Lazy Summer Days

Usually our summers are spent playing in the beautiful rivers of the Hill Country. From the Pedernales to the Medina, we have many hours of memories sitting in the sunshine and bathing in the minerals of these special rivers. This year, with so much spring and summer rain in Texas, flooded rivers and cooler temperatures have kept us away from our summertime go to activity. We’ve been looking for other options to spend our time.Jumping

Unexpectedly we found ourselves with a new toy, a trampoline in our backyard. Thanks to our friends who were moving into a new house and didn’t have room for it, we now have a full size trampoline to fill our days.Outside

BW loves jumping and dancing on it while listening to our neighbors music floating across the fence. From first thing before breakfast to last thing before bed, this is hours of summer fun. It so reminds me of the long afternoons I spent when I was 8 years old jumping with the neighbor kids on their trampoline. There were no safety nets or adult supervision involved and our favorite thing to do was to jump on the trampoline with the sprinkler spraying on it. There is not much more fun in the backyard than a wet trampoline to slip and slide on.

There is something special about time at the end of the day on a trampoline. As one of my friends told me, she and one of her friends solved all the world’s problems at 12 years old looking up at the stars from their trampoline.Treeview.JPG

Looking up at the sky this summer from our trampoline we’ve already watched the wind dance through the trees, seen dragons in the clouds and frightened away scary monsters. One of the best days yet was playing on the trampoline followed by aswim in the neighborhood pool and then a long nap. Does a lazy day of summer get any better than that?River

We finally did make it to the river, a short dip in the Llano river at the Castell crossing followed by steaks at the Castell General Store with the cousins. Another unforgettable lazy summer day.Castell

It’s Cold Outside….

Ya’ll, it is cold out there, way too cold for mama to get outside.

Before BW, my favorite cold weather activity was to bundle up, stand by a fire and drink a little whiskey. While I still do that every now and then, I’m finding new ways to spend time on cold days. On some cold and rainy days, we sit inside and watch Thomas the Train and the Blue Mountain Mystery over and over again. Although Netflix is the best $10 I spend every month, we have to take a break from it, we both get grumpy after sitting for too long.  So what’s a momma to do, especially since I’ve never been very crafty?

My solution – Super fun 30 minute clean crafts! These are the only types of crafts I tackle – easy to do, easy to clean up and usually have some type of use or have ingredients that are found around the house.

For this cold day, we made birdseed cookie cutter bird feeders. Thank goodness for the internet for inspiration.http://www.prettyprudent.com/2012/04/baby-kid/cookie-cutter-bird-feeder/

After I quickly blended unflavored gelatin with birdseed, BW had fun filling cookie cutters with birdseed.

Bird seed ornaments 2Making bird seed ornaments 1

Thanks to my friendly neighborhood HEB, we made Texas themed feeders – a star, Texas and a donkey.Bird seed ornaments

The next day after they dried, we ran out into the cold to hang them up for the birds. Apparently, only the squirrels ate them this time, so we’ll have to make them again for the birds when it is a little warmer.

Waiting for the birds

Bird seed and gelatin is genius – I even used it to make birdseed eggs to hide for the birds at Easter. Stay tuned for these again in a few months…

If you have ideas for indoor fun, please share or give me ideas for outside kid-friendly fun when it is cold outside.  Ya’ll stay warm!

Camping?

Outside Mama loves to camp and sleep out under the stars. She wanted to start camping with BW, but thought she would take baby steps and try it out first in the backyard. Turns out she needs to take even smaller steps for a successful camping trip. Lessons learned – Mama needs a new tent, bug spray is a must and don’t mix parts of tents together!tent 3 Continue reading

It’s Fall! Or Autumn…

I think fall has to be my favorite season of the year. It could be because my birthday is coming up and it’s close to holiday time with tasty food and time off, but I know it has something to do with football, cooler weather and fall colors. Although it’s officially been fall (or as some folks call it – autumn) for a few weeks, it is finally a little cooler weather.

Pumpkins

We have some activities planned already to explore the outdoors, but plenty of free time for whatever comes up – camping, hiking or just playing in our backyard. The only time we won’t be outside is Saturday for college football – we’ve already had multiple Saturdays starting with College Game Day! Guns up for those Red Raiders!

go tech

What is your favorite fall activity to do?  Pumpkin patches, football, hikes…?

Austin Nature and Science Center

One Saturday morning, BW and I were in town, we missed our vacation to West Texas because of a crazy stomach/throat bug going around day care, and ended up checking out the Austin Nature and Science Center with one of our good buddies. This center is just off Zilker Park and is free!

We parked underneath the Mopac bridge and headed in for an adventure. We saw owls, road runners, a stinky skunk that had sprayed someone that morning and walked around the pond to the main attraction of the day – the dino pit. We spent the morning scooping sand. Luckily, there are a few spots in the shade.   Had some snacks and then headed to Austin Java for a pancake lunch.

It was a great morning to get the boys outside and have fun with little effort from the mamas.

Things to Do Outside Part I

Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine put together a great article on 50 Ways to Get Kids Hooked on the Outdoors. I’d love to do all 50 with BW in the next few years. We’ve already done several of them, but have a long list to go. I’ll periodically do updates on each as we get outside to try them!

OUTSIDE FUN WE’VE HAD

Look for shapes in clouds (We did more looking at the moon and for airplanes, than for shapes in the clouds.)

Attend an outdoor performance (We took BW to his first Old Settler’s Bluegrass Festival. This is a great festival for kids – lots of tie dye and dancing.)

Dancing

Stargaze (Late one night we arrived to my friend’s casa outside of Medina  and BW and I rocked outside on the patio watching the stars and the moon over the bluff until he fell asleep. The whole family ended up spending the night under the stars on the porch. Does this count as his first camping trip?)

Wade in a running stream (On the same trip out to Medina, the boys went down to check out the creek on the last day and I found BW playing in the creek with the dog – best day ever!)

Wading

Go swimming (We spent our whole summer swimming! At the YMCA and local neighborhood pool mostly, but were able to jump in the Medina and Blanco rivers for some Hill Country minerals.)

Medina river

Take a hike (Had a great hike on the Barton Creek Greenbelt one Sunday morning before summer got super hot. Lots of fun playing with rocks in the dry creekbed and watching the rock climbers climb up the cliffs. I definitely plan on more of these hikes this fall.)

MORE FUN TO GO

  • Go barefoot
  • Build a sand castle
  • Walk in the rain
  • Make mud pies
  • Jump in a pile of leaves (waiting for fall for this one)
  • Open windows
  • Watch fireflies
  • Explore a mini-landscape
  • Harvest fruit or nuts
  • Have a picnic
  • Play old-fashioned games
  • Go fishing
  • Fly a kite
  • Find art in nature
  • Have a campfire
  • Go camping
  • Build a dam
  • Relax in a hammock
  • Dig a hole to China
  • Litter scavenger hunt
  • Sensory walk
  • Use your inside games
  • Make a boat
  • Plant a little garden
  • Go orienteering or geocaching
  • Cook outside
  • Use a pocketknife
  • Target practice
  • Bike course
  • Sidewalk games
  • Make a whistle from a blade of grass
  • Build a fort or treehouse
  • Get an early start on birdwatching
  • Start a collection
  • Nature treasure hunt
  • Butterfly garden
  • Engine-free travel
  • Learn how to hunt and fish!
  • Climb a tree
  • Volunteer
  • Contests!
  • Skip stones
  • Walking stick
  • Go digital

Ya’ll get outside and share stories of the fun you have!