Sunday, January 25, 2015

A Mica Hike

Mica was our first choice for Blossom's name.  Boy or girl, didn't matter, we loved the name.  When she was born, it just didn't seem to fit, and we obviously didn't use it.  But I still love the name.  When we went on a rock & mineral hike in Burnsville with Clay's Earth Science class this week, there was mica EVERYWHERE!  Little slivers and big chunks, it sparkled along the whole trail.
I loved getting to show Blossom what it was, and she loved collecting the shiny pieces of rock nearly looked like little pieces of glass.  However, she doesn't have nearly the attention span for an entire rock observing hike, so she was quickly distracted by pretty plants and climbing rocks.
The teens had been studying various types of rocks and minerals, and were eager to find some treasures of their own. 

We hiked into Ray Mine, which is an old mica mine.  Well, we didn't go *into* the mines, that would of course be ridiculously dangerous.  We hiked around them, peered down some old mine shafts and
poked around the creek for rocks washed down from the mountain top.
The class came equipped with rock hammers and axes for getting inside large rocks to identify the minerals within.  They even let Blossom help (I love these guys :)
Hopefully we'll get sneak in some more Winter hikes on the rare sunny days!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Cloud Dough

We have been soaking up the warmth these last few days, as I know it will disappear tomorrow.  I learned about Cloud Dough on Pinterest and had to try it out.  It was so simple and I thought the kids might be into it for 15 minutes or so.  They loved it!  It occupied Blossom and her friend for a solid 30 minutes and they kept coming back to it for a couple hours.
It's soft and squishy, but not wet.  Also very messy - best for outside.  Bonus point for the 3 year olds to be able to make it themselves.
Cloud Dough is made with one 5lb bag of flour and one standard-size bottle of baby oil (I bought the Johnson & Johnson shea butter one and it smelled pretty non-offensive :)  Mix them together and you've got Cloud Dough!  We added powdered tempera paint for color (food coloring will not work here).  I'm glad to have this super quick recipe in my stash for a fun and easy activity!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Some New Looks

I got my boys back!!! I'm so happy :)  Though, the teenager is naturally more excited to see his friends, so is spending copious amounts of time with them, which is fine, too - I'm just glad to have them back home!

On one of the last days of their California vacation, their dad took them to Lake Tahoe where Reed broke his wrist.  Not a super bad break, but he had only a splint on until we could get him to a real doctor here in Asheville.  Now, he is sporting this beauty for the next month or so!
ZB has also decided to sport a new look.  The day I spent in Charlotte picking up the boys, I got a call from B semi-freaking out that ZB had spent a long time in the bathroom, and came out saying, "I don't want long hair now!"  I evened it out when I got home, but oh my, it's taking some getting used to!  How I loved those curls!

Here she is at PreK Art Group this weekend doing a woodworking project:

Hopefully we are done with big changes for a while, but knowing this family, I highly doubt it :)

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Ballerina Blossom

We have been spreading out the opening of Christmas presents this year.  Since the boys are not here, there is no pressure to open at a certain time, and we wanted to wait until we came home from our trip.  One present she just opened yesterday was a blue leotard and tutu - they were quite inspiring for ZB!  She danced and danced and danced!  It's a bit long, so I can't blame anyone else for just watching a minute or two :)  But, it was too cute to stop recording!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A Day with Pop-Pop

Blossom was excited to visit with her Pop-Pop on our last day in Maryland!  She sported the new dress from Pop-Pop and her doll even got a matching one.  She got to meet her Grammie Carolyn and we all went to a puppet show at the really sweet Glen Echo Park.
Here we are waiting for the show to start - ZB was very excited!   This was a performance of The Nutcracker for children, done with puppets as well as wonderfully costumed live actors.
She loved it!  She was even tickled to get to meet some of the cast afterwards:
They have performances for children all year long. Next time we come back to the area, we will definitely go see more!

We had a fun and very busy time in the DC area.  Bobby enjoyed his workshop, too.  We're glad to return home to the mountains and start planning new adventures :)

Monday, December 29, 2014

Baltimore for a Day

ZB and I took the Amtrak from DC to Baltimore Sunday morning.  The ride was short enough to avoid toddler boredom, but long enough for her to get excited about a train ride.  The friend we were supposed to meet was sick, so ZB and I had the day to ourselves.
We headed straight to the National Aquarium at the Inner Harbor.  ZB's main objectives were sharks and octopus, which thankfully they had both of! They even had a fun little kids play area, which was nice for her to take a break from looking at seemingly endless tanks of fish.

We both LOVED the jellyfish exhibit.  They are SO beautiful!
After a while, ZB did get bored of looking at fish, fish and more fish.  I was trying to snap a couple photos of her with fish, and she was becoming increasingly resistant to the idea.  This is when I handed her the camera.  That plan worked amazingly well!  She must have taken about 20 photos of fish - she was racing all over to see different tanks, pushing grown-ups out of the way (they were all very nice about it!) on her mission.  Here is a very small sampling of her first photo shoot:

At right about the 2 hour mark - she was done with the aquarium.  We went outside to walk around the Inner Harbor.  On our way to a lighthouse, we found a beautiful sculpture playground.  We probably spent at least an hour there - outdoor space always is my kids favorite thing when we visit big cities... go figure!

When the overcast sky started to sprinkle, we headed on to the lighthouse.  It was really neat, and ZB was excited to be able to go inside.  The last lighthouse we went to was at the beach camping trip in South Carolina and we found out at the last minute that ZB was too short to go inside, which was very disappointing to her.  She loved this one, and we were the only visitors at the moment.  It had lots of neat history and photos printed inside, as well as a replica bedroom of the caretakers.
When we were done with the lighthouse, we had about an hour left before needing to head back to the train station, and it was raining at that point.  We trekked to the Barnes & Nobles that was right around the corner and stayed dry with children's books for a little bit.
That was a fun day!  I'm glad we got to go, but wish my lovely friend, Jackie had been feeling better so we could have visited.  We may just have to come back another time :)

Saturday, December 27, 2014

DC with a Preschooler

Blossom and I spent the day in DC together today, while Bobby was at his first day of his glass blowing workshop.  I am EXHAUSTED!  (She is too, but is fighting sleep in the bed next to me right now!)  We took the METRO into DC to the Smithsonian stop. (photo credit to ZB!)

We walked to the Museum of Natural History, which was great!

 I had several recommendations for this museum with a preschooler in tow.  She was most excited to see the dinosaur exhibit, which wasn't as big as we had hoped, but still neat.  We walked through a long hallway of various animal skeletons on the way to the dinos, which was definitely interesting.  Blossom loved those more than I thought she would.

We then wound our way around to the insect exhibit. This was really cool, with live insects, hands-on exhibits and even a "pet a bug" station!
I really wanted to take her to the gems and minerals section, but the little lady was ready for food, and it seemed a good time to get outside for a break.  The weather was so gorgeous today, we couldn't spend it all inside!  We snacked, listened to some street musicians and made our way to the Washington Monument.  She thought it was a castle and really wanted to go inside to the top, but settled for a picture next to it.

We meandered around a bit more before getting back on the METRO and heading to the National Zoo.  We met up with Blossom's cousins there and little ZB became quite tired and cranky, so unfortunately the zoo trip didn't last very long.  Blossom's favorite animals were the huge turtles,the iguanas and the gorillas.

Now we are snuggling down in bed and gearing up for a big day in Baltimore tomorrow!