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Archive for the ‘gardening & the great outdoors’ category

Friday, November 1st, 2013

Maze Days

Ok, so there’s no shortage of leaves outside at the moment! If doing a little leaf raking is on your to-do list this weekend, why not add a little play to all the work? FamilyFun Magazine proposes in their current issue that before raking the leaves into a pile, you first use the rake to clear a pathway through the leaves. Use the stopwatch feature on your phone to time the kiddos and see who can dash through the course the fastest. Not a bad way for everyone to get a workout!


(image courtesy FamilyFun Magazine)

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

Metallic Leaves

Get ready… the leaves are starting to fall! No doubt what ends up being top of mind for most people is what the heck to do with all of them; picking them all up can be pretty overwhelming. What’s great about this fall craft? It gets you to focus on quality over quantity and the beauty of each leaf type. Pick some out of your pile that have nice color and aren’t torn then put them in a heavy book for flattening. After a couple days, decorate them with metallic markers. Beautiful!


(image courtesy FamilyFun Magazine)

Friday, July 26th, 2013

Sand-Carving Lessons

If you’re like me, you don’t think about sand castles much, that is, until you’re on the beach, with bucket and shovel in hand. And then the realization hits that to really do this right, I probably should have done my homework. When I saw this article in the August issue of FamilyFun Magazine, the lightbulb finally went off above my head. Instead of building something bucket by bucket, what if you start with a big, wet mound of sand, that you then subtract from? And the idea of bringing sand-carving tools? GAME ON!

The family in the article booked a lesson from To find sand-carving classes near you, visit and click on “lessons and workshops.”



(images courtesy FamilyFun Magazine)

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

Ribbon Tent

‘Tis the season for camping and outdoor celebrations so check out this tent-inspired ribbon room. It sure looks inviting whether it shelters formal place settings or an informal picnic on a blanket. It’s all about location with this particular version… you’ll need a tree with a horizontal limb as well as two long limbs on the ground to anchor the streamers. And don’t forget the crepe paper!



Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

Leaf Art

Now that it’s summer and there’s no shortage of greenery outside, what better time to craft with leaves. Check out these amazing works of art below, although I think the last few are more my speed and fun for kids!















Friday, March 1st, 2013

Cutest. Story. Ever.

Check out this article in the news today… The U.S. Department of Interior reports that little Evie recently took home two sticks from Yosemite. How do they know this? Because they received a handwritten note from Evie admitting to her guilt.

They are now preparing to reunite the sticks with their home and Evie’s letter is now being considered for display in Yosemite’s visitor center or elsewhere.

Monday, January 7th, 2013

Fun in the Snow

Happy new year!

We were lucky enough to have a good snowfall the day after Christmas. We’re always dreaming of a white Christmas around here, and this year we came really close to making that a reality! Fortunately for the kids, it was a wet snow which was great to build with and it stayed around for the entire holiday break.

First, we built the standard-issue snowman as a warm up to bigger projects. Speaking of snowmen, I never thought to try this, but there were a lot of upside down guys like this online!

I was definitely intrigued when my husband started rolling a giant snowball around the yard. What I thought was becoming a “mine is bigger than yours” snowman competition turned into the unexpected: An upside down sno-cone! If only we had a giant-sized bottle of flavored syrup to pour on top of it!

We also built a snow fort using a small cooler for our mold. It wasn’t until a couple days later that I stumbled upon plastic snow/sand block molds online so I ordered a few to play with on our next snow day.

Then we filled spray bottles and condiment bottles with food coloring and water, painting everything in our path. (You’ll want to keep this off of your clothes due to the stain factor!)

We didn’t try making snow glass (food coloring and water frozen inside water balloons) but I love the end result:

Of course when it was time to go in, we had some hot cocoa, but we also had some snow ice cream. (I guess you could say we had ice cream on the brain!) The ingredients/directions: start with 1 gallon fresh snow, stir in 1 cup white sugar, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract and 2 cups milk. My personal touch: sugar cane stir sticks. A yummy beverage in celebration of a white (day after) Christmas!

Here’s hoping you can spend the next snow day being a kid again!

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

The Giving Tree

Recently, a friend of mine surprised his wife with a young tree to celebrate a birthday. It reminded me of the butterfly bush my mom had given us when Livi was born. Though it’s not a tree and we cut it back each winter, I’m amazed at how it continues to flourish and grow taller with each passing year, even amidst the small patch of earth we planted it in next to the driveway. And without a doubt, it serves as a reminder of just how quickly Livi is growing up!

What a great way to celebrate a new birth, birthday, anniversary or simply a new chapter in life. I especially love the notecards tied to the branches!

Do you have any symbolic trees in your life?

Above: A friend’s birthday tree. Below: Our butterfly bush, now ten feet tall!

(image courtesy Kate James and Tony Dowers)

Friday, August 3rd, 2012


Loving this heart-shaped meadow, created by a farmer as a tribute to his late wife, near Wickwar, South Gloucestershire. The point of the heart points towards Wotton Hill, where his wife was born.

(image via Pinterest)

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

Sandman or Snowcastle?

Snowmen are to winter as sandcastles are to summer, right? Unless you live in the Southern Hemisphere, where winter falls in July. Check out the fun post at The Crafts Department, who is celebrating a Christmas in July theme this week on their blog.

(image via The Crafts Department/Coastal Living)

(image via The Crafts Department)