Saturday, June 30, 2012

Baking Soda + Vinegar!

One morning after returning home from Broadturn Farm, Jack and Eve enjoyed experimenting with baking soda and vinegar.  I provided Jack and Eve with a variety of containers, cups and spoons so they could conduct and create their own experiments!

Creating a chemical reaction between baking soda and vinegar is one of Jack's favorite activities.  Jack loves science and he could sit for hours creating different experiments with baking soda and vinegar.  Eve was so excited by every chemical reaction and each time one occurred she ran down our porch while clapping her hands and squealing!  

Our little scientist hard at work!

Biking to Broadturn Farm

All this past week we enjoyed biking to and from Broadturn Farm to bring Grace to camp and to pick her up in the afternoon.  The picture above shows Grace and Jack riding their bikes along the road.  I was pulling Eve in a bike carrier behind my bike.  Eve loves riding just as much as Grace and Jack do.  We were all so very happy for Jack this day because it was his first time riding a long distance on the road without any training wheels.  Yeah, Jack!!! 

On the way home we stopped so that Jack could look at the tractors in the field.   :)
Eve's little pointer finger works nonstop on our bike rides...there is so much to see and talk about on our rides!

Grace is so sweet when we arrive to Broadturn Farm.  She always waits outside of the barn and waves until we turn the corner and are out of site.  

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Catching Frogs!

In the very back of our yard we have an area that we call the "frog pond."  This is a shallow wet area which is filled with lots of green frogs!  Several weeks ago Grace, Jack and Eve were delighted by this discovery.  Since then Bob has built wooden walkways/pathways through the area (little bridges) so the children can walk through this wet area.  They have spent hours and hours with their nets in hand patiently searching for and catching the green frogs that live there -- it is actually quite challenging to catch one!  Grace, Jack and Eve love to examine the frogs after they are caught and watch them jump back into the water upon their release.  The discovery of our frog pond has led to us to study about the life cycle of a frog in detail.  We are also studying the difference between frogs and toads!

You can see Grace's excitement...she caught one!

Jack also loves to catch small bugs and insects in this area.  

Can you spot the frog in this picture?  Part of the challenge is finding the frogs! 


Frog catching has become one of Eve's favorite outdoor activities and one of her favorite words is now is "net."  I am amazed by Eve's balance and how easily she walks across the narrow wooden boards.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Broadturn Farm Camp

Grace is attending camp this week at Broadturn Farm, which is an all organic farm located near our home.  We visit Broadturn Farm so frequently that it often feels like our second home.  We love it here!  Grace also attended camp here last year and loved every minute of it.

This morning Grace, Jack, Eve and I enjoyed biking to the farm together.  It was the sweetest way to start our day.  It has also been wonderful to begin our days this week surrounded by such a beautiful land, barns, animals and flowers.  Jack can't wait to attend camp here with Grace when he is four next summer (he also can't wait for a preschool program to begin at Broadturn Farm in September!) and Eve always loves her time exploring the farm and its trails.  This is a magical place for our family.

The picture above shows Grace, Jack and Eve on the first day of camp reading the names of the other children in Grace's group.  Grace absolutely LOVES her teacher, Zoe.  Every day Grace has come home from camp to say that Zoe is the best teacher she has ever had.  Grace has learned so much from her time at camp.  She has explored the woods, held a baby turkey in her skirt, picked strawberries, gathered eggs, made fairy houses, learned about forest ecology and made several projects.  More pictures of Broadturn to come later this week!  

 Here is the mission statement of Broadturn Farm camp:

"Our mission is to help children develop a knowledge, love and respect for locally produced food, the earth, organic farming and their local community. Children are taught the principles of animal welfare, farm and forest ecology through participation in the daily workings of the farm, investigation of the forest environments, creative play and exploration. We want to share the gifts of open spaces with the next generation of farmers and consumers, who will be charged with the preservation of farms like this."

"With an eye towards the unique needs of very young children, we structure the program to includelots of imagination, hands on learning and play activities. Little ones love coming to camp; feeding pigs, visiting the cows, collecting eggs, handling chicks and ducklings, munching veggies and strawberries in the garden, learning simple recipes, exploring the woods, building fairy houses, singing songs, listening to stories, playing games, making art, and of course… learning how to use an outhouse!"

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Sandy Play Dough

Eve, Grace and Jack made sandy play dough last week.  I accidentally deleted most of my pictures from this day on my computer so these are the only three that I have from this activity.  Here is the recipe that we used:

4 cups of sand
3 cups of flour
1 1/4 cup of water
1/4 cup of oil

Eve had the best time making this dough and she also had such a fun time playing with the flour.  This was a great sensory activity and a new twist on our homemade play dough recipe.  The texture of this dough was gritty from the sand but also smooth like regular play dough.  We later added several sea shells that we collected from our trips to the beach to the dough, which provided lots of opportunities for pretend play.  

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Hello, Summer!

We were so excited for the arrival of summer yesterday and what a day it was for us!  The first day of summer greeted us with temperatures in the 90s (with a heat index well over 100 degrees).  We have spent most of our first two days of summer the way it should be -- in the water or at the beach.  We celebrated the first day of summer yesterday at Deering Oaks Park and spent most of our time splashing in the ravine there.  Today, we went to Higgins Beach to play and cool off.  Welcome, summer!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Color Walk

Every year around this time we go on daily "color walks."  First, we paint the inside of empty egg cartons the colors of the rainbow.  We take our colored cartons outside with us on long walks or hikes to try to find items in nature that match the colors of those painted inside of our egg cartons.  It is a very simple activity but it is one that has brought about so many thoughtful and insightful conversations!  Grace, Jack and Eve have learned so much through the years about flowers, leaves, rocks, grass, fruits, trees, weather and the seasons from this activity.  I especially love how these colored egg cartons go everywhere with us  -- from our hikes in the woods to trips to the beach and even into the city of Portland!  Below are a few pictures from a color walk that we did around our yard last week.  By the way, we are always searching high and low for blue -- we always enjoy looking at the blue sky and the blue ocean water but it is hard to find tangible items to put inside of our blue compartment!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

"Everything is a color in our world."

 During breakfast one morning in late April Grace said the following:

"Everything is a color in our world."

Graces' words are ones that I think about every day and they have inspired me to slow down to admire all of the beautiful colors of nature that surround us, especially this time of year.

I took these pictures at our local Farmer's Market two weeks ago with Grace's words in mind.  It is also her words that have inspired us to start going on daily "color walks," as we so call them.  I will post pictures of one of our color walks soon.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Biking the Eastern Trail on Father's Day

We spent every moment outside yesterday to celebrate Father's Day (I just love this time of year!).  Part of our morning was spent biking the Eastern Trail.  A portion of this trail crosses through the Scarborough Marsh, which we are so fortunate to live very near!  The marsh is filled with so much wildlife and is full of such beautiful views of Maine's largest saltwater marsh.  Grace and Jack took turns riding a bike along the trail and they both shared some time with Eve in a bike carrier that Daddy pulled behind his bike!

Grace riding next to Daddy with Eve and Jack in the bike carrier

Eve loves going on bike rides! 

Jack riding along the the trail 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

*daisy flowers hand picked by Grace, Jack and Eve in our backyard for Father's Day*

Happy Father's Day to Bob who is the world's best Daddy to our three beautiful children!  
Happy Father's Day to Poppy & Pepere who are both amazing fathers and grandfathers.  
...all of our love goes out to these three wonderful Dad's today and always! 

Got Gracie, Jack & Eve?