Showing posts with label outside. Show all posts
Showing posts with label outside. Show all posts

50 Hikes with Kids in New England -- Review and Sharing a Hike


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

The weather here in New England is not perfect for getting outside and certainly not for hiking without snowshoes. However, I like to think about warmer weather and weather where the ground isn't covered with snow and ice. I know it is coming! So today I am going to share a new book that shares 50 hikes around New England that are good to do with kids. The book is 50 Hikes with Kids: New England by Wendy Gorton.

Outdoor School Series Review


Disclosure: I was sent these books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

I am going to continue sharing books to get your kids learning while having fun this summer. Today we are going to look at a series of books that no only is fun and educational but also gets your kids outside and enjoying nature! The Outdoor School series features three interactive nature guides as well as three sticker books, and two essentials guides. Whether your family is interested in animals, hiking, camping, rock collecting and more there is something for everyone and these books all start by saying step outside no matter where you live there is nature out there. 

Our World and the Great Outdoors

Disclosure: We were sent these books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are our own.

Well Earth Day happened last month and my life has been so crazy I never got around to sharing the amazing books I have gathered for it. So I am going to share some of them with you today. We will start with Champion: The Comeback Tale of the American Chestnut Tree by Sally M. Walker. 

The Curious Nature Guide -- Summertime Fun Review

Be sure to check out my on-line Thirty-One Review & Party!! Get all your summer organizing essentials!!
Disclosure: I was sent this book to review free of charge from Storey Publishing. All opinions in this post are my own. I did not receive any other compensation for this review. I am including links  for your convenience but do not receive anything if you purchase from  them.

This summer I feel like all I want to do is spend time with Hazel. Perhaps it is the fact that she just completed her first year of full time school and I missed my time with her. It also helps that we have had beautiful weather so we have been getting outdoors a lot. Or perhaps it is the combination of those two things and this great book as our guide. The book is The Curious Nature Guide by Clare Walker Leslie.

Happy Home Outside -- Crafty Weekends Review & Link Party

Disclosure: I was sent this book to review free of charge from Quarto Books USA. All opinions in this post are my own. I did not receive any other compensation for this review. I am including links to each item for your convenience but do not receive anything if you purchase them.

The spring weather finally is here or at least was last week!! I am finally ready to be outside (or at least the weather was ready for us to be outside finally). After a mild winter we have had an unusually cool spring thus far. However we finally got into the 70s last week. It was gorgeous!! Then to add to the fun Steve finally had a patio and fence added to Hazel's clubhouse. He has been planning this for several years and finally decided to do it. (I will admit I didn't care much about it, but they both really wanted to do it.) It came out looking really cute and I personally love having the chairs on the patio so I have a place to sit and read or work on my laptop while Hazel is playing outside. 

Mermaid Play Date

So to end summer on a positive note, we had a Mermaid Play Date. Hazel originally wanted a mermaid birthday party, but had trouble choosing between Frozen and mermaid. We decided since we would only want girls at the mermaid one it was a better play date. (Several of her best friends are boys.) So we sent out an e-vite.  Yes, they have a free mermaid e-vite! We invited the three girls from Hazel's Pre-K class and her friend from gymnastics. We asked everyone to bring an 18-inch doll or stuffed animal. Unfortunately, only one of her girlfriends and her older sister could come, but the three girls had a blast. 

Hazel and I had big plans for the play date, but they did not all happen due to our busy schedule leading up to it. I did make all the 18-inch dolls a mermaid tail. We had them at the kids table with seats for the girls and the dolls. I provided a tutorial and pattern for the tail. I also cut out felt tails and sewed on ribbon for the girls. I estimated the older sister's size and guessed pretty well. The girls started by decorating their felt tails with glitter glue, stickers, shells, etc.

Next the girls had a potato sack/pillow case trial. We thought it would be like walking like a mermaid if she could leave the water. We just did a fun trial and no race since two of the girls were five.

Then the girls wanted a snack, so we headed back to the patio and to the snack table.

On our snack table are green grape seaweed skewers, oyster cookies, sand dollar cookies, and three kinds of Goldfish. Plus for decoration we have a foam mermaid castle. I bought the kit for the castle at Michaels when it was on sale. Hazel likes to pretend it is another dollhouse. We had planned to bake cookies, but with limited time, we improvised.

Our oyster cookies are Golden Oreos opened with a yogurt covered raisin in them. We added blue sugar sprinkles for looks and then closed them up. The yogurt covered raisins were the only white roundish things I could find at the store quickly. 

For our sand dollar cookies, we opened the Golden Oreos and Hazel ate the lids. Then we used a toothpick to trace the flower design into the filling. Hazel enjoyed making both of our sea cookies and the grape seaweed. She also loved picking out the Goldfish. We also bought some mixed berry juice boxes because they were blue. If I had time we would have made covers for them, but we didn't have the time. After a snack the girls did the final craft. It was a handprint mermaid on a little tote bag.

For the face we used a small play dough lid. Then the girls used the glitter glue for the faces and hair. While these dried the girls played in the yard and in Hazel's new clubhouse. Hazel was excited for her friends to see it. 

We did some quick decorating with green crepe paper. We made seaweed on the walls and stairs.

Hazel and I decided we would try this theme again for a play date and get more of our ideas completed!! Maybe next summer. 

For more mermaid ideas check out:

Virtual Book Club for Kids: Quiet in the Garden by Aliki

It is time for the Virtual Book Club for Kids and this month's author is Aliki. Now Aliki has wonderful children's books. Some are about historical people, some about things like the five senses and others about experiences. We have read several and Hazel decided her favorite is Quiet in the Garden.

Sharing Saturday 14-21

Sharing Saturday Button

It was another amazing party last week!! If you have not checked out all the great ideas shared, you should!! As always, they are so inspiring. Thank you to everyone who shared with us and to all who visited and commented on others ideas. We had a most clicked from In the Playroom: Sponge Painting: Van Gogh Starry Night.

Since a Van Gogh Starry Night project was most clicked, I thought I should share the other Van Gogh Starry Night project in case some of you missed it, so it is with some of my favorites below. But first here are a few Memorial Day and Outdoor Features. Monday is Memorial Day here in the United States.

Memorial Day and Outdoor Activities
1) From Some of the Best Things in Life Are Mistakes: Free Patriotic Printables Round-Up
2) From Every Star Is Different: Memorial Day Unit 2 With Free Printables
3) From Mothers Madness: Woodland Animal Hunt
4) From Left Brain Craft Brain: How Bubbles Work & 20 Things to Do with Them

A Few of My Favorites
1) From Mini Monets and Mommies: Van Gogh Art Activity: Kids' Clay Famous Artist Project
2) From Wesens Art: Bird Cage Made Of Newspaper
3) From Prettily: DIY Toy Drum Set
4) From Little Bins for Little Hands: Moon Sand Sensory Play Recipe
5) From All Done Monkey: Cloth Diapering Tips and Resources to Get Started!
6) From 3 Dinosaurs: Green Yarn Sheep -- Where is the Green Sheep?

Thank you to everyone who shared last week!! I hope you will join us and share again!! If you are featured here, please feel free to grab a featured button to display proudly on your blog. 


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From Your Hostess:
This week we shared a Middle Eastern Cinderella tale for Fairy Tales in Different Cultures, an Asian Pacific Island Book Round Up and Link Party for Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, Painted Mickey and Minnie Mouse Tote Bags for our upcoming party, DIY Minnie Mouse Pinata with activity signs for the party, and a Zoo Scavenger Hunt.

Now for This Week's Party  
A Few Simple Guidelines:
1)  Please follow Crafty Moms Share via GFC (or one of the other ways that work for you).  

2)  Link any kid-friendly, child-centered post. Please no etsy shops or giveaways, etc.  Remember to link to your actual post. 

3) Post the Sharing Saturday button on your sidebar or somewhere on your blog to help spread the word.

4) I would love it if you would follow me on FacebookGoogle+, and Pinterest 

5) If you do not have a blog, but want to share an idea you can leave it in the comments or e-mail it to me with a picture (if possible).

 Disclaimer: By sharing here, you are giving Crafty Moms Share permission to use your photos for features and to pin your craft at Pinterest.

Spring Fever = Time Outdoors!

Spring has finally arrived in New England!! We went from below average temperatures to warmer than average and lots of sunshine this week. I am loving it and so is Hazel. As a result, our craft ideas are put aside for being outside. We have been exploring nature and just playing. Here are some of our adventures from this week.

Winter Crafts Round-Up

I had so many incomplete ideas for my post today. Since they were all incomplete, I considered just not posting, but then I remembered I wanted to do a winter round-up since so many of you have not been following since 2011 when we began. So here it is, our past winter activities, crafts and books and a movie. Enjoy!!

Decorating for Halloween & Fall

Have you entered my new current giveaway?

This past weekend we made a very easy Halloween decoration. Our decoration was inspired by the DIY Halloween Tissue Ghosts I saw over at Shindigz back when I was doing a review for them. I happened to find the tissue paper bells on clearance at the Christmas Tree Shop and I think I paid something like a dollar for all four. Then we took a piece of black construction paper and cut out eyes and mouths. I let Hazel cut her own and then we glued them on.

Since the bells had strings and the bottoms had the round ball that would ring the bell, we hung them on our chandelier to greet anyone who comes to our front door. Since we were hanging them, we skipped the tulle as well.
I guess we did a good job since Steve thought I had bought them that way. We also hung the extra spider web we had leftover from our various crafts and added the big spider we used at Hazel's nursery rhyme birthday party for Little Miss Muffet.
We also went on a wonderful nature walk around our neighborhood. We of course took our wagon (to carry everything and in case Hazel got tired) and a bag to collect things. We some saw fun mushrooms. We thought this one might be a fairy bathtub or pool.

And here is a fairy village.
The colors were also beautiful on the walk.
The trees have been so wonderful this fall. The colors are so vibrant.
We were collecting leaves and such and Hazel picked up a stick and started putting leaves on her stick. She decided it was a leaf stick. It came out beautifully and we have it sitting in a glass jar on our table now.
We planned on making more, but haven't made it out there yet.
But in the jar it looks like a flower. We love it! How are you bringing nature in to celebrate the season?

Mommy and Daughter Day

Do you have a great homemade Mother's Day gift idea? Share it here!

I know I promised another Mexican Cinderella post this week and here it is Monday's post and time for my Fairy Tales in Different Cultures post, but I decided to wait this week since we did not do the crafting I had hoped over the weekend. So stay tuned for the Mexican Cinderella coming soon with (hopefully) some great Cinco de Mayo crafts.

This weekend was a bit hectic. It was Stewardship Sunday at my church and since I head the Stewardship Ministries Team, I was in charge. Luckily I have a wonderful committee with many talents and many other volunteers to help. We did our final push on the campaign and then provided a luncheon. It went well, but I am tired. 

Yesterday, Steve went hiking with some of his friends from work, so Hazel and I had an entire Saturday to spend alone. The only thing we had to do was be at the church at 1 p.m. to set up for the luncheon. I had also received a message from my aunt. Her step-granddaughter needed help with a Flat Stanley school project. We decorated Flat Stanley (though we made her a girl so we call her Flat Sophia) and took her a few places to take some pictures. More on Flat Stanley another day since I thought a blog project to do with it. We stopped at the library to get a Flat Stanley book and found out there was a Mother Goose Story Time starting in five minutes so we stayed for it. Then we went to run our other errands and go to Lakeshore Learning for their free craft. Now it was after noon, so we headed home for a quick lunch and then to get to church. I bribed Hazel into helping at the church with ice cream afterwards. 

We headed to the local ice cream place/farm. Hazel wanted to check out all the animals, so we both got frappes (the Boston term for a milkshake) and walked around. We stopped in the middle section to see the cows and goats.
Then we headed over to the calf nursery. We had a fun time checking out the calves.
Next to the nursery is the poultry cage. They didn't have the food machine out yet, but the male turkey had his feathers up trying to impress the female. Hazel said he impressed her. The female turkey did not seem too impressed though.

Then we headed over to the big cow barn. This farm sells the milk and ice cream from their milk of their own cows. The first door of the big barn is the section reserved for the very pregnant cows--to birth in two to three weeks. We found one little baby sitting with its mother there as well.
Then the next two doors have the other cows. We found a few grooming themselves and these cows seemed hungry or at least were very interested in all the people at the doors. They came over to say hi and Hazel thought they got a bit too close (as did another girl who had gotten licked by one).
Hazel was almost licked by the mostly white one. We were petting them on the noses. Her tongue was the same color as her--white with black spots. Of course our favorite picture was of the cows kissing.

We saw the ones in the middle again. One was getting a drink this time.
Then we bought some milk and frozen yogurt to take home for Daddy. Hazel fell asleep in the car. She hadn't been sleeping well this week since I had so many meetings at night. She slept for a couple of hours and I took a nap as well. Then Steve came home and we went out to dinner, but the wait was too long, so we ordered take-out and sat at the bar while we waited. Hazel thought it was fun to sit at the bar and drink apple juice from a fancy glass. Then we headed home and had some dinner and went to bed. That was our fun Saturday!! The best part is we got outside for the afternoon!

School Vacation Week--Welcome Spring!

So on top of Monday's horrible tragedy, it is school vacation week here and spring has definitely sprung. We have not had many crafts to post since our focus has been on getting outside and at night I have been processing all that has happened (and working on her knitted farm playmat which is almost finished!!). I thought I would share a few pictures from our activities this week. (I know I still haven't done my Cinderella post this week, but am working on it!)

On Monday our day was spent going to the doctor's office--yes Hazel still has a cold and getting Hazel's dance class photo taken. A busy tiring day, but not much to show for it.

On Tuesday Hazel took a class at Drumlin Farm with her best friend from school. Now her friend's mom and I started with them, but parents were not suppose to be there. I didn't get many pictures since I explained to Hazel that moms were not allowed and she was all right with it, her friend however did not feel the same so his mom got a few pictures for me. I went off to the gift shop and then checked out the animals so I would know if we wanted to see them all later and then found a quiet place to sit and knit. The class was on cold-blooded animals so they were ponding a bit.
After their class ended we had a picnic lunch and then went to check out all the animals including the 12-day-old piglets. Hazel and her friend found a door open to an empty chicken coop, so they hopped in and his mom took a picture of them caged.
Then we did Hazel's favorite thing--the hay ride.
Then we bought farm fresh eggs and went to the gift shop. I promised Hazel she could get two gifts since she had been so good at the class without me. This class was meant to be a test run for both of them to see how they would do with each other and not us. Hazel passed and her friend did not (but he did not have a good night the night before so that might be why). While in the gift shop I bought more bird seed as well so his mom went to get the car instead of us carrying the huge bags the distance to the parking lot. (Drumlin Farm is a Mass Audubon location.)
Near the gift shop was one of the few places you can eat due to the working farm and health violations, so the kids enjoyed their M&M's from lunch while we waited.

Today was one of those wonderful spring days that got close to 70 without quite reaching it. We had to take the cats to the groomers and run a few errands, but we spent the afternoon outside. First we went to check on the flowers (see collage near top) and vegetables we planted. We watered some and noticed the English daisy looked dug up so we replanted it and gave it lots of water. Then Hazel watered her pansies. Then we headed to her garden to check on the lettuce--looks like the rabbit found it and snap peas and pansies. The basil was planted a bit too early, so we will have to get more. Oh, and Hazel watered the tomato plants that are in the garage still since it is over a month too early to plant them outside here. Then it was time to play!
Hazel took a little rest on her bench at the swingset and then went on the swings. A neighbor across the street brought her three-year-old granddaughter over since her granddaughter wanted to meet Hazel and they played for a bit. Overall it was a fun day!

For those looking to help with the horrific tragedy in Boston, CNN has a good list of ways anyone can help.