Miss Rumphius


Alice Rumphius wanted to travel the world when she grew up, and then to live by the sea- just as her grandfather had done.  But there is one more thing, he tells her: she must do something to make the world more beautiful.  Young Alice does not yet know what that will be…

This was a great book to row in the spring!  We started out by going with Aunt Gigi to a small local nursery to pick out some supplies that we would need for several of our spring studies.




We picked up some flowers, tomato plants, lupine seeds, turnip seeds, and a soil tester kit.


Life got busy, as usual, and so these flowers sat on our counter for about a week and I occasionally remembered to water them.  Then we finally got around to doing our first experiment…

Science:  The Celery Stalk Experiment


In addition to the celery, we were supposed to try dying carnations as well.  They didn’t have carnations at the nursery, so I picked up some white daisies, thinking it would be about the same thing (it wasn’t).


So we put our daisies in the red and blue water.  And added celery to the third cup of red water.


(Yes, in case you’re wondering, these cups of colored water did get knocked over twice during the course of this experiment.)

When we realized the daisies weren’t going to change colors, Raphael suggested we add some celery to the blue food coloring as well…


So after a few days, this is what we were left with…


One empty red cup with red celery, one blue cup with blue celery, and one stained red towel!  But the good news is that the boys got to see how the water traveled up the stalk (roots) of the celery and into the “flowers” up top.

Science:  Dissecting a Flower


Our second experiment involved dissecting a petunia flower and learning the parts that make up the flower.


This page comes out of our R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey- Life curriculum.  We use this program loosely, as an addition to our unit studies.

I set our red flower on a paper plate and sliced it open down the center.


I located the various parts of the flower and showed them to the boys.


While I talked, they colored…



Social Studies:  Geography:  

The story doesn’t specify the exact location, but it says that she lives by the sea and it there are definitely cold winters there.  We took a guess and put our story disk on Maine.


Character:  Doing “special work” and making the world a better place.

I really loved the idea of the moral lesson in this story.  Alice’s grandfather gives her the message that in her lifetime she must do something to make the world a better place.  It reminds me of a poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson that I have hanging in our home…in the guest bathroom (you just never know when inspiration will strike)!


“To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”

So on that note, and to mimic Miss Rumphius sowing Lupine flowers in the story, we decided to plant our remaining undissected petunias in our front yard, in an effort to make our front yard more beautiful…


Daddy and Logan were our main planters.  Logan is always eager to hang out with daddy and is pretty much up for anything at any time.


They found a worm in the soil.  Logan cuddled with him and talked to him for a few minutes before setting him free in another part of the yard.



Then they got back to the business of planting flowers…




And finally they had to water the flowers.


Art:  Painting Lupine Flowers







Food:  Veggie Flowers

I saw the idea for these veggie flowers on Pinterest and they were so easy to make.  Just cut up your cucumbers and carrots and stick them together with a toothpick!  And I just happened to have green toothpicks on hand.





Not only did they each clear their veggie flowers, but they went on to devour several more carrots and cucumbers as well.  I love it when they think eating vegetables is fun!

Sensory Basket and Go-Along Stories

I put together this “sensory basket” for them as kind of a kick-start to several Spring studies that we were about to begin working on.


I found this kid’s size wheelbarrow on-line and filled it with kid’s gardening tools and gloves, some of the items we had picked up at the nursery, fruit and veggie play baskets, kid’s magnifying glasses, and several go-along stories.  The lupine seeds that we purchased won’t grow well here where we live, so we are going to take them up North to the cabin this summer and sow them there.  Then we’ll see if they bloom next spring/summer!

Our list of go-along stories:

Usborne Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Natural World

The Reason for a Flower

Seeds and More Seeds

How a Seed Grows

The Carrot Seed

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