Saturday, February 23, 2013

Sea Shells & Sand Dollars

This past holiday we managed to spend a few weeks 10 minutes away from Disney and NOT GO!! Our kids only asked about it a few times and never made a big deal about the fact that we never made it there. We're outdoors people, trying to instill that same passion for nature in our kids. Disney Shmisney. Get me to the mountains or the ocean! So in between hubby's flu and cellulitis episodes (yeah...our holiday vacation didn't go exactly as expected), we tried to spend as much time as possible as family in the great outdoors. I brought home just a few natural souvenirs this year.

I took home only one big white pine cone that one of my kids found for me on a walk around our neighborhood. I'll add it to the stash from last year that I still haven't done anything creative with yet.

Our townhouse is in the middle of the state but we drove out to the west coast a couple of times. The ocean becons me. Both days I collected as many little iridescent shells as I could while chasing a toddler around the beach. Apparently she found them as interesting as I did.

Here they are rinsed off and spread out.

I'm not sure if I'll just put them in a glass container to display or glue them onto something or what. Anyone got suggestions?

One outdoor experience in FL was kind of cool although it didn't result with anything tangible we could take home. Maybe its just the homeschool mom in me, but I get excited when life presents unexpected learning opportunities that we can actually experience and not just read about in a book.

We were taking a walk through Lake Louisa State Park and there were tons of animal prints in the sand along the paths. A sign that we passed early on indicated we were likely to see this type of evidence.

It was fun to stop and try to identify them on the spot (when the kids weren't trudging through them and ruining them before we could tell them to stop and look).
Deer tracks
Bobcat tracks
I'm trying to train my kids to have eagle eyes for spotting interesting things when we're outside. But they don't usually need my help. Ever since she was a baby, this kid would spot a ladybug across a room and point it out.

On the drive home from FL we decided to take an extra day to make some stops in South Carolina. We did an overnight on Hilton Head Island (because two days at the ocean in FL just wasn't enough) and then made a short stop in Charleston as well. Our hotel in Hilton Head (that we HIGHLY recommend and hope to revisit) was on the beach, and although the temp was only in the 60s, that didn't stop the girls from getting into their bathing suits and playing on the shore.


It was my hubby that found a sand dollar that first afternoon and our oldest was happy to display it for the camera.

Of course I saved it. I did several rinses and soaked it in fresh water back at the suite and planned to take it home to bleach. The next morning we went back out to the beach again when the tide was around the same spot and this time I walked up and down the beach looking for more sand dollars. I only found two more but was happy with that. After taking them all home, soaking, rinsing, and bleaching, this is what I'm left with:
These will compliment the starfish (that originally came from South Carolina too) that were on display in my bathroom before we moved ...when its finally time to unpack them.

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