Friday, May 29, 2015

A Trip to the Conservancy

We headed out to the Great Swamp Conservancy this past week....It's very close to the house and we were hoping to see nesting Osprey.  
We have been studying birds and John James Audubon.  The kids were very excited when they saw this sign, declaring the swamp an "important bird area" by the National Audubon Society!
There are bald eagles making a great comeback in this area.
We didn't see any bald eagles on this trip, but just last week we spotted one at Grandma and Grandpa's house. 
True Forget-Me Not 
A very diverse has native wildflowers, many bird varieties and the largest Great Blue Heron rookery in Central New York. 
Red-wings blackbird and a cattail
It always has open fields, ponds, and a boardwalk leading into a flooded wood. 
common fleabane
Great Blue Heron ---an awesome sight!
Dried Bull thistle
 ragged robin
birdsfoot trefoil 
Our first ever sighting of an Orchard Oriole.  The kids first spotting its hanging nest...and then we chased this bird and what we thought was a robin around the trails, trying to get a good photo. 
After getting this photo we can home and searched our bird books....we are almost positive it is a pair of orchard orioles. 
Larger--or Slender Blueflag
The kids decided it was the track of a pterodactly....I decided it is the track of a wild turkey. 
A very cute raccoon track
 We also saw a flycatcher....I have know idea what kind...they confuse me!
New York's state bird...the Eastern Bluebird
We are also for the bugs...Mark spotted this fishfly...we identified it by its feathery antennae
A nesting Great Blue Heron
Luke found this Goldenrod was the first time for this awesome!
Kim on the lookout!
We saw many, many tree swallows...they have totally overtaken all bluebird houses
We saw, but didn't get pictures of, cardinals, wrens, robins, mallard ducks, Canadian geese, and an allusive Bobwhite Quail we chased all over the trails to identify. (In the quest for an osprey nest, we discovered that there are no nesting pairs of Osprey at the Great Swamp Conservancy.)
We can't wait to visit again soon.  
You can check out the Conservancy's current newsletter, Marshlander, here

Monday, May 25, 2015

Patriotic Wreath

 Gracie made this absolutely adorable patriotic wreath.
It is made on a 12 inch wire frame.  You need 60 clothespins... Walmart has a package of 100 for less than 2 dollars.  Paint 20 of the clothespins red, 20 white and 20 blue. We just stuck the smallest star stickers I could find on the blue clothespins. 
 Grace braided  red, white and blue yarn to make a hanger for the wreath. 
The star behind this wreath is from Walmart...I think it looks great behind Grace's hard work. 

Water and Oil Art

 We had fun exploring with water and oil during art time recently.
Using a medicine dropper we dropped water colors onto a dry sheet of watercolor paper. (I think the liquid watercolor is a must for this)
 The kids then dropped vegetable oil onto the paper.
(Place the paper on a cookie sheet or cake gets messy)
They enjoyed seeing the colors get "pushed around" by the oil. 
 We then dipped our paper into water before dropping on the colors...the colors spread and mixed, making for nice designs...
 After dropping the oil onto the wet paper we achieved very pretty mixing of the colors. 
The paper on the left was wet....on the right dry... These dried quicker than I thought they would. I thought the oil would slow down or prevent the paper from drying, but everything was dry in about 12 hours. 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Happy Birthday, Roman Catholic Church!

Tomorrow is the Feast of Pentecost...the birthday of the Roman Catholic Church. 
We were inspired to make a Pentecost windsock from over at Shower of Roses
You should spend some time at Jessica's is full of wonderful ideas of how to live your faith with your children day by day. 
Have a wonderful Sunday everyone!

"So please, oh please, we beg, we pray....."

"So please, oh please, we beg, we pray,
Go throw your TV set away,
And in its place you can install
A lovely bookshelf on the wall.

 Then fill the shelves with lots of books,

Ignoring all the dirty looks,
The screams and yells, the bites and kicks,
And children hitting you with sticks –

 Fear not, because we promise you

That, in about a week or two
Of having nothing else to do,
They’ll now begin to feel the need
Of having something good to read."
--Roald Dahl

 These are just our living room walls....

Friday, May 22, 2015

Our Homemade Birdbath

Weekly Wrap-Up
I look at Pinterest occasionally ....(cough, cough).. and I saw cute terracotta bird baths.  I ended up combining several examples to complete a project completely our own. 
We used three terracotta planters....10 inch, 12 inch and 14 inch.  The base is 14 inches.
 Any craft or home paint will work for this project because you seal it with a spray on sealant.
Colorful jewels, dry grout and Liquid Nails finishes this project. 
 Laura and Kimberly were happy to paint.  Luke brushed a few strokes of paint on the base and then was done with this step. 
 We dotted our red pots with blue paint and foam "dot" brushes.  These were only about a dollar. 
 Our craft paint was MOSTLY washable!
 All stacked up...but not yet finished.
We sealed each pot with a spray on outdoor sealant. We used about three coats of sealant. 
This step is best done outdoors.  I had various "jewels" in our craft supplies, using Goop glue, I placed a bit of glue onto the base and then the kids put a jewel on the base with a Popsicle stick.  The glue has a very strong smell, so do this step outside or in a very well ventilated area.   
Continue gluing down jewels until the
 base is covered as much as you wish. 
We left the base to dry for 2 days, making sure the glue was totally set. 
 Mix grout in a throw away container. 
 Smush it between the jewels.  We had a container of fast drying grout so we had to move pretty fast. 
 After completely covered, using a sponge, gently wipe away the excess grout.  
We then allowed the grout to set for 2 days.
 Kim and Luke enjoyed polishing the jewels.  
 They used a paper towel, a tiny bit of water and a lot of elbow grease. 
 Daddy taught the kids to use Liquid Nails and a caulk gun.
 This was also allowed to dry for a couple hours. 
 Filling the birdbath!
 I planned on having it out back with the bird feeders, but it came out so cute, the big kids insisted it remain in the front yard. 
Ready for the birds to take a dip!