has enough pressure that when you bore a pipe into it, it forces the water up through the pipe right out of the ground.  The water is clean, and cold at around 53 to 54 degrees fahrenheit.

You can read about the history of Richmond, IN and Wayne County for more information.

Check out these old postcards of the park and more details about the spring water here.

Further The Learning

I thought it would be fun to learn about springs, artesian wells, and water purity as a family learning adventure.  Here are a few resources my kids and I are enjoying.

Diagram of an artesian well.  The water coming out of the well is under pressure.  The pressure is caused by surrounding rock, soil, and clay, and because the water level in the aquifer is higher, or the saturation point is higher, than the opening or “head” of the well.

Artesian Well 
                                                                                                   image source

Why does fresh spring water taste better?
Well everybody’s tastes are different, but most people prefer the taste of fresh spring water.  I believe it is because it has a lot of dissolved minerals and it is oxygenated.  In addition to minerals that help with the taste, it also has more oxygen than other water we usually drink.  It is being stirred up as it travels up through the ground and pressure of the water mixes with air and increases the oxygen in the water.  Our bodies love oxygen.  Our bodies, and taste buds, like oxygenated mineral water.

Why is the water cold?
Ground water is insulated by rocks and soil from the earth’s surface temperature.  Therefore the temperature of most aquifers is approximately 50 +/- degrees fahrenheit. However there is some variations to this.  

Science Learning With Water

Fun Activity: Take an 3 empty containers, and in one fill with flowing spring water and check its temperature with a thermometer, in another fill with surface water from a creek, in another container fill with surface water from a pond or lake.  Compare the temperatures of the three different sources of water.  Which one is colder?  Which one is warmer? 

Pour each of the three water samples into a separate coffee filter.  What can you observe with your eyes?  Look at each coffee filter or a slide prepared with a water sample under a microscope.  What do you see?  Record your observations for each water sample.

Create your own water cycle.

Create your own water shed .

Create your own water aquifer in a tank.

Water Science, Math, Lapbooks, Unit Studies, and Literature Activities on my Pinterest Board Water Science and Activities.

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Boats, Birds, and Clams, OH MY!

This week we did a family fitness activity at a local park called Lake Julian.   In addition to a lake, it has a boat marina, a sail boat club, a rowing club, a playground, picnic shelters, and lots of wooded and natural areas to explore.  We visit this park several times through out the year because there is so much to see and do here.  It is a great place to observe the seasonal changes too.  Besides family time together, it is a fun place to explore natural science.

It was a beautiful day with bright sunshine and with a slight chill in the air.  There were a dozen or more fishing boats on the water. 

The kids and I spoke with one of the fishermen as he slowed his boat down not far off shore.  He was using a paddle to check the depth of the water in the shallow areas and checking out his trolling motor and gear.  We inquired about how the fishing was going.  He said he had not caught anything yet.


There were lots of sail boats on the water too.  The other side of the lake had more sail boats than I could count.  They looked so beautiful.  Their large white sails were such a contrast against the winter backdrop of “hibernating” trees and the blue water of the lake.  It was amazing to watch the sails catch the wind and push the boats along in the water. 

We spent some time feeding and observing the birds on the water.  There were several varieties of ducks, geese, and sea gulls.  The kids noticed that like the fishing boats and sail boats, ducks and geese can float on the water. They use their feet like the boat propeller to push themselves along in the water. Birds can take flight and sailboats do not fly, but there are similarities in both the sails and wings. The wings are similar to the sails on a sailboat because they can open and close and catch the wind to glide along. 

The sea gulls were very competitive with the ducks and geese.  They had a distinct advantage of speed and craftiness.  They would fly high in the air, swoop down fast to the water and steel the food away from the ducks and geese.  The kids remarked how the sea gulls could fly both quickly and slowly depending on how they held out their wings and the placement of their feet.  They are true pirates of the air and water.

We had so much fun feeding and watching the birds on the lake.


Then being the hands on young scientists we are, we had a great time exploring near the shore.  We walked quite a distance of shore line, noticing small changes, observing the water, rocks, waves, plants, wind, and various birds.


The kids hoped to find small fish and crayfish.  They used a small stick to poke around small pools near rocks.  They lifted a few rocks to see if they could entice a crayfish out of hiding.

We did not find crayfish today, and we only saw one small fish.  We hypothesized (guessed) that we did not see lots of small fish, because it is not yet spawning season.  The fish count in the lake may be low this time of year, and most of the small fish may have been eaten through the winter months by the bigger fish and birds.

We did however find lots of other treasures.   We found moss growing on rocks.  And feathers left by the birds. We found some goose poop too (no picture).  The kids were fascinated with different rocks and the contrasting soft texture of the feathers.


Check out these fresh water clam shells.  Some of the shells were separated from each other and laying side by side in the water, and some others we found in the water were still attached to each other.  


The kids wanted to know what the animal that lives inside of the shell looks like.  They also wanted to know where the clams went and why these shells were left behind? So we decided we would investigate more about fresh water clams when we returned home.


We observed the ducks feeding on fish and plants.  They bent forward and dipped their heads and upper bodies under water to reach for food. This also gave the children a closer view of the ducks webbed feet they use for swimming. 

The mallard ducks were a little pre-occupied with competing for a mate to care about the children throwing out bread to them, or the sea gulls stealing the bread.  The geese and the wood
ducks were obviously offended by the sea gulls and squawked at them when they swooped in. There were hundreds of birds on the lake today. Aren’t these ducks gorgeous?

For More Information About Fresh Water Clams:
Definitions, classifications, and pictures
                Fact Sheet
                Coloring Pages

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Summer Rain

Summer Rain

It has been hot and humid this summer. We have had lots of rain too. Some predictable adn some unpredictable rain. We make plans to go to the park and boom, a thunder cloud erupts and we have to change plans. Then on days we are told it will for sure rain, we wait, and wait, and postpone other activities, and nothing, nada, zip for hours and hours!

What do we do when it is predicted to rain with 80% chance and over 90+% humidity? The air becomes so heavy and it is very uncomfortable to be outside when it is like this. But we make the most of it and spend the day outside anyway on our front porch.

A few weeks ago, I started writing about this post about the rainy summer weather we have been having. One day when we got up, it had rained all night. The yard was drenched . The sidewalk and driveway was wet. A friend emailed us and said the park was soaked too. So we canceled our park outing and picnic.

The kids often enjoy watching and playing in the rain. So in anticipation of more rain today, we set up a table on the porch to do some activities waiting for the storm to arrive and to pass. But
every cloud that rose up, seemed to just decided to go out and around us at the last minute.  The rain cloud teased us. It taunted us.  It was rainning at the park, rain was on the radar, but there was no rain on the house and yard.

Playdough was a fun way to take our mind off of the waiting.  We also invited neighbor friends to join us.  We have practically spent the entire summer playing daily with the neighbor kids.  All of these kids were silly for hours. Then we ate lunch and played some more silly games, waiting, and watching for the rain.  We could hear thunder, and see lightning in the distance.  So we waited some more.

Finally, after hours of play and waiting, the rains began. It was inevitable. It was refreshing. We enjoyed watching it rain.

The baby was super excited to have a front row seat. Pitter patter, pitter patter, the rain dripped and dropped and splashed all around the house and yard.

Despite the warm temperatures, the children ran inside and put on jackets to keep the rain off of them while they colored pictures in the rain.

They often get to play out in the rain, even dance in the rain, but not if there is lightning.  If it is a thunderstorm then they have to stay on the porch or in the house until it passes. Today they begged to stay outside, so playing with playdough, eating lunch, and coloring on the porch was a good way to pass the time and enjoy the rain at the same time.

More Rain In The Forecast

Today is another one of these summer rain days. The neighbor kids have been here most of the day. We’ve played restraunt, we have made note books with construction paper, writing paper, paper cutter, scissors, stickers, and staples. We have drawn and decorated our notebooks. We have played house with babydolls. We have played cars with toy cars. We have written with chalk on the chalk board.  Then we ate lunch of homemade pizzas and chocolate milk.

The kids have been waiting. They have been anticipating it all day. They know soon it is going to rain.

The storm is on it’s way. This mom is tired and tuckered out. It has been a long, hot, and humid day. We had three or four of these days last week, and this is day three so far this week. The clouds are getting darker. The radar is showing rain and storms in the area, though it is still dry outside.  The toys are scatterer all over the porch and yard, the children are trying to get in as much playtime as they can before the storm hits.  They know it is about to happen. The kids are anticipating……RAIN.

As I write this, the rain has begun. The kids are so excited. The neighbor kids are just as excited too and they are playing on the porch, and dancing out in the summer rain.

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Sunprint Fabric Squares

We hosted a fun Solar Science Workshop in the park in July.  The was one of my favorite workshops we did this year. It was jam packed with so much learning fun.  Be sure to read about other workshops we have enjoyed this year and all the fun learning adventures we have been doing at Take Action Tuesday.

Our Solar Workshop contained learning activities about the Sun and Solar Power. 
This Solar Workshop story will be posted in two parts:

                Solar Science Workshop Part One: Sunprint Fabric Squares

                Solar Science Workshop Part Two:  Solar Ovens and Solar Power.


you heard of Sunprint Fabric? 

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It is a special fabric that captures the energy of the sun to make a “reverse” photograph.   It comes in craft kits and is fun for both kids and adults.  This learning project targets NAEYC Curriculum Area for Cognitive Development: Creative Expression and Appreciation for the Arts.

To make this craft, it is a simple process of gathering items you would like to photograph, placing them on the Sunprint Fabric, placing all of this in the sun, waiting 15 minutes, rinsing the fabric in cold water, and letting it dry.

The fabric starts out a green color, but after it is exposed to the sun, it turns blue.  Once you have rinsed it, the area that was covered by the object you placed on it turns white.  It is like a white shadow of the object.  Any of the material exposed to the sun becomes blue, but material not exposed becomes white, thereby making a shadow type of photograph of the object that was placed on it.

You can place just about any object you want onto the fabric as long as it lays flat and makes contact with the material to block the sunlight from getting to the material.

I brought a huge box of random toys for the kids to choose items from, and some of the kids gathered items they found in the park too including plants (flowers and leaves from weeds in the grass), wooden sticks, and rocks.

Each person made their own personal art with items they put together.

After 15 minutes in the sun, the kids rinsed their fabric in cold water.


Then laid them out to dry.  As the fabric dries, their art appears.  It was amazing to see these green squares of fabric transform into blue and white works of art.

On a recent trip to Roper Mountain Science Center in Greenville, SC my family enjoyed looking at several beautiful quilts made using the sun printing process. 

These quilts were beautiful and the details of the photographs on the fabric were amazing.  You could see lots of details in each one. 

I encouraged the kids at our Solar Science Workshop to take their finished Sunprint Fabric Squares home and frame them for their wall, or turn it into a pillow or something they can enjoy for years to come just like these quilts we saw at the museum.  Other ideas are to sew several together to make a collage, a beautiful quilt, a curtain, or sew one square onto a shirt, etc.  These would make wonderful personalized Christmas gifts to give to grandparents from their grandchildren.  So many great things these can be used to decorate with and learn about science and art too.

Sunprint products come in both fabric and paper kits and are available at Discount School Supply online store.  You can buy the kits in different sizes.  The 25 pack of Sunprint Fabric Squares retails for $20.99   The 12 pack of Sunprint Paper Kit retails for $7.44 and they have a large 12 pack of Sunprint Paper in a kit that retails for $12.99.  They offer free shipping on orders over $79. 

We had such a fun time creating these special works of
art and learning about the power of the sun.  The Sunprint Fabric Squares were a perfect art / science craft to do with the kids for this workshop.  I want to thank Discount School Supply for asking us to review this craft project.

                                                 Arts & Crafts on Any Budget! 

Disclaimer: I received the product mentioned above in exchange for writing an honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own honest opinion.

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Snikiddy and the Snack Lab

I hosted an outdoor learning program in the park this past week.  Homeschool families joined me and we had a science program and food tasting lab we called the “Snack Lab”. 

The main goal was to help kids identify healthy snack choices.  But we also had a fun adventure learning about our taste buds and sampling sweet, sour, bitter, and salty food options.  We also did a product sampling and giveaway of Snikiddy All Natural snacks.

The kids spent some time answering questions and sharing about their favorite snacks.  They learned to identify their personal favorite combinations: salty and crunchy, sweet and juicy, sweet and crunchy, sour, etc. 

Then we discussed some healthy and not so healthy snack choices.  Using lots of plastic toy foods, we grouped the healthy choices and not healthy choices on different plates.  We discussed why some foods are healthy snack choices: nutrients including vitamins and minerals, enzymes, antioxidants, good fats, and proteins.  We also discussed why some foods are bad snack choices: artificial colors, too much sugar, bad fats and hydrogenated oils, and artificial ingredients. 


Then the kids took turns trying out several different healthy food choices that met these different criteria: sweet, sour, bitter, salty, crunchy, soft, juicy, etc.  After tasting the food, the children identified and described what they were tasting. 

Bell peppers were bitter and crunchy.

Lemons and Limes were sour and juicy.


Grapes were sweet and juicy, carrots were sweet and crunchy, and so on.  The kids tried out several fresh snacks.  However, I forgot to cut up the apples, even though I brought several apples with me and a cutting board and knife along.  I just ran out of time and forgot to do it.  Sometimes the pollen in the air makes me feel like my head is in a cloud!

We discussed several more fruits and vegetables and protein snacks that we did not have on hand, but would make good snack options too, like fresh broccoli, celery, cauliflower, strawberries, blueberries, peaches, bananas, cheese and crackers, and so on.  Most kids said apples were their favorite fresh food snack. (go figure, the one choice I didn’t serve them, but they saw it on the plate, sorry guys!).

Next we sampled some varieties of salty and crunchy snacks.  We discussed lots of options like popcorn, nuts, crackers, pretzels and various chips too.  Most kids said either popcorn or pretzels were their favorite salty and crunchy snack.

On each plate the kids tasted Snikiddy All Natural snacks. We were sent five different bags to try.  The variety included: Baked Fries: Sea Salt, Barbecue, and Cheddar Cheese; Cheese Puffs: Grilled Cheese ; and Eat Your Vegetables: Sour Cream and Onion.  

Snikiddy All Natural snacks are made with healthy wholesome ingredients, are gluten free, wheat free, preservative free, no corn syrup, no hydrogenated oils, and have no artificial colors or flavors.  You can read about the ingredients on the links posted above. 
From the Snikiddy website: “ …Snikiddy® creates products for families actively looking for healthier foods that satisfy their snack cravings. The Snikiddy brand is a portfolio of better for you snacks that are simple, wholesome real products for families.


After the tasting lab, the kids and some of the parents took a snack survey.  I came up with the questions myself and printed them out on paper.  I cut the sheets of paper into 10 rectangles a little bigger than buisiness card size.  This way I could fit 50 surveys on 5 sheets of paper.  It was much cheaper to print this way than print out 50 sheets of paper. 

They answered these questions on the survey:

    1. Do you eat snacks? 
         a) Yes  b) no

    2. Which answer is a snack? 
         a) apple  b) popcorn  c) chips  d) all

    3. What is your favorite salty snack?

    4. Which Snikiddy All Natural snacks were your favorite?
        a) Baked Fries: Sea Salt , Cheddar, Barbecue
        b) Cheese Puffs: Grilled Cheese
        c) Eat Your Vegetables: Sour Cream and Onion


Four of the parents helped me serve the kids all of the various snacks and take the survey.  After the tasting lab, they went to each child and took down their personal answers on the survey forms.  The parents squatted down like you see in the pictures at eye level with the kids and got their honest open opinions.  This was such a big help, as it a
llowed me to focus on teaching the kids and taking pictures. 

I love homeschool families and their servant attitude.  Truly these families encourage me to do more and more, reach my full potential, accomplish my goals, and be the best I can be.  You know they are teaching all these kids the same thing too.  Wow, all these kids reaching their goals and full potentials, awesome!  All this encouragement and support makes teaching the kids absolutely fun!  I just want to say a big “Thank You!”  I just love everyone of them!

After our sampling and survey of the Snikiddy snack foods, the kids and parents were free to eat as much of the various snacks as they wanted.  Oh, it was so yummy, and there was plenty to eat today. They ate everything except the bell peppers. 

The kids also made a snack bag / goodie bag craft to take home bags of Snikiddy snacks.   I supplied them with various craft supplies and they could decorate their snack bag anyway they wanted with crayons, colored pencils, and cut outs. 


After our craft, we filled their snack bags with Snikiddy All Natural snack bags.  This was such a treat to take home.   Then we drew names for giveaways.  Some kids won large boxes full of Snikiddy snack foods. Wow!


Some kids won Snikiddy Art Kits.  These kits are wonderful and fit nicely in a backpack, purse, or desk.  They contained 8 pastels, 12 crayons, and 8 colored pencils all in a handy plastic organizer kit for crafting lots of arts and crafts.


There were way to many pictures from today to share them all with you.  But as you can see, we learned allot about nutrition and healthy snack choices, science with our taste buds, and we had a lot of learning fun! 

Everyone loved the Snikiddy snacks.  When it came to picking favorites, the most favorite by far was the Grilled Cheese Puffs.  All of the parents also enjoyed the Snikiddy snacks and several asked where they could buy them for their kids.  I am glad to share this information, because these snacks really are delicious, kids love them, and many families with allergies or on special diets can eat them. 

Snikiddy is available for purchase in lots of stores and online.  Check out the Snikiddy website to find a retailer near you.  They also offer a free coupon at the top of the product page. 

Snikiddy also offers contests and giveaways.  Right now they have a Summer Escapes Sweepstakes going on.  Stop over to and enter their contests for a chance to win great prizes!

Disclaimer:  I was sent the product mentioned above in exchange for writing an honest review.  All opinions expressed are my personal opinions, and I also gathered opinions from the folks I shared the product with and expressed them in this review as well.

This post will be linked up with:
No Time For Flash Cards
Science Sunday
Sharing Time
Raising Homemakers


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Picnic In The Park

Sunny and 80 degrees.  What better weather can you ask for when hosting a picnic in the park?   My kids get so excited about spending time in the park eating and playing.  They are really excited today because daddy and lots of our friends are joining us too.

We invited local homeschoolers to join us for a fun time of fellowship, food, and playing in the park.  It was an awesome turnout with 41 homeschoolers spending time together.

Fellowship is one of the sweet rewards of homeschooling, time for each other, time for building relationships, and time to enjoy time!  Time is usually something we “modern” humans are short on.  Isn’t it special to have enough time to enjoy life?    

Everyone brought a delicious variety of foods to share.  We had lots of lunch meat sandwiches, tuna salad & crackers, pizza, vegetable sticks (carrot, celery), fruits (honey dew, cantaloupe, blueberries, grapes, pineapple, granny smith apples, red delicious apples), no bake chocolate peanut butter oatmeal cookies, several kinds of chips, water, juice, and soda to drink, etc.  It was a feast!

But what they brought most importantly was each other! 

And some very hungry kids!

I just love to see their excitement.  It gets me excited!  Oh, to be a kid again!

As each family arrived, parents were asked to sign and then fold pieces of paper with their own names and their kids names on them for door prizes. 


They placed the folded papers into recycled jars labeled either “parent names” or “kid names”.  Then after we ate, we drew names from each jar for prize giveaways.

We were able to give away parent door prizes and kid door prizes today, thanks to my sweet husband who took me shopping over the weekend to find some fun stuff to give away.  We went to Whole Foods health food store and bought these healthy all natural items to give away for parent prizes!    All natural cheese puffs, juice spritzers, and chai tea.

When we got home from the first trip, my husband went out again to the local toy store and bought 2 frisbees, and 8 packs of bubbles to give away for the kid prizes! 

The kids and parents were thrilled to hear their name called!  I captured of few of them on camera.  I had the most fun handing out the prizes and seeing their smiling faces! 


Not only did we have fun eating and fellowshipping together, we also had fun playing together too.  Playing together results in some fun socialization and physical education (PE) time.

Here are a few snapshots from the fun.  I always take way to many pictures and I have a hard time picking just a few pictures to share with you.

Playing on the playground:




And we ended up with a frisbee on the roof of the picnic shelter.  We got it back thanks to a brave father and son duo willing to “scale the tall building roof in a single bound”! 


Bean Bag Toss:

Hide & Seek:


And we took a nature walk around the walking paths to see what flowers were blooming, and other interesting things to see in the park.  We saw some squirrels in a tree, bees buzzing around, and some ants on picnic tables.  We saw lots of interesting trees and flowers too.

Science Challenge

Name these plants found in the park today.  Please leave your answers in the comment area below, thank you.


      Thank you Lord for such a beautiful day!

This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

This post will be linked up with
No Time For Flash Cards
Science Sunday
ABC and 123
Raising Homemakers
Sharing Time

Please share.