Friday, July 31, 2009


Humming Bird

This summer it seems that we have an unusual amount of hummings birds. They are fun to watch and listen to.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Red House Finch

This little guy was up on the deck railing for an afternoon snack. Not sure why, but all of the finches have been coming up to the deck to eat their sunflower seeds.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Summer Storm

Good amount of rain - gutters were running!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009



Rays of sun shining through the evening clouds.

Monday, July 27, 2009


Bad hair (feather) day!

Well, this year I didn't have any bluebirds nest in my box. :( (It has saved me lots of money in mealworms and crickets.)

We have had a couple families stop by the backyard on their journey out of the nest. This morning we had 3-4 young bluebirds that were hanging around the backyard and deck. It was great watching them practice their flying and bug-catching skills...landings were still a little rough.

This particular bird seemed to be more interested in grooming. I'm guessing that he was enjoying his new found freedom and realized how important personal hygiene is for a young male.


Ready for dinner.

This evening a Says Phoebe was hanging out on the back deck...seemed to be ready to for some dinner. In the past summers there has always been one that nests in the entryway of our neighbor's house...not sure if they were there again this year. We have one that hangs out on the camera outside our front door.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


Evening storms.

Well, we had rain again this evening. Wasn't too much...most of the storm stayed north of us here in Castle Rock. We have been able to enjoy the wonderful smell of rain for several hours. Wish I could bottle that smell...I'd make a million! :)


Discovery Channel.

We've been enjoying the "Wild Specific" series on DVR. Even my cat, Fiji, likes both sharks AND the Discovery Channel...I have taught her well!

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Waiting to Ripen.

I have three tomato plants in my backyard.  Anxiously awaiting them to ripen...ready to make some salsa!


Evening Shadows.

I was sitting out back enjoying the new furniture.  As the sun was beginning to set, I noticed the shadows of the deck stairs.  I just liked all of the different lines.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Summer blooms.

I realized that I hadn't taken many, if any, photos of my summer flowers. Here are the day lilies in our front yard. I'm always amazed at how so many beautiful flowers can come from such small, pathetic looking stems and leaves. Each year it seems that there are always more flowers.

Monday, July 20, 2009


Another sunset.

I have to say that I'm a sucker for sunsets.  The thing that caught my eye tonight were the rays coming up from behind the clouds.  I was close to getting out a stepstool so I could get more of the sky.  :o)



Today I spent most of my time at my computer - working on some new projects for The Teacher's Corner.

We did manage to have some fun in the evening.  We had our monthly family dinner.  And as always, Renee and Dave did an AMAZIMG job!  We had a great surprise - my mom and dad were there.  I think they probably had  mixed feelings about being able to join us.  They were hoping to be in the wheat field harvesting, but due to rain they've been receiving, they haven't been able to get in the fields.  The whole family was together for a great evening.



We had a great trip up to Coal Creek Canyon this afternoon.  We went up Crys & Mike's where we had lunch with them and Jordan.  The weather was perfect and we enjoyed some tasty BBQ!

We are looking forward to going back up and doing some geocaching with them sometime this summer.


A View of the City.

After our conference was over, I spent the afternoon with my friend Kim who lives in Palo Alto and was a great tour guide!

One of our afternoon stops was Twin Peaks...and the view was amazing!  You could see everything in the area, exclduing the Golden Gate bridge.

I had a great week in San Francisco!  It was great getting to see old friends and make many new ones!



Last July, thanks to my new and fabulous friend Bridget, I began Geocaching.  For those of you who are not familiar with it, you can visit the site at: to learn more.  It is like present-day treasure hunting!

I got the great fortune of geocaching with Bridget again while in San Francisco.  We had a GREAT adventure just getting to and from the cache.  I can tell you that we all went to the cache dry, but came back wet from at least our knees down (with a splashes on our backsides).  There was LOTS of laughing!

The photo is of an amazing Geocaching coin that we found.  The coin actually originated in Taiwan and contains a compass.


And the fog rolls in...

We went geocaching with several other DEN members, some on their first "real" geocache, out to the lighthouse near the Headlands.  The sun was gone and the bridge was shrowded in fog.  I have to say that I loved the fog horns!!


Great day in the city.

During the DEN National Institute, we had the wonderful opportunity to take a trollie tour of San Francisco.

We toured a number of the popular homes in the city, ate a great lunch at Boudin's, toured the Pier 39 area, and then headed back to the Marin Headlands Institute.

The sun was out and we got incredible shots of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009



Today was the first day of our Discovery Educator Network National Institute.  We are staying at the Headlands Institute just north of San Francisco.  Before arriving at the conference factilities, I spent the day with Kim.  She picked me up early this morning from the airport and took me on a short driving tour over to Half Moon Bay and then over to Tubiron for lunch at Sam's Anchor Cafe.  I had to include two photos today.  The first was taken along the coast, just outside Pacifica.  The other was when we passed over the Golden Gate Bridge. (Thanks for being my shuttle Kim!!)

Thanks to everyone for your birthday wishes!  I had a great day!

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Lasting Impression.

We were sitting around this afternoon and heard a loud thump on the house.  Our first thought was that an errant golf ball had hit us, but after a quick inspection we realized that was not the case.

A bird had actually hit one of our windows.  I didn't see the bird down below the window, so I think it must have survived the hit.  If you look closely in the photo you can see the wing, body and head of the bird.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Family Outing.

I have to admit that I took this photograph the evening of the 9th, but going through the photos on my camera I couldn't resist.  (It was our first evening out enjoying the new furniture.)  During the day, the magpies absolutely annoy me!  As if the squawking of the adults wasn't bad enough...we get to listen to the cries of all the juveniles.

But today I saw them in a new light...I actually enjoyed them this evening, all sitting on the other side of the fairway, and in the middle of a beautiful sunset.  (And from this distance, I heard no squawking.)

Friday, July 10, 2009



Since leaving the classroom and finishing our basement, I have had LOTS of STUFF laying around in places it didn't belong.

I have created a craft/library room.  I wanted a place where my neice and nephew could look through all my books or do something crafty.  One roadblock has been shelving, but last week I finally found some cubes at Target...yea!

Today I began organizing all my was more than I remember!  Anyway, I started getting some of the books onto shelves.  In this photo are some by my favorite author - Eric Carle

Thursday, July 9, 2009



Well, we got all of the furniture put together, found pillows and purchased a few "accents."  We are really happy with how things turned out and anxious to spend time out back.  I don't even want to think what it will be like out here in six months... :o(

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Unusual Greeting.

We had run out for something to eat and when we came back, this is what greeted us on the front porch.  It's our new outdoor furniture for under the deck!  The funny thing is I just got a phone call two days ago saying that it would all be delivered on July 14th....hmmmmm....I'm pretty sure today is not the 14th.  Anyway, it was an exciting surprise.  You'll have to wait until tomorrow to see how it all turned out!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009



Well, after a busy day yesterday, the car wash stands silent today...just waiting for another day of fun.


Summer Storm.

The weather has been ususual this spring and summer.  We've had a good deal of rain, some hail and even a funnel cloud our two.

Last night we had a quick, but heavy rain move through.  No hail today, just lots of thunder, lightning and then a beautiful rainbow.

Sunday, July 5, 2009


Australia DSA - Final Thoughts

(I finally posted my last blog about my Australia trip on the main DSA Blog...I also wanted to repost it here.)

Well, I’ve been home nearly a month now and I think I’m all caught up on my sleep and no longer "on the trip" in my dreams.  As I’ve seen friends and family since returning home, I have enjoyed sharing with them my photos and adventures from “Down Under.” Anytime I am asked, “How was your trip?” I say the same thing…”It was amazing!” There is one question I always get asked that I never have an answer for, “What was your favorite thing?” I tell people that every activity we did was special and unique…picking just one favorite is impossible.

When you travel to another country, you want to see all of the great landmarks and attractions, and boy did we…We traveled along the rugged, yet beautiful coast of the Great Ocean Road. We played in the rain among the treetops at the Otway Fly. We witnessed the magnificent sunrise at Uluru. And we saw the rainbow of colors in the fish and coral on The Great Barrier Reef.

Not only do you want to see these sites, but you also want to meet people and become a part of the country's culture. From this adventure I will take away so many wonderful memories, not only of the sites we saw, but of the people we met. After this trip I am convinced that a country's people are what truly makes an adventure amazing. As I created this final blog post, I wanted to take some time to reflect on those special people we met in Australia.

Marion at the Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Park. Marion was one of the first Australians we met and she was anxious to welcome us…and put us to work. Shovels in hand, she lead us to Rita the Wombat’s enclosure where we got our hands dirty. It was great! She didn’t cut us any slack for just getting off a 15 hour flight…she had a job for us and that job needed to get done, even in the rain. Marion wanted everyone to get a fist-hand experience while at the park.

Bill and Jan at the Ooraminna Station Homestead. I felt like I was home the minute we arrived at the homestead. The hospitality of the Hayes family was amazing. They greeted us as we climbed off our muddy coach with huge smiles. I’m not sure if they were aware as to what they were getting into with our group. :o) Everyone at the homestead took us under their wing – helped us crack the whip, get our swags set up, shared the history of the station, taught us about the stars of the southern hemisphere, and even let us set up a geocache just out off their front porch! Each meal they were right beside us, sharing stories and tales. They did it all and we absolutely loved our stay…thank you Hayes family!

Cassidy is an Anangu gentlemen who, in the shadow of Uluru, shared stories and legends of his Aboriginal culture. With the help of his translator, John, we learned the true resourcefulness of the Aborigines. Using leaves from the native acacia tree, Cassidy demonstrated a glue-making process. He also gave us the opportunity to try our hand with native hunting spears. And finally, dot painting. Cassidy and John shared with us the important role dot painting has played in the culture and provided us guidance with our personal creations. We were truly fortunate to have had the opportunity to spend time with these two gentlemen.

Terry and Jacque on the banana farm. Could you think of a better way to start your day…lamingtons, tea, coffee, and on the farm!?!? We were greeted by a barefooted Terry, with iPhone in hand, who quickly whisked us off on the banana cart. As we toured the 600 acre farm, Terry shared stories, facts and jokes. His sense of humor reminded me of my late grandfather. As I reflected back on our time at the farm, I once again felt like I had been visiting a relative. I will say one thing Terry…you still owe me a banana! :o)

Dunken with Reef HQ and Orpheus Island. During our time at the aquarium and on the island, Dunken wore many hats: scientist, instructor, tour guide, tech support, concierge, alarm clock, and cheerleader with the consistent phrase, “Okay beautiful people.” Whatever you needed, Dunken was there! He made sure everyone was safe and enjoying their time learning about The Great Barrier Reef and the ocean in general. I believe that Dunken and his staff had a huge impact on the students which will lead them to make changes in their daily lives.

And last, but DEFINITELY not least, Amanda - our tour manager extraordinaire! I have never seen someone remain so calm and collected under such pressure. (She would make a great teacher!) When some students were feeling car sick, she sought out some ginger. When we couldn’t make it to the bush camp due to rain, she wrangled up a 4 Wheel Drive coach. And when an item was lost, she sent out the search party. Amanda made our trip amazing with all of her hard work and information…it wouldn’t have been the same without her.

Finally, I want to thank all of the amazing folks at Discovery Student Adventures and Discovery Education for giving my students and I the opportunity to take part in this amazing trip. We have come home from Australia with friends and memories that will last a lifetime.


Independence Day.

We had a great night with sisters and their husbands, my nephew, and my parents all came over to our place. The outdoor games didn't happen as planned due to the massive rain storms that moved through. We did enjoy some lots of tasty food and were treated to some great fireworks off the back deck.



After spending a week in beautiful Copper Mountain for the Technology in Education (TIE) Conference - our state tech conference - I realized that I took NO scenic photos. The only photos that I managed to capture were of Kim and I. (Kim is a PD trainer for Discovery Education and can out to present several sessions with me.)

This year Chad came up with me, so it was fun meeting up for lunch and hanging out in the evening. We had a great time and thanks to Mike and Phebbie's support from the booth, our sessions were packed!

Friday, July 3, 2009


My Nephew.

I had the great fortune, and surprise, of watching my nephew today.  Due to the holiday weekend he had to be picked up from daycare early and Aunt Jen got to do that.

It's amazing how much he grows and changes over just the mater of a couple of weeks.  He's eating Cheerios and watermelon! I just love his little hands...except when the poke me in the eye.  ;o)

We had a great time playing and chasing the dog...and no dirty diapers!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


New resident.

Well, I don't have an excuse for not staying up-to-date anymore.  I'm home from Australia and done with my first technology conference.  So being that it's the first of the month, my birthday month I may add, it's the perfect time to get back into the routine of photographing and blogging.

Upon returning from Australia I was very disappointed to learn that my bluebirds had not set up nest in the box.  I think it had something to do with the unusual weather we experienced this spring.

I was greeted a few days ago by a new song in the backyard.  I got out my binnaculars and ID book...then my camera.  I was able to identify the new belonged to a house wren!  I have seen a few wrens in the neighborhood over the past several years, but I've never had one set up shop!  For the past couple of days, this little wren has been working VERY hard!  Not only has he been hauling in new branches, but he's been tossing out the grass that the bluebirds brought in.  (I learned that this little bird can be very mean.  If it wants the home of another bird it will toss out nesting material, eggs and even babies belonging to other birds...yikes!)

Anyway, it's been fun watching this little guy stake his claim.  He seems to be very proud of his work and sits atop the nesting box singing.  I will be keeping you all updated on what happens with the nest.


The Crocodile Hunter.

Steve Irwin had a special connection to the Discovery Channel.  I'm sure that everyone was as equally shocked by his death as I was.  No matter what people say about the details surrounding his death, we can all agree that the world lost an amazing wildlife advocate.

We had the good fortune of visiting his legacy...the Australia Zoo.  This isn't like your typical zoo - you have a number of opportunties to get up close and personal with the animals.  Knowing that you were visiting the "home" of the Irwins made this experience even more special.


Reef HQ.

You know me...I love any aquarium!  Reef HQ is home to the world's largest coral exhibit.  The one aspect of the aquarium that I truly enjoyed was the natural light coming through the top of the tunnel exhibit.  It was amazing!

We throughouly enjoyed our time with Dunkin and his amazing team.  They shared an unbelievable amount of information with us and helped us all become more aware of what we could do to help our marine environment.  They were also our "fearless leaders" on our research adventure to Orpheus Island.


Banana Farm.

I had to go "back in time" so I could mention my new Australian friend Terry.  He is the owner of the banana farm we visited.  It was great getting to visit with him and his wife.  They take GREAT care of, tea and lamingtons...YUM!!  He was kind enough to share his waterfall with us, along with his amazing farm.  And I have promised to send him a Christmas card!  I selected this photo because he was using his iPhone.