Friday, August 1, 2014

86) Acorn Hill Playground at Robert E. Lee Park









It's been a few years since our Playground Tour and while we still spend plenty of time at the playground, we mostly visit the same few favorite spots. I had kinda of forgotten the excitement of checking out a brand new playground until a brand new playground opened just a few miles from home. The Acorn Hill playground opened in June at Robert E Lee park and we finally had a chance to check it out. The girls gave it an imediate two thumbs up. The playground has a great sand pit, cool climbing equipment, little structures to play in, swings and the coolest wooden blocks we may have ever seen.



To get to the playground you take the Falls Road entrance to Robert E Lee Park (first right after Pepe's Pizza if you are headed north on Falls) and follow the main driveway down to the Robert E Lee main parking lot. After parking you follow the driveway back to the bridge that crosses the dam and follow the path up the hill. The playground sits at the top of the hill with a great view of the reservoir. It also has a great breeze, which I was very thankful for on the hot day we visited. The playground is mostly shaded, another huge bonus on a hot summer day.Acorn Hill has been a definite new favorite and one which I think will probably become one of our new regular hang outs this Fall.






Wednesday, June 25, 2014

27) Strawberry Yogurt Popsicles


There are a few things we do every summer without fail, swimming, trip to the beach, visiting our favorite gardens and maybe most importantly berry picking. We usually make several picking trips a year with either cousins or friends but my most favorite is picking strawberries. Mostly because it seems like summer doesn't really start till we do. This year was the little brothers first trip. He happily sat in the field desperately trying to reach the ripe red strawberries just out of his reach. Finally just before we left he got one, stuck it right in his mouth and gave me the most satisfied look as red juice streamed down his chin. Success. Needless to say his sisters ate more then their fair share as well. Despite the pick one, eat one technique that generally seems to be implemented by all kids picking berries we still managed to pick 8lbs of strawberries!


We brought the strawberries home, filled our kitchen sink with warmish water and a splash of vinegar and let the strawberries soak in the bath. The strawberry bath was something I learned at a Mesh Baltimore class I took last year and the girls thought bathing strawberries was both silly and awesome. After the bath we divided up the strawberries. A bulk of them were cut and frozen for smoothies and other things throughout the year. Eating fresh June strawberries in February is one of those things that I love on a day when I feel like I just can't take winter anymore. We put a small bowl of strawberries in the fridge to be eaten right away and set aside an additional pint to make Strawberry Yogurt Popsicles. Every year we try out some fun strawberry recipe. We have made ice cream, jam, and even soap. So a few days before our picking, when I saw a recipe for the Strawberry Yogurt Pops on the Kitchn's instagram I knew it was a recipe we would most definitely need to try out.


The recipe only calls for a few ingredients:
1 pint of strawberries
1/3 cup of sugar (you could probably do honey if you didn't want to do sugar)
lemon juice
1 cup of yogurt (we used vanilla Greek yogurt)

The Popsicles were very quick and easy to make. Honestly the girls did a lot of it. We started by cleaning and slicing a pint of strawberries. We then added 1/3 cup of sugar to the strawberries and a little lemon juice and let them sit in a bowl for 20 minutes to macerate. After 20 minutes we took the strawberry mix and poured it into the blender and blended it up just to break the strawberries down a bit. If your strawberries were ripe enough you might be able to just smash them with a fork a bit and have slightly chunkier fruit pieces. We then poured the blended fruit back into the bowl, stirred in the yogurt and poured the mix into our Popsicle molds. A few hours in the freezer and they were ready to sample.



If you read the list of ingredients above you already know these were delicious. There was really no way to go wrong here and the girls have been eating these almost every night. I am hoping to pick some blueberries in the next few weeks. I see blueberry yogurt pops in our future.


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

172) Cardboard Roll Flower Printing


After this past Winter we could not be happier to finally be enjoying Spring around here. We have been spending most of our time outside, at the playground, talking to neighbors we haven't seen in months, picking flowers and not wearing shoes. It has been lovely! We have however had quite a bit of rain, so on one of our rainy afternoons I saw this simple cardboard roll flower printing project on Treehouse Kids and Crafts Instagram feed. Five minutes later we were making our own printed flowers. I love this kind of project that can literally be set up in a moments notice.


All you need is some cardboard rolls, we used a few toilet paper rolls we had in the recycling bin, tempera paint, paint brushes and paper. I started by taking the cardboard tubes and cutting slits on one end of the tube to create the petals. The first tube I just did straight cuts and bent them back, the second tube I cut more of a petal shape, but they both worked well. The girls then took the cardboard tubes and dipped the flower petal end into the paint and stamped the tube onto the paper. Both girls really liked this project. The Bean is always a fan of stamping, but she particularly seemed to like this one. Once they had stamped a few flowers, they used brushes to go back in and add stems, grass, more petals, leaves and more.


Both girls painted several papers, always the sign of a good project. The flowers were so simple and turned out beautifully. I also loved seeing how both girls used the same stamps to create something so individual and unique. Watching how they put their own spin on the project was definitely my favorite part. A nice way to spend out April shower making May flowers.










Thursday, May 8, 2014

171) Rolled Paper Beads




If you are a mom we know in real life you might want to hold off on reading this post until after Sunday or just act surprised when we give you one of these necklaces for Mother's Day. The last few weeks we have been spending some rainy afternoons making these fun and easy to make paper beads. Each bead only takes a few moments to make so over the course of a few afternoons, even with the relative short attention span of a 3 and 5 year old, we have been able to make enough beads for a few necklaces. We are now starting to work on turning these beads into necklaces as presents for all the mothers we love for mother day.



The idea for the beads came from Martha Stewart's Crafts For Kids book, which Is filled with tons and tons of awesome kid projects! We have only tried a few from this book but there are so many projects in there that I can't wait to try. To make the beads we used:
Colorful paper cut into 1"triangles
Glue stick
Drinking straws

I started by cutting some colorful paper into 1" wide long triangles. We used a Kid Made Modern paper from Target but you could also use an origami paper, or even old kid drawings/paintings work for this project. I used a paper cutter to cut the triangles making sure the wide end of the triangle was 1" wide but you could also cut the paper with scissors. 




Once the papers were all cut I showed the girls how to rolls the beads. Placing the pattern side down, we started with the wide side of the triangle closest to them. They then placed a plastic drinking straw on the paper and slowly rolled the straw and paper away from them. When the paper was mostly wrapped around the straw they used the glue stick to put a little glue on the end of the triangle before rolling the rest of the triangle up. Once the paper was entirely wrapped around we pulled the paper bead off the straw and put all the finished beads into a bowl. The Bee had no trouble making the beads. After I showed her how to make the first one she was off making a bunch. The Bean took a few tries before getting the hang of it, but once she did I was impressed with how well she did. We now have a bowl full of paper beads and have started stringing them onto pieces of elastic to make some necklaces. I am hoping to get a few more done tomorrow so we can give them to all our favorite moms on Sunday.


We also made a few beads using triangles cut from the girls drawings. I loved the way these turned out and using their drawings made them seem so much more fun and personal. Not to mention a great way to use the ever growing stack of artwork we always seem to accumulate. I think the kid art beads would be perfect for Mother's Day.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

91) Plastic Cup Stacking


It is a fact of parenting that we spend lots of money every year buying toys for children but without fail the best toys are always something that was never intended to be played with. A few months ago I did a major pantry clean out and came across a large stack of red plastic cups leftover from some previous party. I set the cups in the hallway as I cleaned out the pantry and came back to find that they had disappeared. When I looked in the next room I found the girls quietly playing together with the cups. The were stacking them on top of one another building a huge wall of cups. From that point on the cups have become one of the most favorite toys at our house. 



After months of playing the cups still remain a favorite. The girls love stacking, seeing how high, how long and how big they can stack. Wildly giggling when the cups finally topple. Sometimes pointing fingers and each other for knocking them down. They also like to build little houses and towers for their dolls. The cups make the perfect hideouts for their little characters. 


The cups seem to have endless possibilities and I love watching the girls come up with new ways to incorporate the cups into their play. All for the cost of $2.99, they might be one of my most favorite toys too.





Thursday, April 24, 2014

170) Lemon Print Wrapping Paper


I always get really annoyed with myself at this time of year. As soon as the weather starts to warm up I feel the need to clean the house. Every year when this happens I always wonder why I didn't do more cleaning all winter when I was stuck in the house. Why do I always wait till the weather is beautiful to start cleaning out the house. All of this is to say that while cleaning out the fridge I came across two long forgotten lemons in the back of the veggie drawer. Just as I was about to throw them out I thought maybe we could find something fun to so with them before they hit the trash can.


I cut the lemons in half and placed each half on plate with some different colors of tempera paint. We then pulled out a few pieces of large paper. The girls then painted each lemon half with a brush and then stamped the lemon on the paper. They were amazed at seeing the patterns the lemon left on the paper. The Bean was a little disappointed at first because she had so much paint on her lemon that the lines didn't show up. I showed her how to print the lemon with a little less paint so the lines would be clear. She then decided that she actually didn't want the lines to show up and painted back into the lemons she printed. But that how making art with three year olds goes. She was happy with it and who am I to say there is a right or wrong way to print lemons. 


The Bee on the other hand loved meticulously painting the lemons and carefully stamping them on her paper. Both girls stamped several large sheets of paper. We let the sheets dry and have been using them as wrap presents. The large sheets have made the perfect wrapping paper and I see us making more in the near future!




Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Childhoodlist on Instagram


We have been working on lots of fun projects lately and even revisiting some past projects.  Try as I might, getting to write about them on the blog seems to be taking me longer and longer these day. While I am slowly but surely getting back to writing, I have been posting lots of photos of the things we have been working on over at Instagram. You can find photos of crayons, projects and our adventures on Instagram @childhoodlist or #childhoodcrayons. If you are on Instagram come find me, I love seeing others photos and adventures.



Monday, April 14, 2014

170) Sticker Resist Dyed Eggs


I was just contemplating what kind of eggs we should dye this week for Easter and remembered that I never shared the eggs we did last year. Honestly I am thinking we might do the same thing this year because they were fun to make and turned out so cool.


We started by hard boiling a dozen white eggs, then when they were cool to the touch, I gave each of the girls a few pages of reinforcement stickers. Which bring back a wave of memories from middle school, but that's a blog post for another day. The girls covered the eggs with stickers and I helped, making sure the stickers where fully smoothed onto the eggs. We then filled a few containers of colored dye, I actually think we just used one of those kits that you get at the store. However since it is over a year since we did it my memory is a little foggy, I guess that's what I get for waiting so long to write about this. 


After letting the eggs sit in one color we took the eggs out, let them dry a little and removed the stickers. We played around with layering the colors, adding more stickers and placing the eggs into a different color. Some of the stickers came off after a while but that just seemed to add to the effect.


 When we were all done we removed all the stickers and let the eggs dry. The layered colors and round sticker outlines turned out beautifully. The girls also played around with drawing on the eggs in crayon before dipping into the dye. Another technique I hope we get to explore again this year, but check back next year for more on that one.


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

169) Tea Scented Play Dough


To say this winter has been brutal would be a giant understatement. We have had every kind of precipitation and weeks upon weeks of freezing temps. I know that I always complain about the winter weather on this blog but this winter most definitely takes the cake. My saving grace this winter has really been play dough. It is something both the Bee and Bean can always agree on, they can almost always play nicely together (at least for a while) and there are endless play dough possibilities. 



On one of our many snow days, the girls woke up needing something new and I woke up needing a warm cup with a little caffeine. Combining a cup of hot tea with play dough seems like the perfect combinations for this winter. Not to mention that we have made a lot of batches of play dough this winter so something a little different was a nice change. I originally read about tea infused play dough a few years ago and have been wanting to try it for a long time, but just finally got around to it. We started by getting out a bunch of tea bags, I am a fan of a good cup of tea so we had plenty to choose from. The girls selected three types of tea, a chai, a passion fruit and an earl gray.


We started by brewing each of the three tea bags in a cup of hot water. The girls liked smelling each one and picking their favorites. While the tea was steeping I started to mix the play dough. I used our regular recipe but halved it since I was making 3 different flavors. 
1 cup of flour
1/2 cup of salt
1 tablespoon of oil
2 teaspoons of cream of tartar 

I mixed all the ingredients in a saucepan and then added one cup of the steeped tea to the pot. I mixed all the ingredients over high heat until they came together to form the dough, about 5 minutes. After the dough formed a ball I dumped it out on the counter to cool and kneaded the dough once it was cool to the touch. After fully cooling I turned the first batch of chai play dough over to the girls and started the next two batches using the same recipe. 



We didn't add any food coloring to the chai or passion fruit play doughs the teas had a nice pinkish color and didn't need any color. The Earl Gray didn't really have a color so the girls decided they wanted to add yellow food coloring to that batch. The Bee explained to me that the tea smelled yellow, a fascinating statement that made me think that matching colors to smells could be a fun experiment for another day.


Over time the three batches of play dough got mashed together but the delicious tea smell held strong making the play dough fun to play with for a few weeks. We stored the dough in a plastic bag when not in use and it has lasted a good while, seen plenty of use and been a huge savior on all these cold, snowy afternoons.





Thursday, February 6, 2014

168) Cardboard Tube Heart Printing


I have never been a fan of winter, but this winter has been particularly brutal. Record breaking cold temperatures, freezing precipitation of every kind, winter colds and a new baby means we have spent more time inside this winter then ever before. In order to control the craziness of cabin fever we have been doing lots and lots of projects lately. Good for this blog, not so good for the cleanliness and organization of my house. While we already have one Valentines project, our Play Dough Valentines, underway, I saw this very easy heart printing on Pinterest and thought we would give it a shot. 


I used two toilet paper tubes (one for each of the girls) and pinched one end together to form the bottom of the heart and pinched the middle of the top together to form the top of the heart. I then used our good old metal trays and squeezed in a little red and purple washable tempera. I got out a few large sheets of white paper and let the girls stamp to the hearts content. This is the kind of project I love on an impromptu snow/sick day. It took no prior planning, less then 5 minutes to set up and the girls spent a good 20 minutes happily printing.


Once they had finished printing we left the papers to dry. The next day we used a large heart shaped paper punch (though you could also just cut hearts out with scissors) to cut out a bunch of hearts for the girls to use for the class valentines. The Bee has been all about writing this year and has been working every day to write a Valentine for each of the kids in her class. The Bean is a little less concerned with Valentines day, so I have been writing the names of her classmates on the hearts for her but love that she made the artwork on the front.


If you are looking for some more Valentine ideas here are some Valentine projects we have done in the past:
Play dough Valentines
DIY Doily Heart Printed Shirt
Play Dough Printing
Contact Paper and Glitter Valentines
Borax Crystal Hearts
Needle Felted Heart Sweater
Valentines Station
Oil and Paper Heart Garland
Valentine's Doily Printing