Friday, July 19, 2013

A Bit of Summer Magic- The Children's Garden at The Morton Arboretum

Last week we visited Morton Arboretum, in Lisle, IL. I'm sad to say that I've lived in Chicago my whole life, and have never experienced this beautiful place.  The Children's Garden was a fantasy land filled with various tree houses, sculptures, and water features.  The perfect place for children to wander off into their magical imaginations.  

As a parent, the most stressful area was the children's maze.  Can I just say, HEART ATTACK!!  Both of my children and their cousins ran off, and within seconds I was a screaming lunatic.  

There were so many water features to choose from.  Since we forgot our bathing suits, all the kids were soaked from head to toe.  Note to self: Next time bring bathing suits and crocs.

There was even garden inspiration for me.  Must hit some thrift stores to find old colanders, metal plates, and old cans to decorate my garden.  

So next time you are in Chicago, definitely bring your children to visit The Morton Arboretum.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Independence Day- A Firework Painting

     Ten years ago, when I was an art teacher, I had my second graders create their own fireworks paintings.  My dear friend Darcy, from No Monsters In My Bed, reminded me of this project, and inspired me to try it with my children.
     In order to adapt this lesson for a 3 and 4 year old, I cut a huge piece of black craft paper, and laid it outside on the patio.  We also gathered fluorescent paint, tubes of glitter paint, and brushes.
     Before we began, I showed the kids a 4th of July Fireworks, on YouTube.  We talked about all the bright colors against the black sky and the different types of lines.  On a piece of paper I wrote out some of the lines that we saw, and invented some new ones.  My favorite one was the "binocular line."
     Once outside, I told the kids not to mix colors. Each brush corresponded with the color of paint. ( I wanted each color to stand out and not end up a muddy mess). They had to make a mark, then put the brush back in the container.  After most of the black surface was covered with fluorescent paint, I showed them how to squirt glitter paint.  They practiced making zig-zag lines, straight lines, and even splatter paint all over the place.  In the end our masterpiece looked more like a neon Jackson Pollock rather than a firework painting.  Still, they had a blast and were thrilled to paint outside.

Monday, July 1, 2013


     Nothing says summer in Chicago like an awesome barbecue.  Our high school friend, who is an amazing chef, invited us to his pig roast.  This 60lb. hog was slow cooked Cuban style, with not an ounce of fat to be found.  Probably the best pork I've ever eaten! Not to mention, herbed butter encrusted salmon, corn on the cob, octopus, and kefte kabobs. If I wasn't chasing the kids the whole afternoon, I would have taken more tantalizing food pictures.  Still, the unusually cool weather, indie music, and good friends made it an afternoon to remember.


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