Friday, May 25, 2012

Nature Painting and the Daily Outdoors, Week 3

Well, we just finished week 3 of the Daily Outdoors Challenge!  Despite our soaring summer heat, it is my goal to spend at least 30 minutes outside WITH my children, playing and exploring God's beautiful creation.  Want to join in?  Blog about your goals and weekly outdoor adventures and link up below.  If you don't blog, feel free to leave a comment sharing some of what you did this week.  It is always so encouraging and inspiring to see what other families are doing.

I am loving our special time outdoors.  It is so calming and I love how it is giving us special moments to connect as a family!

Last Friday before my sister and her kids returned to Michigan, we had a last family dinner together at my parents house.

I decided to take a normal 'indoor' activity into the beautiful outdoors.  I love our water colors because they are a less messy way to paint.  But every once in a while I am brave enough to pull out the tempera paint. 

In keeping with our nature theme, I purposely left the paintbrushes at home.

I had several children following me as I brought the supplies outside, eagerly eyeing the paint and plying me with questions. They quickly noticed the lack of paintbrushes.  I told them they would have to hunt through God's creation in the backyard to find suitable replacements to try painting with.  After watching me pluck a leaf the kids set to work collecting an assortment of fallen or plucked objects and we set to work painting.

It was a beautiful way to enjoy the beauty of those twilight hours!

So here is what we did this week:

Using nature finds as our paintbrushes - exploring texture, patterns and technique while enjoying the evening breeze!
Cleaning up the backyard with the boys in the morning and then an outdoor wedding that evening with my husband and Greta.  Everyone should attend a wedding on the eve of their own anniversary.  It makes you cry that much more! :)
Soaking up the warmth mid-day.  As long as I'm not running around, I actually enjoy feeling the warmth of the sun on my skin.  We took out some of our compost and worked it into the little plot that I like to call my garden.  Someday I will rid myself of my black thumb streak.  Maybe this fall will be my moment of success!  Quality dirt has been one of my problems.

How many ways can we go down a slide?  The answer may surprise you.

I joined in the fun and tried flipping myself over on the balance bar.  It has been so very long since I mimicked a gymnast.  My head was spinning and I'm thinking that I will need to reacclimate myself to that kind of motion again.  It made me feel both old and yet young at the same time...

As a hard-core desert folk, we left to go peach picking again and join up with others at "Homeschool Day" at a local farm.  It was 100 degrees when we left a couple of hours later- hot, tired and out of water... {note to self, bring extra water next time}  With 23 pounds of fresh peaches we have visions of peach-vanilla jam, peach fuzzies and anything else peachy floating through our minds!

Saltwater sandals and foot races on concrete don't exactly go together.  The boys were thrilled that it slowed me down.  Tonight we staged foot races.  It felt so good to laugh and run with my boys.  Next time I will wear my running shoes.

Tonight, we departed with basket in hand and collected Acacia seed pods and took turns leaping over newly pruned grassy bushes.  We've talked about how the flower to fruit/seed pod process and the boys had so much fun collecting, shaking and in-general inspecting nature's latest gifts!

Next week as temperatures continue to rise, we will need to be more intentional about getting out first thing and in the evening hours.  I'm thinking of setting a routine for our outdoor time so we make sure and keep making it a priority...

My only big problem right now is bugs.  I'm getting eaten alive.  What do all of you, espcially those in more 'bug heavy regions,' do about bug bites???


  1. We've been enjoying family walks each evening. It is so nice and peaceful to stroll around and unwind each evening.

  2. Eat garlicky foods and avoid sugary ones and the bugs will leave you alone! Early mornings seem more bug free than evenings for some reason.

    I remember one time my mother and I were sitting out in the front yard at dusk in Sierra Vista. She asked me to close my eyes and then tell her, when I heard a car approaching on the street that went past our house, which direction it was coming from. For reasons I cannot explain, I couldn't tell! The sounds the car was making echoed in the asphalt ahead and also lingered behind after the car had passed. Something worth trying in the great outdoors anyway!!

  3. Jane,I love how peaceful it is in the evenings. That is a great way to unwind!

    Families of the Nations, More garlic???? I LOVE garlic. That is something I don't mind increasing in my diet. :) The bugs seem to love me best as I haven't found many bites on the boys... Thank you so much for the wonderful SOUND activity. We'll definitely need to try that one!

  4. OFF
    No perfume or body spray

  5. Wonderful Heather! You will not regret doing this challenge. (As long as you have enough water and some shade on hand). *Smile*. We are enjoying Spring here...not the heat that you experience. Not anything like that at all. We like to walk/jog at the beach in the really is a lovely way to begin the day. But, I like your ideas of painting and fruit picking...and running and laughing with your boys. What a blessing you are to them!

    Blessings to you!

  6. What a wonderful challenge! (And props to you for doing it in Phoenix of all places!) I'm sure mornings and afternoons are the only ways to manage that. I remember growing up we managed to do it all summer only by having a pool!

    I've found a great natural bug repellant is "All Terrain Natural Herbal Armor Insect Repellant"

    It works well for me here in the Midwest where mosquitoes rule! It DOES have a strong citronella smell, but much more pleasant to me than the normal bug repellant. :) Hope it works there in Phoenix!

    Have fun in the sun, good luck with the challenge!

  7. Love your daily outdoor challenge. Too many children don't get outside enough! We love outdoors and found a beautiful wildlife preserve this past weekend. It is perfect for little people. We definitely need to bring the bug repellant next time.
    I also like your painting with nature. We need to try that.
    Strings, Keys, and Melodies

  8. What a lovely post and pics...i love the challenge idea! Thanks for sharing with the Weekly Kid's Co-Op!