Earth Day 2013

Earth day ends up turning into earth week for us.  Since last year when we started a recycle bin and compost heap, we have become more mindful of what we buy, use and throw out.  This year we tried to take it to another level.  Here are some things we did last week for Earth Week!

Grow! Grow! Grow!
and recycle while you're at it too
I have to admit that we don't have much luck in growing veggies.  We try every year and every year nothing comes to fruition.  But, that hasn't stopped us yet!  Though we have decided to take a different approach by building a raised garden this year to help ensure better soil equaling (hopefully) some veggies!  Also, it's still pretty chilly here in Utah, so we started growing our plants inside the house.  Which I have to say, after only a week, is going great!  We already have sprouts!

We recycled used juice and rice milk cartons, cutting them in half and placing spout down to make a pot for our seeds to grow and flourish. So far these recycled pots are working way better than any pot we bought from the store. Once it quits freezing at night we will transfer them into the garden outside.

Endangered & Extinct Animals
The last few months Kiley and I have been studying an animal a week.  It's been really fun and interesting the odd things we have learned.  Instead of focusing on one animal we learned about many endangered animals and a few extinct ones.  DK Eyewitness Books has a good one we read full of information. is cool because you can click on a picture of an animal to learn about it and read why it's endangered.

We also learned the different types of pollution and how they effect an environment  We as humans have a huge impact on animals and their environment, something we should be mindful of.   

Clean That Mess Up!
We live very close to the Ogden River and enjoy it's walkway by either biking, walking, playing or fishing.  It's very beautiful and a hot spot for lots of Ogdenites.  Problem is, lots of people makes for lots of trash.  We focused mainly on the river bank and a little into the river, pulling out any trash we could find.  In about an hour we loaded up 4 trash bags.  The worst areas were by a park, which ironically has many cans for trash disposal.

Kiley was a great help!  She was all over the place jumping from bank to bank and fishing trash out of the cold river.  It was kinda crappy how much broken glass we found.  After we were done we sat down and watched the ducks and birds swimming and feeding nearby.

Recycling Crafts
Once again we went through the recycle bin and found items to reuse.

Bird feeder
Found this cool website: that shows you how to make a bird feeder out of a soda bottle and a couple old spoons. We used a juice bottle which will hold for more seed.  I also had a busted up spoon that I had tried to fix with no avail, instead I gave up and used it on the feeder.

Tin Can Lanterns
This site: shows you how to turn tin cans into lanterns.  We made a couple, but still are in the process of finishing them up.  Kiley had fun hammering away at the cans.

Give Up Meat
Consider going vegan or eating meat less often.
A couple months ago we started eating vegan.  At first it was a month experiment to see if we could do it.  We have enjoyed being meat free so much that we want to continue eating vegan for as long as we can.  It has improved our health in such a short amount of time and we have eaten a bunch of tasty meals!

We also were not fully aware how much eating meat impacts the environment in such a negative way.  These are 3 movies I watched that pretty much sealed the idea of going vegan: Vegucated, Hungry for Change and Earthlings.

Eating vegan isn't for everyone, but if you'd like to give it a try, I highly suggest these two websites for information and recipes!  Both have been very helpful and yummy!

Waterfall Canyon Winter Hike

Waterfall Canyon Ogden, Utah
Distance: 2.49 miles
Duration: 1 hr 47 mins
Climb: 1339 ft

I love hiking Waterfall Canyon.  It's a pretty hike all the way up and once you get there the view is gorgeous.  With the 200+ ft waterfall, view of Ogden and feeling like you're safe and nestled on the side of the mountain, is what makes it a great hike.  

This is our first hike up Waterfall Canyon during the winter.  There was a couple of snow storms this winter, so the trail is covered in snow.  Didn't have any trouble hiking it on the way up.  The trail has been padded down due to enough people traffic.  It was very cold in the shaded areas.  More enjoyable and warm in the sun.  

It felt so nice to get out of the house and go see one of our favorite places.  No matter how cold or icy we must fight that cabin fever! 

The whole idea of going was to see the waterfall frozen.  Which it was.  It looks beautiful.  But dang, is it freaking cold up there!  There was no sun shining down on that side of the mountain during the early part of the day.  We sat down and ate our packed lunch as fast as we could. Ella was freezing her tail off and all our fingers went numb.  While we were eating we saw bits n pieces & a few large chunks of the frozen waterfall break off and come crashing down.  If you go up this time of year, I don't suggest getting close to the bottom of the fall.  

Anyone who has hiked Waterfall Canyon knows that it's slick on the way down. Mainly due to how steep it is. The dirt and pebbles don't help either.  In the winter, it's still slick, but much more fun.  Many places on the trail Robert and Kiley sat on their butts and slid down.  I sat on my feet and slid down on my shoes.  If you're not interested in sliding, then bring a walking stick or one of those pokey sticks that come with snowshoes.  

Next time we go during the winter I'd like to wait till later on in the day when the sun is in just the right spot.  

We track our hikes with RunKeeper!

Monsters Inc Lesson Plan

My husband and I have been fans of Monsters Inc since it came out in 2001.  Even to this day when we find something out of place we will sing, "put that thing back where it came from or so help meeee."  It's become one of Kiley's Pixar favorites that we love watching together and quoting relentlessly.  Now that Monsters Inc has been re-released in theaters in 3D & a new Monsters movie is coming out this summer we had to do a lesson plan!

Mike and Sulley work together at a factory. Their job is to get children's screams which power the town.  Here is reality, we use electricity to power our homes and towns.  A cute book that explains electricity is Oscar & the Bird on Electricity by Geoff Waring.  

Create natural electricity yourself!  Science Kids website has a fun static electricity experiment your kids can try out. We had fun using balloons on our pet chihuahua to show how static electricity works.  

Not sure if Woodi found it as hilarious as we did, but he was a good sport about it.  

Pick a monster from any legend or folk lore that strikes your kids fancy.  We chose the Yeti, also known as the abominable snowman. Found this cool site called Scary For Kids that had some fun stories about the Yeti.  Then we image googled lots of Yeti photos and art.

I Need My Monster by Amanda Noll is a book about a boy named Ethan.  One night he finds that his regular monster under his bed has gone on a fishing trip. Ethan then proceeds to interview other potential monsters while his is gone for the week.  
This is a fun book and Kiley liked it a lot. 

Art!  Have your kiddo make up their own monster and draw it.  Have them come up with what kind of monster is it?  Happy, sad, mean, nice? Does it have any powers? Favorite food, favorite color?  Where does it live? 

Mike helps Sulley stay fit for his job by making him exercise. Exercise doensn't have to be boring!  Kiley and I exercise together once to twice a week by either, hiking, kicking the ball around and playing tag. Inside the house we like to crank up the music dance, run up and down the stairs, bunny hop around and do fun aerobics. Exercising helps boost energy, improves mood and combats health conditions. Like eating healthy, exercise is something we hope to teach Kiley at an early age.  

Mike and Sulley are partners at the factory.  They use teamwork to get the job done. There are lots of team building exercises found online that you can try with your kids.  As a family we work together to take care of the dogs.  Kiley has been good about feeding them everyday, letting them out to potty and making sure they get plenty of play time and loving.

Movie Time
If you can see the movie in 3D!  If that time has already passed go and see the new movie when it comes out this summer!  Monsters University. It looks really cute.  Click here to watch a trailer for it!

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