"....Your children shall be like olive plants all around your table." Psalm 128:3

Monday, February 8, 2016

Nature Exchange #4 and A Visit from Jonas

Hi friends,

Wow, it's been over a month since I've posted anything on here! I have been busy, busy, busy.  But such is life around the holidays, then trying to get back on schedule at the beginning of the New Year, then Winter Storm Jonas stopped for a visit. And believe me, it took a while for us clean up after he left.  ;) But more on that later.

First, our latest Nature exchange. If you read any of my ramblings on here, you have probably read about our Nature exchanges with my friend Silvia and her family. And you have probably heard me talk about how the exchanges have been such  a wonderful learning experience for our family.

Well, after reading my post about the most recent exchange with Silvia and her family, my friend, Celeste, contacted me and asked if we could do a Nature exchange with their family. 

Now, Celeste lives in California, not far from the shore. And we live in the foothills of the mountains and are a long distance from any beaches. So the thought of having a Nature exchange with her and  her family was an offer we just couldn't refuse!  

The search began...we looked high and low for things we thought her family would enjoy, and her family began to gather things for us.

Finally, we had a box full of goodies to send. We mailed it, and not long after, her family's box arrived..

We were so thrilled with all the ocean treasures! There were sand dollars, crabs shells, a crab claw, all types of shells: pacific razors, sea urchins, turban snails, dwarf olives, limpets, and California blue mussels just to name a few.
They also sent various seaweeds and sponges which are so unique!
Have a look at some of the treasures..

 A pine cone from a Redwood tree and a sand dollar with a barnacle on it.  How exciting to get our hands on some barnacles when Mimi was reading Pagoo!  Actually, the contents of the entire box fit right in with the book.  :)

 Love the ridges on this shell.  

 A "furry" sand dollar! How cool is that?!  :)

After closely examining everything, we decided to arrange the treasures on 2 trays and display them in a prominent place in our house. But where? All of the things that Silvia has sent are on display in our school room. I am happy to report that those shelves are full.  :)

So, where to put the ocean treasures? Mimi decided the best place would be on the baker's rack beside our dining room table.  We all agreed it would be the perfect spot, complete with magnifying glasses.  :)
Mimi has dubbed it our "Ocean Museum". Love that.  :)

Since we haven't had much opportunity to do any Nature sketching in the dead of winter, this exchange has provided us with many different things to sketch..

Thanks again for such a treat, Celeste.  :)

Speaking of Nature, I mentioned Winter Storm Jonas and wanted to share some of the photos of his visit. It's hard to tell how much snow we got because of the high winds, but hubby estimated 30 inches. For all of my warm weather readers, enjoy!  :)

This was only one hour into the storm..

It came down fast and furious.. 
White-out conditions, but thank the Lord, we didn't lose power. However, we were prepared for a power outage: we had plenty of eggs on hand. Why eggs, you ask? Well, since we heat our house with a wood stove, we could have cooked on it, and would have been eating cooked-on-the wood-stove scrambled eggs for a couple of days, which (speaking from experience) are quite tasty.  :)

After about 20 inches of snow, it was time to bring out the snow blower..

Obviously, our playground was a bit deserted that day.  

Shoveling snow was done in shifts since shoveling 30+ inches at one time is a bit too much, even for my hard working kids.  :)

On the bright side, there was plenty of snow for making snow tunnels..

As soon as Jonas hit the trail, the sky was so blue..
I couldn't help but think of the verse..."The heavens declare the glory of God,
And the firmament shows His handiwork." 
~ Psalm 19:1

  And then it was time for some sledding, as soon as we made a sledding track, that is.

Going down the hill was a blast!
It's the walk back up the hill that is not as much fun.  ;)

Asher decided to take a sledding-and-then-trudging-back-up-the-hill break on the boxwood recliner.  :)

We are expecting more snow tonight, but only several inches. My children are thankful that it won't be as much as last time. They aren't big fans of shoveling snow..at least not 30 inches of it.  :)

Have a great week, friends!


  1. So happy to see how much they enjoyed the treasures, Lisa! And it's funny to see your "ocean museum" juxtaposed with all that snow!!

    1. I know, Celeste! Definitely opposite ends of the climate pole. :)

    2. Hi Lisa! I was going to tag you over on FB, but I think you're taking a FB break? I just wanted you to know that I shared about our nature swap on the blog today! :)

    3. Yes, I am on a fb fast, Celeste. Thanks for the heads up. :)

  2. Oh my goodness! A nature exchange is such a wonderful idea!

    1. It is such a great educational experience for our family, Amber. Thanks for dropping in today. :)

  3. So many wonderful pictures! The beach treasures must have been so much fun to explore, and I love the nature notebook entries. And wow, 30+" of snow in one storm!! That is a lot of snow! I really like those snow tunnels, what fun. I don't think my kids have thought of doing that before!

    I think our biggest storm was about 24" and we lost power for over three days. We heat with wood and have a propane stovetop so we could still be warm and cook, but water was definitely a challenge. We've since put in a water tank, but we haven't had a long outage since then.

  4. Hi Amber,
    We had stored up some water just in case the power went out. Thankfully, we didn't have to use it, even though our kids were a little disappointed that they wouldn't get to experience the fun of reading by candle light... in their words: "just like in the days of Little House on the Prairie". :)

    1. My kids are always disappointed when the power doesn't go out as well. They love using the lanterns and flashlights and eating by candlelight. I try to keep their perspective in mind, but I have a hard time getting past the lack of running water and the difficulties in cleaning up the kitchen!

    2. I know what you mean. I would rather have (heated) running water than have to be Ma Ingalls for a day. ;)

    3. I've actually lived without running water and electricity for several months (and even washed clothes by hand!) and it has made me extremely grateful for these modern conveniences. I still remember thank God almost every time I start a load of laundry in the washing machine!

    4. Wow, Amber...you are definitely a pioneer woman! ;)

  5. Wonderful post, Lisa! They'll have some good memories from that storm, I am sure. Snow tunnels are a treasured activity here, too, but we didn't get enough snow this year.

    Looking forward to hearing more about the chicks, too. Much love to you!

    1. Sorry for the last response, my friend. My laptop has been ill. :/
      I just posted more about our chicks - and ducks. I think of your boys often when it comes to chickens, remembering when you told me that they would love to have chicks. :)
      Love to you, too!


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