Friday, July 29, 2011

There's A Drumming Noise Inside My Head: Meridian Hill/Malcolm X Park Drum Circle

We are semi-regulars at the Sunday afternoon drum circle at Meridian Hill/Malcolm X Park, which usually runs between 3 and 9 p.m.  When it's in full swing, as it frequently is in the summer months, it's quite a sight -- African dancers, yogis, tight-rope walkers, and all kinds of random, unusual things.  But we've always found everyone to be friendly and inclusive and we JAM OUT.  Sometimes we bring a picnic and set up on the lawn with friends, sometimes we bring Vegas, sometimes we bring instruments, and sometimes we just do a quick walkthrough.  It's pretty much always a good time and a different side of D.C. than you normally see.  

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Ice Ice Baby: Ice Block Salt Painting

We saw this and had to try it IMMEDIATELY.  Fortunately mom hoards milk containers and other recyclables like Kane hoards toys and we were able to freeze some ice blocks overnight.  Given the increasing likelihood that Kane and I will turn art/craft time into Monday Night Raw and my diminishing afternoon nap (if mom would just let me give up my morning nap, I swear I'd sleep for more than 45 minutes in the afternoon), Kane and I have been able to each have some time alone with mom in the afternoons to do arts/crafts.  I was up first with the ice painting -- I spent a long time carefully spreading salt over the top of the ice block and then licking my fingers each time before going back to the salt bowl.  I eventually worked my fingers cold and picked up the mini squeeze bottles in which mom had mixed up some liquid watercolors.  I didn't spend quite so much time painting, but that is largely due to the fact that by that point I had ingested so much salt that my baby reflux kicked back in and I threw up all over myself (fortunately mom remembered the tell-tale signs and moved my art work out of the way first).  No worries, I went right back to eating my rainbow goldfish (which do come back up rainbow, incidentally) and painted a bit longer.

Kane took a slightly different approach -- he wanted to put salt all over his ice block -- not just on top.  He spent a really long time (for him) doing that and then wanted ALL of the watercolors (big surprise).  He also asked for a spoon after a while to spoon the watercolors pooling in the bottom of the pan back over the top.  All in all, it was the first art/craft project in a while that occupied him for a serious amount of time.  And even as we kept playing throughout the afternoon, we took breaks to check out what our ice blocks were doing.  So, needless to say, we were all fans.

Next time we might try it with food coloring and/or colored sugar -- it kind of looks like a super yummy snowcone.  And we all know I'll eat it anyways.    

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Friday I'm in Love: Yards Park Friday Night Concert Series

So we've been to the Yards Park for its hit splashground before, but a few weeks ago we went for our first time to the Park's FREE Friday Night Concert Series (which is currently scheduled to run until August 19th, although mom kind of swears that she heard the announcer say it was going to be extended to September). AWESOME.  It was a beautiful night along the river, the music was rockin, Kane and I were boogeyin down, mom and dad were lovin the beer garden, and we got din and dessert from some foodtrucks/stands that posted up at the Concert, including Fry Captain (um, duck fat fries and sriracha mayo? yes and yes) and Orange Cow (basic, but delish chocolate ice cream).  The Park was full of kids and families and its nice to see SE lookin up.

Also keep in mind that once a month, June through October, Truckeroo is held just next door (at Half and M Street, next to the Navy Yard metro), which showcases foodtrucks from the D.C. area and also has live music -- the next one is scheduled for August 12th.  So if you don't like the trucks that sidle up to the Park itself, you can always stop by Truckeroo for some din.  And the Nats stadium is also a hop, skip, and a jump away, so if you have tix to one of the Friday night games left, you can always hit up the Yards first (concerts are scheduled to run from 6 to 8 p.m.)

We are basically all booked up every Friday night to August 19th, so we are REALLY hoping mom didn't just have one too many Stellas and that they are actually going to extend the concert series.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Jolly Mon Sing: Pirate Dino Prints/Collage

Arggg!!!  I am on a serious pirate kick recently and have been reading tons of pirate books.  My strong favorites include "Jollly Mon," from Grammie B and based on the Jimmy Buffet Song, and "Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs," from my Nona.  I have recently switched from demanding, "No, you call me farmer" to "No, you call me Captain Rufus Rumblebelly."  At least I told mom she could be "Captain Mommy."  Daddy gets to be "Pirate Daddy," but I insist that Cami is "Wizard Whitebeard," and not a pirate (I'm also very into my "Where's Waldo?" books right now).

In any event, we found some dino magic capsules in the grocery store last week and I LOVED them so much that I told mom I wanted to make an "art project" with them.  She came up with a multi-day project (well, it actually just sort of happened).  First, we did some stamping with them.  Cam really got into that, but then she got really into eating the paint and biting the heads off of the stamps (shocking).  They were hard to use for stamping because they were so small and a bit flimsy, but mom saved her prints and cut out the individual dinos to use for the final project -- we used our pirate foam stickers to do a little homage to the pirate dinos.  We wished we had individual hats and swords for them, but at least they got some pirate ships and a few random pirate-related stickers.  Cam and I both really liked using the glue sticks to paste the dino cut-outs.  And we used our new Crayola mini twistable crayons to liven them up a bit.  Of course that quickly turned into a game of "Kane hoards and Cami freaks out."  It turns out that Cami wanted the crayons just so she could have her own game of "Cami hands crayons to a freaking out Kane," but I didn't really want to play that game.  So mom declared a game of "I win, craft over."  And that was that.  Well, it was a lot of fun up to the crayon part.

Monday, July 25, 2011

We Built this City: National Building Museum Part Deux

So we know there is a lot of griping going on about the National Building Museum starting to charge admission to the galleries and, most importantly, the Building Zone.  There are several reasons that news didn't cause much anxiety at our house, including (1) the fact that we are already members and get in for FREE, yo; (2) most everything else in D.C. is free; and (3) partially because of (2), D.C.'ers are spoiled and this city is generally just filled with complainers (present company included) and we figure you just can't possibly get wound around the axle about every little thing.  Plus mom currently chooses to focus her complaining efforts on the rampant pedestrian mid-street crossing that we encounter daily.

One morning after dropping Kane at summer camp, mom and I hit up the NBM for our first post-admission trip.  It did generally appear much slower than usual, but we picked up our VIP wristbands from the Info desk (that's right, I said our VIP wristbands. what what!) and headed to the Building Zone.  We literally had the entire thing to ourselves for as long as we wanted.  It was AWESOME.  And I may be romanticizing things a bit here, but there actually appeared to be less filth and disorder, too.  One of mom's favorite, and completely unrelated, things about this particular trip to the NBM was the new "pay by phone or mobile app" parking that's been put in around the museum, which has notoriously bad parking (its tucked in between all kinds of law enforcement, all of the courts, and the Verizon Center).  She downloaded the app while we parked and we will never have to bring quarters again!

NB -- we have since been back for another post-admission trip and had a not quite as awesome time.  Although we were still able to get our VIP wristbands, the entry to the BZ was timed -- we had a specific time to go in and were told we could only stay 45 minutes.  Hmm.  Lesson learned - even if you're a VIP, get your bands when you get there so you can visit the galleries, check out a toolbox kit (also free if you are a member and Kane's favorite thing to do), or rush the fountain.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Cold As Ice: Ice Cube Painting

Is anyone starting to notice a pattern to our recent activities?  STAYING COOL.  Mom saw these online a while back and we decided to try something similar (these look cool too, but Cami would be even more confused as to why she couldn't eat them).  Mom filled an ice cube tray with warm water and added some tempera paint to each cube (she said using warm water really seemed to help dissolve the tempera paint), popped a 1/2 of a popsicle stick into each one, and froze them overnight.  We took them out of the freezer and let them warm up a bit in a shallow pan of warm water before we starting painting and then we went to town.  Cam took the "I'll try to eat this first and then let it melt on the paper" approach, which actually made for a really pretty painting.  Although it did not make for a very happy Cami.  I took my usual approach -- also known as hoarding followed by scorched earth.  I wanted ALL the colors and then I really liked to scratch up the paper.  Mom and I even worked on one together.  The colored ice really lasted a long time and mom was even able to put most of them back in the freezer when we were done for a second round of painting later on.  It would be fun to do this outside, too.  Although with this DC heat, they probably wouldn't last quite as long!  This is a definite outdoor paint project that's also on our list.



Collaborative with mommy.

We did some impromptu salt painting, but kept on painting right over it.

I think our biggest takeaway would be to learn when to stop.  This would have been pretty cool to let stay like it was.  But, who are we kidding.


Cam knows when to say when.

Our collaboration completed.

One of mine.  See, I CAN show a little self-restraint.

Cam's all dried.

Mom's (with a little scratchy help from me).