Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Play Food from Nature

The best play food has been either things my children could manipulate (wool roving, play doh, etc.) or things from nature (leaves, flowers, or seed pods). We have some fun seed pods in our neighborhood, but for more variety I ordered a couple more from etsy. Today the girls fed me chocolate-marshmallow ice-cream with nutmeg spice, all the ingredients for which are pictured above :)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Mother's Day Gift Idea - Strawberry-Sage Lemonade

The girls and I made this strawberry-sage lemonade as a gift for my mother-in-law. We used a saved juice bottle and dressed it up by gluing fabric hearts to the front and rubber-banding a fabric swatch to the top.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A Caterpillar's Journey Through Life, and Our Backyard

At school, little I is learning about caterpillars and their amazing transformation. Today she came home and started playing in our backyard. After a few minutes, she came rushing over to me.

"Mom! Mommy! Looooooook!!!" She held this box out for me to see:

"Baby caterpillars! And I made them a nice, cozy place to live while they get ready to turn into butterflies!" Those Giant Impatiens plants are amazing for their popping seed pods. Not too much later I was shown the chrysalis, courtesy of the Trumpet Flower Tree:

Before we knew it, a beautiful butterfly had emerged:

It landed right on her hand, before flying off for a drink from our Pride of Madeira plant:

So incredible to see how what she is learning in school truly lives in her is such a creative, wonder-filled way!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

NatureToto - How to Start Your Own Group

Our mamatoto group is so incredible! I feel so lucky to have these amazing mamas and little ones in my life. I think I already posted about the Nature-toto group we started, but I have been asked so many questions about it lately that I thought I'd post again. We have a set time each week and meet in a new spot every time. We've gone apricot picking, blueberry picking:

on wilderness adventures to places like Ellwood, the beach, Cold Springs, Rocky Nook, and Lane Farms:

to go apple picking and mini donkey brushing at Seeing Spot Farms:

and, to top it all off, we went on a mamas and kids only NatureToto camping trip at Big Caliente!

I highly suggest creating a nature adventure group with your circle of mamas and little friends. What we've learned works best is 1.keeping it consistent. This means same time, same day, so it's easier to remember. 2.keeping it frequent. This is key. If you try to make sure everyone can go, you will hardly ever end up meeting. If it's every week, then it's not a huge deal if somebody can't make it. 3.create a groupMe texting circle, so you can all keep in touch for any last minute changes or check in about the location.

Happy adventures!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Outdoor Music Station

Inspired by other photos on Pinterest, we finally talked Daddy into making one for the backyard:

Fairy Sunday in Spring

Spring has definitely arrived at our home! Two sweet little birds are even building their nest in one of the bike helmets we have hanging right outside our front door. This morning we had such a sweet circle, and Lyr was pretending it was her birthday. (We were at a friend's birthday party yesterday). She realllllly wanted cupcakes for her "birthday" so we decided to make a whole day of it, and had a fairy party. We sang fairy songs like "Fairy Ring" by Maria Sangoilo and made gluten free fairy cakes:

*To make the cakes:
1 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour (we like Bob's Red Mill)

2 eggs
sprinkle of salt
1/2 T baking powder
1/2 stick softened butter
1/2 c sugar
1/3 c milk or 1/2 1/2
4 oz. greek yoghurt

Mix together all ingredients and pour into silicone muffin cups. Bake at 350. When cool, frost with sunflower seed butter or cream cheese. Top with fresh, edible flowers and/or edible gluten free butterflies (find them on etsy).

They were a success!

Serve them with tea!

After the tea party, we told this fairy story while I wrapped a twig loom with yarn. Then the girls searched for flowers to make a fairy loom of their own. They found a special spot in our garden to set it up.

I'm planning on reading "Good Night, Fairies" by Kathleen and Michael Hague at bedtime. Such a sweet day!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Making Pie

When we make pie, we play the Kyra Willey "Making Pie" song, and it is the coziest kind of happiness. If you let the kids wash and chop the fruit, roll the dough for the crust and then cut it out with cookie cutters they feel especially proud of the finished treat.