Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Baubles, Bangles and Beads: Light Table Beading

Mom randomly found some plastic, large-eyed needles in our junk drawer and we decided they'd be good to use for some beading.  And because we look for any excuse to use our light boxes, we pulled out the beads that came with our light table kit and used those.  I could do it as long as mommy held on to the needle and thread -- I slid the beads over the top of the needle.  Kane wanted to do it all himself, which he did a few times.  He also set the beads down and then put the needle through, which worked better for him.  But he refused to let mommy tie a knot in the bottom of the thread, so that kind of put an end to that.  Then he just wanted to throw the beads around.  But I've done this a few times with mommy by myself and I really like it -- it's a good way to spend a little quiet time working on fine motor skills.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

I've Been Running Through the Valley: National Arboretum's Fern Valley

Since mom found a sweet little shortcut to the Arb, we've been spending a lot of time there.  It's one of the places I request most and we've been trying to check out different areas each visit.  Not too long ago we found ourselves faced with a gloomy day of rain (oh, February) and mom insisted that we were leaving the house in spite of it.  We ended up at Fern Valley and spent most of the morning under the cover of the trees playing "pirate princess" -- chasing her through the valley, negotiating with trolls for passage over fairytale bridges, and resting on woodland benches.

I am OBSESSED with the pirate princess (who is loosely based on a character from Jake and the Neverland Pirates) and am constantly requesting made up stories about her from mom and dad.  I get to dictate the general story elements, but then I expect some real delivery.  Sometimes it's easy -- "she wants to go to the library today."  But I also like to mix it up -- "she's going to the dentist.  and she has an elephant.  and she's singing a song by 'Yoko Garcia'."  I especially love when daddy adds in characters with funny names - Gina Lollobrigida and Lola Falana are my favorites (apparently daddy has a thing for 1940s-50s stars of the stage and screen).  When Gina pops in, I always say "Are you kiddin me? I can hardly believe my ears."  And then laugh hysterically.

I decided the princess must have made her way over to the Capitol Columns and so we ran over there and played in the murky fountain (hey, we were already wet) for a while, too.  It clearly had been going too smoothly despite the rain, so Cam decided it would be a good time to go to the bathroom (she hadn't gone in a few days).  Mom had tucked one diaper in her bag and so Cam got a quick change on the wet ground.  And then Cam went again.  Let's just say there was a little creative diaper recycling.

Poop incidents included, it was the perfect way to pass a rainy day.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Sweetest Thing: Message in a Cookie

So we didn't technically have any hand in making these cookies, but boy we did our parts to eat them up.  We had the good fortune of hosting our playgroup on Valentine's Day this year and as soon as mom spotted these on Pinterest, she knew she had to make them.  Well, actually her plan was to have us help make them to give as valentines to my class, but she clearly didn't think through the origins of Valentine's Day before asking my teachers at my Jewish preschool what the V-day plan was.  Doh.

Good thing we are ready and willing to party for any and all occasions and we had a fun V-day celebration at home.  The W&S cookie cutters were sold out online as soon as that pin resurfaced, but we scored some at our local store.  Mom followed the recipe from the Pinterest link (not the W&S recipe) that uses powdered sugar and sour cream and made the most delish, cake-like cookies.  Definitely follow the suggestion to refrigerate the dough overnight and stick in the freezer before rolling it out.  Even then it took mom a lot of practice to get the words pressed in well, but not see the lines of the cookie cutter.  Though some of the technical execution was lacking, they were super yummy.  This probably isn't the best baking activity for kiddos, although rolling out that cold dough would be some good motor skills practice.

These cookies had our name on them -- literally.  And some other things too.  It was really hard for mom to stay within the bounds of appropriateness for a kid's V-day party.  Everything sounds funnier when it's printed on a cookie.  No need to wait for Valentine's Day -- bake these babies up!

a little valentine making station, which resulted in few valentines being made, 
but lots and lots of glitter everywhere.

sweet, sweet and more sweet.  chocolate croissants, the sugar cookies and smoothies for kiddos.  although all the kids ended up with fizzy water and strawberry/raspberry mint heart ice cubes.

bee mine.

mom made some rainbow cheerio bracelets for goodies and everyone 
got some of the chocolate playdough we made.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Down on the Farm: Oxon Hill Farm

On a recent beautiful, sunny day mom and I went with our friends to check out Oxon Hill Farm.  Mom was a little bit weary since our last visit to a D.C. area farm, Frying Pan Farm Park, didn't turn out so well, but we had a blast.  To begin with, Oxon Hill Farm is a stone's throw away from S.E. D.C., which is just so weird because it's gigantic (289 acres).  And for a long time, we were the only ones there -- we literally did not see one other person, not even anyone working there.  There is tons of space to RUN and there are lots of animals -- all of whom were very excited to see visitors.  A rooster even followed us around for much of our time there, which started to get a little unsettling, but we're sure the mommas could have taken him.  A lot of the "exhibits" are kitschy - a tiny house labeled "the history of grain," a room full of historic farm implements with nothing labeled - you get the idea.  But you cannot beat the space to run.  And as we were on our way out, a ranger showed up and offered us a free tractor ride through the woods and part of the farm.  And even though my friend and I refused to obey the signage and sit on our tushies, no one cared.  It's a little bit of a trek, but we will definitely be going back.

If you haven't had a chance to check out No Monster In My Bed's list of 52 Outside Places for Kids, get on it!  It's where we found Oxon Hill Farm and many, many other spots on our rapidly growing spring/summer to-do list.

this guy flew the coop.

despite me standing here for a good 10 minutes yelling "cheese" at mom, she eventually stopped taking my picture.  but just look at that pose - total catalog.

i was also obsessed with this cat.  mom hates cats, so she was not.

telling kitty to "come on!"

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Rave On: Blacklight Bubbles

We've seen a big uptake in blacklight kiddo play lately and decided to get on board.  Even with this super mild winter we're having, we seem to be getting stuck inside a lot in the late afternoons and are always on the look out for new ideas.  Mom got us this blacklight from Amazon -- we've only used it a few times so far, but haven't been completely thrilled.  It works best in complete darkness and small spaces.  Exactly where you want to be after you've been stuck inside in the winter?  Eh, we still are fans.

For our first go around, we kept it pretty simple -- blacklight bubbles in the bathroom.  The bubbles aren't labeled non-toxic so we tried as hard as we could to keep them off of us, but we just had too much fun popping them with our hands, faces, etc. and finding the glowing residue everywhere.  Unlike regular bubbles, these aren't at all sticky and you can't see the residue once you turn the blacklight off.  We put our glow in the dark jammies on and raved on.  Between the blacklight, glowing bubbles, and the glow wands mom snagged from Target's dollar bin, we had a serious bathroom party for a while.  It was awesome.  Mom had a hard time taking any good pictures with us jumping all over the joint, but we think the fun comes through.

Stay tuned for future blacklight fun, which fun we are pretty sure does not include using it to find pee on our carpets like this one Amazon reviewer (although mom did mention after initially trying the light in Cami's room, that after holding up well through two babies, one with projectile reflux and the other with a knack for peeing during diaper changes, the "baby's room" rug is on its last leg).

my juice glows!