Monday, August 18, 2014

To Remember...

What every child wants to know is, “do your eyes light up when I walk in the room?” – Toni Morrison

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Our Summer Bucket List

Always seems like summer is over before I have a chance to blog about our bucket list. This year especially - felt like we waited for warm weather that never really came.

1. Creek stomping: did this at a local park where we celebration our 10th anniversary with dinner grilled out at the park just like we did on one of our first dates.

2. Grill out dinner at a park - Note to self, remember towels or napkins, bug spray, something for the baby to sit in and matches or a good lighter haha! Dinner was excellent though once we finally got it going. Also pick a table in the shade - and bring a table cloth.

3. Farmers market with the family - this still needs checked off!

4. Playdates at the park - thankful for Gina with the Franklin Playdate Group for getting this accomplished!

5. Busy Bag Swap

6. Potholes near Attica - been on our list for a while and finally made it!

7. Indiana State Fair or local fair

8. Using up tomatoes and garden produce - here's to BLTs, pizza toppings, and bruschetta!

9. Sleepover up north visiting family

10. Blueberry picking (check)! Note that toddlers really are not so much into blueberry picking....or strawberry picking - or anything involving excessive heat, bugs and not being able to eat the berries right away.

11. Strawberry picking

12. Community pool visits

13. Splash pad visits

14. Sprinkler or slip n slide backyard fun

15. watertable fun on the deck

16. Planting pots of annuals for the patio

17. Movie in the Park

18. Zoo trip



Now on to our fall bucket list!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Free activities for Tots (and more) at Your Local Library

One of the things that I have taken advantage of more now with finding myself laid-off in the last month or two has been all the great free activities at our local libraries! From tot pasta art to preschool reading programs there is so much to do! Next month we plan on learning about how to make rootbeer, bike safety including free helmets, learning about bats and more!

Check out what your local library system is up to - their calendar of events may surprise you!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Top 10 FREE Family Fun Things to Do at the Indiana State Fair

Indoor Playground where we lost the balloon

My husband and I have made the Indiana State Fair a family tradition. Each year visiting as many of the exhibits and family areas that we can cram into an afternoon before exhaustion kicks in. So much to do and learn, even for adults! Little tidbit I learned this year was that Indiana is #4 in production for mint - who knew?!

For the kiddos there are definitely more than just rides - in fact we try to avoid that wallet-sucking area as much as we can - that and the food area -- heck, bring a picnic!- with kiddos you are already carting around so much anyways - why not pack a little cooler with hard boiled eggs or sandwiches and chips, etc. And our oldest (almost 4) doesn't even like cotton candy - so no fights for that haha!

So (in no particular order) here's our list of free to-do's each year:

1. DNR Building: The butterfly habitat right outside is a huge hit with our daughter and the lovely cold knee level fountain is mommy's favorite spot to rest and cool her feet off. The building itself is a cooling retreat from the harsh sun and a fun walk through of Indiana aquatic life.

2. Little Hands on the Farm: Featuring a free fun little farm walk through where the children all don aprons and  complete farm activities including "egg" and "apple" collecting and you even get to ride/drive a tractor - and wrap up with a visit at the "store" to trade in your "money" for a drink or snack I think...this is a good 20 minute activity so for those waiting with the stroller and sleeping baby outside the activity - hang tight. :)

3. FFA Pavillion: The free putt putt course and shredded-tire playground is a great spot to rest from all the walking. Lots of the buildings also feature a little area where kiddos can color with free printables - we are right at that age where that is a huge hit - take advantage of it if you need to!

Peeping cute chicks/ pullets

Friendly ducklings in the Poultry and Rabbit Barn
Cattle Barn
4. Barn Walk-Throughs: There is the obligatory and entertaining brief jaunt through the cattle or swine barn (or both) complete with "ughs!" and nose-holding as you watch the cows getting prepped and ready for showing - or watching them rest etc :). But our favorite is the Poultry and Rabbit Building where posts signs everywhere say not stick fingers in the cages - but that little bunny tush pressed up against the mesh of the crate is too much to bear. And where fuzzy chicks and ducklings peep and walk up to the sides of their cages to greet enthusiastic young onlookers. Encubators with hatching eggs are popular spots too and who doesn't love the onslaught of rooster crows :) and hilarious looking chickens.

5. Farm Bureau Building: The nice thing about this spot is the bathrooms, A/C and of course the free popcorn!

Dupont Food Pavillion

6. DuPont Food Pavillion: One of our favorites! Always a demo going on about recipes (Red Gold, etc) and usually includes a little taste for the audience. Food samples around the building from salsa to honey...and you can watch the cheese sculpture being form and the littles can play in the little interactive area.

Planting sunflower seeds at Seed Survivor in the Ag/Hort Building

Gourd activity in the Ag/Hort Building
7. Ag/Hort Building: More look-see and respite from the heat. My favorite is the Can creations of all things - where they compete with grand displays made from food cans - this year's favorite was a huge construct of Olaf from Frozen. This area has a great honey bee area, and walk throughs of award winning things like wreaths and produce, etc. This year we happened upon a free gourd decorating area for kiddos and the Seed Survivor activity where you can color sheets, and plant and take home a sunflower seed and more! We also sat in on a demo from this year's Honey-Bee queen and got to sample her recipe for honey-orange smoothies - very yum!

Olaf "Can"struction

8. Angie's List Garden: full of great free activities and crafts and also a free balloon!....which we promptly lost :( ....and much screaming ensued. Tie that puppy to a hairtie on your wrist next time - oy!

9. Pathway to Water Quality: Great little outdoor walkthrough along a path of shade trees and you can fill your thermos with great cold well water!

Lactation Tent near the Little Hands on the Farm and Pathway to Quality

10. Lactation Stations: This for us has been such a great relief. Two different stations at each end of the fair made for moms to step in and nurse or change diapers and grab a cool water and refresh on sunscreen and if you forgot yours they have some as well as some diapers and wipes if you find yourself in a bind. The volunteers for these booths are great - so much so that they inspired me to sign up for a shift this year - loved being able to give back to a cause that made me feel welcome. Of course you can nurse wherever you need to at the fair - but these little areas are a nice place to meet up with other mom's or, like in the RV, get a way from all the distractions so the baby can focus on eating.

RV Lactation Station - air condition and more private if needed for the distract-ababy