A Note To Parents: We make every effort for Roxanne's blog to be a SAFE site for children. Whenever possible, activities are in pdf format or link to safe sites for children. Please feel free to use the information in these posts for homeschool studies! All rights reserved by author and nature photographer, Virginia Parker Staat.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Happy birthday, Jesus!

Christmas is my favorite time of year. It is time for family and fun. It is time for good food and presents. Best of all, it is the time to celebrate Jesus' birthday.

One of my favorite movies is "A Charlie Brown Christmas." It tells the real reason for Christmas. Do you remember when Linus tells Charlie Brown about Christmas? He tells the Bible story about the night that Jesus was born. If you would like to read it for yourself, you can find it in Luke, Chapter 2, verses 1-20. If you don't have a Bible, you can read it below:

About that time Emperor Augustus gave orders for the names of all the people to be listed in record books. These first records were made when Quirinius was governor of Syria. Everyone had to go to their own hometown to be listed. So Joseph had to leave Nazareth in Galilee and go to Bethlehem in Judea. Long ago Bethlehem had been King David's hometown, and Joseph went there because he was from David's family.

Mary was engaged to Joseph and traveled with him to Bethlehem. She was soon going to have a baby, and while they were there, she gave birth to her first-born son. She dressed him in baby clothes and laid him on a bed of hay, because there was no room for them in the inn.

That night in the fields near Bethlehem some shepherds were guarding their sheep. All at once an angel came down to them from the Lord, and the brightness of the Lord's glory flashed around them.

The shepherds were frightened. But the angel said, "Don't be afraid! I have good news for you, which will make everyone happy. This very day in King David's hometown a Savior was born for you. He is Christ the Lord. You will know who he is, because you will find him dressed in baby clothes and lying on a bed of hay."

Suddenly many other angels came down from heaven and joined in praising God. They said:

"Praise God in heaven! Peace on earth to everyone who pleases God."

After the angels had left and gone back to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see what the Lord has told us about." They hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and they saw the baby lying on a bed of hay.

When the shepherds saw Jesus, they told his parents what the angel had said about him. Everyone listened and was surprised. But Mary kept thinking about all this and wondering what it meant.

As the shepherds returned to their sheep, they were praising God and saying wonderful things about him. Everything they had seen and heard was just as the angel had said. (CEV)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve

The night is crisp and cold. I look up at the night sky and wonder. What was it like to see the star of Bethlehem? Was there a dog in the stable with Mary and Joseph?

With no room in the inn for Mary and Joseph, the only place they found was a stable. That night, Mary had her Baby. The Holy Bible tells us that Mary wrapped her Babe in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger.

Besides Mary and Joseph, the only creatures that witnessed the birth of Jesus were animals. Many of us have our own stories of that wonderful night.

The donkey is special because he carried Mary to Bethlehem. It is said that the robin has a red breast because she fanned the fire's flames to keep the baby Jesus warm.

In Europe, grandmas say that the cattle bow at midnight, just like they did in the stable when Jesus was born. Another story tells that the night the angels came to the shepherds that the birds began to fly and sing. And spider wove her web across a cave to keep the baby Jesus and Mary hidden from Herod’s soldiers.

If I had been in Bethlehem, I would have laid next to the baby Jesus to keep Him warm. Tonight, I remember the Baby Jesus. He is the perfect gift from God. Do you know Him, too?

To read about the birth of Jesus and animals, check out these books from your library: Room for a Little One by Martin Waddell and Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Is Coming!

Isn't Christmas wonderful?

All of us are celebrating. My mom's mother has been in the hospital. She is out now and feeling fine. We're together at our house, having a great time. Here's a video of me and my cousin Sue playing.

The tree is all decorated. Mom puts all the unbreakable ornaments on the bottom third of the tree. She isn't afraid that I will take the ornaments. It's just that I'm a VERY happy dog. When I wag my tail, it can be dangerous for anything breakable. Mom would rather me be a happy dog than to worry about breaking ornaments.

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve! It is a special night for animals. I can't wait! Merry Christmas to all!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

My Gecko Friend

My gecko friend is really an interesting creature. He has no eyelids. His skin is so clear that you can see his innards. Somehow, he sticks to the walls when he walks. And he barks when he's mad.

Mostly, I like his tail. A couple of weeks ago, he lost it. Somebody tried to eat him and grabbed him by the tail. His tail broke off. Mom and I found it on the porch. It was still wiggling. When his tail broke off, our gecko ran away from his predator.

After a few weeks, the gecko's tail grew back. My tail won't do that!

The Mediterranean Gecko is not native to Texas. His friends got here by stowing in a cargo ship. Now these geckos lives in Texas, Arizona, and in many southern states.

Mom likes to have them visit. Geckos eat nasty bugs like cockroaches.

To learn more about geckos, check out this book from your local library: Geckos (World of Reptiles), by Sally Velthaus.

Where IS Everybody?

This is a photo of one of my night friends. He is a Mediterranean gecko.

He lives on our front porch. Almost every evening we find him above the front door, looking for bugs to eat. Tonight is cold, and my friend is hiding.

Many of my reptile friends hide during the winter. Reptiles have their own special form of hibernation. It is called brumation. Reptiles go into brumation during winter months.

You probably know that reptiles are cold blooded. They use the outside temperature to control their body temperature. If the weather gets too cold, they can’t keep their bodies warm. So they go into brumation. They hide under leaves and in holes. They bury themselves in mud. Their bodies almost shut down while they wait for warm weather. That means that all of my turtle friends, geckos, lizards, snakes, and frogs disappear when it is cold.

I miss my reptile friends. Once winter is over, I will be happy to see them again!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Texas Snow

It's snowing in Texas! We rarely have snow here because we are so far south. Today was wonderful! It snowed and snowed. Mom, Dad, and I took a walk to enjoy the weather. Here's a movie of me doing one of my favorite things... chasing a golf ball.

By morning, the snow was gone, but we sure had fun while it lasted!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Honk! Honk!

A new front has moved into Texas. The wind blows cold from the north. In Texas we call these fronts Northers. It is an exciting time. It is the time of birds.

Texas sits on the central migratory flyway. Every fall, many birds from up north fly to Texas. They come here to stay warm. They come to feed their families. Many birds arrive on the winds before a cold front.

Today the skies fill with the honking of geese. They fly over our house in a “V” pattern. I love to hear them honk!

Geese are very interesting birds. Every year they fly the same path. Under the right conditions, geese can fly 1,500 miles a day. They fly in a “V” formation to save energy.

If you would like to learn more about Canada geese, go to
http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/Animals/CreatureFeature/Canadagoose. You can also watch Fly Away Home. It is my favorite movie about geese!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Christmas Tree Time

This weekend we visited our favorite Christmas Tree Farm. Here's a photo of Dad and me with the tree that we chose.

We had a great time. I got to ride on the hay wagon. The tractor driver said that I was “sunshine on four legs!” I met a sweet little girl. She gave me lots of hugs.

Most people want to be environmentally friendly. Some worry that having a real Christmas tree will hurt the earth. A real Christmas tree can be a very good idea... if you recycle it.

When you recycle a Christmas tree, it will help the environment. Some places chop the trees for mulch. In our area, people use the trees to make a brushy fence. The fence is placed under the water in the Gulf of Mexico. It gives fish a place to live. It also keeps the beach from washing away.

I hope that you have a beautiful Christmas tree this year. If you choose a real tree, please be sure that it is green. Also, please be sure that you recycle it.

If you would like more information on Christmas tree recycling, go to http://www.christmastree.org/Recycle_start.pdf.