Thursday, June 27, 2013

Smith's Playhouse and Playground

This post is actually a bit overdue since we went to Smith's Playhouse and Playground over Memorial Day weekend but I really wanted to share about it since we had so much fun there!

So the Sunday before Memorial Day we wanted to go to the zoo before our membership ended, since that was part of our summer list on this post. But apparently lots of people had the same idea, since all the parking lots were filled. Don't worry, we did get to go to the zoo one more time before our membership ended at a later date. But on that Sunday, we didn't want to just turn around and drive home, so we did a quick search (since we had heard about it from friends) as to where Smith's Playhouse and Playground was and it turned out to be pretty much right down the street.

We took the short drive and was there in no time. Upon arrival, there were quite a few families having picnics right at the front lawn. And since our original plan was to have lunch at the zoo, we just took out our picnic blanket and sat down for lunch.  We had a short but fortunately uneventful encounter with a wild raccoon. The kids ran around the lawn for a bit and then we decided to venture in.

You can read about the history to this place here. Admission is free, though there is a suggested $5 per family donation.  It consist of a playhouse and a playground. The playhouse is for kids 5 and under. And the playground is for kids 10 and under, which an area dedicated for children 5 and under as well.

We decided to venture into the playhouse first. It had a collection of toys and some pretty elaborate dollhouses. But I was honestly no too impressed with the playhouse, it was a bit dirty and even though it had so many dollhouses, there were no dolls for the kids to play with, seems a bit pointless to me.

Now the playground area is a totally different story. It is really impressive when you first walk in and just take everything in. Lots of very fun things for the kids to play with, is entirely enclosed except for the entrance/exit so there is no fear of children just wandering off site, soft padded grounds, and a great area for age 5 and under. One of the main attractions in the playground is this huge wooden slide that you go down sitting on a sack, which we did once but was a little scary for our kids which are younger.

E4 had a blast there since he doesn't usually get to play in most playgrounds but there were plenty of things here for him in the 5 and under area.

We are so glad that the zoo was filled up that day, so we could go to Smith's. We will definitely try to go again in the future!

*This is not a sponsored post.

Any fun free areas of play around where you live? Ever just stumble upon something great? Would love to hear from you.


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Fun with Kool Aid: Play dough

Kool-Aid is more than just a drink. Besides the fun egg dye project Zi did with her kids. It's a beauty product, want to dye your hair some crazy colors? Takes me back to art school when it was "normal" to have pink hair. Or make your own lip gloss? How about some awesome smelling watercolors, tho not recommended for young kids because of the stain factor. I'm always up for new crafts ideas with my kids so I decided to make some Kool Aid play dough. There are a few different recipes out there but I used this one from

1 packet of Kool-Aid
1 cup flour
1/4 cup salt
1/2 to 2/3 cup water
1 Tbsp oil

Mix flour, salt and Kool-Aid together.

Boil water. Add oil to the water.
Pour some water into the dry ingredients and mix with spoon.

Keep on adding water and work the dough until the color is uniform and feels like play-doh.

Keep dough in an air tight container. I used take and toss snack containers that I had around the house.

H&N had fun playing with their "new toy" and it sure smells a lot better than regular play-doh.

Play-doh was one of my favorite things to play with as a child. 
What was your favorite childhood toy/activity? Did you ever use Kool-aid for anything else?

Thursday, June 20, 2013


I always get a laugh reading the Baby Bloopers feature in Parents magazine. It dawned on me one day that I should enter the contest. I for one NEVER win contests but it never hurts to try, right? And technically it's N who won hehe.

Here's his winning remark:
I was peeling some hardboiled eggs for my kids' lunch when my son asked from the other room. "What's that smell? Is it Humpty Dumpty?"
Clip art licensed from the Clip Art Gallery on
I call N my lil' firecracker. The things that come out of his mouth and the ideas in his head crack me up every time. You can't help but smile and laugh with him around. I try to write down all the funny H&N stories so I can retell them when their older.

What are some funny things your kid said? Or share something you did as a kid?
Hope this made you smile!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Bad Words

A couple of weeks ago E1 had learned his first "bad" word from school. It wasn't technically a bad word but it was one that I didn't want my kids to be using. So, what was the word? It was "weirdo".

E1 came home and started calling everything weirdo and thought it was funny. We never use that word in our house, so I pulled him aside and asked him where he had heard that word. He said school and he thought it sounded funny. I asked him if he knew what it meant and he said "No". So I explained to him that people use it to call other people that are different or they don't understand and it wasn't nice so I didn't want him to use that word again. We also talked about a Veggie Tale lesson that dealt with people that are different and how we should try to get to know them and be friendly.

I'm happy to say that he understood and haven't used that word again. But it did make me think of other words that our family has deemed "bad". Here are a couple of them and why we don't use them:

1) Stupid --I want the kids to never consider themselves or anyone else stupid . In the future, I'm sure there will be subjects in school where they will not be good at which might be because they lack interest in it or it isn't taught in a way they can understand. But I never want them to think it's because they are "stupid".

2) Ugly--I try my best to avoid using this word to describe anything because I want to do our best early on to build a positive self and body image, especially for our girls. I'll use words like "different" or "unusual" instead.

Are there any words you don't use in your family even if they aren't technically bad words?


Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day!

Wishing our dads, husbands  and readers a very Happy Father's Day!

To our Dad:
Your love and patience to teach and guide us through life has made us who we are today. Thanks for being there for us! Our kids are so lucky to have a wonderful grandfather like you.
Eva & her dad
Zi & her dad

To our Husband:
My best friend to share the adventures of parenthood. From those sleepless nights in those first days to sending them off to school, already?! You're a great daddy to our kids! We love you so much!
You're the best daddy ever! Love, H&N
John leading the way! Love, Quad Es

Lots of love,
Eva & Zi

Friday, June 14, 2013

Popcorn anyone?

Our family loves to snack. Sweet, salty, you name it. Anyone who's been to our house knows there's always gonna be something to munch on when you come over.  I joke with my sister that she always raids our closet when she visits.

I've seen this online and finally got a chance to try it out, making your own microwave popcorn. Saves money and healthier too...unless you put lots of butter and salt. After trying this I won't be buying those individual packets anymore.

1/3 cup of unpopped popcorn kernels
1 brown lunch bag
Melted butter and salt to taste or any other spices/seasoning for flavor (optional)

Pour kernels into paper bag fold the top of bag over about 1 inch, fold it over again.

Lay bag on it's side in microwave. Select popcorn button or microwave for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes or until the popping slows to about 3 seconds between pops. Time may vary.
What is it about the smell of popcorn that makes your mouth water? It's so hard to resist whenever you go to the movies, until you see the price. Hmmm do I really want some? Crazy how much they charge, right?
N approves!
Are you a snacker? What's your favorite kind of snack?
Would you rather have hot buttered popcorn or kettle corn?

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Party

This past weekend E1 turned 5! John and I are still in slight disbelief that he is 5 already and starting kindergarten in the Fall. I still remember vividly one of the first nights we were home with him when he was a baby and he was sleeping between my husband and I, and I turned to John and said, "Wow, I can't believe he's ours!"

We decided pretty early on to throw him a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse party since the 3 older E's saw a few episodes on youtube and really enjoyed it. They love to do the Hot Dog dance and pretend to be the characters in the show, usually E1 is Mickey, E2 is Daisy, and E3 is Minnie; sometimes they will also include E4 and say that he is Chip.

Then one day we went to the national park that is close to our house and while watching the kids run around on the huge field we decided it would be fun to throw the party at the park. And that is pretty much how we came to throw E1 an outdoor Mickey Mouse Clubhouse party.

For the food since I wanted to make it easy for our guests and keep the food relatively safe from bugs, I decided to pack individual lunch bags. So our guests could just grab a bag and sit down without too much hassle. We had 2 meals prepared--"Hot Diggity Dog" and "CLUBhouse Sandwich" meals. The sandwiches came with Mickey Mouse shaped bread. In addition to the main entree, each meal bag came with a bottle of water, a juice box, a bag of chips, and napkins and utensils.

For a game, we played "Mickey Go Seek" which was basically favor bags that were gender specific, the boy bags were decorated with a Mickey icon and girl bags with a Minnie icon, scattered throughout the field and the kids had to run and find one.

I decided to forgo a big cake and go with mini cupcakes and a larger size cupcake for E1. Made a couple of cupcake stands to display all the cupcakes on and little Mickey Mouse decorations for each cupcake. I had bought a Mickey Mouse punch and a scalloped circular punch which made making all the decorations much easier.

* E1 wearing my Mickey Mouse shirt for his party.

For the favors, we decided to do a goodie bag for each family instead of each individual kid. That way we could pack them with fun things that everyone could use right there at the park. Each bag included a kite, soccer ball, jump rope, bubble wand, and frisbee.

I had at least one more activity planned for the party but just being outside was plenty of fun for all the kids. Just running around and exploring nature. It was really cute watching the kids run around in little groups, playing with balls, checking out worms in the ground, and digging up holes with sticks. It was also a rather windy day which was perfect for flying a kite. All the dads were very enthusiastic about showing their kids how to fly a kite.

 * Kids chasing bubbles right at the beginning of the party. Great way to get everyone warmed up.

 * The kids off exploring.

* Each balloon was weighted down and we had untangled them so each kid could take one home. They had fun running through all of them! A totally unplanned activity.

For Thank You cards, I had E1 draw something Mickey Mouse Clubhouse related and he decided that he would draw a different character for each card.

Overall, it was a fun day for all!


Friday, June 7, 2013

Playing with color

Every now and then H will come to me and ask to "do a craft or experiment" on the spot. She really keeps me on toes and helps me stay creative. I noticed that she enjoys more interactive play/activities while N can happily play by himself. It's neat to see their uniqueness. They each have a special concoction of me and my husband's traits.

Lately H&N took interest in how to create colors. (Ex: Yellow and blue makes green.)
As you know by now my kids love to paint. So our first project was to create a rainbow.

Paint brush
White paper plate

Cut paper plate in half and begin painting your rainbow. You have the option to teach your child(ren) the colors of the rainbow and/or how to mix primary colors to create orange, green and purple. You can also use this to teach how the rainbow is God's promise to Noah. A simple project with many lessons.
Once they were finished, I punched a hole on top and hung up their works of art.
Our second was experimenting with food coloring. I found this on Pinterest. Now that the weather is warmer we were able to do this outside. Makes any spills an easy clean up.

Food coloring
Shallow dish or pan

Fill dish with some milk, add a drop or two of food coloring and swirl the colors with toothpick. Try a few drops of blue and red and see what happens.
Eventually they just added all the colors. It created a cool marbleized effect. And a "beautiful" muddy color for the final product.  Some supervision is required for the young ones since food coloring can be a bear to wash out. And make sure they're wearing something you don't mind getting dirty, just in case hehe. H&N had so much fun that they wanted to do it again!

What is your favorite color?
How are you coloring some fun this weekend?

Have a great weekend!