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Posted by on Apr 29, 2013 | 2 comments

A Tiny Seed Ball That Packs a Big Punch

A Tiny Seed Ball That Packs a Big Punch

Every hear of “guerrilla gardening”? It’s when people try to start flower or vegetable gardens in neglected public spaces. One technique is to create “seed balls,”  otherwise known as “seed bombs.” The way you pack the seeds in a tight little ball of soil and clay protects it from wind, rain, and birds, allowing the seeds to germinate under the harshest conditions. I thought it would be a fun thing to do with my daughter Ana’s Brownie troop for Earth Day. I brought along these supplies to make about 65 seed balls: Modeling clay. I bought a 2 lb. box  Mixing containers About 4 cups of compost (taken from my worm bin) About 1 gallon of potting soil 4-5 packets of seeds. We used sunflower, cosmos, and decorative gourds. We started by evenly distributing compost and a few big clumps of the clay in four containers, so the girls could work in groups. The girls learned to break up the clay and not “make shapes” with it. It helped to...

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Posted by on Apr 24, 2013 | 0 comments

Nadja’s Animal Storytime Birthday Party

Nadja’s Animal Storytime Birthday Party

My daughter Nadja wanted an animal-themed 5th birthday party, which had me stumped at first. How could I entertain 10 rambunctious kids, age 3-7, in our small house? And what if it rains and we have to be inside the entire time? Then, I decided to hire Barbara Effron, storyteller and a former children’s librarian, whom I had met last winter through an acquaintance. And all was well. Looking back, I think Nadja’s birthday party was probably the easiest I’ve organized yet. Barbara’s performance started as soon as the children arrived and lasted about an hour. She kept the kids, ages 3 to 7, entranced the entire time. Since Nadja wanted an “animal theme” for her party, Barbara chose stories to fit. She first performed the story from a classic children’s book called Crictor, about an old lady’s pet boa constrictor. She acted out the story using the giant stuffed snake she brought with her in a gift wrapped box. Then, she led the children in the story of Three Billy...

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Posted by on Apr 17, 2013 | 0 comments

DIY Kids: Picture-Perfect Postcards

DIY Kids: Picture-Perfect Postcards

Back in January I shared my newly decorated Winter corner which included a photo of the big Del Ray snow storm of 2010. Well now that it’s Spring, out goes the Winter wonderland and in comes some new seasonally appropriate art, an oil pastel drawing by my 7-year-old son Jack. Of course I’m biased because my son made it, but I think it’s quite stunning. I watched as he carefully layered the flowers and buildings; he had a vision and he took his time to bring it to life. But I also love it because the colors are so vibrant and its simplicity reminds me of Van Gogh. I’m completely in awe of his talent. But that’s not the end of it. I loved the drawing so much I photographed it, uploaded it to Snapfish and ordered a set of postcards. I wasn’t sure how they would look, and at $.99/piece, I decided to order just a small amount before investing too much money. A week later, the postcards...

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Posted by on Apr 12, 2013 | 0 comments

Making Felt Animal Masks

Making Felt Animal Masks

For my daughter Nadja’s animal-themed 5th birthday party, we’ve hired a professional storyteller who will be doing stories like Crictor, the boa constrictor and Three Billy Goats Gruff using puppets. For party favors, I made 10 felt animal masks — count ’em, 10. The kids will get to choose one to take home. The process was pretty easy once we decided on the animals. We started out looking online for images of different animal masks and then sketched out the designs for a puppy, a walrus, an owl, a penguin, a chicken, and a rabbit. I bought all of the felt for the main section of each mask and for the details, like ears and noses, as well as other supplies at Del Ray Variety Store. The other supplies you need are: Scissors Xacto knife Craft glue Thread Elastic Straight pins Sewing needles or a sewing machine Next, I made one template for the main section of the masks and then cut two pieces of felt for each individual mask, so they would...

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Posted by on Apr 5, 2013 | 2 comments

Boredom Busters for Traveling with Kids

Boredom Busters for Traveling with Kids

Our whole family was excited about our family vacation over spring break to Istanbul, Turkey. I was a little concerned though about how my daughters (age 9 and 5) would be entertained on the trip while waiting in lines or in restaurants every day. I knew there would be downtime with nothing do to. So I devised a set of “boredom busters” to keep them from going stir crazy. I was pleasantly surprised by their success  — no batteries or WiFi required either. And the best part, these projects take up little space, cost very little, and can be replicated anywhere and anyway you travel. Paper dolls with reusable clothes I found this cute set of paper dolls in a bookstore in Istanbul on one of the first days and it proved to be a huge hit. The dolls are about 2 inches high (two men, two women, two dogs) and come with hundreds of clothing items. The outfits are made from plastic that stick on and peel off easily....

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