June 30, 2015
by sarah
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Eric Carle Museum Stamps

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I have always wanted to go to the Eric Carle Museum. The fact that it is an hour and a half away from us kept the day trip out of reach for me. Until last week! I thought that the first week of summer vacation was the perfect time. Camps haven’t started yet, I have energy, the kids are still friends with one another…

It was worth the trip. I recruited my mom to come, which made the drive more bearable. My littlest loved it because she is the perfect age for Eric Carle books and my big boy wasn’t totally over Eric Carle yet. I loved looking at his original collages, where you could see all the layers of paint and paper that he used to compose the butterfly or cricket.

The museum has very nice exhibits, a wonderful shop that has the best of the best children’s books, and it has a big art studio with authentic projects using good supplies.

The day we were there they were making stamps.

Eric Carle Museum Stamps

Supplies

  • Foam Insulation (1 inch thick or more)
  • Foam sticker sheets
  • ink pad
  • paper

Directions

  1. Cut the foam insulation into 3 inch x 3 inch squares.
  2. Cut the foam sticker sheets into the shape you want for your stamp.
  3. Peal off the back of the foam sticker.
  4. Adhere to the foam insulation block.
  5. Use as stamp with the ink pad. EC stamp4 EC stamp3 EC stamp2

Other posts about Eric Carle: Eric Carle Prep

 

 

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June 25, 2015
by jenny
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Visiting The Farm

Last week I did something I’ve always wanted to do. I visited my CSA farm. This has been on my summer bucket list for a few years.

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We have had farm shares from farms where the food was grown in the past so it was easy to see where the food was coming from, but our current farm share comes from a farm an hour and a half west of us and is delivered to a nearby drop off point each week. The farm often sends out invitations for shareholder days with music, picnics, help weeding and whatnot. They also invite shareholders to visit and help themselves (within a set limit) to a selection of pick-your-own choices depending on what is ripe. I’ve always wanted to check out the farm and I’m even more tempted when our favorites show up on the pick-your-own list. But no one else in my house is ever interested and we’ve never gone. I have two kids who are great on car rides, but have a tendency towards car sickness, and we’ve just never had a whole summer day (or spring or fall) that we want to spend in the car.

Until last week, when I did have a day. Sort of. I woke up on the first day of no spring sports and wanted to go and blew off a few things I probably should have been doing. My easily nauseous kids were already planning to go early morning fishing with my husband. My tween daughter agreed it would be an okay adventure for us to take the drive, especially because strawberries were ripe and included in the pick-your-own and she is a strawberry fan, and even more especially because her BFF was awake and interested in the last minute trip and they had some matchmaking game they had been playing and wanted to continue.

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The ride was nice. The weather and picking excellent. We ran into two people – much easier than the crowds at our local pick your own strawberries, not to mention the strawberries were organic and included in our farm share so seemed “free.” My companions were happy and amiable (I did listen to an audiobook with headphones on the drive while they did whatever they do in the backseat).

Most importantly, I took the time for myself and knocked that adventure off my personal bucket list and now I can say I know where our food comes from.

As a bonus, my middle came down with a case of the end of school transitions and took a mental health day from school and helped me make and can jam the next day (Happy Father’s Day, Papa!)

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Have you visited your CSA farm or gone strawberry picking yet this year?

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June 23, 2015
by jenny
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Unbored for Summer

Many schools have already let out for summer, but this marks our first week of summer vacation. We are starting off the summer strong with plans for the first few weeks, but then the calendar is purposely wide open (less orthodontist, dentist and well-visits) so we can evaluate if we want to add stuff in, plan to do nothing or play it by ear.

I do have the kind of kids who can sit at home all day reading books, playing LEGOs, messing up junk in their rooms or playing in the yard. I’m at home with them, but I often have my own projects around the house going on by myself or with another child that not everyone wants to be involved with. So my kids do also get bored and whine about having nothing to do. My kids know to not to say it too many times or they end of up with new chores or forced to do whatever I’m doing, but this year I’m excited to roll into the summer with two new boredom busting books.

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  • Unbored: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun was sent by a friend with similar minded children and parenting philosophy. It’s rather awesome, and as I told her I currently am the biggest fan in the house. It’s big and thick and lots of texts and less pictures, so upper elementary and middle school aged kids might find it more interesting to read but the content fits a range of ages, so once “in” I can see my soon to be 7 year old loving just browsing through second most. The book covers a giant range of activities – building fairy houses, converting a squirt gun to into a remote controlled squirt gun, rules for four square, lists of movies, phone app reviews, community service ideas, and on and on. Some stuff you’ll want to do, some stuff will inspire to do other stuff, but personally, I think it’s just fun to sit and look through the book as a boredom buster!DSC_0084
  • The second book, Try This!: 50 Fun Experiments for the Mad Scientist in You, is from the very popular (in my house and the school libraries) National Geographic Kids series. This book has science experiments. We just received it from the last Scholastic Book order of the year. The activities look super fun (to us) and easy with mostly stuff we already have around the house (took us a while to figure out, bute water beads are the same thing as Orbeez). Many of the experiments are things I’ve done before when I was a kid and it is fun to remember and will be fun to do again, like soaking an egg in vinegar to dissolve the shell. My middle came up with a system to get through pretty much all of the experiments that don’t require spending a lot of money on extra stuff, and also omitting one she thinks looks boring. One of my favorite parts of the experiments highlighted in the book (besides easy materials), is that the experiments can be completed as directed (my older and youngest are rule followers, who like doing and observing, but don’t at all appreciate the scientific process of learning through failure) and then variables can be changed and introduced and further experimentation can take place (for middle and me).

Do you have an answer to “I’m bored?”

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June 22, 2015
by jenny
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End of School

School in our town officially ends today.

Goodbye battle over packed lunches. Hello Richie’s slush.

Goodbye beautiful wonderful hour of the day between bus stops when my son and I played board games and knee hockey. Hello bickering children waking me up.

Goodbye “I don’t want to go to school” and hours of stories about what went on during the day when we weren’t together. Hello “Can we stay for 5 more minutes?” and sharing all of the adventures together.

Goodbye grocery shopping alone. Hello wishful thinking someone else will take on laundry and emptying the dishwasher as a regular summer chores.

Goodbye math games with a paper clip spinners. Hello long anticipated summer movies, road trips with new audiobooks and bumper boats.

Goodbye soccer fields and baseball diamonds and cell phone at my side. Hello lakes, pools, ponds and ocean and books and shivering wet kids just out of the water by my side.

Goodbye sitting at desks for long hours. Hello laying in the hammock with a book for long hours.

Goodbye bus stop. Hello hikes and trails and a dirty dog.

Goodbye lunch with friends and classmates in a cafeteria. Hello ice cream for lunch.

Goodbye “Go to sleep!” and “Time to get dressed.” Hello “You probably should go to sleep now, but we have nothing to do in the morning,” and “All you need is a bathing suit.”

Goodbye third and fifth grade and some utterly beloved teachers. Hello nervous adventures and middle school.

Goodbye first grade. Good riddance. Hello new beginnings.

Hello Grandma and Grandpa’s and Aunt Diane’s houses, thank you for always having us. Hello boredom. Hello bickering kids. Hello snow peas and tomatoes eaten off the vines. Hello nightly tick check and sand in the wash machine. Hello hello hello summer. I have missed you!

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June 19, 2015
by sarah
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Garden update June 17,2015

The veggie garden is so organized these days. Everything has started to grow and I am still enthusiastic about weeding; as a result my garden looks so neat with each plant in there place in clean rows. Soon it will be too hot, or buggy, or some other excuse to keep it so organized.

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And the peaches are SOOOO CUTE and FUZZY!!garden7.15e

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June 17, 2015
by sarah
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Water

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I never drink enough water. My lips are often chapped and hands cracked even past the winter months when everyone’s are. I find little time to go to the bathroom: either out in public when on the run (yuck!) or at home privacy is very limited with little kids. Subconsciously I have solved this problem by not drinking. I should be drinking more water.

As a mom of a sporty kids we have lots of various water bottles hanging around our house. I have found the hockey water bottle the most useful. First of all it is huge. I have started filling it up and bringing it along. And my skin is looking great!

P. S. The hockey water bottle is also great for watering house plants. The straw that makes it easier to drink with a helmet on is also helpful to focus the water into the soil of the plant.

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June 11, 2015
by jenny
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Microchip Registry

In honor of this week being Pet Appreciation Week:

When we adopted our dog from a local animal shelter a couple years ago we took on a number of start up costs. Adoption fee, food, crate, bed, toys, leash, collar, and vet appointments, vaccines and meds. Looking through the papers from the shelter, we debated adding on the yearly subscription fee to have our dogs microchip registered.

Shelter pets are automatically microchipped, while pets from breeders may opt for this. Microchipping means a tiny microchip about the size of a piece of rice is inserted under the pets skin. The microchip holds information (a number) that can be read by a special device (usually owned by veterinarians or animal control).

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The thing is, you have to register your information to be associated with your pet’s unique microchip. When we received our dog and her paperwork, we decided to skip $10-$20/year to have her chip registered and revisit it after the start up costs cooled down. I realize it’s not a huge investment for how much pets become a part of the family, but still…

Since we’ve had our dog I have found a few lost dogs, and I always revisit the microchip registry cost debate. This weekend I found this: foundanimals.org.  A non-profit agency helping lost pets find their way back to their owners where can register your pet’s microchip for free. Awesome! Problem solved (There are also lots of ways to donate,  and, not to take away from the company the shelter was with, registration fees are used to donate microchips for other shelter animals.)

But I was happy to discover foundanimals.org.

Another thing I discovered this weekend that I was happy about was Trader Joe’s Sweet Sriracha Uncured Bacon Jerky, which was very tasty (warning: it has a hot Sriracha kick to it!)

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June 9, 2015
by jenny
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Up close in the garden again

I really like bees. I actually love bees. Many years ago before kids, my husband was busy with activities of a wedding party, and I was left alone with no car. I spent the rainy day leading up to the evening wedding putzing around a motel room in bed alternating between reading, eating Pringles, gummy bears and granola bars, and watching 5-6 hours of a TV marathon of documentaries on bees. It was awesome and I have ever since been fascinated by bees and their society.

The landscaping in front of my house is a mishmash of what was here when we moved in and what we have put in little by little trying to pretty up what was here. It doesn’t have a clean look curb appeal and isn’t great for hanging Christmas lights, but it does a nice job when it comes to attracting bees, dragonflies and butterflies. Today I went out the front door to tell my kids something and got distracted watching the bees and thought I might take some pictures. I am patient enough, but am not a skilled photographer. I love the sport of trying to catch bees (and birds) with the camera before they move on or I scare them, and I love looking through the world through the camera to really focusing on just one thing in time and space. But, I’ve mentioned before with the clouds, my pictures never really come out how I intended or capture how cool the things look to me.

Today I tried to get some bees and knew they pictures wouldn’t turn out National Geographic quality, So I made up a new challenge to take some pictures of baby things in my yard. My middle kid saw me and liked the challenge and helped me search and move rocks.

We decided next time she would take the camera. I love to see what my kids find worth of taking pictures of when they take the camera around. I’m excited to let my middle try out the micro lens and see what she chooses to spend some time focusing on while closing out the rest of time and space.

Here was my late afternoon mediation:

That yellow bubble on the bee’s back leg is pollen he’s collected and stored to bring back to the hive.

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Bees’ view:

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Baby hydrangea:

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Baby spiria:

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Baby tomato:

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Baby ferns:

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Baby (and momma) aphids:

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Baby moth:

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Baby ants:

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June 1, 2015
by sarah
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Bratz to Beauties

I was at the right place at the right time the other day. As I was approaching the baseball diamond getting ready to watch my son play I saw a friend had about 50 dolls spread out on her picnic blanket. They had all be dropped off by a neighbor recently for her young daughter and she was taking inventory of them and matching up clothes. I noticed a couple of Bratz dolls. I quickly remembered seeing video about a women who rehabbed Bratz dolls. Check it out:

I asked my friend if I could try to rehab her hand me down dolls. She said sure, delighted to get rid of the footless, crazy makeup dolls.

Here is my attempt at transforming the dolls:

Bratz 1Bratz 3 Bratz 2 Bratz 4

HINTS:

I found 100% Acetone at Market Basket. Normal nail polish remover didn’t work to remove the dolls original paint. The fleece pullovers and cotton skirts I made. The fairy doll came with most of her dress. I added the purple tulle with lace under her existing dress to make it more appropriate.

 

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