Remains of Small Blue Egg

Under a tree in the front yard I noticed a piece of blue egg. Before picking it up, I waited. I let the girls (almost 5yrs old and almost 3 years old) discover it in it’s resting place instead of in my hand.

Finding the remains of a robin’s eggs always felt special to me. Like some bright blue treasure left behind. Seeing robins,too, for the first time in spring each year has a particular feel, like both nostalgia and renewal and hope maybe? The magic of the first robin was dulled for me, though, two winters ago I realized we had a flock of robins living in the neighborhood who never left… 

It’s something precious, to witness these little moments in their lives, the finding of a bit of blue egg, the rituals that mark the changing of seasons. They lay foundations that are so much more than the crust once housing a developing bird. We base metaphors on such things as this.

Homage to the Dandelion Tributes

Spring has brought with it rain, insects, spiders, birds birds birds, and flowers. One flower in particular has crossed my path with the same persistence with which it grows through my lawn: the mighty dandelion.


My children, particularly the younger, have been taken by the bright burst of yellow. But let’s not forget about “the fluffy.” When the dandelion goes to seed and appears as a sphere of fluff on a stem. My 4 year old describes this fluff halo as the “atmosphere” and the seeds as “the earth.”

I have found dandelions in the washing machine, in my pockets, left as tribute in various locations inside and outside of the house, in the car intact, in the car with all the petals scattered about, and then there’s the seeds from the “fluffies…”

It’s like a treasure hunt. And it will last all summer long…



Painting Wooden Eggs (kids)

For the past two years we’ve painted wooden eggs for our family Easter egg hunt. Last year we started writing the name of the artist (Mom, dad, child) on the bottom of the egg. Painting the eggs provides a fun activity that can last weeks if you do a couple at a time here and there. Right now my kids only have enough attention span to do one or two eggs in a session. Factor in a base coat, then decorating with dots or stripes or whatever once it dries… preparing a dozen wooden eggs has been totally worth it for us. 


An added bonus is that, unlike perishable eggs, the painted wooden eggs last for years. As our inventory grows, so will the extent of the hunt 🙂 This is our third year so we’ll have 36 large wooden eggs.


Evening in the Art Room


Older Daughter was in the art room using a splatter paint technique that initially made me cringe a little. As the watered down paint hit the wall beyond the canvas I told her I would feel more comfortable with splatter of this magnitude being performer outside… I emphasized that this was possible, but we would need to set up, and dress appropriately. Daughter reminded me that we were in the art room, and that this is a space to make a mess in. 

Too right.

That is why we created this room and titled it so. We put down the puzzle piece floor to protect the wood and figured the walls would be painted again anyway. So I gave daughter the green light to continue with her splattering.

She is presently sick with a fever and found an old syringe from a Motrin bottle of years gone by… she asked if she could use it to squirt paint…. Of course!


For those without a dedicated space where you can take this kind of mess/ risk of disaster, I’d recommend doing this  outside. I do recommend it, though. 

You can gain more shelf life by watering down the paint a little, and buy super cheap craft paint. These Motrin syringes though, they really stepped up the fun. I needed that for my sick kid today. 🙂

Of Salt-Dough Ornaments and the Use of Glitter

We made salt dough ornaments for the Christmas tree. 


Something I liked about this project was that there are different phases. Make the dough, roll and cut shapes, break while ornaments cook for three hours. Paint, break while they dry. Paint more, add glitter, break while they dry. Varnish. 

It took us days to finish, we would break and do other things and pick up where we left off another day.

By the time we were done cutting shapes, kids were already making up their own project (breaking remaining dough into tiny pieces and playing with them) so the breaks are good.


Painting the ornaments we used acrylic paint and I let them pick their own colors from a larger selection of paints that would not mix together to make brown.


At some point we decided that glitter would be a part of this project. I want to caution people that opening a jar of glitter is akin to opening a Pandora’s box of sparkling content that cannot be put back in. You cannot undo glitter.



I got my recipe from this site:

http://www.mommypotamus.com/how-to-make-salt-dough-ornaments/
1 cup flour

1/2 cup salt 

1/2 cup water

Mix, kneed, roll out to 1/4 inch and cut with cookie cutters

Bake for 2-3 hours

Bam.

I used more than half a cup of water but I’m not sure how much honestly and I cooked them for three hours. I found it really hard to roll out. And kind of clumpy, but maybe it’s they way I added the ingredients together. 

Good luck, Have a blast.

This is what a Real Hand Looks Like


So I’m sitting in the kitchen on the couch (because yes, we have a couch in our kitchen) and I’m working on a pencil sketch storyboard situation for a project. My 4yo daughter becomes interested, sits next to me and observes.

She asks questions as I draw, we talk about the story. She then becomes very focused on the hands of the figures I’m drawing. She’s concerned that they are not realistic. I begin to explain that I’m in basic stick figure mode at this point, and she offers me her hand.

“Mummy, this is what a real hand looks like. Draw this.”

Thanks, kid.

Gingerbread Playdough: Intoxicating


So if you’ve gone against your better judgement and allowed playdough into your home, might I suggest making the gingerbread variety. This is playdough with a bunch of spices in it like what one might put in gingerbread. I love the smell and so do the kids. The scent stays on their little hands for a while, it’s just magic.


I try my hardest to keep the playdough in one location. I usually set kids up with the dough at the dining room table. Any movement away from the table happens without the dough. All dough remains at the table. Playdough will fall on the floor. If you have a rug it will become embedded in the rug. It will. Any hope, or trust you have in your children will only blind you to this inevitable outcome. Once you have accepted this and moved on, I think the gingerbread dough is a quality choice. A bonus is that it’s brown and dries a light brown color that isn’t as obnoxious as, say, one of the primary colors.  Playdough gets stuck to my children’s clothes as well. I do my best to pick off the chunks and so far the rest comes off in the wash..


So get all the little rolling pins and baking gear and cookie cutters going. I throw two little chairs on the table too. The kids pretend they are ovens. 

When the they get bored and climb down from the big table I give it a few minutes then lock it down/ tuck in the big bench and put the Playdough into a ziplock bag. All the accessories go into the Tupperware container we stuff them in, and just like that there’s only the warm, spicy scent left behind.

That, and what’s been added to the rug.

Recipe:

1 cup flour

1/4 cup salt

2 tsp cream of tartar

1 cup water

2 tbsp oil 

2 tsp cinnamon 

2 tsp ginger

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp cloves 

Stir everything in pot/saucepan over medium heat until it starts forming a big clump. There’s a point when it starts to come together when I always think “this doesn’t seem right,” but it’s fine. It just gets weird when the texture starts to change.

I usually add more cinnamon, I use the recipe as a guide as far as spices go.

Link to where I found original recipe:

Homemade Gingerbread Play Dough Recipe