Sunday, February 17, 2013


The black-capped Chickadee is native to our area and does not migrate south in the winter.  In spring, summer and early fall Chicadees eat small insects, spiders, and berries that are plentiful.  But in winter, when food is not as readily available, they are likely to come to feeders to get seeds and fruit left out for them.  At a local park, the Chickadees are accustomed to being hand-fed by park visitors.  We decided to give it a try today to see if we would have any luck with the coming to eat from our hands.  Since we had a few inches of fresh snow fall last night, we thought the birds might have a harder time finding food and would be more willing to approach us.
Putting out the bird seed...maybe they will see it!

Waiting patiently...
And waiting...
Look!  Here they come!

After the first brave Chickadee landed on Grace, the others followed.

Once a few Chickadees knew we had food, there were little birds flying in and out of the bushes and trees around us.  I read online that they take the food and go hide it somewhere to eat later and that they can remember up to 1,000 hiding spots.  I wonder how scientists know that...   What a fun experience!  We are planning to go back someday to do this again.  Hopefully, when it is not so cold out!

Saturday, February 16, 2013


Part of Grace's music instruction is the requirement that all students submit original music pieces for an international Music for Young Children competition each year.  Grace and Kyle worked on this song called "After the Rain" that came from Grace's idea to write a song about a rainbow.  It is short, but appropriate for her age and experience level...and, it was HARD to write and figure out how the make the music match the ideas they had in their minds.
Grace's teacher will send her work in to the competition exactly as you see it here.  The children have to write the notes themselves on the paper given to them by their teacher.  Did you know Mozart composed his first piece when he was just five, too?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Be my Valentine

These two have a very special bond.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Making art fun

Sometimes you just get lucky.  That is what happened at the Akron Art Museum today.

This morning when we were looking for something to do on a Sunday afternoon, I found a children's scavenger hunt on the Akron Art Museum's website.  We printed it out and went in search of ten paintings and sculptures at the museum.  The museum lobby - which is the modern addition to a old, historical brick building that once was the museum - is bright and airy with walls of windows that let in natural light.  You are only allowed to use your camera here, so I didn't get any photos in the galleries. But Grace had a fantastic time searching all the rooms for the real artwork that was depicted on the color copy she carried with her.  She checked each one off when we found it and even did a little math to let us know how many we still had to find.

In each room, after we looked at everything, each of us told which piece of art we liked best and why.  My favorite of the entire museum was one called "Man Eating Trees".  It was certainly memorable because of the striking - almost scary image - but also because the artist used tar for paint.  It is about how humans are destroying our forests and he used tar because it comes from the sap of pine trees.
Just before we were about to leave several dancers from Verb Ballet came out of the theater on the first floor with animal costumes on.  The children we immediately drawn to them, of course.  They were so nice, offering to look at the art with the kids.  At one point, the dancers and some of the kids gravitated to giant Conectagons where they built their own sculpture together.

Although we were hungry, we stayed for their performance which was an interactive ballet where they used ballons and invited the children up on stage to participate.   Grace LOVED it!  It was so cool that she recognized some of the music. When we got home Grace went right up to her room, found the classical CD,  put it into the CD player, and tried out the dances she watched.  We didn't know there would be a dance performance today to add to the artwork...we just got lucky!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

100th Day of School

The 100th day of school is a BIG deal when you are in the elementary grades.  The kids are learning place value as they count to 100.  When they do the calendar in their morning meeting they have been counting the days since they entered the school building back in August.  There are all kinds of activities they do with the number 100, too!  Grace came home with this 100 paper today.  I love how she wrote the words herself and she was very proud of her drawings which really look like strawberries and mushrooms.  But she has to draw a lot more to get to 100!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Snowy hills

We had a pretty good snowfall yesterday that gave us just enough coverage on the hills to go sledding today.  We all bundled up this morning and braved the cold for a little "slip-sliding" fun!

 Grace walked up the hill about 1/2 the time.
The other times she got a ride.  I think she liked both ways, except when she walked by herself pulling the sled she kept falling down.  I am not sure if she was doing it on purpose so she could make snow angels, throw snow in the air, and eat some of it...but not yellow snow!

Since it was very cold we only stayed out there about 45 minutes.  But we all got to ride down the hill a few times each!   Yes, even I went.  Grace helped me be brave!