Thursday, June 7, 2012

Perfect Pinterest Project

I joined Pinterest a couple of months ago and stumbled across an idea that looked colorful and fun. Chica just loves projects and we both love animals, so I decided to give it a try.  The project involved filling a suet feeder with yarn scraps for the birds to take for their nest making.

I had a lot of extra yarn from my old knitting days so Chica and I cut them into pieces of different lengths. We used all different kinds of yarn in various colors. 

We decided to hang the feeder outside the living room window in hopes that we would have a close up view of birds taking the yard.

But it turns out we couldn't just see the suet feeder, we had to walk over to the window and look down.  Eventually I moved the feeder to a shephard's hook off the pool deck which we can see without any effort.

We didn't see any action on the suet feeder for quite some time so I wasn't sure if the whole project was a bust.  And then I woke up on Mother's Day, walked into the kitchen to get my coffee and looked out the back door only to see the most beautiful yellow bird taking a piece of yarn! The sight absolutely made my day! I grabbed my camera and did the best I could shooting from a distance through a glass door and screened porch.  How exciting to get some shots actually showing the bird had the yarn!!

I had never seen this type of bird before and the kids and I looked in my bird book to see what kind it was. Research shows it was either a warbler or a tanager....but I'm not sure which one!

Now if I could just find a picture of a nest with some colorful yarn weaved in it would make the whole project complete!!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Big Girl on her Big Date

I'm afraid that time is just going by way too fast. How did my baby girl get to be 5 years old? The last five years have gone by in a blink. I often look at my girl and tell her she needs to stop growing right this instant.  She just looks at me and smiles. If she only knew how seriously I mean it!

So she and her main man went to their second Father/Daughter dance a while back.  She was very excited to go and loved the dress I picked out for her.  There wasn't a lot feedback about the dance other than they had a very nice time and saw lots of people they knew. 

Speaking of my Chica getting so big, I snapped some photos of her zipping along on a scooter recently.  The picture reminded me so much of a series of pictures I had taken of her as a toddler. So I went back through the archives to find just the picture I was thinking of so I could do a comparison.

 Still smiles a ton....always wanting to be on the move...a happy girl....not afraid to try new things...determined....stubborn....independent....and beautiful as ever.

The Derby!

The Scout Pinewood Derby came around again this past March and Luke had some great plans and ideas about his car.  He designed his car on paper and worked with Dad to cut it out. He decided on a camoflauge pattern and picked out his own paint colors. He did an amazing job turning his little block of wood into his personally designed and self-constructed derby car!

Derby day was exciting! The scouts were all anxious for their turns racing. With the big increase in the size of the Scout pack, there were a lot of really cool cars and some great competition.

Luke's car did really well, taking first in the first heat....

and a second....

and a third place....

and I can't remember how this heat faired, but it sure was close!

 Overall a great time and a lot of fun. Luke was very proud of his car....and we were even more proud of him!

Camp Jewell Through Luke's Eyes

After posting about our great trip to Camp Jewell, I stumbled across another folder of photos which clearly needed to be posted.  After having a really hard time sleeping the first night at Camp Jewell, I did not have the energy to join in on the early morning hike. Good news was that Luke did.  I didn't want to miss out on photos from the hike since the photos from last year's hike were my favorites.  So I handed Luke my pocket camera and sent him off with a mission.

My friends that went on the hike reported back that Luke did a great job with the photos and that he had an amazing eye.  To say they were correct is an understatement.  After I went through the photos I was amazed and impressed at Luke's natural photo-taking ability.  Either he's been really paying attention to how I've been photographing or he's just got it the knack.   I used a Pioneer Woman Boost action on most of the photos and did simple black and white converions on a couple.  But Luke's point-of-view is what makes these photos!

(not sure who took the photo but photographer Luke is furthest left)

My favorite....

He's captured himself here!

So proud of my little photographer!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Year 3 at Camp Jewell

During February vacation we packed up once again for our third consecutive year at Camp Jewell's Winter Family Camp!  Some friends from last year couldn't make it this year so we picked up some new friends to come along.  With the winter having been so mild and void of snow, we were all a bit concerned what this year was going to be like. Our camp highlights over the years have been all of the cold winter actitivies..... tubing, broom ball, cross country skiing and ice fishing. So what were we going to do without snow or cold temps??

We awoke our first morning to a very different landscape...our first ever view of a grassy field and the lake, which had always been covered in snow.  What was also exposed was the big green slide which turned out to be the most fun and memorable activity of most of the campers.

As I look back on the pictures I took from our first day, I'm exhausted all over again. We all split up in groups and moved to all the activities. The kids played on the big green slide a ton, played basketball and tether ball outside, played big games of broom ball in Centennial Hall, did target sports, climbed the indoor rockwall, and spent lots of time with the farm animals.

With the warm temps we were also able to enjoy playing Gaga Ball. All the kids would start off in the Gaga Ball pit and try get each other out by hitting the ball anywhere below each other's knees. 

After lunch some of the kids got henna tattoos....another new activity for us!

And then the brave ones gave the climbing wall a try. This was MUCH harder than it looks. The climbing structure offered three levels of difficulty.  Ben took on the medium side and Sam went for hard.


Ben perservered and finally made it to the top.

Nighttime activities included Camp Fire with songs and Smores and the Dutch Auction, where we can never forget Luke's participation in the milk chugging and carton crushing event.  The big boys stayed back in the cabin for the evening events and enjoyed many laughs playing games with Mrs. G and hanging out with their buddies.

On Day 2, the kids all continued to enjoy the outdoor activities and most participated in pretzel making.

The kids took turns at Flying Squirrel and got some candle making and arts and crafts in as well.

During break out activities, where the counselors take the kids and the parents get some much appreciated 'free time', a group of us moms took a great hike and got to see the beaver dam. No beavers appeared, but seeing their habitat was very cool!

We continued our hike to Sunrise Mountain and I saw the tree house for the first time.  I grabbed this photo of the sun peaking through the railings.

The view was amazing and we could see the some of the kids from a distance.  The moms tried to get their attention by yelling and waving arms, but the kids never saw us.

It was such a great hike and always nice to have a few moments to decompress from excited kids running off from one activity to another.  The kids have so much fun....but they never want to stop!!

Arts and Crafts is a good way to slow the kids down.  The kids tried their hands at leather craft, gimp, painting, sun catchers, coloring, shrinky dinks and sand art. 


We awoke our last morning to a winter wonderland. A front moved through and brought a glorious coating of snow.  At first the moms weren't sure whether to be happy or sad. Our bags of snow pants, boots, mittens, etc. had remained in the cars. We were all thinking about packing up....not unpacking bulky snow clothes only to have them get wet and repacked.

But the kids hadn't had much snow play all winter and they truly had a blast! The snow was perfect for packing snowballs and making snowmen. And when the kids went down the slide with their snow clothes on, they absolutely flew down at high speed.

The kids got into a big, friendly snow ball fight with each other and the other groups of kids that came to Camp. (including the group of "ladies" who also made the camp experience interesting this year)

On our last trip to the farm, the kids got more adventurous and handled some of the birds. Chica was pretty happy with herself.

Even though the mild winter didn't give us our typical "winter camp", the kids were able to do so many new and different activities. In my eyes, this was a complete bonus.  The kids were outside a ton and enjoying outdoor activities we normally would never get to try. And then mother nature topped it off with great snow. The kids were amazing....everyone got along great and we deepened friendships with some amazing families.  It might have been one of the best years yet!!