Sunday, May 31, 2009

Fifty TV-Free Activities for Kids This Summer

Here's a START to the list of fun things you can do. My kids gave me lots of ideas, I searched the web, asked friend, and also a big THANK YOU to Gina from Unpink Life for her awesome list from last summer, as you can see many ideas came from her. I'm the compiler here, hoping this will help other parents.

If you haven't already seen it, please check out my list of Eighty-Three Things To Do on a Rainy Day.

There are more ideas coming, stay tuned! Some of the ideas are specific to my area, but you get the idea!

1. Act in a play
2. Adopt a Webkinz
3. Arrange a bouquet of flowers
4. Attend a concert
5. Attend a first aid class
6. Backpack overnight
7. Bask in the sun (wearing the proper SPF, of course)
8. Bike, bike, bike
9. Bird watching
10. Blow bubbles, lots and lots of bubbles
11. Build a campfire
12. Build a sandcastle
13. Build a tree house
14. Buy a boyscout badge book and work on badges
15. Catch butterflies
16. Catch catepillars and keep them until they turn into butterflies
17. Catch frogs
18. Clean up a nature trail
19. Collect donations and volunteer at a local animal shelter
20. Create a terrarium
21. Decorate flip flops
22. Decorate some plain canvas sneakers
23. Decorate special outfits for the Independence Day parade
24. Decorate white tshirts
25. Dig for fossils
26. Feed the ducks at a pond
27. Fly a kite
28. Gather tinder, kindling and fuel for a night fire
29. Go camping
30. Go canoeing
31. Go on a scavenger/treasure hunt
32. Go outside and find five different kinds of flowers
33. Go to a ballgame
34. Go to a carnival in the evening
35. Go to a farmer's market
36. Go to the Drive-In
37. Go to the library then sit under a tree reading in the afternoon
38. Go to the Saturday movie nights at Ben & Jerry’s
39. Go to the zoo
40. Have a bonfire
41. Have a bubble gum blowing contest
42. Have a daylong science camp @ home with friends
43. Have a drawing contest on the sidewalk with chalk
44. Have a good ol' watermelon seed spitting contest
45. Have a paper airplane contest
46. Have a picnic
47. Have a root beer float dessert night
48. Have a splash party at home with the kiddie pool, water balloon fight, etc.
49. Have a super-soaker fight
50. Have a winter theme party

Friday, May 29, 2009

Sometimes You Need a Fairy House!

I wish I could say I woke up this morning and was completely over yesterday's sour mood. But general restlessness is not the kind of thing you can just forget about in a day. But at least I didn't cry or feel so frustrated with my self.

I think a good productive day would have probably done wonders to boost my mood, but instead I had one of those bounce from place to place kind of days. You know the type....take my younger son in for a preschool screening test, come home and prep for an art history lesson for my older son's class, go to school to teach that (running late of course), get a snack, hit the libary, pick up older son from school, go home briefly to get everyone fed, then to the vet to pick our dog up from surgery he had today. Not much time to sit down and think, or create, or anything that my soul could have used after a day like yesterday. But I did accomplish stuff, just not the visible things that you can look upon at night and be proud you finished.

As promised, I will be posting my very long list of activities for kids (TV Free) in another day or two, so please stay tuned! But tonight I'm going to focus on one thing I'm excited to to make. I think because I have boys and this seems wonderfully "girly". Not something I get to do around here very often and it's on my own to-do list of summer goals. But I mentioned the idea to my boys and they actually seem excited about it!

We were at Disney World about a month ago during the Epcot Flower Festival. There was a lovely little "Tinkerbell's Garden" during the festival that my sister-in-law and I dubbed our serenity spot. For anyone who has ever been to Disney, you know serenity spots are few and far between, but also very much needed. In the garden there were lovely fairy/pixie houses. I was quite captivated by them and cannot wait to make a few of my own from materials found in the woods around my home. The photos here are a couple that we saw at Disney.
I just want to shrink down and crawl inside and watch the big, ol' world from my twig framed windows. Oh yes, and have tiny wings and be able to fly. Hey, a girl can dream, can't she?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

One of Those Days

UGH! Ever have one of those days where you are just down in the dumps for no really good reason, just general disappointment about your perfectly good life? I mean, I'm really lucky. I have a great husband (who sometimes doesn't get me), two kids, lots of friends, we are all healthy, have a roof over our heads, etc. So why am I discontent?

Then throw in some rainy, cold, gray weather, add a mix of crossed wires that results missing out on lunch with my husband, and BOOM = I'm sitting in my car in a puddle of tears.

Am I having a mid-life crisis?

Probably. But that's so trite. All I know is today I'm not happy and I've been restless for a while. I want to shake off the things that I hate about myself, and move forward to new challenges. Trouble is......I don't have the slightest clue what kind of challenge I want. Enter frustration.

I don't even know why I'm writing this down. I don't know that it will be read by anyone but me (hopefully down the road from a very different vantage point). But here it is.

Sorry to leave you with what is a sort of depressing state of mind. But at the same time there's some hope in feeling this way because I guess it means some sort of change is coming.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

He's FOUR!

On Wednesday my little man turned four (sniff, sniff). Actually, it's bittersweet because while he was the sweetest baby, he's also developing into the most interesting little man. He's got a great sense of humor, is creative, and keeps me laughing. I look forward to every new year with him and what will unfold.

But today while my husband has trucked off with our two boys I am off on a mission to get ready for the E-Man's birthday party (on Monday). My little fickle man has gone through several iterations of a birthday party theme (Star Wars, a campout sleepover - nixed by mom due to age of buddies, pool party, etc.). He finally landed on the multiple theme of..... Scooby Doo Dinosaur Mystery Splash Party. It was a last ditch effort on my part after I bought a whole bunch of Scooby Doo books as party favors and E announced he wanted a dinosaur party. You are killing me kid! So, anyway, one thing I wanted to do was make a little song list fitting the theme of the party. Any suggestions on tunes?

Also, if you have any great, inexpensive, party favors or games to suggest I am all ears!

Off to shower and shop. Have a great day all!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Eighty-Three Things To Do on a Rainy Day!

In preparation of my TV-free summer I've been asking my boys, combing through internet sites, and yes, even pilfering great ideas from other bloggers on things to-do. Special thank you to Gina from Unpink Life for her awesome list from last summer, as you can see many ideas came from her. Some of the rest are mine, but mostly this is just a compilation of ideas from lots of places. Please feel free to share yours! I love to hear more and I'll add them to the list to benefit all! And stay tuned for the even longer list of things to do on nice days!

I must apologize, I made my list specific to my family, but I think you get the picture!

Rainy Day Things to Do

1. Bake a pie with fresh fruit
2. Bake banana bread
3. Bake cookies
4. Build a time capsule
5. Build with Legos
6. Compare a book to a movie
7. Cook dinner for friends and surprise deliver it to them
8. Create a new world
9. Create fun “to-do” chore jars
10. Create your own holiday
11. Cut up an old greeting card picture and make a puzzle
12. Dance in the rain
13. Design a family flag
14. Discover a new favorite author or book series
15. Do “spontaneous problems” from OM
16. Picnic with a blanket on the kitchen floor on a rainy day
17. Donate some of the toys and clothes you no longer use
18. Go bowling (http://wwwkidsbowlfreecom/)
19. Go out for ice cream
20. Go to story time at the library
21. Have a family game night
22. Have a handmade pizza party
23. Have a music/house cleaning party
24. Have a pillow fight
25. Host a tea party
26. Invent a new dance
27. Invent your own board game
28. Keep your brain going (with brain teasers)
29. Learn a new word Use it
30. Learn about a new place and have a meal based on that area
31. Learn about fireworks
32. Learn the Greek alphabet
33. Learn to crochet
34. Learn to play chess
35. Learn to sew
36. Learn to sew
37. Make (and eat!) Crash Hot Potatoes
38. Make a bird feeder
39. Make a bird house
40. Make a cd mix and burn it for the car
41. Make a collage from magazine words and pictures
42. Make a cool 100 chart for younger sibling or friend
43. Make a craft out of recyclables
44. Make a fire safety plan
45. Make a nighttime cd mix
46. Make a tech deck park
47. Make funny faces
48. Make home-made play dough
49. Make ice cream sandwiches
50. Make pancakes
51. Make pirate costumes
52. Make rock monsters for the garden
53. Make silly putty
54. Make something from recyclables
55. Make strawberry freezer jam
56. Paint a portrait of your best friend
57. Paint your face
58. Play dress-up
59. Practice spanish
60. Print some pictures and decorate plain frames
61. Put notes inside of balloons and hand them out to friends
62. Read a story to someone
63. Redecorate boys bedroom for a new school year!
64. Research your family tree
65. Scrapbook photos taken over summer
66. Send a postcard
67. Share your favorite movie with a friend
68. Start a collection
69. Sword fight
70. Take airplane rides on Daddy's feet
71. Tell ghost stories
72. Tint some shaving cream, spread it in a baking pan, and doodle or write words
73. Travel in time
74. Turn a big box into something cool
75. Visit ECHO on a rainy day
76. Visit the library
77. Visit the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory and build a new friend
78. Wash your hair with shampoo in the summer rain
79. Wrestle
80. Write a fairy tale
81. Write a letter
82. Write a poem
83. Write a song

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Thinking Ahead to Summer

Today I announced to my kids the terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad news that I was implementing a TV-Free Summer in our household. My seven year old didn't seem fazed, as he's not much of a TV freak anyway. But my four year old started to get a little teary-eyed. No reaction could have better cemented my feelings on why we need to do this. But I immediately followed with my "let's make a list of what we DO want to do this summer" and within a few minutes we had 45 things with a promise to list 100. I'll share that list later.

But now I sit here and think, what do I want to do this summer? I have to admit, I'm one of the worst offenders in the family TV addiction. I get sucked into something mindless rather easily and blow what little evening free time I have. I could be doing something so much more productive. Or at least putting a tiny dent into the mountain of books sitting on my nightstand.

So I just sat down and looked at the calendar and realized there are only 79 days of summer (for my kids school break). I guess I could really consider the TV free days starting now, since today we packed up our DirecTV receiver to ship it back (yay, saving some money per month too). So, starting from tomorrow through school getting out and starting back up in August we have 105 days. That's a good chunk of time to do so many wonderful things.

So here today I am going to begin MY list of what I want to do. These aren't change your life things, some are only do once. I figure I can commit to doing something once at least, can't I? goes.....

1. Make something totally girly for myself
2. Have a spa day
3. Derive some enjoyment out of cooking again (I know....tall order to fill)
4. Paint my toenails
5. Pet my cat more
6. Get my but out of bed for an early morning walk
7. Listen to more music at home
8. Enjoy the moments of peace and quiet more
9. Surprise one of my friends with something completely unexpected.
10. Lose five pounds (isn't this always on my list?)

So, that's my start. I'll add more as I need to. It may only be 50 degrees today, but LET SUMMER BEGIN!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

To all the moms out there, I hope you are having a spectacular day. My husband took our boys out for the day to give me some peace & quiet. I told myself I would clean and organize my studio. So, I better get on that. But since it's been ages since I blogged I figured I'd take a few minutes to do so. Today I'm focusing on serenity. That's why I need to bring order to my creative space.

Trying to get back to normal life after a two week vacation in Florida. We had a wonderful time but with visiting family and a week at Disney I don't know that I would have called it relaxing. I'm actually glad to be home to have a little bit of quiet! The two weeks I was there I didn't have a moment to myself, which for me is really difficult.

But there were some days of pure perfection, like going to the beach with my boys. So for today I am leaving you with one of my favorite photos and keeping it fresh in my mind as I start weeding through the disaster of my studio. Peace to all! HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!!!