Sunday, January 27, 2008

For The Birds

I finally got over my fear of bear visits and put bird seed out for the birds. They are supposed to be hibernating right now, right? Its been very fun to see all the birds that have come to visit us and learn more about them. It took a few days for them to find it, and then we had an amazing mixed group of birds one morning. I never realized that birds will often travel in mixed species groups from food site to food site. In that very first group there were house finches, black capped chickadees (I think), a red bellied woodpecker, a downy woodpecker, blue jays (of course) and a robin. (Did he forget to fly south?)

Did you know that different birds perch differently? The wood peckers hang off the side of a feeder or branches, while other birds sit a top the branches.

Here is the red bellied woodpecker. You can tell he is a male because the red on his head comes all the way down to his bill.


This is the downy woodpecker. A male because of the red spot on his head. Females are black there. The belly, which you can't see, is all white.


I found a great website to learn more about birds and even listen to their calls. I've been using the images to supplement my photos when I draw in my sketchbook. I really need to get out the better camera and see if I can get some better pictures.

The girl's have gotten really excited about the birds, too. Maddy will sit on the chair by the window, peering over the back watching them so she doesn't scare them. Yesterday, Elsie and Emily made a bread "salad" by breaking up the stale bread in the bread box into a plastic bag. They like to throw out a couple handfuls onto the back patio to see what friends come to eat it. Emily made a pinecone/peanut butter bird feeder at activity day girls this past week, and Maddy has become an expert on the black capped chickadee in her TAG class at school. Isn't it funny how things sometimes all come together like that?

And on Feb 15-18 we are going to participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count. I think it will be a lot of fun!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

My First Digital Scrapbooking Page

I am not a scrapbooker. I tried to be one. It didn't work out. But, I was intrigued by the newer digital method enough that I thought I'd have another crack at it. So, here is my first attempt, thanks to the guidance and template of a friend and a wonderful online tutorial. I still don't think I will be a scrapbooker, but it was fun to learn something new!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

2008 New Year's Resolutions

Its that time of year again. I have been thinking about New Year's Resolutions since Christmas. We even had a very good Sharing Time on Sunday on making them that made me ponder them further. I can't seem to decide the best way to do them. Obviously, I don't want to make resolutions that are simply unattainable or that are no brainer easy. There would be no growth in that. But, where along the continuum of "realistic" does one aim? Do I make resolutions that I feel pretty confident about succeeding in, or do I aim higher, even intentionally making them challenging enough that it is unlikely they will all be achieved. There is an element of personal integrity involved. If I make a commitment to DO something and then fail to do it, don't I harm that integrity? But, is greater growth possible if one aims higher, even if one falls short? I have already demonstrated that I am not perfect in achieving my resolutions. But, I do know I stretch myself by having them. With that in mind, I am going to experiment with aiming high this year. Doing so may cause me to stretch further, or I may fall even farther short.

What I will Try to do this year.
(Notice I did not say Resolve- thereby avoiding the personal integrity issue.)

Greater focus on self education.
I found this group at the end of last year. It is a group of LDS women, mostly homeschoolers, who are concerned about their own education, as well as their children's. They create a curriculum for self-study each year. As a part of this course of study I will be working on:

Gospel Study
Participate in Monthly Book club/Literature Study
Learn the Monthly primary song and a hymn each month
Learn about Charlotte Mason teaching Philosophy
Learn to sign better, do sign with Cyrus
Learn to draw better
Practice Piano 6 days/week
Make quilted stockings for next Christmas

Study Book of Mormon as a family by reading/listening/discussing at dinner time
Start preschool in the fall with Elsie
Teach kids a nature class and a Book of Mormon class over the summer
Take the kids swimming lots over the summer

Provident Living
Finish 72 hr kits
build food storage
Learn to bake better bread
Can applesauce and apple butter, as well as the usual strawberry and raspberry jams
Strive to stay on top of finances better

House Projects
Redo kids rooms and paint new murals
Paint Kitchen
Touch up paint trim
Downsize and better organize house

Church Service
Be more diligent in my visiting teaching. I have really done poorly in this.
Be a better leader in my Primary calling. This is where I have really applied myself time and diligence wise. But, I really am more of a follower than a leader and could use working on my leadership skills.

For Fun!
Keep a Nature Journal

For Christmas, DH got me a Nature Journal "Kit":

And a nice moleskin blank book to start my journal in. I will probably use my Christmas money to get a couple more field guides. I am so excited to to this!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Well, It Isn't Florida...

Photobucket The birdhouse is currently vacant...

The kid's were supposed to return to school today, but were blessed with a late Christmas present: deep fluffy snow, prompting the first snow day of 2008. We have a foot so far, and the snow is still falling. It is very light and powdery. Utah snow! I think it is because yesterday I took down the Christmas decorations in favor of winter ones. Including putting a sign that says "Let it Snow" on the front door.


Maddy is sure it is because she wore her jammies inside out last night. Either way, we are all happy about it!

Care to take a turn about the garden?

The sedum seed heads are wearing fluffy snow caps.

The flattened forsythia.

My raised garden beds are only visible because of the raspberry canes.

Mother Nature made cushions for my chairs. Do you think I should store these inside?

The Evergreen feels quite at home.