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Month: April 2010 (page 1 of 2)

a day at raccoon grove

The other day we spent the day hiking with a few families from our nature club. We explored a smaller forest preserve not too far away from us, but one we had never been to before. The preserve was Raccoon Grove in Monee and we had a wonderful time spotting a variety of spring wildflowers, including trillium, may apples, and bluebells. Aidan had an especially fun time scooting back and forth over a large log that crossed over a creek and searching for rocks near the riverbed.

Here are some photos from our day.

an april moon

I recently acquired a used copy of a Nikkor MF 300mm F/2.8 ED-AIS. Here’s the first picture I took with it this evening from the backyard. I cropped it a little and sharpened it some in post-production. Can’t wait to get out and take more, but for now I’ve got to get back to grading. It’s that time of the season.

two good reads

We love books in our house and we tend to read a lot. That’s why I decided to share a bit about some of the books we’ve been reading. While I always seem to be in the middle of some book, my focus today is more on some of the great kids’ books that Aidan and I have been reading. We have read many of the typical kids’ series–from Magic Tree House to Boxcar Children to Times Spies (once Aidan finds a series he likes we have to read all the books in the series!).

But just recently I stumbled across a couple excellent books. One was Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin. This was a wonderful story about the adventures of Minli, a young Chinese girl, who meets up with a dragon as she travels through the land trying to find the man on the moon in order to change her families fortune. Along the way she and the dragon are helped by various people and characters who provide insight on the meanings of family, friendship, love, and happiness. And in the end she finds that she and her family had everything they needed from the beginning. It is a book full of descriptive Chinese folktales intertwined within the beautifully written story of Minli’s adventures.

Another awesome book that we just finished was Gaia Girls: Enter the Earth by Lee Welles. I highly recommend this book for everyone–not just kids, but adults too–especially with Earth Day just around the corner. This book brings forth the subject of factory farms and the negative impact they can have on the earth and the people around them (Here are a couple web sites on the problems with factory farms: Sustainable Table and The Meatrix). The main character of Enter the Earth, Elizabeth, meets up the the “spirit” of the Earth, Gaia, and learns powerful ways to connect with the earth in order to save her family farm from the monstrous factory farm that is trying to buy up (and “buy off”) the small rural community in upstate New York. It’s a great reminder of the power of nature and how everything on this planet is so interconnected; and how humans sometimes forget how destructive we can be to our own planet (and ultimately to ourselves)–often due to greed. It’s the first one of a newer series (there is going to be four total). We already have the request in at our library for the second of the Gaia series and can’t wait to read it.

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