Tag Archives: fun

Superhero 5K and Family Fun Run

5 Apr

Check out my guest blog over at www.northtexaskids.com!

Click here for my story about the upcoming Superhero 5K and Family Fun Run benefitting Dallas CASA.

-Jennifer

Fall Activities Around Arlington

4 Oct

HOLY SCARECROW, BATMAN!!  There’s SO much to do around here this month!  Here are a few – click on the links for more info.

State Fair of Texas (through October 23)

Dallas Arboretum – Autumn at the Arboretum (daily in October)

Pumpkin picking and scarecrow building at Gnismer Farms (Wednesday, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays in October)

Studio Movie Grill – Spookley the Square Pumpkin (weekends in October)

Halloween Crafts at Michael’s stores (various dates through October)

Green Meadows Petting Farm in Grand Prairie (daily from October 6 – November 1; closed October 8-9)

After Dark in the Park at River Legacy (October 7-9)

Harvest Fair at the Grand Prairie Farmers Market (October 15)

Log Cabin Village – Frontier Fall Fest (October 15)

Fort Worth Zoo – Boo at the Zoo (October 21-23 & 28-30)

Fort Worth Botanic Garden – Fall Festival in the Japanese Garden (October 22 & 23)

Halloween Nights at the Dallas Zoo (October 27-29)

Melt a Rainbow

15 Sep

I saw this really cool painting/art thing on pinterest.com the other day, and decided to give it a try.  It looked easy enough – a bunch of crayons glued to the top of a canvas (in rainbow order) and then melted so the colors are running down in a big drippy mess.  I had to try it!  I showed my kids a picture of it, and they were really excited to try it, too.

A friend of mine (who also happens to be a kindergarten teacher) made one of these on an old chalkboard, using an embossing gun for the heat.  It turned out great!  But as I had neither an old chalkboard nor an embossing gun (what is that, anyway??), I had to improvise.

It's already beautiful!

I bought a large piece of black foam board at Target and a 64-count box of Crayola crayons.  The kids helped me line all the crayons up in rainbow order the best we could.  (Initially, we took out all the browns and grays, but ended up adding them in at the end of the rainbow, to fill in the board a little better.)  The only color I didn’t use was black, since it wouldn’t show up on the black foam board.

Once all the crayons were laid out, I cut off the extra bit of board at the end, so the width of the board was exactly the same as the crayons.  Once my kids went to bed, I got out my hot-glue gun and got going.  I glued all 63 of those little suckers on there, and of course I faced them all neatly where the “Crayola” label was showing.

Ready for the sun

As I mentioned, I don’t have an embossing gun.  A hairdryer might have worked, but I decided to use something even more readily at my disposal – the blistering sun!  After a cool snap last week (the temperature got all the way down to the 90s, wow), our highs in North Texas have gone back up over 100 degrees.  Today was projected to hit 107!  So all I did was lean that board up against my fence – on top of an old sheet so it wouldn’t get the grass all yucky – and wait.

Getting drippy

It didn’t take long at all.  After about half an hour, the blues and purples had started dripping.  My son was with me, and we both felt like we were catching a rare glimpse of something magical!  Another hour or so later, and it was definitely done – maybe a little too done.  I think I probably should have brought it in sooner.  The crayon wrappers were mostly empty shells, and the hot glue on one of them even melted and it fell off the board!  (Like I said, it’s HOT here.)

After round one in the sun

But even if it’s not “perfect,” it’s really cool.  A beautiful, melted rainbow, that my kids and I made for about six bucks.  And now we have a beautiful piece of art that we can hang in the house!

And the most amazing part, according to my son, is that the white crayon didn’t melt at all.  Not a drip.  I tried to explain to him about light colors reflecting heat and dark colors absorbing it, but his 5-year-old eyes sort of glazed over.  But even if he didn’t understand it, he still thought it was cool.

After another round in the sun - blobby but really cool!

52 FEATS – NUMBER 27 (Winging It)

7 Jul

For the original 52 FEATS blog entry, click here.

UPDATE (Thursday):

This Feat is going along perfectly with my summer attitude.  Fun, relaxed, and just enjoying the heck out of my kids before school starts.

On the first morning of this Feat, I told my kids that we could do whatever they wanted that day – they could pick.  They both immediately shouted, “Summer Fun Bowl!”  Of course, they quarreled about who got to pick (and stupid me, I couldn’t remember whose turn it was), so I let them each pick something out of the bowl.

I wasn’t prepared for the fact that my daughter didn’t like what she picked, “Explore outside with a magnifying glass.”  I thought about making a rule that we HAVE to do what we draw out of the bowl, but then I figured that sort of defeated the whole purpose.  So I let her pick again, and she drew “Go see a movie,” which brought shouts of delights from both my kids.  (And me, too – two hours in cool darkness is fine by me.)

My son picked “Angry Birds water balloon and sidewalk chalk game.”  (See here for details.)  He was excited, because he’d been wanting to do that for quite a while.  I really didn’t want to go sit outside filling up water balloons, but much like my week of Playing (see Feat Number 25 here), this Feat also feels like an exercise in saying YES to my kids – something I’m sure I don’t do nearly enough.

The movie was funny and the Angry Birds game quickly turned into a water balloon free-for-all fight in which we all got soaked.  After at least a dozen deep-down belly laughs with my kids, I knew I was right where I needed to be.

ABOUT FEAT NUMBER 27:

I’m a planner.  A planner and a worrier.  If I could manage it, I’d love – LOVE! – to have a detailed schedule that organized every moment of my day, from craft time with the kids to doing laundry and yes, even down time.  I just crave that kind of organization.  I haven’t (yet) reached that level of control over my daily existence, but I do have my week fairly well planned most of the time.

But what a drag that can be for my kids!  I think they’re getting sick of all the “stuff” I have planned.

When Lori posted her great boredom-buster blog (see it here), I followed up with my list, too (here).  I made a comment to Lori that I thought about making a list of all those fun things and just letting the kids pick one every day.  I liked the idea, but then I realized a couple of problems.  First of all, the kids would pick their favorites right off the bat, and then when only a few items remained, they might moan and groan about what’s left.  Furthermore, I’m sure they would NEVER agree on anything!

So instead, I typed all those fun things up, cut them into little strips of paper, folded them up, and put them into a fishbowl.  Voila – our Summer Fun Bowl!  I told the kids that whenever we can’t think of something to do, we’ll just draw something from the bowl.  They get to take turns drawing.  And they think it’s the coolest thing ever!  Every day they want to choose something from the bowl, and so far, there’s been no grumbling about it.  (They do understand that sometimes what we draw may not be possible to do that day, like when my daughter picked “Go roller skating” last week on a day when the rink was closed.  When that happens, it just goes back into the bowl for another shot on a different day.)

For this week, I’m going to throw scheduling out the window as much as I can.  Each day, I’ll let my kids pick what they want to do for the day – whatever that may be.  (Within reason, of course – no 24-hour TV allowed!)  They may want to choose from the bowl, or maybe something will just pop into their heads.  Either way, I’m game!

Kid’s Improv Comedy Concert in North Richland Hills

23 Jun

An improv comedy concert is coming to Green Valley Park in North Richland Hills on Thursday, June 23, 2011 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. This event is geared to youth ages 6-12.  Parents are welcome too.  KidProv will be performing improvisational comedy live on stage and it might require a lot of audience participation, so be prepared if you are sitting up front!  Improvisation, according to KidProv, is simply to use what you know and make up what you don’t!  Picnics are welcome and there will be $2 snow cones to help you beat the heat.  Lawn seating will be available, so please bring blankets and lawn chairs.  For more information, please call 817-427-6620 or click here.

I Made This!

22 Jun

My friend and fellow More than Mothers writer, Lori, recently took a plane ride with her son, who was less than a year old.  It was a short flight, but she was worried about keeping him occupied.  I thought about how much kids (of any age) love other people’s toys, and decided to provide her with something to entertain him.

For this same trip, Lori also asked me if she could borrow my kids’ snack dispenser – the kind that has the flaps over the opening.  Little fingers can easily reach in for a snack, and the flaps prevent major spills.  Simple and efficient.

While I was looking for the snack holder, BAM!  I had a brainstorm.  What if I could make a similar container for toys??  And just like that, off I went…

First, I cleaned out a canister of french fried onions.  Then I hit the dollar store, where I bought a package of several rolls of brightly colored electrical tape.  I made cute little stripes of different colors all the way up the can.  With a steak knife, I cut flaps in the lid.  I scoured my house for toys that were big enough not to be choking hazards for an infant, but small enough to fit through the flaps.  I ended up with a car, a shaker, a scarf, a plastic cookie, a ball, and a few other small toys.  I finished up by putting several cute stickers on the bottom.  And voila – my own prototype for a new toy!

While it was definitely the cutest baby toy ever, the real test would be whether the baby himself liked it.  The verdict?  He loved it, as did his 18-month-old buddy.  We’ve got a winner here!

52 FEATS – NUMBER 25 (Playing)

20 Jun

For the original 52 FEATS blog entry, click here.

A friend of mine told me a cute story recently, about playing Kung Fu Panda with her kids.  She wasn’t playing the movie, she was playing, pretending to be characters with her kids and acting out stories.  This is such simple thing, so important for kids to exercise their imaginations, and yet I admit, I do it very seldom.  That type of play just wears me out.  I’m much more the “let’s read a book!” variety when I sit down with my kids.

I often feel so overwhelmed with everything I have to do – entertain/educate the kids, cook, clean, do laundry, blog, work, and occasionally try to do something for myself, like reading a book with no pictures.  I find myself frequently saying no to my kids when they ask me to play with them, telling them I’ll do it later, when I finish the dishes, after I get some work done, once I’ve folded the laundry, etc.  Those are such valuable moments I’m wasting!

This is the week of playing.  It’s the week of getting down on the floor with my kids, acting out whatever they want, playing whatever game they want to play, even if we’ve done it a dozen times already or if the kitchen sink is overflowing with dirty dishes.  I stay at home with my kids for a reason, and it’s not just to keep them breathing.  I want to connect with them, and have fun in the process.

My son will be starting kindergarten in the fall.  If this last summer before school isn’t precious time, then I don’t know what is!  I don’t intend to waste a moment of it.

%d bloggers like this: