nature mandalas

Mandalas 034

Mandalas 024

Mandalas 041


Its the last week of school!!! It is the time to be creative to keep children engaged in learning.  Earlier in the week we took our learning outdoors to make some nature mandalas.  I have been partnering my class with a third grade classroom and we have been trying to explore the outdoors each week together as "nature buddies."  This was a great project to round out our classroom partnership for the year.  Our students were so creative and cooperative!  My hope is that they will take a little of this lesson with them and explore and play with natural objects and design over the summer months.

What we did:

  • We collected buckets full of rocks, pine cones, blossoms and other interesting found objects from nature.
  • We found an undisturbed background (smooth sidewalk)
  • To define the shape of a circle we placed a large hula hoop down.  The kids started working together, from the center out creating and expanding their design.
  • After a set amount of time we removed the hula hoop, gave each group and opportunity to check out all of the designs and took pictures before we cleaned up the walkway.

scenes from the Foss Lake wildland fire






IMG_1575Late last week a controlled burn expanded into a wildfire in our neck of the woods.  James with his wildland firefighter training,  was contracted out to help.  It has been a busy time in our family, with the daddy putting in long days and this mama keeping things in motion around home and school.  But we survived, the firefighters were able to get the fire under control and no structures were affected by the fire.  Now that things are greening up and rain is in the forecast, things should be quieting down.

a weekend in the north woods














These images sum up our weekend.  I took the kids to nana's and papa's where the kids and I all took our first swim of the year.  (Last weekend it was snowing - this weekend we were swimming!)   James got contracted out as a wild land firefighter to help at a local wildfire not too far from home - those big planes we visited at the airport the other day are now at work!  

Making Bug Stay Away




When spending some time in our expanding garden earlier this evening,  I was visited by some pesty insects.   

Although I am happy to see dandelions blooming (our first nectar flow for honeybees), I am not all that fond of the bugs that eat away at my hairline or that fly in my mouth or up my nose while I am digging in the dirt.

I was happy to find that I had had all the ingredients and containers on hand to make a few batches of "Bug Stay Away" in my dogeared, bookmarked copy of Rhythm of the Family, which I frequent every spring to make natural bug repellant.  A little Eucalyptus Oil, Citronella Oil and Lemongrass Oil diluted by some Witch Hazel can help ward off the bugs this time of year.

I also now have a nice addition to the gift bags I am creating for the dedicated volunteers I have had this year helping to support the learning of my kindergarten students!

kids, chickens, bees, rabbits.....and airplanes


Photo 1-3

Photo 4

Photo 1-3


Photo 5


This post might not exactly fit with the homesteading theme of this blog, but it fits with the culture of the north woods environment in which I live, and one of my deep rooted interests from a time period earlier in my life -aviation!   I love to keep just a spark of this interest alive by visiting our local airport each Spring when there are large, contracted aircraft stationed and ready to aid in wildland fire suppression.

At our small airport outside of town there is an U.S. Forest Service Tanker Base.  Every Spring some (pretty awesome) aircraft make their way to our neck of the woods and I work to  coordinate a kindergarten field trip to tour the airport to check out the airplanes, and to get some hands-on instruction by some wild land fire fighters and Smokey the Bear.

Last Friday was our field trip, and the weather and activity cooperated so we got to see some impressive airplanes and helicopters! To scope things out my daughter and I went out to the airport Thursday after school and we were lucky enough to have a chance to talk to some of the pilots and crew from Neptune Aviation.  We even got a chance to go aboard and sit in the cockpit of one of the planes.  The Neptune BAe 146 aircraft have been stationed in Ely and have been flying and dropping fire retardant on local fires and fires in Canada.


So I got a little fix of the aviation bug this past week - and got to pass that on a bit to a bunch of young little dreamers and doers in my life. 

Okee Dokee Brothers - Saddle Up Giveaway!

 We are big fans of the Okee Dokee Brothers at our house - and we are thrilled to share in the excitement of the release of their brand new album:

Saddle Up: A Western Adventure 

a CD/DVD combo pack that debuts TODAY!


A little bit about the album:

Saddle Up is the third in the Okee Dokee Brother's Adventure Album Series.  This album was created on a month long horse packing trip where band members Joe Mailander & Justin Lansing rode horses, camped out, told stories and wrote the songs that make up this album.  Check out some  videos of songs from this new album and be sure to take a listen to some of the other great tunes from Grammy Award Winner Can You Canoe? A Mississippi River Adventure and Through the Woods – An Appalachian Adventure.


We recently got to see Joe and Justin live in concert sharing songs from their new album Saddle Up along with some old favorites.  At the concert our whole family caught the Okee Dokee bug and we have been singing along to their songs for weeks! Like all of their music, their new album has some really fun and catchy tunes. Some of our favorites songs so far are:  Saddle Up, Don't Fence Me in, & Jackalope

We could not resist getting their new book Can You Canoe? And Other Adventure Songs (which has all of the lyrics of its companion CD printed with lively illustrations - great for the car!).  


We think these guys are pretty awesome!

I am excited to have the opportunity to GIVEAWAY a copy of Saddle Up to one lucky Kids and Eggs reader!

Earn entries by:

*posting a comment on this post

*commenting, or tagging a friend on my instagram post about this giveaway @megtdevine with the album cover

*sharing, commenting, and/or tagging a friend in this Facebook post

I will pick a lucky winner by Monday, April 16th.

*this giveaway is restricted to those with U.S. mailing addresses

Good Luck!

Giveaway closed


::letting them play










The suckers are running!  This is such a telltale sign of Spring in our little corner of the world.  Every Spring when the suckers are making their way up our creek we all splash around  searching for these ugly fish as they make their spawning runs.  This year our four children (and the dog and cat) were part of the experience.  The kids were independently making their way up and down the creek, two boys racing boats they made out of scrap pieces of wood.  After a full week at school and a full Saturday of cleaning and laundry, I had to resist my urges to stop them in their play, just for a while, so they could live this experience today and make these memories of their childhood without their mother nagging them about getting their clothes dirty.  As their mama, I know these memories are far more valuable than the  inconvenience of another full load of laundry and the mud and dirt tracked into the house.  Sometimes all it takes is a moment to pause and take a breath, to gain the perspective that I need to just let them play.

kids and eggs




IMG_2580 IMG_2573



It sure feels like Spring in my kindergarten class!   We are reading Charlotte's Web, we have a windowsill full of plants, we have a bunny running around the classroom - and - we have chicks hatching!  So far four chicks have hatched -Lola, Chirp, Paul and Fluffers.  I posted some videos to my instagram account if you want to see them in action.  I LOVE sharing these fun experiences with the children in my life!

a weekend with friends












We enjoyed a weekend connecting and celebrating with friends who came to visit from their home in Wisconsin.  Although the weather was cold and rainy, we made to the woods for some adventures (with 8 young children in tow!).  We are grateful for this friendship that has proven to endure distance and time.  We had a lovely weekend!