Thursday, October 22, 2009

Hinckley Lake Field Trip

Having grown up spending every summer at a small lake in Michigan, and my children growing up at that same lake, I was so excited to come across this field trip experience. As part of the Cleveland Metroparks system, Hinckley Lake offers a floating water lab program to teach about lake ecology. I was slightly worried when I had to schedule the date for so late in October, but the weather was absolutely beautiful! We couldn't have asked for a nicer fall day.While on the boat, the students conducted water quality experiments using chemical tests. They were helped by instructors from the nature center and all the instructions were included on clipboards. All they needed to do was find the right equipment in the boxes, work together, follow the steps, and interpret the data. It took us approximately one hour to complete the tests and discuss the results. As we headed back for shore, the younger class was ready for their turn on the water. The next assignment was to capture lake critters that dwell along the shoreline.We took what looked like buckets of leaves back to the classroom/lab.
They searched for critters using small pipettes, and spoons for the bigger ones. They transferred them to small petri dishes and classified them. They had 11 different types of animals including mayfly nymphs, dragonfly nymphs, flatworms, scuds, diving beetles, water scorpions, zebra mussels, and even a small fish. Finally they were able to check them out under the microscopes. All in all, it was a great day.Definitely a trip worth repeating for those who didn't get to go this time around.
Another favorite OH field trip.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

This weeks game is Castle Keep; a strategy game for young players ages 8 and up. The object of the game is to be the first player to build your castle. Plain and simple. Well, it would be if others couldn't tear down your walls at the same time!!The castle walls are built by matching the color or shape of towers and walls, with a keep in the middle. BigJ thought he needed the added protection of WW1 flying aces! Walls can be torn down by matching an opponents piece exactly and all pieces of the same color go along with it. So you don't want all your pieces the same color otherwise you will be too vulnerable to attack.
Here is the winning castle.
This is a fun game that the whole family can play together. Even my teens like playing!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Shakespeare Festival

Last year was our first time seeing Shakespeare performed live on stage. Hamlet and Comedy of Errors.

And it was fabulous!

So naturally this year we were excited to go back and experience it all over again.

They did not disappoint!
The American Shakespeare Center on Tour comes to our area for two live performances each fall. They are a professional touring company; one of the best in the country. They perform the plays word for word and use Shakespearean staging conditions. Very unique and adds to the fun.
Did you know Romeo and Juliet isn't just a love story? It's also filled with sword fights, comedy, a dance party, secrets, friendships, and well laid plans that go awry. It definitely kept us on the edge of our seats with all the fast moving action. All's Well That Ends Well was a bit on the tamer side and slow moving at first, but by the middle and end I was hooked. Labeled a "comedy" because no one dies, it tells the story of a young girl determined to marry the young man of her choice. Of course, all is well in the end.
This has become a wonderful part of our high school literature studies and we are already looking forward to next year!

Hayrides and Bonfires

Every fall our church has a hayride and bonfire for the younger kids and their families. This year the weather was great; we didn't have to bundle up in winter coats and blankets! LittleJ enjoyed his seat in the middle of the wagon and especially liked watching the farm dog that followed us all throughout the ride. LittleA and LittleE also had an enjoyable time with the younger kids.
BigJ and friends had a great time too.After the hayride we went to a friend's house for the bonfire. I love being outside, sitting next to a roaring fire. Ahh...Nice and toasty.And the marmallows were pretty good too.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Welcome Fall!

My favorite season is fall. The beautiful colors of the changing trees, and the smells....Ahhhh.
Growing up, my dad owned a grain elevator, and every fall the smell of corn drying at the elevator was one of my favorites. I like the fairly warm days and the crisp cool nights. The bonfires and hayrides. And I even love raking leaves with the kids. We have a great time.

Then there are the apples, apple cider, and desserts made with pumpkin. I love the smell of cinnamon and pumpkin pie spices.

We've already been out to the local orchard for a bag of apples, but will be heading back there again soon for some more. And they also make the best cider! MMmmm.

Enjoy the fall; it goes by so quickly.