We invited our very dear Small Group friends over for a somewhat impromptu slip-n-slide party. We have the perfect hill for it...just steep enough to be fun, but not a chore for little legs to get back up. I was planning on everyone just bringing their largest tarp, but one of the men suggested that we use 25'x10' plastic sheeting (from Home Depot), and stakes to keep it in the ground. It was AWESOME, and worked so, so well. The kids (and quite a few of the grown-ups...) had a great time. We kept it wet, and used No Tear Baby Shampoo to make it slippery...I think that every mom there agreed that it definitely counted as a bath! We ended the night with banana splits on the porch, and a very happy (and tired) crew of kiddos. Definitely doing it again next year!
"Awhile back, my middle child, CM, needed a slight chiropractic adjustment. So, off we went to the appointment. Thankfully, we are personal friends with our doctor, but it was too much when CM looked up from the exam table and said,
'WOW! You should clean your nose!
You gotta lotta boogas!!'
The doc laughed, CM laughed, and then,after cringing, I laughed right along with them!"
Our city includes (just in case you can't tell...) a church, a fire station, an airport (to go see Grammy and Papa), a few houses, a park, a gas station, and, of course, a McDonald's. Just the necessities...
This activity will keep your little one busy for quite a while! It's fun to create the city together, but it can spark hours of entertainment afterwards as well (especially if you pull out cars, figurines, plastic people, etc.). I've also found that this activity is fun for a very wide range of ages. I drew a Sidewalk City with my 5 and 8-old-year nephews a month or so ago, and it was REALLY impressive and over-the-top creative! That city had a dinosaur museum, a giant waterslide, and helicopter pad. See what your kids include in their city...it'll probably make you both smile! :)
A month or so ago, the cover of a ladies magazine (not sure which one...) showcased a beautiful watermelon cake. I checked it out in each check out line that I stood in...'okay, it's on it's side...they must have flattened the bottom, looks like it's a two-layer...'But, I never read the article or the recipe.
Then, I forgot about it. Until Merideth at http://www.lifeat7000feet.com/ made watermelon cookies with her kids. I was reminded of the beautiful cake, and inspired to make it with my own kiddo, but knew that it was no longer being featured in any check out line. However, I tend to not follow recipes or rules very well anyway (especially when they involve creative effort), so we just set out to make it based on what I could remember.
We started with a Red Velvet cake mix. Landon added chocolate sprinkles to the batter (to look like seeds), and we then baked it in two 9-inch pans. When they had cooled, we iced and stacked (red icing), then cut in half, and iced and stacked again (again with red icing). Next, I cut off a little bit of the rounded side to make a flat bottom for it to rest on, and turned it to look like a slice of watermelon. Finally we added green icing to the sides.
It certainly didn't turn out as pretty as the one in the picture (there are definite benefits to following recipes...and rules), but we had FUN
and squeezing leftover icing into our mouths! Yum! Any great kid-friendly summer recipes? Please share!
This was not nearly as difficult as it looks. But every bit as FUN!
1. Start by finding a nice sunny spot.
2. Make shadow puppets. We did this by:
* Buying people-shaped popsicle sticks from Michaels (we added accessories). I bought these months ago, and was looking for a reason to pull them out! LOVE them!
* Hot gluing punch-out shapes (from construction paper packaging) to popsicle sticks.
* Making our own original shapes out of cardstock, and then gluing them to popsicle sticks.
3. Create your Shadow Show Stage.
*A comfy place to sit makes it more fun for everyone...
* I stretched a window shade around the table to make our screen.
4. And now on with the show!
* We played together, but also took turns telling stories. Talk about imagination!! Sheesh. He puts me to shame!
PS. Landon loved his "puppet shadows" so much he asked if we could "please, please play for just a few more minutes before bedtime." To do this we simply turned a light on behind us, got comfy on his bed, and used his headboard as our stage. Rather than reading him a book, I told him a spur-of-the-moment story about a pirate who couldn't find his treasure (cookies with rainbow sprinkles), and a dog that saved the day with his keen sense of smell. Sweet dreams guaranteed, right?! :)
Daddy was out of town this week, so Landon and I had a couple of movie nights. In our house, summer usually means later bedtimes anyway. In honor of his absolute LOVE of popcorn, I thought that I'd post a few fun recipes that I've come across to add some pizazz to this traditional treat.
I bought it at Walmart (Little Tykes Sprinkler Ball), and though it was $17.99 originally, it was marked down quite a bit. I'm thinking I only paid around 10 bucks for it.
It's a chore to blow up (it's big...88" around!), but so worth the work! There arefour spray heads (one on top, three around), so everyone can have fun at the same time! Great for siblings or playdates! You also have the option of keeping the ball stationary, by adding some water to the inside of it, or allowing it to move with your little ones.They cankick it all around the yard...and burn off a A LOT of energy! :)
We're going to leave ours blown up for the rest of the season, so that it's easy to pull out and play, but come the end of August we'll simply let the air out and store it in a nice, tiny, little corner of the shed. Ahhh...I wish that I could say that of our baby pool.
If you haven't bought one yet, this is a great sprinkler!
I like things neat. But, I like my little boy to have fun. Sometimes these two ideas, though both noble, don't exactly mesh with one another. Like, typically, when sand is involved.
I bought a "small" bag of play sand for $4.99 (I couldn't believe how cheap it was!) at our local hardware store to do permanent sandcastles. We only needed 1 cup of it though. What to do with the remaining 59 1/2 pounds...it didn't take my little guy very long to come up with an idea!
So, I got guilted into a sandbox. But, I have to say that I'm actually pretty happy with it. First, Landon and I went on a "special mission" to find toys that would LOVE to permanently move to the sandbox (once a sand toy, always a sand toy). Next, I searched my ever treasure-producing basement, and came up with a large, low storage bin on wheels. Works great! It keeps the fun looking fairly neat and tidy when not in use on our back porch. But, so far, it's been in use most of the time.
Okay...so ours isn't exactly a castle.
We made an island instead. And a baseball. And a moose, which actually looked more like a strangely proportioned dog. And a pirate boat. And quite a few other things that were completely unrecognizable... But, we had such fun!
Here's the recipe for what we named "Permanent Sandcastle Clay," from this month's issue of Family Fun Magazine.
1 cup sand
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 tsp alum (with spices at grocery store)
*1 tsp of cooking oil (this is our own addition)
3/4 cup water
1. Add the sand, cornstarch, and alum to a saucepan and use a wooden spoon to combine them completely.
2. Add the water and stir the mixture until it is smooth and the cornstarch is dissolved.
3. Cook the clay over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. The clay should start to thicken within a minute or two. Stir more vigorously, being sure to scrape the mixture from the sides and bottom of the pan.
4. After about 3 minutes of cooking, the clay will have thickened to the consistency of play dough. Remove the clay from the pan. Once it's cool enough to touch, you can start start sculpting.
* For best results, use the clay within a day or two of mixing it.
Put the 'Nilla wafers in a small, plastic baggy that zips closed and crush them with the heavy end of a butter knife. Set everything out in bowls, ready to dish out. 1) Pudding. 2) Top half of the pudding with sprinkles (water). 3) Top the other half with the crushed wafers (sand). 4) Lay assorted shark snacks on top.5) Eat and enjoy!
Playing with your kids is all about connection, and nothing sparks that like conversation. This activity is great for all ages, and can be used in a lot of different ways. Basically, you just pick a theme (see below) based on the ages and nature of your kids and then write applicable "questions" on the ball. Next, just toss the ball back and forth and take turns "answering" whatever touches, say, your right thumb. I used this as a fun review tool before tests as a teacher. Even reluctant-to-share-preteens thought this was great! Add water and some silliness, and you're sure to get everyone talking...and laughing!
Here's a few themes (off the top of my head) to get you started.Anyone else have any other ideas?
* Would You Rather?
Example: Would you rather EAT A WORM (right thumb) or WALK A TIGHTROPE (left thumb)?
Example: Your thumb is on a T! Can to think of anything that starts with a T?
* Solve the Mystery
Example: Okay. I'm touching WHAT. So...what job does the man have?
* Action Ball
Example: You're touching STRETCH. Let's see you touch the sky!
*At the Zoo
Example: I went to the zoo and I saw a...MONKEY. Okay, let me see you imitate one!
* Dream Ball
Example: Hmmm...If I could LIVE ANYWHERE, I would pick....
Example: My favorite ICE CREAM FLAVOR is....
*Tell Me a Story:
Example: Once upon a time there was A STINKY SOCK...that was lost under a little boy's bed.
I saw this idea in Family Fun Magazine, and knew that we HAD to do it!
Our invitation asked all neighborhood children to show up in their pajamas, and to bring their own jar and flashlight. Once they arrived, the kids adorned themselves in bright glow-in-the-dark bracelets, necklaces, and rings.
While we waited for dark to set in, parents helped their little ones make and decorate glow-in-the-dark lightning bugs (paint available at Michael's, about $2.99 ea).
Then, since we were delaying bedtime a bit, we gave the kids a burst of energy by way of Smores.
Finally, the little ones gathered to hear the rules of the game...'yes, your Mama can help you...of course you can give your bugs princess names...no, you can't count the lightning bugs you caught last night..'.While the kids (and parents) rounded up an impressive number of twinkling fireflies that night, the winner, a 6-year-old named Gabe, went home with a build-your-own-bug-catcher set, and a smile that barely fit on his face!
POUR milk into large bowl. Add dry pudding mix. Beat with wire whisk 2 min. or until well blended. Let stand 5 min.. Gently stir in whipped topping and 1/2 cup of the cookie crumbs.
SPOON into 10 (6- to 7-oz.) paper or plastic cups; top with remaining cookie crumbs.
REFRIGERATE at least 1 hour. Throw the gummy worms on there just before serving. Store leftovers in refrigerator. Dirt Cups can also be served frozen. Prepare as directed; freeze 3 hours or until firm.
Summer finds every family member in our house pulling out their Crocs. We love 'em! They go on fast, they're durable, they match most anything we wear in warm weather, and they're comfy. The ONLY problem that I have found with these beloved kicks is the dirty, smelly, even dare I say slimy, film that they harbor, and then transfer onto feet (especially little ones). Does anyone else have this problem...or are we just particularly dirty?!?!?
Anyway...my Tuesday Tip:The Dishwasher! Line those crocs up on the top shelf. They'll come out good as new, guaranteed. And ready for more fun in the sun!
Unfortunately, those piggy little feet still have to be handwashed.
A FunDadfriend of mine does this simple, and yummy, little experiment with his science students each year. Thanks for sharing, Bill! Click HERE to watch a how-to video for making homemade ice-cream in a bag.
Hope you have a great, and FUN, Fourth of July, everybody!