Saturday, May 26, 2012

Father's Day

In a few more weeks it will be Father's Day.
To me handmade gifts are the best!  Owl LOVES giving gifts that he made. He just beams when he gives a gift that he has made - which in turn makes my heart swoon! 

I've been searching for some ideas for upcoming Father's Day to honor my DH who is a kid at heart himself! 

Luckily, Pinterest saves the day again!  I've pinned numerous great ideas for Father's Day!

If you need some inspiration for father's day - be sure  to look at my Pinterest board! 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Locke's Hill Trail

Today we hiked Locke's Hill.  It is in Gilford and part of the Kimball Wildlife Forest.  It is well known in these parts as a good family hike.  Locke's Hill is sign posted off of Rt 11.  There is a mailbox in the parking lot for trail maps.  The Owl is ALL about maps these days.

Map in hand and we're off.  

We started out of the parking lot on the Quarry Trail.  The trail follows an old road that leads to the quarry for the old Kimball Castle.  It is rocky and the dead fallen leaves make it slippery, but even Sassy Sis was able to do it.  Of course, she had to jump on EVERY single rock along the way which made for a very slow climb.

While waiting for Sassy Sis to catch up Owl and his friend found some rocks of their own to climb atop!

Once at the top of the hill - with views to the Locke's Hill Beacon you continue back into the woods, following the blue blazes of the Lake View Trail, until you come to a clearing with this beautiful view and some extra special places to eat your lunch.

The rock chairs here are the PERFECT place to pick your throne and have a snack or midday meal.

You've completed about 2/3 of the hike by this point so it is a perfect resting spot and the little ones think the chairs are the coolest thing ever.

After the rock chairs it isn't that much longer back to the parking lot.  This part of the trail though is the steepest and rockiest.  It does have switchbacks which help you make your way back down to parking lot.

The Owl and his friend walked the whole trail, about 2 miles, no problem.  Sassy Sis, even though she was able to walk the trail, was finally put in the trusted Ergo since her pace was just way too slow, about 1/2 way up.  

It was a beautiful day to spend outdoors on a fun hike, perfect for preschoolers!

Happy Trails! 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The WOW Trail

The Owl loves riding his bike so we decided to try the WOW trail with our friends. The WOW trail is a non-motorized pathway in downtown Laconia.  It is a three phase project with phase one complete.  The completed part of the trail is 1.3 miles each way. 

Owl and Sassy Sis were both ready to hit the trail on their bikes.  I have to say I LOVE this tricycle my FIL purchased for Sassy Sis. She can "pedal" while I push her and you can even control the steering from your handle.

WOW is a great place to get on a trail for stroller users.  Even Sassy Sis decided to let her friend try out her tricycle while she hopped a ride!

The Owl on the other hand road the whole trail - 2.6 miles - on his bicycle. I was shocked - he really was a pedaling machine. 

2.6 miles can be long for little legs on bikes.  
Luckily mamas are great bike and toddler carriers.

Don't worry though, there are some benches and gardens along the way for a short break or rest.

You can see the trail map for the WOW Trail here.  The trail is a great resource in our area. There is easy parking at both ends of the trail. My only complaint about the trail is that there is a section of this phase when you leave the trail and have to go on the sidewalk along Messer Street - crossing   some  side streets.  Otherwise, it is a fabulous place to let the little ones run, bike, skip, hop all of their energy out! 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Car Wash

The weather has FINALLY realized it is spring.  The rain has stopped and the sun is shining.  For my little ones this means....water play.  I came across this idea at one of my favorite blogs Happy Hooligans. 

First we set up shop.  Warm soapy water, clean water for rinsing and towels to dry.  You can also use  a tray of shaving cream to "wash your cars.  Owl's eyes just about bugged out of his head when he came outdoors and saw this set up.  

We have no shortage of cars, trucks, construction equipment to be washed.

Rinse station - I was surprised at how much water actually stayed in the bucket - he was VERY serious about his car cleaning tactics!

The Owl was mesmerized with the process.  He asked for a sponge, "to scrub the dirt off" and got right down to work.  Winter grime, paint, play-doh was washed right off.

Rinsing his nice and clean cars.....

And lastly, the towel dry....

Owl loved the activity.  I loved getting all of his small vehicles washed after a long winter of use. Hmmm, I wonder if we can rig something up tomorrow for all of his large sandbox trucks which  are now filthy from all of the rain? 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Busy Bag Exchange

I belong to a great mother's group.  We are a large group that hosts play groups, playground visits, museum visits, mother's night outs and more.  In the course of any given week there can be 3-5+ events available in which to participate.  It is through this group that I hosted a busy bag exchange.

There are numerous resources on line about hosting a busy bag swap.  Some in fact down right scared me with their rules, regulations and warnings. I wanted to host something that was low key, but also would be beneficial. 

 The rules for our exchange were simple:

1. Once you commit to coming you MUST come or have your bags delivered.                                               2. Create 18 of the same product. ( 18 was the # of mamas we had participating)
3. Spend no more than $2-3 per activity. 
4.  You do NOT need to laminate papers included.  ( Mamas can chose to laminate after we receive it.)
5. Put together the quality of bag you would want to receive in return. This is really important to remember.
6. Put each of your activities in a ziploc-type bag.  Label the bag with the name of your activity and include any needed directions.

The rules worked for us and overall we had a great exchange.  There were a few slip-ups, but nothing that wasn't worked out.

For this exchange I posted 18 ideas for busy bags - all of which I found online. I listed the link to the activity.  Each mama chose their activity from the list of links when they signed up for the swap.

Our Activities: 
( I linked each activity back to the original website which all include directions.) 

Fine Motor Lacing Mat
I found these mats at the Dollar Tree.  Included in the busy bag were lengths of ribbons, fabric, and pipe cleaners.  It will be perfect for the little ones to weave - great fine motor practice!

( This was my bag.  I printed off and laminated the complete alphabet sheets and a personalized sheet with the child's first name.  In the busy bag I included  one of these dry erase markers. 

Our busy bag swap was fabulous not only was it a great night out with some good friends, some wine, and some yummy treats but at the end of the swap we all left with 18 different busy bags.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

West Rattlesnake Mountain Hike

For Mother's Day I wanted to spend the day outdoors with my little ones so we chose a child friendly hike close to home.  Today we choice West Rattlesnake Mountain in Holderness. It was a perfect hike for our little family.

Information on West Rattlesnake - including driving directions, trail information, etc.  can be found here. 

Sassy Sis started out strong, walking up the well cared for trail.  She lasted about half way of the way up before she rode in trustworthy Ergo on Daddy's back. 

Overall, the trail was VERY well maintained.  During a large portion of the trail there were steps made right into the trail.  It made it very easy for my two to navigate their way up the trail.

Once at the top the views are can see all of Squam Lake and many of the surrounding mountain ranges.

 It makes a perfect backdrop for a Mother's Day photo.

However....BEWARE....the top is all rock ledge that drops right off.  Our rule quickly became, if you're roaming around, you MUST be holding an adult's hand! 

The rocks are a perfect place to stop and have a snack, enjoy the view, breathe it all in, and then pinch yourself when you realize this is your backyard!!

Overall, this is a great hike for families.  Even though Sassy Sis ended up in the carrier, the Owl did made it up and back on his own, quite easily.  The trail is well maintained and even though it is a steady climb up it is very doable for young children.  The views from the top are breathtaking. From car seat to car seat - with a sizable break at the summit, it took us just under two hours.

Happy Trails!