Monday, January 23, 2017

Frozen Fest

I was on Facebook when I happened to see an ad for Frozen Fest at Robinson Nature Center. It looked like a fun thing to do with the kids so I texted my friend Lisa to see if they'd want to go as well and they did, so we bought some tickets.

I wasn't sure how I was going to feel after being at the Women's March on Washington the day before but surprisingly I felt fine so off we went!

We were among the first to arrive and we were barely in the door when we saw Princess Anna and Elsa and Olaf coming our way. Dakota was completely star struck and could hardly believe they were standing there. She wouldn't talk to them and was super bashful when they spoke to her. She and Harper got pictures and afterwards Dakota just stared at them for the longest time! It was really cute!

After our encounter with the famous trio we headed off to see what else there was to do while we waited for our friends to show up. Harper found a neat wheel we could spin to see how a mill works internally while Dakota found a little table filled with "snow" to play in.

Our friends showed up at this point and we headed over to the snowball toss to see how many points we could get.

As we headed to the planetarium to watch Zula Patrol- Under the Weather we stopped to learn a little about birds that are in our area year round vs. only in the winter. 

After sitting and watching a short movie about weather we stopped at a table to make a penguin craft. Well, Dakota did, Harper was in no mood to make any crafts.

While Dakota was busy making a penguin Harper noticed some people outside roasting marshmallows and running up and down the hill. We thought they were making s'more's so the kids were ready to go find the chocolate (they don't actually like s'mores or marshmallow's, just the chocolate!). They were disappointed when they realized there weren't any chocolate bars but Dakota decided to roast a marshmallow for the heck of it while Harper ran up and down the hill. 

It was a little chilly outside and we hadn't brought our big coats so we headed back in where we found another craft to make while we warmed up. (Again, Dakota did the craft while Harper wandered into another room. This time he found a working beehive.)

One of the main events of the day was making our own ice cream so we decided to go do that once Dakota finished her snowman. Harper made mint chocolate chip, Tony made strawberry and Dakota and I made chocolate. It was fun to make but it took a lot of shaking so I didn't get many photo's. The ice cream was pretty tasty though so it was worth all the work!

Just as we finished making and eating our ice cream a reptile show was about to begin so we ventured in and found some seats. The kids and Tony sat on the floor while Lisa, Evelyn and I sat in seats a couple rows behind them. The kids learned all about reptiles and got to touch snakes and turtles. They brought out a salamander but no one was allowed to touch it because of it's sensitive skin.

As we were leaving we noticed a man doing an ice carving demo. My kids couldn't have cared less (tired, hungry, DONE) so I didn't get to see the finished product (it was going to be a swan) but ice carving is pretty cool to witness in person!

Frozen Fest was a fun way to spend the afternoon and I'll definitely be looking for more activities to do with the kids at the nature center!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Women's March on Washington, 2017

Yesterday was the day mom and I have been waiting for for what seems like forever. We decided a long time ago that we were going to attend the Women's March and not long after that mom bought her plane ticket for the event. We were both a bit nervous and unsure what to expect but we were more excited than anything and couldn't wait to see what it was going to be like. I'll say now that our first protest was an absolute success and extremely exciting!

I knew our day was going to be awesome as soon as we turned onto 295 and saw dozens of buses headed to DC. It was a slow ride to the metro with all that traffic but we made it there around 8:45 am, 15 minutes after I'd told my friend Lisa we'd be there. Parking was a mess but luckily the businesses that were near the metro were allowing people to park on their lots with no towing. We parked in one of those lots and walked over to the metro station where we were absolutely stunned to see the swarms of people waiting in line for tickets! Luckily we'd pre-ordered ours and were able to skip right to the front and go through the gates. 

We were able to jump right on a waiting train right as the doors were closing but it was standing room only; we stood pressed against at least 100 other people. It wasn't uncomfortable though because it was clear that every other person on that train was headed in the same direction for the same exact reason. It was an amazing sight.

After 11 stops we reached L'Enfant Plaza and HOLY SHIT was it crowded. Quite a few people got off at the stop before ours but our stop was still so jam packed that it took upwards of an hour to get out of the terminal! We had lots of people to chat with though and there were many spontaneous bursts of cheering and "Hey Ho! Hey Ho! Donald Trump has got to Go!" It was so overwhelming and loud but completely invigorating and exciting at the same time! We loved reading all the signs people had made.

Once we finally emerged from the station we headed towards the rally. 

It wasn't far from the metro stop and it was certainly easy to find since we were able to just follow the other thousands headed that direction. My friend Melissa was due to meet us at L'Enfant but because of the crowds and excessive wait times we ended up walking all the way to the rally while she tried to navigate her way towards us. The cell signals were spotty because of the crowds but somehow she and I were able to get across to one another well enough that she eventually found us...and then we found lady liberty herself! 🗽

Aside from the amazing spirit of the crowd and the pure energy of being a part of something so awesome there were some great signs! If my phone hadn't died I'd have tons more to show but I did get a few that I loved...

There were MANY speakers and we stood listening (as best we could) for hours. (We were standing near a group that was protesting women's rights and they were screaming into their megaphone so oftentimes it was difficult to hear the speakers we wanted to hear.) The crowd would ebb and flow a bit and at some points we'd have room to move and shift feet while other times we were elbow to elbow with those on our sides. There were times when it was hard to turn in a full circle but none of us ever felt any kind of uneasiness. Everyone was so pleasant and helpful; it was unlike any other crowd I've ever been in.

When mom and I decided to head out we jumped in line with some people moving the direction we needed to go. Over the loud speaker we heard that there was a surprise guest and that turned out to be Alicia Keys. I'm a fan so we stopped to listen to her for a few minutes...the crowd wasn't letting anyone move anyways! 

After listening to some of "This Girl Is On Fire" we started pushing past the people to try to get to the outer edge of the crowd. It was a relief to finally break through the throngs of people and move freely! The area of the metro we came out of was closed so we had to find another route in. After walking around for a good 10-15 minutes we finally found the long line into the metro station. Someone told us that the wait was 3 hours and mom and I about had a break down at that point but then decided we'd just deal with it. What other choice did we have? Luckily that lady didn't have any idea what she was talking about and we were down on the platform after about a half hour wait. 

The ride home was great because we got seats and were able to rest for a bit. The train started out empty-ish but a few stops in and we were packed in again. The ride back to New Carrolton station seemed much shorter than the ride in and before we knew it we were back in my van heading home. We got back to the house around 5:15 pm and boy were we tired! It had been a great day and mom and I were proud of ourselves for doing something for a cause we know is worth it.

While a protest was never something I'd thought about doing, I'm glad I went. I was nervous and excited but I absolutely felt like it was worth it all. I'd do it again in a heartbeat...

Friday, January 20, 2017

Butterfly Valentines

Dakota and I were at Michaels when she saw some Valentine themed cards and bags. As soon as she saw them she asked if we could buy Valentine's for her classmates. I told her I thought it'd be more fun if we made them and she agreed. As soon as we got home we got on Pinterest to see what kind of cards/treats she wanted to make.  We had only looked for a minute when she spotted butterflies and decided that was what she wanted to make.

So, we first made copies of the free butterfly printable on different colors of card stock and then got to work cutting them out.

Once they were all cut out I used a blade to make small slits at the top and bottom of the butterflies where the lollipop would go. When all cuts had been made I let Dakota take the butterflies outside to add glitter. 

Once she was done glittering we glued wiggly eyes on the lollipops and set them in the window to dry.

We let everything sit and dry overnight and the following morning we cut out and glued "from Dakota" to each treat and inserted the lollipops into the butterflies. 

These were really simple to make and turned out cute! She's (of course) dying to give them to her friends but I've hidden them away until Valentine's Day. Hopefully she'll forget about them until closer to the day because she might make me crazy if she keeps asking for them!

Keeping Busy, As Usual

My mother in law had surgery on her left rotator cuff this past Wednesday so Dakota and I went to check on her on Thursday. The surgery went smoothly but she's going to be out of commission for about six weeks. For someone who loves to go, go, go it's going to be rough being stuck in the house or to depend on other people to get her where she wants/needs to be.

After helping her change her bandages and hanging out, Dakota and I went and grabbed some lunch at Panera. I gave her three lunch choices, Panera, Newks or Chick-Fil-A. I was happy when she chose Panera because they have THE BEST cheddar broccoli soup!

We had to make a stop in Target too because Dakota was dying to make her Valentine's Day cards. Yeah, I know it's a bit early for that, but she was so excited to get started on them that I decided to just go ahead and let her make them. We found a cute craft idea for them on Pinterest that I'll post about later.

The boys had early release days Thursday and Friday (no school for Dakota because she is pm pre-k) because of high school testing. Landon was home by 12:40 and Harper was home around 1:20. My mom flew in from SC on Thursday afternoon so as soon as I got Harper off the bus we zipped up to the airport to pick her up. I hadn't told the two little kids that she was coming so they were happy to see her when we got to the airport. Mom's here for the Womens March on Washington being held on Saturday and we're both excited and nervous about it. I have a few other friends going down too, so it shall be interesting! 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Artsy Partsy, Class 3

Dakota and I attended her third Artsy Partsy class this morning. This week we began our land study with what grows the ground. The kids got to make a flower with pre-cut shapes, paint a wooden flower and make a tree using clay, paint, beads and chenille stems.

For the first flower, the teacher just handed out pre-cut parts and let the kids figure out what the shapes made when put together. It was like a puzzle for them to figure out what they were making. It seemed obvious to me but it took Dakota a few minutes to figure out the placement.

The clay project was probably the most fun thing we did today. Dakota LOVES to play with play dough so this was a treat for her. The kids were each given a "sheet" of clay that they first had to form into the trunk of the tree. The clay is a bit more firm than play dough so it took a lot of work to get it into the correct shape. After the trunk was formed the kids stuck a small dowel into the center and then they each get another sheet of clay to form a ball which would be the tree's canopy. After the canopy was attached to the trunk the kids used beads and pipe cleaners to add character to their trees. The last step was to paint the top green. (We left the tree there to dry and I forgot to get a final photo so I'll post that when we bring it home next week.)

The last project was just a wooden flower photo frame that the kids were able to paint. It was simple but Dakota loved painting her little pot.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Num Noms Freezie Pop Maker

When I saw the Num Noms Freezie Pop Maker I knew it was something Dakota would love. I picked it up as a Christmas gift and she's been dying to make the popsicle's since she opened it. For a million and one reasons we hadn't made time to make them until this morning when I spotted the box sitting on top of my refrigerator and decided today was the day. She was SO excited when I told her!

The kit itself is really cute and making the popsicles is a cinch. You pop a few pieces together to assemble the stand and you're ready to go. The kit comes with three flavors of popsicle powder, pineapple, blueberry and cotton candy. For each pop you need two scoops of powder plus a bit of water. (A small spoon and bowl with a fill line are included in the kit.) After I showed Dakota the fill line on the inside of the little bowl she was able to make these herself, which I thought was great! I love a kids toy that a kid can do with just a little guidance. She enjoyed cutting the bags open and scooping and pouring and sniffing the scented powders. 

The popsicles took about 6 hours to freeze and once Harper got home from school it was time to give them a try. 

Dakota ate the blueberry, Harper chose cotton candy and Sydney got to come play so she had the pineapple flavored pop.