Wednesday, May 30, 2012

There is no such thing as a failed experiment,

…only experiments with unexpected outcomes.
~Richard Buckminster

Charlotte and I picked up some Borax at the Commissary today, and I had high hopes of making these homemade bouncy balls.

Homemade Bouncy Balls

The kids were excited about mixing up a concoction that would become a ball.

Failed experiment - homemade bouncy ballsFailed experiment - homemade bouncy ballsFailed experiment - homemade bouncy balls

But our first attempt at bouncy ball making wound up being a sloppy, goopy mess that I threw straight into the trash.

We tried again.  The second attempt was better.  The goo formed into a ball, but did not harden.  The consistency resembled the gak that I remember playing with when I was a kid.  As soon as I set the goo/gak ball down on the counter, it flattened out like a pancake.

We were running low on glue by this point, but I told the kids that we could try one more time.  This attempt was the best out of the three.  It formed into a ball, and although it hardened more than the other two attempts, it still wound up flattening out.

Failed experiment - homemade bouncy ballsFailed experiment - homemade bouncy balls 

The goo could be formed into back into balls, and in ball form did actually bounce a little.  We played with it other ways too.

Trenton was the observer, poking it and smelling it.

DSC_7818_1 Failed experiment - homemade bouncy balls 

Charlotte had fun flattening the goo and then forming it back into a ball.  She also grabbed a piece of construction paper and made goo art!

Failed experiment - homemade bouncy ballsFailed experiment - homemade bouncy balls

Although our experiment didn’t have the expected results, we still had a great time with our non-balls!


This post is linked to: It’s Playtime @ The Imagination Tree, Weekly Kid’s Co-op @ Train Up a Child: Learn as We Go, The Sunday Showcase @ Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas, Made By Little Hands @ Delicate Construction

Santa Cruz Day Trip

We started off our Memorial Day weekend by heading north to spend the day in Santa Cruz with some friends.

The Seymour Marine Discovery Center was first on our list for the day.  The Seymour Center is a working marine laboratory and research center for the University of California, Santa Cruz. 

We were greeted on our visit to the center by Ms. Blue.  At 87 feet long, this blue whale skeleton is the largest whale skeleton in the world!


Once inside, Trenton and Charlotte gravitated towards the kiddie table.


The kids weren’t in the mood for touch tanks (even though they were really awesome tanks), so they split time between the table and the aquarium tanks.


My favorite thing (that I failed to get a picture of) was the baby swell shark tank.  There were three baby sharks in the tank with their hatch dates noted.  There were also two swell shark eggs.  One was expected to hatch any day.  This egg was completely dark inside because the baby shark was out of room.  The other egg is expected to hatch in about a month.  Since this shark still had to grow a bit, the silhouette of the baby could be made out inside the egg.  So cool!

While the floor exhibits were all very interesting (Clairol hair dye is used to tag seals), they were more geared toward adults and older children.

On our way out of the Seymour Center through the back, we ran into another whale skeleton.  This one, a Gray Whale.


Even though the day was overcast and cool, we decided to check out the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.


What a difference a few miles makes!  It was dazzlingly sunny at the boardwalk!

The race cars caught the eyes of my kiddos right off the bat.  Trenton was tall enough to get his own car, and Charlotte was going to ride with Daddy.  As soon as Jarrod tried to strap Charlotte in though, she threw a fit.  Back to me she came.  Not that she minded since she got to share garlic fries with me and Amanda!

Jarrod crawled in Trenton’s car, and they were off to the races!


Next up were the helicopters.  Trenton was able to move his helicopter up and down by moving the controls.


After Jim and Amanda took a turn on a ride, we decided to cap off our visit to the boardwalk with a spin on the carousel.  Trenton said that he didn’t want to ride, so I took Charlotte on.  She was really excited….until I sat her on the horse.  We pulled the old switcheroo again, and Trenton rode instead of Charlotte.


We headed back to Jim and Amanda’s for dinner, but before the guys got the grill going, we took advantage of the fact that Jim and Amanda live only two blocks from the beach.


Oh, and just in case you didn’t know – real men like pink sippie cups!


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Strawberry Picking at Gizdich Ranch

Gizdich Ranch - Watsonville, CA

Have you picked up any strawberries at the supermarket lately?  Go check the packaging and see where they’re from.  Chances are, they are from Watsonville, California – about 30 minutes up the road from where we live.

With strawberry season just beginning to peak, the kids and I, along with my friend Staci and her kids, ventured up Watsonville, the strawberry mecca, to pick our own berries at Gizdich Ranch

We drove out to the pick-your-own field, grabbed some buckets, and got to picking.

 Gizdich Ranch - Watsonville, CA

Trenton was more than ready.  He was going to pick 100 strawberries!  And only the red ones.  The green ones still had to grow.  The problem was that he walked around repeatedly telling everyone else this rather than actually picking any berries!  Thanks to some help from the Zaker crew, Trenton did wind up with a bucketful of red berries though.

Gizdich Ranch - Watsonville, CA

These two had fun walking around pointing at strawberries and being cute in their matching pigtails.

Gizdich Ranch - Watsonville, CAGizdich Ranch - Watsonville, CA

It wasn’t long though before Charlotte was bored with just looking at the berries.  She just HAD to taste one (or maybe a few more than one).

Gizdich Ranch - Watsonville, CA

John was the star strawberry picker.  That kid could pick some berries!  He was probably faster than both me and Staci.  But then again, he wasn’t dissecting the season finale of Grey’s Anatomy while filling his bucket.

Gizdich Ranch - Watsonville, CA

After each family had filled two buckets, we went over to have our strawberries weighed.

I’m pretty sure the girl working the stand had no idea that Charlotte had done her fair share of sampling…

Gizdich Ranch - Watsonville, CA

We wound up yielding nearly 10 pounds of strawberries to take home!

Gizdich Ranch - Watsonville, CA

After all that hard work, it was time for some treats!  We drove over to the main Gizdich Ranch barns, and checked out the pie shop.  I decided on a slice of olallieberry pie, Charlotte wanted an apple slushie (made from the farm’s fresh pressed apple juice – amazingly good!), and Trenton wanted a slice of strawberry pie.  They were already out of strawberry pie for the day, so he settled for a strawberry tart, made to order.  I was figuring on one of those little mini tarts, but this is what was brought outside to us…

Gizdich Ranch - Watsonville, CA

By this time, all of the kids were already enthralled with the awesomeness of the outdoor play area, and this is what I was left to eat…

Gizdich Ranch - Watsonville, CA

Thankfully the kids did come by the table a few times to help me out with the sweet treats.  I did take a nice little run through the neighborhood later in the evening though!

The kids all loved the play area out behind the Gizdich barns.  They played on an old tractor, in a sandbox, and on top of and inside of a hay tunnel.  And boy did they like getting dirty.

Gizdich Ranch - Watsonville, CAGizdich Ranch - Watsonville, CAGizdich Ranch - Watsonville, CA

And yes, those are white capris that you see on Charlotte.  Pretty sure I could win Smartest Mom of the Year for dressing her in those!

So what does one do with nearly ten pounds of strawberries?

Well, so far we have made…

Strawberry ButterStrawberry Butter

Dreamy Creamy Strawberry Ice Cream
Strawberry Ice Cream

Simple Strawberry Cake
Simple Strawberry Cake

And I still have close to five pounds of strawberries left!  If you have any favorite strawberry recipes, send them my way!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Do You Have Another Underwear?

Trenton has been potty trained for a year, but I find that there are still times that he waits until the last possible minute to go to the restroom.  He gets so engrossed with what he’s doing, that he winds up running/waddling to the bathroom while holding himself trying not to have an accident.

We were on our way to Ghirardelli for National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day last week, and I was about to turn into the parking garage.  I passed the public restrooms, and told Trenton that we would be making a stop at the restroom before going to eat cookies.  (Mommy had drank two glasses of water with her lunch.) 

“Why, Mommy?”

“Because I need to go to the bathroom.”


“Because Mommy needs to go pee pee REALLY bad.”

“Oh no!  Is it starting to come out?  Is it on your underwear?  Are they wet?  Do you have another underwear in your purse?”

So here I am, already about to pee my pants, and my kid makes me burst out laughing!  He definitely knows what it’s like to wait until the last minute!  I was able to park, get both kids out of the car, down the elevator, and over to the restroom.  And wouldn’t you know it that Trenton insisted on going first?  Thankfully all those Kegels I did during my pregnancies served well.  It’s a good thing, because I seemed to have forgotten my spare pair of undies at home that day!  And I’m pretty sure that my tush wouldn’t have fit into size 4T underwear!

Creatively Blooming: Do You Have Another Underwear?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Castroville Artichoke Festival

Living a mere 15 minutes from the artichoke center of the world, the Castroville Artichoke Festival has been on my calendar since the first week we moved out here.

Castroville Artichoke FestivalCastroville Artichoke Festival

This festival had a bit of everything.  Walking through the gate put us smack dab in the middle of a classic car show. 
We also got to watch artists put together their entries for the Agro Art competition.

Castroville Artichoke Festival 

From the Agro Art exhibit, Trenton spotted the inflatables in the kids area.  We were all getting hungry though, so we decided to save that for later, and grab some lunch instead. 

The concessions offered artichokes in almost every way imaginable.  We went with artichoke taquitos, artichoke topped nachos, fried artichokes, and artichoke cupcakes (sounds healthy, don’t ya think?).
Yes, I said artichoke cupcakes.  And they happened to be quite tasty.  They reminded me of carrot cake or zucchini bread. 

We ran into the Zaker crew while getting our food, so we all sat down to eat together in front of the main stage.  There was a band playing on stage and a stilt walker visiting all of the families.  None of our kids wanted anything to do with the “tall lady”.

Castroville Artichoke Festival

We also tried for a family photo, but we had one family member that did not want to be in the photo.  So, we made do with what we had.

Castroville Artichoke Festival

After our artichoke meal, we took two very excited kids over to the kiddie area where we rode the race cars and the kids played on the inflatables.

Castroville Artichoke FestivalCastroville Artichoke Festival

We had a great time at the Artichoke festival, even though we weren’t able to see everything that it had to offer.  There was a hall with wine and beer tasting, but it was far too crowded when we went in to do a tasting and keep the kids happy.  There were also cooking demonstrations (I sat down to watch one while Jarrod watched the kids on the inflatables, but a artichoke eating contest was scheduled for that time), farm tours (right up my alley, but Jarrod wasn’t interested), and the crowning of the Artichoke Festival King and Queen. 

*Factoid: The first Artichoke Queen was crowned in 1948.  Her name was Norma Jean…later known as Marilyn Monroe.

I came to the Artichoke Festival with a goal in mind.  I’m proud to say that I no longer have to buy canned artichokes because I now know what to do with the fresh ones!

Castroville Artichoke Festival