2

May

Wild Things in April

Tadpole hunt

(1)

tadpole

(2)

old path:new path

(3)

false rue anemone

(4)

spring beauty

(5)

trout lily

(6)

wildflowers in april

(7)

first snail sighting

(8)

more tadpoles

(9)

april showers

(10)

Wandering woods

(11)

garden friend

(12)

House finch nest

(13)

Images from top to bottom:
1. Tadepole hunt
2. Big ol’ tadpole
3. Old path/New path
4. False rue anemone
5. Spring beauty
6. yer majesty, Queen Trout lily
7. Wildflower sketches
8. First snail sighting
9. More tadpoles
10. April Showers
11. Wandering in the woods
12. Garden friend
13. House finch nest

Spring came early this year. Water spots are filled with tadpoles. The wildflowers in the woods have come and gone. The prairies are pregnant with new wild blooms waiting to burst.

A pair of House finches have taken residence on our porch. The other morning I checked on their nest and found this– Five perfect palest, pale blue eggs. I’m not sure why at first I was surprised by this. Birds lay eggs. That’s what birds do in nests they build. But it seems personal, sacred almost. I named the parents Lord and Lady Carmine (I’m embarrassed to say I’m going through a historical romance novel phase.) We have a basket stocked with nest materials for the birds that sits on the porch near bird seed, and I see our Lady Carmine made use of many of those items to make her nest- Dried plants and roots, broom pieces, hair, and jewelry box fluff. I wonder how many other nests near our home have materials from our basket? The best part of hosting our porch guests is listening to Lord Carmine sing to Lady Carmine each morning while she warms her clutch. They’ll be hatchings any day now. So much anticipation comes with this season. I felt the same feeling when I peered into our garden bed today and found the smallest sprout pushing past the damp soil. Once again, I know this is what happens when a seed has water and sunlight, yet it continues to be exciting and extraordinary.

Dawn from Mud Puddles and Meteors started posting gratitudes on her Instagram feed and I would like to follow suit on these monthly recaps. There was much to be thankful for this past month.

APRIL GRADITUDES 
Feeling the dirt between my toes
Squirmy tadpoles
Soft rain
Lady Carmine’s nest
Lord Carmine’s song
New beginnings

Yesterdays as amateur naturalists. For new adventures follow along on Instagram. What are you looking forward to in May? For me, it’s the first bite into a sun-warmed strawberry straight from the farmer’s field.

 

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14

Apr

Abracadabra, It’s Spring + Magic Wand Craft

Abracadabra, It's Spring and DIY Magic Wand Craft

Spring is a magical season– Every day reveals a new sight to be seen. Abracadabra, It’s Spring! by Anne Sibley O’Brien, illustrated by Susan Gal (public library) highlights these changes in a playful picture book about the exciting surprises of springtime. With rhyming text, each foldout page is a transition from winter to spring using popular magical phrases. “Sunshine warms a patch of snow. Hocus-pocus! Where did it go?”

Abracadabra It's Spring

Abracadabra it's spring 1

Abracadabra, It's Spring

Abracadabra, It's Spring 1

New blooms, cocoons, the return of birds singing, and the delight of running barefoot outside– This vibrant book is full of the wonders of the season. One thing I would like to note is that if you’re a teacher or librarian and plan on reading this book to a group of kids, you might want to practice saying the magic words. Some expressions like “Alizebu” may or may not be familiar to you. That one was new to me! Nature is a magnificent show if you take time to notice and Abracadabra, It’s Spring! highlights the prelude of spring magnificently.

 

Magic Wand Craft

Abracadabra, It's Spring + DIY Magic Wand for kids

After enjoying Abracadabra, It’s Spring!, try making some springtime magic of your own and explore the wonders of the season with a magical spring wand! Adding a seasonal twist to this project from Interaction Imagination, making wands from found sticks is a fun way to explore the surprises of springtime by looking closely and observing the differences in the environment. Some of the changes are quick and happen right before your eyes!

DIY magic stick wand 1

This craft takes maybe 10 minutes tops from start to finish not including drying time and uses materials you might already have laying around the house and in your neighborhood.

MATERIALS

  • Found sticks from outside
  • Small cups (we used old yogurt containers)
  • White school glue
  • Glitter

DIY magic stick wand 2

DIY magic stick wand 3

Pour some glue into one small container and pour glitter in the other container. The amount you use will depend on how many kids will be doing the project, but for making one wand you’ll only need a small amount of glue and several pinches of glitter.

DIY magic stick wand 4

DIY magic stick wand 5

DIY magic stick wand 6

Take a stick and dip the tip of the stick into the glue and coating the tip. Then dip the coated tip of the stick in the glitter and swoosh it around so that the glue is entirely covered in glitter. Leave to dry for 30 minutes and you now have a magic wand!

DIY Magic Stick wand 7

Once your wand has dried, now it’s time to take it outside for a magical spring scavenger hunt! Take a walk in a natural place that is familiar like a backyard or a park you visit regularly. Ask your child/children to use their wands to point out any new signs of spring with their wands that they didn’t notice before. They can even pretend with their magic wands, saying the incantations used in the book and pointing to signs of spring as if they were spring fairies or nature wizards causing these incredible events to happen.

spring craft for kids

Magic Spring Wand

Spring Wand

Magic Spring Wand Craft

Abracadabra, It’s Spring!

I’m already looking forward to the followup title Hocus Pocus, It’s Fall!which will be released this summer. For more books about spring, checkout this list of favorite springtime kids’s books.

 

 

**Review copy of this books was provided by the generous folks at Abrams Appleseed

10

Apr

Our Newest Family Members– Chicks!

gold comet chick

our newest chick family members

Meet our sweet, little puff balls of love. Two weeks ago, we made a trip to pick up four day-old chicks from a local farmer and boy, oh boy, are we smitten chicken owners already. They’re growing fast and we’re already seeing glimpses of their personalities. Over the past several years, my partner and I have been talking about raising chickens and finally decided to go for it. Originally, we were waiting to own chickens until we were living in our forever-home, but that may take awhile. There’s no time like the present, am I right?

The kids have been terrific with the chicks. On the way to pick them up, the the girls and I were giddy (and I was a teeny bit nervous), but so far it has been going well. Mira really loves ducks, and I did debate getting a couple ducklings as well but in the end decided chicks were enough for now, especially since we have no idea how to raise poultry. Lorelei is eager each morning to clean the brooder, spend time with them during the day, keep an eye on their water and food, and clean the brooder again at night before bed. We have quite a few chicken books in our personal library that we read often, but one that really struck a chord with Lorelei this past fall. Sonya’s Chickens by Phoebe Wahl. Just like Sonya in the story, Lorelei repeatedly tells her chicks, “I’ll be our mama.” That book actually played a big part in our decision to start raising chickens this year.

DIY brooder for chicks

plastic bin brooder

Our brooder is a used plastic tub and an old window screen purchased from the Restore for $1.50. The screen is bungeed onto the tub, which is lined with newspaper and several inches of pine shavings. We have two cats that would probably love more than anything to have a chick sandwich for lunch, so the screen is a must. An inferred heat lamp is perched to a chair and bungeed for safety and that’s our makeshift brooder set up!

golden wyandotte chick

We have zero experience owning chickens, so it’s a learning curve. We’re looking to build a portable chicken coop for our ladies, so if you have suggestions or coop preferences please leave a comment below. Actually… ANY chicken advice would be helpful if you have some to spare. I’m already daydreaming about fresh eggs in the morning!

8

Apr

Shadow Play

Shadow Puppet Play using a bed sheet stage

Shadow Play free-form shadow puppets princess kitty

Shadow Play free-form puppets

Stories + Art + Dramatic Play = Latest Pages to Projects post on Library as Incubator Project!  If you hop on over to Library as Incubator Project, the newest addition to the Pages to Projects series is up featuring shadow play with the book The Black Rabbit by Phillippa Leathers and DIY shadow puppets. Hope you’re able to take a moment to stop on by!

2

Apr

Wild Things in March

Spring Equinox (1)

Hello Little Lady (2)

enchanted forest (3) Cottonwood Smiles (4) Forced Spring Branches (5)

Spring Skies  (6)

Poking and stirring and stomping and splashing (7) Tadpoles (8)

Tree Hopping (9)

Drawing Front Porch Friends (10)

Easter Snow (11)

Big ol' water snake sunbathing (12)

Wetland Walkin' (13)

Springtime choir member (14)

Looking down, looking up (15)

Lion, lamb, lion, lamb, lion, lamb… March ticked tocked back and forth between winter and spring. This year spring came prematurely with blooms and animals surfacing early, but not without cold bursts and even a surprise snow on Easter morning- A fluffy snow that melted by afternoon. We’ve been spending quite a bit of time at our favorite wetlands spot. At the beginning of the month, there were only a few geese and recently emerged frogs, but now the habitat is in full celebration of the warmer weather. A springtime frog choir, tadpoles, frogs, a big ol’ water snake, skittish ducks and geese, a belted kingfisher, turtles sunning themselves on a log, and water striders skimming the water surfaces. Looking forward to see what surprises April has in store! What are your plans outdoors for the month ahead?

1. Spring Equinox
2. Hello little lady
3. “Hey, I know! Let’s go in this enchanted forest!”
4. Cottonwood leaf smiles
5. Forced spring branches
6. Springtime blues
7. Poking and stirring and stomping and splashing
8. Tadpoles
9. Tree hopping
10. Front porch friends
11. Easter snow
12. Big ol’ water snake
13. Wetland walkin’
14. Littlest choir member
15. Looking down, looking up

Yesterdays as amateur naturalists. For new adventures follow along on Instagram.