Monday, April 18, 2011

Home, Home On The Range

Yee haw! We have been saddling up here mighty fine studyin' the southwest states. What a great week it has been! Earlier this past week we put on our cowboy/cowgirl/ train conductor ( oh, how there is always an non conformist in the group lol) outfits, placed a quilt in the living room floor and ate our cowboy grub which consisted of pork and beans wrapped up in a tortilla. We learned that the cowboys didn't use utensils much but rather tortillas for scooping and holding their food together. Austen decided he wanted nothing to do with the food and requested a pbutter/apple butter sandwich. I agreed for sake of keeping peace but then he ate a nibble of that and said he was done.

I set up a campfire and we sat around and read about scorpions, rattlesnakes, the Hopi Indians and how they had no doors or windows on their homes but climbed up to their roofs and went down the openings there. We sang home on the range and Jayden, Moriah ( who claimed her self to be a girl scorpion who was going to " peench you") and Austen played a game of charades where they acted out different desert animals. This was fun to watch because they know so many. One in particular Jayden stood up and had spikes pretending to dart out of his body as he morphed into a saguaro cactus. The kids thought I had lost my marbles when I began talking in a twisted western accent only acknowledging myself as Suzy Mae. " Mama, mama, can you not talk like that?" Haha!

Later that week, we attended a birthday party at a mountain range where it tied so perfectly into our southwest studies because after the party we all went in to talk to the ranger who spoke awhile on desert animals and their tendencies, eating habits, etc. Especially the scorpion. Blech!

Equipped with our black lights, we headed out. If you can imagine me. My ears are highly attuned to any rattle, ruffle, scuffle or slide that may encircle my ankles at any second and try to steal the life out of me. But, never fear, I forgot that due to the fact that it was ME that was hiking we would be guaranteed not a single animal sighting and yes, we found not one scorpion on the entire hunt in the dark. I was stunned, what! I never want to see one in my home but I wanted to see one in the desert. Sooo, Ben talked about taking the kids later this month to another scorpion hunt. I will probably not go so that they can have the privilege of seeing scorpions. I think I emit waves of terror through the air that send out signals to any living thing and they just hide; I have no idea.

We also made a diorama of a desert scene. The kids created cacti out of cardboard. We were going to paint them but the kids opted to color them instead which was fine with me- less mess. They took toothpicks, split them in half and stuck them around their cardboard cactus. We also read MORE desert books about drought, rattlesnakes, and the adaption of desert plant life- Saguaros are succulent plants they " suck" the water that falls on the ground around them. We talked about our trips to the Grand Canyon as well and looked at pictures. The boys have been listening to Hank the Cowdog ( a " lovely" and so " deep") audio book series of a Texan talking dog and his "wild" adventures. For as much bible, classical literature ( the real Mary Poppins series....) and quality children's literature I don't mind the occasional Hank but it kills me listening to it...its kinda like the equivalent of Diego on mind starts to go numb. Sorry Diego!

We have also been reading a really cool series on Arizona. It is an alphabet and number books for different things that make our state unique. Learning about the different agricultural and development of the state has been fascinating...let's see if I can get the five c's right- copper, citrus, cotton, cattle and shoot can't remember! Also, reading about Oklahoma from the scholastic series of states. This is, again, a great resource when studying the states as it is a colorful series with lots of history, social factors, food ideas, and talking....although, I did talk to my friend who is from OK who stated that not all the "Oklahoman" words were used that often. Nevertheless, we are having a great time. This week will be our wrap up and hopefully just as fun! Saddle up!

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