Hunting for Critters

     Well, it's that time of year again.  The woodpecker is knocking, the frogs are croaking, and the geese are honking on their way back from the south.  It's time to critter hunt!  This year already we have found snails, caterpillars, lady bugs, squirrels, pheasants, frogs and many kinds of stingers.  Lil' Mama has even been stung already and the snow has just barely left us!
     While we were at Cricket's house Friday the kids spent plenty of time trying to capture poor innocent amphibians, mainly frogs.  Spaz was especially talented at the catching part, he snagged several of them.  Of course we tried to discourage them from holding onto them too long because the frogs didn't seem overly fond of their predicament.
     Turns out frog's eyes don't actually pop out when they are poked, so Cricket photoshopped the frog above to reflect the mood.  I think it came out pretty darn cute. That frog was surprisingly content and didn't try to hop away like most frogs would.  In fact, I think it rather liked being the focus of the camera.  Don't believe me?
Have you gone critter hunting yet this year?  Find or catch anything good?

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Camp Out During the Day

     Just because you have a tent doesn't mean you have to go spend the night in the woods somewhere.  You can have just as much fun right in your own back yard.  And this weekend, we did.  Little Miss has a birthday on Monday and was really itching to get a tent set up, so we decided to give her a present early.  It was her very own tent.  It happens to already be damaged, but we will look past that and get to the fun of it all.
      It so happens that the Maine camping season is not as long as we would like.  Unless you have a heater, you can't start spending the night outside until June.  We have definitely made plans to do just that, but for the mean time, we needed daytime fun.
     So after the set-up, which was really easy, we took turns playing bear and shaking the tent from every which angle every few seconds.  The girls inside would scream and laugh so hard and so loud that there really was no separating the two sounds.  And the person outside had fun just watching them squirm with fear.  We also had some giggles over the funny hair the girls all seemed to get when inside the tent.
     Baby Bee had different plans with our old Goodwill doggie tent.  She slept for quite some time, which is just fine because she tends to burn very easy, and under the tent she was perfectly safe from those nasty sun rays that plague her.  The tent was so fun that we decided to bring it to Auntie Cricket's house to share with the boys.  Lil' Riot and Spaz had a great time camping out in the day.  Even The Gamer got in on the fun for a few minutes.
     Of course no fun comes without a few rules.  There was absolutely no horsing around allowed inside the tent or any eating either.  That didn't seem to stop the kids from having fun, possibly because they paid little attention to the horsing around rule.  We'll definitely be adding more tents to our backyard this summer.   The new one was only about $23 at Walmart, so it will be something we can add to the girls' birthdays this year without too much strain on the wallet.
     We also set up a fire at Cricket's and had fun with some more camping activities, stay tuned for those posts.
     Have you ever done a daytime camp out?

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Freezer Paper Stenciled T-Shirt Tutorial

     In just a few short days our followers have gone from zero to fifty!  That's just terrific!  I hope you all are out having fun with your kids this week.  My kids and I have big plans today and I hope I can share them with you tonight or tomorrow, depending on if we finish the projects tonight.
     But for now, I thought I would share a project my sister and I did last year with the kiddos.  It was a dollar store project, so for all the kids and us, it only cost me about $9!  We had bleach and freezer paper on hand, but if you don't, you can also find bleach at the dollar store and freezer paper runs at about $2.39 for the cheap brand at my local store.
      Here's what we did.  First, you draw up a design for the t-shirt.  My sister made a coffee shirt inspired by a favorite coffee cup and I chose a Pepsi design.  The kids got designs to best suit their interests at the time.  Then you draw that design onto a piece of freezer paper IN REVERSE and cut it out using scissors or an Xacto knife if the design is complex.  When the design is cut out, place it carefully onto the shirt in the spot you want it and iron it well to be sure that all edges are firmly pressed into the shirt.   This creates a seal so that the bleach will not penetrate.
     Next, hang the shirts onto an outside laundry line or tree branch.  We put white kitchen bags inside to prevent the backs of the shirts from being bleached.  You could use card board as well, or any random thing that will fit and protect the back side.  Then you spray with a bleach/water mixture.  I fully recommend doing this on a sunny day.  We did this on a cloudy day and as a result, some shirts did not show that they were bleaching when in fact they were.  Strange, I know, but trust me on this one.  Sunny day.
      So we sprayed the shirts with a little bleach, or in some cases a lot and let them sit on the line.  In some cases, we prayed it thick to let the bleach drip and make cool lines running down the shirts.  When the shirt is bleached to your liking, soak it in a bucket of water immediately to stop the bleaching process, then run it in your dryer to wear it.  Or if you are more patient then we were, you can run it through both the washer and the dryer. Here are a few of our results:
     The Good:
     The Bad:

     And the downright Ugly:
     But we learned through trial and error how to fix these mistakes and will be doing it again this summer.  I hope you give it a try.  If you do, please leave a comment letting us know how you did or what you learned in the process :)

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Bird Nest Tutorial

What a beautiful day it is today. The past week it has been Winter all over again and I've been pretty down about it, but today God put an end to his little funny and let Spring come back. Thank heaven for it, we are all done with Winter in this home.

As we walking back back from the bus stop, we came upon some old cut grass on the lawn from last year that had been buried under the snow for months. It was grass and not straw, so it was thin, dry, and brittle and I knew it would be perfect for our bird nest project. So we gathered some up quick as a jiffy and went straight home.

Next we gathered some mud from the driveway and added some water to make it easier to use. Those are the only two things you need to make a nest, so we were good to go.

First we took a small clump of flattened grass and put a dollop of mud on top. We then topped it with another clump of grass and smooshed it flat, like a small disc.

After we had a good base disc, we put a small string of mud around part of the edge and worked a small amount of grass into it and shaped the edge. As we went we found that a bigger and more sturdy base was a must, so we added more inside the middle of the nest and around the outside for support.

It didn't turn out too badly I don't think. The girls had some trouble with shaping and general construction. If I had to rate this project, I would definitely day it is difficult. Lil' Mama did okay, but needed some help. Boss Lady did okay, but the Lil' Miss had a lot of trouble and asked continually for help. All ended up fairly nest-shaped and they all were happy with their creations though, so all is well.

We've made some papier mache eggs that we are going to paint to go inside of them when they are done drying. I am not sure where these will end up just yet, maybe on the mantle shelf. The girls want to leave them for the birds to use, but I am not so sure that a bird will use a man made nest. We'll see I guess. Ever try to make a nest? How did it come out?

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