Friday, June 27, 2008

This sounds like a fun playground!!

I don't know if this playground will come to Bozeman, but it sounds like it would be really neat! Like a walk in the woods and a place to play all at once. I think this is one of the things I like best about living in Bozeman... people are interested in doing something different, fitting in with the natural landscape as opposed to completely destroying it because we need places to live and play. Not everyone is interested in doing it, of course, but a few here and a few there go a long way to changing the way we think. If this playground goes in, I think we'd make a point to go play at it when we're in town. Just because it's different, just because it's cool.

Here are a couple more of these playgrounds designed by Natural Playgrounds... One in Florida, and another somewhere else.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

4th of July Project

Isn't this cute?! I'm not sure Eliana is QUITE old enough for the whole project yet, but I think I'm going to try it with her anyway. I just think it's cute and I'm feeling particularly patriotic this year. =D

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Mom and Me Hike - Painted Hills Trail

This week we did the Painted Hills Trail for our Mom and Me hike. Erika joined us with Zoe and Juliana, and we, with our jogging strollers, headed down the trail.

Let's not do that again.

The trail was basically a deep rut with overgrown grass on either side. We fought and fought for a ways and then realized the trail wasn't going to get any better. We turned around.

We ended up just walking up a long drive next to the trail. It was uphill and was probably half a mile long, but was wide and even and easy to push a stroller on. It wasn't what I had in mind, but it was at least a good walk, and we got to follow it up with some play time at the Lewis and Clark course at the Museum of the Rockies. The girls really enjoyed that.

Next week we're heading to the Sourdough Trail, so I made sure to check it out the other day in order to avoid going through this again! It's a good trail and should be perfect.

I wonder when Eliana will be old enough for this

I have seen this idea on Martha Stewart before, but thanks to our recent road trip have had renewed interest in it. I wonder when Eliana will be old enough for something like this? I'm guessing it will be sooner rather than later, I just have to put some thought and work into it. It would be nice to have some special activity bucket that's just for longer trips in the car. Currently our source of travel entertainment for her is the DVD player, and I think she could use some variety other than Blue's Clues, Veggie Tales, and the BBC Planet Earth series.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Rainy Day Fun

Up until a few days ago, we have had a very rainy few weeks! We got all geared up for summer and got Eliana a big inflatable pool for the yard and then it turned dreary out. So to make the best of the situation (and provide a little diversion for indoor play after being cooped up for so long!) here's what we did:

We blew up the pool in the basement!! It's on a mat so it is less likely to get scratched along the floor, and the mat also provides a softer floor for little knees and hands to crawl on in the pool! We didn't, obviously, want to fill the pool with water right there in our basement, so we filled the top section with the next best thing for indoor play:

Balls!! We made Eliana her very own little ball pit! She thinks it's great and played in it all afternoon, affording me a little time to get things done without her whining that we couldn't play outside because it was raining. She had a blast racing the balls down the slide...

... and then retrieving them...

And now that I know we can do this indoors, we have a winter activity just waiting for us once the summer sun is long gone! I'm excited to have another activity to pull out for her and think I'll use that basement corner as a place to rotate activities every week or so once we're inside more due to weather. Plus, it means I can use the pool all year long, which makes it a little more cost effective, and that is nice.

(By the way, if you're going to do this, I highly recommend using a vacuum that can be put on reverse to blow up the pool. I used my Kirby to do that and it still took a good long time, so I can only imagine how long it would have taken if I tried to blow it up myself! Eek!)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Mom and Me Hikes

Last summer I headed up "Mom and Me" hikes for moms and small kids. It was a lot of fun, so we're doing it again this year. Yesterday was our first hike. We've got a good group that is interested in hiking this summer, so I think we'll have a good turnout most weeks. Unfortunately, most people emailed and said they couldn't make it this week, so I didn't know if anyone else would show up. I waited about 15 minutes and when no one else was there, I started hiking with Ellie on my own. I went for about 15 minutes and decided I wasn't too sure about being on a secluded, wooded trail in town by myself! Probably crazy, I know, but I decided to turn around and just hike Peet's Hill instead. When I got back to Peet's Hill there was a group of women with strollers and as I passed them I happened to catch someone's eye and recognized her! It was Molly Hannan, Leif's boss' wife. We said hi and she said they hike every Monday and yesterday it was Peet's Hill! So I hiked with them and it was a lot of fun! Lots of toddlers and Ellie got to get out of the stroller and hike most of the way! She did get tired and hungry after a while, so I put her back in the stroller and let her eat while I pushed her the rest of the way. All told we ended up walking about an hour and a half. Then I took Ellie over to Bogert Park to play for a bit while I ate some lunch and she got to play on the slides! It was a good way to start out the morning and start out the week! I'm looking forward to the rest of the hikes this summer. Hopefully we'll have people show up each week and the kids can get out and hike themselves some, too. It's good to get them out and active!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Dream Vacations...

It's a rainy day today, so Ellie is playing happily in her room and I am dreaming about the day when we can take family vacations again! We are going to try to take a weekend trip this Saturday/Sunday, I think, and it will be one of the only times we've gone overnight with Ellie somewhere. When she was 3 months old we stayed overnight in Dallas for an early morning flight, and we stayed overnight in Roundup when she was about 5 months old. Other than that (and trips to Texas for a week or more, where she has her own room) we haven't really done any overnight stuff with her. That means it's basically been 2 years since we've gone on vacation! So I'm finding myself dreaming about places I'd like to go and I think the Treesort sounds awesome! Very Swiss Family Robinson. I want to go there someday.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Tips and Tricks: Tablecloth clips

Do you remember those cheapo tablecloth clips that hold your tablecloth down on a picnic table? I remember them vividly from my childhood summers eating outside (usually holding down a vinyl checkered tablecloth). I found a set a few years ago for $1 at Joanns with their retro picnic supplies. The silly nostalgic in me picked up a set and thought I'd use them someday.

Well, I've found a use for them!!

Instead of holding a tablecloth to a table, I use them to hold down a large sheet of newsprint (you can buy end rolls at our newspaper for just a couple bucks). The paper completely covers the top of a card table and Ellie can color to her heart's content without me worrying that she's going to color on the dining room table. She loves it. Here she is coloring with a friend last week:

Ellie really likes to color on the BIG paper!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Traveling with Eliana...

We went for a Sunday drive yesterday. It was a little longer Sunday drive than I was expecting! But we got to see a lot of country and stop by some places we'd wanted to go, so it was good. Ellie only slept for about 30 minutes or so of the whole drive and spent the rest of the time playing and pointing at things and eating and watching Baby Einstein or Blue's Clues. While Ellie was sleeping, we came to Virginia City, which is one of the places I have wanted to visit. It looked like it was going to rain, so we drove around a bit and then stopped so Leif could find out more information. That's about when Ellie woke up, and just in time to see a little train!

She thought the train was really cool, so we'll have to come back sometime and go for a proper tour of Virginia City, train ride and all.

We made a point of stopping a few times to let Eliana get out of the car and run around. We stopped at a veterans memorial park in Dillon and Ellie had a blast running on the curvy sidewalks, looking for prairie dogs and magpies.

For the most part, Eliana was happy to sit in the car for hours as long as she had music to listen to or a DVD to watch. Then when there was something interesting to see, we'd point it out and she could explore a little. But the downside to living in MT is that it takes a LOT of driving to get most places, unless you explore locally. But she did very well in the car and I'm glad, because it means we can take more road trips and get out to see some new things this summer! I guess we'll have to tackle camping next...