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Posted by on Apr 27, 2015 | 1 comment

A Rainbow-Themed Birthday Party

A Rainbow-Themed Birthday Party

For her 7th birthday, my daughter Nadja decided on a rainbow theme for her party. It was easy enough to find plenty of inspiration for the party on Pinterest and other websites — rainbow snacks, rainbow crafts, rainbow decor, even a 7-layer rainbow cake. For starters, Nadja’s older sister Ana and and her friend Gigi drew a rainbow path from the front sidewalk to the back with chalk and created a cheer that my brother-in-law caught on video. Ana found a rainbow cake recipe that she made with the help of my husband Matt. They made individual layers in aluminum pans in all of the rainbow colors (except indigo, which Ana decided was too hard to create with food coloring). Matt added homemade buttercream frosting between the layers with rainbow sprinkles as the final flourish. Ana, Gigi and Nadja cut fruit in the colors of the rainbow and shaped them into a rainbow (of sorts) on a big platter that the kids could slide onto skewers for a party snack. We...

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Posted by on Apr 22, 2015 | 3 comments

Life in the Montessori Classroom: Part 1

Life in the Montessori Classroom: Part 1

Today, we begin a tour of a local gem, the “little school around the corner,” The Del Ray Montessori School, which currently shares space in the Del Ray Methodist Church, a century-old building we’ve also featured as one of our local history posts. The Del Ray Montessori School came into being in 2011 when a few local families and Montessori educators realized their dream of starting a local Montessori school here in Del Ray. My kids have both attended a Montessori preschool and now, my 7-year-old daughter Nadja attends the elementary program (ages 6-12). I’m mesmerized every time I visit at the way the rooms are organized, the beautiful wooden materials so typical of the hands-on Montessori pedagogy, and the way the children do their “work” as they call it, so intently – at an age characterized by insatiable curiosity. In a series of classroom tours, I’ll highlight various aspects of life in the Montessori classroom, seen through the eyes of the students using their own classroom camera and through mine as...

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Posted by on Apr 15, 2015 | 0 comments

DIY Inspiration from a Trip Abroad

DIY Inspiration from a Trip Abroad

During our recent family trip to eastern Europe, I was struck by some of the local DIY projects here and there. I found them inspiring for their ingenuity, color, and the fact that most could be, or are now in fact, replicated here at home in Del Ray. Upcycled Tire Planters Even though the spring thaw is just beginning in central Ukraine, you can just imagine how cool these upcycled tires will look with flowers blooming in their centers. I could see them working well in a community or school garden. It wouldn’t be too hard to figure out how to make them either. Pysanky Eggs You may have heard of the Ukrainian pysanky eggs, the hand-painted real and wooden eggs. It’s a process similar to batik in that you use wax and a stylus to draw patterns and designs, and then you dye the eggs to bring out the designs. You do this in layers to make the designs progressively more colorful and intricate in their designs. This...

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Posted by on Apr 7, 2015 | 1 comment

A May Garden Party for a Great Cause

A May Garden Party for a Great Cause

Last fall, we wrote about the exciting plans underway for improving a popular school and community playground in Del Ray — the Mount Vernon Community School on the corner of Uhler and Mt. Vernon Ave. A lot has happened behind the scenes since then and to move into the next phase, the planning team is coordinating a special garden party event in May. Come to Mount Vernon Community School (MVCS) on Saturday, May 16 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. to see the plans up close for the playground renovation. There will also be live music, a raffle, and a plant and bake sale. MVCS parent Sue Henry has been growing more than 200 seed starts in her home for the sale – flowers, tomatoes, vegetables like kale and broccoli, and herbs like cilantro, dill, and parsley. Another group of children are growing sunflower starts for sale and others are making seed balls — all to benefit the playground project. A group of expert gardeners, Straw Hat Gardeners, will...

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Posted by on Mar 23, 2015 | 1 comment

Three More Giant Yarn Donuts Made to Order

Three More Giant Yarn Donuts Made to Order

To make an even half-dozen, the Del Ray Yarn Bombers are constructing three more yarn donuts — maple bacon, German chocolate, and sprinkle — for the Sugar Shack donut shop in Alexandria. Owner Rob Krupicka installed the first three (pink frosting, chocolate and coconut) in time for the shop’s grand opening in January. For the past couple of months, we’ve been hard at work on the final three. We had someone new join our ranks this time too, Eli, who learned to needle felt over the course of an afternoon and, fingers flying, made about five pieces in rapid succession. During the cold winter days, many of our group worked on panels for the outer layers of frosting on their own, and then delivered the completed sections one by one, so we could seam them together. Like the last time, we built up the tires with padding. And then fit the seamed outer layer onto the tire… …added more stuffing and seam up the sides. After seaming the maple “frosting,”...

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