Wednesday, October 31, 2012

In Home Entertainment: Dia de los Muertos Masks

We've been a bit waterlogged out here on the east coast, so our posts are going to be arts & crafts intensive for a while. We actually made these Dia de los Muertos masks a few weeks ago, but the holiday starts tomorrow. Mom is obsessed with having a Day of the Dead/Halloween birthday party, although no one has taken the bait yet. Oh well. We had a good time making these masks from a Paper Source kit, but mom suggests having a parent or older child help cut out some of the necessary decorations ahead of time (with a circle punch if you have one). These are certainly doable without a kit, but mom is incapable of going into Paper Source without a purchase occurring (and, given everything she could have bought, all of which we know would be entirely necessary, this was pretty useful). We think they came out spooky and pretty at the same time!

Monday, October 29, 2012

In Home Entertainment: Top 5 Minimal Supply Arts and Crafts

even mermaids need umbrellas for Sandy.

So while everyone else has been out buying water and toilet paper, mom's been buying up arts and craft supplies. If we are going to be in the house for the next three days, who can wipe their bottom with what will be the least of our problems. If you went the more traditional route, however, and are stuck inside looking for something else to do besides drink bottled water, try out one of our arts & crafts that require minimal supplies. Chances are you already have the things you need lying around! Stay dry!

1.  Applesauce Cinnamon Dough - this super yummy smelling "dough" requires only three ordinary household items: applesauce, cinnamon and a plastic baggie. And it's so easy to do you can do it in the dark if need be.

2.  Marker Tie Dyed Garland - you don't actually need to make a garland, but if you use some glitter, it might help reflect what little daylight it sounds like we'll have the next few days. And you'll have no use for coffee filters if the lights are out either!

3.  Apple Tree Stamping - we know everyone has been hitting the fall festivals hard and chances are you've got some extra apples about. Cut 'em, stamp 'em. That's about it.

4.  Bathtub Painting - this might not be a good one if you've filled your tub with backup water, but it'll work in a shower, too. This is a good one to save for when the kiddos are really starting to get restless. Everyone likes a little naked paint time.

5.  Tissue Paper Bottle Lights - save those flashlights for the real deal and make yourself some little bottle lights. What? You don't have mini fairy lights sitting around? Pshaw. A tea light will work with a little adult supervision, too.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Giving In: Makeup for Cam

My requests for accessories and all things sparkly have really kicked into high gear lately. I have been repeatedly denied makeup, but after accompanying mom and Kane on two doctor's visits this week (one for Kane's 4-year checkup where I witnessed his champion balks at the hearing and eyesight tests, saw firsthand what it looks like when a 4-year old in the 90th percentile for height and weight is administered four shots (not pretty) and where I was sneak-attacked with the flu mist.  one where we all went to mom's doctor for her acute sinusitis and double ear infections), as we sat for 40 minutes waiting for prescriptions, mom gave in. In case you're not in the know, the glittery lip gloss must be reapplied every 3 seconds. Kane has also decided that "after giving it a chance," he now "likes purple" and, thus, is sharing my purple eyeshadow.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Keep It Local: Pause and Play at the National Museum of American History

We've been so slammed this fall that we've been incredibly blog deficient. And, in keeping with that, we'd like to report on a super cool pop-up play gallery at the National Museum of American History that, well, closed yesterday. Awesome! Super helpful, we know. We have a complaint box, which also needs to get taken out, so chances are your complaint might sit around for awhile.

We stumbled upon the pause and play gallery a few weeks ago after zooming through our favorites at the museum and setting out to look for Kermit. Turns out they put him in a "pause and play" gallery for kids on the first floor. There was a wide variety of hands-on activities for kids, including drawing your own superhero or graffiti and building legos. And they had the REAL Superman costume, which was KNIT. Who knew?

Oh well. We went. It was cool. Keep your eyes peeled for more! 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Keep It Local: "Roy Lichtenstein: A Restrospective" at the National Gallery of Art

Mom and I played hookey from the pumpkin farm field trip with school this week (we're already a bit od'd on fall festivals) and went to the National Gallery of Art to check out the new Lichtenstein exhibit. WOW.

First off, it's ginormous - spanning two floors and includes more than 100 of his works. Second, the bright colors, bold symbols, and "comic book" style of much of his artwork is right in my wheelhouse. I told mom my favorite was the "superhero" painting (one of his "war" paintings entitled "Whaam"), but, I also spent a long time checking out some of the busts and asking mommy "who did that to those ladies?" (we have an ongoing discussion of whether or not statues were once alive). I was also obviously a big fan of his GW painting.

I'm really on the move these days (as you can see from the pictures below) - I don't slow down for much. But mom did get me to sit and look, for several minutes at a time, at a few of the paintings. I mean if you want me to sit still for art, art with superheroes is probably as close as you're gonna get. Unless I'm making the art, then I'll sit still for as long as you let me. I kept asking mom where I could do art at the museum, but no dice.

There is no photography allowed in the exhibit, but the Washington Post has a nice slideshow of it. The exhibit is at the National Gallery until January 13, 2013 and then it heads to London. We highly recommend it!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

In Home Entertainment: Stained Glass Pumpkins

It was recently my family's turn to have Shabbat at school and I insisted on doing an art project. I really wanted to make something "spooky," but given that we were focusing more on the general fall season at school, mom steered me towards making pumpkins. I then said I wanted to make marbelized pumpkins, but mom thought trying to get 12 preschoolers marbling at one time was probably not a good idea. I've been "painting" with bleeding art tissue paper a lot lately, so mom thought we could do a take on our Hannukah stained glass project from last year.

Mom found an outline of a pumpkin online, altered the shading and gradients a bit, printed them onto black paper and cut them out. I tore up orange, red, yellow and green tissue paper and helped cut up contact paper and we were all set. We placed the tissue paper onto the sticky contact paper and then brushed over it with water, letting the colors swirl together. When it was dry, mom glued the pumpkin outline on top and cut around it.

We also made one on watercolor paper at home (by brushing the tissue paper on with diluted glue), which really gives more of a painted look, but doesn't let quite as much sunlight through. Both are pretty cool and my friends seemed to enjoy making them, too!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Keep It Local: Patuxent Research Refuge

There are so, so many places on our summer bucket list that we never had a chance to visit. And Patuxent Research Refuge was up there. So on one of our many holiday days off of school (already!), we donned our most sensible hiking gear (I obviously insisted on accessories) and set off to see what this refuge was all about. We checked out the Visiting Center first, but mom quickly realized we needed to run off some steam before we'd be able to focus on exhibits.

So we took off in search of Goose Pond Trail, but didn't make it much farther than that. Both Kane and I really wanted to play off in the woods just a bit -- Kane wanted to "build a playground" and I was most interested in "walking the balance beam" while holding all my various accessories. We took turns spotting wildlife -- some very cool kind of slug, which I kept telling mom not to touch; lots and lots of geese (likely fleeing from the hunting going on in the "refuge"); woodpeckers; spiders, etc. And we spent some time building fairy beds, turned Cami pillows, out of the spongy moss.

When mom tired of trying to corral us away from wetlands and hunting blinds, we headed back to the Visitor Center. There is an extensive, interactive set of ecosystem exhibits, which was a little over our head. We liked pressing all of the buttons, but mom couldn't get us to slow down and focus on what we were doing. But then we came upon a series of animal exhibits, including a super cool ("spooky" as Kane said) one of wolves eating a deer carcass. Pretty rad. And there was a nice kids corner in the lobby that had some neat books, an art project, and several animal pelts to check out.

Out of all the "nature center" spots we've visited, this one was the nicest and offered a good variety of stroller accessible trails while providing nice spots to veer off-road a bit (although our stroller days are almost finally behind us for good!). We had a great time and are looking forward to returning in the summer when the tram tour is up and running!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Cocktails for a Cause: Dine Out for Healthy DC Schools

Sick of your kiddos trying to heist your drink and need a night off for a real cocktail?  We know mom does.  Fortunately, DC Greens and the DC Farm to School Network are hosting a kickoff event next week for Growing Healthy Schools Week on Monday, October 15th.  Through their GiveWell DC initiative, EatWell DC will donate 15% of all purchases made between 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. at any of their 5 restaurants: Commissary, Logan Tavern, The Pig, The Heights and Grillfish.

AND our mom (Not-So-SAHM), KidFriendly DC's Linda, Darcy from No Monsters in My Bed and Shannon from But I Do Have a Law Degree will all be cocktailing at The Heights around 7:30 p.m. (subject to the usual contingencies of motherhood).  So, if you ever wanted to chat with real DC bloggers (we don't count mom as one, but the other three mentioned above certainly pass the test) or need an excuse for a cocktail (mom never needs one, but it's nice to have), come on out!  Oh, and you can eat, too.

You can make reservations here:

For those who don't yet know, DC Greens connects communities to healthy food in the nation's capital.  They support gardens and farmers market food access programs and run the DC Farm to School Network.  Learn more about DC Greens at

don't let this happen to you -- come meet our mom for a cocktail!  

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wax on, Wax Off: First Karate Lesson

I had my first karate lesson this past week.  I was psyched to learn the "guard stance."  Mom was psyched that I'll also be learning about "first time listening" or, as she'd say, "do as I bleepin say the first time I tell you!"  We'll see about that.  They told me it would take about 15 months to get my green belt.  I told them I'd be skipping the purple belt.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Dance: Current Fave Tunes and Moves

Kane: Holds dance lessons in the living room to teach "The Kaney Dance" while singing the "Kaney Dance Song":
Make Two Fists, Shake Your Hands
Close Your Eyes, Do the Kaney Dance

In the car, requests "his jam" -- El Camino's "Lonely Boy."

Cameron: Requests the Violent Femmes "Blister in the Sun" on repeat.  Apparently it's a really short song, so between home and school, we may listen to it upwards of 11-14 times.  Loves to dance to "Georgie music" (Jack Johnson's Curious George soundtrack) with daddy and insists that he "holds her hands."

Monday, October 1, 2012

Keep It Local: Montpelier Family Farms Family Farm Park

This summer was a blast, but we're all quite happy that fall has arrived.  So we thought we'd kick it off properly with a fall festival at Montpelier Farms even before the pumpkins were ready to pick.  Well, actually, mom thought there were pumpkins.  But, fortunately, there were plenty of other fun fall activities available.  I was upset about the lack of pumpkins, but forgot all about the gourds when I got the chance to make a scarecrow!  The scarecrow making area was right next to the "football lounge," however, and I spent more time watching football while poor mom and dad made the scarecrow.  But Cami oversaw all the clothing choices and I helped mom draw on the face once he was all stuffed.

We spent some time in the kiddie corn maze and then some time in the real corn maze, where we did our best to shake mom and dad.  We rode tractor big wheels and raced rubber duckies (a pirate and a princess, obvi).  And you know we ate up some caramel corn.

It was our first trip to this particular farm and mom and dad seemed to appreciate the low-keyness of it.  Although pumpkins are now ripe for the picking, so it might be a different story.  But, it was just as fun as some of the larger (and more crowded) festivals.  Check it out!