Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Pumpkin Carving Evening

After our Monday afternoon bike/nature walk with dad, we came home for an evening of pumpkin carving.  Dad took the lead on this tradition, after all it is kind of gooey and icky:

A few weeks ago my oldest son, the artist, drew his own design. He had been waiting patiently for carving day : )

The kids had a great Monday with dad.  We'll be missing him tonight as we trick or treat with all our cousins!!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Autumn Leaves Crunch

We headed to the park, as usual, for our Monday afternoon outdoors time and some nature study inspiration.  Today was an extra special trip:  Dad was around, woo-hoo! This meant we could drive two cars and take six bikes with us!!

As we walked the trail I couldn't help but just admire the leaves on the trees.  In California you tend to notice the evergreens more than the deciduous, but there are a few trees that still give us that autumn color inspiration.

California Sycamore - Platanus Racemosa

American Sweetgum - Liquidambar Styraciflua
The second thing about these trees that always give us just a bit of the autumn feel is the leaves we see on the ground.  We don't get to see many leaf piles, so we have to settle on those few that we happen upon.

But you want to know what my kids favorite part of all these leaves is:


The CRUNCH they make when you ride your bike over them!

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Scarecrow

I just had to share : )  We had our annual Halloween Party with our home school group today.  The kids always look forward to this get together.  They play games, have lunch and just enjoy their friends.  The costumes are always cute, sweet and mostly home made.

Let me back track just a bit before I go on.  In a September post I shared the books that were going into our nature study area book basket.  A particular book in my list that has been a joy is The Scarecrow by Caroline Rush.  This has turned out to be such a sweet gem.  There is a little bit of whimsy and nature study all in this cute living story book.  My boys have looked forward to our weekly short chapter readings.  It's been difficult to keep to just one chapter per reading as it is a small book ; )

Each chapter starts with the old farmer hiding in the pea stalks waiting to listen to a pair of field mice. The older mouse tells stories about how each part of the scarecrow just happened upon this particular scarecrow, currently their autumn home.  The chapters usually end something like this:

"And that is the story of the straw," said the older mouse.
 That night, as the old man walked home to his tea, he smiled.
"I always wondered where those two ducks went to." And he whistled as he walked home

Well, back to my Halloween party:  my oldest son decided on his costume this year.  I'm sure you've guessed what he chose ; )

Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Day at the Pumpkin Patch

We do enjoy our annual visit to the ranch this time of year for their fall pumpkin patch displays.  The kids had so much fun riding the cow train and tractor wagon; petting the animals; and just enjoying the beautiful fields of sunflowers and pumpkins.

Dad enjoyed chasing the kids through a dried wheat labyrinth and then they spent some time finding their way through a very tall green corn stalk maze.

He's coming!
Our pumpkin picks were great this year.  The kids can't wait to start carving and cooking with them.  While we were waiting for dad, great aunt and grandma to carry out the two filled wagons of pumpkins the kids noticed a few milkweed plants filled with monarch caterpillars. (we really have to plant some of these in our backyard)

Another great year at the ranch.  Our fall reading has really helped the kids enjoy this trip and the season so far.  One last picture of our day:

My husband joked that if I could I probably would take this home and fill it with books ; )