Autumn Family Nature Craft

We all know those little nature treasures that kids find on the trail. The sticks and stones, pine cones and twigs. Well there's a way to continue the exploration once we're home!
By taking those nature finds from the ground or off a bush and turning them into artwork we're allowing the conversation to continue, as well as letting children realize a project from start to finish; and can I tell you it's really hard not to jump in and create with them!
Here are some fun ideas on how to create those collections -- and let me just say watching kids follow their inspirations is the best part!

First assemble the items needed : Sticks Yarn Scissors Any nature finds -- example: pine cones, leaves , acorns
I'm going to show you two different methods, but please remember the options are endless and I do hope you and your family will explore what works for you!
The Nature Mobile is a winner because it can be added to at any time. A simple design is a stick with yarn tied at …

Through the Lava Fields

As I see more places I'm learning to appreciate the different landscapes that are available to explore. Lava fields are no different. We were lucky enough to visit the Lava Lands and at first glance I assumed a dead land, parched for water...

This is not true! An ecosystem lives among the 40 feet tall rubble and animals scurry around. Plants become visible if you look for them and it seems even this high altitude place has some secrets if you care to explore and listen and learn.

There was a lava tube which is an incredibly dark cave to explore, miles of field full with jagged black rocks, and a volcanic cone where we got to walk around the crater. It was incredible and I am so excited to learn more about this fascinating subject; particularly while thinking about the Hawaiian volcano which is actively reaching further into residential areas. I was glad to learn that the Hawaiian Islands supply leading scientist with most of our knowledge about volcanoes so plenty of eyes are on…

Modern Treasure Hunt : Geocaching

Have you heard of Geocaching? Or maybe you haven't thought about it in a while...

There are so many great outdoor activities to do as a family, such as in this blog post, and I can tell you it's pretty easy to add geocaching to whatever you are already doing.  It's a current day treasure hunt and is fun for everyone since there are so many types of caches to find. The urge to find the next cache can be quite thrilling and addictive!

As explained by Sue, an enthusiast, "It's multi-million dollar military equipment used to find Tupperware in the woods."  I recently went to an Into To Geocaching and was delighted to hear from Sue, who also used to be the president of the local chapter.

In basic terms you use your phone's GPS (or other mobile device) and an app to find the general location of a hidden object and then use clues to find the exact location. It's an interactive way to engage with the environment and the quiet of people who support it.

The on…

Spring Reading For Kids

With a new season comes a chance for new scenery, and that includes the scenery of the mind! It's a great opportunity to introduce some books that pack the same punch of excitement that spring can offer in our daily lives.
I always look for adventure, transition, play, growth & nature this time of year! Come check out my picks for some fun reading.

For  Elementary Schoolers:

I love the Ivy & Bean series by Annie Barrows. These are early chapter books with lots of great pictures and definitely recommended for any kids who dreams of adventures with a friend!

Ronald Dahl has a huge collection of amazing work, but I will narrow it down to James and the Giant Peach for spring. This is a magical tale about a boy finding companionship among some unlikely bugs in a peach, a perfect spring read to get the imagination going!

I always come back to Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cornin. This is a great illustrated book that will excite kids to dig around in the garden and image the world b…

The Littlest Habitat

Often we look up when taking a walk outdoors, but it can become a wonderful opportunity to look down. Way down under our feet is a pretty cool world of soil, rocks and the many plants and fungus' that turn our landscape green.
On my last family outing I adjusted my focus down and quickly found myself stuffing pockets full of interesting finds; old bark shells with lichen, twigs covered in moss, and sticks etched completely around from beetles. Life was everywhere in greens, greys & yellows. It turns out lichen comes in a variety of colors and is not a plant at all, but a cyanobacteria. One of the pioneer species where it can grow and thrive where there are no plants or soil to attach to. It is usually something I look for having noticed it is absent in my own yard, but lichen is very sensitive to air pollution and is not regularly found in cities.
Together my family talked about the texture of our forests in the Pacific Northwest and how it needs all sorts of habitats to surv…

Pro Tips for Road Trips - Kids Edition

Road Trips!
Who doesn't rely of those images of a, Face In The Wind-Summertime Drive, every now and then to help get through a bad day. I love them and plan a couple each year.

As the years have ticked by the number of passengers has increased until there are four of us tightly packed into a small car all trying to hold onto our own 48 sq inches of sanity that our seat and window allow us. It's an American rite of passage and as I once fondly recall it mentioned, our modern day confessional.

When you travel with children, it shifts the carefree spirit a bit...however with a little planning -- who am I kidding, with a lot of forethought and a trunk full of popcorn, you can make multi-day traveling a total success!

Here are some Pro Tips I've come to rely on the past many years.

Plan the the driving times around the person who will be doing the driving. This may seem obvious, but it was not for me. It took me years to understand that being a morning person meant I drive best…

A Space To Grow - Signs Our Kids are Maturing

It's easy to measure your child's growth when it comes to height, weight and other milestones; but what about as their conscious mind grows & matures?

All the time my oldest son pushes the boundaries of responsibility and independence. "I know that already" is a common phrase slipping from his mouth. Even as I write this he confidently runs out of the house to play with friends -- sans shoes or coat.
If you're any thing like me the signs that he is ready to be in charge of his own person is becoming harder to ignore. My very adult way of looking at the world comes up briskly to his own views. He is in a perpetual state of waiting; eagerly waiting for.......summer, friends, tv time, shoes without socks weather, the weekend, mom to look away -- and whatever else sits right with a boy of 7 3/4 years.

I decided one day that the war against trash/treasure in his room is being lost and a new tactic might be needed.  Away with the idea that a few small bins are eno…