August 20, 2012

tide pool creatures

exploring the beach
When my boys and I were visiting my parents in July, we went clamming one morning at Fort Stevens State Park. My boys had been clamming before with them, but I hadn't. It was an amazing morning, bright and sunny, and we ended up taking our coats off by the end because it wasn't even windy and cool.

Andrew was very interested in actually getting clams with the clam "gun". But Steven was more interested in checking out the sandy tide pools left by the low tide. I love seafood, but that doesn't include bivalves (and there weren't enough clam guns for all of us anyway), so I gladly followed Steven on his leisurely wanderings.

Andrew using the clam gun

Most pools of water were barren. But he spotted a few with small shrimp. They were fun to watch swim around and burrow into the sand. They really blend in. Some pools had a few full-grown shrimp, and other pools were filled with hundreds of tiny ones. We found a hermit crab in a small white shell, and some tiny snails making trails in the sand underwater. And we found something that I now know is called a sand flea or mole crab. I had seen them once before and wondered what in the world it was (I thought it looked like a shrimp without a tail!), but didn't get a photo of that one.

small shrimp in tide pool

hermit crab in tide pool

The patches of water in the vast sandy beach didn't look like they would have much in them, not like the rocky tide pools with starfish and urchins one usually imagines. But they turned out to be interesting in their own right!

August 17, 2012

the sparkling, salty sea

One of the neat features of Etsy is being able to curate treasuries. When I first joined Etsy, treasuries only lasted a few days, and the number of treasury slots was limited. I snagged one once, and made a horse theme treasury. Now they last indefinitely, and you can make as many as you want. I've made quite a few since that change! It can be a lot of fun. It's a great way to show off what you've found on Etsy, and gives sellers a little more publicity.

Today I was looking at my favorites on Etsy, and noticed I had "hearted" a bunch of ocean theme items recently, so I thought I'd compile them into a collection. It has been a while since I shared a treasury here on my blog, so here it is, perfect for summer! Check out all the great finds!

The Sparkling Salty Sea a treasury by Jennifer Kistler on

August 16, 2012

summer family reading

When I became a parent, I had no idea I would love reading to my kids so much. (At least when they're being good listeners.) We started a routine of reading at bedtime with simple short books like Time For Bed by Mem Fox. Over the years we've done a mixture of modern popular stuff (Thomas the Tank Engine, Bob the Builder, Oswald) and vintage books. Some of my favorites include Harold and the Purple Crayon, The Huffin Puff Express, and (each December) Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree (the same one I had as a kid, complete with crayon scribblings inside the front and back covers I hate to admit are mine!).

My boys are 9 and 11 now, and in recent years the reading choices have grown up quite a bit. I recently read them one of the books I saved from my youth, and how fun that was! In addition to the Black Stallion book series, when I was young I was fascinated with youth wilderness survival stories. Earlier this summer I figured my boys might enjoy Lost In The Barrens by Farley Mowat. I knew I had liked the story enough to save the book, but I honestly couldn't remember much about it. It was great to experience the adventure with them all over again!

We followed that with one of Mowat's lighter works, Owls In The Family. Oh gosh, how funny! It looks like we are going to finish our summer reading with the first book of the Dive trilogy by Gordon Korman that we picked up at a garage sale last week. The great thing about summer break (and being a work-at-home-mom) is if we get really into a book and can't wait to hear what happens next, I can read to them in the middle of the day, too.

And of course my kids do read on their own. My younger son read my old copy of Island of the Blue Dolphins this spring, and really liked it. Another outdoor survival story for youth that I had enjoyed. Made me smile.