Halloween Pumpkin Paint Project

I saw this idea awhile ago and look it looked cool. Mostly because I had all the items needed to do the craft. Here’s the inspiration.

When I told a friend of mine about this project she said something to the effect of, “What are you crazy?? You are going to paint with corn syrup?? It is so sticky. It’s going to be a complete mess!!”

I laughed. Why? Because I hadn’t even thought about that and…she was right. What was I thinking? Letting a four year-old paint with corn syrup!

Unfortunately, once I get an idea I can’t let it go. So…onward!

Here’s the steps:

  • I gathered all the supplies (thick paper, corn syrup, food coloring, black crayon, paintbrush, container for paint), put down newspaper and pulled my daughter’s hair in a ponytail.
  • We added the color to the corn syrup and mixed it. I was only going to do orange but couldn’t resist when she wanted to add yellow and green.
  • I drew the pumpkin in black crayon. Be careful to keep the colors separate or they will run together. As it dries, the syrup moves away from the black so it looks even better.
  • She painted the pumpkin. Use a lot of paint or it looks sparse and not as shiny.

Here’s the good and the bad:

  • It was easy
  • You don’t need a lot of odd materials
  • There’s not a lot of steps before seeing results
  • It looks cool
  • It is sticky
  • It NEVER dries
  • You can’t hang it up because it will drip (trust me, it will drip)

I loved it! She loved it! We had fun.  I think it would be cool to do a Christmas tree too.

What do you think?

Kids Love The Please Touch Museum

Leah and I recently ventured to the Please Touch Museum. We’d been before and Leah had a great time so another visit was in our future!

We found a great parking space and as we got out of the car, Leah said, “I am not going on the merry-go-round today.”

I was shocked! Leah loves merry-go-rounds. A-L-W-A-Y-S. This is like another kid saying “I hate Disney” or “I’m never watching TV again.” Suddenly, I wasn’t feeling good about this trip. But onward…

The Please Touch Museum is beautiful. It’s located in a building built in 1876. It was originally called Memorial Hall and was an art gallery for the 1876 Centennial Exposition. Throughout the museum, you’ll find information on its history – so keep on the look out!

After giving our tickets, we made a dash to the duck pond. Leah loves the duck pond, so the fact that she wanted to play there immediately began to restore my good feelings. She didn’t stay long though – I think she’s getting a little old for the sheer joy of the duck pond.

We moved onto the music area and down Alice In Wonderland’s rabbit hole. We stopped by the Pirate puppet show, which was cute. Then to the little town center.

Leah could spend forever in the little town. She loved the grocery store and thankfully wanted to put all the food back. She made me a sandwich at the pretend McDonald’s. She worked forever sending the building blocks up the conveyor belt in the construction area. And probably her favorite, played doctor with the little babies in the hospital.

Finally, I convinced her to stop for lunch. We had a few slices of pizza at the cafe upstairs, which I found pretty reasonable for museum cafe prices.

We then made our way to the transportation area. Again, more fun. I was pretty good about not pushing her along too quickly. I tried to let her take her time through each activity. Here’s a riddle:

Question: How long can one child spend looking at six cars go around a circle through a pretend car wash?

Answer: Who knows but at least 20 minutes when her mother runs out of things to discuss about the car wash and forces her to the next thing!

We stopped at the gift shop on our way out. They have some great stuff in there. I mean it’s pretty expensive but still fun. I let Leah get a little yellow duck and we were on our way home.

She never mentioned the merry-go-round and it didn’t seem to matter. She had a great time with all the other things to do there!

Have you been to Philadelphia’s Please Touch Museum?
What did you think?
Where’s your favorite children’s museum?

l

An Intimate Four Year-Old Birthday Party

As you might remember, I was lamenting about what to do for my daughter’s fourth birthday. She wanted a party but I didn’t. She’d been to a few this year and had her heart set on having one. She wasn’t specific about it but definitely wanted a party.

My husband and I finally decided to have a party but to keep it really small. We only invited her closest friends (mostly defined by those with mothers I had contact information). I called or emailed the four friends on the exclusive guest list. One has an older sister who Leah knows, so I invited her too. That was five guests and Leah.

The party agenda was as follows:

  • Welcome
  • Dress Up
    We have quite a few dress-up clothes thanks to my very good friend’s daughter’s hand-me-downs.
  • Play
  • Craft
    Color paper plates, put dried beans in them, and staple them together for take-home tambourines.
  • Dance
    Five songs played on the computer from You Tube
  • Swim
    We have a small jacuzzi, which is the perfect size for six small kids. I also had a small water toy for each of them
  • Pinata
    Homemade. I’ll share what I did in a different post.
  • Eat
    Pretzels, chips, carrots, pizza.
  • Cake
    Homemade. I’ll share what I did in a different post.
  • Good-bye
    I did go goodie bags – actually, pencil cases with pencils and notepaper.

Here’s how it went:

  • Welcome
    Fine, once some got over their initial shyness.
  • Dress Up
    Hardly any of them dressed up, in fact, my daughter took hers off as soon as the first guest arrived.
  • Play
    Lasted the longest – new toys to the guests could have meant days of fun.
  • Craft
    Okay – some color faster than others so it was tough to keep the group together, even that small of a group.
  • Dance
    Good – five songs were plenty. The hokey pokey was a winner!
  • Swim
    Good – we could have done two sessions here since some wanted to swim longer but a few were tired…mainly my daughter.
  • Pinata
    Perfect fun.
  • Eat
    Fine – of course, I knew of all allergies prior to the party.
  • Cake
    Fine – I kept in the fridge to keep the icing from melting but I should have taken it out early. The cake part was too cold to really enjoy.
  • Good-bye
    Fine.

So that was it. I’m not sharing too many pictures because I don’t have permission from the other party goers. I mean it’s fine for me to push pictures of my children all over the internet but I’m not sure others feel the same!

I thought it went really well, especially considering all of my apprehension. Because it was a small group the moms got to talk, the kids played nicely, any minor issues it were handled quickly and quietly…it was perfect. The best kids at-home party I’ve had.

Success!

Homemade “Bird” Feeder Craft

My daughter and I have two, full, empty weeks between summer camp and preschool to spend some good, quality time together. What that means is I need an arsenal of “projects” – as my daughter calls them – to pass the time.

Side Note: She doesn’t ever say, “Mom, I’m bored.” or “Mom, what are we going to do today?” She says, “Mom, what projects are we doing.” or “Mom, let’s do a project.” I’m not sure she got that from me. I think she got it from preschool.

When I was little my grandfather used to feed the birds in our backyard. In the winter, he’d even get suet from his butcher shop to feed them. So, the idea of creating a bird feeder seemed like a good one.

Now, I am not handy with wood so I’m not talking about a real bird feeder, I’m talking about seriously, homemade bird feeders.

Here’s what we did:

1. Went on a nature hunt for pine cones.
This was fun. She had a great time finding them and collecting them (all 17 of them).

2. Tied yarn to onto the pine cones.
She cut the yarn and I tied it on each pine cone.

Side note: At first, she preferred pushing pieces of a stick and pieces of yarn through the slats of the deck. *Sigh*

3. Spread peanut butter on the pine cones.
This was messy. My son got involved during this step. It was a good time to remind myself to let Leah do things herself. She was able to spread the peanut butter really well. It was only on one side but who cares, right?

4. Roll the peanut butter pine cones in a plate of crushed walnuts.
Messy, again. But easy and fun.

5. Hang the pine cones on trees.
I handled this. I’d hang two while they worked on the next two. It took a while.

Fun, right? A cool, (pretty much) free project. I think it would be great to do in the winter too. More pine cones available, better to feed the birds when there is less food around, and we used red ribbon, which would look really cute in the trees around Christmas time.

All, good. Then why did I call it “bird” feeder (with the quotes)? Because I don’t think we fed one bird. Here’s what happened:

Squirrels!

These squirrels were so brazen. I was barely able to take the pictures of the completed pine cones before they were munching away. By the end of the day, they’d completely stolen a few of the pine combs and they’d eaten the peanut butter from the rest of them! C-R-A-Z-Y!

Either way, it was a fun project. Have you tried this?
Or will you? Let me know!

l

History, Fun, Plymouth – All in One Trip?

We took a flight to Boston, rented a car, and drove to Plymouth. It was an easy drive and only took about an hour.

We checked into the hotel with no problems and went out to dinner in the center of town. That was about all we did on the first night.

Now, my son is 14 and I have to say right now, he wasn’t too excited about our visit to a place steeped in American history. I had been to Plymouth on a road trip with my family when I was about the same age (maybe a few years younger, my memory is going) and I had a great time.

OUR FIRST DAY

In the morning, we got up early and headed to Plimouth Plantation. I remember LOVING this place when I came but was keeping my expectations low for my son and three year-old daughter’s reactions.

Plimouth Plantation is set up like authentic Indian and Pilgrim villages with people dressed in period outfits talking like they are from that time. And, it was…awesome!

First, the weather was perfect – just a bit warm and overcast. It was no problem walking around through the villages. The Indians are actual descendant from the tribe. All of the actors were friendly, stayed in character, and gave us tons of everyday information you don’t find in history books.

We left there after a few fun hours. And to my amazement, the whole entire family had a good time – I’m not kidding. In fact, at the end of the trip, we all picked this as our favorite thing!

We went back to the hotel, went swimming at the indoor pool, and got ready for the evening. We drove into Plymouth and found a great parking spot close to the rock.

We spent a few minutes visiting the rock and walked over to the
Mayflower II.

We toured the boat and were amazed at how small it was. That 122 people stayed on that boat for two months crossing an ocean – unbelievable!

We made our way to dinner and back to the hotel to rest up for day two!

OUR SECOND DAY

The next day, we packed up some stuff and made our way to the beach. We finally found our way to Plymouth beach after getting lost.

It was $15 to park but they had a cool outdoor restaurant (with beer) and bathrooms. The beach also had lifeguards, which is always good.

Here’s the thing, if you’re used to sandy beaches, this is not the place for you. This beach was pretty much ROCKS. Rocks, rocks, rocks – everywhere! Ouch!

And, don’t get me started on the seaweed…yuck. It was everywhere too. Big clumps on the rocks and strings floating in the water (getting stuck on you while you tried to swim). Speaking of the water – it was freezing!!!

Can you guess…my favorite part was…Sandy’s, the restaurant with the beer?

Again, back to the hotel, indoor swimming pool, getting ready for the evening.

That night, we went to dinner and then walked the whole jetty. The jetty was so long but we walked the whole way!

We were all exhausted and had to stop for gourmet cupcakes before ending the evening!

OUR THIRD DAY

The next morning we were able to leisurely get up, get packed and drive to the Boston airport for our return home.

We had a great time. Again, our favorite was the Plantation!

Have you been to Plymouth?
What was your favorite?

Water is for More Than Swimming

As one of our summer-fun activities, I wanted to take the kids to Animal Kingdom. It’s a small zoo, which we had never visited. The day we were leaving, I scanned the web site and Internet, just to get the latest and greatest on the place.

Thank goodness for the Internet. It seemed the place had a big fire and just reopened in June. The giraffes are the main attraction but they weren’t back at the rehabbed zoo. This trip was not going to happen. Boo!

So, I moved on to the next thing on my list of activities. Looks like we’re painting outside with colored water!

I look up a lot of activities on the Internet…but, confession time – I don’t always read the directions closely. I thought painting with colored water – cool. Noted. Move on.

Then when it comes time to do it, I can’t find the original site. How hard could it be though, right? I take water, add food coloring, grab some brushes and head outside. Here’s the thing…

that “recipe” doesn’t work.

It’s just like painting with water – no color. Not a good day, here. Back to the Internet.

I needed to add cornstarch. No problem – thankfully, I had some. We added cornstarch…

Success!

This is a fun, easy (once you read the directions) activity to do with all ages! Leah and I both really liked it.

Have you ever tried this? How’d it go?
Or if you give it a try, let me know what you think!

The Most Fun Kid Activity in Philadelphia

Do you live close to the Philadelphia area?
Are you visiting Philadelphia?
Do you have kids between the ages of 1 through 10?
Are you a big kid yourself?

If you answered yes to any of those questions then listen up…I’ve got a hidden gem for you.

Franklin Square.

It’s in the old city area or historic district. First, it’s beautiful. It’s a square area of land with tons of trees, picnic areas, and an amazing fountain. The grounds are just beautiful.

The also have a huge playground. It has an area for small kids and an area for bigger kids. There really is something for all kids.

Okay, that’s all great and it’s all free.

Now, if you have a few dollars in your pocket, let’s move on to the other things at Franklin Square. They have a great merry-go-round.

If you’ve read almost any of my other travel posts, you know my daughter loves merry-go-rounds. So, if there was nothing else, this spot would be super for us.

But, that’s not all. They also have a mini-golf course. My older son loves mini-golf so we’re on a winning streak! The course is really cute too. All the holes are related to Philadelphia landmarks. There’s a miniature LOVE statue, there’s the Liberty Bell, there’s Boat House Row and much, much more! All adorable.

Now, once you’re done with your fun, you could have a picnic under the trees with food you brought from home. Or, you could stop at the SquareBurger, which is a food stand by Steven Starr (a Philadelphia restaurateur legend).

You can get the Philly Dog – an all-beef hot dog wrapped in kosher salami, onion, cherry peppers, plum tomatoes and mustard. Or try the Cake Shake, which is Tastykake Butterscotch Krimpet and a slight swirl of butterscotch are blended with creamy vanilla ice cream to create one unforgettable concoction. Unbelievable, right? They have a lot of other fun things too.

It’s just a great place to visit. Something for everyone, which means a fun day!

Have you visited Franklin Square?
What did you think?

Side note: The adorable little blond boy in the pictures is not a new son I found there. He is our nephew who was visiting from California. And, he loved Franklin Square too!