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little spring places

while Spring arrives quickly to other places ….  we find ourselves  looking at even the littlest greening things to know that she will be returning just as always ….

little bits found while searching for spring

here is some of what we find as the land starts to green from its shade of brown …

 

and some other little things we found as well …

 

and here is what we do …

 

in tiny cups  and glasses ….

 

and jars that still have no purpose ….

 

we make little green worlds while we wait for Spring …


 hello,  I am Pamela of  prettydreamer.   I am mama to a lovely prettydreamer  of my own.  I am still in love with toys,  storybooks and fairy tales of all kind.  I love trees, rocks, maps and unknown places and stumbling upon ideas turned upside-down, folk hands  and honest traditions that run deep. and all the other friendly playful things that function or are simply made to bring joy

 

 

 

 

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Geocaching—Learning and Exploring All in One

This year has brought a lot of change to our family and a lot of adventures. The biggest one has been homeschooling full time and trying to incorporate learning into every aspect of our lives. I search out activities and things to do that pack a punch—things that do multiple things at once. If we are going to spend time doing something, it better be fun, teach everyone something new, and spread our horizons a bit. A good friend and fellow homeschooler introduced us to one such activity, Geocaching. It’s a fabulous combination of hiking, treasure hunting, and tripolism (mapreading), and it’s tons of fun for everyone!

It's great for the whole family!

Geocaching is a hunt for hidden items all around you. People hide caches of all kinds and sizes and enter the coordinates and hints to find it on the Geocaching website. Enter the coordinates in your GPS, follow the trail and off you go. Some caches are urban and easy to get to and some are very remote and require good hiking, climbing and bushwacking skills. Some are placed in easy to find locations and some are so hard to find you have to decode hints to help you. There is truly something for everyone. And, all the caches are rated on a 1-5 star system so you can chose caches that fit the skills of whomever is hunting.

Even the 2 year old is learning to read the GPS.

Some caches are small, tiny little pill and film boxes. Some are big, the size of a hat box. Some just have a log for you to add your name to and some have items inside to trade, making it a true treasure hunt. My kids love to leave items and pick out a little treasure of their own.

What treasure have we found?
Putting some items in for the next explorer.

Learning to read a map, all about coordinates and how to use a GPS has been very educational for my kids. We talk a lot about direction when on our adventures, and the kids have learned how to navigate as well as how to estimate the time of day based on the sun’s position in the sky. We’ve learned a lot about our area, collecting leaves and other bits of nature along our journey. The biggest surprise about Geocaching has been how much we didn’t know about the areas right around us. We’ve found lakes, hiking trails, natural preserves and other hidden treasures that have connected us to living here in ways we didn’t expect and would have never experienced otherwise. Not to mention we have gotten lots of exercise in the process, not a bad additional benefit!

We never would have discovered this gem if not for Geocaching.

We Geocache anytime. It’s great for a little diversion when you are out and about running errands and it makes for an equally fun entire afternoon. So, next time you are wanting something fun, educational and healthy to do as a family, consider Geocaching, you’ll be amazed at what you might find!

 

Kristi Ashley is a homeschooling mom of three who spends time in the garden or hiking nearby her Hudson Valley, New York home. She is an amateur photographer, scrapbooker and avid reader. Find her work and blog at Tickety Bu.

 

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Fun In The Sun Natty Kids Style

Check out what the Natty Kids were up to this weekend. What fun things did you and your own natural kids do? We’d love to hear about it!

Whether it be tending the garden

Or admiring the year’s crop.

Bubbles are always a favorite, as is a healthy snack (just not at the same time!)

How about a quiet walk in the woods to spy some fairies?

No fun in the sun is complete without water of course.

Braving something new,

Some sensory play,

Or just the thrill of cooling off.

Fun in the sun is calling, what will you do?

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Simple Nature Bracelet

Sometimes the simplest activities turn out to be the best. This was the case recently when I headed outside with my 3 year old, to make a nature bracelet. We used to do this in the preschool I worked at several years ago, and it’s a suitable activity for even the youngest children.

I helped him wrap the tape around his wrist, sticky side out. Then we took a walk around our neighborhood and yard to find leaves and objects to decorate it with.



After only a few minutes of adding leaves to his bracelet, my son decided a belt would be even better! He thought this was the best idea ever, and I had so much fun watching him as he decided to roll around on the ground to see what would stick to him.


Grab some packaging or masking tape and head outside with your little ones while the colors are bright and leaves are in abundance!

A beautiful fall day, some fresh air and laughs with the ones I love, and appreciating how my little ones continue to teach me to appreciate the simple things in life. It doesn’t get much better than this!

– Amanda, Just Hatched

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Thursday Project: It’s still Summer Here

Even with the start of school, we’re still feeling the summer heat in my neck of the woods. These Branch Suns from Tonya of Plain and Joyful Living perfectly capture the nostalgia of the last days of summer as they wind their way into fall.

We embarked on our own creative process. I encouraged the children to paint their own circles. We used birch slices.

As they painted their branches, my brain was swirling with the possibilities. The very tips of birch branches are these lovely multi-branch pieces. With holes drilled closely together around the slice, maybe a fuller branch wreath might take shape.

Here are the children’s finished painted pieces. Today they are going to finish them up and we will screw them on the top of our rustic branch fence that borders a small portion of the pond.

Here is my piece that I left unpainted and applied our homemade beeswax oil finish to the faces. I applied a bit of wood glue to the ends of the each branch before putting in the drilled hole.

Here it is finished and hung on the side of our home (the side you see as you drive up our driveway.

As KnittingMomma on Etsy, Tonya uses natural materials that can be returned to the earth without harm to create gnomes, cars, play silks, matching games and blocks – to name just a few of the products in the Natural Earth Farm and Fiber Studio.

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Thursday Project: It's still Summer Here

Even with the start of school, we’re still feeling the summer heat in my neck of the woods. These Branch Suns from Tonya of Plain and Joyful Living perfectly capture the nostalgia of the last days of summer as they wind their way into fall.

We embarked on our own creative process. I encouraged the children to paint their own circles. We used birch slices.

As they painted their branches, my brain was swirling with the possibilities. The very tips of birch branches are these lovely multi-branch pieces. With holes drilled closely together around the slice, maybe a fuller branch wreath might take shape.

Here are the children’s finished painted pieces. Today they are going to finish them up and we will screw them on the top of our rustic branch fence that borders a small portion of the pond.

Here is my piece that I left unpainted and applied our homemade beeswax oil finish to the faces. I applied a bit of wood glue to the ends of the each branch before putting in the drilled hole.

Here it is finished and hung on the side of our home (the side you see as you drive up our driveway.

As KnittingMomma on Etsy, Tonya uses natural materials that can be returned to the earth without harm to create gnomes, cars, play silks, matching games and blocks – to name just a few of the products in the Natural Earth Farm and Fiber Studio.

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forest living

Congratulations to Erin of ImaginationKids, whose beautiful wooden toys were featured this week on the fabulous Australian kids’ blog Babyology.

“The hedgehogs had me at hello,” writes Babyology’s Jaime Purnot. “Then the Rainbow Stacker caught my eye. Finally, the bunny family, ladybug push toy and the robin came into view and my heart melted.”

Here are some other beautiful NaturalKids artisan-created forest finds for kids:

owl friends branch peg rack by MapleShadeKids

fall pixie doll by fairiesnest

set of 4 mini mushrooms by katsinthebelfry

needle felted forest fairy by nushkie

old man of the forest by EvesLittleEarthlings
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Make birdseed cakes

Today’s fabulous how-to is by Emily from yarn miracle. Her beautiful shop specializes in companion animal placement, including the most luxurious cashmere bears and bunnies. Thanks, Emily, for this great & very summery tutorial!

How to make birdseed cakes

It’s nearly summer and there are birds everywhere. When Ellie and I woke up last Saturday, Birdseed Cakes just seemed like a great idea.

Neat right? To make your own, you’ll need

From the pantry:
• 3/4 c. flour
• 1/2 c. water
• 3 T. corn syrup
• 4 c. birdseed, or a mix of birdseed, raw nuts, dried fruit and other seeds
You can create combinations that are suitable for the native birds in your area, or just pick pretty ingredients if you want to use these as gifts or party favors!

From the kitchen:
• a sheet pan – line it with parchment or wax paper if you don’t want to scrub the sheet pan later.
• a rolling pin is helpful but optional
• another piece of parchment or waxed paper if you don’t want to scrub the rolling pin later.
• every cookie cutter you own
• jute or twine to create hangers

Pour the flower, water and corn syrup into a bowl and whisk it all together until it is well combined. Add the birdseed and stir everything until all the seed is coated and sticky. The mixture will be loose and messy and you’ll think you made a Terrible Mistake.

Dump the mixture on the lined sheet pan, cover with the extra sheet of parchment and use a rolling pan or your hands to compress the mess tightly to about 1/2″ thick. The more tightly you can pack it, the better it will hold together when it dries. Toddlers love this.

Once you are satisfied with the depth and density, press the cookie cutters into the “dough” and leave them in! No matter how tightly you’ve pressed, don’t take out the cookie cutters or it will still fall apart! Just fit as many cookie cutters into the dough as you can.


(Yes, those are her pajamas. I *did* mention it was Saturday morning.)

Now let them dry just like that for about 6 hours. When you are able to handle them without disaster, you can remove them from the cutters, flip them over and leave them to dry for another six hours. Plain shapes hold up better (hearts, flowers, leaves, some rabbits), things with arms and sticky out bits (gingerbread men) tend to loose their fragile arms and sticky out bits. I’m convinced that the cat’s tail survived because Ellie loves cats and the Universe didn’t want to break her heart. If you run out of cookie cutters, grease your hands and shape the remaining dough in to donuts/wreaths (these may need to dry a little longer). The scraps can be dried the rest of the way and then placed in a basket or scattered on your back porch. No sense in wasting them.

Once the cakes are completely dry, wind them with twine to create simple, rustic hangers. And now they are ready for the birds to enjoy!

Speaking of birds, here’s a beautiful little lemon yellow knit bird from yarn miracle (and organic to boot!)


handknit organic cotton little ittie birdie toy