Crafting With Kids: Autumn Leaves
By: Sung Bin
This time of year, we love to collect the many colors of autumn in leaves. There are so many rich reds and yellows and we love to use them to craft decorations. This week we have been reading The Little Yellow Leaf by Carin Berger, a beautifully illustrated tale of a single autumn leaf who finds another brave companion. The book inspired us to make a window decoration with several colorful leaves and some clear packing tape. Technically, you are supposed to use clear contact paper and press the leaves between two sheets of clear contact paper for a transparent leaf decoration but we only had clear packing tape around. First, I laid out strips of the clear packing tape overlapping slightly to form a larger sheet and my little one and I arranged the leaves on the sticky side of the sheet. The fun part is picking out the leaves and pressing them flat on the sticky tape. Then we laid out another sheet made of strips on top of the leaves with the sticky side facing them to form sort of a sandwich with the leaves in between. We cut the finished sheet into the shape of a large leaf and trimmed it with some pieces of colored in paper. The finished product was a collaborative work that made for wonderful window art to usher in the Fall. We enjoyed collecting the leaves and talking about the changes in the season.
Crafting with kids: dragons!
By: Sung Bin
This week we have been all about Dragons. I try to find seasonal crafts for my three year old and I to work on together every week so we geared up for this one by reading some dragon stories and books. Our favorite is the Knight and the Dragon by Tomie de Paola, a story about unlikely friends, and Puff the magic dragon and Merlina and the magic spell (great book for harvest theme too), our close runner ups. Our dragon craft was a dragon puppet made out of craft or popsicle sticks, paper, paint, googley eyes and glue. First, we painted some 3" strips of paper and folded them accordion style for the body of the dragon. We cut out a dragon head and tail shape from paper and glued on eyes and decorated the tail. We used the pictures from the books to help with the head and tail cutouts. Then we glued the pieces together with the popsicle sticks glued an inch of the top of the stick to the base of the head and tail to move the dragon around. My daughter wanted one side of the dragon's face to be "fierce" and the other to be "happy" so we just drew and glued the two faces to be able to flip them. While waiting for all the glue to dry, we also baked some dragon bread by shaping bread dough into dragons embellishing them with pumpkin seeds and raisins for the scales and eyes. It was a little treat/snack after our hard work of crafting. When we were done feasting, we had a little puppet show and story time by making up stories about dragons in caves. We had a great time making and baking. Next week we are planning to make some Pompom apples and bake apple muffins. Happy September!
By: Sung Bin
This summer we had the chance to visit the Fairy Houses of Beebee Woods Exhibit at Historic Highfield Hall in Falmouth and it was one of my top ten events of this year. There were so many artists with their own take on fairy dwellings and my daughter and company were completely entranced. Filled with many great details, the tooth fairy house with the mirrored wall, the beach house with tiny Tibetan flags, the bird on top of a woodland ladder, these were all such a treat to explore. Not too long ago my little one and I made our own indoor fairy garden with tiny benches and evening lighting. We would pretend to see fairies in our
local miniature garden. If you haven't had a chance to see the exhibit, here is a visual of what you missed (http://weefolkstudio.com/category/fairy-houses/).
It is sadly no longer at the hall but Sally Maynor, artist and curator of the Fairy Houses exhibit will also have felted work from her children's book showing from September 4th also at Historic Highfield Hall. I would highly recommend it as her felted creations are imaginative and beautiful to see.
Fear and Paddling in Cape Cod
By: Sung Bin
*** This is part of an ongoing series regarding a group of Cape Cod Mommies Bloggers who experience SUP.
Read more here: Paddle Boarding!
When I first heard about Stand Up Paddle (SUP) Boarding a few months ago, I was intrigued. After all, I had always wanted to learn to surf but there was just one pesky thing, I was afraid of the water. Then I had the amazing opportunity to take a lesson with Amy from Peace Love SUP through Cape Cod Mommies and to write about my experience. I have to admit that my concern about being an apprehensive swimmer consumed me as I arrived staring at the water at the landing with the theme to "Jaws" faintly in my ears. I was pretty sure I would be eating water for the first few attempts on the board and really after I saw some of my other brave compatriots in the group lesson take the plunge I realized it really wasn’t such a bad thing after all. The water was four feet deep and we had life vests on to boot so after that initial fear was gone, I knew it would be clear paddling.
Once I was able to balance on the board (customized especially for Peace Love SUP from a local outfitter), it wasn’t very difficult to start. Maneuvering however was a little more challenging. It took me a while and with some helpful guidance from Amy, our instructor, I got my arms and body to work with the paddle. My knees were shaking for the first ten minutes and I probably had a death grip with my toes on the paddleboard throughout the ride but I remained unscathed and pretty content going with the flow of the water and the group. We paddled out into a cove and I learned from Amy that SUP originated from Hawaii, makes perfect sense, but that it started with some locals there who wanted to take photos of surfers on the water. Talk about a spectator sport!
There are so many benefits to Stand Up Paddle Boarding including core training (great for mommies), improving balance, and for me, restorative stress relieving. Nothing beats paddling out in the water with only the sun, wind and serene environment around you. For the duration of the lesson, I was able to be alone in the moment without thinking about bedtimes and playtimes or meals. SUP is perfect for anyone from novices to athletes and even for shy water skimmers like me.
Cape Cod Story Time Fun
By: Sung Bin
Our all time favorite place to go is the Falmouth public library. It's a big step up from the local branch of our former Brooklyn library. There is a great collection of children's books and parenting resources on the same floor. This past Friday we had a bonus treat at a story time event with Anne Clarkin from the Woods Hole Child Center (our coop preschool) and had a wonderful time singing songs and with finger plays. The library has become a rich resource for us since moving to the Cape and there are always activities from scavenger hunts to crafts. We were even fortunate to have a collection on display in the Children's Room for a month. During the summer this a great rest stop before heading to the playground to enjoy a planned event or just to relax to read a book in the play area. The librarians are tremendously helpful and we enjoy seeing familiar faces, a definite boon for us. Hope to see some families for the next story time on Fridays through July.
School's Out for Summer?
By: Sung Bin
Now that we are on our official summer break from the little one's preschool, I have to admit I am a lithe terrified having to fill some of the extra time during the week. Even though my preschooler was only at the preschool coop two days a week, it was still enough for me to pack in as much "me" time for freelancing or errand running as possible solo. So, now that the scheduled playgroups and days at preschool are over I have been trying to decide whether to have a true summer vacation or to supplement our next few months by a sort of homeschooling with a lot of breaks for excursions and relaxation. A few sites I find inspiring gave me some great ideas for what to include in our summer of learning at home. Of course all or most of what I have in mind can change at the whim of my three and a half year old. I would follow her lead particularly if she ends up taking a strong interest in something or just wants to relish in playtime fun. Case in point, I started the week with some ideas from Weefolkart.com, a Waldorf inspired blog with free homeschool companion guides and nature based lesson plans. My daughter wanted to learn all about fairies so we decided to focus on fairies and butterflies instead for the week and spent most of the days in pretend play and puddle jumping. Weefolkart.com's book lists are exceptional and I have found some great books to work with. Another blog I really enjoy from a more Montessori based perspective is Carrotsareorange.com for hands on crafts and activity ideas. I don't know if schooling through the year is for everybody or if it's better to take a summer break for kids to enjoy but I also want to continue to nurture that natural curiosity and appetite for learning so I think I will give it a shot.
What do other families do during the summer break? Do any of you continue lessons throughout the year?
DIY Natural Shampoo
By: Sung Bin
In an effort to save some money on organic baby care products, I set out to make my own shampoo for my household. I wanted to make something that was natural and organic with ingredients that I could name and know. The California Baby Shampoo that I have been using for my toddler was great but the price tag for a family size bottle was not. Plus I wanted to be able to use it too so we would just use one kind that was safe for all. Anyway, this turned out be a pretty humorous task. I experimented with a few recipes I found online, mostly using Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap as the base. There were quite a few concoctions, some were too watery, too oily, too messy, but my toddler bared with me through it all. She was my guinea pig in my quest to make the perfect natural shampoo and at certain times her hair was a bit too scraggly or oily.
While, I haven’t found a perfect recipe yet, I have found a decent mix that kept our hair clean. The castile soap was also amazing for other uses so we use it as a body wash and hand wash. You can probably try any brand of castile soap for a shampoo but I liked the Baby Mild Shikakai from Dr. Bronner and I purchased a larger size bottle. For my coarser hair, I use the soap full strength with a few drops of rosemary essential oil in a small pump bottle. For my daughter’s hair and for a bubble bath I use a foam soap dispenser since she does not need as deep a clean for her fine hair. For her shampoo/bath wash I dilute the baby castile soap about ¼ part soap and ¾ part distilled water and a drop of vitamin e oil, and a few drops of lavender
and orange essential oils. My husband was not as excited about using a few pumps in the water for a bubble bath because it wasn’t like a typical bubble bath wash. It does not make suds but it does lather pretty well. I got the foam dispenser idea online too and since you use less soap, it lasts longer. The best part of making my own shampoo is that I can add any essential oil. Just a few drops of eucalyptus is great for a bath wash for colds or I can make a batch with lavender for relaxing. I’ll have to keep working on the
bubble bath but so far the shampoo has been great and the economic bottle will last us quite a while.
A visit to Spohr Gardens
By: Sung Bin
I think I may have found my new favorite hideaway. It's not exactly a secret but the Spohr Gardens, located at 45 Fells Road in Falmouth, has all the makings of magical retreat. I was able to join in my daughter's preschool trip to the gardens and the view was fantastic.
There were plenty of daffodils and although they were all not in full bloom, the small clusters that were interspersed here and there were like little visual treats. The dock and pond was the perfect backdrop as we sat picnic style on the grass eating snacks and singing songs. It was a perfect place for little ones to discover because of its windy paths and sculptured treasures such as ringing bells and giant anchors. It wasn't hard to let your imagination run wild in a place like this.
I was reminded about what wonderful places Cape Cod has to offer and I have only begun to discover them. If you haven't had a chance to visit Spohr Gardens, the end of April from the 20-27th is the best time to see all the daffodils come to life and to take advantage of some of their special activities. There is also a great companion book, My Spohr Gardens by Elizabeth Saito, showcasing some of the flora you will encounter there.
See more pictures and Read more about Spohr Gardens in Falmouth from a Hidden Freebie post Cape Cod Mommies here.
Music Feeds the Soul
By: Sung Bin
We’ve had more than our share of time indoors last month so I thought I would sweeten the deal by listening to a lot of music at home. I purchased a vintage fisher price record player from eBay for my little one and I to enjoy music together and really for me to get nostalgic listening to old vinyls. It’s been amazing sharing music with her and she really loves it. She still likes familiar tunes but once in a while I will jazz it up with some of my favorite indie bands. Plus, that record player sure can take a beating even if a 3 year old likes to put the record on. They don’t make them like they used to. We’ll bang around on her assorted instruments but there’s a real mutual appreciation for live music. We love going to the music and movement playgroup at the Falmouth Library that the Coalition for Children provides but we’re still hankering for some more hands on music activities during the week. Now that the weather is nicer I thought we would take our musical adventures out of the house so I researched some musical options we could explore on the Cape. There is a sing-a-long drop in at the Cape Cod Children’s Museum on Tuesdays. For St. Patty’s Day week, our preschool is having Aoife Clancy come in to play some Irish music and later this month on Friday, March 29, 2013 she is playing at Mashpee Library for the public for free. I’m looking forward to finding other free music activities and events. One day my toddler might even want to actually play that guitar that she currently loves to use as a coat rack.
By: Sung Bin
We’ve been very busy crafting and creating felt hearts with love messages for our friends and family this week but a little cold has recently descended on the household so my little one has been staying very close to her mama for comfort. Normally, we have a regular routine we go through at the first onset of a cold or illness so by now we have this down pat. I am usually not nervous about fevers below 105 degrees if my child is active and otherwise happy and playing. My instincts will usually tell me if she is in need of serious help or just a little rest and relaxation to combat whatever she is fighting. The first thing we do is take a little extra vitamin c or multivitamin and plenty of fluids like lots of water and homemade soup with extra garlic. A little warm tea with raw honey and lemon helps with sore throats or licorice tea for coughs. The humidifier gets turned on at night and if it’s me who is ill, I’ll make a bowl of steaming hot water with a few drops of eucalyptus oil to inhale for decongestion. Sleep is vital to recovery but not always easy when my toddler is out of sorts so I will usually allow plenty of relaxation and quiet or otherwise boring time for her during the day to just take it easy. For stuffy noses, I use a natural eucalyptus rub on the chest or a little saline solution for the nose, if necessary. Fevers are good for building immunity but if the fever gets uncomfortably high I will have a
washcloth with tepid water ready to cool down her forehead or give her some homemade frozen ice pops which she loves. Beyond that, we just wait. Kids are quite resilient and often I am amazed at how quickly my little one can bounce back to her former self again. Of course, I really don’t mind the extra cuddling and comforting my toddler needs when she is not feeling well. So for Valentine’s Day I can’t think of a better to way to be reminded of how much I am needed and loved while I am holding her close.
What are some natural remedies you use at home for colds or flu?
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