26 March 2011

Maine Maple Sunday - YUMMY! March 27th

Maine Maple Sunday is always the 4th Sunday in March (although some farms have activities, demonstrations and samples on Saturday as well).

Oh, wait, you're NOT from Maine? What is this we are talking about? Do you kids think that Maple syrup comes from the grocery store? (or, worse yet, they have never had 100% REAL boiled from sap syrup??). If this is the case, Maine Maple Sunday is a great time to get out, educate your kids (and yourself)

In a nutshell, this time of year, when temps are above freezing, sunny and "warm" (well, this is a relative term for Spring conditions here in Maine) during the day, and then dip back down below freezing at night. sap in maple trees can be (literally) tapped and collected in buckets. This sap is then boiled down (at a ratio of approx 40 gallons of sap to make ONE gallon of syrup), and made into syrup.

More info:
Maine Maple Producers Association
  • great description for the sapping process
  • Map of Maple producers
  • history of maple syrup making
  • making and storing syrup
  • recipes (beyond just topping your pancakes!!)
Sites with "open farm info" for Maine Maple Sunday
We're heading here on Sunday (last time we went to MMS here, our youngest was still in my belly!!)
A Wrinkle in Thyme Farm in Sumner (lots of fiber animals to see there too!!)
Maine Maple Sunday - YUMMY! March 27thSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

19 March 2011

Chicks for Travel and Spring

Thinking SPRING as we await the SUPERMOON tonight along with the arrival of Spring. These cute 'chicks' are a couple of things that come to mind!

First, from ImagiPLAY, a 6-piece wooden puzzle set that can be constructed and then the endless imaginary play the chicks provoke.
  • why are they each in their specific 'positions'?
  • what are they saying to each other?
  • are they brothers and sisters? friends?
  • where are the 'adults'??
Secondly, from The Little Experience, an adorable 'stitch-it' craft kit that makes one chick by sewing it together. This kit contains
  • metal needle
  • brown & yellow floss
  • printed cotton body piece
  • felt pieces
  • felt keyring loop piece
  • keyring
  • stuffing
  • (no scissors needed)
We think the great thing about this kit is that is not only is an activity, there is a product to show, to give, or just to admire when one is done. Adorable (and, available in other styles and kits).

Think SPRING, and use a bit of imagination when you need travel, rainy day, a gift item, or just an arts & crafts activity for home.
Chicks for Travel and SpringSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

12 March 2011

The WEATHER is NOT Cooperating!?

The trip is perfectly planned, you've crossed all of the "t's" and dotted all of the "i's", made all of your connections without a hitch. After arriving at the dream beach house, the inclement weather arrives, and you've found you are NOT prepared for this situation.... (oh, and we want to help you NOT turn on the TV.....)

Here are a few things you can do almost anywhere, anytime....
  • Lean 'em" card toss game: no card reading skills necessary, just deal the cards out evenly amongst the players, choose a spot away from a wall, and try to toss and get the most of YOUR cards to lean up against the wall (obviously easier on a carpeted floor, but take the challenge on a hardwood floor!). Make up your own point system for those leaning tall or horizontally etc.. Different colored decks of cards per player make it easier to figure out who owned which cards (or sort by suit)
  • Trail Mix: Head to the kitchen and mix up some trail mix. Go traditional and use peanuts and raisins, add chocolate (make it colorful with M&Ms), we also like to add any 'brown' cereal (like bran chex), pretzels, Goldfish snacks - use your (healthy) 'snacking' imagination
  • Draw a Meal: have a child that doesn't want to help put a meal together? Get him/her a placemat-sized piece of paper (or try one of these DOODLE pads to get you going), and have them sketch out their napkin, knife, fork, spoon, plate(s), glass/cup, etc. - ending with drawing their meal!
  • Crayon Rubbings: add a piece of paper and rub over any object. Things that are always handy; coins, puzzle pieces, pieces of cloth, bandaids, rubber bands, paper clips
  • Collage: gather newspapers and old magazines, child safe scissors and some glue sticks and let the creating begin. A great exercise in 'art from recycling!'
  • Dollar Quiz: can your child find the following: name of the President, where the bill was printed, Series year, value of the bill, how many times the value (number) of the bill is on it, make up your own 'finds'
  • Learn Sign Language... start with the Alphabet, here's a link to a site we like.
  • Play the little game of "I'm on a trip, the weather is NOT cooperating, and I wish I'd brought....". We like to play starting with an "A" object, then "B" etc... as the next person has to repeat all previous items before adding a new one, and it makes it a bit easier to remember that way
  • Silent Game :-) Challenge the kids (and adults!) to 'how many minutes can you go....' without speaking, moving, blinking.... or whatever you'd like them to try. Or just do a charade like game where you must communicate without talking.
A few things we recommned having for an 'emergency'
Remember, with a little planning (and trying to see the 'unseen') will make sure your "kids travel happy" :-)
The WEATHER is NOT Cooperating!?SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

05 March 2011

An UNlikely Travel "TOY" ?!

"Measure" away your travel day with this 5' (60 inches, 150cm) tape measure from Toysmith. The perfect tool to learn units, numbers, metric system. Kids will have fun measuring anything around them. SO many games to make up with a tape measure (and, perfect size for a knitting bag or purse!)

A few suggestions
  • first of all, ANYTHING (well, less than 60 inches, with this tape) can be measured. Wherever you go, there's always SOMETHING! this is the most basic, yet widest-reaching game
  • how long is his/her hand (foot, shoe, hair)?, Mom's? Dad's? Siblings?
  • use to count by 2s, 10s etc..
  • use to teach fractions of units
  • use to teach conversion from English to Metric units
This simple measuring tape locks when pulled out, retracts at push of a button, fits in a pocket, carryon or purse.

And, if the child grows tired of it, it's perfect for the tool box, knitting bag or sewing set!
An UNlikely Travel "TOY" ?!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend