May 16, 2015

Adventuring through Pioneer Town

We had a fabulous time adventuring our way 
through the desert today with Grandma Sandy! 

Driving on the 10 fwy near Cabazon is a favorite of mine because I get to see these fans. I have loved driving through this area since I was a kid...

My kids love this carved old man tree and we have to stop to look at it every time we drive through Joshua Tree...

Grandma has two large ant hills on her property and the boys loved exploring their homes and collecting a few ants for observations...

Taking a break from desert explorations to comfort her baby, who she tells me does not like to be out in the bright sun (lol!)... 

Desert forget-me-not (with my hand next to it for scale)...

I loved these wild desert forget-me-nots so much I had to bring some home...

Then we drove over to Pioneer Town in Yucca and had a great time exploring the shops and watching the street performances. We will definitely be visiting this fun town again! Amazing to me that this town began as a movie set and has became a legit historical town. So Awesome! Check my Instagram feed on the sidebar to see some of the videos of the street performance. The actors were great and so kind to all of us tourists :)
(Image from Wikipedia)

We learned about spinning yarn from goats hair...

She told us that the process of making yarn in this way is called handspinning...

Some of the amazing yarns that were hand spun, and yes I really wanted to buy them all but exercised restraint...

Some of the adorable goats that offered their hair up to be spun into yarn...

He was cracking up at this silly cactus (lol!)...

A cowgirl's coat rack...

My little buckaroos...

Such an amazing sign post...

Rascally varmints... 

The Bishop brigade was caught and thrown into prison. We plead not guilty...

My mom let each grandkid pick out any 5 snacks they wanted from the store, oh the fun they had picking. Grandma's are the best...

And then this happened when she got into grandmas bag of pretties...

The chilly windy weather brought out the Elsa in my daughter as she sang "the cold never bothered me anyways", the lyrics from Let It Go...

As we were driving home from the desert we got to see the most amazing sunset...

I love the desert!
Janiene

May 15, 2015

Crochet Butterfly Pattern


As with every crochet pattern, I find that it is all about finding the right fit for your specific project. There are dozens of amazing butterfly patterns online but I could not find a small FREE crochet pattern for a butterfly that I was happy with. So, I sat down and played around with making my own pattern and I came up with this quick & easy version of a butterfly and thought I would share it with all of my crocheting friends :)

I'm not a seasoned pattern writer, so please forgive me if I make errors. Just feel free to use the comments section below to ask questions & I'll help as much as I can!

I used a size G/6-4.25MM Boyl hook and Caron Simply Soft medium yarn. Each butterfly measures 2-1/2" Wide x 2" Tall

Start with a Magic Circle
Chain 4
Single Crochet in the center of the magic ring 
(it will make a small loop with that chain 4)
Chain 8
Single Crochet in the center of the magic ring 
(it will make a small loop with that chain 8)
Chain 8
Single Crochet in the center of the magic ring 
(it will make a small loop with that chain 8)
Chain 4
Single Crochet in the center of the magic ring 
(it will make a small loop with that chain 4)

You should now have 2 small loops and 2 larger loops secured into the center of the magic ring. It kinda looks like a tiny butterfly already, doesn't it :)

sc into the first chain 4 loop and then into that same loop you will...
hdc
dc
tr
dc
hdc
sc

sc into the next chain 8 loop and then into that same loop you will...
hdc
dc
tr
dtr
dtr
tr
dc
hdc
sc

sc into the next chain 8 loop and then into that same loop you will...
hdc
dc
tr
dtr
dtr
tr
dc
hdc
sc

sc into the next chain 4 loop and then into that same loop you will...
hdc
dc
tr
dc
hdc
sc

slst into next stitch and tie off
Weave in the loose ends

Done!


I hope this pattern works out for you! 
Blessings,
Janiene

May 1, 2015

Naturey Adventures - Shipley Nature Center

More times than not pictures show all the fun and exciting parts of an adventure, and I have lots of those kinds of pictures to share with you today, but behind our photos was a morning of craziness and a visit to a nature that almost didn't happen.

Before we got to the nature center we were having a hard morning. Heart issues with my children, not getting their breakfast eaten and cleaned up quickly, decisions of what to wear taking 4 times longer than normal, and then there was me, who when I finally got us all loaded into the car and was already half way there I realized I left my purse at home and I had to go back to get it. What should have taken an hour of getting ready and driving to the nature center ended up taking us 2-1/2 hours.

Yep.

And you know what I kept telling myself to motivate me forwards?
NATURE IS WORTH IT!
NATURE IS WORTH FIGHTING FOR!
MY KIDS WILL LEARN FROM NATURE TODAY!
WE WILL HAVE FUN WHEN WE GET THERE!
I kept encouraging myself to press on.

The Lord also reminded me of the millions of ways He extends grace to me and how as a mother I can demonstrate grace to my children. We kept pressing in to the Lord, kept forgiving one another, and I turned up the David Crowder LOUD in the car and we worshiped to...


Eventually we arrived at our destination: the Shipley Nature Center...

My kids LOVED the nature center! They explored the museum and kids center for over an hour. My 2nd grader especially loved the large magnifying lens (he is looking at the back bones of a snake)...

I got schooled in Tic Tac Toe by my 2nd grader...

My daughter put on the BEST puppet show in the west...

Oh goodness I love my sweet boy who will still run up and grab my hand and walk with me. Sigh... 

Willow trees whose blossoms have turned to seed...

The kids loved collecting the willow seeds and watching the wind blow them all around in the air like snow...

Beautiful yerba mansa flowers were blooming along the edge of the pond...

Lovely typha was growing along the edge of the pond.
Typha is also called cattail, bulrush, catninetail, corn dog grass...

The boys turned over a log and discovered the BIGGEST roly poly EVER! It was the size of a quarter...

Then this red centipede came out and said hello...

But then our nature hike was cut short! We turned over another log and living under it was a colony of ants. The ants were fun to watch but my daughter and I did not wear proper footing today and we got bit by the ants. OUCHY, their bites are so painful! I got bit on the bottom of my foot and she got bit a dozen times on the tops of her feet. I picked up my girl, hobbled back to the nature center and we used some medicine from their first aid kit to help with the stinging. She was such a trooper and even told me that we invaded their home and they were just protecting their babies, lol. Yep, that is exactly what we did...

I was determined to keep adventuring even after nature attacked us! So we spent some more time exploring the nature center's kid area. The kids played a game of flashlight scavenger hunt...

He was happy cause he won the scavenger hunt...

On the way out my son found these flowers that look like Queen Anne's Lace flowers (not sure their exact name, but they were pretty)...

Done with the nature center and we all survived!

We collected sticks and the kids came up with the idea to build a city for roly polys. So they started with the city walls...

Adding roads and houses for the roly polys...

What's gonna work, teamwork!!

She wasn't having any fun...not one bit...

Ava wanted the city to have a row of tall trees to block the wind (like the eucalyptus trees do in our city). It is always through play times like these that I discover that my kids actually are listening to my husband and I. I'm encouraged to have more discovery play times like this...

Such a handsome dude...

The roly poly city is done! The boys collected some roly polys and introduced them to their new home...

It may have been a battle to get into nature today, but it was worth it.
When we were leaving the nature center my kindergartner says "Mom, I love nature. I love being in nature and learning here."

YAY! SUCCESS!
Another naturey adventure done.

Blessings,
Janiene

April 17, 2015

Naturey Adventures - El Dorado Nature Center

I've been looking to incorporate some nature lessons/explorations/learning into my current homeschool groove. I started hearing about nature journaling and exploring from my EF at the charter school we are enrolled in. She always inspires me to get out in nature and get my kids journaling. I recently started following some homeschool moms on Instagram that would tag their hikes and adventures with the hashtag #wildandfree. I started researching the Wild and Free groups and have recently joined one that explores Southern California. I hope to take my kids on many adventures through the summer with our nature journals in hand!

The most inspirational homeschool nature exploration instagram accounts that I follow belong to Greta Eskridge (@maandpamodern), Jen Liguori (@jenlovesaqua), Missusking (@missusking), Joy Prouty (@joyprouty), and many more that time fails me to list here....... 

I am greatly inspired by their styles of teaching and the way they choose to incorporate a zest for life and the Lord into their homeschooling.

Today we were wild and free as we explored the El Dorado Nature Center. We had a blast! There is a 1/4 mile Senses Trail that we spent most of our time exploring. There were so many goodies contained therein!!

We saw awesome spider webs...

Beautiful wildflowers (we researched the name of this wildflower and it is called Penstemon heterophyllus 'Blue Springs')...

We stopped to observe, smell, touch, and draw purple sage in our nature journals...

My eldest son spotted my favorite flower, the California Poppy... 

And then we found a beautiful patch of poppies...

We were trying so hard the entire nature walk to spot the elderberries and of course it was the last thing we spotted on the trail!! Such a beautiful tree... 

We stopped to observe, smell, and draw the elderberry tree...

The boys wanted to taste them but I did some quick google searches and it was not an edible berry...

Nature journaling...

On our way out of the reserve we spotted a snowy egret! He was waiting patiently on this little waterfall to eat yummy critters. We were able to watch him snag a few bites which totally made my kindergartners day!!!

I love living life with these little ducks...

I'm thankful for the women the Lord brings into my life to inspire me (thank you Lorie!) and for the women on Instagram that have been teaching me how to explore nature with my kids. Now I'm off to learn a bit more about nature journaling and being a wild and free explorer...

Blessings,
Janiene