Archive for October, 2011

On our nature walk the other day we found one of these little guys and therefore of course we had to keep him. So, part of our homeschool day consisted of learning about our new friend. Did you know the ole wise tale of, “the more rings the woolly worm has, then the harsher the winter”? And, that these guys are important enough to have their own festivals. Seriously, look – Woolly Worm Festival. Well, we kept our little wormin inside with food for three days before we decided it best to put him back outside. Although if you read (below) some of the information I found out about them, then you can learn to care from them until they turn into their winged counterparts.

About Woolly Worms

The woolly worm (also spelled “wooly worm”) is actually a caterpillar or the larvae of the Isabella tiger moth. The tiger moth belongs to the arctiidae family, which has 11,000 species of moths around the world. The tiger moth is a beautiful creature with bright colors such as scarlet, yellow, orange, and white and rich hues ranging from black to beige. Equally as bright and beautiful, the woolly worm may have a burnt orange color in the middle and it may be black on both ends. Some woolly worms, however, are completely black or completely brown.

In some parts of the world, it is believed that the severity of the winter can be predicted by the intensity of the black on the Isabella tiger moth’s larvae (caterpillar). In the American Northeast, it is believed that if the woolly worm has more brown on its body than black, it will be a fair winter. If the woolly worm has more black than brown, the winter will be harsh.

The furry woolly worm can be spotted during the fall months in great numbers inching along the ground. While you will notice them in great numbers during the fall months, the woolly worm actually has two life cycles, so they can also be found inching around in June and July.

Woolly worms may look small, but these dazzling creatures have 13 segments and three sets of legs. They have tiny eyes, but they make their way around mostly by feeling around and touching.
Once the woolly worm has found its home for the winter, it will create a natural organic antifreeze that protects the interior of its cells. Everything else will freeze, but the woolly worm will still survive. The antifreeze protects the creature in freezing temperatures that can dip as low as –90 degrees Fahrenheit. The wooly worm is also protected by shelter. It chooses its places to hide wisely. It crawls under logs, boulders, boards, rocks, and other dark places. The woolly worm will remain in its “frozen” state until May, when it will emerge as a brilliantly colored moth.

Prior to settling in for the winter, the woolly worm will survive by eating a variety of plants such as cabbage, spinach, grass, and clover. And to protect itself from predators, the woolly worm will curl up into a ball, exposing only its bristles, which can be quite irritating to the skin.

Also called the “woolly bear,” mostly in New England and the Midwestern United States, the woolly worm has a pretty good weather prediction rate. Scientists would prefer not to acknowledge it, but the woolly worm has a 80-85% accuracy rate for predicting the weather. The worm has held its record for accuracy for more than 20 years.

If you want to see the woolly worm in action, don’t seek them out at night. Remember, worms are nocturnal for the most part, not caterpillars. The woolly worm is very active during the day. It is not uncommon to spot them in groups of hundreds, all of them with one common goal – to find a place to hide.

Caring for Woolly Worms

According to Greg Stack, University of Illinois Extension Educator in Horticulture, “Woolly bear caterpillars overwinter as larva. In the late summer and fall they tend to prefer to feed on either violets or the weed called lambs quarter so what you can do is provide it with those things to feed on. They then start to look for a place to spend the winter. The other requirement in order for this caterpillar to turn into a moth is cold. The cage that you have would be best if it were covered with some type of metal screen instead of fabric netting. The reason for this is that the cage with the caterpillar inside will need to be buried in the ground next to the foundation of the house and then covered with leaf litter. It needs to be left there over the winter and if in a fabric covered cage rodents might get inside and eat the caterpillar. You can think about burying the cage when the weather starts to get cold. Leave the cage in the ground until about late April or Mid May. Dig it up and there should be a pupa inside which will transform into a 1-2 inch white colored moth.”

(Info gathered at All about worms)

If you enjoyed this jaunt into nature then please check out one of my favorite adventure and nature blog @ Adventurez in Childrearing. She is currently writing a series on “31 days of Exploring God’s Creation”.

 

Painting Pumpkins

 

The Beach

they had fun, I’m sure of it…

This morning my sweet Little Old Man, asked for waffles. I wanted to oblige but I was lacking one of the main ingredients for almost all waffle recipes – MILK. Therefore it was time for me to come up with one of my crazy, “We can still do this, let me see what we can replace that ingredient with recipes”. Well, as most know this can majority of the time either lead to disaster or excellence (really not sure there is a gray line in this type of kitchen chemistry). Well, today I must say it was excellence! I have to say this produces crisp, slightly moist, seriously delicious waffles. So, I am posting this for y’all to decide if you think it was or was not as yummy as me and my kiddos thought it was. I am posting this recipe mostly though for my husband, because much to my chagrin I never right down the ingredients or how much of them I use in these experiments of mine.

Apple Cinnamon Waffles

Ingredients

1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup wheat flour (or you can use just all purpose if you do not have wheat flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 egg yolks
3/4 cup cream cheese
1 cup apple cider
1/2 cup olive oil
2 egg whites

Directions

In a large mixing bowl stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Make a well in the center.

In a medium mixing bowl warm cream cheese in microwave for 30 seconds. In a another small bowl beat egg yolks slightly. Add apple cider to the cream cheese and whip till cream cheese is completely dissolved into the apple cider. Stir in egg yolks and oil.

Add cream cheese/egg yolk mixture all at once to the dry mixture. Stir just till moistened (should be lumpy)

In a small bowl beat egg whites until stiff peaks form(stand straight up). (I did this procedure by hand, I highly recommend using a beater, I am pretty sure close to the end my arm was being held on by my guardian angel)

Gently fold egg whites into flour and egg yolk mixture, leaving a few fluffs of egg white, Do Not Overmix.

Spoon waffle batter into your waffle iron, making sure not to overfill it. (if your feeling froggy, then once in the waffle iron before you close the lid sprinkle in some diced apple pieces on top.)

Serve with real maple syrup (oh yeah!), and unsalted butter.

~Tidbit – if you double the recipe, you can freeze the rest and defrost them a tiny bit in the microwave then throw them in the toaster and they are just like you took them off the griddle.

Are you part of a homeschool co-op? Way off subject (kind of) with this post, but if you aren’t then I encourage you to find one or start one. I love the interaction and support with other homeschool families. Anyways, so I was coming up with ideas last week for the pre-K class in co-op that I help teach and I thought hmm, pumpkins could be fun. And, oh boy was it. So, I wanted to share with you guys, the different sites and ideas.

Sites

Coloring pages, games, etc. – Apples 4 Teachers

Printables for teaching – ABC Teach

Halloween Alternative Crafts & Activities – Danielle’s Place

Preschool Games & Activities – Preschool by Stormie

Bible Study – Creative Bible Study

Stories & Rhymes – Preschool Express

What we actually did in one hour at Pre-K co-op

*Ate a snack – yummy goldfish crackers
*Listened to a story – The Pumpkin Patch Parable
*Craft time –

(a little glue and glitter on a small white pumpkin)
*Colored – colored a pumpkin from one of those sites from up above.

~we also used orange glitter – not shown.

I had absolutely agreed (in my mind) not to do anything for my husband for our anniversary. You know low on funds and all. At the last minute (well two days before), I got this wild hair that maybe I could do something small.

“The Idea”

Something he can enjoy all day long. Well, in this case from 5 am to 7 pm. Every other hour of the day, he got to open a gift and enjoy a small treat.

“Supplies”

$5 gift card from Starbucks
$5 gift card from Lowe’s
$5 gift card from Publix
$5 gift card from Amazon.com
Bottle of his favorite soda (I know your wondering how I got that into one of those flat bags in the picture, ha ha)
3 different types of candy
Paper bags
Sewing machine (way to close bags)

~cost of supplies $30

“Application and Reasoning”

My items depended on my guy and his route to work,etc. For instance…
5 am – stop on way to work and buy a overpriced coffee – its a treat. (Starbucks gift card)
7 am – small bag of candy for an after breakfast treat.
9 am – dose of caffeine. Favorite soda.
11 am – small bag of candy. We always want dessert before lunch right?
1 pm – I was thinking a hammer with a wood handle, this covers the wood part of the a fifth year anniversary. (Lowe’s gift card)
3 pm – His favorite after work drink. Chocolate milk. (Publix gift card)
5 pm – small bag of candy. After dinner treat.
7 pm – A good book to relax with. (Amazon gift card)

“The Best Part”

He loved it. He texted me every other hour with his exclamations about each gift. Letting me know when he got home how hard it was to wait on each gift. The smile on his face as he talked about it was the absolute best.

Boopsy & Chief