Thursday, May 31, 2012

Audubon #3 and #4: Blue Hills Trailside Museum & The Visual Arts Center

This week, we ventured to the Blue Hills Trailside Museum in Milton and then went to nearby Canton to check out the Visual Arts Center. The Trailside Museum is great. They have a bunch of wild animals that are rehabilitating such as hawks, owls, a skunk, and deer. We bought the kids their own walking sticks in the museum store. I did have visions of making our own this summer, but these are nice and sturdy with rubber tips so I succumbed.
The Visual Arts Center has a museum of nature art collections. The trails there wound around a running brook and through dense pine forests so it was a refreshing 10 degrees cooler. We saw lots of Lady Slippers and Jack-in-the-Pulpits.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Audubon #2: Habitat Wildlife Sanctuary

On Mother's Day, we decided to try out Habitat in Belmont. The girls have Audubon passports and if you get stamps from 10 different sites, you get a prize. So we're going to try to do that this spring and summer! Habitat has a gorgeous formal garden in back of their education center, which is a Georgian mansion. After picnicking there, we walked some of the trails around ponds (one full of turtles and the other full of bull-frogs), through forests and meadows, and over "troll" bridges. We ended our visit with the sheep.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

5-minute project: Pet Rocks

We have quite the collection of rocks in our house. We are always bringing home a few choice specimens every time we go to the beach, so today we decided to transform a few into "pets." I have fond memories of my pet rock in the early 80's (named "Adam" after no other than Adam Ant!). We glued some google eyes on with "Weld Bond" and they've held up nicely. I love how they all seem to take on their own unique personality.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Window Sprouts

We planted some sunflower seeds and some garlic shoots in our kitchen window.** The garlic is super easy~ you just put the cloves right into the soil, leaving the pointy end up and they grow so amazingly fast so it's really gratifying for a 4-year-old to observe. When they're fully-grown, you can have your child snip them with scissors and cut them up to put in eggs, soup, or salad.
**Please disregard my embarrassingly, disgustingly dirty windows. I'm not quite sure *how* to clean them. I'm not even sure they've *ever* been cleaned. How do I do that? Do people hire window cleaners when they're on an upper floor?

We Woke Up the Earth!

Every year, JP has a Wake Up the Earth Festival (organized by Spontaneous Celebrations~ link). We've gone to the festival in years past, but this was the first year that all four participated in the parade. Cory walked with Orange who did stilts (she just started learning them a couple of weeks ago but she's already quite good!) with the Spontaneous crew and Ocean and I walked with the dragons. I "upcycled" Orange's old "purple sea urchin" costume, transforming it into a "prickly rainbow dragon." Not only did Ocean walk the whole parade without complaint (and it was quite long, maybe 2 miles), but she won the prize for "best kids costume" so we have gift certificates for and t-shirts from City Feed. It was a really fun, fun day and I'm looking forward to doing it again next year!

Clouds and Franklin Park

Look at these clouds...aren't they incredible?! They looked just like cotton balls.
The park has really filled out the last couple of weeks and everything is green, green, green! I love that we are fortunate enough to live so close to this urban gem. Ocean & I love exploring the old ruins and the overlook.
And last, but not of our favorite trees (right near the wall where we wait for Orange's bus):


A couple of weeks ago, we took the T downtown. We walked around the public gardens and the common, did the swan boats, and then went to Chinatown for lunch. It's nice to do that once in a while :)

Audubon #1: The Boston Nature Center

Ocean has been doing a weekly nature class at our local Audubon that she (we!) love. The classes consist of walks on the trails, outdoor games, and then art and stories in the classroom. We usually stay after the class and picnic lunch outdoors and then let the kids play in their incredible natural play space. Ocean & Orange played there one Thursday for FIVE HOURS straight. It just goes to show you that the best "toys" are those that are this case, water, sand, and wood.

5-minute project: Milk & Watercolors

I love setting the girls up with "mini" projects while I prepare dinner. This is one of those. All you need is a bit of milk, some droppers, some water colors (or food coloring), and some toothpicks (for swirling) and voila! instant fun...