Preventing “Bore”antine during Quarantine~outdoor fun while staying home

Well after the beautiful weather over this past weekend, it looks like we will finally be able to spend more time outdoors, even if we still can’t go far. If you have typically active kids like me who are constantly asking “Where are we going today?” all summer long (okay all year long) I thought I’d share some of the fun we’ve been having outside so far.

Of course there are bike rides, walks, runs, and just good old fashioned backyard swinging and playing. However,  my kids seem to crave a little more of a routine or more structured activity from time to time.  So we look up ideas online,  and also used our own creativity to change things up. Here are a few ideas for some outdoor fun at home.

Chalk Mosaics

Need: sidewalk chalk, painters tape or masking tape

We took some painters tape and made a rectangle in the driveway. Then we cut the tape into diagonal lines and shapes to section it off. Color in each shape with the sidewalk chalk, right up to the tape so there’s no spaces left. Peel away the tape, and you’ve got your very own masterpiece in your driveway. I’ve seen them done on fences too.  We also did the same concept using stencils and paper.

We also chalked our walk which although took us a few hours, was a lot of fun and we loved the way it came out!

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Out door scavenger hunt

This makes your typical family walk a little more of an adventure! We printed out a list of items to find and each kid got their own bag, list and pen. Some items were specific like a pine cone or acorn, others were more subjective like something you think is pretty or a treasure.  I think it would be fun to do one where you find something from each color of the rainbow or starting with each letter of the alphabet next time! They filled their bags and checked the items off as we went.

 

Even more fun, make a funny face or image using your finds!

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Start a garden

This is something I have always wanted to try but just didn’t have the time to look into it. So we are giving it a shot this year. I decided we would stick to our 3 favorite and from what I hear 3 easy to grow veggies…tomatoes, bell peppers, and cucumbers. We actually began it around Earth day along with potting a lot of wild flower seeds. I also wanted to start from seed, so that’s what we did.

I found this seed tray from Buzzy© and ordered it online. The kids were so excited to plant the seeds and water them each day! We kept them indoors for about 3 weeks, but moved the tray outside on warmer sunny days and the our little baby seedlings grew like crazy! Then we built our own raised garden bed, lined it with a grass shield and cardboard and then filled it with MiracleGro© garden soil to transplant them. We had so many tomatoes grow, we ended up potting them too. Crossing our fingers our little babies grow (we will keep you updated)!

Puffy Paint Chalk

Need: flour, food coloring, dish soap, squeeze bottles.

This was a lot of fun because we love to bake, and it was like baking our own paint! The recipe was super easy…

1 cup flour (we used all purpose)

1 cup water

1 TBSP dish soap

10-12 drops of food coloring

Stir together the flour and water until smooth. Then add in the dish soap and the food coloring. Pour into squeeze bottles ( we got these from Amazon and they worked great!). .The kids had a blast writing words, making 3D pictures, and it was a good amount of “paint” of each color. You could always half the recipe and still have plenty. The best part was, it lasted a really long time. Even after it rained, unlike traditional sidewalk chalk, their creations stayed put.

A few other quick ideas:

Birdhouses (see how on our Earth day page)

Painting rocks and murals

 

 

What outdoor fun have you done? We love to try new ideas so please share!

Stay safe and creative everyone!

xoxo,
Heather

 

A balanced Mother’s Day during unbalanced times

While I’ve never been one to make a big deal about Mother’s Day, it is always a time that reminds me to think about how becoming a mom was the best thing I’ve ever done. No, it’s not bliss and dreamy at all times. It’s messy, crazy, stressful, and exhausting. And that’s completely fine with me! It’s perfectly imperfect. I mean look at these 2, what could be better than this…

This year is definitely no exception for me in terms of  checking in and questioning how great or not great of a mom I am. For almost 2 months we have basically been on lock down during this pandemic. I’m teaching from home, the kids are learning from home, and we are home. All. The. Time.

I have always been a worrier. Having kids has brought that out even more, as I’m sure most moms can relate to. But this year has brought it to a whole new level. I worry that they’re completing their school work. I worry I can’t help them enough because I have my own school work and students to help. I worry that even though they seem happy they might scared, anxious, or sad because their whole life changed overnight. I worry about their mental health and have hardly slept through it all.

I am doing my best to make sure they are okay. But in order to do that, I have to be okay. I’ve always been an advocate for the belief that moms who take care of themselves and put their mental and physical health first sometimes are better for it. The whole you can’t love someone else until you love yourself first idea. I think it’s important for us to have time to work out, read, take a bath or whatever it is that makes you balanced. And for me, now more than ever I need that. I need to release this stress somewhere so it’s not directed at these innocent little babes who are just trying to understand what the heck is going on right now!

I’ve been waking up and running almost every day before everyone else is up and before our school day starts. It’s not even physical right now, it’s for my mental health. It gives me the chance to mentally organize my thoughts for the day, and physically move before sitting behind the screen for 3 or 4 hours. It makes me more patient while trying to multitask like I never have before…working in my “classroom” while getting the 25th snack for someone or helping with multiplying fractions (although I don’t know how much I’m actually helping with that).

I guess my point in all of this is, if you are a mom and feel like you are struggling right now, you are absolutely not alone. This is hard. It’s not normal, not even a “new normal”. It’s scary, frustrating, and stressful. But I think the more you try and find something that grounds you…no matter what that is, try and make an effort to do that. You deserve it. But even more importantly your kids deserve it. It’s not easy but I know it’s so worth it and I hope you can find your release too.

Happy Mother’s Day. Do something for yourself today mama, even if it’s just putting those feet up and enjoying some burnt pancakes in bed. You need it, maybe this year more than ever.

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xoxo,

Heather

Cinco Fun

Since we are still going strong staying home and trying to stay positive and have fun, we decided to plan a fun fiesta for Cinco de Mayo. We searched Pinterest and found things we could do using what we had at home. Here are some of the simple ways we made it fun and memorable.

Homemade piñatas.

Supplies: brown paper bags, tissue paper or streamers, scissors, glue or tape, hole punch, candy (we used leftover Easter candy), twine or ribbon to hang, and magazine pages

The kids filled the bags a little less than halfway with candy and the rest of the way with crumpled magazine pages before the decorated the bags. Then they cut strips of streamers and cut fringe into the strips before taping on. Then we punch holes in the bag and pulled twine through and knotted so they could hang.

Churro donut holes

Supplies: 2 brown paper bags, oil, cinnamon and sugar, refrigerated pillsbury grands biscuits, big pot, slotted spoon.

First we poured the cinnamon and sugar into the bags. (Double the bag just in case the oil comes through)

We cut each biscuit into 4, then rolled each piece into a ball (so you end up with 36). Then we heated up about 1 cup of oil in a large pot. I carefully dropped about 6 dough balls into the oil and kept moving them with a slotted spoon so they wouldn’t stick. They only needed about 45-60 seconds each. Then we took them out using the spoon and put them directly into the cinnamon and sugar. The kids had a blast shaking them up!

That’s it…so simple and they tasted so good.

As you can see, we also made cupcakes and decorated them with green and pink icing to look like a cactus! We chose orange cupcake wrappers so they would resemble terra cotta pots.

We had a yummy taco dinner  (get my homemade taco seasoning recipe here, and my garlic shrimp taco recipe here )some photo booth fun, and ended the night watching Coco.

Happy cinco!

Xo, Heather.

Earth Day: Outdoor fun and ideas

Some easy crafts using recycled and reused materials we did for Earth day but are fun to do everyday!

Since we have been spending all this extra time at home I’ve had more opportunities to do fun crafts and outdoor activities with the kids. My daughter who is usually jumping from one sport or activity to the next is craving routine and things to do so I’ve been doing my best to keep her busy and love the opportunity to reuse some materials we have around the house!

Bird feeders

Using what we had at home and checking out Pinterest we decided to make a couple different versions of bird feeders.

Popsicle stick feeder: (just need some paint, popsicle sticks, twine or ribbon, and hot glue

Milk carton feeder

Just need milk cartons, paint, cutting blade, sticks and hot glue gun for the roof, and ribbon or twine

Soup can feeders

Just need old soup cans, paint, ribbon, hot glue and a stick for the post

Egg carton feeder

Egg container, paint, hole puncher, ribbon or twine

We also planted flowers and veggies, and made earth day cupcakes!

Earth day should be celebrated everyday, so even if you missed it this year, these can be done anytime!

Happy Earth Day!

Xoxo, Heather.