Sunday, September 14, 2014

Rice play and mosaics

On Friday we had some friends over to play. I had just colored a bunch of rice, so as soon as it had cooled from drying in the oven I set it on the table in reach of the little ones. It was a matter of minutes before Emmett had run back to his bedroom and brought out a collection plastic and wooden animals and invited his little friend to play "Farm" with him. She thought that was a great idea! Claire wandered through after a while but didn't stay for too long. Elowen and Emmett however, played for about 45 minutes with the colored rice and the animals. When they finally wandered away to play something different I printed several simple coloring pages onto card stock and put out glue and lots of different colors of rice and beans and seeds to work with. Pretty soon the kids came back through the kitchen and saw everything set up differently. I explained what a mosaic was and showed them how to do put the seeds onto the glue to color their pictures. The bigger kids did everything themselves while I helped the little ones by applying the glue for them, and they did the rest on their own. They had a great time! The clean up really wasn't too bad. I just raked all of the spilled rice and seeds etc. off of the table onto the floor and swept it all up when they where done!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Mud ~or~ Why is it so quiet right now?

I was busy doing something in the house when I realized that I hadn't heard them playing for the last 10 minutes or so...hmmm. Even though we have nearly 3 acres Claire and Emmett tend to play right next to the house when they are outside without their big brothers. And because of that I can usually hear them through the windows the entire time they are outside.

Around here things get pretty noisy after lunch. I usually don't lay the littles down for a nap until 2:00 pm. That gives them time to play for a bit after lunch and makes it late enough in the day that while they sleep I can clean up (at least some of) the worst messes before Daddy gets home from work. But as nap time approaches, and they get more and more tired, Claire and Emmett tend to get much more noisy. They cry more, and whine a bit more, and fight or fuss with each other more at that time of day than any other. I am often very happy for nap time to roll around! When they wake up, they are both much happier, and then when Daddy gets home from work, things flow a little more peacefully than they might otherwise!

Today they have been running on high speed all day long! I mentioned over breakfast that some friends might be coming over to play tomorrow. Since then they have been super excited, making plans all morning. After lunch I sent them outside to play for a while, saying that when they came inside it would be nap time! ;-)

As soon as I realized that I hadn't heard them, I walked over to the big glass doors in the dining room thinking I'd need to go looking for them. Then I saw Emmett, stripped to his underwear and covered in mud, standing on top of the picnic table. Claire was next to the table on the back porch similarly undressed and also covered in mud. They were both concentrating on playing with the mud so much that they were being really really quiet!  I got my camera and stepped outside to watch for a while.

 After a few minutes I told them not to put any mud in their little kiddie pool, since I had just cleaned it out and refilled it the day before. In a little bit Claire came running in the house dripping wet (although not so muddy any more) and asked me to come out and see their new trick. So I followed her back out and watched as she and Emmett took turns running and jumping into the kiddie pool. When I asked why they were getting the clean pool muddy she told me that they hadn't put any mud into the pool, they had made cookies with it, and did I want one? I suppose, I did not tell her specifically not to jump in the pool while muddy, I just said don't put any mud in it...

Meanwhile Violet was peacefully napping in her little crib. Oh baby girl, it wont be long before you join in these great adventures!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

In which we go for a nature walk and my children all sprout facial hair

Last week I took the kids for a walk at a little state park near our home. I got on the internet searching for a good place to go for a walk or hike near by when I came across this place. Strange thing about it was that it appears on the maps as a state park, but on a quick google search I found absolutely nothing about it, just the name listing it as a state park. Which seemed really weird, I mean google knows everything, right? But apparently not, because google couldn't tell me a thing about this place. And I mean it's not like we live in some really remote village in the darkest interior of Africa. But anyway, I found the name of the place and thought that we would check it out.

We pulled past the little ranger station (which was empty) and drove to the end of the road. There were a couple of trail heads there so I parked and we all piled out of the van. There were no signs saying how long the trails were or where they ended up, so we picked one of them at random. We had not seen another car or human being since pulling into the park, so I texted my husband giving him the exact information of where we were, just in case anything happened to us, he'd know where to start searching when he came home from work. 
As we started walking it became apparent that the park had actually been a very large farm once upon a time. There were the foundations of several large old houses, and a few log cabins, and a large barn, we even found an outhouse.

We had a picnic in the yard of the biggest farm house foundation under a big old chestnut tree. While we were eating we started hearing a very scary noise. I had never heard anything like it before. At first one of the boys thought it was a machine, but the closer it got to us the more obvious it became that it was an animal of some sort. We had already finished eating and were just sitting there playing, but I decided that we really didn't need to hang out in that spot any longer and find out what was making that noise. So we packed up and started walking again! (Once we were home we looked up bear and wild boar noises, and thankfully google did have an answer for this one! Turns out we were listening to wild boar! Yikes! I wasn't sure what to look up, but when we happened across the bear reserve sign mentioning bear and boar hunters on our way out I thought that it might have been one of those, so that's what I searched for.)

The trail we were on went past a large corn field, and Logan went over first and pulled off some of the old corn silk from the mature ears of corn. When I asked him what he planned on doing with it he promptly twisted some up and made a mustache with it. Of course everyone else had to join in the fun! We stood there in the shade next to that corn field laughing at each other and taking pictures of everyone for the longest time.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Mushroom Hunting Club

For over two years I have wanted to join the local Mycological Society and go with them on their mushroom hunting forays.It seemed like every time they were having a field trip I was either in labor, or had a newborn, or we were travelling, or something else was happening that prevented me from going. But this summer, we were home, I'm not pregnant and my baby is a happy, portable 7 month old. 

So...Early Saturday morning I got up and headed out with Violet to my first meeting with a local Mycological Society. We drove for a bit over two hours in the pouring rain to the meeting spot in a state park, thankfully the rain stopped just as we arrived. I put Violet in the backpack grabbed my basket and headed into the woods. We walked and collected mushrooms for a few hours, and the rain held off until we were making our way back into the picnic shelter where we were going to meet. At which point it began to pour on us! Violet had fallen asleep in her pack, but I had thought to bring a small umbrella with me just in case, so I popped it open and she actually slept through the entire storm! A while later everyone met up again at the shelter to compare and identify our finds. I had so much fun! It's not often I get a chance to go out exploring with other people (besides my immediate family) and learn so much in such a short time. First, all of the mushrooms were laid out on tables separating them into gilled and un-gilled varieties. And from there the experts set to work identifying them and labeling each species. One of the things I learned is that some of our very most abundant mushrooms in our own woods at home are some of the very deadliest! I learned to "positively" identify several edibles...but the thought of feeding mushrooms to my children that I collect myself without one of those handy experts to verify that they are indeed one of the choice edible varieties, still makes me nervous enough not to try it just yet... I think I'll study for a while longer before I feel very confident harvesting and eating my own mushrooms!

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