Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Happy Spring! Equinox Cookies and a Book Share

Oh, Happy Spring!

We spent the day doing all things springy - spring crafts, spring baking, spring song... You get the idea.  (The spring song was made up by Sydney, no less.  And, it was cute.  For the first half hour.  Maybe for the first 10 minutes.)

I wanted to share a lovely spring book that I found at the library.  The charming illustrations and lyrical language remind me a bit of If You Find a Rock, another favorite.  The book is and then it's spring, by Julie Fogliano and Erin E. Stead.  It tells of a boy planting some seeds in his garden in the spring and then waiting.  And waiting.  And waiting some more.  A few of my favorite lines:
"... and it is still brown,
but a hopeful, very possible sort of brown,..."
"please do not stomp here -
there are seeds
and they are trying"
Lovely, right?

We don't have quite the same level of brown at the start of spring here that I am used to in Michigan, but I can still visualize those little seeds trying.  I'm still learning the rhythm of the seasons and I have to admit that its a fun kind of local education.  And, don't worry, I'm sure we get our fair share of brown - probably the end of the summer when its 100 degrees and there hasn't been any rainfall in a month... I may have to write a parody.  (Okay, my sister, Kate, may have to write it.  She is a much better writer and way funnier than I.)

I also wanted to share a fun treat that you can make with your kids to celebrate spring: Spring Equinox Cookies!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Estimating and The Great Backyard Bird Count

"Momma, do you know why George Washington is one of the best presidents?"

This was from my eldest one after I picked her up from school a few weeks ago.  With several accolades flying through my head - 1st president, Revolutionary War general, honest chopper of cherry trees - I let her continue her thought uninterrupted.

"Because he gave us a day off school."

Well, there is that, too.

A highlight of President's weekend for our family each year is the Great Backyard Bird Count, a joint project of the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology and the Audubon Society.  It's a great example of an accessible citizen science project that can be done with kids.  For at least 15 minutes during the long weekend, contributors are asked to count the number of each type of bird they observe and submit it online at the GBBC website.  As the name indicates, many people conduct the count in their backyards, although others may do it at local parks or other public spaces.