Tag Archives: Kid activities

So spoiled

I’ve written a few times about the epic pumpkin patch my mom’s cousin used to own just outside of Redlands, CA. We started going there when my now 8 year old was a month old. Being family we did all the activities for free and basically for the years before we moved here, I had all the fancy (and tasty) heirloom pumpkins I could stand for free. Well change comes to us all and we, um, moved across the country. Last year I just couldn’t bring myself to pay for a pumpkin patch, plus we were super busy so we just picked up jack’o’lantern pumpkins at Walmart and called it meh. This year a friend invited me to go with her and her son to a local Pumpkin Patch (one of about 87 in a 5 mile radius of our house…turns out when you can grow things like corn mazes, people do.) I finally got my spoiled self in gear and made peace with the fact that no it wouldn’t be the same, and yes it was going to cost me both my arm and my leg. Sigh. The munchkins were beyond thrilled with the experience so I’m thinking we may be back in the proverbial holiday tradition saddle once again.


People either love these things or hate them. I hate that I love them. And the disembodied cow/sheep heads? fuggetaboutit.

I’m not sure if I can adequately express the magnitude of my gratitude, that my kids are both easily entertained and easy to please. Tire and dirt? We’re set for hours, Mom!

Not pictured is the huge silo fort with air cannons. Not sure how I was so negligent in my picture taking that I have no pictures of it’s magnificence.


But the real star, the real icing on our fall extravaganza cake was this little barn thing filled with corn. We spent a solid hour in here and they probably would have stayed longer. True I had to fish corn out of pants and skivvies, but it was the best sensory exploration activity of the whole season for all the ages. All of the things we did just reminded me and threw into stark relief that 99.9% of the time, simple is the right answer (and not just for kids).

We rounded out the day with a haunted hay ride to a field of perfectly placed (if not exactly grown) pumpkins to find our Jack’o’lanterns. Corra had a huge (fake) spider almost land on her head and ghosts came out of the trees. It was pretty great.

So next on our tradition documenting docket: Halloween itself!



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Filed under crafts, Holidays, homeschool, life the universe and everything

Fall means tradition

And tradition means Ren Faire, a Pumpkin Patch, and Halloween. I’ll be breaking these classic Fall posts into three installments so that I can put more pictures into each one! Muahahaha! So without too much more initial babbling I’ll get to it…The Renaissance Faire. Better than last year because the kids were older although not without some good life lessons learned (like winning the best prize ever one year, does not really mean it will happen again, and Miss Layna Dawn hates noise. Oh wait, I totally already knew those. Right.)

Homeschooling wins everything, but we added another triumph to the list. Yes “Student Days” are sheer craziness with a capital CRAY CRAY, but this year we learned. We got there later (missing the opening rush) and stayed to close since we didn’t have to be back before any bell rang. When we meandered out it was all but deserted. It was so awesome.

(I’m really tempted to let my husband buy me a newer iPhone just so I can upgrade my camera. Sorry about the meh pictures.) Little Miss doesn’t do heat or noise. There was much to be had of both, I’m afraid. So we happily watched the jousting with me blowing on the back of her neck while firmly covering her ears. It’s mom-fu at it’s finest.


I’m so glad I married a man who gets that you can cheer really loud and make a complete idiot of yourself and it’s ok. It means that I’m in good company at all the cheesy events I drag our family too. I love jousting, and this year it was so cool to listen to my big ones talk about the horses (wondering what breeds they were and comparing notes) and commenting on the saddles (our knight had an Australian saddle). Score one for riding lessons! They are now knowledgeable horse people (or something).


Remember that thing about people not being afraid to really get into the cheesiness of an event? Another reason I love Ren Faire. Normal adults playing pretend for 2 whole months! This guy was great. He even let me video him wishing my sister a happy birthday so I could send it to her in Taiwan. How’s that for best random birthday text ever!?

Traditions are great because they get better with time. We saw so many of the same people from last year, including the Raptor rescue show with the same host. Neil chose a great seat and I took the coolest slow-motion video of an owl flying over our heads. If my tech savvy husband were here to make my computer behave I’d attempt to upload it. But alas he is working. You’ll have to settle for the hawk.


My girls got to watch a show on historical heroines and then attend hero/heroine training. They took it very seriously.

Back to life lessons…Naomi waited 365 days to play the dragon egg hatching game to win a $80 puppet like Garyn did last year. Brought her own money and everything. She ended up with two kind of cool dragon eye necklaces and a whole lot of disappointment. But she soldiered on and took our advice to focus on experiences rather than things for her parent funded activity/treat/thing. And now she can say that she has ridden a camel.

Role models.


By the end of the day this one announced that he wanted to spend all his time working with molten metal of any kind. When can kids start welding classes? Of course, molten glass was pretty captivating, too. I got another blown glass ornament for our Christmas tree and I figure by the time the kids all move out, I’ll have a pretty respectable collection to fill in all the gaps left by the ornaments they take with them.


This one wanted her picture taken with every fancy statue there was (and I’m graciously sparing you the other 13 pictures of exactly that) but this one…I mean, how often do you get to grab a pirate by the dreadlocks? Best. Day. Ever.





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Filed under Holidays, homeschool, life the universe and everything

Galooning we will go!

I think it was Naomi who first called it the Galoon. Like every good mom I fully intend to teach my little girls to call it that also, to preserve some of that awesomeness. I know I’ve raved about this place before (because it deserves it) but this last time we went it occurred to me how lucky we are to have it as an option. I’m grateful.

It’s in a somewhat exclusive neighborhood, so it’s never busy…going on Tuesdays and not Saturdays does help with that. There is a lot of money to dedicate to it’s upkeep, so it is always very well taken care of and beautiful. I can’t think of anywhere else where I could bring all four of my munchkins and have such a stress free swim environment. Sigh…it’s bliss.

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I don’t share my watermelon. Ok. Maybe.

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Because everything tastes better half covered in sand. Also, point of interest. Baby cover-ups are brilliant because when we are ready to leave I just put them in a diaper and cover-up and when she falls asleep on the way home, she is good to go straight into bed for a long, and glorious nap.

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She loves water and people (mostly complete strangers) and posing and the Galoon and swimming, and My Little Ponies, and and and…someday I hope to keep up with this one.

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I hated goggles as a kid, but no matter how much I try to pass on that sentiment with comments like, “goggles really never work well,” “Yeah I thought they might hurt your head…a lot…” and “let’s just find yours from last year” both my swimming age kids love them. So weird.

I love his Mohawk. It’s not pictured in it’s full gelled-up glory but I love it. And I love how much he loves it.

Happy Summering! and Independence Day recap will be forth coming…haha…get it? Fourth?



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Filed under life the universe and everything


No really! There are wetlands here in the middle of the Mojave Desert! This is because the city of Las Vegas has perfected the art of faking stuff…I mean, we have a Coliseum. We went with our homeschool group to the Wetlands park and it was kind of a shock. The only time I had been before was pre-little girls and it was basically a mobile trailer at the start of some trails around some man made lakes. Now they have a full blown compound and a really impressive mini natural history center.

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Hoodies and flip flops are how we roll around here.

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I hope you can see it…Naomi had requested Rapunzel hair. So that ended up being a French braid with every flower clippie we own in there somewhere. I think we fit about 11.

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“Not happy, Bob. Not happy.”

That’s our go-to quote when one of the kids is cranky. Layna loves to ride in the stroller so we were playing musical babies. This meant that I hadn’t strapped her in when she decided that touching her toes would be hilarious. She caught herself on the sidewalk with her face. It was pretty gnarly for awhile but luckily didn’t leave anything permanent, and PB&J makes everything better.

My friend put it best…”The wetlands park is awesome, for Vegas.” If you are from Florida and are thinking in terms of Mangrove trees you will be underwhelmed. But for us desert rats it was a fun (if long and hot) hike and really cool hour spent at the learning center. No pun intended.

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Roos ‘N’ More

When my friend first told me about this place, I heard “Ruzenmoore,” as in some exotic last name. Nope. It is “Roos n More” as in kangaroos. Who knew such awesomeness existed a mere hour drive north of the valley?

All of this is from their website, but this place is like an exotic animal petting zoo. It was started by a couple that are both vets, and because of that people are allowed to handle and hold alot of the animals. They had the usual petting zoo fare…a goat, a pot bellied pig, a baby alpaca. But they also had these:

Baby capuchin monkey. They had two older ones in a cage with a much bigger lemur and those three were hilarious. Chasing and snuggling each other and using the big one as an elevator, they were easily little man’s favorites.

 This is us getting loved on by a coatimundi. The coatis love fruit and so this guy loved my hair. Layna liked him…eventually. I also had my personal space seriously compromised by a very friendly bear-cat who also loved fruit.

Garyn did great with his new friend. Although…after holding the toucan I did have a craving for fruit loops the rest of the day…strange.

 Lemurs were the other favorite. The munchkins really love a TV show called “Kratts Kreatures” that has a lemur named Zaboomafoo. So they got to meet Zaboo’s long lost cousin. The lemurs would run and jump at the cage which was super funny…if you were expecting it. Not all the kids were. Frightened screams and hillarity ensued.

 We got to pet a Zebra!!! I really liked that. What I didn’t get a picture of, were the two 10 foot tall camels that came over a bit later to drool at us. Pretty nifty stuff that.

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