Owie Oil: For all those Little Bumps, Bruises, and Scrapes

I have two young children.  This means we encounter a lot of bumps, bruises, and scrapes in our house.


When they occur, sometimes my kids keep going as if nothing happened.  I may think, “Wow, that looks like that hurt,” but since they don’t pay it any mind, I also let it go.


Other times, they simply want an acknowledgement from me that, indeed, that looked startling or painful. … Continue reading

When a Random Comment Reflects Learning

My four-year-old getting ready to carry the beetle to our garden after his talk with it.

After they find out that we homeschool, people often ask me how I know my kids are learning.  After all, while kids in schools (and even some homeschoolers) take tests, I don’t test my children.  And the answer is, in a myriad of ways.


Sometimes I know they’re learning because they demonstrate a skill. … Continue reading

Super Easy Sharpie Tie Dye

I’ve done tie dye projects with my children in the past.  While they were fun, they were also extremely messy and rather time consuming to set up and clean up.  So when one of our favorite children’s librarians showed my 8-year old how to get a tie-dye-effect using Sharpie markers and isopropyl alcohol, we had to give it a try.


The process was incredibly simply. … Continue reading

The Kite-Eating Tree

The Kite-Eating Tree
The macaw who now perches in our kite-eating cottonwood tree.

It is warm and sunny outside today.  While spring isn’t officially here, it feels like spring in our little corner of the world.  And, feeling excited about the warm weather, my boys couldn’t wait until the afternoon when we planned to head to the park to fly kites.


So they took their kites outside to fly in our yard. … Continue reading

Thought for the Day: Jane Austen

Thought for the Day: Jane Austen


Spending time outdoors is a great way to refresh your mind and body.  Whether you’re taking a walk, playing outside, or simply sitting under a tree and enjoying the quiet, it’s good to be outside.  Taking a quiet walk outside is one of my favorite ways to calm my mind and to refresh my spirit.


And with the coming of spring – here in our little patch of the Colorado Rockies it feels like spring has already arrived, although I know we’re not done with snow yet – it’s easier to spend time outdoors.… Continue reading

Finding Beauty in the Smallest Things: Hatching a Praying Mantis Egg

Finding Beauty in the Smallest Things: Hatching a Praying Mantis Egg
Our praying mantises, ready to be released into our garden. You can see the large egg case propped up on a small stick inside the jar.

My boys and I have watched several different types of insects move through their life cycles.  In past years, we’ve watched ants make amazing tunnels.  We’ve observed as tiny caterpillars grew large, secreted a chrysalis, and emerged as butterflies. … Continue reading

The Distance of a Lightning Strike

The Distance of a Lightning StrikeLightning, thunder, hail, and torrential rain: a beautiful afternoon to sit snuggled together inside our warm, dry house as we watch the storm pass by.


The lightning is beautiful as it arches and flashes through the sky.  It’s also close enough that it’s making our house shake.


As we watched it from inside (this is not the weather for being outside), I reminded my boys how to calculate our distance from a lightning strike. … Continue reading

Some see a Weed, I see a Wish

Some See a Weed, I See a WishWhat is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson


With Spring’s arrival, all sorts of people are out working in their yards.  It’s wonderful that this time of year gets people outdoors and beautifies our cities and towns.  However, for many people, their vision of a beautiful yard sends them running for chemical herbicides and pesticides to rid their landscapes of dandelions and other “pests”.… Continue reading

Letting my Kids Set Things on Fire

Letting my Kids Set Things on Fire
Setting a stick on fire using a parabolic mirror.

This week’s exciting learning experience: setting things on fire using a parabolic mirror.


While some parents might gasp – You’re encouraging your kids to set things on fire??!!” – I think it’s a good idea for children to learn about and experiment with fire.


After all, fire has been fundamental to the survival and development of humankind. … Continue reading

The Return of Tree Climbing Season

The Return of Tree Climbing Season
My boys are ready to climb.

Spring is here, and with the rebirth of the world around us comes a reawakening of my boys’ desire to be up in the trees.  It doesn’t matter whether we’re in our own yard, at a park, along a hiking trail, or in front of our local library (where I took this particular picture), if they see a tree that looks good for climbing, they are ready to go.… Continue reading