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Saturday, December 30, 2017

Family-time ways to start the New Year right

Family- one of the greatest gifts of all. After the fun and frenzy of Christmas, we are going to refocus our energy on family as we move in to the New Year. Here are ideas to help you do the same:
Go on a hike & find a geocache
Just a few days ago we took the boys to a great park outside of Philadelphia where my husband and I used to hike long before kids. Geocaching will lead you to great out-of-the-way places that you never knew existed. Sign up at www.geocaching.com or download the app.
Play a new game
 Last week, thanks to my sis, we discovered the game Labyrinth.  It was so much fun requiring thought and planning. Here we have my 9 year old trying to outwit my 81 year old mom and my sis. Good luck, kid. :)
Start a nightly story time
We are fortunate that both of our sons are good readers, but I find they still enjoy being read to. It is calming and gives us something to talk about that is both entertaining and often filled with life lessons and deeper meaning. We are just about to finish the Seven-Year-Old-Wonder-Book and move on to the Bobsey Twins.
Visit a National or State Park
Grab a Junior Ranger booklet at the visitor center of any national park and start working on collecting badges for the kids. Some parks even have programs for adults. Click here to learn more about the Junior ranger program and download the booklets - you can even earn some without leaving your home.
However you choose to celebrate 2018 may it be full of fun, love and adventure!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Happy Holidays!

Are you all ready for a wonderful holiday? Maybe you're already in the throes of it. In any case, enjoy and we will have some good things coming in the New Year.

Friday, August 25, 2017


Today is National Park Service birthday. They are all free so get out there and have a great time!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Here Comes the Solar Eclipse!

Are you planning on learning about and watching the solar eclipse with your young naturalist on August  21st? Our family is really excited and we have some ideas to make it memorable for yours as well.

A great way to start is getting your kids informed and thinking using the Eclipse Junior Ranger booklet that you can download from this site. If you are near a national park in the line of the eclipse, turn it in for an awesome one-of-a-kind badge or mail in your booklet to get a badge

U.S. Department of Interior
National Park Service
Junior Ranger Coordinator
1849 C Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20240

 If you have a cub or Boy Scout in your family, he can earn a special patch through his troop as well.

Visit the NASA 2017 Eclipse website for a countdown, safety information, and list of events. (It is important to  make sure you have safe glasses. They can be purchased here.) Or make your own viewer from a shoe box:

 At timeanddate.com  there is a list of cities in the U.S. to search when the eclipse will be  best viewed in your area as well as a live stream of the event.
Each of you can take the time to write & draw in your nature journal and ask yourselves these questions:
*  Did you notice animals acting different before, during, and after the eclipse? Did the birds still sing during the eclipse
*Did it feel cooler during the eclipse?
*  Did the change in light make the landscape look different?

Monday, July 31, 2017

SImple Summer Days

How is your summer? Although I am working full-time, ours is turning out to be nice and simple. Over the next several weeks I will share photos and thoughts on our simple summer days with while looking forward to the academic year ahead. 

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The best way for our family to simplify our summer is to get back to nature.  Our big trip this year was several nights camping at Shenandoah National Park.  It was wonderful!
(And we all happily survived without electricity, phones, and screens.)

Nature Time

A Shenandoah Salamander

Buddy dog worn out on the Appalachian Trail

Friday, January 6, 2017

Free National Park Days

The National Park Service just celebrated 100 years of caring for America's treasures.  We sure had fun visiting Shenandoah National Park for the first time last summer and even bought an annual pass to encourage us to explore even more.

This year, you have several opportunities to get out and explore over 400 National Parks, both natural and historical parks, for free on the following dates:

January 16: Martin Luther King Jr. Day
February 20: Presidents' Day
April 15-16 and 22-23: Weekends of National Park Week
August 25: National Park Service Birthday
September 30: National Public Lands Day
November 11-12: Veterans Day Weekend

If you take kids, don't forget to ask about the Junior Ranger program at the visitor center so they can earn a cool badge or patch.

(Don't forget to thank rangers and staff for their role in providing an excellent experience.)
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