Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Science Fair

The Homegrown Explorers Annual Science Fair was a huge success. There were 14 displays covering such topics as space, vision, earthquakes, volcanoes, baseball and clouds.

I am sure most of you have already guessed what Sarah's project was about. Yes you guessed it ornithology! This pictures was taken the night of the fair. Unfortunately my camera was messed up and it is out of focus.
This is a better picture of her display board. She put it on the wall in her room. I love the way she displayed the different kinds of feeders and used the tree as a attention grabber.

Hannah's project was on horses - her true love. She did a great job especially considering she started it just a few days before. (She originally wasn't going to participate.)

Rebekah had fun checking out all the displays. She especially like the Ian's model of the Solar System.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Montshire Museum

One of the girls favorite places to go while visiting gramma and grampa is the Montshire Museum in Norwich, VT. It is an awesome hands on science and nature museum. We were lucky enough to have grampa take us for the morning.

Here Sarah and Rebekah along with a new little friend explore the bubble area. Rebekah loves bubble, but had never seen bubbles this big.

This was Rebekah's first trip to the Montshire, and she was beside herself. She loved it all and couldn't decide what to do. I just love her expressions as she plays, explores, and discovers.

While studying weather a few weeks back, Hannah often wondered what it would be like to touch a cloud. Well she got her chance. As cool as it was, I think her idea of floating on a cloud was shattered.

The anti gravity mirror had us all in stitches. It wasn't easy to get lined up quite rite, but when you did it really looked like you were floating. Rebekah had to keep looking at herself so she looks like a two headed floating cutie pie.

Rebekah has always been into music. She loved making music in the outside courtyard of the museum.

We ended our visit with a walk along the nature trails. I ended up carrying Rebekah and didn't get to snap any pictures. It was a neat walk along the Connecticut River.

All in all it was a great day. The girls had fun playing, exploring, and discovering - learning and not even realizing it. And to think Sarah just wanted to go to see the awesome bird nest collection.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Tennis Anyone?

You know summer is just around the corner when everyone starts flocking to the tennis courts. Last year the Little Explorers had such a great time, many of us were excited to start playing again this summer. Even though many of our skills were a little rusty we had a great time. Sarah's form actually looks pretty good.
Caleb's overhead was a smashing success. Maggie looks on with great admiration.

After her workout at curves, Melanie was all warmed up. Great shot! I know everyone had a great time. We'll be back at the courts next Thursday, so join us if you can. And a big thanks to those that brought balls and extra rackets.

In Search of Lady's Slippers

The Lady's Slipper is New Hampshire's State Flower. Not all that long ago it was on the endangered species list. Fortunately this beautiful flower has made an incredible come back. Chances are you will spot a few if you venture out into the woods of New Hampshire.

Tin Mountain Conservation Center had a contest at the beginning of June to see who could spot the most Lady's Slippers in a 10'x10' area. The girls love a challenge and so we set off to find the biggest patch of Lady's Slippers we could.

We hit what we thought was the jack pot on Bear Notch Road - 42 beautiful Lady's Slipper blooms. The area was packed with more than 150 Lady's Slippers on both sides of the road. We sent in our entry with high hopes of winning the Tin Mountain baseball hat.

Unfortunately not this time. Someone in Sandwich spotted 100 Lady's Slippers in a 10'x10' area. Oh well. Better luck next time. Still is was really cool to find so many of this once rare flower.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


The girls and I all got new paint boards thanks to Dad. I have been wanting to get these paint boards for a while, but just couldn't justify the expense. Well, Dad came through and made us out paint boards. Everyone was so excited and couldn't wait to try them out.

Rebekah loves to paint. This was the first time she used watercolor paper that we wet first. She loved how the paint flowed and blended. She kept want to add more and more color. She already has an eye for color. And that she gets from her Dad.

Hannah has a vision of the world all her own. Stuck between a little child and a growing young lady she see things from a perspective many of us miss. A king of awkward grace that is all her own and I just love it.

Here supplies are left scattered about the kitchen table after an evening of joyfully creating. I think a trip to the craft store for more watercolor paint, paper, and brushes will be needed soon.

The kitchen counter was coverd with swirls of color as everyone headed off to bed. Hopefully all the dreams will be as colorful as well.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Garden Update!

You just gotta love blue skies and tomato flowers. Unfortunately not all our days have been so lovely and not all my plants look so good. We have had our share of rainy chilly weather, and it is taking its toll on my garden. The beans and cucumbers have been hit the hardest. Their leaves are yellow and sickly. Mrs. Earle at the organic garden in town promises me it is just the cool nights and that they should bounce back when the temps start to climb. I just hope it's soon.
The carrots that we planted in the container have sprouted and look good. We will have to be thinning them as I think the kids got a little zealous with the seeds.

Rebekah and Sarah are watering the potatoes. The rain has been great for them. They have grown a ton since this picture was taken just a few days ago. I hope the potatoes underground are growing as well as the leafy tops. I'll get an updated picture as soon as it stops raining.

I know the picture is a little out of focus, so just humor me and squint a little. But I just had to add my little broccoli. Isn't is cute? We also have pea flowers, and bean flowers, and pepper flower buds. And the spinach is finally growing and might even be ready for the first harvest soon. Yea! Green Smoothies from the garden!

Rebekah is such a big help in the garden. She loves to water the plants. She also likes to pull weeds, we just have to keep a very close eye that it is only weed that she pulls.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Christa McAuliffe Planetarium

The Homegrown Explorers, aka Little Explorers, packed up and headed to Concord to spend the day at the Christa McAuliffe Planetarium and Discovery Center. The visit began with the planetarium show, Family of the Sun. I guess it was really cool, but the Imax theater experience just isn't for me. So I reclined in my chair and closed my eyes and enjoyed the few minutes of almost peace and quiet. I don't think Rebekah was too impressed. She kept asking to go home. But from what others said it was a great show. Luckily the day got a lot better for those of us with week stomachs.

There were some really cool murals in the discovery center. Here Rebekah is standing in front of the sun with all the planets inside it drawn to scale. This was about the only time Rebekah stood still. She had so much fun running from exhibit to exhibit. I think her favorite was the R2D2 model.

The second floor of the discovery center was dedicated to energy and conservation. The kids had a great time using their arm power to light different types of light bulbs, stacking blocks to see how much electricity their homes use, running appliances to see which uses more electricity. Hint here - blow dry your hair with cool or warm air. If you have girls with long hair you will save a ton! The picture above shows Hannah and her friend Ethan wiring fans and alarms.

Sarah took off with the big kids, so I didn't see much of her. I did catch up to them at one point when she and Tiffany were taping a weather broadcast in front of the green screen. The photos were humorous from my point of view, but not what two tweens would want to be published. So instead you get to see her trying to solve a balancing puzzle. The girls needed to balance 6 nails on the one stuck in the board. They weren't able to figure it out, but the answer is quite cool as we learned when the guide showed us. You will have to give it a try sometime.

Here is the group after a long day of visiting planets, moons, landing space craft, rewiring buzzers and such and so much more. If you are ever in the Concord area stop by and check out the Planetarium. It was a cool trip.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Birding at Stone House

We headed out again to go birding with the wonderful people at Tin Mountain. This time we were going to explore the Stone House property in Chatham. On the way we were lucky enough to spot this Pileated Woodpecker. He was right on the side of the road and we were able to stop and watch him eat his breakfast. Sarah snapped a bunch of awesome pictures out the van window. We also saw a Red Tailed Hawk but weren't quick enough to snap his picture.

The Stone House property is just beautiful. We walked in along a wooded dirt road. Mike Cline, Tin Mountain's director, was pointing out all the different types of ferns and how to identify them. We also caught a couple of frogs and saw some really large tadpoles. We heard quite a few different birds, but they are getting harder to see because of all the leaves.

Hannah and Rebekah aren't really into the birds but loved exploring. They had a great time walking along this stone wall. Hannah was amazed at all of the butterflies, yellow, orange, even blue, and in all sizes as well. We may be heading out of a few butterfly walks in the near future.

Sarah, Chris and Mason are searching for an elusive American Redstart. We could all hear him, but even with all the sets of eyes we couldn't find him. We were lucky enough to see Rose breasted Grosbeak, Scarlet Tanager, Broadwing Hawk, and Blackburnian Warbler.

Chris brought his bag of tricks to help lure the birds out of the dense trees. Here he has Sarah holding a model Common Yellow Throat and he playing its call on the iPod. It worked and the Common Yellow Throat posed for all of us to see on the edge of the trees.

Sarah showed her dedication and that birding is not for the faint of heart when she fell in the stream trying to get a better look at the Rose Breasted Grosbeak. Luckily she was able to keep here new treasure, a Sibley Field Guide (a gift from Dixie) dry. She held it above her head as Chris and Mason rescued her. Thanks guys!