Hello October, It’s Wonderful To See You!

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Can you believe it’s October already!? I know it’s a cliché, but time has absolutely flown by these past few months. While we love summer’s warm sun, and relaxed schedule, there is nothing better than sipping coffee while enjoying the crisp fall air. We love nature walks, scavenger hunts, campfire nights, and jumping in leaves! All are wonderfully beautiful, and so quick to leave. Enjoy the moment. 🙂

 

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How Fiction Helps Children Grow!

My youngest has been traveling to conventions with us over the past few months. Amid the different locations and changing venues, she has held tightly to one constant: on every trip she brings a classic children’s literature book. These books are her old friends: Little House in the Big Woods; Charlotte’s Web; Winnie-the-Pooh; Farmer Boy;…

via How Fiction Helps Children Grow — Simply Charlotte Mason

Charlotte Mason Math (aka Board Game Math) — Homeschool Unleashed!

One of my favorite parts of homeschooling has been using the Sonlight book lists for English and Social Studies. Snuggled together on the couch, or lying on a picnic blanket, my kids and I have traveled to distant lands and learned about foreign cultures, traveled back in time and been immersed in history, and heard […]

via Charlotte Mason Math (aka Board Game Math) — Homeschool Unleashed

The Power Of Outdoor Free Play

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Unfortunately, the amount of time that children spend engaged in unstructured, child-directed outdoor play has diminished significantly in the past generation. Schools have opted out of recess and play time in favor of a more structured academic period. As many years of research has shown, that it causing more harm than good. Here are some of the amazing benefits that come with outdoor free play!

 

Cognitive Health

 

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Playing outdoors gives children the opportunity to make decisions and problem solve, it provides an environment for creative thinking, and makes children use a higher level of sequence, planning, and organizing.

 

Physical Health

 

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Outdoor play provides more opportunity for movement which in turn greatly decreases the likelihood of developing of developing obesity and disease. It also magnifies the use of fine and gross motor skills!

Mental health

 

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Overall, children who are active outdoors have much better moods, have a decrease in hyperactivity, and are less likely to have symptoms related to anxiety and depression.

Emotional Health

 

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The development in empathy, an increase in self-esteem, and the development of emotional intelligence is all part of getting outdoors to play! 🙂

Social Skills

 

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Research has also shown that playing outdoors provides increased social interactions, higher levels of sharing, cooperating, and helping!

Play Skills

 

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Play skills help develop creativity, and provide endless opportunities for imagination and engagement! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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An Indiana Summer’s End

In Indiana, there’s always a reason to celebrate. 
Car shows, historic reenactments, carnivals, art fairs, music festivals, county fairs – Sky’s the limit! Each year, over 640 festivals and events are held in all 92 counties from January to December. Here are our favorite Fall events! 🙂

 

#1. Summer’s End Market

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Summer’s End Market
August 26th- 9am-2pm | Parke County Fairgrounds
As the summer is coming to an end, this market will provide for you a great opportunity to shop those unique vendors, yet again. Enjoy a leisurely stroll through an inside building and plenty of parking.

 

#2. Bridgeton Milling & Craft Demo Days

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Bridgeton Grist Mill 1878 Grounds Live demonstrations at the mill. Grinding flour and cornmeal on 200 year old French buhr stones.
Pioneer craft demonstrations, fiber arts.
No admission. For more information call 765-548-2136 or visit www.bridgetonindiana.com

 

#3. Covered Bridge Festival

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This countywide festival, Indiana’s largest festival, always starts on the 2nd Friday in October is nationally known as one of the largest. Enjoy visiting communities throughout the county with a wide array of shopping and a variety of food that is sure to please everyone.

 

#4. Elephant Retreat

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Circus History is deep rooted in French Lick with the Hagenbeck-Wallace circus once owned by Ed Ballard. An African elephant herd of three girls will be retreating at Wilstem Ranch, only 7 miles from French Lick. The three elephants that retreat at Wilstem Ranch each year are retired from making appearances in parades, circus acts and more. But as they age, even elephants need retreats, and they’re coming to town for a vacation! This one of a kind up-close encounter is a rare and wonderful opportunity to learn more about these amazing creatures and connect with them in a tranquil environment. Various levels of engagement are available.

 

#5. 50th Annual Orange County Pumpkin Festival

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Carnival, food booths, vendor booths, flea market, games, entertainment and more.  Parade will be held on Sunday.

 

#6. Outdoor Movie Night!

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Family Movie Night
August 18, 2017
 Location: Hendricks Regional Health YMCA
Address: 301 Satori Parkway, Avon, IN 46123
Time: 8:30 PM to 10:00 PM
Price: Free

 

#7.  McCloud Prairie Maze

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September 1, 2017 – October 31, 2017 Recurring daily
Bring the whole family out to test your navigational skills from Sept. 1 through Oct. 31 in our huge maze that is cut into the McCloud Prairie. The maze is open from dawn to dusk daily. Be sure to wear comfortable closed-toe shoes, dress for the weather, and pack some water.  Venue: McCloud Nature Park
Host: McCloud Nature Park
Address: 8518 Hughes Rd., North Salem, IN 46165
Price: Free

 

#8. North Salem Old Fashioned Days

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September 2, 2017 – September 4, 2017 Recurring daily
Three days of family fun!  Live music, vendors, food, tractor pulls and horse pulls!  A smorgasboard breakfast kicks off the festival at 7 a.m. on Saturday at the United Methodist Church on Main Street. At 11 a.m., you can’t miss the Old Fashion Days Parade, the largest parade in Hendricks County. Be sure to bring a sack for the kiddos as candy will be aplenty and plan to come early as parking will fill up fast.

 

#9. Natural Valley Ranch

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This family-owned ranch set in a scenic wooded area allows visitors to experience 30-, 60- and 90-minute horseback rides through their sprawling 75-acre property nestled alongside White Lick Creek near Brownsburg. In addition to horseback rides, visitors can see and interact with farm animals, go hiking, fishing or even stay in a 3,100-square-foot country cottage with a wrap-around porch that can sleep 12-16 people.

 

#10. Beasley’s Orchard

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Voted a top Indiana destination, this family-owned business boasts a Civil War-era barn featuring a local market with both homemade and home-grown produce and products including apples, fresh vegetables, jellies and more. Other features include a pumpkin patch, corn maze and annual Heartland Apple Festival in the fall. Visitors can even enjoy a cup of Beasley’s apple cider, voted by the Indiana Horticultural Society ‘The Best Apple Cider in Indiana’ .

 

Do you have a favorite festival? If so, share it below! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Fried Dandelions? Yummy!

Picking dandelions while Running with bare feet through the lawn. There was nothing better! We remember thinking how strange it was to be picking weeds for a fun dessert, but also remember being ecstatic about trying something new. Fried dandelions!

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Makes 36 fritters

3 dozen medium-sized dandelion flowers (see note)

½ cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons of sugar

4 Tablespoons of water

5 Tablespoons of milk

½ cup canola oil for frying

1-2 teaspoons of powdered sugar to finish

 

Dandelion note: The best dandelions for this are young, tender and medium-sized (about 1” across). Pick them from a lawn or bank that you know has not been sprayed with weed killer. They’re at their freshest in the late morning when they first open to the sun. Oh, and they’re packed with vitamins, too!

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Prepare the dandelions: Trim the milky stems right to the base of the flower, leaving the green bud intact. From this point on, you’ll want to avoid licking your fingers both for hygiene reasons and because the taste of the raw milk is mighty bitter! Don’t say I didn’t warn you…

Heat the oil: Pour the canola oil into an 8” frying pan and heat it slowly over medium heat. The oil will be ready when a test dollop of batter cooks to medium brown on the bottom in 30 seconds. Arrange a plate with two layers of paper towel beside the pan and have a spatula and a pair of tongs handy.

Make the fritters: Dip 6 dandelions at a time yellow-side down into the batter, using the green knobs as handles. Quickly fork a little of the batter onto the green bits, but don’t try to coat the backs entirely.

Put the 6 battered flowers face down into the hot oil so that they keep their flower shapes and fry for 30 seconds until medium brown. Now flip them over, pushing the tops gently with the spatula as the green sides cook, and fry for a further 30 seconds.

Using the tongs, remove the fritters to the paper towel to cool. Repeat the process until all the flowers are fried.

To finish: Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve warm. Delicious!!

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Old Trees, New Life- Camping Activity

When a tree falls, its life is over. But the tree can still give life to others. The dead tree becomes its own ecosystem, where plants, insects, and microorganisms thrive-from the mosses, ferns, and fungi that make the rotting tree their home to a whole host of bugs and bacteria that eat the tree and break it down into soil for new plants! Next time you see a dead log, take a close look and record your observations in your Field Journal. You just might be amazed by what you see.

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What You Do

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#1. Find a rotting log: Look for a tree that has fallen and that has wood breaking apart in pieces. It may be slightly damp.

 

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#2. Describe what the log looks like. What is growing on it? Can you see any mushrooms, ferns, mosses, or lichens? Are there baby trees or any other plants sprouting out of the wood?

 

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#3. Do you see any insects? What are they doing? Look for tiny piles of sawdust at the base of the log. This is evidence that insects have drilled into the wood, starting the decomposition process. The holes left behind create highways for fungi and bacteria to come in and break down the wood even further.

 

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#4.  Tap the log with your fingers. Is it hollow? Wet? Bone-dry? What does it smell like?

 

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#5. Put on your gloves and gently and carefully lift the log a few inches to see if you can take a peek underneath. What do you see? Are there insects underneath? What are they doing? What do they look like? When you’re done, put the log back.

 

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#6.  Use your magnifying glass to peek at the log itself. Do you see insects breaking it down? What do they look like under the magnifying glass? What about the plants growing on the tree? What do the mushrooms look like up close?

 

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#7. Draw and describe what you’ve seen in your field journal. Try to identify plants, animals, and insects by looking at your field guide or Nature Anatomy book! 

 

There is so much to learn! Head outdoors and explore! 🙂