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Showing posts from June, 2010

Garage saler can’t part with every memory

If one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, someone is bound to hit paydirt. We have, after procrastinating for many years, made the decision to finally have a garage sale. As a family, we know now that we are complete, with no more babies to grace the high chair or the play pen. No more infants to require squishy toys or any of the three thousand little outfits we have accumulated over the past nine years. But as in most marriages, there is one sentimental sap of a pack rat, determined to find a practical potential use or a direct tug at the heart strings for each and every item. This would be me, and our entire basement is filled to the tippy top with tender memories and future crafty endeavors. “My baby wore this outfit when we ate dinner at my Grandparents. I just can’t part with it.” “I could probably take this gross of receiving blankets and sew them into quilts or bags or something. Better keep them.” The husband is more of the everything-must-go type, ready to unload an

Today's nature activity was well intended...but oh well

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Today I lead the first of two summer hikes for children (and people who have them) at Wooster Memorial Park. I had a great plan where we would read a story, learn to truly observe nature, hike and use our new found skill, and finish off with a stunning craft. This beauty right here: It's as easy as 1, 2, 3. 1. Find a leaf and glue it (Tacky Glue is the greatest stuff in the world) on some paper. 2. Using markers, add legs, arms, captions, etc. 3. Glue on some googly eyes. (Everyone loves googly eyes.) What a great and free community event I had planned! I was so excited. In fact, I was so excited, that I loaded up my kids and our picnic lunches and forgot all of my materials at home, sitting neatly packed in my favorite backpack, in the mudroom. Not so good. But thanks to the fabulous parents that came out in the air so thick with humidity and mosquitoes, it was a wonderful morning, craft or no craft, book or no book. The skill of survival applies to everything, and with a

The Battle of Fried Zucchini

It was a balmy summer evening. The faint sound of distant lawn mowers and children playing rang through the house loud and clear, for inside the home there were no sounds at all. Not even the sound of a tiny mouth chewing a tiny piece of zucchini. Food battles with children are just about as fun as ingrown toenails. For all of the begging and pleading and attempts to mask even the tastiest of vegetables, they still manage to sit there, arms folded, staring into space and not eating them. “It will make you grow strong!” we say. “It will make your hair curly!” we fib. “It will give you magical powers!” we lie. And eventually we just give in and hold nothing back. “You will eat this because I said so and I’m the boss and whatever I say you have to do.” But they still don’t eat it, because it’s something horrible like a green bean. Or zucchini. It all started during an afternoon of running errands cross county. When the troops got hungry (and maybe their mom was a bit hungry too), I

Sticky and sweet, two good (and odd) uses for vinegar

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There are about a zillion uses for my favorite french fry topping, but lately I've come upon two new ones that have seemed to revolutionize my life this week. How revolutionary? I'll give you three words: DOLLY PARTON STICKERS I'm a big Dolly fan, for those who don't know. Any woman who can endure that much plastic surgery and stand there and be proud of it (and how amazing she looks at her age!) is OK in my book. Not to mention her song writing talents, of which the world should be envious. So finding an article on her in an old AARP magazine was like gold when I had this new craft project looming around in my head on a rainy day last week. Make your own stickers, Dolly Parton or otherwise 1. Cut pictures or designs from magazines (covers don't work quite as well), craft papers, etc. 2. Lay them out on a cookie sheet, upside down. 3. Mix together equal parts white school glue and white vinegar . 4. Paint the back of each picture liberally. Let dry. 5. Repeat. 6

Waking up is hard to do, but well worth it

I have these friends who have been getting up before the crack of dawn to jog for many years. And for years I have laughed at them because they were, in one happy-go-lucky moment, combining my two least favorite activities. Waking up early and running. “Just you wait,” said the oldest and wisest of the group, “wait until your kids are older and involved in a million activities and one day you’ll realize that waking up extra early is the only way to get anything done for yourself.” Wouldn ’t you know, that day has come and shown its ugly crack-of-dawn head and stared right into my half-open, sleepy-puffy eyes. And smiled. I am not typically a morning person, and when I wake up I operate in complete zombie mode for the first good 20 minutes of my day. (I often have to recheck mid-morning to see if I did things, like feed the dog, pack juice pouches in lunches, eat breakfast.) Eventually the coffee kicks in, but during that window of time before it does I am not the friendliest person

Mooching with the First National PBA (Piggy Banks of America)

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“Mom, now you owe me fifty dollars!” It had been one of those days, the kind when by afternoon you wonder why your feet hurt so much and then you realize that you have neglected to sit down the entire day and you have literally run through the house trying to pack lunches and clothe children while you yourself forgot to eat breakfast and you’re wearing socks that were never meant to be together. But as it goes, that’s just life with kids. As a parent, you start letting your guard down on things because you’ve got to choose your battles. When faced with one daughter eating crusty broccoli and noodles discovered from last night’s dinner and a son who is wearing the same old t-shirt and camouflage pants to school for the third time this week, I have to say the spoiled food won. I can only be in one place at one time. I’m only person, and I’m certainly going to make mistakes. Perfect parenting doesn’t exist, and if it did, I’d surly pelt it with leftover broccoli and stick a piece of dried

Nature Sensory Scavenger Hunt

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I can't take credit for this one. Credit goes to a friend of mine who is an amazing outdoor educator. She created this activity for Camp Buckeye where we both do a little side teaching. But it's just too good not to share. You really only need an egg carton ('cause it makes it cool), some woods, a good idea of how to avoid poison ivy, a camera, and some simple art supplies. Tailor this activity to match your child's age group be changing the number of 'holes' in the egg carton you use or the descriptive words you are searching for. For the activity we did at camp, we used all 12 holes and listed the following adjectives along the top inside of the carton: Smooth Rough Fragile Dead Alive Red Blue (*This one is really tough-- be creative!) Spikey Dry Old Beautiful Soft Once you've got all of your items collected, arrange your collection in a collage of some sort. You can spell out the first letter of your name or the letter of the week. You can lay them o