Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Duality of Chloe

Can't take credit for this...posted to Mike's FB, but it's just too funny.


That's my girl!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Flower Sun-catchers

Spring has sprung, for sure.  Although it's a bit cooler than last week, we had fun enjoying the sun today and picked some flowers.  Not only are flowers a pop of color for us to enjoy outside, but they are a GREAT opportunity for lots of learning: colors, smells, how they feel, fine motor practice when pulling them out of the ground! 

We gathered our flowers in our trusty bucket and after naptime, we made suncatchers (inspired by The Artful Parent).  I cut out a flower shape for the border and stuck it to some contact paper, and let LB stick the flowers to the paper.  She loves this sticky paper activity...I think it has inspired me to try some more "sticky paper" activities.  Here's some pics!

My favorite weeds flowers---we have patches of these all over the neighborhood now.  We also gathered the forsythia flowers that are starting to fall off of the bush in the front and a few other "pick-able" flowers from our yard.

Collecting flowers in our bucket

Sticking them onto the contact paper


Added another piece of contact paper to seal it and hung it up!
This came out so pretty---I'm thinking mother's day cards?  What other activities do you have for contact paper?

Roly-Poly Easter Eggs

A while back, I bought LB some plastic colored Easter Eggs to fill her egg carton in her play kitchen.  She has enjoyed playing with them---cooking, feeding them to Mousey and Kitty, rolling them around the floor, and filling them with dried pasta and shaking them.  Now that it's actually Easter time, I thought we would use them for some painting fun.

I actually had this idea while I was falling asleep one night (when my best ideas happen; they also seem to come after a glass of wine, hah).  You may remember in the post about the Launch Zone, we dipped marbles in paint and rolled them around to make a painting.  I thought we could try the same technique with the plastic eggs and Easter egg cut-outs.  (Later, I saw a similar activity at Creative Connections for Kids, in addition to a bunch of other awesome activities)

It was fun, although, I need to make note that our crafty activities are lasting very short amounts of time, as LB notices all of the fun things around her that she needs to do/see.  We were also outside on the deck, where I hope to do more of our projects as the weather continues to warm, so you know, there were bubbles, tiny porch chairs, trees, birds, etc.  But the whole things was super fast to do, and the eggs are really cute, check them out! 

Dipped the eggs in paint and let them roll around the box with the paper egg taped inside

Love the colors!  So spring-y!

Taking a break in her new seat

Two of the finished eggs

Just another cool thing to mention: this great, no-spill, 3 wand bubble container was at WalMart for only $5!  Perfect for your indpendent bubble blower!!!! 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Boating Baby

Today started out cloudy, but the sun came through in the afternoon, leaving us with a breezy, bright, but not-too-hot afternoon.  Perfect for trying out Chloe's new life jacket in the canoe! 

We were a little unsure of how she'd react to being in the water, or wearing the life jacket, for that matter, but she did great!  Once we got the life jacket on, she hardly noticed it, and she was very excited to get into the boat.  Chloe loved riding along in the water, and even was brave enough to walk over to Mike and help him paddle.  We had a great time!

If there's something you and your sig. other enjoyed before your bear, I encourage you to get out there and try it again!  You never know who may enjoy it more!

Those Sneaky Leprechauns!

On Friday afternoon, we had a visit from our little green friends, the "Lepraus" as we call them.  They left little green coins all over the kitchen floor and some fun pictures for painting!  Take a look:

The coin surprise, complete with a coin container (just an empty puff container with a slit in the top, decorated with St. Patty's Day stickers)

Collecting coins

Paintin' with the green!
And to celebrate yesterday, we made these cupcakes from our friends at A Little Nosh.  They're green...can you guess why?  It's not food coloring!

Yay for spinach!

Ratcliffe Park: A Sandbox!

It has been noted before: we love a good playground!  With all of the beautiful weather we've been having, we have been testing and re-testing many in our area.  Last week, our playgroup met at Ratcliffe Park in Fairfax City.  It was a nice change of pace, because, along with a "big kid" playground and TWO "little kid" playgrounds, there was a very nice, clean sandbox!  We had a great time and will certainly visit again!

Trying out the equipment!

The mini-kid playground

Sandboxing with her playgroup buddies

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Watercolor Shamrocks

Around Valentines Day, I saw a lot of ideas for using coffee filters and watercolor to make pretty heart-shaped suncatchers, like these from The Artful Parent.  We didn't have a chance to make the V-day ones, but here's our go at some St. Patty's Day suncatchers!

Watered down some green paint to make "watercolor."  Why is it always so fun to dip paint brushes in a cup?  And DO NOT attempt to hold the cup for your toddler.  Help from mom not necessary, apparently. (wink)

We dripped and painted the watery green onto coffee filters.  It was very cool to watch the paint spread!

I cut the filters into shamrocks and LB helped me tape them onto the window.  Easy!

Play at The Playseum

Ever since I heard about the new Playseum opening on Capitol Hill, I have been excited to try it out.    Yesterday's weather report was looking perfect for a DC day, with temperatures in the 80s (whoa, March) so we drove Mike to work and met our friends Katy and Teddy for some fun.

The website describes the Playseum as a collection of "city shops."  There are about 11 mini-sized themed rooms, including a China town, craft room, pizza shop, sweet shop, and more.  This place gives kids an amazing setting for unstructured playtime.  I especially loved how many of the rooms had a "DC" theme; murals of the Jefferson Memorial, cherry blossoms, a metro map, etc.  For toddlers, it is a great opportunity for lots of new vocabulary too...some of our favorites were "wok" in China town, "kayak", and "guitar."   Chloe's favorite room by far was the Dominos pizza shop!  There was one flat rate to get into the museum, but there were a few things that you could pay just a couple dollars extra for: making a milkshake, lip gloss, painting a tile.  So fun!

I think the best way to describe each part of the museum is through pictures, so here you go!

The first thing we saw: sandbox!

A "pet shop" complete with bunnies, a turtle, lizard, and birds

Making soup in the China Town kitchen

Craft time

Teddy and Chloe do a little grocery shopping.  The food looked so real, they had to taste it.  Yum...

Chloe loved this room, "Grandparents Room."  There was a tea set, record player, old suitcases, shawls, etc.  Cool!

Tiny door for tiny patrons

Practicing for boating!

Pizza in the oven at Dominos!  The "pizzas" were cardboard and felt.  I think we need to make that for home! 

Serving at the mini-restaurant!

And of course, we had to try out the paints!

She played her heart out at the Playseum!

I had about a thousand pictures of the other rooms too, but you get the idea.  You can take a peek at the City Shops part of the website to get a look at all of the rooms. 

Another really cool thing, taken from their website:
"(The Playseum currently supports 40 children who have been taken off the streets in Northern India and placed in loving adoptive native homes, and our DC location is a partner with GTLS a non-profit Organization bringing health and clean water to the Hammar Village in Ethiopia.)"

What could be better than playing for a cause!  The Playseum is an excellent addition to our area.  We had a great time, arriving around 10, leaving for lunch, and coming back to play until 3 pm!  We have rarely stayed somewhere and been entertained for an entire day. 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Back at Hidden Pond

Last year (a couple of times), Chloe and I visited an excellent little place just around the corner called Hidden Pond Nature Center.  Just to recap, it's a small, very well-put together nature center with snakes, turtles, frogs, etc., a great nature view, path around a beautiful pond, and a very nice playground.  On Friday afternoon, we headed back over to visit our reptilian and amphibian friends again.  This is a must-go-to if you're in the Springfield area.  Here's some photos and a clip!

Hello turtles!

Looking at the giant bullfrog

This ceiling fan/bird combo was also really exciting!

Petting the turtle!

Playing on the playground

A really nice wooden one!
Chloe tells us what the snake is doing (this one's especially for Nonno, who is very excited to take Chloe to Reptile Land this summer):

From Hunting Pinecones to Shamrock Trees

Last week, LB and I headed out to the backyard common area to hunt for some pinecones, or "pine-tones", as we like to call them.  There are a ton of them around right now, I think because spring is springing and we just had a big wind storm last weekend.  We had fun filling and dumping the bucket and carrying the bucket and counting, and yelling, "oh no, pine-tone!"  We brought our pinecones into the house, and there they sat, in their bucket, for a couple of days. 

I'm goin' on a cone hunt!

Collecting some pine-tones

Some of our haul.  The number changed often, due to gathering and dumping variables. 

Hmmm, what to do with the pine-tones?  There are a lot of crafts we could do, but I was trying to think of something that included materials we already had (ie, we had PB for birdfeeders, but no bird time).  I read somewhere that it was fun to use the pinecones as a painting we gave that a try...

Trying to roll the pine-tones

It was a litle tricky to dip and roll the pincones because of their shape.  I think longer, skinnier, squishier ones would have been better.  But alas, ours were cute and stumpy and pretty stiff!  So, we settled on painting the actual pinecones.  That was fun! 

The more successful painting of the pine-tones

Then we needed something to jazz them up.  I didn't have any glitter, but we did have some very fancy glittery shamrock stickers from Grandma, so we let the paint dry, and made a cute little St. Patty's day decoration! 

Stickering the pine-tones

Getting our St. Patty's Day celebrations started!