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Posted by on Sep 16, 2013 | 0 comments

Adventures in Apple Picking

Adventures in Apple Picking

The first apple picking excursion of the year means fall is right around the corner. We were in New York last weekend for a family reunion and wanted an outdoor activity to do with the kids before the actual reunion festivities began, so apple picking it was! The fun began with a tractor hayride from the parking area to deep into the orchard. We arrived early in the morning, so we pretty much had the orchard to ourselves. The best part of apple picking is taste testing, plenty of varieties to try too. There were two bag sizes, the smaller one was $10 and the larger one was $19, fill ’em up as high as you can. Apple picking wouldn’t be complete without a few farm animals. Many of the local orchards around VA also have animals young kids love to visit. Do you have any favorite apple picking spots in the Northern Virginia area? Here are a few places from the Washington Post that I’d like to...

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Posted by on Sep 5, 2013 | 0 comments

Wacky Wooden Spoon People

Wacky Wooden Spoon People

I love the idea of using everyday objects for kid crafts — especially simple projects using supplies around the house or that you can pick up anywhere. I saw this idea on Etsy for painting wooden spoons to look like people and knew it would be something my kids (age 4 and 7) and I would enjoy. We found a pack of four wooden spoons at Del Ray Variety and already had the paint, so this project couldn’t be easier or simpler. My kids picked two spoons each to paint as members of our family. I helped out with some minor details with a Sharpy — eyelashes, curly hair and accessories — but it was mostly all their work. The craft paint is chalky after it dries, so I applied a couple coats of Mod Podge to give the spoon peeps a glossy shine. I could also see using cotton balls, yarn and pom-poms to make the hair. Endless possibilities on a spoon. We all agreed who the girl was (me), but...

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Posted by on Aug 29, 2013 | 1 comment

DIY Kids: Nature Weaving

DIY Kids: Nature Weaving

When we go on weekend getaways, I like to bring a craft project along for the kids to do, or at least some basic supplies – scissors, glue, yarn, wire, paper, and so on – so we can make something up. On this trip to a cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains, I had an idea to weave found objects in nature like leaves, bark, and moss into a loom made from sticks. On Saturday afternoon, I found some perfectly shaped sticks near a swimming hole, with long handles and V-shaped openings. We strung the yarn from side to side to make the warp. I used gardening twine for mine. Then, we used the various nature objects to make the artistic designs, weaving them “over and under” the warp. Sometimes, we just pushed pieces in where they fit best. Here’s mine… Nadja’s… And Ana’s with a wire spiral as an additional flourish… We displayed them on our cabin porch until it was time to leave. Then, I carefully packed...

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Posted by on Aug 19, 2013 | 3 comments

DIY Kids: Nature Journaling at Huntley Meadows Park

DIY Kids: Nature Journaling at Huntley Meadows Park

When I signed up to take a nature journaling class workshop about a month ago, I enrolled my 9-year-old daughter Ana for the same class designed for children, and Katie enrolled her 7-year-old son, Jack. Both classes were taught by Margaret Wohler, a vivacious and talented staff naturalist and illustrator for Huntley Meadows Park, a 1,500 acre wetland park in Fairfax County just a few miles down Route 1 from Alexandria. Even though it was raining steadily on the Sunday afternoon of the class, we stayed dry under a pavilion at the park as Margaret gave the kids some basic sketching lessons and warm-up exercises. She talked about learning five basic lines to look for when drawing — a straight line, a curved line, a circle, a dot, and an angle. If you can draw those, you can draw anything! She gave the kids a chance to practice drawing those very shapes by copying simple designs. Like the 19th century naturalists, Margaret taught the method of recording the date, location, time, weather,...

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Posted by on Aug 5, 2013 | 0 comments

A Girls’ Shared Bedroom Two Ways

A Girls’ Shared Bedroom Two Ways

My daughters’ shared bedroom started out with their hand-me-down bunk beds (passed down three generations) set up side by side. I wrote about their 8 x 10 room, a “perfect fit,” when we repainted and redecorated two years ago almost to the day. It was a happy arrangement… …until, over the winter, they began clamoring for bunk beds. So, in doing so, we made other changes to make this alternate arrangement work. And, in the meantime, we had turned their closet into Ana’s hideaway office. And I created a bird “paint-by-numbers” art wall on their door. Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let me share one big revelation and piece of advice: If you’re going to rearrange and redecorate your child’s room and if you don’t repaint the room in doing so, it will retain a decidedly “lived in” look, which may, very likely, include an accumulation of stickers. That is, if you didn’t enforce a “no sticker rule on walls and furniture” in the first place. As Ana...

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