Monday, July 22, 2013

Just an update...but nothing good. Gr.

Hello all. This is just a quick note to let the lovely people that read this know that I will be updating very sporadically; my dear little Toshiba has an evil, terrible, dreadful hard drive-eating virus, and unless I visit my mother's house and pirate her husband's computer, I cannot add new news, creativity and book rants. I am most sorry, but I will pop in whenever I can for this sad computer-less time, and as soon as my compu is fixed, I will be back with a vengeance! Thank you all soooo much for your continued support! Much love, Cole

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Greetings all! Still icky-hot here, but we've had a few days here and there where we've gotten out to enjoy the summer days. Yesterday, for example, my troop of children and I headed to my mother's, where my youngest has a lovely backyard to play. He's very into faerie tales and faeries lately, so OF COURSE, we had to make a faerie house.


These images and 'instructions' are from the very fun website http://www.fairyhouses.com/ . Check it out!

Location


Fairy Houses can take many forms and can be created in many different places.
Find a quiet place away from roads or busy pathways. The base of a tree or the side of a rock could be just right. Close to the ground is usually best. Sometimes you may find a special place in the low branches of a tree or bush.

Look for building areas in woods, beaches, meadows, and especially your own backyard! Use only natural materials to build your house – nothing artificial.

Many fairy houses look so natural that they are almost hidden. Have fun building them everywhere, in every season, and enjoy all of your special visitors!


 

 

Materials


Sticks, bark, dry grasses, pebbles, shells, feathers, seaweed, pinecones and nuts are just some of the materials you can use. A fairy house built in the woods will look different than one built at the beach!

Different seasons will give constantly changing materials that you can use. Be imaginative!

 

 

 



Rules


Be respectful of plants that are growing. Try not to disturb plants that are still living, such as ferns, mosses and flowers. Fairies are careful not to harm anything that is growing.

Our house doesn't look nearly as palatial as these examples, but it just goes to show that if you give a child free reign with his imagination, a backyard, and access to plenty of twigs, pebbles, and a handful of seashells, he'll be well-occupied and happily creative. (Photos will follow...the cable to my camera is missing so I can't download them at present. I'll make my husband give it back when he gets home)


Another great outdoor activity I do with my little one (the big ones are too cool, and have very important video games to play) is "Adventurer" or "Scientist," depending on what we're doing. For these activities I rely heavily on this jewel of a book:
The Kids Nature Book: 365 Indoor/Outdoor Nature Activities and Experiences
http://www.amazon.com/The-Kids-Nature-Book-Experiences/dp/1885593074 . Days' worth of entertainment and fun education!

Mel Boring's Fun With Nature and More Fun With Nature are also outstanding books ( I don't own them yet, but they're on my To Get list!)
http://www.amazon.com/Fun-With-Nature-Along-Guides/dp/1559717025/ref=pd_sim_b_1

And while you're constructing in your backyard, why not encourage your children to become ecologists? Kids can build wildlife habitats right in the backyard (and they don't have to be enormous. I can't wait for the day my little one and I can build a toad house!)
http://www.amazon.com/Easy-Create-Wildlife-Habitats-City-Suburbs-Countryside/dp/0824986652/ref=pd_rhf_dp_s_cp_36_MJEJ?ie=UTF8&refRID=1C4S6S9RJGMHJ08F8013

Little Bitty and I are currently working our way through The Kids' Outdoor Adventure Book, a new title that just arrived at our library. http://www.amazon.com/Kids-Outdoor-Adventure-Book-Things/dp/0762783524/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1373392619&sr=1-1&keywords=the+kids+outdoor+adventure+book

Anyway, give these books a look-see, see if they, or any of the Fairy Houses books are available at your library and have some backyard, back step, or even window box fun with your child. You'll both be glad you did.

Summertime Treats!

I've been lax in posting lately, and I'm truly sorry. It's been hot, sticky, and gross, and we've spent our days sitting (melting) in front of fans, trying to stay cool. After watching a dust caribou (that thing was way too big to be a bunny...) roll across the floor I went on a bender, cleaning this place from top to bottom. Now that we can kick back and relax again (my older son quoted Miayazaki's film Howl's Moving Castle as I was cleaning yesterday: "There's a witch on a rampage in here!") I decided we needed some treats that didn't require turning the stove or the oven on. How's popsicles sound to you?




 
 

 
After a four-store search I found popsicle molds, and now we make our own out of juice or iced tea instead of buying sugar- and food-coloring laden ones from the store. The only downside? These will only last about a day-- as soon as they're set my kids dive in...and in...and in. But who cares? They're happy and hydrated, and I don't have ADD kids amped up on red dye and sugar running amok. (and no, I'm not making a dig at rambunctious children--my kids really do have it. It makes for an interesting life)
 
Anyway, try making your own! I've even used things like homemade or iced tea. Pureed fruit works too, though you may have to thin it with a little juice.  Give it a try!
 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Garden Update!


We have baby tomatoes! And peppers! AND my morning glory FINALLY has blossoms! Oh, happiness!




The tomato plants have taken over the back stairs. I can't find it in my heart to complain :)

As my pansies have gone by I've added dill, savory, creeping thyme and monster-sized oregano plants to my herb garden box. Happy is Nicole.