Friday, June 29, 2012

International Mud Day

Started in 2010 by the World Forum Foundation, International Mud Day has been celebrated around the world today by the young and the young at heart.

I started prepping yesterday by digging a hole in the backyard and filling a plastic kiddie pool with the dirt.  When we first moved into this house, I wasn’t a huge fan of having a backyard full of wood chips.  I have to admit though – it’s starting to grow on me.  Having no maintenance is pretty nice!

International Mud Day - June 29 P

The kids were excited to hear about why Mommy was digging in the backyard and why there was dirt in the pool. 

I had a little boy run into the bedroom at 6:15 this morning exclaiming, “Mommy!  Mommy!  It’s mud day!”.  He then proceeded to come downstairs and tell Daddy the same thing.

Trenton was the one super excited about mud day, but it was Charlotte who dove head first into getting as dirty as she possibly could.  I’m pretty sure that she has a new favorite holiday!

International Mud Day - June 29 

Don’t get me wrong, Trenton had fun too.  He was just a little more careful with his mud play.  He enjoyed helping Charlotte muddy up the slide and giving Mommy’s feet a mud bath.

International Mud Day - June 29International Mud Day - June 29

Trenton did let loose toward the end of our mud play.  He didn’t go as far as Charlotte dumping mud on her head, but he did have fun dumping it on his shorts and shirt.

International Mud Day - June 29

After hosing off outside and coming in to take a bath, we read some books about mud.  We had two favorites, Mud Trouble and The Pig Who Didn’t Want to Get Dirty.

 

After Charlotte woke up from her afternoon nap, it was time for yet another mud activity.  Mud pudding!  We whipped up a batch of chocolate pudding, crushed up some oreos to put on top of the pudding, and then gave some gummy worms a home in the pudding.  Yum!

Mud Pudding - International Mud Day - June 29
Mud Pudding - International Mud Day - June 29Mud Pudding - International Mud Day - June 29Mud Pudding - International Mud Day - June 29Mud Pudding - International Mud Day - June 29

Whew!  I know that I’m going to sleep good after all of that mud fun today.  Now let’s just hope that the kids do too!

This post is linked to: Weekly Kid’s Co-op, It’s Playtime, The Sunday Showcase

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Sidewalk Chalk Paint

Sidewalk Chalk Paint - Two Simple Ingredients!

Sidewalk chalk paint is so much cooler than regular old sidewalk chalk!  And it’s crazy easy to make! 

It’s simply 1 part cornstarch to 1 part water.

I made two muffin tins of paint and used 1-1/2 cups cornstarch and 1-1/2 cups water.  Once it was all mixed up, I divided it among the 12 muffin cups, and added two drops of food coloring to each muffin cup.

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My kids had a blast!  And even with the food coloring, the paint didn’t stain.  It came off the driveway, shoes, clothes, hands, and legs without staining a thing.

Thanks to Domestic Charm for giving me this fun idea!

This post is linked to:  It’s Playtime @ Hands On: As We Grow, The Weekly Kid’s Co-op, The Sunday Showcase

Monday, June 25, 2012

Happy Birthday, Jarrod!

This handsome fella just happened to celebrate a birthday last week.

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Jarrod didn’t want a cake this year (we had just gotten back from vacation in Lake Tahoe where we ate way too much), so the kids and I put birthday kabobs together for him.

Birthday Kabobs

These were so good and so easy!  Frozen Sara Lee pound cake and strawberries alternated on skewers with melted white chocolate candy coating drizzled over everything = deliciousness!

Later in the afternoon, our babysitter came by to watch the kids for us while I took Jarrod out on a date for his big day.

Birthday Date

We started off our evening at The Bountiful Basket in Carmel for a wine tasting.  The wines we tasted were local wines, and it really made us want to visit some of the wineries. 

After wine tasting, we worked off those calories that we drank by walking down the hill to Carmel Beach (and then back up the hill to get back to our car).  It was a gorgeous evening, and we took advantage by grabbing some pictures.

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 Dinner was next on the night’s agenda.  We drove down the street a bit to Mission Ranch.  Mission Ranch was one of the first dairies in California.  In 1986, when developers threatened to tear it all down and build condos, then mayor of Carmel, Clint Eastwood, bought the property and renovated it.  The old buildings were made into inns and one was made into a restaurant and piano bar.  Our dinner was great (Jarrod had the filet and lobster, and I had charbroiled salmon), and the view was spectacular.  There were sheep out grazing earlier in the evening, but by the time Jarrod and I finished eating, they had retired for the evening.

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Jarrod, I hope that you enjoyed your birthday!  I know that I did!

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Friday, June 22, 2012

Climb Every Mountain

Hiking on Heavenly Mountain - Lake Tahoe
Okay, so maybe we didn’t actually climb any mountains.  And we didn’t ford any streams either. 

We did, however, take a scenic gondola ride up Heavenly Mountain.

Heavenly Gondola Ride - Lake TahoeHeavenly Gondola Ride - Lake Tahoe

At 9,123 feet we stopped for a quick walk around the observation deck. I have seen a lot of beautiful places in my life (Guam, Hawaii, Thailand, Singapore – the list goes on), and Lake Tahoe ranks right up there with the best of them.  It might even be my favorite.  How could you not fall in love with this view?

  Lake Tahoe from Heavenly Gondola Observation Deck  

After taking in the beautiful views, we hopped back on the gondola to finish out our 2.4 mile trip up the mountain.  Our final stopping point was at Adventure Peak – 9,136 feet.

After a quick potty break at the Tamarack Lodge, we set out on the East Peak hiking trail.  The trail was about 2 miles roundtrip with an elevation gain of 455 feet. 

I bought a used Kelty for Charlotte, and she loved riding in her “new” backpack.

Hiking on Heavenly Mountain - Lake Tahoe

Trenton was able to hike about half of the trail on his own.

Hiking on Heavenly Mountain - Lake Tahoe
Hiking on Heavenly Mountain - Lake TahoeHiking on Heavenly Mountain - Lake Tahoe

For the rest of the way, I used our new piggyback rider to give Trenton a lift.

Hiking at Lake Tahoe with the Piggyback Rider
Hiking at Lake Tahoe with the Piggyback RiderHiking at Lake Tahoe with the Piggyback Rider

I was so glad that I bought the piggyback.  Trenton was able to get on and off fairly easily.  He just had to slip his harness on, step up on the bar, and I hooked his harness onto my shoulder straps.  A nearly 40 pound kid is still heavy – carrying him the full two miles would have been brutal – but the piggyback rider was much easier than carrying him on my hip, back, or shoulders.  And it gave Trenton the freedom to walk a while, and then take a break when he got tired.  We had a few other parents with young kids riding on shoulders stop to ask us about our piggyback rider.

The hike was great.  We started in California and walked clear to Nevada!  We saw views of the Carson Valley and Lake Tahoe.  Beautiful!

Hiking on Heavenly Mountain - Lake TahoeHiking on Heavenly Mountain - Lake Tahoe 
After lunch at Tamarack Lodge, we headed back down the mountain on the gondola.

We rested back in our hotel room, picked up some dinner at a local burger joint, and then went out to the beach for one last hurrah before we got on the road the next morning to drive back home.

Lake Tahoe Beach & Ski ClubLake Tahoe Beach & Ski ClubLake Tahoe Beach & Ski Club 

When we left our hotel the next morning, Trenton said, “Bye bye, hotel!  We’ll see you at Christmas!”.  He is apparently already planning our next trip to Lake Tahoe!

Silver & Gold

Day three in Lake Tahoe brought high winds.  So high in fact that the nearest gondola shut down for the day.  There went our plans!  Since the gondola was shut down, we figured that hiking at a high altitude probably wasn’t a good idea either.

So what were we to do? 

We hopped in our car and drove about an hour west to Virginia City, Nevada, a town central in mining the Comstock Lode.

We arrived in Virginia City around lunch time, and we slipped into the Ponderosa Saloon for a bite to eat.

Ponderosa Saloon - Virginia City, CA

Did you see the sign?  The saloon is an old bank.  The Bank of California.  And one of the vaults is still there!

Bank Vault in Ponderosa Saloon - Virginia City, NVBank Vault in Ponderosa Saloon - Virginia City, NV 

And did you see the rest of the sign?  About the underground mine?  Yep, we took a peek at it too!  The shaft of an old Best & Belcher mine runs behind the saloon, and tours are run out of it.  We learned that the mine is more profitable now than it was when it was an actual working mine.  Best & Belcher apparently didn’t have the good fortune that most of the surrounding mines had.

Ponderosa Saloon Mine Tour - Virginia City, NVPonderosa Saloon Mine Tour - Virginia City, NV

After our mine tour, we walked a couple of blocks to hitch a ride on the Virginia Truckee Railroad.

Virginia Truckee Railroad - Virginia City, NVVirginia Truckee Railroad - Virginia City, NVVirginia Truckee Railroad - Virginia City, NVVirginia Truckee Railroad - Virginia City, NV 

We took a trip to Gold Hill, stopped for a bit, and then rode back to Virginia City – a 35-40 minute roundtrip.  Along we way, we learned about the area’s gold and silver mining history and about the local landscape.  It was amazing that we were only an hour from Lake Tahoe, but the landscape was entirely different.
 
Virginia Truckee Railroad - Virginia City, NVVirginia Truckee Railroad - Virginia City, NVVirginia Truckee Railroad - Virginia City, NVVirginia Truckee Railroad - Virginia City, NV

Trenton has always had a fascination with trains.  That fascination has rubbed off his little sister, who is still talking about the train that she got to ride!

Virginia Truckee Railroad - Virginia City, NVVirginia Truckee Railroad - Virginia City, NVVirginia Truckee Railroad - Virginia City, NVVirginia Truckee Railroad - Virginia City, NV 
On our walk back into town, we spotted the Comstock Firemen’s Museum, and stepped in for a bit.

Comstock Firemen's Museum - Virginia City, NV
I didn’t get a chance to snap any pictures inside because we were so busy learning about the old fire engines that the museum housed.  Trenton thought that it was really neat that the fire engines had lanterns instead of headlights.  He also liked hearing about how junior firefighters helped out with hoses, equipment, etc.

We stopped in to get a snack at an ice cream shop (yes, we like ice cream if you haven’t noticed!) and then headed back east to South Lake Tahoe. 

Even though the weather changed our original plans for the day, we’re really glad we got the chance to visit Virginia City.