Thanks so much to everyone who entered to win an Easy Macro Lens and shared about the giveaway.

It is wonderful to see so much excitement about this little lens and how it can add so much to nature study.

First, the winners!

Jenny Irvine, Rachel Santos, and Amber Willis are our winners.


You all should have received emails from me this morning so please check your inbox.

Second, a little something for all of you!

The amazing folks over at Easy Macro have given you all a gift of 25% off your Easy Macro order until April 30th by using the code: MudPuddles25 

How nice is that? Very nice!

You can use that code over on the Easy Macro website right here.

Thanks again for a wonderful giveaway.

Dawn & the Easy Macro Team


Happy Earth Day

Earth Day 2016-1

For my kids Earth Day is much like any other day and when they were young they did not totally understand what all the fuss was all about.

In these younger years we downplayed the big issues like climate change, endangered species, and the burning of the tropical rain forests. These issues that can be overwhelming and lead to a bit of hopelessness and confusion. I truly think that young kids need to develop a love of nature right where they find themselves in order to develop the compassion and capacity to make decisions later in life that will impact the natural world. 
So, Earth Day is simply a special day to acknowledge our love of nature and our life-giving planet. 
You know your kids best and as they get older bigger concepts and the reasons for them can be introduced. We started with recycling, because it is an action they see daily. We always pick up trash at the beach so it made sense and it was a tangible action. (And when they were young this trash arrived at the shore because people accidentally dropped something, the wind caught it and it blew off a boat, etc… We tried not to paint people as bad, but that we all simply needed to do a good job of keeping track of our trash and make sure it did not get away from us.) 

As they have grown we have talked about climate change and how that might impact where we live along the coast. With my daughter, at age 12, we are discussing some of the bigger issues around the climate. My son, at age 9, is still very sensitive to these big issues and the role humans play in the environment so we don’t discuss them as often and when we do we try to be very optimistic about the future and humans capacity for change, adaptation, and innovation.

I know this is kind of heavy for Earth Day but I worry that we are burdening kids with these weighty issues before they are ready and have developed a relationship with nature. Even the positive nature of the Earth Day message can bring questions as to WHY this day is even necessary. 

I encourage you to focus on the positive acts of Earth Day like recycling and planting trees while building up to those bigger issues as the kids get older. 

For those of you who are interested in the history of Earth Day you can find that 
Enjoy the day outside exploring and learning first hand what a wonderful Earth we have to call home! 

Let WONDER lead the way…



Project: Bug Be Gone Spray

Bug Be Gone text

Spring is here and with spring comes warmer days, flowers, and bugs! While we really like studying insects and generally think they are pretty cool, we aren’t very keen on the itchy bites they leave behind when they visit and get a little too personal. To keep them at bay we make up our own bug spray using essential oils. This helps us stear clear of some of the harsh chemicals found in commercial sprays and makes us smell much better!

Follow the directions below to make your very own Bug Be Gone Spray!


20-30 drops essential oils (recommend oils: citronella, cedar wood, lavender, clove, eucalyptus, lemongrass, tea tree, catnip, rose geranium)

2 oz glass spray bottle

2 oz distilled water or witch hazel

We have used a combination of the oils above and did some experimenting to find the blend we liked best. You can start with equal amounts of three or four oils and work from there adjusting the amount of each to fit your needs. For example, if eucalyptus is too strong reduce the number of drops and add more lavender. If you like to smell of lemongrass, add a few more drops to your blend. You really can make it personal because there are so many different oils that work to repel insects!

Citronella, lavender, and eucalyptus are a few of the most popular oils for bug blends and if you have ticks around rose geranium is great to add.

What to do:

Add the oils of your choice to the bottle.

Add your carrier (distilled water or witch hazel)

Shake before each use and spray on as needed.


If you would like to make a bigger batch simply use a bigger spray bottle and add more drops of oil accordingly.


Because essential oils are not as powerful as other commercial sprays that contain strong chemicals you may need to apply more often.

As with anything new test a small area of your skin before applying all over.

NOTE: Recommendations to use citrus oils can be found on the internet, but use caution when adding those oils because they can make skin extra sensitive to the sun.


Now, you can still get the occasional bite or sting even when using a spray.

If you do get a sting or bite apple cider vinegar followed by a dab of lemon or lavender essential oil works wonders to reduce swelling. I keep a roller bottle of apple cider vinegar and one of lemon in my pack for this very purpose.

Don’t let the bugs ruin your fun, just be prepared.


Easy Macro Giveaway


If you follow me on Social Media you likely already know of my love for the Easy Macro lens. It has been a fantastic way to get up close and examine the little details of nature and has opened up whole new worlds for our nature study.

For us, it basically acts as a portable microscope allowing us to meet nature right where it is instead of bringing it in to our bigger microscopes indoors, which is not always possible. And as a bonus, we can take photos and record video with it to easily share with others and add to our online nature journals. Perfect!



One frustration I have with phone photography is that my phone has a hard time focusing up close so I could only take shots from a distance. Easy Macro has solved that and taken phoneography to the next level.

macro collage 3

The photo on the left is as close as I could get in focus without the Easy Macro and on the right, with the Easy Macro. Very cool!

As a huge bonus, it is super easy to use and does not require me to remove my phone case. It is simply a band with a little lens. So simple! I love simple!

The amazingly nice folks over at Easy Macro have given me three lenses to giveaway! How cool is that?

You could have your very own Easy Macro in no time, or if you already have one you could have a backup one for your nature bag.

Use the Rafflecopter below to enter.

Winners will be selected Tuesday, April 26!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Release Day!

whatever the weather cover

Today is the day!

Whatever the Weather is officially in the wild to be spotted in bookstores, nature centers, and other places where nature inspired books linger while waiting to be picked up and inspected by a family who loves the outdoors (or hopes to soon)!

Thank you to all of you who pre-ordered. It should be landing in your mailbox soon, if it has not arrived already (there have been some early reports of book sightings in mailboxes around the country)!

We appreciate all of your support and enthusiasm for the book. Your encouragement has been wonderful!

In all hopes that this little book inspires big time outdoor adventures!

Dawn & Annie


It is April 1st and that means Nature Prompts!

I have made of Five Fun Prompts for April  Nature Explorations.

These are super prompts for engaging kids, and their adults, in nature and are a great jumping off point for further explorations.

Click right here to sign up and download the prompts.

As always, if you have any questions or want to share your nature experience you can get in touch with me in the Mud Puddles to Meteors Facebook Group or email me at

Happy Exploring!



P.S. The Mud Puddles Monthly Newsletter will be going out tomorrow morning bright and early. Sign up right here if you want it to land in your inbox (you will also receive a great PDF with 21 Ways to Get Your Kids Unplugged and Engaged with Nature. 


Free April Desktop Calendar

4 April 2016 Sunday Start

Spring is in full swing and here we find ourselves flipping the calendar page to April tomorrow!

To help you keep your days straight and have a bit of nature on your desktop I made up a pretty desktop calendar for you.

You can download the Sunday start version here.

The Monday start version can be found here.

Simply download and right click on the preview, then select “use image as desktop picture.”

Enjoy this little glimpse of nature on your desktop.

Happy April!



George Santayana - spring quote

“To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.”

~ George Santayana

With all hopes that you will find interest in the changing of the season.

~ Dawn


Nature Around the Net

Frost at sunrise-1

Tomorrow is the Equinox!

It is a pretty exciting time to observe the shift in the seasons. Many of you are already seeing signs of the seasonal changes ahead.

Below are a few links to provide some resources and inspiration.

– Why 2016 Will Have the Earliest Spring Equinox Since 1896

– Monarch Butterflies Get Tiny Radio Trackers – Anyone planning on raising Monarchs this summer?

– Guides for Gail Gibbons Books! Do you love Gail Gibbons as much as we do?

– Season to Season: Earth’s Equinoxes and Solstices 

– Spring means pond explorations. Check out the Pond Life Pinterest Board for fun projects and resources.


I did a Periscope on 7 ways we make nature study a part of everyday life. You can check it out here.

Let me know if you have any questions.


If you have any nature related links to share please do so in the comments or over in the Mud Puddles to Meteors Facebook group.

Happy Exploring!

~ Dawn





Nature Around the Net

Freezing rain 1-1

Whew!  That was a bit of a busy week and we had a snow day yesterday for an early kick off to the weekend and spring break.

Freezing rain followed by snow does not make for the best conditions for getting to school but it is really fun for exploring the effects of weather on the winter world.

We found some links you might like. Hope they inspire you to get out and explore this weekend.

Watch a Sea Otter Give Birth! (replay from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Periscope, the birth is about 18 minutes into the replay)

Goal: Happy Adventure Kids

Nature Play Poster!

All About Freezing Rain

What Causes Death Valley’s Sailing Stones to Move?

And, some Mud Puddles posts you may have missed:

Five Fun Prompts for March Nature Explorations

Longitudinal Study: Melting Icicles

Whatever the Weather: Ask Your Librarian (Please & Thank you!)

If you have any nature related links to share please do so in the comments or over in the Mud Puddles to Meteors Facebook group.

Happy Exploring!

~ Dawn