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Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

This Memorial Day, our flag is waving in the wind in honor of my dad, a Marine who served in WWII, Korea & Vietnam.

Blessings to everyone throughout the world who sacrifice for liberty and freedom.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Toy Fairy Treehouse

I have had a few people ask about the boys' toy treehouse & how we made it so I thought I would make a quick how-to post that included some of the details.

To start off, we cut off a 2 foot branch from a fallen tree. It is important to make sure the branch has several off-shoot branches and that there are no bug holes, which would compromise the stability of the branch once it is upright.

For the base, we used a heavy particle board. Unfortunately, our base proved to be too soft and the branch wobbled. I would recommend using a heavy hard wood, as little children tend lean on the treehouse as they play with it.

I used paper to make a template for the platforms and cut them out of a 1/2 inch hardwood board. Then came the fun details:

Peg steps for friends who cannot fly.

A comfy hammock.

Little clothespins that hold playsilks on the back of the treehouse.

A fun felt party banner set a festive atmosphere - fairies love a good party!

A pulley to lower and raise a bucket. (Made from 2 dowel rods & a toothpick)

Now, off to play!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Great Outdoors Series & Shooting Star Tutorial

I am reading Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv. Learning the importance of nature's influence on children and reflecting on my childhood outdoor adventures, inspired me to begin a summer series called The Great Outdoors. In the series, I will provide links to nature oriented websites & blogs, book reviews, games, crafts and activities to encourage families to play, explore and wonder in The Great Outdoors.

To begin the series, here is a fun toy to make for your little ones:

The stars are the jewels of the night,
and perchance surpass anything which
day has to show.
Henry David Thoreau

Night and Moonlight

A few days ago, my 2 year old was thrilled to see the moon at dusk, before the sky was dark. Now as day gives way to night, he looks in the sky for the moon and stars, pointing and smiling with wonder. Keeping their fascination with stars in mind, and wanting them to play outside, I made "shooting stars" out of bean bags and ribbon. We have had hours of fun throwing them, catching them and seeing whose would land in the hula hoop (and occasionally the tree).

They are easy to make by hand or with a sewing machine.

First, put two 4 inch pieces of cloth back to back and stitch a star, leaving space open at a "V".

Cut two foot long strands of ribbon cutting "v" shapes at the end of wide ribbon to help prevent unraveling. (We use 5 in ours.)

Cut out the star except at the place where you left the "V" unstitched. The cloth will work as a funnel for pouring in the beans. (We used split peas. Please be mindful of little ones who may try to swollow any beans should the star split open.)

After filling the star full of beans, insert the ribbons and sew the "V" closed and trim around the rest of the star.

Now you have a toy that will provide hours of outdoor play.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

May Day

In my family May Day has often been one in which we recognize the beauty of spring and the renewal of nature. I remember a few times, taking fresh cut flowers to neighbors. Somewhere amid the archives of Harding University, there are some incriminating photos of myself and 19 other girls dancing in formal dances around a maypole. Even today, my sweet younger sister sent me a flowery May Day greeting via text.

Although we did not manage to take flowers to our neighbors or make a fruit flower boquet as I had hoped, we did add a maypole to our nature table to remind us of the celebration of Life.

Wishing you a very Happy May!
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