Saturday, October 27, 2012

Elfin Forest Hike...kicking off our hiking season


elfin forest unit

acorn naturalist

plant identification cards from the kit
crossing Escondido Creek

yesterday kicked off hiking season for us (we are wimps in the summer heat).
even though we are currently experiencing the warm dry October Santa Ana wind weather, our weather starts to cool off soon after.
we've been here about 6 years & this was our 1st time hiking the Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve & the brownsugars & i had such a great time doing it with our homeschool co-op group.
i purchased a unit study specifically for the Elfin Forest from one of my fave resources, Acorn Naturalist & brought it with. along with the parents guides, it was a very handy resource. i'm loving that the kit is reusable because aside from hiking the Elfin Forest again, our area is filled with similar local chaparral & we can easily reuse the kit to expand on the hike & finish some of the activities we didn't get to.
the hike was fun & very informative, the kids were super excited about spotting a coyote down by the creek BUT the preserves amazing Interpretive Center was by far the highlight! we could have spent hours!

it was beautifully done inside & out. the displays caught & kept everyone's attention. there were so so many FANTASTIC hands on activities but i will just mention a few (A MUST SEE).
the microscope with camera & TV screen set up was def a fave. we were able to collect & view samples of the Escondido Creek water we crossed on our hike & discover some of specimens that were present in it such as fresh water flatworm planaria, algae, mayfly larvae & more. there were also other samples prepared for viewing.
the center provided owl pellets to dissect, tons of real-life or realistic habitat specimen samples were on displayed which helped identify what we saw & what we missed, beautiful art work, fantastic docents...a very rich real life educational environment for all ages.
way too much to see & do...we cannot wait to go back!

Friday, October 12, 2012

nest notes {perfect cheeseburger soup *pseudo socal fall* weather}


i haven't been in much of a blogging mood lately. BUT yes, we've been busy quietly doing stuff & living life.

this week we've been having what i call "pseudo" socal fall weather in that it has been chilly hoodie, hot tea & snuggly blanket weather. complete with perfectly chilly mornings & nights & actual thunderstorms. combine it all with football & me having my 1st pumpkin spice latte of my fave season...
i'm in fall-loving-happy-girl heaven!

i have been anxiously awaiting the perfect weather to make this Cheeseburger Soup & last night was it!
i made a few changes such as:
substituting ground turkey instead of ground beef & i browned it with the veggies.
i used real cheddar instead of Velveeta.
i added other seasonings to taste(onion powder, celery salt, etc...)
i would have also substituted plain yogurt for the sour cream but 
i had neither sour cream nor plain yogurt & it was still delish.
i would also add broccoli next time.

my fam LOVED LOVED LOVED this soup!
i was a huge HIT & even better today for lunch!!!

*i decided the *farm notes* thing wasn't working for me & that *nest notes* fits me better. i think it gives me more room for a wider range of topics & inspiration.