Monthly Archives: June 2016

Fairies, Fairies Everywhere…. Mom Camp Days 10-13

The summer solstice tradition lives on.  We ate strawberry shortcake for dinner, played with sparklers and glow sticks and the kiddos built their fairy houses again!  The Princess also discovered a new book series  which features lots of fairies including one that shares The Princess’ name. To top it off we watched Epic  which takes place on the Summer Solstice, but doesn’t actually involve fairies.

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This year Cinco decided on a baseball theme for his fairy creation.  He started with a ball field complete with dugouts and even Gatorade ads on the stadium walls, LOL.img_3778

The following day he built a score board out of craft sticks. img_3781  Next, we made mini baseball caps together. We made two sets of 9 caps each, enough to field two fairy teams.  Cinco and I like the blue cap best because they remind us of the KC Royals.

I have left instructions on how to make your own cap at the end of the blog. Scroll down…

He made mini baseballs out of wooden balls from the craft store and created a makeshift baseball bat. Cinco wants to go so far as to make t-shirts for the fairies, but there was only so much time in the day….  Get that?  The longest day….  only so much time.  What a laugh.


Cinco also needed a fairy house.img_3779  img_3770-2This year the kids wanted to go with more of a nature theme and he decided to create a cave for the fairies.  He covered the entire outside of the cave with stones.
Cinco made a bed from straw and craft sticks as well.

 

The Princess decide on a glamorous dress shop for the fairies.  We made mini dresses with wine corks as the mannequins. The Princess also added a special fashion mirror for the fairies to try on their dresses.  She also added a pink scarf and some perfume bottles for the fairies.  She really glammed up the dress shop and then went with more of a nature theme for the fairy house.

img_3782The house was lovingly created from an old Go-gurt box.  Rocks and shells added to the nature theme.  The fairies also have an outdoor picnic area complete with mushrooms for stools.

Per usual the kids did a great job and the fairies left a few magical items. The Princess received a magical necklace and Cinco got a sports inspired quidditch necklace .  (If you can believe it, his necklace cost less than $2, including shipping!!!)

The fairies also have an extra special treat this year.  Normally, they spread ice cream sprinkles all over their mini houses. Of course, they did that again.  But they also left milk chocolate sprinkles for the kiddos, .  These are sprinkles commonly eaten in Holland, and were inspired by our trip this summer to see The Dutchman.  I haven’t had these since I was in grade school… and personally, I am looking forward to eating them as well.

To make your own mini baseball cap you will need:

  • bottle caps
  • pom poms
  • duct tape in the color of your choice
  • thin cardboard or cardstock
  • a glue gun

img_3735Start by cutting out a bill for your cap. Hot glue it to the bottle cap.
img_3736Glue a medium pom-pom to the top of the bottle cap. Then carefully cover your hat in duck tape taking care not to tape down the pom-pom too much or you baseball cap will look more like a civil war officer’s hat.

 

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We Interrupt this Mom Camp to Bring You Summer Solstice Day

You may have figured out by now, that when we travel I wait until we get home to actually blog about it.  This sometimes means that the Mom Camp blog gets off schedule compared to actual Mom Camp activities.  In this case, I was forced to interrupt the vacation blog to bring you Mom Camp Summer Solstice.

If you follow the blog, you know that EVERY YEAR for the Summer Solstice we build fairy houses.  We set them up outside in the backyard and leave them for the fairies to enjoy during their midsummer revels.  They often have such wild parties that they leave the area littered with fairy dust and sprinkles.  In return, the fairies kindly leave a little a trinket and sometimes a note for the kids.

There was even a year when I doctored some photos and pretended that I got footage of the fairies in the middle of the night when they were at the fairy houses.

The first year of fairy house building was 2013.  This is the link for our 2014 fairy houses. Our 2015 houses were a little rushed because we had just returned from Ireland when we created them. 

Below you can see the best examples of our work from the last three years.  As you can tell, we use a LOT of recycled materials.  Our primary item is cardboard.  But we throw in plastic bottles, cloth, and anything else we can use.  The fairy bow and arrow quiver is an old sharpie pen top!

 

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Mom Camp Hits NOLA: Day 6

I am not sure who was more effected by the trip to New Orleans: the kids or the city.

To get ready for the trip, the kids read A Good Night for Ghosts by Mary Pope Osborne.  It is from the Magic Tree House series, a great early chapter book.  Although Cinco finds the reading rather easy, I like having them read the book together.  The take turns each reading a chapter. Best of all, the Magic Tree House webite offer lesson plans that support each book.  We did the one for A Good Night for Ghosts.  The kids learned about the city, jazz and Louis Armstrong.  We also listened to a few of recordings before arriving in NOLA.

img_3568-1Things started out well enough.  Good Food for starters.  We had to introduce Cinco and The Princess to the world famous Bienets at Cafe Du Mond. Yum…

We did the traditional walk through Jackson Square and hid under a tree during a summer thunderstorm.
We headed off for a riverboat cruise on the Natchez.  It is one of the last actual steamboats operating in the US.  Other boats look like a steamboat, but they are electrical like the Creole Queen.

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The Creole Queen

 

 

 

 

In preparation for a ride on a riverboat, we put together our own paper model of the Mississippi Queen. Check out papertoys.com if you want make your own.

The river cruise included and old time jazz band and great narration of the river sites.  They included:

Civil War Barricks

For kids and adults with a sweet tooth, this is the 2nd largest sugar factory in the Western Hemisphere.  The largest is in Brazil.

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The Domino Sugar Factory  

After dinner at Pat O’Brien’s, we took the children to hear a little jazz preformed by the Preservation Hall Jazz band.  The set only lasts 45 minutes but it’s worth every second.  We reserved advance tickets in the 2nd row.

The night ended with a stroll down Burbon Street.  It’s hard to shock kids from Las Vegas, but New Orleans might have have done it. It wasn’t the drinking or the nude bars, rather it was the band waking down the street escorted by the police and trailing a parade of walking revelers.

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Mom Camp Hits the Bayou: Day 5

Life on the Bayou: the only way in or out is by boat

Our Southern adventure kept rocking with a trip to the Louisiana bayou in search of alligators…

This and many more resources can be found at Education.com

In preparation for the visit,  we completed some worksheets from Education.com.  It is one of my favorite sites for worksheets to complement what we are doing for our various Mom Camp Days. We did a worksheet on the difference between crocodiles and alligators as well as one on swamp food chains. 


It wouldn’t be a mom camp day without a craft or some kind of crazy project.  So we borrowed this alligator idea from Easy Peasy and Fun.  I must say it was rather easy peasy.


Very simple supplies even with our glitsy imbelishments — such as sticker gems and sequins.

 

 

After all the prep, it was time to go alligator hunting… We drove out to Slidell, about 45 minutes from New Orleans, to take Dr. Wagner’s Honey Island Swap Tour.

Check out this slow motion video of a ‘gator eating a marshmellow.

We were searching for alligators, but we had the chance to see so much more. We also saw snakes, more than 30 turtles (the kids kept a running count), a wild boar and plenty of swamp flora.

This is the big boar

This is the baby boar.

The tour was certainly more than we expected and even The Captain had a good time!  Totally worth it.

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We interrupt Mom Camp to bring you MANGA CARTA DAY..

So I had to interrupt Mom Camp to discuss that today is the 501st anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta. 

Mom Camp has done a Magna Carta Day (click this link for details). So this morning when I pointed out today was Magna Carta day and The Princess asked me what the Magna Carta was, I responded that she should know! (To be fair to her, she was pretty little when we did it so I am going to give her a pass). Although, she did suggest it was a British Declaration of Independence. Incorrect but at lest she knows it has to do with self government. 

Cinco on the other hand quickly explained that the Magna Carta was a document signed by King John.  He explained that it was to prevent the king from taking any more land.  He was of course discussing the provisions in the document regarding the king’s forest and hunting privileges. 

I did remind him that while it did discuss that.  The big point is that the king has to consult with his nobles to raise taxes. 

What’s more, yesterday was primary day in Nevada so I took them with me to vote.   We came full circle on self government. 

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Mom Camp Hits the Beach: Days 2-4

img_3441-1First of all, I must give credit for this photo to my amazing uncle– The Dutchman.

Second, you must understand I grew up along the ocean in Conneticut where the beaches tend to be rocky and the sand is NOT fine grain. I moved to San Diego and well, let’s be honest their beaches are cold. And, The Princess and Cinco are growing up in the desert. Fine grain sand, YES. Water, NO.

So I am not the biggest fan of beaches. But these were amazing. We started out with a little cloudy weather, but being from the ever sunny desert the clouds were a welcome change.

Day 2 

The Princess is an expert shell hunter.  You may call last summer when she found a giant scallop shell on Inich Beach in Ireland.  And, amazingly we managed to get the shell home without breaking it!!!

As for finding shells at Orange Beach,  we were very successful.  I found a shell page on a Florida travel site and circled the shells we found as we went along.

DAY 3 

One of the day’s The Professor and The Dutchman rented a pontoon boat complete with a second level slide. We puttered around Ono Island and slid into the water quite a few times. The Princess even managed to spot a pod of about 4 or 5 dolphins.

We also explored the sand bars and small islands in the area and meet some more sea creatures.  We encountered a good number of salt water hermit crabs and I managed to find a few inhabited shells for the kids to take home!

Cinco and The Princess also really wanted to get some hermit crabs… And somehow I talked into going to the Mexican swap meet when get home to buy hermit crabs.  I truly hoping this kids forget about this by the time the vacation ends.

I strayed from the group for awhile and had a face off with a rather large blue crab.  He was hanging out in a tidal pool.  I didn’t have my phone, so I couldn’t get a photo.  But as we circled around each other I noticed he refused to turn his back on me. And, at no point did he try to make a run for it.  He stood his ground throughout our encounter.

Day 4 

It was another day spent at the beach. The amazing thing about this day were a huge cluster of starfish that were drifting back and forth in the low tide. We spent quite a bit of time examining the starfish and we throw a good number back in deeper water to save them.

We also found a number of rather small sand dollars.  We later learned that sand dollars are a type of sea urchin– news to me!  But I guess they are losely related to the starfish.

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June 14, 2016 · 3:50 pm

Mom Camp Goes Down South…. Day 1

In childhood, summer was an endless playground, an excuse to eat Italian Ice, play endlessly in the back and to exist in a kind of fairy never-never land. Never a homework assignment, never a bedtime, never any pressure. It was akin to the best time of day—twilight— when anything is possible and fairies very well might cast a magic spell leaving us young forever. Capturing that feeling may never happen again— but leaving town as soon as school ends does create a ‘page break’ from everyday life. It relieves the stress of the daily grind and sets up a summer break that is truly alien from our normal life.  

For this year’s vacation, we decided to take Mom Camp on location with a trip to New Orleans and the Alabama Gulf Cost– AKA: The Redneck Riveria (my Aunt’s term, not mine).  By the way, my aunt’s code name from here on out will be The Professor.  

You see The Professor and her hubs, The Dutchman (not to be confused with the Flying Dutchman —  because actually he doesn’t fly at all) have a lovely condo on the water in Orange Beach Alambama. They were kind enough to invite us for a stay to enjoy some truly lovely beaches.  

We packed up and headed down south.  All the flights were fine and of course I filled the children’s carry on bags with plenty of snacks and crafts all related to the journey.  And, I was back at it with my personalized travel journals. After landing in New Orleans, it was time to drive out to Orange Beach.

The adventure began with a stop at The Shed, a barbecue joint off the highway in Mississippi.  The place was built from junk the owner had collected over several years of dumpster diving.  Odd to be sure.   Still, a little live music and BBQ hit the spot after our flight across the country. 

Everyone tumbled into Orange Beach well feed but tired. 

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