Friday, May 24, 2013
Welcome to week 1 of the Summer Camp Series! The girls have officially begun their summer break and while I am so excited to slow down a little, I am also a little nervous about what we are going to do all day everyday. So here is our schedule for the first week. Each day has a camp theme because I have watched the original Parent Trap with Haley Mills one too many times in my life. Honestly I am just using the schedule as a loose guide for what to do. Some weeks I am sure we will stick tightly to the schedule other weeks we might do all five days in one. Hopefully you all will join us on our adventure and share your own summer camp projects and tales.
Monday: Rec Hall
Shaving cream is one of those favorites at our house. A favorite of me because it cleans up pretty easily and a favorite of the girls because it is foamy and fun to play with. Add some cars to your shaving cream and you have yourself a Shaving Cream Car Wash.
Older kids who might not be interested in shaving cream play might still like to play with shaving cream and try their hand at shaving cream marbling.
Tuesday: Back at the Bunks
Summer time around here means lots and lots of afternoon thunderstorms. They usually don't last very long but have a bad habit of ruining our outdoor afternoon plans. Our Tape Car Track is a quick and easy rainy afternoon activity that keeps everyone happy and busy.
Wednesday: Mess Hall
This week the heat has kicked in and we have spent a few afternoons outside running in the sprinkler and playing in the water. To spice up our water play a little we made Ice Cube Sailboats, which were fun to play with even long after they had melted.
Thursday: Arts and Crafts
Another favorite at our house, Car Painting is the perfect mix of art and play. If you have older kids or are feeling a little adventourous Scooter Painting is another way to go. We used paint in our scooter painting but someone once told me that they scooter paint just using water to make tracks and lines.
Friday: Outward Bound
There is that old saying that "Getting there is half the fun" which is very true when you are kid. Sometimes we Take a Ride on the Light Rail (the train system in our city) just to ride. We might get off at one of the stops along the way to eat lunch, or walk around but really the train ride is the best part. This summer I am hoping to expand our public transit rides for fun and take a ride on the Water Taxi.
Posted by Katie at 1:23 PM
Thursday, May 23, 2013
Our first week of Summer vacation has been filled with lots of hot summer like days. The girls have spent much of the time playing in the yard with the hose and sprinkler. To add a little something fun to all their water play we made ice cube sailboats. This is by no means a long term project. In fact in the hot afternoon heat the sailboats only stuck around for about 10 minutes but it was a good diversion when the girls started bickering. Not to mention the colored water left behind, which the girls loved playing with long after the sail boats were gone.
The idea for the Sailboats came from a blog called El Hada De Papel, it is one of my favorite blogs, filled with tons of ideas of beautiful things to make with kids. I used some old baby food trays but you could use any ice cube trays. We then filled the trays with water and added a few drops food coloring to each tray. Fortunately El Hada De Papel showed this awesome trick, using clothes pins to hold the toothpicks in the ice cube trays, which made making these little boats very easy. After the ice cube trays were ready we stuck them in the freezer. When we were ready to sail our sailboats I took them out of the freezer and the Bee helped me wrap a thin post-it paper around each toothpick. The toothpicks made it easier to take the boats out of the tray and we set them to sail in a large plastic container of water.
We made a few trays so played with a few boats each day. Both girls enjoyed playing with the boats but the Bean really loved making them sail, playing until the last boat finally melted. Both girls loved the color left behind by the melting boats and playing with the colored water. They were so easy to make ahead of time and perfect to pull out when we needed a little something else to do, I can see us making them again this summer.
Posted by Katie at 2:44 PM
Monday, May 20, 2013
I love Spring time and much to my surprise the Spring temperatures have been pretty lovely around here for the last few weeks. It took a while to warm up this Spring, which here in Baltimore usually means it goes right to summer. However, this year, the temperatures in the mid 70's have meant lots and lots of playing outside around here. We have also taken to doing lots of art making outside lately, which always makes the clean-up a bit easier so I won't complain. Last week did a type of painting I totally remember doing as a kid and loving.
I put out some large watercolor paper, some liquid watercolor paints (although you could even use food coloring and water too), some pipettes (you could also use a brush or squirt bottle) and some plastic drinking straws. The girls then used the pipettes to suck out some of the paint and squirted it right onto the paper. The watercolor made lovely puddles of paint on the paper. They then took a straw, or in the Bee's case 3 straws, and blew through the straw right into the puddle of paint. The air through the straw caused the paint to spread and splatter, creating beautiful patterns and shapes beyond their control.
As always I loved how differently the Bee and Bean approached the project. The Bean went for a less is more approach. She only used a few colors, put all her paint into one large puddle on her paper, blew the paint around a little and then moved on to playing in the yard. The Bee took a more is more approach, using three straws, three pipettes to cover almost every inch of her large paper in paint. She spent a very long time working on her painting and even came back to it a little later. Once they were all done we let painting dry outside, within a few hours they were all dry and ready to go.
Posted by Katie at 1:57 PM
Thursday, May 9, 2013
I usually write about kid related stuff here but today in honor of all you mama's out there, I am sharing one of my all time favorite recipes for Mom's only (maybe a few spouses if you are feeling like sharing.) A few years ago my friend Debbie told me all about the awesomeness of cold brewed coffee. At the time I was swamped with work and kids and too overwhelmed to even give it a try. Finally the school year ended, summer came and I had the time to give it a try. It was so unbelievably good, I turned right around and told everyone I knew about the awesomeness of cold brewed coffee. While I am generally a fan of any coffee and really any iced coffee, this iced coffee is different. It is smooth, rich and creamy, even if you don't add anything to it. Not only that but it is really easy to make.
- Mix 1 1/3 cups of ground coffee (any kind) to 4 cups of water and let sit for 12-24 hours.
- Drain coffee grinds and pour remaining coffee into a pitcher to store in the fridge for up to a week.
I usually mix my ground coffee and water into a pitcher, and let them sit for 12-24 hours in the fridge or on the counter. I then drain the grinds with a mesh strainer but any small strainer would work. I then pour the coffee back into the pitcher and keep it in the fridge. I have read that the coffee is good in the fridge for up to a week but it has never made it that long in my house. In the hot summer months we usually make a pitcher every other day.
So to all the Mom's I wish you the happiest of Mother's days and hope that you enjoy a few minutes to sit and sip!
Posted by Katie at 2:26 PM
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Unbelievably the girls only have 2 more weeks of preschool left! That means that in two weeks we will officially be on summer vacations. I have mixed feeling about this. When I was teacher I used to look forward every year to summer break only to find that I would spend the first few weeks sort of lost. Without my normal schedule and I was mostly overwhelmed with the freedom to do whatever. After a few weeks I would usually fall into the rhythm of summer and all would be well again. Once I had the girls, I found the transition to summer even harder. With the girls, the glorious days of late sunsets started to feel really long. Without our normal school year routine I started to find the days really hard to fill. After a few weeks of floundering I would usually realize that we needed a plan, a schedule, something to keep us all on track. The kids needed to wake up in the morning and have some idea of what the day was going to look like. I needed something to fall back on when everyone got grumpy, myself included. So I created a loose weekly schedule giving each day a theme. I wanted the schedule to be enough to give us some direction without over planning our summer and not leaving room for spontaneous summer fun. So the last few weeks I have been updating our schedule a little and thought that I would share it here. Starting in just a few weeks I am hoping to share a weekly post with a schedule for the upcoming week. Each week will include activities (some new, some we have done on here before) that are really just a suggestion, a starting point, somewhere to go to when you need a plan. I will write each activity as open ended as possible so that it can be applied or altered slightly to fit lots of families and kids of all ages. As always, this newest series will be a work in progress and I would love any help, ideas or suggestions! What is your favorite summer activity? What was your favorite thing to do in the summer when you were a kid?
Friday, April 12, 2013
Spring in Baltimore is a finicky thing! This week we have had temperature in the low to mid 90's, two weeks ago we had snow. You just never know. So every Spring we take multiple trips to Sherwood Gardens waiting for the peak tulip days. Some years this happens early in April other years it is closer to the start of May. Yesterday we went over to visit the gardens and found that most of the beds haven't bloomed yet, but many are getting close and a few are out in full force. Sherwood Gardens is located in North Baltimore in the Guilford neighborhood. The six acre gardens are free and open to anyone and are the prefect spot for walking, climbing, picnincing or just enjoying the spring weather. The girls love to go check out the flowers (despite my constant reminders not to pick them), they have a few favorite trees there perfect for climbing, there is plenty of space for running and lots of benches to sit on. We almost always bring a blanket and a snack. I am guessing another week or so before the tulips are in full bloom (although I am no expert) and then in the end of May the tulip bulbs will be dug out and sold to anyone interested in having tulips in their own garden next Spring!
Posted by Katie at 2:41 PM
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
I had read about Sumingashi, Japanese marbling, a few times but over the winter I had a chance to try it at the Mesh Baltimore Skill Share. Ever since I tried it I have been meaning to get a Sumingashi kit to try with the girls. I finally got one a few weeks ago from amazon for about $12. The kit contained 6 tubes of ink and a page of small perforated paper discs along with some instructions.
I found a large plastic tub and filled it with 2-3 inches of water. I also cut some larger newsprint paper down to a size that would easily fit in the tub. The girls then popped out one of the paper discs and floated it in the water, the disc sank just below the surface and moved around the tub. Next they selected a color and squeezed out just 1-2 drops of the ink aiming for the small paper disc as the instructions said. The Bee was pretty good at hitting the disc but the Bean's aim wasn't as good, so I was happy to find that hitting the disc didn't really seem to make to much of a difference. After the ink hit the surface of the water it begin to expand out in large rings. We then did another color and another creating a beautiful pattern. After we had added a few colors of ink we used the back of a long thin paint brush just to slowly go across the water and swirl the ink a little. Finally the girls took turn placing a piece of paper onto the surface of the water, letting it soak up the ink before carefully taking it out and setting it aside to dry. The papers quickly soaked up the ink leaving a beautiful marbled pattern. I was a little worried that the new print might be too thing but it worked perfectly.
After making our first piece we went on to make about twenty more, its kind of addicting. The girls loved using the inks and trying out the different colors. We all loved seeing what patterns would emerge. After making a bunch of papers we stopped for the day but still have most of the ink left so we will definitely have to make more soon. Anyone have any ideas what we could use our marbled papers for?
Posted by Katie at 1:38 PM
Thursday, April 4, 2013
Spring is starting to arrive finally!!! We have been spending a lot more time playing out back which has meant a lot of time in the mud. The girls have been finding any standing water or when the can't find any asking me to fill up the watering can. Then filling all containers with with dirt and water. Mixing, pouring, stirring and transferring again and again. They could and have been spending a long time out there playing with the mud. They make mud pies, mud soup, have pretend cooking shows and use the bicycle to make mud milkshakes (if you are a visitor of the Waverly Farmers Market you know what I mean.) They are of course filthy by the time they come in so we have also seen an increase in laundry, but it's for a good cause. I think making mud pies is one of those rites of childhood things, I can so clearly remember doing the same thing when I was a kid and loving it.
Monday, April 1, 2013
A few weeks ago I received a package in the mail and was kind of surprised when I opened it to find Styrofoam packing peanuts. We get a lot of stuff through the mail and rarely do they use packing peanuts any more. The girls however were delighted to see the packing peanuts. Before they became a crushed mess all over the floor, we decided to use them to make sculptures. I grabbed a piece paper for each of the girls to use as a base for their sculpture. I then went to get some glue and saw our colored glue, leftover from our glue painting, which I thought might be fun for this project too. I then turned the packing peanuts and glue over to the girls. The Bee was mostly interested in building up, the Bean just liked gluing then putting the packing peanuts into the glue. Both of them had a great time playing around and the colorful glue was a great addition to the plain white packing peanuts.
Posted by Katie at 2:36 PM
Thursday, March 28, 2013
Over the girls spring break we took a field trip to the Baltimore Museum of Industry. While they had never actually been there before the girls were very excited about the trip because the Baltimore Museum of Industry is where my husband and I got married. The girls love looking at our old wedding photos, seeing us much, much younger, in beautiful clothes. The Bee has asked me a thousand questions about our wedding and were we got married so going to the Museum of Industry to see it first hand was pretty exciting. All the wedding stuff aside, I was curious to go to the museum with the kids and see what they would they would think of it.
The Baltimore Museum of Industry is located right on Key Highway just the Visionary Art Museum from the Harbor. It is open Tuesday-Friday from 10am-4pm and they often have special events and programs for families, to find out check the website. The museum is free to kids under 6 and the admission for adults is $12, kids over 6 are $7. When we first walked in I have to admit I got a little nervous, there is a lot of cool stuff to look at and a lot of cool stuff you don't want your little kids to touch. I was pleasantly surprised that the girls seemed to get that and were pretty happy to wander and look. A lot of the history and facts went right over their heads, although would probably be interesting to kids a little older, but they liked looking at all the old machines, tools, printing presses and other cool stuff. We quickly discovered that every room had a small green trunk just for the littlest visitors filled with kids books, puzzles, pictures and other stuff related to the exhibit in the room. The girls loved these trunks and began scanning every room we entered to find the trunk. We spent a good 30-40 minutes just wandering through the museum checking stuff out and looking in the trunks. The girls loved the lotto machine and I was fascinated by the printing press room. After walking around through the inside of the museum we walked outside for an incredible view of the harbor. There is also a large pavilion with some picnic tables, so I am thinking next time we might go and bring lunch to eat outside. The girls had fun playing outside for a while, looking at the water, and running around the large sculpture on the grounds. When we it was time to go the Bee was sad to leave, always a good sign of a successful field trip. I am hoping we can go back this spring or summer to check out one of their family programs or maybe just have a picnic lunch by the water.
Posted by Katie at 1:55 PM