Holy cows.. it’s fair season!!

Meet Mrs. Curly top!!

Curly top, you are adorable!

I’m supposed to tell you that it’s impossible to fall in love with a cow, but unfortunately it’s very possible!! That’s because I totally fell for this curly cutie.. I know, I know, I’m probably sounding crazy right about now, but I’m telling you there was never a cuter cow in my book. First of all cows are not supposed to be “cute!” Second of all, hand feeding a cow is the slimiest experience I can ever remember. But all that aside, I was just fascinated with Goldie Locks! Imagine the kids’ reactions when they find out that the new family pet is now going to be a cow?! Really mom?!

Lets just say I was ready to adopt!

….and I’m totally kidding….

The second stars of the cuteness show were the adorable piglets.

This Lil piggy..

Watching cute little piggies scampering about was super entertaining, and smelly. But they were adorable!!

Basically our first fair trip this year was all about the animals. The kids could not get enough of the petting area or the farm and gardens at the Orange County fair this summer. We watched a great lesson on the milking process and how the production actually goes. I guess Gavin was expecting to see an old man pull up a stool and start hand milking the cow over a glass jar. Needless to say, seeing a suction and machines expressing milk into a bucket was quite the introduction to the real-life assembly line style that is the life of a cow this day in age!

Gavin is also overcoming his apprehensive tendencies towards animals. After a good feeding session, I could hardly get him to leave!

Big sis is always great at helping Grant feel comfortable with certain things, such as the over-excited goats who are crazy about food! She was very patient during the process!

 

Vegetable gardens, and melon patches were looking mighty fine too! We liked exploring all of the delicious varieties that they had growing around there.

And no fair trip is complete without some sort of ride on a pony or a chance to play around with some drumsticks.

Drummer boy.

It was great to continue our learning adventures over the summer without even trying. The trip to this fair was one of those perfect opportunities for that head start!

We are looking forward now to the L.A. County fair coming up this September. I wonder what will be catching our eyes next time…

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The Empty Nest: Part 2

To follow-up on our lovely little nest find:

Conveniently spread out over the span of a couple of weeks, we took our time with the study of our nest. We used a couple of bird worksheets (here and here for a few ideas if needed!) The kids also made this nifty little bird mobile which we found the printable for on this site. We changed it a bit however, and decided that it needed a sturdy oatmeal box as the tree and real leaves to make it more realistic. Fun stuff!!

The bird mobile

Then there was the bird nest experiment, that I found on education.com. I also needed to adapt this for our own use. This experiment could have been more thorough had we already invested in a microscope and some petri dishes, but we just aren’t there yet. It was a very neat little experiment though. I had Ella write out her official hypotheses on whether she thought there were other living organisms in the nest, besides the bird and egg/s that inhabited it. She decided that, No, it only has seeds and probably no other ‘living’ things really.

She was right… (unless of course a microscope would have shown otherwise.) But our findings after leaving the nest under a hot lamp for a few days, was that nothing else had set up home in the nest after all.

Come out, come out, wherever you are…

Looking for clues

After discussing the reasons why birds make nests the way they do, and the benefits to making a nest in a hidden, far to reach place, we watched a couple of videos that I was able to find on YouTube of a real bird building its nest. Then I challenged them at making a replica of a nest and for a minute we joked that they should make it without using hands! They quickly saw what a hard thing that would be to carry out, and now appreciate the amazing skill that birds possess to create a nest using only their beaks!

Here is what they came up with:

Looked pretty good to me!! (Bendaroos, yarn, plant base stuffing and burlap made nice materials for that.) While their nest wasn’t as structurally sound as the real one, its colorful style added so much ‘flare!’

Speaking of nest styles, the nest that we found had one particular clue which stood out about what type of bird was living in it. After desperately scanning several sites to try to identify this nest, we narrowed it down. I should add that this bird nest identification business is a tricky thing! We noticed that there appeared to be a hole towards the bottom of the nest and that the description of a House Sparrow nest stated that it might have a hole about to the bottom of it. Normally the sparrow nest might be taller than ours, but it also depends on the location. The position in the tree that we found it was about roof height which is also a quality of that type. Luckily we also saw the egg which was a smaller greyish, white color with speckles and about the size of a dime and connects it to the House Sparrow description as well. There were plenty of qualities that immediately crossed off other birds from the list, such as mud used on the nest, an enclosed nest, many feathers used throughout the design and the type of grasses used.

I think all clues point to one answer in my non-expert bird opinion: It’s a House Sparrow nest!! 🙂

Overall the nest study turned out a success and was a fun way to end the ‘official’ school year these past couple of weeks. Be sure to be on the lookout for abandoned nests… it just might be the inspiration needed for a little study on the sweet little winged friends, whom love to bring us happy song!

“Did you ever see an unhappy horse? Did you ever see bird that had the blues? One reason why birds and horses are not unhappy is because they are not trying to impress other birds and horses.” ~Dale Carnegie

And then there were Legos…

Some of the best days are spent doing things I didn’t plan…

Like when Gavin is begging me to build him a Lego house.

And it literally takes me the bulk of the day to fulfill this wish for him. He know’s mommy has never known her full potential at Lego building and seriously doubts a successful outcome, but he had every bit of faith in me with this assignment.

 

I couldn’t resist a couple of details, like the flower walkway next to a pond… or the fancy barbecue on the upstairs deck…

 

And of course we have the living room… a side from the kitchen and bedrooms.

Yes, that’s a drill on the coffee table, why I don’t know. 🙂

Gavin and Ella both asked for the garage.

It was definitely a Lego day and mostly because we are three days out from the last day of school, workbooks are drying up, and summer fun days are starting to nudge at us. We took a run in the morning through our “old downtown” and had some real interactions with map/key concepts as well as stopped in the pet store for some learning. The kids got to pet a few snakes, Ella pet a scorpion and they watched the effort that goes into maintaining all the animal cages. It was an eventful day even though the Lego’s ended up as the bigger portion.

But every good day must come to an end, and the creation met its tragic end…

 

It’s a tough thing to see hard work fall on the floor to a million pieces. But what is remembered is the fun that was had while it lasted!

And there’s always tomorrow….

P.S. Lego mini golf