Sunday, July 22, 2012

Want to buy some lemonade?

We recently returned from a very long road trip where for the first time I let my son watch movies on a portable dvd player.  He watched eight episodes of Curious George on the way home, including the one where George sells lemonade.  When it was over, and after a second viewing of that episode, my son insisted that he had to make a lemonade stand.  So insistent, that he became obsessed with the idea!  After realizing that we had recycled all of the huge boxes we had saved for so long, he settled for making a sign, with help, and using a table and a chair.  He even created an "employees only" sign for under the table where he stored supplies. 

Thankfully we always have lemonade on hand, along with some little cups.  My son donned his "Home Depot" pocket apron and went to work setting things up.  After selling cups to his parents, his first customer, the neighbor's boyfriend, came over to buy a cup.  My son clammed up and hid under the table!  He is so shy sometimes.  Eventually he adjusted and was able to sell a few more cups to neighbors and cars passing by.  He even told me one lady stopped and gave him a dollar even though she didn't want any lemonade.  He banked all of his quarters before I had a chance to count them, but I think he made about two dollars!  Not bad for a couple of hours. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Popcorn, easy and healthy snack

After reading lots about the dangerous chemicals in microwave popcorn and never having much luck not burning it, I finally did a bit of research and learned how to properly pop some corn on the stove top.  Using a heavy bottom stainless steel pan, I make this great snack all the time for us.  I use about three tablespoons of coconut oil to give it great flavor.  I heat the oil with three kernels of corn in a covered pan until the three kernels pop, then I add about a half cup of organic popping corn.  I vent the lid a bit to let steam escape, but not the popcorn.  Trader Joe's sells organic popcorn for about $2 and the little bit of oil is inexpensive as well (I buy coconut oil at Whole Foods.) 

Instead of buying popcorn at the movies, I pop a batch at home and bring it in a big zip top bag.  Definitely cheaper than buying it at the movies!  We saw Puss in Boots last week at the Regal $1 movies and this snack was a hit with the kids.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Fun at home depot

Did you know that the first Saturday of each month your local Home Depot offers a free and fun kids event?  It's recommended for ages five and up.  My son's friend told him about it and of course we had to give it a try.  My son won't be five until September, and he probably was a bit young for the activitiy, but with our help he was able to complete the project and have fun!

The project for July was making a small wood Penske truck.  Kids received an apron to wear, complete with logo, and all the parts to make the little truck.  Tables were out with glue and hammers.  My son said the nails were dangerous, so he didn't want to assemble the truck.  He helped sand the wood, and did a little bit of the hammering.  He finished the truck by painting it and later applying the decals provided.  He was so excited to have a completed truck.  He also received a certificate of participation and a little pin for his apron with the project on it.  We are planning to go to the next one.

I was impressed with seeing so many kids at the event.  There were kids with aprons covered in pins!  Apparently it's a very popular event.  The employees were really helpful and kind. It made such an impression on my son that now he wants to have his birthday party there!  I don't think they do parties!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Summer Vacation, Day 3

I'm in the planning stages of our Disney vacation, so I spent the morning booking our air travel and chatting with out travel agent.  It's a surprise trip for my son's fifth birthday, so trying to discuss it discreetly on the phone was a challenge.  Luckily he didn't catch on and I was successful in booking our flights.  It will be his first time on a plane and I am already nervous!  He will love it.
Once that was settled we headed out to my sister's for a play date with the cousins.  There are four cousins there, two big ones in elementary school and twins who are in preschool and just about nine months younger than my kiddo.  The four cousins had a blast together playing.  It's days like this that makes me wish we had more than one child so that my son had a constant play mate and companion, but he'll have to make due with his awesome cousins. They held a costume parade today!  There's my little soldier.

We brought my son's little bike along today for him to ride with the kids and discovered that he is too big for it! He has been riding his scooter this year and today was his first time on his bike.  He had so much trouble because his knees were all crunched up high.  I can't believe how much he's grown in a year!  He took a ride on his cousin's taller bike and it was perfect.  It looks like we'll be in the market for a bigger bike now!  

Summer Vacation, day 2

On our second day of summer vacation, we checked out the Morris Arboretum.  This June so far has been unseasonably cool.  It was a bit of an overcast day, perfect for exploring outside.  The Arboretum has a new summer exhibit featuring hand painted and designed Adirondack chairs scattered throughout the property. We found a few of them on our explorations, but my son big goal was to discover hideouts.

We took a new path this visit to a section of the property we rarely visit.  We discovered a groundhog family's home, including at least three holes, around the base of a huge evergreen tree.  Nearby was what my son declared to be our hideout, a huge weeping evergreen tree that we could actually stand under it's canopy of branches.  We found a pretty little waterfall and fountain too.

Next we checked out the railway gardens.  The new addition to the buildings this year are all based on storybooks.  We saw Humpty Dumpty, Rapunzel's tower and many other buildings.  James and Percy were even out on the tracks.  My son discovered Thomas was in the train "shed" or storage area, along with an Amtrak train that fascinated him.

At one point my son decided that he had to use the potty "right now!" We were no where near a bathroom.  I asked a gardener if he could direct us to the closest bathroom and he did better, he drove us in his cart to the nearest one!  That was possibly the most exciting thing to happen, getting a ride in the cart!

We finished our exploring with a visit to the Out on a Limb area for a climb on the nets and taking a rest in a kid-sized chair! It was a fun day!

First day of summer vacation!

My son's last day of preschool for the year was on June 1st.  He was sad that he won't get to play in his fun classroom anymore or see his teachers. I assured him that we would see his friends over the summer and that come September he'll be back at school.  In the meantime, I have three full months to plan activities for him to keep him busy and entertained.  I have lots of things planned!

Over the weekend my son told me several times that he was sad about no more school.  To ease into the summer transition, I scheduled a play date for him with one of his school buddies, who met us at the Please Touch Museum.  The boys had a blast playing while the moms had a chance to catch up and chat. I love going to the Please Touch Museum on Mondays, as there are no scheduled school groups and it is usually not too busy.  We could have spent hours there, and we always leave there wanting more, but that just means we get to return.

I am always impressed with how the museum operates.  Exhibits are always being refreshed, so when a part wears out it is replaced or fixed.  The new train exhibit downstairs kept the boys busy for a good half hour.  Something about shoveling pretend coal is fascinating to four year olds. We discovered a new trolley in the transportation area that my son just loved.  We visited it twice that day because it was that much fun!  (My son is obsessed with SEPTA and trains, so this really fit in with his interests!)

My son got injured there, again, and the museum staff handled it great.  He cut his finger on a switch.  After I got him cleaned up and bandaged, I went back to the room where he got hurt and told the staff person on duty about it, as I was concerned that maybe there was blood on the switch and it should be cleaned.  It was not at all the museum's fault, I think he just got his finger tip pinched.  Two more staff members approached me to make sure he was ok and talked to my son too.  The last time we visited, he got a splinter.  That time I asked about getting a band aid and was equally impressed with how helpful the staff were.  I just love that place.  Membership has really paid off for us, as we can go as often as we want. We will be visiting there often this summer!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Transit Museum for the little conductors

Did you know Philadelphia had a Transit Museum?  My son is obsessed with SEPTA and regional rail.  One rainy Saturday we rode the train into Philadelphia's Market Street East station and headed over to the SEPTA Transit Museum to check it out.  Admission was free and the "museum" is the lobby and sub lobby/basement of the office building that hosts the SEPTA offices.  There was a full sized, real old trolley on display that could be boarded, "driven" and explored.  There were some model trains in cases to watch as well as many old photographs from the history of transportation in Philadelphia.  Topping the morning was a visit to the Transit Store, where my son wanted to buy a real SEPTA uniform for dress up.  They don't sell them there, but we were able to purchase a hat, some logo buttons and a patch which I sewed to a sweatshirt jacket for him to use as his dress up outfit. They also sell lots of Thomas and Chuggington items, as they know what appeals to the little ones!  It was a great activity that my son really enjoyed!  I think we will be back in the future for another visit.

The SEPTA Transit gift shop and museum is located in the lobby of 1234 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA  19107.