Sandcastle Flags

10 09 2010

While in Florida, Seth requested a craft. We had minimal supplies on hand and after ascertaining that simply coloring was not going to cut it, I pulled up The Crafty Crow. Fortunately for me, the post that day just happened to be ocean themed. What are the odds? One project immediately stood out to Seth – sandcastle flags. The ones shown on The Crafty Crow are actually free printables from Joey’s Dream Garden. And while they’re cute, we didn’t have access to a printer. None the less, they were inspiring and Seth set to work with construction paper, colored pencils and straws. All items we were lucky enough to find in the beach house.

I’ll admit there was a bit of a meltdown when the wind kept blowing one of his flags a direction Seth did not, under ANY circumstances, want it to blow. Hence the reeds holding the one flag in place.

Phew! Crisis averted.

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Geocaching!

6 08 2010

Have you ever gone geocaching? Last weekend while camping at Lake Carlos State Park our little family gave it a try. Now we’re hooked.

Seriously hooked. Several Minnesota state parks such as Lake Carlos have GPS units you can check out for free. In addition to the  hundreds of thousands of geocaches hidden out there by individuals, the state parks have their own geocaches and other hunts you can participate in.

In this case the naturalist at Lake Carlos had set up a bird hunt geared at kids. Perfect for us newbies. It was a short walk to a pond where Seth would tell us which direction to go by watching the digital compass and count down how many feet remaining. When we were within a couple feet the kids would get down and seach for these sweet wooden birds. Four in total.

That of course, was Eleanor’s favorite part since she really didn’t get the GPS thing at all. Once we found what we were looking for, we reported back to the ranger station. There the kids got to pick out cute little handmade button pins as a reward. Eleanor chose a purple butterfly because it sparkled and matched her hat. Seth chose one with a bird to remind him of the experience. He was so proud he took it to school this week to tell his friends at circle time.





The Cycle is Complete

15 06 2010

I had a completely different post in mind for today but look who decided to join us!! Our mourning cloak butterfly! We waited almost 2 weeks for this beauty to show her wings. We weren’t lucky enough to see her actually emerge. It happened while we were at work/school. Instead, we came home to find her patiently waiting and allowing her wings to dry. Dinner around the jar involved more precise positioning of chairs to allow for optimal viewing this time. Then right in the middle of dinner she started shaking and just like that decided to test out those wings. So we got up and took her outside. By now she was sitting on the sand at the bottom of the jar so we took out the stick with the empty chrysalis still attached.

It was now our turn to wait patiently. The children observed her for a while and then became distracted by the neighbors.

When a few rain drops started to come down I panicked and Steve was able to coax her onto another branch and pull her out. Just as he was about to set the branch in a nearby bush she took off. Just like that, she was able to fly and we sat back in wonder.

Click here to see those wings up close. Just beautiful.





Saying Goodbye

14 03 2010

No, not to you. It’s been a great winter, but I think I’m finally ready to let it go. To say good bye to winter and hello to spring. You know what that means, right? That it wills start to snow again of course. March is the snowiest month in Minnesota after all.

But first, a little look back at winter. A recap of sorts.

When it first started to snow back in October, I made a list. A list of all the winter activities I wanted to do this year:

  • Sledding
  • Build a fort
  • Ice Skating
  • Cross Country Skiing
  • Build a snowman
  • Snowshoeing
  • Bake bread

I’m happy to report we made if through the list.  Some more than others – snowshoeing for instance. I think I went out 9 or 10 times! Some were questionable, such as the fort building. It was less than 2 feet high, but it’s width made up for it. The breads were only quick breads, but they count. Next year I want to get out cross country skiing more and also add something completely new to me. Maybe try my hand at something dangerous like down hill skiing or crazier still, snowboarding.

But for now, I’ll say good bye and welcome in the muddy brown season we call spring. Despite my resistance, the sunshine and warm temps wore me down today. I’m ready.





Thanksgiving Centerpiece

24 11 2009

I had some time alone with Seth on a sunny day and we spent a good chunk of it in the backyard. I wanted to get some of the kitchen garden cleaned out and while doing so, found a few hidden clumps of dried garlic chives.  I usually try to clip the flowers off so they don’t go to seed as these things spread something fierce. However, through laziness and the cover of the tarragon and tomato plants a few clumps escaped my attentions. Seth thought they needed a vase, so I obliged and pulled out one of my favorite vases made by Rebecca and let him go to town. He carefully selected and cut to size each stem.  Sometimes he got a little carried away cutting down the stems, but that was part of the learning process and I had no attachment at the time to those flowers. Now, however, I think it makes for the perfect Thanksgiving centerpiece.





Dandelions

19 05 2009

We’ve been inspired by Lisa’s (5 Orange Potatoes) dandelion posts earlier in the month.

We especially wanted to make the octopus stems but our stems were so tiny that it was a bit of a challenge for the little fingers. 

But that’s ok, simply picking flowers and pouring water back and forth is fun too.





Easter Synopsis

15 04 2009

Happy Easter everyone! We had a great weekend and I finally got around to culling through my pics to share with you. There was egg dyeing with a little crayon resist on Saturday. Eleanor was not at all patient with this process. She’d make one 1/2 inch crayon mark and announce “That’s eee ’nuff!”, insist on plopping the eggs in the dye herself and almost immediately yell “That’s eee ’nuff!” and want to remove them from the dye. Most of the eggs she did were extremely pale.  All of Seth’s eggs ended up some variant of green. Once he found out you could dip in more than one color though, things started to get more interesting.

Sunday morning started with the easter baskets I already told you about. Here’s Seth’s showing off his favorite item received (a packet of sunflower seeds) and Eleanor with the finger puppet I made (inspired from here) on her head. I do not know why she’s wearing it on her head. I turned around and there it was. She kept it there for a good 10 minutes. Maybe it was in protest because I made them a tad too small so they’re a bit hard to put on.

Then there was the egg hunt outdoors. I tried to get away from the plastic eggs, but I ran out of energy and it was the one thing Seth remembered from last year and was looking forward to. I ended up  doing a combo of plastic eggs and the real eggs we had dyed.

Seth was fast as lightning so hard to photograph and Eleanor spent a lot of time picking herself back up because she kept tripping when she saw an egg. She was that excited.

Finally we went for a hike to look for signs of spring. I’m hoping the hike becomes one of our easter traditions as it was probably my favorite part. I had snuck a copy of The Best Hikes of the Twin Cities by Kate Havelin into Steve’s easter basket so we picked a hike out of there and set off.

By the end of the day we were tired and happy. How was your Easter?