Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Wild Life!

Yesterday we went on another field trip SAFARI!!!

More specifically, we visited a drive-through zoo, located on 600 acres, containing over 500 animals in their natural habitat, that roam freely (for the most part) as they do in the wild!

There were four of us moms (Marci, Amy, Elm, and I) with 15 of our children. We all piled into two of our vehicles to drive-through the park. The girls (and baby Ben) all went with Amy and Elm, and Marci and I had the boys. Yep... we got to experience the wildlife INSIDE the van, as well as OUTSIDE! ;)

I uploaded my pictures to the computer and was shocked to find that I took TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY SEVEN pictures!! Yikes!!!! Lots of them are duplicates of the same animals -- trying to get that hard to capture "perfect picture"... Nevertheless, even though I promise not to post ALL of them, I have a feeling this post may end up having quite a few pictures... =)

The 4.5 mile trek through the park begins with animals from Africa.

Right: Addax ~ Left: Gemsbok

African Lion

Did you know that a lion's roar can be heard from 5 miles away?

Giraffes ~ That last guy was sticking his tongue out at us!

Check out the teeth on the Hippopotamus!

Next up was The Americas.

Here we were able to see a Bald Eagle, Waterbuck, Turtles, American Bison, Brown Bears, Llamas, Aoudad (Barbary Sheep), Roosevelt Elk, to name a few!

While we were trying to watch a couple of the bears fighting, we had a little bear fight break out in the car... Well, not exactly, though one of the boys did have the window shut on his little head! Poor guy! For a minute there they got a bit crazier... I was starting to wonder if we would survive the drive, but then, listening to their commentary about the animals was hilarious!

Last stop was Asia.

Tons to see here as well including: Tibetan Yaks, nilgai, Sarus Cranes, Silka Deer, Gibbons, Bactrian Camels, Rhea, and lots more...

Check out this cool looking Camel lying on the side of the road.

Here are some White Fallow Deer.

We were disappointed that we didn't get to drive-thru the Cheetah and Tiger areas, which are only open on the weekends right now, but there were plenty of other animals to see. However, we did get to see one cheetah that was in "The Village" after we got out to eat lunch and walk around.

These voices of these two "White Handed Gibbons" were used in the old original Jungle book movie.

That little tidbit of information was included in a lecture an impromptu "field trip presentation" we received for letting our children feed the ducks some wheat bread, which the Gibbons then tried to get on the diets of zoo ducks and Gibbons... ;)

Before we left the kids even got to pet a turtle and a ferret, even though we didn't have time to head to the petting zoo.

I also have a few cute pictures from the playground. I am out of time right now, but I'll end with a couple group photos!

It was a FULL day, and I was am still exhausted, but I am pretty sure everyone had a wonderful time!

In like a Lion, Out like a Lamb

Can you believe it is already the last day of March?? I find it absolutely amazing that my children remember so perfectly what we did last year!! So, it looks like we'll be making some Lamb Cupcakes today... What are your plans?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Resurrection Eggs

This year, in addition to our Lenten Calendar and Jesus Tree, I've decided to add one more activity as we countdown the days to Easter: Resurrection Eggs.

Resurrection eggs are yet another great way to tell our children the story of the passion and resurrection of Jesus, using 12 colorful eggs filled, symbolic objects, and passages from the Bible.

I am still trying to decide whether or not I want to use the eggs to countdown the 12 days leading up to Easter (beginning Wednesday), or if I just want to pull them all out on Good Friday... Decisions, decisions... =)

Anyhow, I purchased these eggs (and this book to go along with them after seeing Erin's recommendation), but, especially after looking at the ones I purchased, they could be made so easily at home!!

Sure enough, I ran across these directions online, but decided to modify them to match our eggs and the book, Benjamin's Box: The Story of the Resurrection Eggs, which we will be reading, and possibly make a few more sets so each of my children can have their own. (If not this year, maybe next?!)

Update:  I would no longer recommend this book, due to revisions in the newest editions.  I'll post more later, but for now you can read more in the comment section of this post.

Homemade Resurrection Eggs

You will need 12 plastic eggs that can be opened and filled. The eggs can either be kept in an Egg Carton, or you could use a basket labeling each egg with a number. You can also include the corresponding Bible verse/verses in each egg, which adds to the significance of the symbolism.

Egg 1: Place a small toy donkey inside the first egg which represents the donkey on which Jesus rode into Jerusalem just before His death and resurrection. Suggested Reading: Matthew 21:1-9

Egg 2: Place three dimes to symbolize the "30 pieces of silver" that Judas received to betray Jesus. Suggested Reading: Matthew 26:14-16

Egg 3: Place a small cup or goblet to symbolize the Last Supper. Another option would be to use a small piece if cracker. Suggested Reading: Matthew 26:17-19

Egg 4: Place praying hands inside this egg reminding us of Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. You could make these out of Sculpey clay, cut them out of foam or felt, or even print out an picture. Suggested Reading: Mark 14:32-42

Egg 5: Place a strip of leather to represent the scourging at the pillar. Suggested Reading: John 19:1-15

Egg 6: Place a thorn to symbolize the "crown of thorns" that Jesus wore. A rose bush may be a good source. Suggested Reading: Matthew 27:29-31

Egg 7: Nail, to represent the nails used to crucify Our Lord. Suggested Reading: John 19:16-22

Egg 8: Place a die or a couple of dice to symbolize the "lots that were cast" for Jesus' clothing. Suggested Reading: John 19:23-25

Egg 9: Place a spear (Playmobil would be perfect!) to represent the spear which the Roman soldiers used to pierce Jesus' side."lots that were cast" for Jesus' clothing. Suggested Reading: John 19:31-37

Egg 10: Place a small piece of white/linen cloth to symbolize the cloth with which Joseph of Arimathea wrapped the body of Jesus after He died on the cross. Suggested Reading: Matthew 27:57-61

Egg 11: Place a rock to symbolize the stone that was rolled away from the tomb. Suggested Reading: Matthew 28:1-3

Egg 12: EASTER MORNING! This egg will be empty to symbolize the tomb that was empty, that Jesus was risen from the dead! Suggested Reading: Matthew 28:5-8

A Beautiful Sermon on Veiling

I just finished listening to the following sermon from Audio Sancto on veiling images and the veiling of women:

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Visiting the Airport

This past Friday we went on a field trip to the airport with our local Catholic Home-School group.

The first stop was a visit to one of the helicopter hangers. The pilots told the children all about helicopters, answered questions, and were even kind enough to let the children climb inside!

Hah! After looking through the photos, I just noticed that Chiquita was in *both* helicopters! She was having so much fun! Snuggles on the other hand wanted off as quickly as possible.

Next we visited another hanger, where a kind older gentleman showed the children some planes he has built, or is in the process of building, as well as the tools he uses, among other things. He too answered lots of questions and let the children hop into the pilot seat of one of his neat little airplanes. (I can't remember the name of it, and the boys are sleeping!)

Then we all headed to an old World War II Bomber for lunch.

My boys were in heaven!

After everyone was done eating the children were given a presentation about this particular Bomber (which I missed since Snuggles was acting up and wanted to be outside). I am sure it was interesting... Then all the children had a bit of time to play on the grass as we waited for the next presentation from the airport fireman!

Due to Airport rules and restrictions, the fireman needed to stay on their side of the fence, and we had to stay on the other side, but the children loved hearing the firemen explain how they put out fires on the airfield and airplanes, and asked plenty of questions, once again. The fireman even showed the children how the airport firetrucks shoot water off the roof. Pretty cool, except for the fact that the trucks only carry 2 minutes worth of water... That doesn't seem like very much?!?

The next stop was the Jet Center. Here we were given another tour, and got to see the mechanics working on a number of planes, someone taking delivery of their new plane, and a helicopter being repainted to be sent over to Iraq.

The rest of the group was then headed to the terminal, but we had to get going since the boys needed to get to Baseball practice.

Nevertheless, it was an awesome field trip and everyone had a great time!