Archive for May, 2010

Beauty in the Garden

Sorry for the lack of posts this week.  Its been a bit crazy in the house this week as little Clara had to have knee surgery.  She is doing well and looking forward to doing lots of craft projects in the next couple of weeks to keep from getting too bored being unable to run around.

I have been meaning to post this for quite a while.  It was suddenly sunny early in the week at the same moment that both my girls were napping.  Instead of doing the prudent thing and cleaning the chicken coop when I should have, I ran around snapping pictures of the really pretty parts of my yard.  The rain has been pouring down and while my tomatoes consider it much, much too cold, the roses love it.  I guess that’s why Portland has a rose festival this time of year (can’t wait for the grand floral parade on the 12th!  Who wants to join us?).
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My nasturtims and poppies are doing well, but darn if I can grow sweet peas. They just don’t like me at all!
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Elsewhere in the garden the fruit is being well pollinated. You would not believe the number of bees that we have on our raspberries. I keep thinking that maybe one of our neighbors has a hive and I should tap them for some honey… or maybe that should be my next urban farming project. My family might think about disowning me if my only pets are chickens and bees, though.
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And as far a vegetables go, I have everything in the ground, but if it doesn’t warm up soon, I’m not going to have much of a crop. The peas and lettuce are doing great, but everything else is only so-so. Except Adam’s potatoes. They are doing really well. The squashes and cucumbers have not come up yet, but I just planted them last weekend. I have edamame sprouting up, which I am excited to try and grow, as well as brussel sprouts which I had never had until last fall when our friend, Chef Chris, roasted them for us and I’m thrilled that I may have some tall stalks of them towering above my peas soon. The carrots, basil, broccoli, green beans, and tomatoes are all chugging along slowly. And, I was surprised to find that my chard and chives both came back without my help. If the sun would only stay out for a little longer, I would say that we’re starting out well, although slowly, for this year’s garden.
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Marble Painting

This is by no means a craft that I made up.  In fact, Clara did this almost fully one year ago at her friend Lucy’s house.  But I think she had forgotten and she had a ton of fun doing it, so here are the directions.  It is actually a minimally messy craft and has no handling of the paint if your kid doesn’t like getting dirty (ahem, Drew).

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Materials:

  • cardboard box with top cut off
  • paint
  • marble(s)
  • cup
  • paper

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Directions:

  1. Put paint into the cups, pick a color, and throw the marble in.
  2. Swirl the marble around until it is covered in paint.
  3. Place paper in the box and dump the painty marble in.
  4. Move the box around (aka experiment with gravity!) to get the paint all over.

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5. Once the paper looks the way you want it, take it out and do a new piece!
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I think these would look great on card stock and made into cards (maybe for father’s day?).

Dinosaur Train

Oh my, this is an obsession.  Worse than birds nests or the color yellow.  Way worse.  Because its television.  Clara loves Dinosaur Train more than any other TV show.   And boy is that website I just linked cool.  I don’t think I should show it to her or I may never hear the end of it.  But at least Clara can tell you all about various dinosaur species, what an herbivore and carnivore are, and has decided that our family is called “Team Pteranodon.”  Its educational, right?  And its only half an hour a day.

But, I decided that pretending dinosaur train on our own can’t hurt anything.  Its good imagination and storytelling practice.  So, I got out our Ikea train and all of the little dinosaurs that Nancy bought for Clara as a big sister present and we started pretending.  Who says that TV stunts your imagination?
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Edible necklace

I have been doing a ton of craft/art/quiet while the baby naps time with Clara lately.  I’m starting to run out of ideas.  I don’t think I can take a whole lot more pretending to eat playdough cookies and then having to take the playdough away because Clara has stopped pretending and is really eating the “cookies.”  But, that is not really the point here.  I found an awesome activity at one of my favorite blogs, No Time for Flashcards for a Fruit Loops necklace.  This is a piece of brilliance!  Not only does it teach sorting and patterning, but it combines a yummy snack into it.  Clara loves her “snacky snackies” so it was sure to be a hit.   After checking to make sure that Fruit Loops have no high fructose corn syrup (which they don’t!), I bought a little travel snack pack of them, got out an ice-cube tray and some yarn and off we went.

First, Clara sorted all the colors into their own little spots in the ice cube tray.
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Next, she chose two colors to put on her necklace. We’re still new to patterning and two was definitely enough to keep track of. She strung those onto a piece of yarn with tape on the ends in a yellow, orange, yellow, orange pattern. Meanwhile, she snacked on all of the other colors.
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Finally, she put on her necklace and modeled using her best fake smile. Then she ate her necklace! Yum!
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Bubbles!!

One of my favorite blogs to read is The Grocery Cart Challenge. She makes at home all kinds of things that we buy all the time in the store.  I love her stain remover recipe (it totally works great on baby poop!) and this week I decided to try out her bubble solution recipe. It was really easy, took maybe five minutes, total, and makes great big bubbles!  Here’s all you need.  By the way, if you like the huge measuring bowl shown below (it comes with a lid, too!) I’ll set you up with my Pampered Chef provider, Erin to get your very own (less than $10)!
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Here’s the recipe via her blog:

Homemade Bubbles
6 C. water

1 C. corn syrup

2 C. dishwashing liquid
In a large bowl stir water and corn syrup until combined. Add dishwashing liquid and stir very gently until well mixed. (Try not to make any bubbles.) Dip (don’t stir) bubble wands into bubble liquid and blow bubbles.
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I spilled some before I remembered that I own a funnel, and it still made two pints and six little bubble containers of four ounces each.

Clara loved blowing all sorts of bubbles outside in the sun!   The solution works a bit better with the bit bubble wands that you wave around (I got ours in the $1 bins at Target), but they also work with the little wands that you blow.  I do reccomend these be only an outside activity as the corn syrup seems to be a bit sticky when the bubbles land. It makes me think that maybe summer will be here soon!
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Iris Collage

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We had no idea what Nancy’s middle name was going to be when she was born.  Adam and I debated about it for months and then finally it came down to a random name generator that we found via Google in the middle of the night at the hospital.  We just kept pushing the button until we found something we both liked: Iris.   We have gotten nothing but good feedback  on this middle name and even quite a bit of glowing feedback, I would say.  Some of our friends even generously bought us a gift certificate to a local Iris Garden.  I ordered my iris to plant in the back yard in between our rose bushes this week.  I can’t wait for them to come!!  The gift certificate came with a beautiful catalog, which I couldn’t let go to waste, so, Clara and I collaged… with added watercolor paint.  Those are Clara’s current two favorite art mediums.

First we picked which flowers to cut out,  The first collage was all yellow iris, Clara’s favorite color.
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Then we glued!
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Then we painted!
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Then, when they were dry, we put both collages in envelopes and mailed them to the grandmas. Enjoy!

Art Wall Update #4

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#1:  OMSI made scarecrow

#2:  OMSI made wheel stamp art

#3:  Watercolor chicken (Buffalo)

#4:  Chick feet (thanks Sarah!)

#5:  OMSI spin art

#6:  Chicka Chicka Boom Boom tree