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.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Play Day with Missy

We had another great day with Missy today.  Since it is still very cold outside, we decided to play inside.

First, we had a good breakfast.

Then Missy played her guitar.  She plays the guitar VERY well!

I showed Missy how to work my puzzle.  Mom hides treats in it, then I find them.  Missy told me that I am a very smart dog.

Then we played a game of Monopoly.  Missy won!!!

This evening, Missy and I snuggled together on my bed.  I am having so much fun with my new friend!!!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Birds, birds, and more birds!

Missy watches birds with binoculars.
It is a cold day in Texas.  We are having another winter storm with sleet and a little snow.  All the schools and many stores are closed.  We are staying inside where it is warm.  Missy tells us that it snows a lot in the winter in Colorado.  We rarely have snow in our part of Texas.

Today is a good day for Missy to learn about Texas birds.  We always have lots of birds at our bird feeders.  This time of year we also have many very special birds visiting Texas.  These birds have two homes.  They nest in one home and winter in their other home.  Twice a year, the birds fly from one home to the other.  This is called migration.

Many birds migrate to our part of Texas in the winter.  They leave their homes in the cold country and migrate here to stay warm.  Some of these birds fly all the way from the Arctic ocean!

Central Flyway Migration map (courtesy Texas Parks & Wildlife)
The most famous Texas migratory bird is the whooping crane.  Whooping cranes nest in northern Canada and migrate to the Texas coast every winter.  They fly over 5,000 miles to get here!  In 1941 only 14 whoopers were still living in the wild.  People in Canada and Texas began to work together to save the whoopers.  It worked!!!  Now there are over 250 whooping cranes that come to Texas every year.

At our house, we have many migratory birds that visit us every winter.  Hawks and hummingbirds migrate here.  We also have many warblers and flycatchers.  Sometimes we even have spoonbills and the bright red scarlet tanager.

We knew that the birds would be hungry today because of the cold weather.  We filled our bird feeders early this morning.  Soon many, many birds came to visit.  Here are a few that Missy saw:

An American Goldfinch poofing up his feathers to keep warm.
Red Cardinal
Black-capped Chickadee
Mourning Dove
Downey Woodpecker
Red-breasted Robin
Blue Jay
Carolina Wren
Missy and I had fun watching the birds today.   We learned a lot about Texas birds and migratory birds.  If you would like to know more about Texas birds, we have found some great information for you.

Just click here to learn more about Texas backyard birds:  Texas Backyard Birds

Here's a great activity book about Texas birds:  Texas Birds Activity Book

If you would like to learn more about whooping cranes, click here:  Whooping Cranes

You can also check out these great books from your library:
  • Backyard Bird Watching for Kids by George H. Harrison
  • On the Wing:  American Birds in Migration by Carol Lerner
  • The Peregrine's Journey:  A Story of Migration by Madeleine Dunphy
  • How Do Birds Find Their Way? by Roma Gans
  • Whooping Cranes by Karen Dudley

Monday, January 27, 2014

Welcome, Missy!

Meet our new friend!  Her name is Missy.  She is a flat first grader.  A young friend of ours sent Missy to us so that she could have an adventure.  Here is a photo of Missy and me...

Flat Missy and Roxanne
Have you ever heard of the book Flat Stanley?  It was written by Jeff Brown.  The book tells the story about Stanley, a boy who was squashed by a bulletin board.  When Stanley wanted to go on a trip, his family folded him up and mailed him to California.

Our friend in Colorado read about Flat Stanley in her first grade class.  Then our friend made her own flat first grader to send to us.  She folded Missy up, stuck her in an envelope, and mailed her to us.  She wants us to write and tell her about the things Missy did and the places she went with us.

We want Missy to have all kinds of adventures.  We want our friend and her classmates to learn all about Texas and some of the wonderful things that we do here.

Today Missy learned that I am a service dog.  I told her that I help elderly people to feel better.  I also work with foster teens who are learning how to plan their future.

I told Missy that I had to train to be a service dog.  I had to learn how to do many things.  I had to learn to obey commands.  I had to learn to let other people brush my coat.  I had to learn not to be afraid of wheelchairs and walkers.  I had to learn that I couldn't play with other dogs when I was working.  After I learned all of these things, I took a special test.  (To learn more, see my post by clicking here:  I'm a Canine Good Citizen!)

We'll be posting Missy's adventures for the next few weeks.  Be sure to check back with us!

Tonight, Missy is already tucked in bed and ready to go to sleep.  She is VERY tired.  It must have been a very long trip to travel all the way from Colorado to Texas in an envelope!

Goodnight Missy!

Monday, January 20, 2014

It's Cold Outside!!!

We are having a very cold winter here in Texas.  Is it really cold where you live?

Last week we had a winter storm.  A winter storm is a dangerous combination of heavy snow, sleet, or freezing rain.  We had freezing temperatures for two days.  In our part of Texas, this is a winter storm!  In many parts of the U.S., a winter storm means lots and lots of snow.

We are learning a lot about winter storms now.  We have learned how to prepare for a winter storm.  We have learned that we need special clothes to be outside in the cold.  We have even learned to have fun in winter weather!

If you would like to know more about winter storms, here is a fun activity books to help you :
Here are some great activity books to learn more about winter weather and how you can prepare for them: