Larch Love

Ann ♥’s the larch tree

It was love at first site when I saw this tree in my sister’s neighborhood on a post-Thanksgiving dinner walk last year.  It is deciduous and a conifer.  It has cones and it loses its needles in the fall which makes for quite a striking sight in the cold months. Continue reading

Happy Trees

I’ve noticed the trees are busy budding all around.

Things seem simple for trees.  They need food which they amazingly make for themselves through photosynthesis.  So first they make leaves.

We need food too.  And like trees we must plan ahead.  But we are not capable of making our own food by soaking up the sun.  If we are thirsty we can’t stand there with our mouths open waiting for it to rain. Continue reading

Family Photo Fun & Unusual Trees

We ALL got new cameras.  The kids were happy with their hand-me-down upgrades!  So we thought it would be fun to go for a walk yesterday after school and take some pictures.  

It ended up being a short excursion for various reasons but it was interesting to see what caught our individual eyes.  My daughter was inspired by the bushes in the neighborhood and I guess not surprisingly my son, cars.  Me, I was fascinated by these trees…   Continue reading

Reflecting Pond

The kids are off from school for winter break and so begins our quest for fun things to do each day.  We began with a scenic drive to our “treat” library.

I stopped at this lake which was exceptionally still and foggy to take some pictures while the kids played for a bit.

I only noticed the small feather in this shot after I downloaded.  I love it! Continue reading

Teaching fractals

Fractal Heart Tree

With printable activity

Reading my children the book Swirl by Swirl: Spiral in Nature yesterday sparked my interest in fractals.  I watched the PBS program Nova: Hunting the Hidden Dimension last night and honestly, fractals might be the hardest concept I have tried to understand!  The video does a great job of explaining in layman’s terms. Even so, throughout the program, I vacillated between glimpses of understanding and wonder and confusion bordering on terror!  If you are interested in learning about fractals, I highly recommend you watch this program.  I found it to be a very fascinating way to spend an hour and a great introduction to fractals! Continue reading

Fractals

Spiral shell

We just got through reading Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature, a wonderful picture book written by Joyce Sidman with beautiful detailed scratch-board illustrations by Beth Krommes.  The illustrations are bold, colorful, and full of texture.  It is about reoccurring shapes in nature specifically the spiral.  The book show many examples, explains some of the functional benefits (for example an animal might curl up in a spiral to conserve heat), and celebrates the inherent beauty of spirals.  At the end it also explains spirals as mathematical patterns.  Continue reading

Hand-made Gifts for Kids

hand-made doll’s wardrobe

If you are low on cash and have some spare time and if your kids are young enough to not know the difference you can make a lot of their Christmas gifts.

I know, because I did it 2 Christmases ago when I met all three criteria!  It was a lot of work but also a lot of fun!  Consider it…  Use your imagination, the internet, and the materials you already have.  I made it a GOAL to buy a little as possible and use materials I already had from past projects, etc. Continue reading