Friday, February 11, 2005

Wednesday was Chinese New Year, which we celebrated with some friends at a local restaurant. The kids had a blast learning more about their Chinese sign, which element they were--earth, fire, water, wind or metal--and most of all, eating the buffet! One of the gals who organized it made sure that there were New Year party favors for all the kids, which they got to take home. The Chinese dragons were a huge hit, as were the snake dragons.

When we got home, we popped in a documentary we had borrowed from the library on China, and the girls and I watched a bit of it, learning some things about the Revolution. But, it was kinda boring, so we turned it off after a while and put something else in. The kids played on my bed for hours with those snake dragons, making letters out of them and taking turns guessing what it was supposed to be.

Jim was out to dinner with a guest speaker from work, so he didn't get home until late. The kids and I had a liesurely dinner, and the girls made themselves oatmeal for the first time. It was so cute to watch them standing at the stove in their aprons. Em even had to put on her Colonial dress for the full effect. Too cute! Afterwards they made some chocolate milk, and then started playing a game in which their "mother" would not let them talk to each other, so they had to write notes. For the next 45 minutes, we all wrote notes back and forth to each other, using a combination of pictographs, squiggles and real words. They never cease to amaze me with the things they come up with!

Thursday, we spent a glorious morning outside at the Battle Creek Cypress Swamp with our 4-H Gardening club in preparation for the Great Backyard Bird Count, birdwatching and just enjoying the weather. Cypress trees send up "knees" from their roots that help the tree to breathe, a great shot of which I got in the morning sunshine. We saw several birds, mostly by the feeder at the Visitor's Center, but a few during our walk.

When we returned from our hike, we spent some time in the Visitor's Center reptile room, where we got to see several black snakes at various stages of growth, a copperhead and even got to hold a corn snake. There are so many things for the kids to explore and learn about in the little hands-on museum there, from paw print identification to a see-through beehive. It's a wonderful place to explore!

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