Barefoot in Suburbia

Homeschooling & Special Needs, Inspired by the Montessori Way

Field Trip: The Pumpkin Patch October 24, 2010

Filed under: Family updates,Field trips — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 8:48 pm
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This week, we headed to the pumpkin farm in Ohio so the kids can play at the farm’s playground, run through the corn maze, and of course, pick pumpkins.  The kids had a blast!  It was a pretty chilly day (and of course, today was near 80…go figure!) but perfect weather to be out picking pumpkins!

Some unexpected visitors at the pumpkin farm...

Playing on the airplane teeter totter. Jedi *loved* this thing--he probably spent 2/3 of his time flying the plane. Then again, he also has been saying for months now that he wants to be a pilot....

Jedi, the human hamster....

Monkey running out of the spooky tunnel

Now, what child with autism *doesn't* like to make corn angels? LOL! Seriously, Jedi was all about this. He was laying in it, swimming in it, burrowing through it. I can't say I'm surprised...

Monkey and Bug digging in the corn

Bug driving a train

Sweet little Bitty Bug, heading into the corn maze

Lovin' the swing!

Gorgeous full moon!

Bug used the giant hamster wheel as a slide--her dad would push it, and she'd slide in it. She loved it!

Monkey in front of the pumpkin tree

Picking out her pumpkin

Clearly loving her time at the pumpkin farm!

Attempting to carry a pumpkin that's a bit too big for her.

Whoa, all three kids in one picture, looking in the same direction! A rarity, for sure!

The beautiful sunset we came home to...


Outdoor Hour Challenge–Autumn Leaves, plus another safari trip October 20, 2010

Filed under: Exploring Nature,Field trips — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 8:25 am
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This week’s nature study was on autumn leaves.  Of course, if you’re in central Ohio in the middle of October, there is no better nature study than that!  Not only were we able to observe the changing foliage everywhere we went, but it made for a really good trip down to The Wilds, the nature conservation safari we’ve been to multiple times this year.  This visit did not disappoint.  The animals may not have been as active as they were during other parts of the season, but there were quite a few good encounters, and of course, the beautiful scenery that just can’t be found anywhere else!

The leaves are just past peak this week in Ohio, with last week's neon orange and bright reds turning into more muted colors.

The leaves are still a beautiful orange, although some have begun to drop from the trees.

More foliage


And all of the rest of the pictures are from The Wilds.  Be warned, there are a lot.  But there are some foliage pictures from The Wilds mixed in, so it counts. 😉


A zebra with a background of Ohio autumn you don't see that everyday!

The difference between horns and antlers--horns are permenant and hollow inside, antlers are temporary and solid.

Giraffe at sunset

Some wildflowers

More giraffes

Beautiful autumn leaves

More foliage

Another giraffe

More foliage


Little baby rhino

White tailed deer

Gorgeous fall day!

This creepy not-so-little guy was climbing up the side of a building by the carnivore conservation center

Bitty Bug and her daddy

These trees have already dropped most of their leaves

Trumpeter Swan

Bug feeding the catfish


Autumn in Ohio

Beautiful foliage near the entrance


Family Update & Field Trip–trick or treating at the zoo! October 17, 2010

Filed under: Family updates,Field trips,Saving the Earth — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 7:43 pm
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Because of multiple food allergies, we don’t usually trick or treat around the neighborhood (well, that, and there are no other kids in our neighborhood currently…that kind of puts a kink in the plan! 😉 ).  We usually throw an allergen-free Halloween party for the kids on Halloween, but we do take the kids out trick or treating at an area zoo.  This year, instead of going to the Columbus Zoo, we went to the Cincinnati Zoo to meet up with my sister, her fiance, and my nephew.

A lonely little rose at the zoo.

Monkey as a Pumpkin. This year, we decided to go eco-friendly on the costumes (of course!). All of the costume pieces were either reused, consigned, or bought handmade from Etsy with the intent to repurpose (the hats the girls wore can be used for winter, and the tutus can be used as regular clothes).

Jedi as Dr. Claw from Inspector Gadget--this was totally his choice. Not sure what's up with the plaid shoes, but those were also his choice. 😉

The lovely bamboo that was everywhere at the zoo.


The rhino was coming straight at us

Bitty Bug was a ghost.

Jedi was really into character, being all mysterious why watching the animals.

Wild horses (obviously not wild at the zoo. 😉 )

Petting a big snake.



Bug lovin' the zoo!

Bug and Monkey discussing their trick or treating loot

The zebra really close to us

Polar bear

Beautiful pheasant that was loose at the zoo

Asian Elephants

Bug was really into trick or treating. We liked that it was mainly stickers, coloring books, and tooth brushes with 2 or 3 pieces of candy. That way they didn't get too sugared out.

My sweet little baby bug.


Field Trip Friday: Apple Picking September 26, 2010

Filed under: Field trips,Preschool,Toddler learning — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 4:33 pm
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This week, we managed to have some 90 degree days, and some 60 degree days.  That can only mean one thing…it’s Autumn and time for apple picking!  We actually went twice this past week…once with just the girls as a part of a homeschool group field trip, and once this weekend with Jedi now that he was feeling a bit better.

Listening to the lecture by the farmer. He was talking about the Liberty apple and the parts of the apple. He also talked a bit about grafting the new apple species at his orchard.

Into the orchard....


The trees were really really full!

My two little ones picking apples

Monkey reaching high

Bug running with the apple she snuck a taste of

My two cuties

Helping to make the apple cider

The final step of making the cider

The delicious cider the kids made

Bug on the way home, sleeping with her snack

Jedi, joining in on day 2


Sunday on Safari September 12, 2010

Filed under: Exploring Nature,Field trips — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 9:09 pm
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Today, we took the kids to a place in central Ohio called The Wilds.  If you haven’t been there yet, you’re missing out!  This was our second time going this season, and we want to make one more trip there next month.  It never disappoints!  We got to take an air conditioned bus through over 500 acres (they have 10,000 acres total, but not all is available to the public).   It is the largest wildlife conservation centers in the United States and one of the largest in the world.   During the trip, we got to see some awesome animals up close and personal!

The view from the visitor's center

Bactrian Deer, native to central Asia and parts of the middle east

American Bison, native to North was actually kind of amusing to watch the rhino chase the bison. Don't see that every day...

More bison

An adult and baby Southern White Rhino, native to southern Africa.

We got fantastic views of the white rhinos, and one kept coming really close to our bus

At one point, he started running right towards us!

Eld's Deer, native to south and southeast Asia

Scimitar-horned onyx, formerly native to north Africa. It was extinct in the wild until 2007 when The Wilds send one of theirs to Tunisia as part of a reintroduction project

Bitty Bug relaxing in the mid-sized carnivore conservation area

Jedi making goofy faces outside of the cheetah area

Monkey taking a few minutes to sit down after watching the cheetahs

Cheetahs, native to sub-saharan Africa and northern Iran

Przewalski's Wild Horse, native to Europe and parts of Asia. They were extinct at one point, but were reintroduced to Mongolia and China in recent years

Giraffes, native to Africa

A honeybee pollinating the flowers--you can even see his pollen sack!


More Przewalkski wild horses


The kids walking on the trail

Various Ohio Native plants

More giraffes

Indochina Sika Deer, native to Vietnam and China, but likely extinct in the wild

Bactrian Camels, native to Mongolia

More camels

Persian Onagers, native to Iran


Field Trip Friday: The ice cream factory! September 3, 2010

Filed under: Field trips — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 10:00 pm
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Jedi’s 1st grade class went on a field trip last week to the Velvet Ice Cream factory, and we went along as chaperones.  We thought it’d be fun to see how ice cream is made (nevermind the fact that we’re a family of *4* dairy allergic people.  But, they had sorbet there, so all’s good. 😀 )

The tour started out with a huge water wheel and then continued to a little “school house” where the students heard a lecture about how ice cream is made.  Then everyone went to the viewing window to see the workers making and packaging the ice cream.  I didn’t get a lot of pictures of the inside of the factory itself because of the way the machines were positioned.  Finally, everyone went outside to enjoy the beautiful grounds and sample some treats.

The huge water wheel.

The pond on the factory grounds. It was absolutely gorgeous!

Jedi & Monkey watching the ice cream being made

Some of the machines

Another view of the pond

The water fowl hanging around the edge of the pond

Bitty Bug walking around towards the playground

Some of the ducks and/or geese laid their eggs in the worst possible place...right next to the sidewalk near the entrance. I tried to keep the kids from touching the eggs, but I suspect that the eggs are abandoned--we never once saw any bird go near them.

Some more birds


Field trip Friday, part 3 of 3 August 20, 2010

Filed under: Field trips — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 2:20 pm
The third trip this week was to the Slate Run Living Historic Farm at the Slate Run metropark. The farm is still completely functional and operates very similar to how it did over 100 years ago.  There is no running water or electricity on the farm, and it still raises animals and crops. Several times a year, they open the farm to children and allows them to assist with the farm chores to learn how children did their chores in 1880.

The kids shelling beans for the farmers to use in soup during the winter

Beating rugs with brooms

Washing laundry in the tub

Wringing the water out of the clothes

The root cellar

The woods next to the farm

A little farm inhabitant

A bunch of ducks

Combing the broom corn so that the farmers can make brooms out of it

Monkey taking leaves off the stalk to feed the cattle

Both kids gathering leaves for the cattle


One of the cows

The two month old bull calf

The horse

Getting the kernals off the dried corn so they can grind the corn

Pumping water

Helping the farmer make rope

The pig that the kids fed rotten apples and corn cobs to

Bug feeding a pig


The water the kids were pumping

Pumping more water


Bug decided that *this* was her favorite farm chore. 😉