Tuesday, April 24, 2012

April Spring Doings

So, if I update once a week, can I call it weekly updates? I don't think so, since I'm still catching up on my remembrances of more than a week ago.

Lately, in our household: we learned a bit about how to use the library catalog to find books. This came at the request to "use the computer to find books about unicorns." We did a subject search, wrote down the title, author and shelving locations, and searched for and found the four titles deemed acceptable. (Our library system evidently has 76 children's books under the subject of "unicorn," but the catalog displays cover images, and some with jousting knights in stormy backgrounds were deemed "too scary.") So far, we've made our way through a Candy Fairies book, A  Valentine's Surprise by Helen Perelman.

After that library outing, we then attended our city's parks and recreation department's Animal Open House. The resident reptiles (turtles, lizards, etc.) of the Outdoor Center were on display, and additional animals were brought in for the day: a chicken, a couple of miniature horses, a raccoon (used in a demonstration by the city naturalist), a chinchilla. There was a display of pelts for the kids to feel and guess what they had come from, and a "quiz" game for prizes of a bottle of water or a box of Cracker Jacks. (I do think they could have geared the questions up a little bit from the toddler/preschool level for some of the kids. One of the queries was: "What color is a bluebird?") Nora also got her burning question of the day answered by the city naturalist: "Does anything hunt owls?" (Answer: "Other owls.")

It was kind of an animal-themed week, as it also included a kindergarten field trip to a nature center, and a special guest star at the Girl Scouts meeting: one of the other girls' family dog, who was there for a discussion about "how to take care of dogs and other animals." And we followed up the following weekend with a trip to the Minnesota Zoo to see the annual Animal Babies exhibit: bunnies, chicks, calves, piglets and excitedly hopping goat kids at the farm, a baby monkey clinging to its mother's tummy.

I spent part of a weekend this month volunteering at a fancy gala, too: I got to get dressed up and go to the ball -- to work the carnival games and sell the fundraising beads. :) The money from the event goes to support a variety of local charitable endeavors.

Nora and I made a pecan pie with the leftover pie crust from our Easter lemon meringue version and some pecans picked up on sale after Christmas. (I figured we should probably eat the pecans before they went bad. And we haven't attempted homemade piecrust yet.) I also baked some banana muffins for breakfasts this weekend with some bananas from the freezer. I've been in a bit of a menu planning rut lately, and I've kind of lost track of my freezer inventory, but I do need to see what other produce is in there that we should be eating down before the next season.

The weather this month has been alternating between lovely spring, and rainy. There has been some park time, but probably not enough. I did finally find a dry (enough) day to mow the lawn and trim the edges. I chopped off a bunch of dandelions in doing so, making the yard noticeably less yellow, but two full bouquets had already been displayed in a green vase indoors. I'm enjoying watching the birds this spring, too. I've seen wild turkeys wandering about on my drive to work, a ring-necked pheasant running across the street in front of my car in our suburb, robins hunting in our yard, chickadees perching in our trees, and a pair of purple finches sitting on our deck with nesting material in their mouths. And, upon our return from church choir last week, we helped the next door neighbor uproot some of the dozens of maple seedlings that had self-sown in her yard (with a brief discussion of how we'd end up living in a forest if we let them grow, and a suggestion from the five-year-old that we could turn our house into a maple syrup factory).

I'm attempting to enjoy spring as it's here (I did finally finish reading North with the Spring by Edwin Way Teale; for some reason, it took quite a while), but summer approacheth -- at least, in terms of planning kid activities. I need to get on that.

Dance class had costume/photo day this week (so they make sure all the kids are looking right for recitals), and they handed out the class schedule for next year already. I asked Nora if she was taking dance next year, and her reaction, in a tone of voice that assumed this was sooooo obvious, was "Yeah! Every year!" I guess there's an interest. (Which I knew: she frequently tries to teach me dance steps, and her dance teacher's evaluation sheet for her, with recommendations for next year's classes, said she's a natural dancer -- and "full of energy.")

And, oh yes, I also meant to write down: inspired by the litter we've seen blowing into yards in the April winds, Nora's current plans for her grownup years include being "a paleontologist, what digs up dinosaur bones, a mom, and someone who cleans up all the litter in the world."

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