Guest Post: Vacation Souvenir Jars

Guest Post: Vacation Souvenir Jars on Modern Parents, Messy Kids

We returned from our vacation with quite a few seashells that we collected on the beach. Today on Modern Parents, Messy Kids, I’m sharing a project for remembering your vacation while also storing your souvenir treasures.

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Making Fresh Pasta with Children

Making fresh pasta: A fun activity to share with your children

Cooking with Jason and Jenna is something I wish I did more often. They’re getting older, but I don’t always recognize how much they can handle these days – especially Jenna who loves to help out in the kitchen. This weekend was a serious reminder of just how much that little girl can do.

On Friday night, I made a batch of pasta and saved some dough so that Jenna could make her own noodles the next day. I thought it would mostly be for fun and didn’t really think we’d end up with an edible batch. But the fettuccine noodles for lunch, shown above, were almost entirely Jenna’s creation.

The dough was already prepared, a step I’ll likely do in advance next time too since I used a semolina pasta recipe, which is a little hard to knead. Once I showed her how to flatten a piece of the dough and guide it through the KitchenAid attachment, she worked through the entire batch. My only role was adjusting the levels during the flattening step and turning off the power between each piece.

It’s been a couple of years since I’ve made fresh pasta, but now that I have a helper, I’ll be making it more often!

Making fresh pasta: A fun activity to share with your children

 

 

DIY Concrete Stepping Stones

Easy tutorial for making decorative stepping stones with children.

Ever since volunteering at the art table during a Real School Gardens event, I’ve wanted to do this craft with Jason and Jenna. It’s messy, but the results are awesome and I love how these stepping stones look in our yard.

Easy tutorial for making decorative stepping stones with children.

We started by letting the kids select their favorite materials from a huge batch of stones, beads, marbles, buttons, glass rocks and other leftover craft materials I had on hand. We didn’t use any Legos (because I didn’t think of that), but my son commented that we should use Legos next time … as if we don’t already step on enough Legos around here.

Easy tutorial for making decorative stepping stones with children.

Mixing the concrete is the hard part. We used Quikrete and mixed it into a bucket without wearing any gloves. FYI, I highly recommend using gloves if you’re going to mix the concrete by hand. Once the concrete was mixed, we poured it into shoe boxes and other similarly-sized boxes that we saved.

Easy tutorial for making decorative stepping stones with children.

We let Jason and Jenna decorate the stones by pressing the materials they had selected into the wet concrete. You don’t need to press it in very far for it to stick, so this part isn’t messy and can be done without gloves.

Easy tutorial for making decorative stepping stones with children.

We let our stones dry overnight, but it seemed like they were fairly dry within a few hours. Once they were completely dry, we placed them in the yard and let the kids start stepping, jumping and running on them.

Easy tutorial for making decorative stepping stones with children.

Frozen Castle

Great outdoor activity this summer: Make a Frozen castle with ice

Like every six-year-old girl at the moment, Jenna loves the movie Frozen. When I saw this ice sculpture idea recently, I knew we had to try it out.

It takes a bit of advance preparation, but it was well worth the effort. We started on Saturday by mixing water and food coloring to create different shades of blue, pink and purple – something that turned out to be great fun in itself. We poured the water into a variety of containers, added a sprinkle of glitter and placed the containers in the freezer to create a large batch of ice crystals – or, as Jenna calls them, fractals.

On Sunday, we took all of our ice outside and started stacking the pieces together to create a castle. We used a little bit of water to help the cubes stick together. It had rained most of the day and the temperature had cooled to the 70s, making this the perfect summer day for building an ice castle.

Great outdoor activity this summer: Make a Frozen castle with ice

 

Favorite Places: Rory Meyers Children’s Garden

Favorite Places in the Dallas/Fort Worth area: The Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden at the Dallas Arboretum.

Since moving to the DFW area several years ago, the Dallas Arboretum has been one of my favorite local places to visit. Last fall, they opened the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden and now it’s one of Jason and Jenna’s favorites too. The garden is science-focused, with each of the indoor and outdoor stations featuring interactive activities around common themes, like energy, space and geology. We visited this weekend and arrived just after opening. We had the entire park nearly to ourselves!

Here are (more than just) a few of my favorite pictures – the gardens are so beautiful it’s hard to narrow down all of the photos I took.
Favorite Places in the Dallas/Fort Worth area: The Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden at the Dallas Arboretum.

Favorite Places in the Dallas/Fort Worth area: The Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden at the Dallas Arboretum.

 

Favorite Places in the Dallas/Fort Worth area: The Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden at the Dallas Arboretum.

Favorite Places in the Dallas/Fort Worth area: The Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden at the Dallas Arboretum.

Favorite Places in the Dallas/Fort Worth area: The Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden at the Dallas Arboretum.