Gratitude for Nature & You

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you who are celebrating today.

I have been practicing gratitude quite regularly over this past year. Those of you who follow along on social media have seen many of my gratitude posts. I thought today was a perfect day to share some gratitude here on the blog. There are so many things for which to be thankful for in this journey and the fact the we even have time at all to devote to the study of nature certainly does not escape me. We purposefully lead a slower life to make that happen, but we also are fortunate enough to have a choice in that matter, unlike so many around the world.

So, today I am grateful for many, many things but wanted to acknowledge the opportunity to slow down, make observations, and forge deep connections to our natural world for myself and my family. It is truly a gift not to be taken for granted.

IMG_6674-1 IMG_6688-1 IMG_6694-1 IMG_6706-1 IMG_6679-1 IMG_6755-1 IMG_6711-1 IMG_6756-1 IMG_6759-1 IMG_6685-1 IMG_6779-1 IMG_6766-1 IMG_6834-1

Along with my personal gratitude for nature itself, Annie and I are both very grateful for the community of families who have come together to support us in this endeavour to share nature study and a love of the natural world.

Thank you!



Nature Around the Net

I am popping in today to share a bit of our Nova Scotia nature and a few links.


Aster gone to seed

IMG_6135-1false lily-of-the-valley berries

(also called Canada mayflower and wild lily-of-the-valley)


stag horn sumac seeds

There are some wonderful things out there around the net that serve as great inspiration to get out and explore!

A spider named Gollum?

Not ready for winter? This might help.

Look up to check out the Pleiades this month!

And learn about Pleiades mythology here.

Place Based Mapmaking. This is wonderful!

50 Strange Natural Wonders of the World. Wow!

Have you found any inspiring nature around the net this week? If you want to share a link, or just tell us about a nature find you can sharing the comments, tag us at #mudtometeors or share on the Mud Puddles to Meteors Facebook group. (If you are not a member request to join and we will add you ASAP!)

Happy Exploring,




Fall Outside 2015

Fall Outside 2015

Join me for 30 days as we Fall Outside!

As we turn the calendar page to November we find ourselves in a cool, busy month. It is right in the middle of the transition to winter, and the month we often begin to get pulled into the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. There is no better time to slow down, resist the temptations to take on one more thing, and take a moment to connect with nature. It will help your family feel happier, get healthier, and connect with each other.

To learn more check out the Fall Outside 2015 page here.

Or if you are all in for daily emails of inspiration and motivation to get outdoors sign up right here!

I am looking forward to sharing bits of fall inspiration with you!

~ Dawn



Nature Around the Net: A few fall links

Fall is in full swing here in Nova Scotia and we have had a few frosty mornings to dress those colorful leaves in icy sparkles. As the temps dip (quickly) it can be hard to adjust to the cooler weather but we try to maintain our schedule of getting out daily. If we don’t continue to get out there our bodies don’t adjust and it just gets harder and harder to get out the door as the weather switches over to full blown winter.

We are trying out best to soak up fall before that happens!

Fall rail trail 2-1

fall puddle-1

Creek Leaves 1-1leaf litter-1

Frosty grass-1

Frosted Aster -1Frosty morning 1-1Frost red Maple -1

One of the most important things we do this time of year to help us be comfortable outdoors is layer! Amelia has a great post about layering kids with lots of links to resources for those interested (it is an older post so some of the sales don’t apply but the information is great)!

If you are all layered up and looking for some fun motivation to get out Monique has four great explorations for fall in this post.

Whether you are out on the trail or just coming in from the cold something yummy to eat is always welcome. Imagine Childhood has a round up of treats and sweets that will hit the spot this fall!

We have heard from many of you on Facebook and Instagram about snow, cooler temps (at least down to the 80’s!), and lots of fall color.

If you want to share a link, or just tell us about your fall weather you can tag us at #mudtometeors or share on the Mud Puddles to Meteors Facebook group. If you are not a member request to join and we will add you ASAP!

There is good reason fall is a favorite time of year for so many. There is no doubt about the beauty all around.

~ Dawn



I find it enough to follow the seasons. - Henry David Thoreau

Over the weekend a cool storm blew fall right through our open windows here in Nova Scotia.

We have been seeing all of the signs but the air has held a warmth and humidity that still calls to mind summer days, even while they get shorter and shorter. With a seasonal shift in other parts of life there has been a bittersweet end to our beloved summer, which seems to have officially come to an end despite what the calendar says (a few more days until the equinox).

Alas, there is no point in resisting the seasons. They come and it really is best to simply accept and follow along.

While the season of blogging has not come to an end for Annie and I, it has taken a bit of a vacation while lots of little life details get ironed out and new routines are set in place.

I am still sharing lots of nature over on Instagram and on the Mud Puddles to Meteors Facebook Group. If you are not a member head on over there and I will add you ASAP.

Happy Fall!




Nature in Your Neighborhood

Nature In Your Neighborhood is a feature that focuses on the nature that we all interact with in our everyday lives. Through the window of these posts you can catch glimpses of nature in action in locations across the country (and sometimes beyond). Send us an email at kidsandnature (at) gmail (dot) com if you are interested in sharing your neighborhood nature here!


We have noticed the fall flowers blooming, a few leaves changing, and the nights have finally cooled; the transition to fall is slowly beginning here in Nova Scotia.

aster busy-1

Asters busy with bug traffic

canada thistle-1

Canada thistle along the trail

common evening primrose 1-1

Common evening primrose

jewelweed roadside-1


Jewilweed seeds-1

Jewelweed is also called touch-me-not.

When you touch the seedpods they pop, shooting the seeds out, then curl up in a fun little bundle.

You can learn more about jewelweed in our “What’s That?” Wednesday: Jewelweed post.

bumble bee jewelweed-1

The bumblebees were busy working this roadside patch of jewelweed.

fly over trail-1

It was very interesting to see this fly hover overhead as we walked down the trail.

Queen anne spider hiding-1

The Queen Anne’s Lace sees lots of insect visitors, and this spider is perfectly positioned to greet them. Do you see it?

Queen Anne transition-1 Queen Annes seeds 2-1

It was neat to see the Queen Anne’s Lace as it transitions into a seed head. The seeds are surprisingly spiky.

queen anne purple seeds-1

These purple ones were particularly beautiful.


The young maples are usually the first to change but this serviceberry leaf was putting on a show (the only one on the whole tree to start changing).

If you would like to share what is happening in your neighborhood you can leave a link to a post in the comments here, or pop on over to the Mud Puddles to Meteors Facebook group and share a little bit of your world.

Not a member of the FB group yet? No worries. Just request to join and I will add you ASAP!

~ Dawn

P.S. Everyday Nature for Families e-course starts Sept. 14th and you can bring a friend for free until the 7th! Learn more here.


Nature Around the Net

Sea star-1

While the return to school often marks the end of summer the calendar tells us otherwise. We still technically have a month of summer left and we are taking full advantage of the warm days still filled with life!

Here are a few links to inspire you to get out (and do some nature art), even for just a short time after the school day ends!

Get out to watch the supermoon!

– Make Chlorophyll Collage Prints.

– Create Gelatin Prints!

– Press some summer leaves before they change and Make Leaf Rubbing Plates.

Project Noah is filled with inspiration to get out there and see what interesting things you might find!

Have you found anything on the net you would like to share? Leave a link in the comments or head over to the Mud Puddles FB group to share. (If you are not a member request to join and we will add you ASAP!)

Happy Exploring,


P.S. My Everyday Nature for Families E-workshop starts Sept. 14th. Learn more about it here!


“Whatever the Weather” News

whatever the weather cover

There are times in the process of writing a book when things get a bit surreal: when the manuscript is finally finished and on the way to your editor, when those first proofs come in and you get to see the how the book is taking shape, and when you see your book listed for pre-order on the websites of all the major booksellers!

Yes, that’s right! “Whatever the Weather” is available for pre-order!

You can find it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Chapters. Oh, my!

We are very excited to get this book into your hands come springtime.

Thank you all for your wonderful support!

~ Dawn & Annie


On the Shelf: 20 Ways to Draw a Tree

There has been a lot of discussion of nature journaling in the Facebook group lately, and as someone who doesn’t consider herself an amazing natural artist, I have to admit that I sometimes feel little twinges of intimidation when I see the beautiful drawings some folks are doing in their journals. If you are likewise a bit timid when it comes to putting pencil to paper and sketching nature finds and the like, you might want to check out 20 Ways to Draw a Tree by Eloise Renouf.

20 Ways to Draw a Tree is essentially a collection of sketches of different natural objects, organized according to category. There is a page for birds, for mushrooms, for feathers, for flowers… you get the idea. Each spread shows a variety of ways that a person might go about drawing a pictures of a given item, and makes a lovely point of showing that there is really no right way to draw anything. You can make your drawings as accurate as possible if you like. But you can also, if such ability seems lacking for you, draw quirky, unusual, and imperfect versions of the things that you see and that works just fine too.

Though I wouldn’t exactly label myself a reluctant artist, I certainly lack a certain confidence when it comes to even the most casual of sketches. 20 Ways to Draw a Tree is an excellent reminder that nature makes a very forgiving subject, and that when it comes down to it, you can enjoy sketching a snail just for snail’s sake. It really doesn’t have to be any more complicated than you make it.

Oh, and this book is part of a great series that you can use to try drawing all sorts of things from jellyfish to mustaches. Yes.

— Annie


Project: Pressed Seaweed

The other day at the beach we found some beautiful bits of seaweed floating in the water. We decided to collect some for pressing and started the process right there on shore. Seaweed has been pressed for both scientific study and artful display since the 17th century and reached a high in popularity during the Victorian era. So, this activity not only has the potential to bring some beauty to your home, it can also be a way to delve into history!

Considering some pressed specimens are over 100 years old, they are a wonderful resource for scientists, and they have used old specimens of pressed seaweed to examine DNA and study how marine environments have changed over time. For our purposes, we simply wanted to make some nature art, and take a closer look at the amazing specimens we found.

What you need:

– seaweed specimens (if a trip to the shore is not in the works, simply purchase dried seaweed at the store and soak it before pressing)

– a shallow tray filled with about an inch or so of water (a cookie sheet works great).

– heavy paper (watercolor paper holds up well)

– cheesecloth, muslin or wax paper to cover the pages

– newsprint or other “blotting” paper for soaking up water and dividing specimens

– corrugated cardboard

– a press or weights to put pressure on the specimens


What to do:

Gather your specimens and clean them making sure they are free of other creatures, sand, etc… If you are going to bring the specimens home to press later place them in a container with sea water. Press them as soon as possible, but if you need to wait a day or so the best advice is to keep them in their container of seawater and place them in the refrigerator.

0 seaweed 2-1

Place your paper in the tray of water.

Add your seaweed specimens, arranging them so they are fanned out for display. Some of the more delicate specimens will cling together. You can use your fingers, or a paintbrush to gently tease them out.

0 Seaweed 5-1

0 seaweed 5a-1

Gently lift the paper up out of the water at an angle to let the water drain off without disturbing the seaweed too much.

0 seaweed 5b-1

After removing it from the water you can gently push the seaweed into position (depending on the type of seaweed). Some seaweeds are easier to move around than others.

When working with many different specimens the water can get filled with debris, especially when working alongside little eager fingers that may not be as particular about cleaning specimens. If this happens simply change out the water before moving on to the next specimen (or leave it as part of the process and the fun)!

0 seaweed 6-1

notice all of the debris from other specimens

When working with more delicate specimens and if you simply want to examine them, you can just set them out to dry at this stage. They will naturally stick to the paper!

We even did some of these right at the beach with a bug box filled with sea water and pages we had ripped out of our nature journal. Then laid them out on rocks to dry. They were not super clean, but they turned out really fun and it was a great way to examine them while at the beach! 

Pressed seaweed 2-1 Pressed seaweed 3-1

If you would like to actually press your specimens, go on to the next steps.

Cover your specimens with the cheesecloth or nylon so the seaweed does not stick to the blotting papers.

0 seaweed 10-1

Place the specimen sheet on blotting paper and cover that with more paper, followed by cardboard, and your next specimens to make a seaweed sandwich.

Using your press or heavy weights, press them for a few days, checking on the thicker, wetter ones to change out damp papers to prevent mold.

We also read the recommendation to place the seaweed sandwich in front of a fan to increase air flower and speed up drying time, but this is not required.

We are in the pressing phase right now. I will keep you posted about how they come out!


What should you do with them once they are pressed? 

I made up Pressed Seaweed Labels in small and large sizes to help you catalog and share more information about your specimen. (The larger ones might be easier for some writers to fill out and can be placed on the back of a specimen.)

After they are pressed they can be displayed in frames, or make cards or other crafts.

These pressed pieces would also be fantastic to use for plant scanned gift wrap!

I also made a Pressed Seaweed Pinterest board for inspiration and ideas.


More Resources:

What is seaweed?  is a great resource to learn more about seaweed.

Preserving the Forest of the Sea has a wonderful video about how pressed seaweed is helping scientist learn more about our changing world. (It shows lots of beautiful specimens for inspiration!)

The Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections has a very detailed PDF about preservation of seaweed!

If you REALLY want to get serious, the cryptogamic botany company has a wonderful Guide to Pressing Seaweed which can be purchased or viewed online here.


Be sure to let us know if you try it!

You can share a link to your blog here in the comments or share on our Mud Puddles to Meteors Facebook Group! (Not a member of the group? No problem! Just request to join and we will add you ASAP!)

Happy Pressing!

~ Dawn