Thursday, August 16, 2012

Giveaway: FREE Threadfollower Hand-Stitching Pattern

Enter to win one FREE threadfollower hand-stitching pattern of your choice
by leaving a comment below sharing with us a craft project you or your child are currently working on.
We will choose a winner randomly from the comments section here on Sept 24th and announce it here on the Little Acorn Learning blog!  For a second chance to win, sign up for our newsletters: threadfollower Newsletter and Little Acorn Learning Newsletter

big or small,
spring or fall,
anytime at all...
threadfollower kits
can be the start
for hand-stitchers
who are young at heart!

Hatched

This morning as we were getting dressed one of our dog's started to growl and bark at the windowsill.  When I looked over I saw that our green chrysalis had hatched into a beautiful BLACK swallowtail butterfly! 
It must have came out of its chrysalis either the evening before or during the very early morning hours as, by the time we got to it, its wings were no longer wet and it was ready to fly. 
This was such a wonderful science learning experience for the girls.  They watched and kept record each day of the chrysalises and any changes they noticed.  It was so exciting to see that this one was a black swallowtail butterfly and we are still waiting to see if the two other chrysalises which are brownish black in color, rather than fluorescent green like this one, will be yellow swallowtails or black as well. 
The empty chrysalis is on our nature table and we wait patiently to see if we can catch one of the others as they start hatching so we can take a video to share. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Metamorphosis

"There is nothing permanent except change."  ~Heraclitus
I believe that the universe is always speaking to us through nature and it is our job to pay close attention and listen. Over the past few months, we have been noticing many dragonflies and butterflies around us. Both symbolize change and transformation and there is plenty of that going on around our lives right now which I cannot talk about yet but it requires a lot of trust, faith and patience from all of us. 

"Caterpillar asks what stage of metamorphosis are you in. A symbol of the beginning stages of transformation. Preparation for growth, natural harvest. All things come in nature's time. A caterpillars's movement is not fast, it is slow and shows us that patience is required."
 Two weeks ago, Brian's great-grandmother passed away. More transition, more change.  She was 97 years old and lived an amazing life... but still, we all loved her so and it was very painful to say goodbye. Brian and I went to visit her with the girls when she was ill and unfortunately we were the ones to find she had already passed on.  This was extremely difficult to experience with my four children in the room but I also knew intuitively that they will not be protected from the truths of life and death during their time on earth and it was my job to be with them and guide them through understanding, feeling and accepting the reality of death and reinforcing our faith in an afterlife. 

The day after she died, we found three Swallowtail caterpillars on our dill weed in the garden. The girls were so interested in them as they are truly so beautiful and we decided to take them inside and raise them into butterflies together - learning as we watch the amazing metamorphosis take place first hand.

Every morning the girls checked on the caterpillars and brought them more dill and parsley to eat. 
 Then one day in our driveway we found a single butterfly that had passed on and left its beautiful body behind.  It was a good opportunity to explain the changes that occur in all living things and that even though the butterfly's wings are still here - its 'being' is not... and it has moved on to a new beautiful place that we cannot yet see.  Again, my belief is that these are all symbols being sent to us to assist us in what we are going through in life right now and I am so grateful to help my girls be mindful and aware of the messages they are being sent each day as well.
 Our caterpillars were very active and very... HUNGRY!  They eat quite a lot and poop even more!!!!
 Not long after, we saw the caterpillars get into position to turn into a chrysalis.  They stayed like this for quite some time hanging by just a thread they created to attach to their body to the stick.
 Our first chrysalis was so beautiful - a green transparent color that was truly amazing.  We were so surprised to see the caterpillars 'skin' had shed and that the chrysalis actually happened from the inside out not the other way around.  Change should occur from the inside out I guess... so it makes sense.
 The next two were brown with black.  We didn't think they were still alive but when touched they  moved!  Now we patiently wait to see what they look like when they turn into butterflies and if the dark ones will be different than the green one.
 What signs are being presented to you lately?  Have you been paying attention? 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Maia's 8th Birthday!

 My little Maia turned 8 years old on Tuesday.  As a tradition, whoever has a birthday gets to decide where we go to dinner that night.  Maia chose a local Mexican restaurant (likely because you get to wear a cool hat as they all sing to you).  I was happy because I love the fried ice cream.
 A few days later she had her friend party.  She has been waiting and waiting to be old enough to do what her big sisters usually do and invite a few girlfriends out for a dinner and movie.  She was super excited to get the chance this year. 
 The girls all met at our house and we went for a fun dinner at Friendly's.  The girls felt so grown up out on the town all dressed up and it was so sweet to watch them enjoying this special night together.
 After ice cream, it was time to head out to a movie...
 As you can see they were so very excited and had a great time together.
 My husband  met me there with two of our daughters and we lucked out and got the movie theater to ourselves!  A private showing! 
After, we drove each of the girls home and laughed and talked in the car on the way.  It was a night to remember and Maia's face was full of happiness all the way to the pillow.  We don't go out to the movies often but on a special occasion like this it was the perfect treat.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Cooking Camp

This summer I was lucky enough to be asked to run a week-long Cooking Camp through our town's Park and Recreation Department.  I had never run a camp before, especially a week full of cooking with 14 children by myself so I was pretty nervous. 
Each day we had a special recipe to make and I tried my best to tie in associated circle time songs, games, crafts, books and activities.
 The children ranged in age from 4 years old to 6 years old and also my three girls were there to assist.  Keira was a HUGE help and lead storytime and many of the crafts for me while I was setting up.
 We all made our own special aprons to wear throughout the week and as the days passed by we became like a little family.  I started to get to know each child and their individual personalities and they began to trust me and their friends and open up more.
 We made five different recipes including homemade individual pizzas, apple turnovers,

 homemade ice cream in a bag, homemade bread and banana surprise muffins.  I was SO lucky that each day the recipes came out great and the only problem we had was on the very last day my timing was a bit off and the parents had to wait an extra 15 minutes for the muffins to finish baking.
The children LOVED cleaning up.  Isn't it so amazing that children actually really enjoy these activities when we present it to them in a way that makes them feel capable and responsible?  They were all such wonderful kids and I miss them already.

 After that week of working with this age group in a class environment, I realized how much I loved it.  Yes, it was hard getting up each morning and being organized enough to have my supplies and my girls in the car on time.  And after camp ended each day, I was tired and did look forward to a break.  But I really did love it.
 I know that working and advocating for children is what I am meant to be doing.  And something I will be doing more of in the future. 
 Now that our public middle school has decided to eliminate Home Economics from the curriculum and replace it with a 21st Century Internet Skills class, I am considering running an after-school cooking and sewing class so kids still have a way to learn how to cook their own meal and sew on a button after they've mastered searching the Internet and programming websites for the 21st Century (yes you are sensing some major sarcasm). 
 And I also hope to help run Cooking Camp again next summer and maybe even add on a week or two if I have the time now that I know what to expect. 

 Seeing how proud the children were of themselves was so fulfilling to me.  I love that I am helping them discover how amazing they are and all that they can create in this world.
 And, in the meantime, they are helping me find myself again.  
Truly a win win.